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Random Recipe: Green Chili

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Decades ago, as a ski bum in Colorado,  I cooked breakfast at the Crooked Creek Saloon ("Eat  'til it hurts,  drink 'til it feels better").  I ended most shifts with an enormous breakfast burrito,  and to this day I veer toward the breakfast burrito on almost any menu. I always hope to encounter a magical mountain of crispy griddled red potatoes, scrambled eggs, and savory black beans, wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in green chili,  melted cheddar,  sour cream,  and guacamole.  Like most food memories,  this one is intertwined with my nostalgia for that place and time; it exists only in my brain, forever out of reach. This green chili only vaguely resembles the vegetarian version we served there,  but it scratches the itch for me.  I have no idea how this compares to any other green chili, authentic or not,  but it was delicious.  I'm putting it here because I'll want to make it again.  Vegetarians could substitute corn and summer squash for the pork. Jus

Actual Engine Removal

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Here's where things get interesting. This is Part 3 of our engine removal. Another way to preface this is: "If it ain't one thing, it's every other damned thing." Part 1: Towards Electric Drive Part 2: Removing a Large Engine While in the Water Surprise! Churn What I Would Have Done Differently The gantry has proven itself well. It pulled everything thus far with no creaks or groans. Now to test lifting the engine! Here we are testing it all out. No groans or creaks. The gantry is solid and performing as expected. Surprise ! And then... this. Well. Shit. The crack doesn't look so bad because the engine has been put back down on the stringers. We overbuilt the gantry beam. Two 2x6 fir beams should have been sufficient, so of course we used two 2x8 beams through-bolted so they behave as one beam. It turns out that materials capacity tables can't take into account defective materials. One of the 2x8 beams snapped at a knot on the bottom of the board. Fortunat

Removing a Large Engine While Still in the Water

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This is Part 2 in our adventures in repowering our sailboat with electric drive. Based on questions and feedback, this is going to be long. I try to keep the detail relevant to people who may want to do this themselves. We are happy to answer any questions that arise. Part 1, "Towards Electric Drive" is here. Part 3. "Actual Engine Removal" is here. The Problem(s) The Planning The Execution The Problem(s) All of that is coming out. All of it. Most of the time, we get to stand on the shoulders of sailors that did something before we did. Most sailors don't have a Large Diesel Engine they are trying to remove in an unconventional way. There is some information out there on removing engines from boats, but they all involve smaller engines or a boatyard and large crane. We had a few problems to solve. Working on your house while you live in it is always a tile puzzle game. Even more so on a boat. The overarching problem is: we need to lift Large Diesel Engi

Towards Electric Drive

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This is Part 1 in a long journey. Part 2: "Removing a Large Engine While in the Water" Part 3. "Actual Engine Removal" is here. Background Why What Background I wanted electric drive since my first sailboat. The voltage regulator in that boat died because the previous owner just dropped in AGM batteries while using the same internal voltage regulator. This can be a non-issue if AGM batteries are never deeply discharged. But I discharged the batteries to 60% on a long sail. AGM batteries can accept up to 50% Amps (A) of the Amps-hours (Ah) removed. For example, if 500Ah were taken out, the batteries will gladly gulp down 250A when the alternator gets energized. AGM batteries require a a regulator designed for the charge profile of that chemistry. Just slap on a new Balmar with an external regulator and call it done, right? Wrong. What was a "simple" $1000 replacement quickly ballooned to $3500 and four moths because of other issues, custom fab, an

Audiobooks Aboard

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The lack of storage space on the boat has encouraged me to adopt audiobooks as my preferred format. I can listen while washing the dishes, riding the ferry, sewing, driving, varnishing, or working on any number of other tasks. Publishers are investing heavily in this rapidly growing format, and quality has improved significantly as a result. I have recently encountered familiar voices like Levar Burton, Tom Hanks, and John Hodgman reading to me, and many audiobooks are produced with multiple readers for clarity of voice. A Few Tips  Until a few years ago, my experiences with audiobooks involved cassettes or CDs and long car trips. Now technology allows me to keep dozens in my pocket all the time. Increasing the playback speed forces me to focus. At normal speed, my mind wanders, but at 1.25x or 1.5x, I must listen actively to maintain the thread of the narrative. Wayne listens at 2x speed, which sounds like an impenetrable wall of words to me. Listed run times are at normal speed;

Catching Up: Toronto Adventures

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View from the corner of Market & Front Streets Neither of us had been to Toronto, but Wayne's work sent him there for a week in August. I went along to see the city, and of course, eat. The drive from the airport into the city took us past many walkers, runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers making use of trails and parks along the waterfront. Bicycles are treated as a part of the flow of traffic downtown and share the roads with cars. Bike share stations are plentiful, and cyclists are everywhere. Yay bikes! As certified Seattle Coffee Snobs, we expect disappointing coffee when we travel. Our first morning at the hotel brought a pleasant surprise: excellent coffee at Bluestone Lane  without leaving the building. There is no comfort like surprisingly good coffee in a strange place (and in a chain coffee shop no less). Random building interior with cute clouds Wandering around during the lunch hour, I saw hundreds of office workers sitting around fountains and in