Thursday, July 22, 2010

Captain's Log: What Was Lost Shall Be Found

Ahoy, honorary crew members. As it is now late July, well into the Leaky Dinghy's peak adventure season, you may have wondered at our lack of perilous voyaging. Allow me to explain.

As regular readers of our Captain's Log know well, our Leaky Dinghy crew relies on the strength and wisdom of our iconic plastic celebrity and Official Expert on Everything, Dr. Henry Jones.

Dr. Jones, in better days.

Though I am ably assisted by my first officer, Bryan the Bosun, who laughs in the face of certain death and has been observed to hold his ground even when charged by packs of rabid demon-chickens, I simply could not imagine embarking on another voyage of the Leaky Dinghy without my old friend and colleague, Dr. Jones. Alas, faithful readers, Dr. Jones is not well.

Yes, there he is, collapsed among the bar utensils at Leaky Dinghy HQ. When I took this picture it was not even 11AM. Tragic.

Though I have seldom spoken of it in these pages, last summer's Zombie Cruise took a grave toll on all of your Leaky Dinghy crew but, while the rest of us have put those events behind us, Dr. Jones has fallen ever deeper into his cocktail shaker. No readers, it is not depression, or even PTSD, but something far, far more serious: Dr. Jones has lost his Stiff Upper Lip.

I know, right?!

So, please, join us as Bryan the Bosun and I sail across the treacherous North Atlantic, searching for clues and, if necessary revisiting those unspeakable weeks aboard the Zombie Ship. It won't be pleasant, intrepid readers, but it must be done. We MUST Find Dr. Jones' missing Stiff Upper Lip. He'd do the same for us.

Bryan the Bosun stares into the horizon, his face set with determination, as he contemplates the challenges that await.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Captain's Log: In the Shadow of the Volcano of Death, The Leaky Dinghy Presents The Great Read

As insufferably cold temperatures continue to plague our dingy Chesapeake hailing port, this crew has abandoned the frigid mid-atlantic in favor of the Leaky Fleet's Caribbean headquarters. The situation at Caribbean HQ is becoming tenuous, however. The Christmas Winds have abandoned us, seriously jeopardizing our kite-surfing efforts, and volcanic activity in nearby Montserrat has added a haze to the air which, the Discovery Channel informs me, prophesies the IMPENDING DESTRUCTION OF ALL LIFE FORMS ON EARTH.

So. In order to distract myself from our imminent demise (and as long as the free wireless at Jumbie's Bar holds out) I will be participating in Bookshelves of Doom's Great Read of The White Lady by Wilkie Collins.

Note: An extensive search of nearby bookswaps yielded only a musty copy of Trojan Gold (always worth a re-read) and a celebrity sighting of Ginger Spice but, fortunately, The White Lady can be found online--for free! Just google.

The First Epoque

Despite kicking off with an introduction that reads like it was copied out of a 1L Civil Procedure casebook, The White Lady quickly turns into a hearty snack of gothic melodrama and snark. (The gothic melodrama was implied by the title, but the snark was an unexpected treat.) Our delightfully snarky narrator is drawing instructor Walter Hartright, and he has bad taste in both friends and sisters. Lucky for us, he's not shy about snarking on either. Professor Pesca (the friend) is flamboyant, foolish and (as is often the case with foolish, flamboyant people in British novels) foreign. The sister, Sarah, is humorless and intolerant (as is often the case with sisters, just ask Chris the Cabin Boy.) Only mommy is perfect. Typical. But, really, who cares when you're getting paragraphs like this one?

"I go back into my life, and I address myself to the noblest of created beings," continued Pesca, vehemently apostrophising my unworthy self over the top rail of the chair. "Who found me dead at the bottom of the sea (through Cramp); and who pulled me up to the top; and what did I say when I got into my own life and my own clothes again?"

Gotta watch those cramps. Oh, and then the gothic melodrama arrives in the form of a mysterious white lady. Dressed in white, that is, and all alone on the road to London, by herself, in the middle of the night. Good stuff. And! She seems to to have escaped from an insane asylum, where she may or may not have been falsely imprisoned. C'mon, you know you want to read this book!

Anyway, off goes our talented you narrator to the country, where he snarks on his employer for being effeminate and fussy and describes the governess thusly:

"Starting from this point of view, it will always remain my private persuasion that Nature was absorbed in making cabbages when Mrs. Vesey was born, and that the good lady suffered the consequences of a vegetable preoccupation in the mind of the Mother of us all."

Also, one of his charges is homely (but has a great body and personality), the other is beautiful (thought not really, when you actually examine her face with the critical eye of an artist) and the beautiful one bears a striking resemblance to the mysterious white lady. And there's a mysterious past connection between the two girls. Oh, and it sounds like Walter and beautiful girl are still acquainted--possibly 2gether 4ever?

This book is awesome.

A Note on the Zombie Cruise

Several of you have inquired about the missing Zombie Cruise postings. Even now, half a year later, I can't say much...but and I will tell you that those posts exist, that the zombie situation was even more dire than we feared, and that Admiral Mary, who financed the expedition, did NOT appreciate our observations. Therefore, the full events of the Zombie Cruise cannot be revealed until we are 100% sure Admiral Mary has forgotten this blog exists. But the truth WILL be known. Someday.

Definitive proof: The original Gomez Adams, patriarch of the Addams Family, consumes flesh on the deck of the Zombie Ship.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Captain's Log: Zombie Ship Infiltration

Emboldened by the obvious Zombie presence in Stockholm's Sodermalm neighborhood, the crew of the Leaky Dinghy awoke more determined than ever to study these terrifying creatures at close range. It would no longer be enough, we decided to track the Zombie transport ship from the safety of the Leaky DInghy and our fleet flagship, the Las' Straw. No, the crew and officers of the Leaky Fleet must undertake a course of action so treacherous and daring, so bold and uncertain, it has never before been attempted by even the most dedicated of Zombie researchers: we will infiltrate the Zombie transport ship and study the Zombies while living among them. Resolved, the first step was to rendezvous with Leaky Fleet Command, Admiral Mary and Ship's Engineer Hank. This was easily accomplished, as Ship's Engineer Hank had left this detailed chart for us at the front desk.

Following this precise heading, we presented ourselves at the Zombie transport ship dressed in our best Zombie camouflage,

J.Crew blazer: popular attire among the living dead.

only to be turned away due to our not having paid an "early embarkation fee." We were invited to return after 2:30, however, so we went away hopeful and proceeded to the Vasa Museum to conduct a little background research. What, you might ask, does a museum about a ship that sunk in 1628 have to do with Zombies? The museum itself holds the answers.

As we examined this painstakingly preserved gunship, which capsized 1500 meters into it's maiden voyage, a single fact became glaringly obvious: the Vasa was sunk by Zombies!

I offer as evidence this scene from the museum's own life-sized display on life aboard the Vasa:

Note the senseless rage on the face of the big, wooden chap? Zombies.

And from this half-model on the same subject

I draw your attention to this:

Soon to arise as Zombies

And this:

The dude in ankle chains: already a Zombie.

And this harrowing account of the Vasa's final battle against the Zombies:

Now forewarned of the specific dangers of traveling aboard a ship full of Zombies, we nonetheless returned to the ship and, this time, were allowed to board. Our disguises intact, we have settled into our cabin and are attempting to blend in.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Captain's Log: Waterloo!

After a brief stay in Heathrow's Terminal 5, the Leaky Dinghy set a course for Sweden. After twenty or so hours of travel and several courses of Feel Alright pills, the whole crew was pleased to check in to Stockholm's ABBA Hotel, which offered such welcome amenities as complimentary teddy bears,

charming rooftop views,

and, of course:

Convenient speakers installed throughout the entire room made it possible to enjoy the sweet strains of "Chiquitita" even while applying one's blue eyeshadow

or showering in the the windowed shower (because serious shower disco requires an appreciative audience.)

Refreshed, we headed downstairs to check out the action in the hotel's multi-level lounges and cinema, where we made a disturbing discovery.

No, Bryan, don't go down there!

It's just as we feared: the Zombies have arrived.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Captain's Log: Shortbread Zombie Tears

This entry of the Captain's Log is coming to you from the BA Clubworld Lounge. Although we have not yet begun the Transatlantic leg of our perilous, zombie-filled, ABBAtastic voyage, we have already encountered a certain amount of drama thanks to Bryan the Bosun, who will be facing court martial once we reconvene with Admiral Mary.

Upon arriving at Dulles International shortly before 5 PM, your captain was looking forward to a leisurely survey of the new Clubworld lounge and perhaps a nice watercress sandwich or two before boarding our flight around 7PM. Upon clearing airport security, however, Bryan the Bosun set a brisk pace for the boarding gate--NOT in the direction of the Clubworld lounge. When I questioned this heading, he announced that our flight to London was boarding imminently!

Now, for those of you who may be new members of the Leaky Dinghy's virtual crew, you may not be aware that, in the wake of the Flying Inferno Incident, Captain Elizabeth flies only under the influence of Dr. Marley's Feel Alright Pills--which are very slow-acting and require an hour or so to take effect. Ergo, Bryan the Bosun's announcement instantly had several severe repurcussions:
1) Your Captain began to cry quiet tears of terror in the middle of the airport
2) Your Captain, panicked, popped an unprecedented two (2!!) Feel Alright pills--double her conventional dose--but with little hope of these actually working in time
3) Bryan the Bosun went and checked the Big Departures Board and discovered, oops, Captian Elizabeth was right, flight leaves at 7.

Sooo, I'm feeling EXTREMELY alright--more alright than I've ever felt before in my life, even when I was taking the stuff they gave me after yanking out my wisdom teeth. But I can still type (as long as I don't move my head much) so I thought I should probably go ahead and write up all these details for the upcoming court martial. (A great captain always perseveres despite the odds.) Also, it might be fun later to see what I just wrote, as I will almost certainly have no memory of ever writing this.

I am now feeling the urge to end with a cute puppy picture, and I am in charge, so here you go.

Next report: London

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crew Registration

In just over two weeks, the Leaky Dinghy will undertake it's most terrifying voyage yet. Bryan the Bosun, Dr. Jones and I will cross the mighty Atlantic en route to our first waypoint: Stockholm's ABBA Hotel.

Second best to none, indeed.

In Stockholm, the Leaky Dinghy will join up with the flagship of our leaky fleet, the Last Straw (commanded by Admiral Mary and Ship's Engineer Hank) and from there embark on a 10-day expedition of the Baltic Sea...tracking ZOMBIES.

Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. It's no secret that Zombies are a subject of great interest in these troubled times, and Dr. Jones, the world's leading zombiologist, has been asked to undertake a comprehensive study of these creatures and their habits. Dr. Jones' extensive research indicates Zombies prefer colder climates, migrating north each summer, and we believe we have determined the Zombies' preferred method of transport. (We hear Greg Norman has been spotted aboard these ships, a rumor that, if true, is is a top indicator of a large Zombie population.)

Should we survive, we will convey the results of our research directly to authorities at London's Zombie Reseach Center, after which we will undertake a brief side-trip to Cornwall before again braving the Atlantic on our return to our grungy Chesapeake hailing port.

There will be danger. There will be Zombies. There will almost certainly be some quantity of pickled fish. Join us if you dare.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Captain's Log: Due South

Position: Fleet Command, Florida Panhandle
Weather: Hot
Crew Status: Well-fed
The view from the watch tower at Fleet Command.

Although the Leaky Dinghy was scheduled to remain in port through July for repairs and revictualling, a call from Ship's Engineer Hank to remind your captain of a dentist appointment sent us scrambling south with all possible speed. Dr. Jones and I, this time accompanied by Chris the Cabin Boy, Jonas the First Mate, and Soren the Powder Monkey, made the 996 mile journey in record time, stopping only to moor for the night at Atlanta's Hotel Indigo.
The rest of the crew snoozes while Dr. Jones and Captain Elizabeth man the third watch. Yes, that is blueberry wallpaper.

We are now safely docked at Fleet Command, the domain of Admiral Mary, and will remain here until the weekend. In the mean time, I will get my teeth cleaned, and we all will avail ourselves of the benefits of quartering at Fleet Command--chief among them, Fleet Command's proximity to J's Bakery.

Petits Fours. And Smiley Face cookie. 100% sugar.

In addition to these delicacies, Admiral Mary ensures the galley at Fleet Command is always stocked with crew favorites

and has even provided custom bunks for Jonas and Soren.

Jonas and Soren, however, prefer Admiral Mary's Roche Bobois sofas.

Admiral Mary does not approve.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Captain's Log: Journey's End

Position: Eastport
Weather: Fair
Crew status: Lazy

With the Leaky Dinghy once again docked in our grungy Chesapeake hailing port, your crew is currently enjoying some well-deserved shore leave. Our second transatlantic crossing was much less eventful than the first--although we DID get to sit very close to Former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The excitement of this, combined with the effects of the Feel Alright pills, caused your captain to accidentally abandon the ship's photography equipment, but that has since been retrieved. Our sincere thanks to those who supported us throughout our long and perilous journey with bolstering emails, comments, and facebook snark.

With hurricane season approaching, the Leaky Dinghy must now carefully prepare for its next journey, although our crew will be taking some time enjoy a few traditional summertime pursuits. On that note, we'd like to share with you one of our favorite Summer recipes.

The Leaky Dinghy's Recipe for a Perfect Summer Afternoon (non-alcoholic version.)


One (1) Amazon Kindle (Finally--a use for that Kindle someone sent you last Christmas because they "heard you like to read"!)

One (1) 1-gallon Ziploc Freezer Bag (double-zipper version recommended)

One (1) Family Swim Center


Step 1: Combine Ziploc and Kindle

Step 2: Combine Ziplocked Kindle and Family Swim Center

Step 3: Enjoy

Friday, June 12, 2009

Captain's Log: Homeward Bound

[Entry written on June 4th.]

Position: Heathrow, Terminal 5 ClubWorld Lounge
Weather: Sun shining brightly through the glass ceiling
Crew Status: Waiting for the Feel Alright pills to take effect

Today, the Leaky Dinghy embarks on the final leg of our long and perilous journey, crossing the mighty Atlantic en route to our grungy Chesapeake hailing port.  But, first, we must provision for our voyage, and there is really no better place to do this than the new British Airways Terminal 5 ClubWorld Lounge.  The Terminal 5 ClubWorld Lounge is quite spiffy, boasting panoramic views of...well...the rest of Terminal 5....
Dr. Jones stares wistfully down at the Paul Smith store.   "Drat this infernal exchange rate," he mutters. 

Pre-flight massages and facials...
And this really excellent giant horse lamp.

There was also a nice little movie theater, but it was showing European Financial News and thus of no interest to us.

We began our provisioning at the snack bar with the Walker's shortbread.  Obviously.  

We then moved on the the Giant Freezer of Ice Cream. 

All for me. 

Bryan the Bos'un had a nice pasta marinara from the ClubWorld Kitchen (Yes, I told him about the ice cream, but there is just no reasoning with some people.) and concluded our efforts by grabbing a few copies of Hello! Magazine to keep our minds sharp over the long voyage. 
Dr. Jones, however, seemed to be searching for something...more.  But he didn't find it at the coffee bar.

Nor at the wine bar, either.

Ah-ha!  Success.

Shaken, not stirred.  If you please.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Captain's Log: Greenwich Mean

[Entry written on June 3rd.]
Position: Mayfair, London
Weather: Fair enough (for London)
Crew Status: Fair Enough (considering the Jack the Ripper Walking Tour got vetoed.  BOO!)

Today the crew of the Leaky Dinghy sailed valiantly down that river of sludge that is the Thames to Greenwich in order to visit the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory.  The NMM is one of your captain's very favorite museums and, on this visit, it featured an entire exhibit on a topic dear to Bryan the Bos'uns heart.
This is why we we're pretty sure he secretly dreams of Volvo Ocean Races.  Look at that Expression.

The only thing Bryan the Bos'un loves more than books in which the subjects climb up a mountain (and usually die) are those in which the subjects sail to the Arctic--or Antarctic (and usually die.) 

We then trekked up to the royal observatory and capped off a naptastic planetarium showing of Ice Worlds (narrated by Hermione Granger) with a round of standing-on-the-Prime-Meridian.  

Dr. Jones looks typically awesome as he straddles two hemispheres.

Finally, we headed back to London, where Dr. Jones encountered a group of similarly famous, sight-seeing celebrities.
I can't help but agree with Dr. Jones' pronouncement that something just wasn't quite right about those guys.  Their account of the grisly ends met by three of their group was, frankly,  harrowing.  
And the there were four.  Ceramic dwarves.  Rookie mistake!