Mailing documents to Kindle

I just sent and read my first “private” documents on my Kindle — a bit of a breakthrough as I wondered if I could ever take my “to read” folder off of my desktop and transfer it to my Kindle. Turns out it’s simple.

Every Kindle has its own email address. Send a mail to that address from an approved sender and the attachment will be delivered wirelessly.  Most formats are supported, with PDF in experimental beta. I moved a Jeremiah Owyang’s white paper out of Forrester on social platforms, and aside from some formatting gremlins, it’s quite a convenient way to get reading off of the laptop and onto something better suited.

I’m not ready to go full New York Times or Wall Street Journal on it, but I have started the New Yorker and am quite pleased.

Now if there were a way to make a right-click function that sent docs right to the Kindle address the way I can right click and image and send it right into Flickr via the desktop uploader.

Snow and the Sox

My latest idea of heaven has to be a snowy Sunday in March with a Red Sox game on NESN and laptop at hand to geek out on baseball stats. With some 30 days until opening day, I went cruising on redsox.com for some April seats but alas, the frigging ticket system is a total boner and not coughing up any pairs, only singles. So, off I go to one of the ticket brokers to get gouged hard for a pair for my son and me.

Soon will come the question of which Sox t-shirt to invest in this year. Last year was Dice-K Matsusaka – a smart choice as it turns out when I walked out of the stands at Wukesong Park in Beijing following the US-Japan bronze medal game in last summer’s Olympics. The Japanese fans were very effusive and back slappy and all thumbs up. This year … I dunno. I’m thinking Ortiz as something tells me this is the Big Papi’s big season – the crescendo after his extra-terrestrial performance in 2004. Shirt selection is everything. I’m talking the official red t-shirt model, the one with the name of one’s favorite player printed on the back. A fan must wear it to the game, and one’s choice is, by extension, a proxy for one’s entire karma and psychological proclivities. Last June, when I took the kids to the bleachers to see the Orioles get thrashed by the Sox, the dominant shirt was Ramirez – a situation that certainly shifted after Manny’s mid-summer meltdown and trade to the Dodgers. A lot of Ortiz and Papelbons, but me, being mister eccentric, had to go with the Japanese ace last summer.

The pride of the closet is the Lowell 2007 World Series away jersey. The real deal with buttons, etc.. After all “Scenic” Lowell was the World Series MVP that year, and is the Churbuck-family God of Doubles according to my son Eliot – for whom the shirt was bestowed as an Xmas present as part of his misalignment in Manhattan as a student at NYU and occasional infiltrator of the Toilet, aka Yankee Stadium. I wore the Lowell shirt last October to the Sox-Rays playoff series (thank you kind people at CNET) but we lost in a nasty game that was over before I even got of the first inning beer line.

Colleague Steve S. – a fellow Masshole transplanted to RTP – and I are discussing wallpapering the wall between our offices with a 8’x12′ poster of the Green Monster

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Knotsman: Clifford Ashley 1881-1947

I thought I’d write more under the “seamanship” tag and start an informal series of profiles and vignettes on all things nautical, maritime and marlinespike.

In the mid-1960s it was fashionable to wear a Turk’s Head rope bracelet around one’s wrist. The bracelets were loose when slipped on in June, and tight, greenish-grey and smelly by September when they had to come off around Columbus Day. I’d sit in the classroom during Indian Summer and sniff mine, to remind myself of sailing and harbor life with the faint odor of clams, black mud, and old salt. Mrs. Shaps and Reid Higgins could tie them. Mrs. Shaps kept a spool of 1/8th cotton line in a bag and tied the Turk’s Heads while sunning herself at Loop Beach. Mister Higgins could tie very ornate, mathematical knots. Some were long tubes of precise layovers and unders that fit over the end of a curved catboat tiller. Robert Oldale, a friend from Wild Harbor and a scientist at the United States Geological Survey in Woods Hole specialized in sennits and bell pulls, beckets and button knots.

The king of knots was the late Clifford Warren Ashley. Born in New Bedford, his Ashley Book of Knots
stands as the masterpiece in marlinespike seamanship and knots: the craft of the sailor and the rigger, the tradesman and the teamster. The author Ashley was also an artist and illustrator, trained in the Brandywine School founded by Howard Pyle in Delaware. Pyle’s style and influence can be seen in the work of his students such as

N.C. Wyeth. and his love for seascapes such as Pyle’s masterpiece, Treasure Island, was passed to Ashley, who own experiences at sea as crew on a New Bedford whaler made his work among the most credible and accurate of any marine artist. Critic/blogger Paul Giambatta writes:

“He, of all the illustrators who painted wooden ships and iron men, really knew his subjects well from having lived with them all of his life. I think it’s what sets him apart from the others who painted ships and the men who sailed and worked them. Whether his illustrations have been derived from photos or sketched from life, it’s Ashley’s conviction and confidence that gives his work its power and credulity.”

His work on knots is truly encyclopedic, with dozens of variations on the same theme continuing diligently page by page, with Ashley’s precise but wonderful little illustrations enlivening tangles of bights and loops and tag ends being woven into a monkey’s fist or hangman’s noose. Serving and parceling – the art of covering rope with twine and tar to preserve a ship’s manila stays against the elements – is well covered, as is caulking, embroidery knots, buttons and splices. If it can be tied, it can be found in Ashley, who himself is credited with the invention of Ashley’s Stopper Knot.

Ashley returned from Delaware to live and work in the New Bedford/Fairhaven area during the twilight of the American whaling fishery, shipping out on one of the last true whaling expeditions to sail from New Bedford. His paintings are well represented on the walls of the New Bedford Whaling Museum (I am a soon to lapse member). The whaling museum just went very Web 2.0, launching a blog, Flickr stream, and twitter presence.

I’ve have followed Ashley and have managed to pull off some of his knots. I can tie most of the major sailing knots – bowline, square, reef, clove hitch, half-hitch, figure-8, sheetbend, sheepshank and monkey’s fist. For splices I can do: eye, back, short, and long. For decorative I have tied a turk’s head, a few sennits, and a crown knot, but never anything very pretty. I replaced the broken zipper pulls on my nine year-old EMS backpack with little monkey’s fists which work much better than the original equipment.

Past posts on marlinespike seamanship:

Next I’ll take a look at my ditty bag – a knot-tyer’s “toolbox”