Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Obama Means

I'm amazed about how happy people here are about Obama being elected. People I've met from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have expressed joy, not as much about simply getting rid of Bush, but that America has such capacity for change. They're stunned: a country with such a perceived (through media, mainly) culture of discrimination has elected a black man as president. They're surprised ,and this ability to change they have said, gives them hope. They really didn't think we'd do it. Lost on most though, is the distinction that Barrack Obama isn't a product of Americas underclass - he merely shares a skintone. I in turn have expressed the opinion that it demonstrates that too much of what becomes labelled as racism in America, is classism, and that such misnaming serves a political purpose for some. Not to say it doesn't exist, but that it is over writ. I reminds my of my pet analysis of the outcome of the OJ Simpson trial. OJ's acquittal demonstrated that our judiciary was more corrupt than racist: a rich black man could buy his freedom just as surely as a rich white man. As a socio-economic cynic, I am more comfortable with a corrupt society than with a prejudicial one, if those are my only choices.

Yatchtmaster Shore School

My second shore school is almost finished, and so far I've passed the weather exam and the IRPCS exam: International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. Tomorrow is the Navigation exam. I can read a weather chart, tell you how conditions will likely develop, and make loose predictions based on wind, cloud type, and barometric pressure. Kinda cool. If you want to impress people by being able to 'feel' air pressure, then with the back to a strong wind (Northern hemisphere only) your left hand will point to the low pressure zone.

Saturday we depart for Thailand again for more exercises, manoeuvering, and pilotage. Two weeks later I'll be back in Langkawi, for a much needed break. When class starts in January, I have to sail about 1900 miles to qualify to sit for the Yachtmaster exam in February/March.

More homework tonight:L complex pilotage plans using secondary ports, tidal stream extrapolation and interpolation, changing time zone crap, compast deviation and varation, etc.

Teacher? My brain is full, may I please be excused?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Taste of the Cirriculum

This random sailing site has a very good overview of the Navigation component of my program, just to show you that I'm *really*, *actually* in school, and not sitting on my ass in paradise sipping Mai Tais all the time:

Yesterday we began the Yachtmaster Offshore Theory component: Better Harder Faster Stronger, and much more painful.