Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Readers of this Journal:

I have said "Good Bye" to Summer and "Good Bye" to the dusty old layout and I welcome the new season with an entirely new look for the old journal.
To be pedantically obvious, the major excision is that of the maritime motif.
Have I exorcised that particular demon? No.
It's time, however, to haul the hulk out of the online harbor.
When I started the Journal, I was under the impression that I would have found other historical vessel-sailing folk online who might want to share anecdotes. I mean, every ship has a website, sometimes dozens of individual forums, LiveJournals, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter pages, blogs, and sites that belong to old and current crew members who share stories, pictures of rigging or ports of call.
This "hmsimpossible.com" (I keep the domain name) has done very little of that. And has not been called upon to do so.
When I stopped sailing, I tried to scrub the salt out of my skin. Brine lodged in each pore and follicle while I had leapt from dock to deck for the free ride and very little else, a Coast Guard certification for a navigation course as my only ticket. On The Beach, I replaced many of the memories of all of the captains and boatswains and crew mates, tummlers and shysters and heroes with whom I had shared voyages and cons and free meals and traverses.
Just like on The Beach.
My original thought behind The Journal of H.M.S. Impossible, was to get back in touch with them, or at the very least to elucidate some analogy between the maritime and the mundane.
After all, I had enough experience in the business, corporate, and media world to complain about them as well. And I'll continue to share those as a memoirist and raconteur.
But I had created a hard-to-provision niche.
Sure, every so often, I'd mention a new TallShip™ or a canny sailor or a new spin on some historic event or the discovery of a old wreck. I had planned on doing a Patrick O'Brian segment ("This Week on the Surprise" never really took off.) I didn't do boat reviews or cover maritime events, and although I get the alerts and mailers and often hit a boat show, I usually forget my Blackberry™. Often, wittingly. (I haven't even been sailing in two seasons.)
I am fully aware that I am too judgmental and disquisitive to be a cheerleader or a provider of free public relations for the latest Moby-Dick parody or Jimmy Buffett cover band. I was never one for incessantly tweaking the rig or comparing stats on hideous plastic yachts. Lately, stories about teen and tween circumnavigators horrify, rather than being inspiring and vindicating my work in youth sail training. I read corporate promotions and sleazy advertisements that stink only of exploitation, greed, and vainglory.
As I have in the past, I'll leave the cute boat stories to those with the stomach for it. And I'm hanging up the sea bag so that I'm not searching for significance in stories that were mere dust long ago. I will scratch the Journal's pages with the things that interest me simply because they do -- not just because they have something to do with water.
So, it's The Impossible Journal. "Now with less boatiness."
Because I still think that it's impossible to get a daily average of 23 pageviews when everybody that I know says that they read it.


Jim Rattray said...

No Jimmy Buffett? Time for your Parrot Head indoctrination!

Impressive list, though!

Jim Rattray said...

Wow ... that was weird. I typed in ...

I read/follow via RSS ... wonder if that shows in the page views?

But then it posted some weird old comment about JB!

Strange happenings on the Net tonight!

P J said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jim. I read everything on Google Reader, and rarely thank my "favorites" for their brilliance. So, who am I to talk about page hits?

re: "Jimmy Buffett" You might remember this bit from an H.M.S. Impossible entry a few years back:

"...every marina I ever pulled into had some guy wallowing in his stink in the stern of a Port-a-Potty 28 cranking a cassette tape of Songs You Know By Heart at an inappropriate volume while I'm trying to either sleep or devise a means by which to fix a mast or re-rig a sheet. Shipmates, I am acutely aware of the charitable work done by Parrot Heads. Which I share here with all:The Paradise Charitable Foundation..."

Karie said...

I love this new look! And as we enter this new season, it seems like a perfect time for casting away from the past, change and forward movement. I'll miss the old ship, but this new masthead kicks-keister! (ooh, that's kind of an old weird term, too, isn't it?)

Chuck said...

Phew! For a minute there I thought you were the victim of a queer make-over. Change all you want, we'll keep reading. I have to warn you that it just won't feel like Christmas to me if I don't see a Santa hat on your "super" photo.

P J said...

Does the goldenrod come off as orange on your screen? We've just purchased a new monitor and I hadn't adjusted to the usual high quality Blogger™ professional graphic art standards when I slapped this up.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, and be assured that I shall remain as butch as ever.

cat said...

First, please don't mind my husband. :)
Second, I raise my glass with a hearty "here, here" to the new direction. Fyi, I will be calling it 'The it's possible journal'

P J said...

Cat: I don't mind your husband, and I know that he can fight his own battles. And that you both are very good shots.
re "it's possible:" Only if you can muster the proper amount of sarcasm so that people don't think it's some Tony Robbinsesque malarkey.