If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.


Naming your Boat: So, what's in a name?

Besides deciding what boat to buy, the next big decision was what to name the newest member of our family.  While contemplating the name, we learned it was a good idea to subject the potential names to a few tests — compiled by Latitude 38 magazine in California — before putting it on our transom:
  1. The explanation test. How often do you want to explain what the name means? Bizarre Greek gods, in-jokes and Latin phrases (Carpe Diem doesn’t count) usually fail this test. The non-cute test. How sappy is the name? Puns, childhood nicknames and in-jokes usually fail. 
  2. The brevity test. Imagine repeating your boat name three times, especially if calling “mayday.” Are you hoarse yet?
  3. The hubris test. If you’re racing, try not to pick names like Magic Bullet unless, of course, you have that one-in-a-million boat that actually wins every time.
  4. The “Been There, Done That” test. There are a lot of Obsessions and Odysseys out there already.
  5. The omen test. Naming your boat the Money Pit one day may mean you need a new engine the next.
  6. The radio test. Lots of words that look good — Slithery, for example — sound pretty funny on channel 16.
So we had a few names but decided on Florian.  Why?  Read on...
Florian lived in the time of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian, and was commander of the imperial army in the Roman province of Noricum. In addition to his military duties, he was also responsible for organizing firefighting brigades.  The Roman regime sought to eradicate Christianity, and sent Aquilinus to persecute Christians. When Aquilinus ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods in accordance with Roman religion, he refused, and cheerfully accepted the beatings of the soldiers, who used clubs, spikes and fire to torture him. He was executed by drowning in the Enns River with a stone tied around his neck. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters.
For me, the connection to Florian is that I became a Fire Fighter while working through college.  I've been an IT professional for nearly three decades, but I am also still a firefighter. 

I'm the tall guy on the right in Trabuco Canyon in 1980

Back in 1981

Apartment building fire in 1981

One of Florian's accomplishments was that he organized Fire Brigades, and while College prepared me to be an IT Professional, I never lost that spark. They say that firefighting gets into your blood, and I believe that's true.  So in 1989, while working for the Walt Disney Company, I had an opportunity with a co-worker to establish the Walt Disney Studios Fire Department, with the primary goal of protecting our employees and properties during a disaster or other catastrophic event.  During production each day, the population on the Burbank lot (California) can swell to more that 15,000 people, so for example, if an earthquake happened during work hours, the city's resources would be overwhelmed, and that's where our internal Fire Department would play a critical role. 

Over the years; a couple of my favorite officers - (left to right) Dave Davis with 
Disney, Tracy Panzini with Burbank Fire Department, and me on the right.

At Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in Santa Clarita (30 minutes north of the Studio lot),  
training with LA County FD Air Operations.

Every Department has a mascot; we have a mouse.

One of our favorite charities is Firefighters Quest For Burn Survivors
and we help them whenever we can.

My Grandson Eli, stopping by Fire Service Day in Burbank.

CNN Money did a little puff piece on the department.  To read it, click here.

While I earn my living managing technology, the best job I don't get paid for is with the Walt Disney Studios Fire Department.  There are about 1.2 million firefighters in the U.S. and nearly 1 million of them are volunteers, I count myself among them - a proud and capable volunteer.

After much consideration, the name Florian seemed like a good fit for our boat, and it passed the naming tests, so we're happy to place that name on the transom of our Robinhood 36. 

Florian will be our boat, and Belinda and I will be her crew.


Melanie said...

Love it! Florian was an excellent choice.

Anonymous said...

Love the name, love the blog!