Friday, July 29, 2011

Stay cool, honey bunny

And survey says no, most of you don't get the movie reference.  I can't watch these for you folks!

After we spent last weekend inside cowering from the heat, do you think we could possibly do it again this weekend?  NO!  We're on the move this weekend which means our perspiration-dripping work crew is going to be spreading their ofactory oasis all over this fine commonwealth of ours.  And where will we end up?  Why, Richmond, of course!  Mini-HORNET, our 1:12 scale mock-up, is on the move to the Virginia War Memorial in the heart of Downtown Richmond.  Why the Memorial?  Well first - WHY NOT? and second because of the folks who made it possible.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pennants on paper

Yesterday we published our first edition of a - what we hope to maintain as - weekly newsletter, The Pennant.  I hope it helps keep everyone on the same page - we're starting to become so widespread in our activities and support that many elements aren't always up to speed on the big picture.  It you didn't receive your copy of The Pennant, sign up for it by visiting our website and entering your email address - here.

To many, I'm sure it seems we are treading water - particularly if you don't live near or participate in our regular working sessions.  The fact of the matter is that we are waiting on a major breakthrough that will demonstrate our credibility and feasibility and put our projects into the realm of the possible in the perceptions of the prospective donors from whom we've gathered interest thus far.  But rather than sit patiently and wait for the breakthrough to come down the pike (and it seems to move slower and slower by the day) we're keeping busy, doing what we can, with what we have, where we are - so that when the capability for serious movement arrives, we can hit the gas hard and know we're accelerating in the right direction.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are you ready for the HEAT to be brought on you?

This weekend, I'm fully anticipating most work in the Dockyard to come to a screeching halt, thanks to the abominable heatwave.  Of course that won't stop some from heading out to at least the shaded portions of the shop and sweating all over the work in progress.  Of course for many more sensible people there are more savory alternatives to the sauna, previously known as the Framing Bay.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to work!

Anyone familiar with the goings-on at the Dockyard is used to the endless shuffle of work - old projects and new, familiar and bizarre.  And now that we have something of a week-long break between exhibitions for Mini-HORNET we have even more work getting her ready.  So what else do we have rolling right now?  Plenty.  And the intense heat only adds to the FUN in the non-air conditioned shop and in the bright beating sun of the open dockyard.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sea Stories 2 - the Smoke Generator

I was a new man aboard the USS Fremont. Our A division boat shop was the starboard half of the after deck house. The port side was property of R (repair) division, and aft of the deck house was the fantail, property of 3rd (deck) division. The ship was departing NOB Norfolk, when a "senior person" approached me. Now on the port side of the fantail resided a strange large covered object, under coarse canvas that had received multiple coats of gray and black paint.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writer's block, meetings and a head scratch

Sorry for the long absence, but I've been absolutely mired in a number of items - most prominently the Association of Defense Communities Annual Conference here in Norfolk.  Our volunteers set up Mini-HORNET here on Sunday night and yesterday was the first full day of activities and networking - today I'm back for the second day.  And writing this from the business center at the conference, alas, I have no funny picture - surfing the net looking for them gets some really odd looks, so I gave it up.  But I digress...

Monday, July 11, 2011

199 years ago today....

Today marks an interesting anniversary - 199 years ago something significant happened.  This is in marked contrast to the tin sign hanging in the Dockyard that proclaims "On this site 200 years ago NOTHING HAPPENED".  Actually, we're not sure about that one but it seemed funny.  But today in history, a relatively small but significant 'first' ocurred having to do with USS Hornet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Road Trip - soviet style?

Yes, that's right - it's time again for me to start getting ready to pack up and start driving all over creation on schedules that make truck drivers wince.  And Mini-HORNET is going to be travelling a bit, too.  First, I think I've beaten to death that she'll be on display at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott for the Association of Defense Communities annual conference on July 18-20.  We'll need volunteers to help move on the 17th and again on the 20th, both in the evenings.  After that, she'll be travelling up to Richmond on July 30th, where she'll be on display for two weeks at the Virginia War Memorial in the heart of Downtown Richmond.  It's an exciting schedule and we have lots to get ready.  We also have a few tricks up our sleeve.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Them aren't oars, they're me wife and me daughters!

This weekend at the Dockyard was particularly productive - we managed to turn out sixteen oars, completed two boats, made 18 sets of gun implements, nine doors, ran through nine pots of coffee and twelve jugs of sweet tea.  Working from Friday through Monday night, the only breaks were to do some grilling, tend the fires in the pagan altar and slurp down a few Eastern Shore oysters.  A great time was had by all who stopped out and volunteered in the efforts.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sea Stories 1 - sixty years ago

Norfolk has changed a bit in the past sixty years. Fleet wide, Norfolk was known as "Ship City". (That's with a t, people) In those long ago days, there was a bridge and tunnel to Portsmouth. Ferries served to Newport News and Hampton, while the Cape Charles ferry ran from Little Creek to Kiptopeke. The Eastern Shore was the site of potato farms, poverty and a single track railway to Kiptopeke, as well as a two lane blacktop called R13.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday weekend means... WORK!

Independence Day weekend is here and I'm sure everyone is getting ready to enjoy some well needed time to kick back and relax.  I'll be doing that, in my own way, putting in some long hours at the Dockyard getting Mini-HORNET's detail parts finished up and ready to go.  That said, I'll still be kicking back a bit and recharging the batteries.