Being a Tad Defensive and A Wee Bit 'O RAIN.

In my last post I came on quite strongly, perhaps so strongly that it might have been difficult to discern if I was serious or not. But you're going to have to figure that out for yourself but considering the subject matter, it isn't something that I would typically joke about...

Some of my friends have expressed concern for the some of the emotions and/or feelings that I expressed in the post. I don't know what to tell you except that I am human, I don't always have the answer and I am extremely loyal and protective of K--Sue. She has endured enough emotional and physical abuse in her life-time and I won't tolerate anymore of it if I can help it.

I am tired of seeing her hurt, abused, toyed with and humiliated. I don't understand people who are cruel to others. I know I sound a bit high and mighty here and I am not perfect. But I strive to help others, not hurt or hamper them....and though I often fall short I cannot live any other way, today.

OK enough of that. We are experiencing a pretty big weather front of much needed rain. On FaceBook everyone is going nuts about it, I think it's kind of funny. Like everyone is doing a little celebration dance and taking credit for he rain because they prayed for it. Such thinking makes me rather uncomfortable. It rained because it did...nothing more, nothing less.

Bocas Life and The Dinghy Incident

We love the vibe of Bocas, but are under the impression it is not the type of cruising destination we really enjoy. Bocas seems to have two main groups of non Panamanians, the retiree ex pats and the hostel dwelling backpackers. The cruising community fits somewhere in between. Unlike Georgetown, the cruising community here has been a little cold. Except for a few boats, everyone sticks to their own cliques, kinda like high school. This makes it extremely difficult to socialize when you are thirty years younger, and feel a bit put off. I think much of the reason my be because we are mistaken for backpackers. The backpackers start their days late, and party into the night. When we are going to bed, they are just getting started. So Jennie and I fit somewhere in between, therefore feel like outcast half breeds.

Enough complaining, we are not in an office, and spend our days in the sun. One task I had was to find some gasoline. Bocas, though it shows lots of potential, hasn't figured out how to make things simple. I dinghied around town asking, there are no signs, so this makes it a bit tricky. The locals helped in the best way they could to explain, and when I went to Bocas Marina to ask, they gave me a poor answer and more attitude than a 14 year old girl. So if push comes to shove and Jennie and I have to leave the boat here to build up our cruising kitty for the South Pacific, we wont be staying there. Customer service 101, don't judge a book by it's cover. As I was heading back across to where the gas dock should be...again.... I noticed the dinghy had a lot of water in it, then I saw the issue; the tube had come off the hull. I turned around and slowly made it back to the boat. We pulled the dinghy up and I got to work, dinghies are an important life line for a cruiser. I knew this was going to happen, because you should never paint aluminum and then glue something to the paint. Water got under the paint and oxidization caused the paint to peel off. I scrapped all the paint off where the tubes connected, and PL 4200 that bad boy back on. So far no issues, but it will happen again, salt water is very destructive. By the way I found the gas dock and prices similar to the US, sweet.

In an additional note, Jennie and I went out for drinks with some other young cruisers, upon returning we found our loaf of bread was gone. No it wasn't a cockroach (of which we have not seen any sign of for a few days now), but Dexter. I don't know how he can eat an entire loaf of bread, but he did. We were not super pleased about that one, but impressed. I know I would have difficulty eating an entire loaf of bread with only a small bowl of water.

Though we have had some setbacks, Bocas has been entertaining and there is still so much more to explore. Jennie and I are not really patient enough to spend months at anchor, so we will try to start fixing up things on the boat and get moving around to better explore this area, and then the San Blas. 

Don't Let The BASTARDS Get You Down

I am pretty much going to let the title of this post speak for itself. I will say that it is directed at Kim. The Bastards in Question (there are 3) made a real attempt at destroying everything K has worked so hard for the last few months in Coldwater in one quick swoop last night. The only problem is they don't know what LOVE really is all about or how it even works. These are people who say they are Christians but lie and cheat, intentionally hurting people who get in their way, all  because they want to control you. One is nothing but a stalker and control freak. (Listen pal, you just lost...big-time...your own daughter thinks you are a joke). They don't understand how REAL friends and family care for one another. The people who truly love her stepped in and helped the middle of the night, no less.

The ball is in her court and I guarantee that this time she will pick it up and RUN with it....So, you better watch out folks, she has grown up.

I don't understand how hateful, jealous, conniving, spiteful and basically full of shit these people are...I was not raised to lie and hate like they were so I have difficulty understanding people who act like I don't "get" them. Perhaps there is time for you to repent kiddies....I suggest you think long and hard about doing it right now because Jesus may then forgive you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

K-Sue, Chin up babe...they threw their best punch and whiffed. They lost, they lie, they hate, they are on the other hand are golden, not perfect but I'm so proud of how hard you've worked. Now it is your turn....

Be proud for building your life back from scratch, you had absolutely no help what so ever in the past. Yes you made mistakes, many of them but you've owned up to them, learned from them and now it's a different world. Things sure have changed and you have many people who love and care about you today...don't be discouraged. Hang tough...yesterday was is over and you came through it in better shape then before. You'll see...

I love you and there are a lot of people who are pulling for you. Keep the Faith...the hard part is almost over. But gird yourself against IT because it's not over...

Big XII TV Network: The Revolution Will Be Televised

On Wednesday the SEC made it known that they were calling their new network: 'Project X'.

By Thursday the guys at Red Cup Rebellion had made us pee with laughter by creating their own schedule.

Now as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have their own TVs (although we've been issued with their schedules), we thought it was mighty important to show you Big XII TV, and what goes on there, before they feel all left out.

So here you go: 

Pretty Woman - The art of selling oneself to gals from Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Indiana and going from ugly to good-looking in the space of a year.

The T. Boone Pickens Hour - Oklahoma State's favorite octagenarian billionaire remembers (or tries to remember) the war...with paddles, against Oklahoma. 

Don't Mess With Texas (aka "We are Amazing") - The University of Texas tells you what's great about Austin, the co-eds and some of the sports. And in a piece of defense that Perry Mason himself would be proud of, UT backs The Longhorn Network. 

Friday Night Lights - Paul Rhoads explains to us why he is so damned proud of Iowa State. 

Big Game Bob - Bob Stoops takes you through the big games of his Oklahoma career, and looks mighty annoyed when you mention Texas Tech, or recent National Championship Games. He'll also try and answer you - straight - why on earth he gave his brother a job when no-one else would.

Wacky Waco - A lovely look at the history of our favorite Southern Baptist town, from David Koresh to Carlton Dotson. 

The Only Good Season We Had - Robert Griffin III takes us through Baylor's 2011 college football season, and why there won't be another like it. And why there's a church to him being built, and people are tasting Kool-Aid.

Beauty And The Beast - We look at the burnt orange and maroon fanbases of the Red River Rivalry, and wonder why Oklahoma felt all the need to take all the ugly fans. 

Angelic Texas - Another look into the Heaven That Is Austin, with St Mack Brown hosting a tour through such lovely places as Dallas, Houston, and, er, Permian.

Special K - Kansas and Kansas State fans put you to sleep with a scenic drive through their state. Which is full of, er, wheat. We stop the camera to work out if it's a really big-but-not-bigger-than-he-was-thanks-to-the-gastric-band cow having something to eat at the side of the road, or Charlie Weis (harsh?).

SEC Coaches Vote In Player Stipend - Now can the NCAA?

While all the chat at the SEC's Spring Meetings in Destin, Fl. may have been about scheduling, play-offs, and the amazing haircuts of Mssrs. Miles and Saban, the biggest news was one that was rather buried.

We heard that every SEC coach had voted in a $300-per-game stipend for players. "We think they need more and deserve more", said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Say that again? Every SEC coach voted in a $300-per-game stipend. They want the players to be paid to play.

Now, paying the players didn't make it past the ADs or university presidents, but it was unlikely to. Why? Because paying the players is a NCAA deal, not a conference deal.

But if there's any chink in the pay-to-play armour, it was going to be done at coach level, and despite many screaming about the free education, it's important these kids get paid.

For the record, we at the VFA are happy with Spurrier's suggestion of $300-per-player, per game. And if comes out of the coach's pocket (like Spurrier suggests), then so be it.

Here's why:

1) Many college football players come from poor backgrounds. Football will mean everything to them, because otherwise, they go back to nothingness.

2) Giving players a small stipend helps to teach them a little about what will happen to them financially in the future when they arrive in the NFL (Or more's the case, if they make it to the NFL). Money becomes less of a shock to them.

3) Universities and clothing companies make a gazillions from merchandising, kit deals, and season ticket sales from the players, who are suddenly scolded by every member of the media if they say: "Is this right?"

LaMichael James tweeted about the University of Oregon auctioning off one of his jerseys: "I love the university but the amount of money they made off me I could buy several eductions lol am I a donor now?"

And school policy at the university of Oregon - this article noted - made players buy their own jerseys back. Oh, so that's OK then.

4) The NCAA, the BCS, and the associated conferences as organisations make a mind-boggling amount of capital from college football and college basketball. The NCAA's deal with CBS/TNT for March Madness is worth $10.8bn. I'll say that again. $10.8bn. The deals for the Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC Networks are almost as equally extraordinary.) But in the land of zeroes, the players also know about that, because they get paid zero, too.

Some members of the media don't like the idea of players getting paid to pay. They think of the junior doctor who's going to save lives for a living  has to pay their own way through school. The junior doctor, when he's qualified, will earn more money for a longer time than the football player - and will probably have a longer life.

There are some who think that a pay-for-play would be disastrous, as it would cause college players of the world to unite and could possibly lead to a strike. Possibly. But why not give it a try? Players deserve to be paid. They are bringing so much cash into the game, and deserve something out of it.

The final question is: Will the NCAA vote it through?

The final answer is: If the NCAA know what's right, they will.

Better Nights

I have had better me.

I don't even know where to begin so I guess what I am going to do here is not begin at all. Tonight, The BASTARD WON hands down....But tomorrow is another day, fresh and full of opportunities to beat him back. So here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      is TO Tomorrow!!

La Cukarachas

Our weapons of choice (Joy of Cooking and Dexter not meant for cockroaches)

Jennie & Dave 1 vs. Cockroach 0

We've got good news and bad. The good news is we have successfully killed one cockroach, the bad another one has been spotted. But have no fear we went on the offensive and with boric acid in hand Dave bathed the little bug in a thick white coat of snowy acid. I just wonder where we will find the body. The first cockroach was found under the grate in the bathroom, the second one is who knows where, but they are showing up dead. Our tactics appear to be working, our first line of defence is the roach traps. We have set out numerous traps, probably more than necessary and were able to kill the first roach. Then we removed all the cardboard boxes and wrapped the extra paper towels in plastic. With the clean up complete we ventured out and brought boric acid, a chemical with a variety of uses.

 Now that the boat has a light layer of boric acid everywhere (guests might think we have a drug problem), I decided to look into how toxic boric acid is, and this is what I found. 5-20g/kg can cause death in adult humans, however it's the long term exposure that poses the greater risk resulting in kidney damage and eventually kidney failure. The long term exposure risk for Dexter is testicular atrophy, the SPCA helped us dodge a bullet on that one.

Now for the fun facts on boric acid:
medical uses (for adults, not to be used on infants)
antiseptic for minor burns or cuts and is sometimes used in dressings or salves
applied in a very dilute solution as an eye wash
vaginal douche to treat bacterial vaginosis due to excessive alkalinity
anti-bacterial compound
acne treatment
prevention of athlete's foot
ear infection in both humans and animal

Nuclear power
Neutron poison, boric acid will slow down the rate of fission

So many random and wonderful uses for boric acid. The most important in my mind is the elimination of our cockroach problem. I don't think I will be attempting any of the alternative uses, unless Japan needs our help with a nuclear meltdown. Just another example of cruising testing your patience and inginuity.

Tragically SPECIAL: The Prince Of LIES

The last couple of days have provided me with a few new ideas in regards to how I process my negative emotions as they relate to my past troubles. Perhaps after all of this time and therapy....we (my therapists and me) had it all wrong fromm the start. perhaps the Black Dog is just another way I heal myself sub-consciously. My body intentionally lowers it's own energy level to help balance out all the stress and strain...providing a much needed respite from the pain, uncertainty and the internal/external pressure to BE BACK TO NORMAL AGAIN like RIGHT NOW that we and society puts on us.

Please don't get me wrong...i am not saying that all Depression serves this purpose or that Depression isn't bad, serious or dangerous because it can be all of those things. Let us not forget that I tried to take my own life here 6 years ago so it IS serious. I am just wondering if there might be another element to it FOR me. That it doesn't always have to be negative...that the human body may very well have a good reason to go into a funk, to climb into a fetal position as it were and ride the storm out.

I most certainly believe there have been times when this is indeed true.

I have been carrying on a comment dialog with a reader about this subject and the subject of how to cope with my parents. My parents love me very much, they have always tried to be there for me even when I was not acting very gracious or grateful to them for all their help. They have been through a great deal. I never did tell my parents about being raped. Not only would it have been humiliating and awkward...the circumstances of where it happened and how would have been impossible to explain. 

I was in an adult establishment/club/private club with the much older brother of some neighborhood friends. My parents would have called the police and I could not let that happen...I figured I made the stupid choice to be was MY problem and I needed to "Fix It" all by myself...and I did. The cuts, bruises and black eye were explained away as a neighborhood football injury and I did not take my shirt of or let them see the rest of my body or they would have known something was up. My entire side, ribs, legs we one big bruise from being kicked and dragged across a tile floor.

It was years before my mom noticed my chipped's funny, one of those chipped teeth is right in front. Several times my dentist in Holland MI talked me into having him repair that and each time the repair job failed. It is almost like a message from the gods that I need to see that tooth for the rest of my living days so I will NEVER FORGET!

I remember once watching the Movie "The Prince Of Tides" with Nick Nolte and Barbara Streisand. I had no clue that the film contained a rather graphic rape scene of a young boy. The closest I ever came to telling my parents my 'dirty little secret" was when my mother wanted to see that film and i discouraged her because of that scene and I think that I reacted to strangely emotional that she must have thought something was wrong. They ended up seeing it anyway and I never spoke to them about it again.

it's funny...funny in that not so funny, tragic kind of way that part of me never wanted to be different because of what happened to me. Except at the very same time...throughout my whole life since that day I have wanted to scream from the roof tops that because of what happened to me I WAS DIFFERENT...Tragically Special, I guess.

How does one ever know who they are supposed to be when every look in the mirror makes one want to VOMIT?! Or cry...or SHOUT...or DIE?! You have no idea the irony of my being a Christian today after all the HATE I heaped on Jesus for doing this to me. 

I used to dream that it happened in church...on a Sunday morning...during a church service and every parishioner sat quietly and watched...doing NOTHING to help me while I was raped and beaten nearly to death. I had someone in college once tell me it was God's Will...that I was being punished for my sins.

How does one have  a normal childhood...LIFE after that? When I shredded my arms with a K-Bar in High School I so badly wanted to tell the shrink and my parents the truth about why I hated myself so much but the words just would not come...

I often question why they come so freely to me now? Ahigher purpose, perhaps?

Leaking My Sadness All Over The Place...

I was having a short conversation with my mother this evening when she said that her and my father were concerned about me because I seemed "burdened"..."like the weight of the world was on me". The comment really caught me by surprise, disturbed me and I had to think about it for awhile. Though I do carry a certain amount of baggage from the past around I don't really feel burdened...not enough that my parents would notice.

It was disturbing in the sense that I have always gone to great lengths to keep my troubles out of the view of my parents...they have been through enough, are in their eighties and I don't want them worrying about me. So for them to have that concern bothers me. It also means that i am showing more emotion on the outside then I care to and that is troubling as well....

I just feel like I have hurt them enough in my life-time...I do not want my Mum/Dad worrying or being troubled by me or my behavior so I have to give this one some thought. I wasn't prepared for them to notice that I am troubled by anything. They do not know the full details of my past...they know something happened and I basically told them they didn't really want to know the details and they agreed. I think that's true for my father, he doesn't like stuff like feelings and talking about stuff that has happened. But my mum is different and she has occasionally pressed me for more information. I do not want her to know, specifically about the rape.

She has a tendency to find a way to blame herself and I think she would do that in this case as well. Because I was 12 when it happened I think it would upset her that I was in a place where that could happen to me. 

I don't know...I never wanted to go here with them and now they are noticing that I have a "heaviness" about me...which is strange in itself because I thought I was doing pretty well but something is leaking out the side for all to see...Hmmm!

Boat Meal

When I look for meal ideas, I like to buy local, and cheap. This involves scouring the grocery stores for different items that cost less in the region we are in and build from there. Today my inspiration was chorizo sausage and local cheese,.which turned out to be tofu.... Damn language barriers. While looking through the store I noticed chorizo sausage was cheaper than hot dogs, bonus. So I went with it, and thought I would make a little jumbolaya. We went to the local produce stand and picked up an onion, a green pepper, and a carrot. Before bringing everything onto the boat, it all got bleached.

So I chopped half an onion, and sauted it in a bit of olive oil. The I added the green pepper and diced carrot. After about 5 min I added some garlic and chopped choritzo sausage. I let that cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, then added half a cup of rice, a small can of tomato paste and a cup of water. I brought this to a boil, then covered and let simmer. Once the rice was cooked I added a bit of tofu (should have been cheese) and voila, a hearty boat meal for under $3.

The Tendency To DISAPPEAR

I wrote a post at the end of the day yesterday called: "I Could Have Killed Them". Posts like these have a sort of "state of my ability to forgive" quality to them as if I am checking in to see how much rage and anger are still impacting me on a day to day basis. I often don't like the answer and I didn't like the answer I got yesterday either.

I want to be over this, I do not want to keep carrying around this weight, this heaviness that never goes away. These posts like this tend to alarm some readers and I understand that...the pronouncements about having the ability to kill sound shocking and they are. Understand that there is no danger on those feelings being acted on but I share them to demonstrate How much this has IMPACTED, hurt and destroyed a good part of me.

Innocence...youth...idealism...HOPE...well they all have a tendency to disappear when this shit happens. And it seems hopeless that I can ever get even a tiny little bit of it back...

Then something will happen that does encourage me and I persevere. That is just how it goes sometimes and there is no rhyme or reason to it at all.

But I assure the reader that great progress has been made and I feel more hopeful then ever that a time will come when I no longer think of that day...every day. I believe that...I really, truly....DO                          

I Could Have Killed Them...

There are times that it occurs to me that perhaps these moods I have...the Black Dog...Depression might simply be a very human response to the horror I have experienced and though I react to it like it is a negative thing...perhaps it is anything BUT negative. Perhaps it is the ultimate balancer of things....bring me down from the chaos..providing a calm...a trance-like existence to let me heal.

Yes heal...even today I need to heal physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually....I still bear physical scars from being raped...I cannot take a dump without pain. Every time I sit on a toilet I re-live that moment. It's a wonder I haven't become permanently constipated!

I close my eyes to sleep and the specters often appear...always laughing, leering...insulting. And the battle begins all over again...I lose every single time. Fighting the good fight? What good fight might that be...I get raped, beaten to a pulp and a life time of HORROR movies run constantly in my head for a life-time of viewing pleasure.

I think one of the things that has secretly always bothered me is that deep down I wanted to hurt those people...hurt them bad. Periodically I still have the fleeting thought of it. That does not sit well with me...not at all. I know I could have killed those men and would have given the  chance. Deep in my soul it wounds me that I could kill, that I could lock and load and without hesitation put a bullet in the head of each one of those people and walk away stone cold.

Today, typically I don't feel that way and I have made major progress toward forgiveness. I honestly hope I keep making progress in that area and never EVER will that animal...the BEAST...who resides DEEP INSIDE me...also called RAGE and HATE show it's menacing self. I want PEACE, inside & know I have NEVER known PEACE, not ONCE in my entire life and just time I would really like to know what peace feels like.

That monkey is always on my's time my friends to get the big BUGGER off of me...and RIGHT NOW!

Remembering...TOGETHER Our Shared Sacrifice. (Now Updated)

In keeping with the theme of Memorial Day I thought I'd post an interesting video of a program I watched live yesterday morning. One of Shell Shocks regular readers from Canada was telling me that someone on another web site reacted harshly towards her assumption that Memorial was for all Vets of every nationality. And while our American Memorial Day is to honor the War Dead of the United States....that by no means discounts the Allies that fought with us.

This video is rather long (30 minutes) but I found it fascinating. It was a joint ceremony between the Country Of France and the United States Marine Corps to honor the dead Marines who fought in the WWI Battle of Battle of Belleau Wood held at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

French and American Generals as well as other dignitaries speak but it shows how they all still remember what happened there nearly 100 years ago now. I think it's at least worth checking out.

It vividly demonstrates that France indeed remembers our sacrifice for them during 2 World Wars. I have traveled the Battlefields of the first and second World Wars and they absolutely respect and honor our many War Cemetery's over there. It is very poignant to read at each one where it says that the land was given by France for ALL Time to the United States to honor and remember those who sacrificed for Freedom and for France.

Ousary Crypt at Verdun, France

I think all Americans who laugh at the "cowardly French jokes need to visit the WWI Battlefield of Verdun and see where a MILLION French Solders were killed in Battle in 8 months time, in an area less then 20 miles square! Look in the back windows of the Ousary Crypts and see the millions of HUMAN Remains picked up on the battlefield that are unidentified. Travel down the "Sacred Road", the only road in and out of Verdun during the Battle where the troops traveled, many for the last time to the Human Meat Grinder that was Verdun.

Then we might all have a better understanding why the French people react the way they do at times. They were led to slaughter by their government and military and there is a National Mistrust of those entities to this day, some 94 years later.

So check out the video or just listen to a few minutes and be fascinated as 2 countries who have repeatedly helped each other (Remember Lafayette in the Revolutionary War?) now honor each other's dead for America's Memorial Day...

Brutal Honesty

The other day, Ruby was sitting on my bed reading a book when Steve came in the room without a shirt on.  She looked at him and said, "Daddy, your boobies are getting big.  They're almost as big as Mommy's. You need a bra, right Dad? Mom, Daddy doesn't know how to wear a bra, you should teach him."

Poor Steve did not find this humorous at all but I sure had a good giggle.  Hey, she just calls it as she sees it.  Kids are so honest sometimes. How can we not laugh about that?  Steve really should loosen up a bit.

I realized how not funny her casual observations are when a couple of days later, while getting ready to meet a girlfriend for a drink, Ruby watched me put on my Spanx. She said, "Mommy, I think your bathing suit is too small." 

Kids can be so cruel...

Will Notre Dame ever lose its independence?

Notre Dame is disliked by a lot of programs - most due for no particular reason.

They dislike the Irish for being 'holier than thou'.

They dislike the Irish for droning on about academics (never let good academics get in the way of a good sports program, as every SEC program bar Vanderbilt teaches us), Rudy, Touchdown Jesus, and National Championships from decades again.

But most, programs dislike Notre Dame for their independence.

While Notre Dame is quite happy to play its Olympic sports 'in-conference' (we get the feeling it has to, or otherwise it won't get to play for a Championship), there is one sport where it's happy standing on its own, and that's Collegiate American Football.

Why? It's quite easy - it earns $15m per year from NBC to broadcast every single one of its home games. So last year, the fans got to see the Irish lose at home to Southern California and.....(deep breath)....South Florida. Also, they got to see the Irish put together a mediocre season, in which they went 8-4 and lost their bowl game, this time to Florida State (we say this time because rarely does a season go by when Notre Dame doesn't lose its bowl game).

The Notre Dame Network (sorry, NBC!), then fills us in with stories of great Irish players from the past, but fails to tell us how Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn or Charlie Weis have been doing since they left the Saints of South Bend.

But what we will give Notre Dame the big thumbs-up for is their schedule. Year in, year out it's a tough schedule. Care to name on SEC team that has Michigan, Michigan State and Southern California on the schedule and for fun then adds OKLAHOMA to the resume? We might rag on the Irish about being a poor team, but let's be honest - a lot of schools out there would be pretty poor playing a rough schedule year in, year out.

The Irish are going to have their hand forced about their independence, we feel. The college football powers - if there is a four-team play-off, may well say: "If you're not in a four team conference you're out of National Championship reckoning, even if you are Sainted", and then Notre Dame's hand is forced.

But they haven't said anything of the sort yet. And you can be guaranteed with the power that Notre Dame has, they won't go to a conference without a big, big fight - and a big, big paycheck. 

Don't You Know You're Riding With The D!

Dexter is the king of our boat, at least he thinks he is, hence the Clapton BB King reference. Sailing with Dexter has been a learning experience for us all. A lot of readers ask us questions about sailing with a dog, and instead of writing lengthy email replies to everyone individually I thought I'd try to sum up what we've learned. (If you have more questions do email us, we enjoy talking to our readers).

The key, in our opinion is to make sure your dog is poorly house trained. A boat, though it is your home, is not a house. It is easy to clean off the deck or floors on a boat, and a well house trained dog will think he or she is being bad when they do their business on the boat. So before you leave to go cruising with your dog, section off an area of your home (preferably outside like a deck) for your dog to do their business. It might be awkward explaining to your house guests at the cocktail party why fluffy is crouched on the deck beside the smokers laying a loaf, but your maritime future will be bliss because of taking such measures.

We lived in a small apartment, and as we adopted Dex from the SPCA, we never got to fully house train him. So we would leave the deck door open so at least he would go outside and not on the carpet. In city life we were seen as lazy, however in sailing life we are the envy of our canine owning peers. Dexter stayed on the boat for three weeks, from Georgetown Bahamas, a week in Jamaica (quarantined on the boat) and then a rough ride across the Caribbean sea to Panama. He was happy just to be with us, and never made an issue about going to the bathroom. We have heard of horror stories about dogs holding it for 4 or 5 days, ouch. The only frustrating part was Dex would sometimes place his treats under the mast, so when it came time to reef at night we had a few unfortunate foot placements. We have a dust pan we flick it off with, and hose or bucket it down. Super easy, we just have to make sure he's strapped in when he goes offshore, "Dexter, four leg stance!!!"

Clearing in and out of countries was another question we frequently get. With the Bahamas, they want you to get a permit in advance. It took about 2 months and cost $10. We showed up, showed the form to customs and that was it, they didn't even check his rabies certificate. In Jamaica they told us he had to stay on the boat, even though the locals and some of the laid back government officials hinted we could take him over to an abandoned island at night as long as we were hush hush about it. We even heard from a local that he would take another cruisers dog over there for walks as those cruisers had stayed for 2 months. We decided that Dex could handle an extra week. In Panama, we provided a billion copies (actually 4) of his rabies and shots certificates, paid $15 and he was in. No fus made, we haven't yet had to get a vet certificate of health, no has anyone even looked at Dex other than seeing him tied to the cabin trunk as they board. Clearance so far has not been an issue at all for Dex.

Little tips:

Watch their water intake, it's hot down here
get a good collar and keep a boat hook handy for dog overboard drills
always put their life jacket on offshore
let them bark at other boats (it a security measure)
make sure they have things to entertain them (for Dexter it is something to chew on)
a glowing collar can be nice during the night when sailing
make sure your companion has a cool place to lay down
buy a bigger and faster dinghy, more options for walks and less claw marks on your legs
they sell dog food everywhere, just not the brand you want
BRING your dog, they are great on a boat

In Remembrance...

Today we observe Memorial Day in The United States. We take a day...a long weekend really to remember those who have fallen. Many people have kind of morphed this into a holiday honoring those who served in the military...particularly during war time. I believe those folks should be recognized and honored for their service and their sacrifice. And they are with their own holiday as well: Veterans Day.

But I often think with all that focus being paid to the Vets we forget what this holiday is truly about: Those who gave THEIR LIVES in the service of their Country. I follow the American Battle Monuments Commission page on FaceBook and I like it because it reminds me EVERYDAY what these people did so we can be, FREE!

So today, by all means thank a Vet but also take a moment to stop and say a little prayer to those who made the ULTIMATE Sacrifice, often in the very PRIME of their lives, so we Americans can enjoy the FREEDOM we have today.

God Bless You and THANK YOU!

Bocas Town

Bocas is a throwback to how tourism use to be, quaint little boutique hotels, owner owned and operated restaurants, a melting pot of people from all around the world and all different walks of life. Compared to Jamaica and the towns of the Bahamas, we feel so much safer here in Bocas del Toro. In Jamaica we were getting yelled at by a guy in his back yard for not coming in, he was saying we were racist; the truth being we would never walk into a strangers home who wouldn't say why we should and was talking on his cell phone in one hand and had a 10" knife blade in the other. Back to Bocas, the locals are friendly, patient with our lack of Spanish, and not aggressive. We can walk freely around any part of town without the sense of imminent danger, the cabs even honk to let you know they are coming up behind you on the street. It has only been a few days, but it is obvious why people fall in love with this small island town.

We reacquainted ourselves with some fellow cruisers we had just quickly met at Port Antonio. They were leaving as we were arriving. They had an awful trip from Jamaica to Providencia (half way to Panama). They had bought bad gas at the marina resulting in motor problems, their steering broke, and a.vent in their catamaran was taking on water faster than the boat was pumping it out. They called a freighter who was going to raft up with them..... Probably not a good idea in big seas. Luckily a USCG vessel was out patrolling for.... Drug runners I guess. They we're happy to help an American vessel in distress, an the engineers finally had a reason to get off the boat. So in retrospect Jennie and I had a cake walk, but I think our boat choice had a lot to do with that. Now we are all at anchor nursing injured boats.

The shoulder is good, I have dislocated it many times, but it is always a struggle to put back in. Cudos to the staff at Bocas Del Toro Hospital, they were the most efficient and quickest of all my hospital visits for the same ailment previously. The service was excellent, and I was not treated with any more care than anyone else. I waited my turn just as if I was another patient. The problem with North American medical care is no need for all the fancy instruments, or law suits, or sales pitches; healthcare should want to help people first and foremost, and profiteering should not be involved. I sat their in my naivety wondering whether they could put my shoulder back in, as it is an odd dislocation. Then I remembered basic ailments have been dealt with for centuries with ease. I felt a bit of a fool, but realised our first world health care system is no better than the third world. Our practitioners are slower, they hide behind technology, and are afraid of being sued in their attempts to help. Social of private health care, it doesn't matter, ego is coming before patients, and that is a problem.

Back to Bocas Focus. From a cruisers point of view this place is a dream. The anchorage is free, the dinghy dock is free, plus there are many places that you can dinghy right up to, provisioning and entertainment is cheap, it is surrounded by marine parks, there are tons of activities, and a mini cruising ground. It's a place to get your boat back into shape, there are no out of water facilities, but there are plenty of hardware stores and the marina can order directly from westmarine (but it takes 4 to 6 weeks, which isn't so bad).

Last night we went into town to watch some of the festivities of African Caribbean week. It involved 45 minutes of mic checks and 10 minutes of drum beats, then back to yelling at us in spanish. Upon returning to the boat we were walking around the cabin with our headlamps and Jennie gives me a "Dave! What is this?" "God damnit! A Cockroach!" well those buggers are fast, we chased it around and it disappeared before we could kill it. Where it went we don't know, Cypraea does not have a lot of cracks to sneak into. I have to give cudos to Jennie, we have seen no signs of roaches on the boat, and she spotted it at night when they come out from hiding. We do everything possible to keep these buggers off the boat, no cardboard, bleach everything coming onto the boat (cans, produce, plastic). Let's say we were disappointed about our stowaway. We deployed ten or twenty roach traps, and will be off to get boric acid powder to coat all the flat surfaces. After some thought as to how the roach got on the boat, as we stay at anchor most of the time, and are diligent with what comes on the boat. We figured it must have come in on one of the government officials bags as the location it was found was where they put their bags. Well this cockroach now has to deal with the wrath of Jennie, it will not win.

Sports, Confession and a 'Quickie"...

Memorial Day Sunday...The Indy 500 and The NASCAR Coca-Cola 600...American auto racing's biggest day. Last night the Purdue Boilermaker Baseball Team won the Big Ten Tourney for the first time ever, so off they go to the College World Series. Lot's of Baseball, NBA Playoff's and Hockey's Stanley Cup Playoff's. Yea...Americans love their sport...Oh and the US Men's soccer Team seems to be hitting their stride under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann who was a huge star for Germany's team in the 80's/90's. is great and I obviously enjoy it myself. I have always enjoyed the Memorial Day 3 Day Weekend as is the traditional beginning of Summer in America. The Lake here is packed and today temps are expected in the 90's F so it should really be hopping out there today. The Island Golf Course was also packed yesterday and  I'm happy for my good buddy Marty who runs the golf course, because it has been kind of a strange and slow start to this year's golf season.

Well I'm headed out early this morning so I shall close. But before I do I have a little confession to make...I'm not sure if I have ever let a day go by since I started Shell Shock Serenade where I have posted something new at least once a day. Well yesterday it was getting late when I realized that I hadn't posted anything so I admit that I whipped up a "quickie" to keep my streak alive. Hey, I'm only human! Have a great day folks and Be Safe!

Cheap Excuse For A Post But At Least It Keeps The "Streak" Alive!

We have had a pretty good day as far as Memorial Day Weekend goes. The weather is warm and except for a few isolated showers late morning it has been beautiful outside.

We went for a long walk tonight and plyed a late round of 9 holes as well. Well I'm whooped so I am going to turn in ...Good Night!


acro is new to me, a risk i chose to take because of its beautiful potentiality. to date, the most daunting set up i have undertaken. ever. set up: 9:30 a.m. home: 9:00 p.m. yes, long day, but it was still the set up that left me sleepless the night before.
husband hung our 140" seamless paper backdrop 18' off the ground. (it was so large it had to be trucked in.) we have never gone that high before. have you see the ladders that accommodate that kind of height?! what would i do without him?? between him and marie, the coach, they managed to tack in to place where husband then finished the taping with 4" gaffer's tape. he left to help another friend and so from there, i went at it alone. once set in place, and with four lights at the ready, the session was able to begin. a few shots in i knew i had chosen wisely. there are times in the world of art when vision meets application and something magical happens...which is a tricky dance considering it involves more than the visionary. and so it begins my love affair with acro, the sport where gymnastics meets dance...

A Change In Policy

Ever since I began writing Shell Shock Serenade I have had sort of an unwritten policy that I would not re-post things I'd written before. It just seemed like a cop out to me to not have to be creative and write something new. Especially since the premise of this blog was to capture in real time what ever was happening in the life of a recovering addict/alcoholic and rape survivor. The very nature of this kind of work seemed to cry out and demand new posts...not just re-hashing the old stuff.

Interestingly, I have rarely ever had trouble finding something to write  about...on the contrary, it flows out of me fairly easily. But once in awhile, I would see the names of older posts pop up in the trend lines of the blog dashboard and re-read them. And they were pretty dang good if I should say so myself. I also noticed yesterday that a couple of these older works were completely relevant to what is happening with me at this very moment. 

So for those reasons: They were pretty good posts when they were originally written and they are currently relevant...I have decided to bring them back and re-post them. The response to them have been very good. I have a few more in mind that you will see in the near future but I will still keep pumping out new posts just like I always have.

The basic blog is not going to change...there will just be a few re-posts, that's all. My wish is that by loosening up my rules a bit this will enhance the blog, not detract from it. Let's face it...I have written nearly 1,400 posts...all there is a lot of stuff there I'd like to share again. I'm proud of my work, I think it effectively tells my story and I want new readers to be exposed to some of that work and this is a great way to do it.

So that's it...long time readers will notice only because it is something I had never done before. Let me know what you think....

Fighting Your Ass Off To Stay Alive (Repost)

Yesterday I re-posted a blog-post from the past, today I have another from 19 April, 2011. I recently got a message from someone who had read this post at a time when weren't doing so well and wrote to tell me this helped them a great deal. I was very humbled by that message. Because of that have decided to post it again in hope that it might be helpful...

Fighting Your Ass Off To Stay Alive

AP PHOTO (Lucian Reed)

Yesterday I posted about forgiveness and how the pent-up feelings from my past will sometimes seep out into the light of day and remind me that they are still very much alive and well, deep inside of me.

I started riffing on forgiveness and pretty much left the line of thinking I was originally on and I think there is some really value in picking back up on that.

As any regular reader of SSS will recognize, I had some awful experiences occur in my life before I found recovery and started trying to live a life based more on giving then taking as well as sobriety/abstinence from booze/drugs. I was raped as a boy, a suicide attempt at the age of 44, extreme guilt for not being the designated driver for 3 of my friends when they were killed while driving drunk in a car accident in 1981 that also killed an innocent senior citizen coming home from church....I was 4 months sober at the time and just out of a treatment center, I lied to my friends that I had plans when they asked me to come with them. Those memories carried and carry with them some really heavy emotions and feelings, that are still very much alive and well inside of me to this very day.

What do I do about them? I really wish they would go away, the memories in particular but the feelings and emotions's so hard to still have to deal with them today and they still make me feel hurt, lost and inadequate. I wish I could purge the whole bunch of them right out of me and never have to remember again what happened to me back then and how I didn't handle very well.

Then it occurs to me that so much of what is good in my life today has to do with how I have lived and responded to that stuff. This sounds totally CRAZY but I started to look at those memories and their accompanying feelings as a GIFT. Yep, you read that correctly, a GIFT.

Because of that gift I have a rare (GOD given) ability to relate to people that are really hurting inside. When I was hurting and feeling lost, hopeless and wanted to die...I could think of NO ONE I could turn to who would not freak out when I told them what I felt. That doesn't mean that person didn't exist, I just had no idea who they were or where to find them...So I was on my own. It is my deepest, most humble wish that NO ONE has to go through that experience ALONE ever again, if I can do anything about it!

So not only is it important for me to never forget where I came from and how desperate and alone I felt but it's critical that I am open and honest about those experiences and yes, feelings I had during those terrible times of trouble. That way, if someone...anyone is hurting inside perhaps they just might think of that "Crazy F**king Shell Shock" guy and email or call me.

I can't make problems go away, believe me I would if I could but it just doesn't work that way. But I can listen, I do understand and I really care about folks who are hurting inside. And I'm not the only one, nope..not even close.

In closing that is a point I want to make. There is a lot of stuff in this life that I DO NOT UNDERSTAND but I do know this: No problem, feeling, experience is so BAD that you or anyone should consider themselves worthless and try to end their life. NOTHING is that bad, trust me...I know. Fight your ASS off for yourself one more time. You can do this...Deep down our greatest human instinct is SURVIVAL, use it! You really don't want to give up, don't let the BASTARD convince you otherwise! Don't be embarrassed or afraid to ask someone for help. A friend, family member, clergy...ANYONE, it doesn't matter just ask and start the ball rolling back into your court. Life is worth it, I really believe that.

I can always be reached here if anyone ever has a question about addiction/alcoholism or suicide or loneliness or being afraid.....get the picture?! I think you do... (Plus all comments on Shell Shock Serenade are monitored by me before being released to the site. I will keep any/all personal inquiries confidential-T)

Rat Dreams, A re-post and a Holiday Weekend

Ye-ow, it's been a strange blogging period for me...the subject matter has jumped all over the page though the main subjects have been struggle, Depression (My Black Dog) and Kim's recent set-back with her health.

Yesterday I did something that I have NEVER done (to my recollection) in 1,387 separate posts on this blog... I re-posted a blog from the past. I did so because I thought it relevant to what I am currently experiencing with my emotions.

Speaking of those emotions, I am still experiencing another "BDD" (Black Dog Day) and it is pushing a week now that this has been going on. I usually do not experience week long bouts of Depression but there is always a first time for everything...

This is the beginning of the summer season...Memorial Day Weekend so the Knuckle-Heads are out in force. They started coming The day before yesterday and pouring in last night. Tonight it will seem like the 4th of July there will be so many people here. It comes with living on the island and being a resort type place. You get used to it but there is a lot of annoying crap that goes on.

Well, I have a few yard things I need to do before it gets too hot out here so I am going to take care of the stuff now...

APPLE: the original logos

In December 1967 the following black and white credit appeared on the inside back cover of the Magical Mystery Tour EP set:

This seems to be the first-ever stab at an Apple logo, and Marijke from the Fool has confirmed that it was not designed by them. Perhaps worried that it looked more like a greengage, the Beatles (or, most likely, Paul) soon decided to scrap it.

The ad below appeared in International Times of January 5th-19th 1968, and shows a new design, which was designed by the Fool:

On March 23rd Disc & Music Echo announced that the image was 'the symbol of Apple, the firm run by the Beatles':

It was also used for the cloth patches sewn into many of the swingin' clothes flogged / shoplifted from / given away in in the Apple Shop (which was open for six months from December 1967). Andrew Sandoval kindly supplied this example from his collection:

However - perhaps because the Fool's effort didn't look much like an apple either - by the time the company was publicly launched in May, a more sophisticated and enduring logo had been devised by John Kosh (under close supervision from Paul, of course).