One year later…

David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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20 Responses

  1. BlaiseP says:

    Though I’ve fond of quoting Woody Allen on the subject of turning up, I wonder if life is more than showing up.   And yes, it’s a truism to say we’re meant to do certain things in life, but I contend there’s a reason you’re turning up, day after day, week after week, to work so hard on Mon Tiki.

    You love the boat.   It’s just that simple.  You’re not a drama queen, flouncing about.   You’re brave enough to walk away, not from a losing hand, but to a different game entirely.   Marcus Aurelius said a man was only as good as his ambitions.   You join an ancient fraternity who built their boats and put them on the open water.

    Egyptians still paint the Wadjet eye on their boats, the Eye of Horus.   The general story we’re told about it is one of protection from harm:  the Eye of Horus also forms the basis for the pharmacist’s Rx sign.   But the Eye of Horus was the eye of the sun and was often as harmful as helpful, both illuminating and dessicating the world.   This eye was always a female thing, separate from Horus himself, often beyond his control in the stories.  You have joined your fate to a boat, something seemingly yours — but not exactly.   Keep that in mind.   A boat is the sea’s creature.Report

  2. David Ryan says:

    Though I’ve fond of quoting Woody Allen on the subject of turning up, I wonder if life is more than showing up.

    My brother in law is Kirby Furgeson of Everything Is A Remix fame.  Kirby and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on the notion of originality or copyright. I think he puts too much emphasis on how things are similar (which is mostly) while under-appreciating how things are different.

    Similarly, life is more than (just) showing up; by Woody Allan’s account, that’s the other ten percent, and maybe that’s the ten percent that matters.

    But maybe it only matters if you have the first 90 percent. In fact, if you have the first 90 percent, then you only need half of the remaining 10 percent to score a solid A. Even if you fall short on the ineffible, you’re still in A- territory.

    Which reminds me of my 87.5% theory. You don’t even have to show up all the time. Just most of the time.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

      I have this theory about originality.   Sun Tzu:

      There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

      There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

      There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.

      In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack–the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

      There’s a great blessing in not quite being perfect.  People call you an original.   Plato comes in for a great deal of abuse for his imperfect notions of Platonic Ideals but that’s only in the light of subsequent thinking on the subject, a subject Plato sorta invented.   Everyone else has been tossing around Ideas and endlessly scrutinizing their natures, but really, there are damned few originals in the world and the first drafts were riddled with mistakes.    Nature follows this pattern continuously:  one curious little mistake perpetuates itself if there’s some advantage to be gained.

      Since we can’t be perfect, we’re stuck with doing our best with the tools at our disposal, inventing new ones along the way to solve particular problems, case in point the Thermomixer, heh.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I’m good w/this one, Blaise, and it’s why I love you, man.  The parsers shall be the death of us all.

        D-Day (Bruce McGill): War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
        Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
        Otter (Tim Matheson): [whispering] Germans?
        Boon (Peter Riegert): Forget it, he’s rolling.
        Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… [thinks hard] the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go! [runs out, alone; then returns] What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer —
        Otter: Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
        Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
        D-Day: Let’s do it.
        Bluto: LET’S DO IT!!


        • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          There’s a bit of Gravity’s Rainbow I used to have over my desk, years ago, before political correctness doomed them to the filing cabinet:

          “There is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made – at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery. ”Report

  3. James Hanley says:

    Nothing insightful to add, just an encouragement to keep the stories and pics coming.  How about a picture of someone standing by the hull, to give us a better perspective on its size.  (I know how big (small) that sander is, but it’s still not working for me to grasp the size well.)Report

    • David Ryan in reply to James Hanley says:

      This one shows my shop-mate Joe next to the port hull earlier in the fairing process.

      Joe is about 6’3″.  This is only the lower hull section. The strake at Joe’s knee is just above waterline at maximum load. Once the hulls are turned, we’ll build up another section of nearly the same depth, plus a small coach roof. When finished the hulls are about 8′ from the bottom of the keel to the top of the coach roof, with 2-3 feet of that below the water, depending on load.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    FWIW, David, this is my favorite of all your League posts so far.Report

  5. Burt Likko says:

    I’m curious as to why you call your filmmaking venture a failure. It looked good, it sounded good. Did you not achieve your artistic objective? Were you disappointed that they were not bigger commercial successes? From the clip of the movie you posted yesterday, it seems to me that you captured some good stuff.Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I have abandoned several replies, but don’t want to leave this unanswered. For the time being, here’s an essay that sets the framework through which I understand my work’s place in history.

      In the course of my education I took two graduate seminars. One was on postmodern art history, and the other was on the ecology of the Siskiyou Mountains.

      I took the art history seminar because at the time I was making grid-based collages of the Cold War presidents composed of thousands of postage-stamp sized news photographs from their administrations, and one of my art professors suggested I might enjoy the class. Sadly, the only thing I really remember is that the name “Foucault” came up a lot and that I didn’t like the class very much.

      I took the other class because I did a lot of hunting and fishing in the Siskiyou Mountains, and I thought if I better understood the ecology of my hunting and fishing grounds, it might help me find more fish and birds.

      “Ecology of the Siskiyou Mountains” was taught by Tom Atzet. At the time he was the ecologist for the Siskiyou National Forest, which straddles the western border between Oregon and California.

      Climax Ecology is a theory first forwarded by ecologist Frederic Clements (1874-1945). It posits that given particulars of soil type, moisture, elevation, etc. the flora of a given area will, over time, tend towards a mature “climax state”, with plants of various sizes, forms, and functions fitting together in a way most adapted to the conditions of the area. As a theory, Climax Ecology fell out of favor in the first half of the 20th century, but it enjoyed a resurgence in the ’80s and ’90s, and Tom Atzet was a part of that revival.

      Tom identified six such ecologies in the Siskiyou Mountains, each with a particular set of conditions and elevation, and named for the dominant tree species of each ecology in its climax state: Tan Oak, Ponderosa Pine, Jeffrey Pine, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, and Hemlock.

      Now here’s why I find Climax Ecology helpful in understanding sexuality in cinema, and what happened during the periods from (roughly) 1968-1975 and then again from 1999-2006.

      In his course, Tom put a big emphasis on the idea that you can’t know which ecology you’re observing merely from a cursory glance at the flora. The reason is because at the moment of your observation, the area that you are in may not be in its climax state. 

      His favorite example was the high meadows of the Siskiyou, which he liked to remind us weren’t actually meadows at all–they were hemlock forests that only looked like meadows because they had been cleared many decades earlier to graze sheep. Now that the sheep were gone, these meadows would revert (slowly, hemlock only grows above 6,000 feet) to the forests they once were.

      Over and over again, Tom cautioned us not to confuse “clearing events”–fire, disease, sheep grazing–with wholesale changes in the ecology itself. He gave us a suite of observational tools to see through whatever the current flora might be, and apprehend the underlying ecological conditions that would determine the climax state.

      And it is through this lens that I have come to understand why explicit sexuality became prominent in cinema in the late ’60s and early ’70s, only to be driven back to the margins; and then became prominent again in the first half of the first decade of this century, only to be driven to the margins again.

      I believe that both periods can be understood as cultural “clearing events.”

      In a mature forest, resources of sunlight, air, water, and nutrients are apportioned in a predictable way. For example, the dominant tree species get first dibs on sunlight, while the trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses in the understory have evolved to survive on whatever filters down through the canopy.

      But after a clearing event–a fire, for example–all sorts of novel things can happen. With unrestricted access to sunlight and water, understory plants may grow faster or larger, or both. They may even come to temporarily dominate a landscape, as with the grasses in the high meadows of the Siskiyou Mountains.

      But what Climax Ecology says is that this can’t last. As long as the clearing event hasn’t actually changed the underlying ecological conditions, then the once-dominant species will eventually become dominant again, and the understory species will be pushed back into their normal niches.

      Using that point of view, I see the periods of 1968 to 1975 and 1999 to 2006 as the aftermaths of socio-economic clearing events, where the normal apportionment of the resources needed to make and market films was disrupted. This disturbance allowed, for a short time, what appeared to be novel forms of explicit sexuality in cinema to flourish.

      But in fact, our underlying socio-economic ecology remained largely unchanged, and these novel forms either reverted to their normal state (and were once again relegated to small niches at the very margins of creativity, culture, and commerce,) or were denied the resources they needed to survive, and disappeared altogether.

      In the next post we’ll will look at what I think are important events in sex, law, and cinema leading up to the period of 1968 to 1975. If you like, think of this as leaf litter collecting on the forest floor, waiting for someone to strike a match.Report