You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘personal’ category.

Thanks so much for voting.  This post will end the “candidates”  soliciting feedback for my 2020 calendar.  The calendar is now a “go,” although voting will stay open until December 21, ie, if you are just hearing about this and have not yet voted–one winner for each month–you can still express your choice, carefully telling me which choice is for which month.

The options for October follow:

A

B

C

D

E

The November possibilities are

A

B

C

D

E

And that’s it.  The December photos have mostly yet to be taken, so the onus for that month is jointly on you all and me.  To repeat, here are the guidelines for a December photo:  a qualified photo for polling must involve a vessel and a non-verbal detail(s) identifying it as having been taken in a December.

Thanks for your help.  I’ll keep you updated on the calendar.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

A big thanks for reading and VOTING.  Once again, see the December 5 post for instructions. Today’s post has only two months, so your vote will be two letters.  Ask your friends to vote.  Voting hasn’t closed for previous installments, and I won’t close the voting until  December 21.

Here are the August choices.

A

B

C

September was a hard month to whittle down to three.  So I offer more choices here than for any other month.

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

And that’s it for today’s voting;  remember that today’s vote will be only two letters, one for August and one for September.

To complete the calendar, there’s one more post of options coming tomorrow.  I’ve received proposed photos for the December page, but photos are still solicited.

All photos in this post by Will Van Dorp.

Thanks for responding to the poll.  Some trends emerge, which made me give the photos a second look.  If you missed the rules from yesterday’s post, click here.

I’m astonished by the top vote getter:  the January photo B, a shot I took on  . . .  and one I almost withdrew from the set at the last minute because I’d taken it outside my usual range.  It might interest you to know it shows the 1949 Wilfred Sykes, named for the president of Inland Steel for most of te 1940s, a few miles below the Soo locks.  Sykes is considered a streamlined [I call it art deco] bulk carrier, the first built after WW2 on the Great Lakes, according to the erudite folks at boatnerd. For more info, click here on the Duluth Shipping News site.

Here’s what I propose for the December calendar photo:  you send a photo to my email.  See left navigation bar for the email address.  Here are guidelines:  a qualified photo for polling must involve a vessel and a non-verbal detail(s) identifying it as having been taken in a December.  I hope that’s ambiguous enough to keep it interesting.  Whoever sends in the chosen photo . . . to be determined no later than December 21, also gets a photo credit and a free calendar.  Another option is for me to choose a December photo from a previous year.  See what I’ve done in the previous 13 Decembers in the archives;  the location near the bottom of the leftside navigation bar allows you to select any month going back to November 2006.

Here are the May choices.

A

B

C

June offers

A

B

C

D

July can be

A

B

C

D

Again . . . see yesterday’s post on the easiest format for feedback . . .

First, happy sinterklaas day.

Here’s my goal for the next few posts:  since it’s the time of year when some folks think of making 2020 calendars, I’m asking you for feedback on various photos for a possible calendar.  I realize unanimity is impossible.

I’ve quickly gone through my archives month by month and chosen a few “favorites” and as I said . . . gut reaction.  I repeat . . .  no ponderous thinking, just gut reaction.  For some months a “few” means three;  for other months, it comes down to more.   I’ll take your feedback into account qualitatively  . . ie, I’m not just tallying.  So you can help out with a straw vote, a show of clicks .  .  if you will.

Here are the January photos, labeled A through C, that caught my attention using the “gut reaction” test described above.

A

B

C

Here are my February selections A through C.

A

B

C

For March there are three picks, A through C.

A

B

C

And the last one for this post, here are my April nominations, A through D.

A

B

C

D

If you choose to give feedback, it would be sufficient to write simply C, B, C, D . . . for example; meaning the third photo here for January, the second for February, etc.  If you wish to state reasons for your choice, that would be most welcome.

Posts for the next three days will cover the rest of the year.  Thanks for helping out by weighing in.  Bribes are always welcome as well.

All photos and felonious suggestions by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

November 2009 saw the USS New York (LPD-21) arrive in her namesake city for christening commissioning. Just faintly, the name is visible on the stern.

I also went up to the Lyons NY dry dock in November 2009 and caught Urger, then in seasonal layup. Five years were to go by before I did my season on this Barge Canal tugboat.  May she return!

Firefighter was still working in the sixth boro.

Stephen was working then too, and she’s still working today.

Cape Ann’s Essex Creek is hardly the sixth boro, but you can get there from here . . . . and Essex MA is one of my favorite places, although –truth be told–I’ve been there only once since 2009.

Some miles north of Essex Creek is the Piscataqua River, and back then these were the horses in Moran’s stable on Ceres Street:  Carly A. Turecamo, Mary M. Coppedge, and Eugenia Moran.  Carly‘s now in Maine with Winslow, Eugenia is maybe laid up, and Mary M. is still working there . . . but again I’ve not been there in almost two years.

And finally . . .  she who need not be named alongside a dock in Philly.

Any since we’re on the retired undefeated speed champion, let’s zoom in on the “crow’s nest” in these next two photos . . .

Not my photo although I felt like talent that day . . .   Here and here are more photos from that day, in 2014.

This last photo is by Chris Ware.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Today I pass a personal milestone . . . er, year stone, so the editors in Tugster Tower allow me to veer off topic . . .  first, to muse about the effect of picking up a camera and navigating life with it.  While I mostly photograph “sixth boro … and beyond” things that float, getting to and returning from the waters, sometimes I see other surfaces that beckon.  I love murals, especially.  That’s what these are.

First, I’d like to commend Monir’s Deli for a really smart mural.  I’ve never a sandwich from Monir, but the references in this strange assemblage of images compel me one of these days to stop by.  The mural also shows up in this profile of my neighborhood.   Yes, this is NYC . . .

Ditto.  Monir is in Queens, and Sofia’s on Staten Island.  I wonder who painted this first woman in a cocktail glass.  And where, when?  As with Monir’s place, I should stop by Sofia’s one of these days.

This mural was in Harrisburg PA.  I’m not sure what the reference is, but it was s a warm image on a cold day.

The rest here come from Bushwick Brooklyn.  The area at the head of Newtown Creek is certainly worth a visit.  Tagster 5 was based on a walk around there.

I find the one below disturbing.

Here below, I love the incongruity of ballet and boxing.  This outfit suggests some choreography needs doing . . . or improvising.

This is two murals:  one on the side of a truck and another behind it, painted onto the side of a building, with a sidewalk in between.

Here’s the same location shot 20′ to the left.

The chainlink fence adds a layer here.

And finally, the figure in the pigtails appears to be admiring–like me– the colorful foliage painted onto the building at the corner of Jefferson and St. Nicholas.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, taken while on the journey.

Here’s another focus for murals in the county where I grew up.

 

If you’re new to the blog, I’ve done lots of blog posts on a NYS Canals tug called Urger.

For the past 5+ years, I’ve freelanced for a great publication called ProfessionalMariner, and this month have my first cover story.  I didn’t know my photo was on the cover until it came out!!  You can read my Urger article here.

Another piece of Urger news I have not reported elsewhere is below.  At the 2018 Waterford Tugboat Roundup, the 1901 built tug was voted “People’s Choice Favorite Tugboat,” winner of a dark horse write in campaign!  Below is the trophy.  Too bad the trophy has no boat to display it in for the public to see.

Now for big news on the political though primarily ceremonial end of things, Assembly member John McDonald III, District 108, has sponsored a bill to designate Urger as “official tugboat of the State of New York.  Read it here.

You can leave a note of thanks and support for Assembly member McDonald here.  If you vote in NYS and want to leave a note for your own rep to encourage him or her to join with McDonald in supporting this bill, you can start the connection here.

You can also write the Preservation League of New York and encourage them to continue their efforts to save this boat as a moving, floating ambassador from our state’s history.  Click here for more on their efforts.

And here’s yet another idea . . .   a 1/12 expired Urger fundraiser calendar. 

And finally, consider attending the Canal Society of New York Winter Symposium in Rochester NY on March 2.  I’ll be there.   Urger will surely come up.

And SCOW (State Council on Waterways) . . .  too bad you’ve dissolved!  There’s a reference of their Urger role at the end of this post. 

I’ve mentioned before about my people the Dutch celebrating “old years day” on December 31.   As the child of immigrants, I’m blessed by this one of many ways they see the world differently, a perspective I’m happy to share.  So here is a retrospective of the year, the result of a process of scanning through photos in the blog library, not overthinking it.

January.  Gunhilde Maersk with James, Kirby, and JRT plus Miriam Moran.  the year of the 1200-footers aka ULCVs becoming commonplace in the sixth boro.

February.  Ocean Henry Bain serves as a safety boat during  the ice canoe race I documented in my Carnavalons posts.

March. Cerro Grande here escorted a Caribbean-bound LNG ship, one of all the Panama Tugs posts

April. When I saw this section of drained canal bed between O-6 to O-7 in Oswego, I thought the work’d never get done before the season began, but I was wrong.  Of all my 2018 NYS Canals posts, this and this posted with the greatest urgency.

May.  Reliable pushed seaward by Lucy H.  As of today, Reliable lies under the sea gathering fishes and entertaining Davy Jones near Shinnecock.

June.  Jay Bee V headed out on a high-profile mission.  Has she returned to the sixth boro yet?

July.  I missed Rosemary‘s christening because that’s what happens when you don’t look at your calendar. First come first serve for a few tugster lighthouse calendars.  Send me an email with your mailing address.   As I said, I ran a few extra when I made up my Christmas gifts.

August.  Kimberly Selvick with AEP barges was one of the treats I saw in Calumet.  This day south of Chicago planted a seed of curiosity about the Lake Michigan/Mississippi River link I hope to be able to explore in 2019.  Many thanks to Christine Douglas.

September.  J. W.  Cooper delivers a pilot in Port Colborne at the Lake Erie end of the Welland Canal.  Because I hadn’t a satisfying enough fix from the canal earlier, I returned there in October.

October.  One Stork, a pink ULCV,  came into town.  It wasn’t her first visit/delivery, but it was the first that I caught.  She’s currently in the sixth boro.

November.  Morton S. Bouchard IV rounds Shooters Island light, Bouchard celebrated a big anniversary this year.

December.  Ruth M. Reinauer heads west into the Kills in December, the start of heating oil season.

And that’s it for the year, time for me to securely lock up Tugster Tower and prepare myself to meet 2019.  The older I get, the more profound is my awareness that although I make many plans for a new year, I might not see the end of it.  It’s just how it is.  Every day is a blessing.  Last year had my own personal ultima thule; I pray that 2019 brings its new ones.

Thanks to everyone who read, commented, and assisted me in 2018.  Happy and constructive new year day by day to you all.

Full disclosure . . . I’m not feeling much festive this year personally.  So maybe it’s my own wary eye that leads to my seeing so few wreaths on boats, maybe it’s just this lingering head cold.

But it warmed my heart to see them, like here

on Pegasus, and

ditto on Alex McAllister.

 

And although this is not a set of Christmas decorations per se, this would be something I’d put in my front yard . . .  if I had one.  Nav aids fished out of the Erie Canal in prep for ice skating season . . .  are far superior to the hideous (IMHO) air inflated fabric figurines that seem to have taken over lawn ornamentation in my ‘hoods.  The photo below comes thanks to Bob Stopper.

Why have no works of popular culture NOT featured dancing navaids on a snowy barge and herded into lock by a brightly painted tugboat?

Thanks Bob.  And merry Christmas–whatever you need to do to make it merry–to everyone reading this today.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp, who shares this link about the Flying Santa tradition of New England, an effort that cheered the family of a once-dear friend.

The blog will take Tuesday, December 25, off, since tugster wants to leave Tugster Tower–or the sixth boro spire– and NOT wear out the keyboard.

If you want Christmas posts from previous years, check here.

 

 

Here were previous milestones at post 1000, the four-year mark, and the one decade anniversary.  A few weeks ago when I noticed on my dashboard that I was approaching my 4000th post a week or so after the actual beginning of the 13th year mark, I knew this post was necessary.

4000!!  It can be a small number:  my heart beats more times than that in an hour and I’m still in the healthy range.  I took more breaths than that in the first half day of my life.  I grew up in a town that had fewer than 4000 people.  One dairy farmer I know has about that many cows now, and collects their output in tanks . . . a reefer tank for milk and two large lagoons for  . . . well . . . their other production.

But it’s a huge number of blog posts, especially if I start adding up the time spent:  if I average about two hours per post … counting the photography and the computing –and that’s a low estimate–that’s 8000 hours of work, which is 200  40-hour work weeks, which at 50-week years equals four years of work.  If I paid myself a low $50,000 per year, that’s almost a quarter million dollar bonus.  Nice!!  As to photos, I’ve added at least 40,000 photos to the web, mostly on aspects of the work world on water.

In another way, the number doesn’t matter, because the story never ends anyhow.  Part of what makes the real story elusive is the Heraclitus issue I’ve mentioned before. It also eludes because there’s no one story; not even one person has just one story or even one fixed understanding of a single story, since we –like the water–is protean, ever shifting.  No matter . . .   we pursue nonetheless.

About those photos, hindsight says I should have started “watermarking” them years ago.  Recently I saw one of my photos in a major newspaper attributed to someone else.  The same article had two others of my photos attributed to me, but this third photo was also mine, shot at a unique event where no other photographers were present.   When I informed them that photo was mine, they refused to believe me.  I was traveling at the time, away from my archive, so I decided to drop the matter, but the fact that it occurs to me now is evidence that I’m still irked.

What else could I have done with those 8000 hours?  If I were a competitive sheep shearer, in that time I could have taken 240,000 fleeces!!  If I worked them in fast food, I’d get $80,000.  If I worked as a divorce lawyer, I’d have a Ferrari or two.  If I were a politician, I’d be at the end of my term and starting a gig as an TV analyst.

Now if I could convince my boss to pay up . . . maybe he’ll throw a party instead and buy the first round for whomever shows up …  Maybe she’ll give me some time off.  Oh wait .  . I’m the boss here.

Seriously, I’ve been fully compensated in meeting interesting people, seeing unexpected things, noticing minutae, and learning vital stuff and worthless trivia.  If I had any regrets, it’s that this time commitment makes me a hermit.  I’m not as anti-social as I might appear, only easily distracted  . . . .  Actually, I like people;  I just prefer to not let an interesting scene go unrecorded sometimes.   Although being a hermit allows me to get work done, the downside is that isolation is sometimes corrosive or parching.

Hermits lack physical community.  Since I retired from a human contact career, I’ve much less of an immediate community.  My online community is fabulous and I appreciate it, but it is its own thing.  I need to work on improving my flesh/blood community.

A friend once sent me a photo he’s taken of me photographing.  It was not a flattering photo because I appeared to be scowling.  I wondered why I was irritated at that moment until I realized that is my “focused face.”  I’ll spare you and not post that shot here.  Photography is much more than moving your fingers on the lens adjustment and shutter.  It’s an attitude born of seeing and trying to see more.   Once an overzealous security person asked me to leave an area I had permission to be because he said I was looking around too much, I must be guilty of something and alleged that I was looking around to see if security or law enforcement was around.  But I do look around while shooting to see if I’m too focused on one action and missing another.

Here’s an example from many years ago and not involving my camera:  I was hiking in a wildlife area and approaching a set of bird watchers, all of whom were intently focused with long lenses on some rare birds in the marsh.  They were lined up along a roadway ditch.  While I was still 200 feet away, I saw a red fox exit the marsh grass, walk past all the photographers close enough to brush against their heels, and then disappear back into the marsh.  Not one photographer saw the fox that touched them;  they were all focused on the rare birds 300 feet away in the marsh.

Given some of the places I go to take photos, there are wolves to be wary of, two-legged wolves, if you catch my drift. I should not malign the four-legged ones though.   Whatever to call these potential predators, I try to spot them long before they sense me.  I take chances with wolves, no matter how many legs they have, and so far they’ve all had dignity.

Anyhow, my course remains steady.  I’ll keep it up as long as I continue to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sending along stories and photos.

The collage at the top comes thanks to bowsprite;  she created it for me back in 2010 for my 1000th post, and I decided to use Skitch to modify her collage as a way of creating a tradition.

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,319 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Archives

December 2019
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031