Friday, September 30, 2005

Too many fun things this weekend

for those of you who have absolutely no interest in attending a boathouse junk sale at pier 26 on the Hudson River or any of the other highly local festivities I mentioned because, oh, (to pick a random example) you live in Spain or something, there's a link to some awesome pictures of Nova Scotia that were taken by one of my P 63 paddling friends in the very next post - you'll probably like those better!

Speaking of the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club - I wish I could paddle up for the Yonkers Riverfest! It's tomorrow, and as it turned out, I am working on the schooner, but if that hadn't happened, I was mulling over the idea of getting up at some ungodly hour of the AM & paddling up on my own (this was if I didn't decide to go to Coney Island with the P63 crew, which was another option). The YPRC will be giving kayak demos & taking people out in their very cool old war canoe, it would have been a LOT of fun to go up & help out.

I may still get up a little earlier than required by my 11 am start time at the schooner in order to stop by the Downtown Boathouse end-of-an-era garage sale - here was the blurb I got from Tim -

This Saturday we are having the first annual, and last ever Pier 26 yard sale. We are giving up some of our prized possessions that we have accumulated over the years. We have a lot of Nautical items, boating supplies, building materials, etc etc that are going for next to nothing. No reasonable offer will be refused! Its Saturday October 1 at the Pier 26, Tribeca, location. The only rule is that whatever you buy you have to remove from the Boathouse!

The Downtown Boathouse has reached the end of the line at their current location on the Hudson River as construction on that segment of the Hudson River Park now requires the demolition of the piersheds on Pier 26; they'll be moving into some spiffy new digs up near the Intrepid. They've been at their old location ever since they started & it's of course accumulated all the usual junk that tends to accumulate. I sort of doubt I'll find anything I need - for starters I pretty much already have everything I need - but you never know - plus I guess I do want to take one last look around at a place where I did spend a fair amount of time in my first few years of paddling, first as a guest, later doing volunteer instruction (including a class where I attempted to teach what looked to be a hundred people an efficient forward stroke - I don't know if anybody actually got anything out of it but I understand it was quite a sight to see, Ralph Diaz wrote up a description for NYCKayaker that totally cracked me up, I have to see if I can scrounge that up - ).

BTW as long as I'm posting blurbs - here's the aforementioned New York Kayak Polo fundraiser details - as I said, I haven't had time to go play with them, but I'm definitely going to go party with them for at least a while tonight. They're a nice bunch (even the Mad Russian - I think every kayak polo team should have at least one mad Russian!) & it's been fun having 'em at the barge this year!:

New York Kayak Polo is having its first fundraiser this Friday, September 30th, at Pier 63 and you're invited!

A $10 donation gets you free food, music from our DJ, and a look at the game through videos on a big screen. Beer from Brooklyn Brewery and wine are just $4. It's a great deal and will be a fun night.

Come learn about the sport, our club, and our bar tending and grilling skills. Maybe we'll even convince you that it's not so silly to throw a ball and play bumper boats while paddling. Plus, you can talk to people you've met on the river and see what some NYC kayakers look like with real clothes on!

When: Friday, September 30th, 7:30 pm until late
Where: Pier 63 Maritime. It's just west of the West Side Highway
near 23rd street (the entrance is at the north end of the Basketball
City parking lot). 1, C, or E subway to 23rd St, then walk or
M23 crosstown bus to Chelsea Piers.

All are welcome so bring your friends. We look forward to seeing you!

I have a feeling that at least some of these guys (e.g., the Mad Russian) have a lot more party stamina than me and that the chances of my making it to the DTBH garage sale will be in inverse proportion to my being silly enough to try to keep up with them!

Nova Scotia Trip Pix from a Pier 63 paddling pal!

A small group of my usual paddling pals got back from a week-plus paddling trip in Nova Scotia. Sticks (fka "Drum Guy") is a pretty good photographer & he took some BEAUTIFUL shots, which he shared with our Pier 63 holdpeople email list. I asked if I could share those here & he said "Sure"!

Enjoy! There's a button on the sign-in page for non-members of the Kodak Gallery page - click on that. These are really stunning.

I actually could have been in on this trip, but at the time it was first being tossed around, I'd actually already been talking to a friend from the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club about joining a few of the Yonkersites (Yonkersers? Yonkersians?) on a trip in the same area - they were talking about going with a very well-known local guide, Scott Cunningham - then I ended up bailing on that one when I got invited to join this upcoming British Virgin Islands adventure with some of my sailing friends. Given a choice between warm blue water and cold green water I will almost always take the warm blue (I do understand though that there is actually some surprisingly warm water in certain places in NS, think that may be somewhere on the Coastal Expeditions website - that's Scott Cunningham's company). As I've said before though, what a NICE choice to have to make! Hmm...sea kayaking in Nova Scotia, or sailing in the BVI's?

I do want to get up there sometime though. I have a friend who moved there after just getting too depressed with the way the US is governed now and I do want to go visit her at some point - I miss her but it sounds like she's happier up there, so it's good - anyways, this year's vacation days are all spoken for but I do think that next year I will make a real effort to get up there, with or without a kayak. Didn't need these pictures to want to do that, but they didn't hurt!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Limitless joy plus an easing of the blues.

This is one of my favorite pictures that I ever took on the schooner - on the prints that I got (this was a disposable camera that we sell on the schooner where the price includes development - you get a set online plus a set of prints) the colors are even more saturated. But this gives you the general idea.

Anyhow, that's my Adirondack crewmate Meghan hanging on the foresheet there, she's an actress as well as a sailor (and she's considering going for her captain's license!), she's got absolutely the best smile you'd ever like to see, and she's in the show that I went to see last night - here's the thumbnail review I sent to Captain Peter this morning:

I was quite puzzled but generally entertained & interested by "Limitless Joy". I thought the cavemen (even the one from Queens) could have watched for fish for about half the time but other than that, quite diverting.

Trying to figure out a good joke that I can make about there being lots of tomatoes besides Meghan in the show (also some very attractive men of various ages who spend a fair amount of time with no shirts on, uh, not that I notice that sort of stuff...)

I'm a little happier today - I just find this extra stuff I do to be quite frustrating - but one of the more mysterious problems that landed on my desk yesterday turned out not to be half as mysterious as I thought. Had to thank myself for keeping even as rudimentary a log as I do of this one particularly type of item I'm taking care of until that happy day when we finally say hello to a new business manager. Wish I had time to do that for everything.

Oh yeah, I also got a reprieve on the end-of-schooner season - they want me for 2 more half Saturdays. I LOVE working half days. Full days are fun & satisfying but long - especially when I'm tired from the day-job stress - half-days are just perfect, though. I'll make sure I enjoy them, too. It was incredibly depressing yesterday thinking that it was the end of my "professional" boating season (fortunately my amateur-hour boating season never ends!) & looking back & realizing just how badly that day-job stress clouded the joy I get from working on the water this year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Autumn Blues...

Well, I'm off to see a play (or maybe a happening, i dunno, there's something about an audience-participation tomato fight...) called "Limitless Joy".

If their joy is of the limitless variety, maybe they can spare some & I can pack it up to go. Hope that's the case - found out today that the schooner's going into fall schedule, which means cutting down the number of hours available, which means that the part-timers step aside & let the full-timers, who are actually trying to make a living at this gig, take the hours. I'd finally admitted it was Fall on Saturday when I had to put on a sweatshirt during the evening sail for the first time since early June or so - well, this really drives it home.

I feel like this business of covering my part of the business manager stuff, and the stress and frustration that engendered, ate an awful lot of my summer. What was left felt like an awful lot of scrambling to fit things in.

Oh well.

It would be nice to blame somebody but all there is to do is just keep slogging.

Sorry. Cranky today, aren't I?

Some of my paddling friends are talking about a paddle to Coney Island on Saturday - that could be fun, but I think that I might just give myself this weekend to not have to get anywhere by any time. The idea of a medium-long solo paddle is appealing - definitely against the BCU guidelines for smart paddling but sometimes I just have to.

Or I might just decide to be a total slug for the weekend...we'll see. Thhhbbt.

The way work's been, I've been turning into the Lone Paddler of the Night. This usually happens on days when I start the day hoping to be more of a Sociable Paddler of Sunset-to-Twilight Followed Perhaps by Cheeseburger and Beer, but then have stuff that needs to get done. OK, I do have to admit that the "so what if it's already dark, I'm GOING" attitude has resulted in some really enjoyable paddles. It's a good way to let off steam. Had a great race with the schooner last night in fact - yes, an 80-foot schooner may move faster than a kayak when they have a nice breeze, but the handicapping was such that it evened things out - see, a kayak can go straight into the wind, a schooner can't, so they had to follow a zigzag path which really made 'em into a perfect rabbit for me. That was fun.

'Nuff whining - time to go check out the Limitless Joy!

BTW I think I may use my unexpected free time this weekend to get back to that chain of thought about Hanauma Bay. I was going somewhere with that - then all this other stuff happened, but I didn't forget!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Keeping Definitions Straight.

Borrowing my own comment from Cranky Liberal - I am so tired of reading "it's just a theory" - time to start throwing dictionaries.

I think I’m going to post these two definitions on my blog today - they are straight out of the American Heritage Dictionary, they are 2 of 6 definitions, and the ID people are taking massive advantage of the fact that not everyone recognizes the very significant difference between the two -


1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
This is what scientists (and laypeople who understand science) mean when they say “theory of evolution”.

6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
This is the definition Intelligent Design people & creationists want people to think of when they chant their mantra of “evolution is just a theory”.

Easy to confuse even reasonably smart people when you blur the decided distinction between the former and the latter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the judge in the Dover case gets it - legal training is supposed to make people be really clear about definitions, isn’t it?

technorati tags (for once I actually WANT people to find this, darn it) - ,

Monday, September 26, 2005

So Long, Agent Smart...

That's it - it's 6:30, I'm leaving work, I'm getting lau lau and no one can stop me...

but first - please - a moment of silence...

Get Smart - what a show. What a lot of laughs Don Adams gave us all. Sad to see the news today.

I wish I'd seen this...

I've enjoyed seeing the Robert Smithson island that was tooling around the river over the last few days (that's it above) - but boy, am I sorry I wasn't out there for this!

Saturday, September 24, 2005


well, I was so excited that we were getting a new biz manager - now it's back up in the air again. Too depressing to talk about. Fingers crossed, though.

About my Bring it On post on intelligent design - which is being challenged in court in a suit filed by some parents who would prefer that ID not be mentioned in their children's high-school science classes, I'll be watching that case with interest - well, that was really quite cool. I was sort of expecting to get instantly lambasted for saying what I did, but that didn't happen - on the contrary, there were a number of really interesting, well written comments, all in agreement with me but each offering a slightly different take on the matter. Really interesting, lots to think about. I really felt compelled to say something because I'm really amazed that this thing has gotten as far as it is & I felt like even if it doesn't make a big difference, if I even give a FEW people something to think about, that's all I could ask for. I evidently got somebody else thinking the same way - I loved this post - he gives a really good explanation about what "theory" means in the language of science - the ID people are really taking advantage of the fact that a lot of people imagine that "theory" is the same as "guess" - which it definitely is not in scientific terms.

Sailing all day tomorrow - the builder decided that the Adirondack is OK to finish out the season so we've got 2 boats running, I think I could be working every night if I had the time (or the energy - I am feeling a bit run down by the work situation, I have no plans on Sunday & am looking forward to an utterly lazy day). There's a funny aspect to running two boats that appear to be twins from a distance in the same harbor - you hear people hailing the Adirondack on the VHF and you have to make sure you know which Adirondack they are talking to - Captain Sarah figured this out after getting into a situation one day when one of the dinner-boat skippers hailed the Adirondack, and she answered, and he started asking her something that was completely & utterly irrelevant to anything that she could see going on in our immediate vicinity (VHF's are used a lot between the captains on the commercial boats to agree on who's going to pass on which side, so I think he was making a friendly "OK if I pass you on one whistle?" when we weren't even near anyone else) momentary confusion ensued until she realized that he was actually trying to talk to the II, not her. Should get better as people realize there are 2 of us out there!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Guest post on ID at Bring It On

I did a guest post today at Bring It On - was hoping to come in and start the day by just explaining why I asked Pia, who's a REAL New Yorker (I've been here 14 years and I still feel like a transplant, I love reading her stories about the city and her family & friends) regular poster there, if I could do this -

Unfortunately I got all caught up in a Times article about the evacuation for Hurricane Rita, missed my subway stop, and slunk into work pathetically late, so this is not a good time to be blogging about my opinions of these intelligent design folks & fundamentalists in general.

If I wrote that post well enough, though, that should come through. I've got so much to do today but I do plan to check in on comments during my lunch hour - will be interesting to see what sort of response it gets.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane names & where I've been -

This is fascinating. I was actually just talking to a co-worker about this yesterday. So many hurricanes this year. I hope that they slow down by November - my motive is purely selfish, that's when me and the other schoonerchicks (plus a couple of bartenderchicks - how much fun are WE gonna have? Well, maybe I'll tell you about it...or heh heh heh maybe not) go for our BVI's bare-boat blowout.

So much going on here that I haven't had time to write...

We had the mayor's cup on Saturday. I was so psyched to work that race but it sucked, neither of our boats (the Adirondack II has finished her Newport season & got here last week) even got to race - the captain of the Pioneer (not their usual skipper, I think it was another guy) decided that he was going to zip across the starboard-tacking racing line, while on a port tack, right in front of our two boats or something - only problem is that the Pioneer is a hundred-and-something year old steel-hulled retired gravel-hauler - she jes' don't zip - and all the sudden things got really complicated. The II got forced across the starting line, which is a disqualification, and we tried to but were not quite able to avoid a collision. Wasn't too bad, nobody got hurt, our boat did sustain a bit of damage (we lost our bobstay and the bow itself is kind of banged up) - I thought we took out a little of the Pioneer's rigging, but whatever it was was evidently either non-critical, easily repairable, or both, 'cause they went ahead & raced I think - we, on the other hand, being a commercial vessel, had to cut our day short to go home & file a coast guard report. Plus we really wanted the owner/builder (who was in town for the race) to take a look at the damage before we took on any more passengers that day (both boats were supposed to work all day). To finish the misery of the day, the II went ahead & pretended to race anyways but the captain is from Rhode Island and unfamiliar with our area and uh kind of ended up running aground on the Jersey Flats. Some of us from the Adirondack and one of the guys who works for the Kennedys (not the political dynasty Kennedys but the Biloxi Kennedys, who run 3 boats at Chelsea Piers) borrowed the Chelsea Screamer speedboat & went to play tugboat.

Sunday was the circumnavigation swim of course - I'm just about done with my lunch hour but like I said yesterday in a response to a comment - those swimmers were -

Very brave! And strong, and very, very determined - we actually ended up having to do a little side-trip down to Governor's Island, dodging ferries as we went (I was sweating bullets even though we had motorboats right there & if things had gotten any dicier than they were, they could've had us all on board & outta there pretty darned quick) - then the finish line got moved 3 times - that REALLY sucked, the finish line was in Hell Gate, the first selection was a problem as it was liable to leave the legitimacy of the swim open to question, even WITH the earlier detour; the second selection left no questions about legitimacy but proved to be in water that was too rough to allow a safe pickup by the motorboats - I actually looked at the guy who seemed to be calling the shots as we were heading back out after the first reset and said "This is just MEAN"...but by God, the guys did it. And didn't murder anyone afterwards but that may have just been because they were too tired. I think they should go down in the record books as having swum a Manhattan circumnavigation with extra credit. Yeesh. Amazing fortitude.
Actually that's why I like doing the kayak escort for the Manhattan circ swims - it's just so darned impressive.

Was crazy but pretty awesome too. I have had my disagreements with the guy who runs the swims and I just kind of backed off on doing them rather than let something I really just did for the fun of it turn into any more of a source of stress, but the circumnavigations are a rather different animal that the rest of the swims - really just too amazing to miss.

Monday was supposed to be for writing a guest post I asked to do at Bring It On - it's about my re but instead I went to a Brooklyn Bridge Park meeting - probably write more on that later...

Tuesday I got stuck at work then went home & finished up the Bring It On post...

Wednesday I got stuck at work then went home & edited the Bring It On post. Stopped by the Feast of San Gennaro for bracciole on the way though!

Working on the schooner tonight...

VERY happy though because after four and a half frickin' months we have FINALLY got a business manager starting here at the Really Big Children's Publishing House! Happy Happy Joy Joy! I was really running out of steam on that front, I am so relieved that we have FINALLY got another person starting!

Well, much to do but just wanted to actually put something up here. Probably get back to more regular posting next week. Just feels like I haven't stopped running (and sweating and sometimes literally crying with frustration over the work situation) since I got back from vacation.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Interesting weekend, sorry too tired to tell the tale!

Just one scene from an extremely busy & interesting weekend.

"Interesting" is such an interesting word, isn't it?

Anyways, unfortunately although I could write quite the post about the weekend's happenings & mishaps, I'm completely zonked! I will say this much, though - I am SO glad I didn't do a lot of buildup about the Mayor's Cup Schooner Race. Bad day in Adirondack-land. Again...too tired to write it up.

The guys in the picture, btw, were actually swimming around Manhattan. That was today's event - when these swim races happen, they use kayakers to guide the swimmers - that's how I spent my day today. Good day, and fun, although a little overeventful in some ways.

did I mention that...*yawn*...zzzzzzz

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


ok, now the scrolling's broken again. So I re-ask - anybody else run across this problem?

Guess this is squarely in the realm of "you get what you pay for". Oh well. Hopefully it's just a bug & they'll work it out.

Butterfly, Zilcker Botanical Gardens, Austin

here's one of the butterflies that came out well.

Actually I'm mostly posting to see if posting a new post will fix the scrolling issues. I thought it was the Blogarama button, I took that off yesterday & it seemed to fix the scrolling, but then I edited yesterday's post to add the gallery link & it locked up again. Moderately annoying, but then again the Blogger price is right (free). So let's see what happens...

nope. no scrolling, just ends in the middle of my post with the BeachAV8R's story of flying a medivac jet into New Orleans. oh well. No more time to investigate now. any other based bloggers run across this problem?

huh...well, when I republished with the question about anybody else seeing this problem, it quit having the problem. Very random. Oh well.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Back from Texas (pictures added)!

Back from vacation - expect work is going to be a nightmare this week so...uh, well, maybe I'll just post some of my pictures over the week. Update - I did start on this while working on something else tonight - the pictures are over here - right now it's mostly from a hike in the Friedrich Wilderness Area in the San Antonio area (well-preserved Texas Hill Country area). San Antonio proper tends to be heavy on the shopping - lots of cute little stores & stuff, but I get shopped out pretty quickly anymore, and I'd spotted this wilderness area in the guidebook we'd borrowed from my aunt & uncle & it wasn't too tough to talk my dad into going for a hike - San Antonio has some beautiful gardens but I was really interested in getting out & seeing what this area was like left to it's own devices. Plus, egads, we ate a lot of very good food - so it just felt good to get out & move. Climb some ridges and stuff, y'know? The last few are in the Zilcker Botanical Gardens in Austin, where I discovered that if you take a couple dozen butterfly pictures, at least a few will come out nicely!

Good vacation, long overdue, nice to catch up with the family (and play with horses and dogs and cats and watch birds and catfish and butterflies and most especially pictures of all of the above except the bats but the bats were really and truly amazing!).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friday, September 02, 2005

BeachAV8R's story

Truth be known, aside from being very busy in the lead-up to my vacation - I am posting this at the office, in fact - I also decided to start my break sooner than I planned because I am increasingly horrified at the situation down south (although I do read that there are now at least some National Guard troops arriving with food & potable water), writing about anything else just felt too inane, and I had nothing particularly useful to say about it (except exhortations to give generously).

However - I took a quick message board break today, and found the following posting, which came rather close to making me cry. The gentleman who posted it, who goes by beachAV8R, is a pilot and flew a jet down there to evacuate a couple of specific patients. It's a remarkable point of view - I felt very strange asking him if I might post it here - but in the end, I found that I really wanted to share this (and post the red cross banner again - I'd been thinking about giving more than I did originally, and this story convinced me that that would be a good thing to do). Chuck - thank you again for allowing me to link to this.

Please Give to the Red Cross

Just got back. It's terrible. Worse than it looks on the news. We flew to Birmingham to tanker up on fuel so that we wouldn't have to get fuel in New Orleans (MSY) besides which I couldn't get a hold of anyone on the ground there to see if fuel was even available.

On approach into MSY the sky was extremely hazy with smoke drifting into the air from the city. Apparently overnight the approach control got power because they did have radar coverage. The airport is still daytime VFR only approaches and no runway lights so it is day-light only operations. There is also a Customs and Border Patrol P-3 Orion providing air traffic advisories in the area "Omaha-44".

I didn't think we'd get the visual approach but at about 5 miles just as they were going to start a GCA approach for us (something I've done about 1 time in the past 7 years) we spotted the airfield through the murk. At about 1000' above the ground the smell started to seep in through the bleed system...I can't describe it other than to say it smelled like decay.

Everywhere you looked there were helicopters scooting around the skies: Blackhawks, Coast Guard Dauphines, Hueys, news helicopters, EMS, etc...

Continue reading BeachAV8r's post at

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Checking out for a while - plus, what I said yesterday, again.

Actually I may not be posting much over next week & half or so - going on hard-earned vacation. First have to earn it some more, though. Expecting late night tonight & probably tomorrow - basically all the month-end close stuff I'd ordinarily have to do next week, and that I was planning to do on Tuesday, I now have to have as done as much as possible before I leave tomorrow. Then working on the schooner on Saturday and Sunday - really would have preferred to have 2 full days off - sort of like a pre-vacation unwind, but the schooner was shorthanded. Oh well. It's just a half-day Saturday.

There are some people I know from working on the schooner - they run a couple of the other charter boats at Chelsea Piers, they're really nice, their families are really nice, and their home base is in Biloxi. Yesterday I asked a couple of the captains from my boat to let me know if they heard any word on how they did - saw those horrible pictures coming out of Biloxi & was really worried about how their families were but didn't want to bother them since I figured probably everybody in the world was asking them how their families were - well, I finally heard that one of them lost a house, but their families were all OK.

It's so strange to actually be relieved & happy to hear that they only lost a house - but I am. It's sad that he lost his house but at least they didn't lose anything less replaceable.