Sunday, October 30, 2005

Last Night's Fun!

Last night was the annual Celtic New Year (aka Samhain, aka the roots of Halloween) party. This is thrown by a couple who are very active in the local Irish music scene. I used to do a lot more of this but I'm still known to play the occasional tune - that's my tin whistle (or one of my tin whistles) in the foreground there. Lots of fun - "great craic".

I have to run now - I've got to stop by the office for a little while but then hurrah, I'll be spending the afternoon and all day tomorrow out on the water - taking some friends out this afternoon, then tomorrow we take the schooner up to Albany. Always a fun trip & since we are doing it on Halloween, I think there might be a bit of a piratical spin to our usual fall sailing gear, I need to stop by Ricky's, see what they have in the way of cutlasses...ARRRRR!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

In which Bonnie gets angry at a right-winger.

So I left a comment yesterday at Courting Destiny - she put up a post about the indictment - one of the right-wing types that loves to bait people on her comments was right there with the usual nastiness. I have a lot to do this weekend, don't have time to explain exactly why the comment brought as forceful a response from me as it did - but I just threw down as simple a version of my thoughts on the matter as I could muster. I'm just so totally sick of conservatives acting as though anyone who questions the war in Iraq, with it's 2000 US military casualties and estimated 26K+ Iraqi deaths, is automatically anti-American and, even in the slightest degree, pro-terrorists - anyways, I just couldn't keep from responding to this ass with my take on the whole thing.

Pia asked me if she could post it onBring It On. I said sure. Please feel free to go check it out if you're curious although I have to warn you it is several notches up the anger scale than even the "occasional liberal rant" I do here from time to time. It's not very characteristic for me to go off the way I did - used to be moreso but the older I get, the less tendency I have to fly off the handle - but I wouldn't take any of it back now that I did.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cold Springs link fixed

Before anything else, I give you

Mr. and Mrs. Kayak Boy And A Waterfall!

Thank you Pia for leaving that comment about the link - it wasn't down, I'd just screwed it up. I fixed that one but here it is again - Cold Spring to Bear Mountain Bridge With Garfield, A Tuiliq shot, Perrier, and the Holy Yonkerian Order of Kayak Monks.

Hope you enjoy my pictures as much as I enjoyed meeting Pia last night - she's a lovely person! One of the things I've really enjoyed about this blogging thing is that I've "met" a lot of really interesting & nice people. Meeting her turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Heh heh. Now, the guy with the shiny new four star award suggested a kayak-blogger symposium. Wouldn't that be fun? Only thing is, I would need to beware of the evidently irresistable chick-magnetic field that Wenley has apparently developed lately (seriously, I think the guy is going for "Spiciest Kayak Blog of the Year" award, it's been quite entertaining).

Much more likely that I'll at least have a chance to meet Derek & Mary sometime - they get to a lot of symposiums, and I'm feeling like I have got to do SOMETHING in the way of continuing kayak education next year, paths could easily cross.

Back to yesterday's more serious note - they have at least found the body of Jim Runsdorf, the rower who was lost on Monday morning. Sea Level has continued to post links to most, if not all, of the stories.

Time for me to get back to work.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

More sad thoughts & my Cold Springs gallery

Still thinking about the accident - I think that the thing that makes this all particularly strange is that owing to the fact that there's been a renaissance in recreational use of the river over the last ten or fifteen years, we've been operating in this strange grace period in which, as far as I'm aware at least, we've had no deaths among the paddling & rowing set. A few rescue situations that had all the more seasoned folks shaking their collective heads with disbelief, but never any fatalities.

This is going to sound absolutely, positively horrible but the fact is that it was pretty much statistically impossible for that grace period to last forever. I don't think I've ever actually said that flat-out but every time I have ever written or said or done anything about safety, the importance of skills, or the inherent risks of boating, it was always, at least in part, because I was genuinely afraid that there were people coming into the sport without really understanding that, and I believe that a person genuinely needs to have acknowledged that to be a responsible boater. Signing the outfitter waiver that says you do unfortunately doesn't really mean that a person has genuinely looked that risk in the face, looked at the quality-of-life benefits that recreational paddling has to offer, and said "Yes, I accept that risk and I want to learn to do this anyhow".

I do think the fact that our grace period lasted as long as it did says that the paddle (and oar) sports community is doing something right. There are gaps, there have been a couple people who had a tendency to downplay the risks in their well-intentioned zeal for getting people out on the water (one thing I've been really glad to see this year though is that the it's-perfectly-safe-all-you-need-is-an-idiot-proof-boat message just seems to have lost traction - idiot-proof boat and the related foolproof boat are oxymorons & potentially dangerous ones - sorry, that's been a pet peeve of mine), but on the whole, the approach to paddling, and teaching paddling, in the area has been done with a lot of attention to safety.

None of this made the accident any easier to take. I didn't know him but the local paddling & rowing community, while growing, is still small; it feels living in a small town and finding out that a neighbor down the block died in a car crash. Maybe you didn't know him personally - but you generally have a liking for the people in your community, and you're just very sad for him & the people around him.

Anyways, sorry for another very gloomy and not-well-thought-out post. I actually signed in with the intent of saying that I have finished a gallery of Cold Spring - pretty close to another virtual tour - but then the other stuff just came out. What a marvelous day it was. As Mr. SeaLevel pointed out, that just made Monday's sad news seem even sadder.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rowing tragedy

I haven't figured out anything worthwhile to say about it yet, but there was a fatal accident on the Harlem River this week and I feel like I have to at least say that it happened. If you're a New York City resident, you've already heard about it, but for non-locals, there is a rowing center at the Peter Jay Sharp boathouse on the Hudson River; a four-man crew went out for a pre-dawn workout (absolutely standard practice for rowers); they were turning & while they were broadside to the channel, they were struck by a motorboat & one of the rowers is missing and presumed dead.

All boating entails risk of injury or death; responsible boaters understand that and do everything they can to minimize those risks but sometimes things just happen anyways.

I do a lot of private hand-wringing, occasionally spilling over into overly-loquacious blog posts & emails, about people I see launching out on the Hudson in inadequate boats, wearing inadequate gear, and with inadequate skills, a combination which I think I can safely say indicates inadequate understanding of the risks as well -- but that wasn't the story here at all. These guys were experienced & dedicated rowers, they knew what they were doing, they were out doing what they love (just like me and every other recreational boater on the face of the earth does as often as they can) and this was just one of those tragic "things that just happen anyways". I said I don't know what to say yet, don't know when or if I will - it's all fine talking about awareness & acceptance of risks and all that in a theoretical sense, but when someone is actually gone I just can't throw some slapped-together post with the usual pontifications out there. I've made a few comments here & there, had a couple of email conversations - even at that limited level, I have already said a thing or two that I'm already wondering if I should have said, so I'm going to keep it at that for now.

SeaLevel mentioned that he has had a similar reaction - his response has been to just put up all the information on SeaLevel as it comes in.

The New York Rowing Association is also looking for volunteers to search the riverbanks - more information here.

Let's all be careful out there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thank You, Mrs. Parks

Associated Press Photo. "Woman Fingerprinted. "Mrs. Rosa Parks, Negro Seamstress, Whose Refusal to Move to the Back of a Bus Touched Off the Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama." 1956. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

And by doing so, she made this country a better place for all of us. We're still far from perfect - but better than we were. And so I must pause in my estuarine ramblings to say a very sincere "Thank you".

Sunday, October 23, 2005

10/23/05 Cold Spring to Bear Mountain Bridge

Just a few of a lot of pictures I took during an absolutely wonderful day - all I have time for right now, there's gear to rinse & I am going to sleep so well tonight. I'll be putting up more on Buzznet but couldn't resist at least putting up a few samples.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

TOLD you my next post would be a cute kitty picture.

This is Poosay. Isn't she cute? Plus she is a mighty hunter, killed a copperhead once. Not a big copperhead but still! Another member of my Texas aunt & uncle's menagerie. Now I have to go pack up for a trip up the Hudson tomorrow - the Pier63 hold gang is off to see some foliage, we're taking a train up, renting boats & spending the day in the Hudson Highlands, which is the most dramatic section of the Hudson & I believe the one that inspired most of the Hudson River School artists that did all those amazing landscapes back in the 19th century. Still looks like that, too. Hope to get some nice pictures!

And I think I have to declare a winner in the Frogma Language Abuse Contest, although it wasn't really a contest, just me being curious about other people's language-related pet peeves. I enjoyed all the comments but michlt of Rivertyde really cracked me up with his:

I just got back from a conference where publisher representatives were presenting us with their fall/winter releases. While these are not individual words, they are phrases that the publisher reps actually used:

1. "incentivize the customer" -- from Rep #1
2. "divisionalized structure" (of the market)-- from Rep #2

And one phrase for you from a book critic writing for which is just plain 'wrong'!

"Equally concerning to critics..."

'Concerning to'? where did he get THAT?

I don't know which bothered me more: the phrases themselves or their source. It would be better that the words(?) 'incentivize' and 'divisionalize' should never be spoken, or even thought, by anyone ever again. I even feel guilty for typing them.

I think I found this so impressive because all 3 are from industries where having a good command of the English language would seem to be a prerequisite. Had they been heard during a meeting at an advertising agency, they still would have been interesting, but there would have been a bit less of a surprise factor! I think that's what made this one sort of jump out at me.

Anyhow, must go pack for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be FUN. Trip report to follow during the week!

Friday, October 21, 2005

More on Brooklyn hearing -

One more post on this arena thing, just because I found something interesting about an article that was in the Times on Wednesday (the day after the hearing) and another that was in today.

The first, was clearly a quick review of the night's proceedings. I'm not even sure the reporter stayed until the end - he may not have been able to, I read it in Wednesday morning's paper, and I don't know what the deadline for a story is when a reporter's handing it in the night before, but this meeting ran until 11 and I can imagine that with the time required for editing, printing & delivery he may well have had to split at "halftime" to get the story in. Anyways, clearly done pretty fast in the face of that deadline. The one part that sort of puzzled me was where the reporter wrote "Both sides were well represented at the hearing...But opponents appeared to outnumber supporters in number, intensity and volume." OK, I was not there for the first half, when Marty Markowitz made his statements, but during the second half, I heard 3, maybe 4 supporters speak (including James Caldwell, as I mentioned yesterday, and all from the tight little cluster of people behind me who talked among themselves through most of the other speakers), versus a entire series of opponents. That's not exactly a ratio that would make me use the phrase "Both sides were well represented", and I would have left out the "but" and "appeared to" bits of the second half. I think "Opponents outnumbered supporters" would have been a pretty safe way of describing it.

On the whole, though, can't really carp that much - as I said, I missed the first half, and the guy had to be under some pretty fierce pressure to turn something out for publication - better to err on the side of caution & leave oneself a little safety margin with softeners like "appeared to".

The same reporter, Nicholas Confessore, had another article in today's (well technically yesterday's, Thursday's paper, I'm writing this way past my bedtime in another fit of gotta-get-this-down-now-itis and it is actually Friday right now, sigh) paper - this time he'd obviously had a little more time to think a little more about it, maybe review his notes a little more thoroughly...anyways, today's (yesterday's) article was actually a much better reflection of the general tenor of what I heard on Tuesday night.

I found it very interesting reading them side-by-side - my opinions of the topic aside, it was sort of fascinating to see the same reporter do a full story under what has to have been a pretty nasty deadline, then take the same topic & being able to work through it with a full day to consider it more thoroughly, producing a far more in-depth article. Figured I'd share.

Phew. I think tomorrow I will give myself a rest from the serious stuff & post a picture of a cute kitty cat or something of that type.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Brooklyn arena proposal hearing

As I expected, I ended up going to the public hearing regarding Forest City Ratner Corp's proposed Brooklyn arena & towers instead of for a paddle. This is rather a big deal here in Brooklyn.

It was scheduled to go from 5 to 8; it ended up going until 11 & there was a possibility that it will continue tomorrow (Wednesday).

Democracy in action, I would say if I wanted to be optimistic. I got there at 7:30 (knowing from attending various other meetings that they never end anywhere close to on time) which was plenty of time to listen to a whole range of Brooklynites stand up and state their opinions (Brooklynites are so darned good at that - I don't consider myself a Brooklynite yet, just a person who happens to reside in Brooklyn) regarding the big thing. Vast majority of opinions ranged from moderate concern to downright hatred. Topics touched upon included (but were not limited to, and please note I'm just repeating what I heard) traffic, noise & dirt during the 11-year construction time & afterwards; the eminent domain question; whether the proposal had been reviewed for defensibility against terrorist attack; the increased load on a overloaded Red Hook Sewage Treatment Plant; Riverkeeper rep cited probable increased CSO problems for the East River(CSO, btw, stands for Combined Sewage Outfall - owing to the antiquity of NY's sewage system the overflow on rainy days goes straight into the river - trust me, it's just as gross as it sounds); the effect on the ecology of the Gowanus Canal (OK, even I had a bit of a hard time keeping a straight face for that one - but then again 20 years ago people might've had the same response to concern about the ecological health of the apparently-dead North River area of the Hudson); a possibility of even worse problems with asthma in an already asthma-prone area (the Sierra Club guy who hit that one hard actually brought his 4-year old son's nebulizer & said half the kids on his block had 'em); the loss of sunlight, the interruption of the street grid, and the wind-tunnel effect that the opponents say the project will have; the sheer ugliness of the project; the way that Ratner has just sort of been given an almost Robert Mosesian carte blanche to do with Brooklyn as he sees fit - the list goes on & on. The last, I think, was really the key - on the whole, it seemed like most speakers were actually in favor of some type of development - just not a behemoth that gets dumped on them without so much as a by-your-leave. There are a couple of alternative proposals that have a lot more community support, but the way things are being done, those may not even be considered. There was a lot of resentment that this is the first chance for the public to really state their opinion of any of this when it's been in development for two years.

Now - a little while after I got there, I noticed that there was a group of people behind me that were talking amongst themselves. This was particularly brought to my attention when a woman sitting a ways away took their picture and they all started yelling at her. While someone was speaking! And as speaker after speaker took the mike, the group just kept yakking away. Repeated "shhh's" made no difference. I couldn't keep from stealing glances at them because I just couldn't get over how rude they were being - even turned around at one point & made a very cranky-librarianish shushing sign at them - they just looked back at me sort of strangely (couldn't quite tell, it could've been a look of amusement, or irritation, or just plain "yeah -- so?") & kept talking.

Finally one of them got called up to speak. Turns out to be James Caldwell, president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Development, aka BUILD.

This just happen to be the "grassroots" organization I mentioned in my last post --the one that turns out to have been being provided with office space & money by Ratner. Big Daily News story today in fact - ordinarily I wouldn't have seen it, been reading the Times since the world got so serious (and since I finally figured out the "commuter fold" that makes it possible to read the Times on the subway - do kinda miss the funnies though...) but one of the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn people was handing out copies. You can read the story & decide for yourself what you think, but what I can say for sure is that they were just kind of rude. Treated the whole thing like a joke. I finally got up & moved 'cause it was just too distracting to have them conversing behind me. Funny thing was, a couple of them actually made statements that sounded reasonably well thought-out, and their delivery sounded genuine, and y'know it takes a certain amount of guts to stand up & take the EXTREME minority position in a roomful of opponents (it was literally about 7 or 8 pro-Ratner people vs. an endless list of anti-Ratner people) - but the way they were so rude to the other speakers just completely did away with any "hmm the guy might have a point" (or at least "well, I don't really agree but I do see where he's coming from") reaction that I might have had if they'd just shown a little more respect for everybody else in the room.

Anyways, that's all, just figured I'd get this out quick while it was all still fresh in my mind.

10/19 lunchtime update - if you are interested in reading more about the hearing, and you didn't happen to find this through, they have a post (much later in day -- oops just noticed this link wasn't right, fixed now!) on the topic with a message board with more links. I followed one to TimesRatnerReport - the writer, Norman Oder, is a journalist, spoke in opposition to the project last night, and has done a pretty in-depth writeup of the evening - as I mentioned, I got there late but his coverage of the piece I was there for was very accurate.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Oh boy.

Do I go paddling tonight or do I go to the Brooklyn arena hearing?

Absolutely torn. Cripes. I did sail last night, but it was more of a motor than a sail -- the moon was amazing though --it would have been a PERFECT night for a paddle -- it made me really want to go paddling. Still, I live in Brooklyn, and I'm very curious to hear what people will be saying about this proposed development.

The deal, for anyone who's reading from outside the tri-state area, is that a big developer, Bruce Ratner, wants to build an arena & move the New Jersey Nets basketball team to Brooklyn. The arena would be surrounded by blocks of apartment buildings. I will probably get my okole kicked by various Brooklyn friends of mine for saying this, but to me, the proposed site for the arena doesn't seem QUITE as heinous as the one that was being pushed in midtown Manhattan - I'm SO glad that went away - but - in addition to some railyards, there's a lot of eminent domain involved. It's a nice little neighborhood - people's homes, shops, very nice, classic Brooklyn - & the planned development is kind of a big old THING plunked down in the middle of it. Our borough president Marty Markowitz is utterly enamoured of the whole thing (I emailed him a while back saying that I was really not looking forward to dealing with the crowds & also that it seemed like there should be space there to do something without having to take over homes & shops - he actually called me and left a very long message on my answering machine about how great it was gonna be!), there seems to be quite a strong grassroots resistance, there was a grassroots support group but there are questions about just how grassroots that bunch really is, something about Ratner giving them money...

anyways, it could be a really interesting meeting.

but it's really nice outside.

Oh sigh. I'll probably go to the meeting.

Thhhbbt. Hard to keep a kayak blog if you never get out to kayak.

Of course I did actually do some paddling-related writing over lunch hour today. Just kinda did it on SeaLevel's comments area. This was in response to an article about a guy who rented a kayak, did a lot of things wrong & ended up needing a rescue - the article's over there. This is just the sort of thing that makes me unable to be quiet.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Moods of Pier 64

Last weekend vs. this weekend!

Lovely fall day yesterday. I was tempted to paddle yesterday but had to do some seat repair. I was rolling energetically enough during "greenland love night" week before last that I knocked loose a couple of the closed-cell foam wedges that I'd glued in as bracing for the seat a couple years age. I'm trying the spray-in foaming insulation that Sticks used with good results in his Romany Explorer this time so I needed to make sure I got it done before the temperature goes down any more, I don't have access to a heated repair place. Still a day on the river, though. And the seat feels pretty solid now. And I stayed to watch the sunset.

Nothing like over a week of rain to really make you appreciate a couple of sunny ones. We're having a little more today & I'm going to go enjoy it some - not paddling, going for a run today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Short & not so sweet today

10/12 note - this was originally posted yesterday but I decided I sort of want this one to stay on top a little longer. Today's new post (I'm being nosy about words that people either really love or really hate for whatever reason, no matter how irrational) is the next one.

Can't not say something about the earthquake...20,000 - that, I can't imagine. Once again I don't have anything intelligent to say.

This has been such a terrible year for natural disasters -

Well, here's what I will do - another plug for a not-for-profit - somehow Doctors Without Borders was the was the first group that sprang to mind when I thought of organizations that would be helping out after the earthquake. There's also the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Let's not get bored of trying to help.

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Audience Participation Day at Frogma

OK...I'm going to get a little silly today, just for fun.

I'm kind of taking a leaf out of Sardonic Bomb, whose post yesterday was about names that make you physically cringe (or bristle) because you connect them so completely with some real scumbag or jerk.

I actually found that difficult - first off, I've been lucky enough and/or careful enough with my attachments to people that I can count the people towards whom I bear personal resentment (I kept it to people I've actually known personally just for convenience's sake) on one hand if I'm thinking off the top of my head. I'm sure I could move on to the second hand & possibly some toes if I really thought about it but why do that to myself? Secondly - for every name I could think of that brought to mind a disliked person, I could also think of someone I really liked who shared that name, so the negative connotations & the positive pretty much cancelled each other out.

But for some reason the "names that make you cringe" theme got me thinking of "words that make you cringe". Mostly, I really like words (don't all bloggers?) but there are one or two words - or uses of words - that have something of a nails-on-chalkboard effect on me.

Case in point:

Got any books around? Pick one up & turn it over to find the bar code. Right on top of the bar code, you'll see a number with some hyphens in it, preceded by the letters "isbn". This stands for International Standard Book Numbering. I use this number a lot in my job - we'll do three or four versions of the same title (e.g., a trade hardcover, a paperback, a reinforced library binding, and a deluxe edition), so when I go to report on sales of a title, I do it by isbn, so that I can sort out the earnings into their proper categories.

When I am talking about an isbn, I tend to say "eye ess bee en".

However, I also hear the number referred to as an "izbun", and I don't know why but for some reason that word just grates on my ears terribly. It's a completely irrational thing, and I would never dream of asking people to please not try to use that word as an acronym because I would sound like a complete lunatic trying to explain that pronounced that way, it's an ugly, graceless, clunkety lump of a non-word - see, doesn't that sound weird already? Besides, I'm a finance person, we're not supposed to have opinions about words.

So I'm stuck with izbun as long as I'm in the publishing business and now I'm curious to know if anybody else has any particular words (or uses thereof - like the old "attached please find", does that bother anyone else?) that make them wince the same way "izbun" makes me wince. If you do, can you even begin to explain why, or is it the same sort of visceral "ugh" that "izbun" gives me?

Or conversely - any words in which you find you take inordinate delight in just saying them? "Wysiwyg" fits that category for me - I can't quite tell you why but of all the weird computer jargon you hear these days, that word is just the one that I find to be the most fun.

Wysiwyg! Wysiwyg! Wysiwyg!

Why does that word make me grin? It does. And now that I'm grinning, I think I can go face my afternoon slog through the Travel & Entertainment reimbursement requests.

Can't wait to read your thoughts!

Comments are open (not that they're ever closed)!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A few rainy day pix & a Hudson River gentleman!

Pier 63 Maritime on a warm summer night

Pier 63 Maritime on a rainy Saturday in fall -

And so the season is drawing to a close. Soon it'll just be the hardy paddlers with the river all to ourselves (and the nice warm Half-King will start to be the place for our post-paddle pints) again.

A couple of other shots I took upon finding myself at the piers on a stormy afternoon - I was scheduled to work on the schooner but both afternoon sails were cancelled. I was glad, too - it was a good day for a walk and some pictures (I'd brought my camera knowing that it was not unlikely that the sails for the day would be a washout), but see those darker patches on the water in the piershed picture? That's where strong gusts are sweeping up the river (the weather reports indicated gusts to 34 knots) & those aren't much fun to deal with on a sailboat. It's not so bad that we wouldn't have gone, although without a lot of sails, if we'd had some madly adventurous passengers who were gung ho - but we didn't, they cancelled, and I expect that the captain probably didn't try to do any arm-twisting - this kind of gusty, shifty stuff makes for some kind of headachey sailing. A nice steady wind is much more fun.

The old Pier 64 piershed in the rain -

The pilot house of the retired (and abandoned, sunken and salvaged) lightship Frying Pan (named after the Frying Pan Shoals off Cape Fear, NC, of which she warned other vessels with lights & horn from 1930 to 1965) -

Of course my idea of "a good day for a walk" may not be everyone's idea of "a good day for a walk" - as long as I'm dressed for it & it's warm, I'm happy - sort of like the quiet you get on the river on days like this one.

This is the Christopher Street Pier - I have gone past this pier a hundred times this summer if I've gone past it once - this is part of the developing Hudson River Park & I've been meaning to go see it by land for ages!

I actually set up a new Buzznet gallery with more of the barge - I also added a couple more to my Schooner Adirondack gallery - note on the first one, if you happen to remember the picture I posted of the Adirondack's battered bow, this is what her bow is supposed to look like. The cable that runs from the tip of the bowsprit down to a fitting right at the waterline is the bobstay - that's what broke on the Adirondack in our unfortunate incident with the Pioneer.

And speaking of the Pioneer, the captain of that boat is a real gentleman - not only did he speak to Captain Sarah afterwards out of concern that there not be bad blood between our boats (even though he wasn't even on board when it happened, he is their primary captain and felt strongly that he needed to talk to here - he'd seen my Adirondack shirt at the Mayor's Cup post-race party & asked me to let her know that after I told him that she'd just left) - he actually invited the entire crew of the Adirondack to the Pioneer's year-end volunteer party. I actually really thought of going but in the end...well, I've been so busy lately, and I'd just had this image in my mind of how much I'd like there to be a nice, rainy weekend day to stay home curled up on the couch reading a book while a big pot of homemade split pea soup simmered away on the stove, and after wandering the riverside in the rain for hours, that just became irresistable. But I thought that was awfully nice of him to do that.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Hawaiian Islands you never heard of

I just realized that this has been lurking in drafts for quite some time - thought I was going to write more but I think I'm just going to post it!

Today in Yahoo Science - the Hawaiian Islands you've never heard of (with at least one notable exception).

You've heard of the inhabited ones - Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Ni'ihau, Oahu. You may have heard of one uninhabited one in the same area - Kaho'olawe. But there are actually a lot more in the chain, which has been created as volcanoes arise at a hot spot in the earth's crust, then drift in a northwesterly direction with the tectonic plate of which they are a part. These are known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and they've just been declared a new refuge area. You actually probably know the name of, at the VERY least, one of these islands - that would be Midway (as in "Battle Of") Atoll - but as an actual continuation of the chain of islands that makes up our 50th state, I don't believe they're really well known.

Also very worth a visit (particularly after the Yahoo link quits working, which they do eventually) - here's the website for the refuge itself - interesting reading!

Hudson River in the news

So looks like GE is going to actually start cleaning up the mess that they made! I didn't have time to really peruse the article but this sounds like good news to me.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh, this is JUST lovely...

Isn't this nice. Fun, fun, fun.

Will I still be riding the subway?

Damned straight I will.

(sorry 'bout the cussing, parents - sometimes "darned" just doesn't cut it!)

Rita report from Huntsville, TX

As promised - here's my Texas aunt & uncle's hurricane story. Call me biased, but dang I ended up with a good family. I loved reading this. A couple of sad things, a couple of people being stupid, but a whole lot of people reaching out to help each other (and their pets) - gotta love it.


Hi, all!

Katrina did not effect us much. We did, however, have several thousand evacuees staying in little Huntsville's churches and hotels for a while. Don't know what happened to their animals other than what we and you read in the papers. Gradually, though, the evacuees moved on to other places.

Rita was a whole different story. Huntsville was designated an evacuee center and thousands arrived again...this time many in their own vehicles as well as on buses. And they brought their pets with them. Animals weren't allowed in the churches and other shelters so they rounded up all the pets at our Walker County Fair Grounds. We had over 300 dogs, almost as many cats, half a dozen or so horses, some cows, a few goats, over 20 birds, some sugar gliders, 2 turtles and 1 spider! Our humane society and other local volunteers took care of this Noah's Ark.

A week ago Thursday, R&M & M's two daughters (24 and 28) (Bonnie's note - cousin of mine & family, Houston area) came up with 6 cats to weather the storm. Took them 12 hours to make the normally 1.5 hour trip. We finished making the place storm ready, got out propane stove and propane lantern plus all the flashlights. They brought up bottled water and we filled buckets and the tub with our well water. By Saturday, when it was clear the storm was going east of Huntsville, they all left and got home in 2 hours.The wind was still gusting to 60 - 70 mph, and bringing down a lot of small branches and one big branch. There were reports of power outages here but our power was still on.On Sunday we went to church and afterwards went to the animal shelter to see what was going on.Found them already full with evacuee's animals and sending every one else to the Fair Grounds where the bulk of the evacuees were being sheltered. Also they said help was needed out there so I went there.

I found a very tired group of our members and other volunteers dealing with hundreds of cats and dogs in one of the smaller buildings. There were well over a thousand people camping in the main building.

With little or no pre-planning our people did a wonderful job of keeping the pets in their cages, feeding,watering, cleaning them and not the least keeping track of who their owners were. The shelter and citizens loaned cages to the effort for those who had no cages. The bigger, and the less friendly, dogs were put in pens outside undr a large roof the normally held sheep, goats and similar animals for the Fair. The man in charge of the whole operation did a great job of getting all the food and supplies that were needed and they had a kitchen set up to feed everyone. Most all the evacuees were very appreciative of the help they were getting but as usual there were some bad apples in the bunch. On. Monday a contingent of 12 or more Texas National Guard were called in and that quieted everyone down.

Meanwhile some people were leaving and some still coming in from Beaumont and other Texas and La. coastal cities, some with pets.

We worked there from 7AM to 7PM or more Monday, Tuesday , and Wednesday. We were told Tuesday, there was to be a wedding on Saturday and the place had to be emptied by Thursday noon.. Fortunately by then the number of animals was down to about 50. By taking some to the shelter, some to foster homes and having some evacuees pick up their animals and leave, we managed to get every animal out and the building cleaned by 2PM. A number of nice cats and dogs it turned out had no known owners. Some we knew were abandoned and fortunately people stepped up and adopted them. Friday was spent tracking down the names and phone numbers of a few owners who we had reason to think had not abandoned their pets

The problem came about when evacuees without transportation of their own were put on buses to go back home but were not allowed to take their pets on the bus.
Today one of our volunteers and his wife drove my Mazda pickup to Galveston with 4 dogs and 4 cats to their owners.

Love to all!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dog and Pony Show...

Technically, of course, Copycat is a horse, not a pony. Jack, however, is definitely a dog. Both denizens of my Texas aunt & uncle's very happy menagerie (current population 2 dogs, 2 horses, 1 cat, all very friendly - I was only able to take this picture after I convinced Copycat that I didn't have a "cookie" - actually an alfafa cube - for him).

I'll be posting a little more about them on my lunch hour today - they sent out an email to the family about how their town (including their local humane society) responded to Hurricane Rita & said I could use it here.

SeaLevel writeup of minigreenlandfest!

OK, so the mini-Greenland-fest was something of a comedy of errors - but it was fun. SeaLevel has a really good writeup. I like his word "sloosh" - good description of what a Greenland paddle does as it goes through the water. It's funny, I'm not even quite sure whether I'd describe it as a sound that you hear or how the paddle feels in your hands...anyways, he did a nice writeup, and I'm really busy today so I'm gonna just send you over there!

I still can't believe I dropped his headlamp in the water. Oops.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Chosha's Meme!

One More Meme!

Chosha tagged me with a close variant of the book one I did yesterday - this is a nice simple one, figured I'd do it before I run over to the pier (we are having a little mini-Greenland-fest tonight, and since it's Rosh Hashanah my boss is out, along with half the rest of the company, that means I can sneak out now - tomorrow, however, will be pure heck)!

So here's the way it works -

Go into your archive.
Find your 23rd post.
Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
Tag five other people to do the same.

Result -

Amazing how long ago that feels - so much has happened since then.

This turned out to be a post on finding myself teaching rolling at the same pool where I originally learned to roll, assisting the same guy who first taught me. Actually wasn't too bad. Been feeling a little derailed lately - been posting, but I liked the roll (pardon the pun!) I was on with the Hanauma Bay posts I was doing before I went on vacation - everything's felt a little random & incoherent since I got back. It's just like my life - I can't pick one thing to focus on; if I could, I actually might be really good at something; as it is, I'm sort of good at a range of things, but bothered by a sense that somehow I'm not really accomplishing much, or at least as much as I could if I could pick...wait, that's getting MIGHTY circular there.

Anyways, I guess I can't really complain about having too many things I like to do, can I? Sort of like whining about how I didn't get to go with my friends to Nova Scotia because I was going to the BVI's in November - ya just don't garner a whole lot of sympathy that way!


(frogma kayak smiley patent pending - not coming back to fix if I got the spacing wrong though!)

So since I liked it, here's post #23 - Full Circle - Broken Circle. That was a pretty satisfying piece of time, when I was doing all that teaching.

Well, speaking of rolling, time to go play!

Oh - the tag thing? Again, just sign up in the comments if you want to play - really, this is such a nice short one, even I couldn't complicate it that much!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Curse of 7's/Literary Meme

So it turns out that Loup tagged me way back at the beginning of September! I missed it 'cause that was right around the time that I was getting ready to go on vacation, so I was just barely keeping posts going & wasn't really reading much, just had too much work to do before I left; then I had no internet access for the duration of vacation. Not such a bad thing. Anyhow, I was messing around on Technorati last week & discovered that Loup had tagged me - I may be late, but I'm game! So here goes with THE CURSE OF SEVENS! Thanks Loup!

7 things I plan to do before I die –

(qualifier: actually some of these are more things I’d LIKE to do – or at least think I’d like to do - and in one case just something I'd like to see but is way out of my personal control – when I plan to do something, I’m sort of holding myself to it, and honestly there aren’t a lot of things to which I hold myself – I seem to have more luck when I follow life where it leads, rather than when I really want things to happen enough to try to make them. I’m not sure whether more planning would lead to more success, or just more disappointments as I either failed to accomplish what I wanted to, or accomplished what I wanted to only to have it somehow turn out badly. You can call it a zen approach, or we can go with what all my poor teachers said when I was a kid - "Bonnie has so much potential, if she would just apply herself".) That said, here are the 7 -

1. Figure out what I want to do when I grow up – or at least make more use of the things I’m actually good at & enjoy doing.
2. Maybe go back to school…that kind of goes with (or comes after) 1, though!
3. Keep improving my boating skills, both sailing & paddling – maybe go get some sailing certifications; more navigation; more long-distance stuff & keep teaching others, too – back when I was a partner at MKC, teaching & learning all at the same time, the one fed the other, the momentum was tremendous & it was just exhilarating to find out what I could do – for myself & for others - when I tried.
4. Get over my stage fright (singing & speaking).
5. (Not a personal goal, just a hope…) See an end to this ugly trend of the religious right trying to insinuate themselves into our government (and the government’s giving in to that). I think our founding fathers were absolutely right to separate church & state – that’s why I got uncharacteristically opinionated over the ID thing. I think religion gets dangerous the minute it starts being forced on people instead of being a purely personal matter. I know that’s awfully heavy deep n’real for an entertaining meme, but in addition to the ID thing, I just finished reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi, today, so I’ve got fundamentalism on the brain right now. Good book, I recommend it.
6. Hand over the 1/3rd of the business manager’s job that I’ve been doing (and HATING) to an actual business manager! Gratuitous waste of a long-term goal, but I’m really, really sick of this, on October 15th the position will have been open for 6 months, & I resent the damper it put on the entire summer…you only get so many summers.
7. Learn to let it go when somebody I trusted hurts me & then refuses to take any responsibility for it or even speak to me in person about it – thankfully, this has only happened to me a couple of times in my life (I’m not thinking of an ex-boyfriend when I say that either) but I can still make myself cry thinking about either one.

7 things I can do:

1. Paddle pretty well.
2. Sail a boat (not by myself though, yet - just for starters, somebody else has to dock!)
3. ride a horse
4. play a little music & sing some too
5. Origami (how’s that for random?)
6. use words pretty well, once I figure out what I want to do with them in the first place.
7. Throw my whole heart into something or someone, once I make my mind up to do so.

7 things I cannot do:

1. get up in the morning without multiple snooze-alarm activations
2. get through a work day without coffee
3. take much interest in TV shows (it helps that I don’t have a TV!)
4. put down a new book until I’m exhausted, generally around 2 am
5. grow things (I try but can only manage the most uncomplicated plants)
6. Stomach the thought of actively participating in the New York dating scene.
7. Convince myself that I’m actually going to stay in New York forever.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Quiet self-confidence
2. Respect for others
3. Sense of humour
4. A sense of responsibility for their own actions
5. Intelligent – doesn’t need to be MENSA material, but smart
6. Active & outdoorsy -
7. Physically – tall, warm eyes & smile, capable-looking hands

7 things I say most often:

1. This summer’s #1 expression has unfortunately been the frustrated sigh.
2. “Sure thing!”
3. “basically”…basically, this is my annoying filler word that I basically say too much, basically.
4. “here, kitty kitty” (I seldom pass a pet cat without trying to say hello, can usually cajole all but the shyest ones over for a little petting)
5. “Sorry” (used in everything from ”Sorry to be a pain, but…” to “I’m so sorry”)
6. “Love you both!” (saying goodbye on a phone call with my folks)
7. “Schooner” (close tie with “kayak”, “paddle”, “Hudson River”, and “boat” but I think “schooner” wins cause I’m always telling my paddling crew I can’t go do x-and-such paddle on x-and-such day because “I’m working on the schooner”).

7 celebrity crushes:
1. Johnny Depp as a pirate.
2. Harrison Ford as anything
3. Chow Yun Fat (especially & particularly in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”)
4. Jackie Chan
5. Josh Brolin (digging into past a bit, I thought he was so hot in “The Young Riders” that my roommate made a running joke of it…the fact that he was always on a horse may have helped)
6. And here I am digging back even further…not being big into pop culture, I just started thinking back over any celebrity I’d ever thought was really attractive, and suddenly I was seeing a face from an 80’s band – took me a while to recall the name “Roland Gift”, lead singer for “Fine Young Cannibals” (there, have I, like, totally aged myself or what?)
7. OK, I am really reaching here, I actually had no idea what the guy looked like except that I just did a Google search for images, but…Frank Orrall, lead singer & songwriter of Poi Dog Pondering – I just love his lyrics & the way he sings ‘em.

7 people I want to do this:

1. First person who wants to
2. Second person who wants to
3. Third person who...
OK, you get the general idea, right? I don't feel like I've been a sociable enough blogger lately to tag people but if this sounds like fun to anybody, sign yourself up in comments & have at it!

Hey, and as long as I'm doing memes...I'm going to do one I saw on Rivertyde too. This is such a nice simple one that even I can't complicate it...only I'm going to, a little. Here are the rules:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Dont search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do whats actually next to you.

The book that's closest to me right now:

"Two populations that are geographically separated, like B and C in our pictorial model, are said to be allopatric." - E. Peter Volpe, Understanding Evolution (this was one of the very small number of old college textbooks that I've held onto all this time - I dug it out when the ID stuff started turning up, just to refresh my own memory & it ended up on my desk when I decided to do some writing on the topic)

The book I just finished reading:

"She said, I don't know, but maybe I just can't tell you". Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran.

I'm a little disappointed that the specified sentence turned out to be less than thrilling out of context, as I found this to be a fascinating book on many more levels than I expected from the blurb (which focuses on private classes in Western Lit which the author held for 7 of her best female students after the overthrow of the Shah - the book ranges much farther than those students or those classes, though). It was sitting next to The Bookseller of Kabul - I think I chose the one I did because it was actually an insider's view - will probably go back after the other one of these days, though, I find myself wanting to learn more about the people who live in these countries that are so far away but with whom we are so inextricably entangled.

So there's my 2-meme night - anyone who didn't play back when these were actually current & wants to, well, consider yourself tagged!