Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Spruce-Up 2! And a Nod to Poetry Month.

The boat wasn't the only thing that got some attention over the weekend - the raised bed got finished off, filled up & spiffed up too. Not quite in that order though!

Weekend before last, it looked like this:

I left having gotten just BARELY enough rocks propping up those boards. This weekend, on Saturday, I reinforced those - I think they'll stay up now - and that means I was able to turn my attention to a little decoration!

I actually found the coral & the big pink barnacles while I was walking from the bus stop to the club - it's a little odd because I'd been thinking that it would be fun to start keeping an eye out for pretty shells & beach glass & stuff to decorate with, and there they were, and don't they look nice? Let's see now, more dirt, and then...oh, there's something else, what was that again...

Oh, right, some PLANTS! I did actually get the acorn squash planted on Sunday. We'll see how they do - they really were looking poorly. Maybe some good sun & room to spread out will help. I'm sort of sorry I wasn't packing the camera on Sunday - in addition to the inaugural planting, the parakeets were around working on their nest all day.

In closing, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'd like to inflict - wait, I mean SHARE - the first verse of a song I've been making up.

It is called "The Ballad of the Schooner Anne". Because if a trip that supposed to last a thousand days isn't crazy enough to deserve to have a ballad written about it, I don't know what is.

This is the first verse. It is meant to be sung to the tune, The Rights of Man - appropriately, a hornpipe. Sailors? Hornpipe? Get it?

Next verse after this is going to start "At a pier in Hoboken the words they were spoken 'Now cast off every line!'". This could get ugly...

Oh, whatevahs. you go.

The Ballad of the Schooner Anne
first & only verse so far. But assuming all goes well, knock wood, I've got a little time to finish.

On the twenty-first of April did the Schooner Anne set sail
For to spend a thousand days among the albatross* and the whale
It was Reid and Sonya all alone ya can believe your ears
When I say they meant to sail away for two and three-quarter years.

Oh Reid built the Anne to a sturdy plan in his parents' own backyard
She had a hydroponic rig to grow alfafa sprouts and chard**
She was carved about Both in and out
With phoenix, and mermaids and sea gods
and a giant squid a-fightin' wid' a sperm whale stout.

*albatross to be sung as a triplet, otherwise the scansion gets all effed up.

**I don't think they're really growing chard. But it is a vegetable and it rhymes with backyard. So there.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Upcoming Events

Here are a couple of upcoming meetings that may be of interest -

1. Monday, April 30th:
Final meeting of the Commmunity Board 1 Waterfront Committee's Tribeca Boathouse Resign Working Group. Connie Fishman (President of the Hudson River Park Trust will be there to address the suggestions made by the group. You can review the boathouse comments here and the estuarium comments here. This should be interesting - a couple of these questions were raised at the last Advisory Council to the Hudson River Park, and Connie's response was that no, the boathouse is bigger than the restaurant - only thing is, the working group had the plans (after insisting on getting them) when they made their conclusions.

2. Thursday, May 3rd:
Also Hudson River Park related - Public Meeting on 2 proposals for Pier 40 (the big, square, pale blue pier at the Hudson River end of Houston Street, currently home to some community playing fields, parking, various offices, and 4 boating services -
New York Kayak Company (for-profit paddling shop & provider of BCU training)
The Downtown Boathouse is running an interim program there doing their patented all-volunteer free kayaking in sitatops between the piers. It seems most probable that they will be the eventual tenant of the new Tribeca Boathouse - their programs don't work for everyone, but they have been a tremendously popular summertime attraction for Tribeca residents, as was shown by the survey taken prior to the formation of the CB1 boathouse committee, and they have a history at that pier. I'm sure there will be the usual process beginning with a Request for Proposals, but I'd put my money on theirs being the only proposal.
Floating the Apple's Pier 40 Community Boathouse, a group that builds & rows Whitehall rowing dories - these always looked like fun to me, and I think this is a great way for kids who really want to start getting out on the river to learn.
In addition, there's a mooring field there for larger boats. I'm not sure who runs that but if I'm talking about current boating uses, that counts!

Both proposals mention boating, and if you dig you can find the word "kayak", but from a seemingly blank-slate point of view, none of the current organizations are named. I have heard that the Pier 40 FTA and Randy have both been at least investigating how they can continue there, but it's all very preliminary. Don't know if this specific angle will come up in more detail at the meeting, though - fact is, this is going to be of interest to a LOT more people than just paddlers - one of the proposals has been dubbed Vegas on the Hudson - you can read about it all afternoon in The Villager. There is at least one favorable letter to the editor, but mostly people are very uneasy about Cirque du Soleil as a neighbor. Should be interesting hearing what people have to say.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring Spruce-up

Nice day to day - simultaneously productive, and very, very relaxing. How often does that happen?

Started with a little gardening - I'm afraid I have to report that the acorn squashes are suddenly looking quite peaked, I probably should have been nipping the buds because they went totally nuts having flowers, and now they're crashing. It's just that the flowers were so pretty I couldn't bring myself to nip them in the bud. Sigh. Anyways, I think that they need to get outside ASAP, they just look sick, I think the transplant will either finish them off or save 'em. I finished building up the rocks that support the boards today (I'd had the absolute bare minimum last week, left meaning to shore things up - stayed up through a pretty stormy week, though!) tomorrow more dirt & then I'm FINALLY ready to plant.

I keep finding myself thinking "I'm awfully glad that I don't actually have to grow food for survival". Even this little 4x6 bed is turning out to be a lot of work, and I'm nowhere close to actual food!

Main task today, though, was attending to the

As you may or may not recall, among the many things I had listed in that totally nutty schedule I've managed to make myself for spring to early summer is a Sebago Canoe Club-sponsored 2-star Coach training. I'm pretty excited about this - in fact I'm pretty excited about the way joining Sebago has re-opened the door to doing some more year-round kayak instruction in general, something I'd never managed to do after I dropped out of Manhattan Kayak & before the barge shutdown sent me to Canarsie - but it IS requiring a fair amount of preparation!

To-do list for 2 Star Coach Training:
Renew BCU Membership
Order replacement 1st Aid card from the Red Cross (done & got it today, they were pretty fast!)
Get CPR certification up to date
Get Canoe Safety certification up to date (since I've been teaching all along, Bill Lozano, the chair of the British Canoe Union North America would have been willing to talk extension, but the problem is that 90% pf the teaching I've been doing has been in pools in the wintertime, which doesn't really keep your open water safety skills up to snuff. I do practice rescues quite regularly (good excuse for a swim on a hot day), but I haven't broken out my towrope since last May, and I just feel like I could use the practice all around).
And last but not least - this poor boat of mine desperately needed some attention. First off - the water's been off all winter, which means I've been paddling all winter without the boat getting cleaned once - so I did a thorough scrubdown, inside & out,


and bottom!

doesn't this just remind you of a dog saying "Rub my tummy"?

Very rewarding, that first scrub-out of spring. The name decal is kind of indicative of the condition of the whole boat - it was secondhand when I got it, and I've added a lot of scratches - it's never going to gleam like a new boat, but the winter's grime is gone & it's such an improvement. I was working away on the hull with a couple of scouring pads & one of the guys at the yacht club next door asked me if I wanted to come over & work on his boat when I was done with mine. The yacht club was absolutely abuzz with people working on their motorboats, the lift was running all day putting boats in the water. Lot of work, getting a winterized yacht ready for summer!

Kayaks are nice...most of the time my spring prep consists of a good scrubdown, a spritzing of UV protectant spray, and a little WD-40 on the spring-loaded clips that hold the foot braces in place (and the carabiner on my tow belt while I'm at it).

This year I've also got long-frayed decklines to replace. I'm thinking the black with the Scotch-Bright reflective stuff braided in, I think that will look sharp & the more visible I can be at night, the happier I am - of course I'll still just assume I'm completely invisible, that's the safest course. Still have to get the line, though, so that wasn't on the list today.

What WAS was that functional, but heinously ugly, seat repair that I'd done back in '05 when I found myself in the situation of having the seat break loose (the Achilles' heel of every older Romany, I understand they've fixed that) RIGHT before I was about to go off sailing in the BVI's - which happened to be at a time of the year that meant that by the time I got back, there was a strong likelihood that the temperature would have dropped to too cold for any of your repair goops to cure. A shifty or off-kilter seat can really mess up your back, so in the interest of getting the blasted repair done in the very limited time I had, I just grabbed a can of that spray-in foam you can get at the hardware store & blasted away.

Came out looking...(oh, jeeze, am I gonna put this up again...oh well, why not...

But you know what? That seat hasn't budged since then. And me being me, and constantly having more things I want to do than time to do them - prettying up the ugly but serviceable seat repair job could wait.

But I couldn't face the Chairman of the BCU North America (who's the one who's coming down to train us - and from whom I bought the boat in the first place) with a seat repair that looked like a bleached-out petrified meadow muffin - so today, I finally got around to the trimming & sealing I'd been meaning to do for a year now and - there - doesn't that look better?

Aside from looking a lot nicer (still a little cleanup around the edges but so much better), there are now a lot fewer little spots for water to seep into & make yucky things happen. I'm much happier. The stupid thing is that it didn't really take that long at all - don't know why I procrastinated for so long.

Maybe because I needed proper supervision!


Actually I had a little human company, too - there's a gentleman who plans a whole lot of really fun-sounding trips (Key West most recently, next weekend a couple of days on the Delaware, all sorts of interesting places) and posts about them on our local NYCKayaker listserve - he's not a member of Sebago, but for some slightly complicated reasons he was down in NYC & decided to get out on Jamaica Bay. He saw me doing the on-the-shoulder boat carry over to the wash racks & called out "Gotta like a woman who can carry her own boat!", and came over to say hi & once we figured out we knew each other he hung out & told some stories about his trips. Really may have to see if I can join one of those sometime. Catch is, they all kind of require a car. But they sound like fun...

Finished off the day with a few tin-whistle tunes at the picnic table overlooking the Paerdegat. Look, our cherry tree is blossoming!

Sadly, with the intensity of the schedule (and less sadly, with the approaching visit with TQ to the folks in Hawaii), I think this is about as close to cherry blossom viewing as I'm getting this year. I usually make a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at this time of year - don't see when I'm going to have time to do that this year!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Survey's gone.

The American Family Association survey is gone.

I've got no crystal ball so I can't claim to know why but the survey WAS getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere. One might wonder if that had anything to do with the vanishing pages (still visible on the Google cache, according to this site, which links to said cache).

Wish I could say yay, but I think Scott at Sardonic Bomb probably hit the nail on the head with this comment:

Actually, some of my more political sources are saying that this poll, and similar ones, are nothing but a scam for the AFA to harvest email accounts (and people that they can include as supporters, no matter how they voted). There is also speculation that the poll results don't change no matter how many dissenting votes it gets."

"In hindsight, it's probably best to never click on anything on AFA's site.

Of course it was absolutely true that after a certain point, the numbers didn't change.

And Scott's warning was backed up by the experience shared by a blogger who, unlike yours truly, wasn't too much of a chicken to give this group contact info:


I too have experienced this. As a gay man, I thought I would "let my voice be heard" by simply voicing my opinion in their poll. I noticed after I posted my choice: "This does not affect how I do business" that the number did not increase. I logged on from another computer, connected to a different ISP. Same number.

So on the other computer, I completed the survey again. Reviewed the results and guess what? The number for "less likely to do business" went up 3 numbers. The "it would not affect my decision" did not change.

So, I checked my email this morning and I get an email that says: "Click here to complete your action." I thought to myself - maybe this is like a "confirm your vote" type thing - just to make sure that the vote is legitimate.

I clicked on the link in the email that confirmed my email was accurate and added it to their mailing list. A few hours later, I received an "action alert" from AFA telling me that the "Democrats are about to deliver on pro-homosexual campaign promise.".. I have henced blogged about the same on my blog..

Brandon Greeson

Seems like a real good news/bad news situation.

Bad news (or good, if you're on the AFA board) - the publicity that bloggers gave this survey probably provided a bonanza of "supporters".

Good news (or bad, if you're on the AFA board) - I can't possibly be the only moderate-leaning-to-liberal person out here who's gone from thinking that the AFA is an organization that works to promulgate a view with which I deeply disagree, to thinking that the AFA is an organization that uses some incredibly suspicious, unethical-looking methods to misrepresent their view as being held by a far greater number of Americans than really agree with them.

I have this thing about groups that give the impression that they speak for more people than they really do. I can't seem to accept that from a group with a message that I think is basically pretty solid (ask any of my friends at the Hudson River Paddlers Guild, sigh...), and it REALLY bothers me in a group whose message is hurtful to a lot of people. And artificially inflating your email list like that? Y'know, if they were a newspaper, I think that would be called "circulation inflation", and that's a pair of words that frequently appears in the company of other cheery little words like "scam", "sue", "scandal", "fraud".

BTW, I think this concludes this particular liberal rant - it's a nice little triptych, beginning middle & end, and I'm ready to talk boats again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Very weaselly.

OK, so the word according to the non-homophobic blogosphere buzz is that that American Family Association "survey" I went off about last night is a flat-out fake. The numbers don't update at all.

1000 Days Update,

Been putting up some pictures from the Schooner Anne launch. Sorry, it's a bit haphazard, but I just don't have time to clean it up right now!

Sounds like they're going along pretty well. Soanya's had her first seasickness bout, but sounds unphased - beyond that, oh, here, you can go read for yourself!

4 down. 996 to go!

That's all I've got time for right now. Except - hey, look, the Sebago Canoe Club is blogging.

No, I had nothing to do with that, the way my schedule is I'm not quite sure why THIS blog keeps going the way it does!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How weaselly is the AFA?

OK, I haven't gone all NYC liberal on folks for a long time but I just got an email from a blogger friend that made me go "YUCK!" & I just have to say something here.

If you think homosexuality is a choice, head on down to "YIKES!", or come back tomorrow when I hope to have more pictures of pretty boats.

Anyone still here? OK...I'm no trendsetter, but I'm going to try. This one, unlike a certain bumper sticker, doesn't actually require any follow-through on my part - the good thing is, other people had the same idea & you CAN buy a Marriage=heart + heart bumper sticker on cafepress.

Here's the deal. Those lovely folks at the American Family Association have put up a one-question survey. Goes like this:

If a corporation supports the homosexual agenda, would you:
1. Be more likely to do business with that company
2. Be less likely to do business with that company
3. It would not affect my buying decision

Simple, huh?

The catch is that not only is it not random, they've totally stacked the deck to get the answer they want to send to corporations - i.e., "Our survey showed that an overwhelming percentage of respondents would be less likely to do business with a company that supports the homosexual agenda". How've they made sure they get that, even more than by just posting it on their website (random sample? but that's so...random!)? Well -

They make you give your contact info.

I don't like giving my contact info to any kind of not for profit. I am a low-level but regular contributor to any number of good organizations but that has of course led to my being on every frickin' appeal-to-the-heart junk mail list in North America. I'm constantly afraid of losing important stuff in the mountains of junk mail. I haven't seen half my dining room table since my parents' visit last October because it's the staging area for my mail sorting. I HATE that. So wasteful. Here's a MADD pen. Here's a chain to remind you of the children enslaved in prostitution. Here's some cards, here's some return address labels, here's a little ornament, now please send us money. Well, what these mooks don't get is that I have never given a DIME to an unsolicited appeal like that & never will, and am becoming less and less inclined to give to groups like the March of Dimes, Doctors Without Borders, the USO, and other groups that I WOULD like to support because it leads to SO MUCH BLASTED JUNK!!!!

Oops. Sorry. This is a sore spot for me.

Anyways - if I'm now at the point where the only way I want to give money to groups support wholeheartedly is ANONYMOUSLY, how much less likely am I to want to give my contact info to an organization like the AFA that I so profoundly disagree with?

Nope. I'm actually more likely to want to do business with a company that treats gay employees with equal dignity & respect as straights, but my reluctance to give the AFA my contact info overwhelmed my inclination to tell them that.

But I answered pseudonymously. If they somehow check, I'm sure my answer gets chucked. If they don't, yay.

And maybe if a lot of blogs post the link & send people over to fill out the form pseudonymously, it'll at least...

oh, heck, I don't know. Right now their results are 188,722 are less likely to do business vs 6238 more likely (& 3496 who don't care whether Steve's partner Sherman is covered under the same policy as Gwen's husband George). That's a lot of catching up to do.

Can't not try, though.

Here's the link to the survey.


OK...I had this nice theory that foregoing the part-time work on the schooner Adirondack this year would free up my weekends. ha. ha ha. ha ha ha.

Lunch hour today was spent making a couple of decisions & looking at a couple of calendars and the schedule fell out as follows. This makes my head hurt a little bit, actually...

May 12th - possibly a surf clinic if the club that's running it is OK with that. This would be in Hawaii Kai. Guess what? THAT IS ON OAHU! With my guy (this is assuming my guy thinks this sounds like fun - and I do believe he will, yes I do, yep yep yep). WOOHOO!

May 18th - 20th - teach at Hudson Valley Kayak Symposium. Bad me, I'll be missing the Sebago Open House on the 19th.

May 26th, CPR. Prereq for Coach II training. Thank goodness I still have a year to go on my first aid.

June 2nd, Canoe Safety. Prereq for Coach II training. There was some discussion of me requesting a deferral because I've been doing paddling work all along, but I decided I should take it since most of the work has been as a rolling instructor. Not much guiding which is where the canoe safety skills really stay brushed up.

June 10th, Trip Leader Workshop at Sebago. This bit of the gauntlet is a problem. I'm asking Gerry about it, bleah. I really, really, REALLY, want to go to the Miramar Yacht Club sailing day. On top of that my sister's decided she actually wants to visit for the first time in years. Fortunately she is very self-sufficient & may go do the Victorian Flatbush House Tour during the day. She loves stuff like that. Or maybe I'll see if there'd be room for me to bring a guest on the sail. Hope that wouldn't be too forward!

June 16th-17th, 2 star coach training.

June 23rd-24th - CRIPES. Sailing clinic, or GREENLAND ON THE HUDSON? AUUUGH! No...actually I will probably go for the sailing - I'll be attending a Kayakways workshop through the Small Boat Shop in July, I've been psyched about the sailing workshop since I heard about it, and with all this stuff on the schedule I think the simplicity of staying in Brooklyn will be preferable to going up to Croton Point.

I'll do some links for some of the events tonight, assuming I get home at a decent hour. Still at work, much I still want to finish before I go. Miles to go before I sleep...

Monday, April 23, 2007

1000 days thought, plusTribeca Boathouse Redesign MEETING RESCHEDULE

First off - there's been a reschedule of the final Tribeca Boathouse Redesign Group meeting. That was originally scheduled for tonight, now it's next week Monday (the 30th).

Secondly - I'm hoping I manage to get an evening to write down some thoughts about the 1000 Days at Sea. Let's just say that I'm not planning on putting down any amount of money I'd actually miss on their completing it. I can see as many reasons as anyone that they might not succeed.

But if they somehow beat the odds & pull this crazy thing off - I think one of the great things would be watching the sneerers eat their words.

I personally tend to have deeply ambivalent feelings about some of your more far-out expeditions. And this one is far-out to da max, yeah? But in the end, I can't find it in my heart to condemn these people. It's primarily themselves who they are putting in danger (not forgetting of course rescue personnel - I have problems with people who set out on adventures with any hint of an assumption that if something goes wrong, they'll just use their cell phone to call for help, but generally I think that's more the weekend-warrior set that tends to fall into that mindset) - if they've made peace with themselves & with their families & friends, and understand the risks - then what's the point of belittling them?

There've always been risk-takers out there. At worst, they mostly hurt themselves. At best, they inspire, and I think the human race is the richer for their existence.

Of course the Internet makes it easy to be a begrudger (like in that old Irish thing about "and may the begrudgers be drinking bogwater when we're all drinking tea"). Easy to say nasty stuff when you think no one will know who you are. I know I've watched some of my favorite bloggers deal with that - first, way back when, I watched Pia at Courting Destiny fight some very nasty right-wing smearing. Last year I watched Francis at FH20 Kayak Kuching get some real nastiness in his comments (and in fact today it looks like that wasn't over & they are still at it). More recently, Derrick, Canadian CKayaker Michael, and lovely goat-raising cocker-spaniel-rescuing Rosie have all had to go to moderated comments.

I guess in a way I'm lucky - I've had some disagreements with a couple of people over the last few months, but they all had the integrity to actually argue with me directly, openly, and generally privately, or within a smaller circle. Looking at all the weird nastiness all these other folks are dealing with, I really appreciate that.

Anyways. Wow. Only nine-hundred ninety-eight days and one hour left to go.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day (a little late!)

Now I just hope this is happy earth.

I decided that gardening at Sebago would be the perfect thing to do on Earth Day. Helped out with compost spreading & grass seed sowing in the morning, then got this far on the bed after lunch. Didn't get enough soil to fill it, but I'm finally feeling like I might actually manage to do some planting sometime before the Fall.

A couple more pictures from the garden.

What a perfect spring weekend. All sort of birds around - there was a constant, distant chorus of laughing gulls from the bay; there were mockingbirds perching on the tops of trees (I watched one singing away & at one point it did this little leap about 2 feet up & flashed the white bits on it's wings - quite the show!); there was also a boat-tailed grackle around, and one of the birders pointed out a little brown bird as a hermit thrush - she was quite excited to see it as she said this is pretty early for these to be getting back into town.

The parakeets were in and out of their nest all day - in the past, they've sat there & hollered at anybody gardening in the front of the club, but they seem to be accepting that this is part of the territory).

Most interesting wildlife find of the day, though, went to L., who found the tiniest little snake I've ever seen - he caught it by the boat storage containers, brought it over to show us (sorry, I didn't have my camera), then released it in a less heavily-trafficked area.

Decided against trying to paddle & I'm rather glad, for once. Sometimes it makes for a better weekend if you don't try to cram TOO much into it. Getting the bed mostly put to bed, so to speak, was worth it.

They're off!

There they go. Schooner Anne, heading down the lower harbor on Day 1 of the 1000 Days at Sea.

I'm wishing them luck. It's crazy, odds are more than likely against them - but dang. I hope they pull it off.

I took a ton of pictures from the Rosemary Ruth - will be posting those to a gallery hopefully before the end of the week (there's at least one friend of Reid & Soanya's I promised I'd share them with).

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Night Before The Thousand Days

What do you think it would be like to be spending your last night dockside before you cast off for 1000 days at sea?

Would you be thrilled?


1000 days.

That's two people sailing a 70-foot schooner for two and three-quarter years.

Long time. Storms will be rough. Can't stand watches with two people, it's all hands on deck 'til everything blows through, I'd think. Doldrums might be preferable. No hurry, all they have to do is stay out there to succeed.

I wonder how they feel tonight. Got to be strange feeling the designated hour marching closer & closer, after all the years of imagining & preparing.

I wonder if they'll sleep tonight - or if they are just spending their last evening ashore, saying goodbye to all their friends & family properly, before the press conference.

What can it possibly feel like?

I can't imagine.

Can you?

1000 days.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sun sun sun here it comes!

Or rather there it goes, it was still pretty grim-looking this morning, although the storm's well behind us now. Tonight, though, I walked out of work into a perfect Spring evening. I ended up wandering out to Sheepshead Bay after work. Drop-dead gorgeous sunset. Sweet.

Actually it's funny, I went out to Sheepshead Bay tonight with the intent of taking a picture of one of the fishing fleet that had evidently sunk at the dock in the deluge. TQ came down last night for our first real date since March (most fortuitously, our Spring busy times coincided perfectly, his shop has a big spring sale that he was tied up getting ready for, while I was in chained-to-cubicle-until-08-budget-is-done mode - it's officially pretty much done now, HURRAY!) and I decided it would be fun to go to this Turkish restaurant out there for dinner. TQ likes a good beer, and this place, Liman, has Efes, a very wonderful Turkish pilsener. My first visit to this place was a couple of weeks back with Mr. SeaLevel & Hinemoa before one of the Miramar sailing classes - I think I may have mentioned Mr. SL's inspired description of this beer, which was "What you really want Budweiser to taste like, only it never does..."

They also have this appetizer that involves taking goat cheese & maybe some herbs, rolling it up in phyllo dough, and frying it. OMG.

Oops, didn't really mean to lapse into restaurant review mode but doesn't the thought of little crispy shells full of hot melted goat cheese sound good?

If you eat the entire plate of 6 your arteries explode, of course. Next time maybe I'll make it past the appetizer list, get an entree, and split the goat cheese roll as an appetizer. I think 2 or 3 would be the perfect level of indulgence.

Anyways, to get there, you walk out to Emmons Avenue & stroll past the fishing piers, and as I started to say, one of the fishing boats had sunk, and since this week's theme seems to be sad & gloomy (weather, news, big big sigh) I figured a picture of a sunken boat would fit in perfectly. So off I went to Sheepshead Bay for the second night in a row, only to find that the boat's people had been EXTREMELY busy - not only had they refloated the boat, but it actually looked like they'd already repainted! Think they'd been in the process of a Spring spruce-up anyhow, so they must have gotten an incredibly early start, refloated, scrubbed, let dry & then carried on with the painting. Those folks must have been EXHAUSTED by the end of all that - they did some incredible work, you would never know the boat had been sitting on the bottom of its' slip in an oil-containment-boom corral the day before.

So no, no sunken-boat pictures. Just another glorious evening on yet another interesting part of the NYC waterfront.

Actually, it's nicer that way.

Also nice is that I think we're getting to the point here in NYC where there's enough daylight to start doing some post-work outdoor activity more regularly. Maybe not for paddling -- we're still in drysuit season, as far as wimpy Hawaii-raised I am concerned, makes for a lot of prep time & a lot of stuff to be schlepping on the subway at rush hour -- but I'm thinking that heading out to the club for some post-work gardening would be a nice way to end a work day.

Can't WAIT for post-work PADDLING to get going.

More Sad News...

Oh, no.

Don Ho can't be dead. That's a little bit like James Brown being dead. Just shouldn't be.

I don't think a dip into the Horse's Mouth has ever given me quite such a shock.

It's funny, now I'm actually sort of sorry that I never went to see him sing. Wouldn't have dreamed of it when I was a kid, of course, wasn't the coolest kid on the block but I wasn't THAT square. But I've been out there a few times more recently - and Don Ho was a cultural icon.

I think the thought of finding out if he was still performing and, if he was, dragging TQ to a concert when we go out there in a couple of weeks, had actually had flitted through my mind. Yes, "Tiny Bubbles" is kind of Hawaiian kitsch, goes nicely with tiki bars, "Blue Hawaii" & Hilo Hattie's, (where I had pretended to want my folks to go acquire the his n' hers matching aloha wear I tried to convince TQ I wanted us to wear on our visit to my folks - unfortunately forgot to muster Dad's complicity in the joke beforehand so instead of playing along, asking for sizes, etc, he was just confused by my very uncharacteristic request).

Thing is though - the kitsch is part of modern Hawaiian culture (just don't imagine for a minute that there isn't a WHOLE lot more to it), and I think most people who grow up there have a warm, if humor-tinged, affection for it.

And that's why I'm genuinely sad about the news. It's awfully hard to imagine him being gone.

Sad Whale News.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a bad feeling about that whale's chances in the Gowanus.

I wish I'd been wrong, but I wasn't - the poor thing died yesterday. Here's the NY Times report.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News at 11:13

Well, long day at work, fastest of link postings before I flee this joint.

Most New York folks have probably heard about this by now but for the non-residents, our big harbor news today was of a small whale who's possibly lost it's mother & has wandered into the Gowanus Canal. That's the Gowanus Canal up above, I took it during a great walk in Red Hook I took last summer - went to see a Caribbean dance performance & wander around. Took a few pictures, of course. Anyways, though, this is no place for a whale even on a clean-water day, let alone after this deluge...I'm keeping my fingers crossed but it just doesn't sound like a good situation for the poor little (relatively speaking) thing.

In happier news - there's a really nice article about a lot of peoples' favorite greenland rolling/yoga gurus, Cheri Perry & Turner Wilson, in the Hartford Courant. You can read it here!

Still stunned by yesterday's terrible news about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I don't have anything worth saying about them anymore than I did about the dissappearance of Andrew McCauley so close to the end of his Tasmanian Sea crossing.

That was tragic - but at least he died chasing a dream, and had to have known that there was a chance of not making it...

Those kids...


Sorry. I guess although I don't have anything worth saying to say, I wanted to at least give them the respect of mention.

Go read the Cheri & Turner article. It's nice. It'll make you smile (especially if you've ever had the good fortune to cross paths with them).

Right, that's it, going home now!

Historic Hudson Film Night & Bon Voyage to the Schooner Anne!

This just in in the email. I went to this last year, it was great (although it was out on the barge & it was COLD!). Don't know if I'll be able to go this year but HAD to post it here! I've been working very hard lately & as I mentioned, I've haven't had much quiet time at home lately, and this weekend's shaping up to be pretty busy - but this IS a wonderful way to see a bit of New York's maritime history. Mmm, looking at that selection again - early 1950's promotional film about the Queen Elizabeth? That's got to be great...and Moran tugs, why they're a fixture in NY Harbor with the big white M on their stacks, that short film's tempting...
Seats are still available

2nd Annual New York Harbor Historic Films Program
This Thursday April 19, 2007 7:00 P.M.

A two-hour presentation by film historian Mitch Dakelman
Norwegian Seaman's Church
317 East 52nd St. (Between 1st & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10022

30 minutes
Produced by Marc S Balkin

20 minutes
Film about the Moran Tugs.

35 minutes - Color with narration
Produced in the early 1950s by John Bransby Productions for Cunard Lines, this promotional film showcases the RMS Queen Elizabeth and what passengers can expect on their journey, starting in New York City and ending in England. Launched by Cunard in September 1938, this magnificent 83,637-ton 1,031-foot-long vessel was the largest passenger ship in the world until 1962. With 761 cabins, she carried 2,283 passengers in luxurious comfort.

The film depicts the Queen in all her majesty, offering an extensive full-color tour of her living, dining, and recreational facilities. From her classic cabins, kitchens, swimming pools and huge deck spaces to her elegant dining rooms, this film is a lasting tribute to the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which met a very unfortunate end in Hong Kong harbor in early 1972.

Free for members of the Working Harbor Committee
$10.00 for non-members (includes membership)
Refreshments available

Brought to you by
The Working Harbor Committee

Reservations essential - to reserve:
Email John@HiddenHarborTours.Com

Coming events:

Working Harbor Day

Sat19 May 2007 – 11 AM – 3 PM

Special Sunset Hidden Harbor Tours®

Wed 20 June & 18 July at 6 PM

For more info visit
And since I'm posting events - here's another pretty exciting one - might even say once in a lifetime, as I don't ever expect to hear of anyone else challenging this record that the Schooner Anne sets out to try to reach starting this coming Saturday!

Yes, it's a Bon Voyage Party for Reid, Soanya and the Schooner Anne - see them off on their long-awaited 1000 Days at Sea (Non-stop. Did I mention non-stop? that's the wild part. Anyone could go while away 3 years most enjoyably cruising from port to port - but the ports are half the fun, at least to my rather unimaginative way of thinking. 1000 days non-stop? I could never do it, I'd go completely mad. But I think it's awesome somebody's actually going to try it). Here's their blog, and here's the info for the bon voyage party.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Raining, cat, and dog!

Kabocha squash vine at 3 weeks of age (April 1):

2 weeks later (April 14th):

Today is the official last frost day for this part of the Northeastern US, so as soon as I can line up a few hours of free time during daylight hours to finish building & filling my bed, I can get these guys outside.


Not today though. Big storm today. I know it's hard on a lot of people but I've been so overscheduled lately, in a way, this almost feels like a gift - today was supposed to be a work day at the club, followed by a sea kayak committee meeting, and then I was probably going to try to squeeze in a paddle. Instead, I spent all morning curled up on the piece of furniture I have come to think of as "The Evil Futon of Nap" with a book and a cup of ginger peach tea. Now I'm going to putter. Yay. I was way past due for a day like this.

Puttering may include getting a start on the "Cast of Characters" I've been meaning to do for so long. I'm in the perfect mood to do that 'cause I had the best time last night hanging out with many of them - New York Kayak Polo's fundraiser was a huge success (at least from how many people came & had an absolutely great time).


Me, some of the glamorous ladies of NYKP, and the official mouser of the Brooklyn Brewery (who likes guests who let her keep their coats warm)!

Come on kitty, time for you to give back our coats & let us go home.

Goodnight, Brooklyn Brewery kitty! This has to be the hardest working cat in Brooklyn - that's sacks and sacks and sacks of grain she's sitting on, and I'm sure that once the guests are away, the mice would like to play. And stuff they little mousie faces, too.

And Dog!

As I mentioned, I wasn't able to make the Sea of People, but through the kindness of Mr. Sea Level & Hinemoa, I had a very cute, furry four-legged proxy there! Meet Matilda. More pictures from what looks like a very nice day over here!

And here's a link to a video clip
that one of the outrigger canoe team, who's also an avid biker, posted to NYCKayaker (local kayak list run by the Hudson River Watertrail Association - like to mention the group that provides that list when I get neat stuff through that list!)

In closing, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy Jackie Robinson Day, right from the heart of Brooklyn! Mostly celebrated in ballparks, but seems particularly worth mentioning this year after the young ladies of the Rutgers basketball team showed so much of that same spirit & class in the face of such total mean-spiritedness. Ugh. Oddly enough, I don't have a T.V. and I don't really follow sports, but a couple of weeks ago I was at my Tuesday night Irish music seisiun, and the pub's TV was showing one of the womens' games, and at the end, as the cameras were roving around the faces of the players, their friends and their families - I was suddenly amazed by how absolutely beautiful these young women were...not in the way the media usually depicts "beauty", not fashion-model barbie-doll beauty, but in a much better & stronger way.

We're better than we used to be - but boy, we still have so far to go.

Happy Jackie Robinson Day.

New York Public Library, 4/14/07

Look what a beautiful Spring day. Daffodils. Sunshine. New York Public Library looking particularly lovely.

Only problem is, if you were to sit down with a map & figure out the most efficient route I would need to have travelled to get to my planned destinations today - you'd notice that the New York Public Library wasn't really anywhere close to that route...


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Boaty but non-boating weekend...

Well, this strikes me as pretty funny.

Starting from 7:30 pm tonight, I am having a whole boat-related weekend - but it's looking like that won't include even a short time in a boat!

Tonight, I attended my 3rd & final classroom sailing class at Miramar Yacht Club in Sheepshead Bay. 'Cause you never know when you're going to need to sail a classroom.


BTW, the photo above is from a great walk I took on New Year's Day afternoon this year. Randazzo's. Highly recommended by the one & only (although currently on hiatus with a lot going on) Mr. Sea Level. We're already plotting a lunch paddle from Sebago.

Funny...I was just wondering how Randazzo's fried clams are, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with nostalgia for Ivar's...

I learned about the sailing class from the sailing chair at Sebago - seriously, I can't get over how many entertaining doors are opening up from something that I originally thought was just the worst thing (the barge shutdown). Excellent class - 8 hours of very good instruction for fifty bucks, and they'll take all their students sailing in June. Can't beat that price, no how, no way. It was a really good review & I learned a thing or two, to. Tonight, I learned that gondolas are designed asymmetrically so that they'll go straight even though the gondolier only sculls on one side. Plus I learned that buoys always have those flat parts on top as radar reflectors. Then we got to tie knots & throw lines. There's also been a lot of discussion of sailing onto and off of moorings and docks, and they talked about steering with sails (not something done too often on the Adirondack!). Plus a good methodical review never hurts. Plus I can still throw a line OK. Yay. Never know how that's gonna go after a whole winter of no line-throwing.

Tomorrow - What's more important that Sea of People? A friend's baby shower! Hopefully the sea still has plenty of people. Then in the evening, off to a fundraiser for New York Kayak Polo. Then Sunday...well, there's supposed to be a workday at Sebago, although with a forecast like so:


I think the work detail is going to be restricted to cleaning up the clubhouse. Then there's a sea kayak committee meeting.

Just call me a social kayak butterfly (almost said "What a social butterfly, just call me Paris", but on second thought, I'd rather you didn't & that's a pretty strong preference, too. Yuck).

So - Boats, boats, boats, boat friends, boat friends, boat friends - but no actual boating!

Thought about going on Sunday but that forecast sounds a bit beyond what I'd call fun. Boo. Not fair.

Should be a fun weekend, though.

Wow, I hope the osprey's new nest doesn't blow away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sea of People

Just wanted to put up another quick plug for this Saturday's Sea of People event.

I was hoping to go, take some pictures, but something came up that's actually more important to me...actually there are about 4 different things I would have liked to do on Saturday & there being only one me, I had to make a decision. Never claimed to be a real activist. However - it sounds like a really interesting way to get a message across, so I'm going to take advantage of my moment in the Curbed spotlight to mention this again!

The idea is - get as many blue-clad people to gather in Battery Park at noon on April 14th; hold a rally; then have those people form a living depiction of where lower Manhattan's high-water mark would be if the ocean levels rose 10 feet.

Here's a video they've put together:

And here's a website that got posted on one of our local kayak listserves that's got animated models of the flooding that Category II hurricanes would cause to 3 major coastal US cities given a far more moderate rise in sea levels - (between 2 & 3 feet).

Gave rise to much lighthearted banter about how useful our kayaks would become...but y'know, if it really happened, I don't think we'd find it to be a laughing matter. Not by a long shot.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Barge Has Moved!

Word just in from Nancy, the Hudson River Watertrail Association's Metropolitan Coordinator (who I must mention has been attending all these meetings for years due to her HRWA role - the rest of us tend to go when things get interesting, then lose track of 'em when things quiet down)- the barge has moved, everything went well, and John Krevey (the owner) is feeling good about the new location!

Thanks, Nancy, for keeping us up to date & for patiently & quietly being there representing paddlers' interests all along. Thanks, HRWA, for recognizing the need to have someone doing what Nancy's been doing down here even when things aren't so exciting.

Now looking again at the email, I see she said something about hoping people could post & share her pictures...I'd be delighted!

Photos by Nancy Brous:
a few views of the barge at the new location...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

4/7/07 Jamaica Bay afternoon paddle

Paddled for a couple of hours this afternoon. Cold & windy, but it felt good to get a bit of a workout. SPECTACULAR skies. Headed out in the Elder's Point Marsh direction today - no particular destination, just here & there, moving along well with the occasional birdwatching pauses. Looking at the chart afterwards I think I did about 8 miles. Going to sleep WELL tonight.

Spring is definitely sprung at Sebago.

The gardening committee's been shopping!

And there's a breeding pair of ospreys working on a nest on the platform at Canarsie Pol. Sorry, much closer than this & they started looking at me funny, so I backed off. Wondering if I'm going to have to get a camera with a proper zoom...

Passing the nest again on the way back. Osprey with aforementioned spectacular sky. I don't think she budged all afternoon. He was moving around a bit more - chasing pesky seagulls & such.

And I was going to post a few more spectacular sky shots, but the upload thing just gave me an error message and I'm too tired to fight with it...need to go rinse off the salt & get to bed!

Here's wishing a very happy & peaceful Easter to those who celebrate!

Things get weird.

(For anyone coming in from Curbed - sorry, this will seem a little incoherent. It's all about a boathouse at Pier 66 - a pier that at one time I might have hoped to paddle out of, and a team of organizations that submitted one of the proposals to run that boathouse. Crazy Fingers has links for as many of the groups involved as he could find links. The first three are the paddling groups that have called the barge home for a long, long time. Good groups, dedicated paddlers, Manhattan Kayak is where I learned to kayak, learned to teach, was a partner for 3 years - ended up not staying with the company but my involvement there was one of the most intense learning experiences of my entire life. The last 2 are more recent players. I know nothing about this Waterfront Realty - nobody seems to, their participation was actually on the agenda of the members-only meeting I refer to below - but the Hudson River Paddlers Guild...well, I don't necessarily think they are bad guys (in fact some of them are people I rather like paddling with), but I've found their approach to things to be incredibly frustrating. Plus, as I've told their leaders repeatedly, they'd come across a lot better if they weren't so weird about sharing information.

Would actually be simpler if there were some easily-identified bad guys in this. Life never works that way, does it?

So I've gone from ecstatic over rumor #1 that I'd put up then taken down at the request of a couple of friends who've been involved, to feeling a little queasy about it.

The leadup to how that cat ended up getting out of the bag was weird. A couple of months back, I'd questioned a decision by the leaders of the Hudson River Paddlers Guild to have a closed, members-only meeting at a private residence to discuss matters of interest to independent paddlers, especially those storing kayaks on the barge. This meeting wasn't publicized to anyone but members and "friends of the Guild", they didn't even want to tell the Rustbucket trip planning group.

To get on the "friends of the Guild" list, you'd had to follow the instructions in their introductory email, which went out to an oddly limited group in the first place (they never posted it to our local NYCKayaker list, more a pre-selected group). I'd found out about that meeting because I'd asked to be added to the list. After questioning the meeting setup, I never got any news from them again. I don't know if the questioning led directly to my deletion from the "FOG" list, but I'd seen another situation where someone questioned & then was not on the lists anymore. Tough not to see a pattern there.

By Thursday, I was overwhelmed with curiousity - had heard some vague rumours about the barge moving, and knew the Trust had planned to make a decision on the boathouse by the beginning of April. So I asked on the Rustbucket list, which is a little more private than the NYCKayaker list, and somebody posted the answer to the boathouse question (please note that the barge move & the boathouse-operator questions were really two very separate questions). And somebody who didn't realize I wasn't someone who the Guild was giving information to anymore sent an answer, meaning to send it to me, and sending it to the whole group instead. Happens with Yahoo groups, they are set up to send replies to the whole group by default.

Anyways, did a little more asking around with a couple of people - turns out nothing's signed yet, there are questions on both ends, and holding the announcement until everything was done would have been more appropriate...but I'd already posted it here, and told BlogChelsea and it's out on the Rustbucket list, and also among the NYO (only on the NYO list they're just happy and excited - gee, like I was a couple of days ago, I miss that)and there's another blogger, Larry on the Yahoo list. Sigh. Clearly Bill Bergeron hasn't learned that thing about don't send out any emails that you wouldn't be fine reading as the top story in tomorrow's edition of the New York Times.

Well, I hope & pray that nothing bad comes of my asking a question. I can't imagine how but remember how the other day, I was saying that if I asked the Trust, and they'd given it to Randy (sole prop., New York Kayak Company) , I'd blame myself. I'd heard that he'd been pretty prickly to his set of Pier 63 refugees, even though they are paying him...still, now he's the one in the terrible situation of not knowing whether the shop he's put so much of his life into will have a home after the Pier 40 proposal decision is made. That would put anyone in a resentful mood...

ugh. Just more fun with musical-chair boathouses in the Hudson River Park. Dang. Hind sight 20/20 and all but it would've been so nice if at some point, there'd been a survey of boaters operating in the park through the efforts of grassroots organizations & enterpreneurial efforts, with an eye to encouragement & expansion of water-dependent recreation, including but not limited to providing interim storage...ah, there, what a bad case of community-gardenitis I get when talking about my own hobby.

Community-gardenitis is my term for a certain specific variety of squatter's rights. Community gardens are really a wonderful feature of New York City - you can be walking down an ordinary residential block on a hot summer day, and suddenly there's this little green oasis tucked into a vacant lot between two buildings, breathing cool earth-leaf-and-flower-scented air on you. Some of these are fully established - like the one that started it all, the Liz Christy Garden, which is just lovely. I think I've heard about less formal ones, though, that end up leading to heartbreaking situations all around when a developer ends up deciding to build on a lot that houses a garden...that's tough, in an ideal world we'd all have room for gardens, and everyone who had a vacant lot would offer it to gardeners to use until they needed it - a garden is so much nicer than an ugly vacant lot. Only problem is that after gardeners have put a few years into making that vacant lot bloom, they're naturally going to start feeling a sense of, if not ownership, then at least of vested interest...then if the owner comes back & wants to build, who's the bad guy?

That business of having this powerful sense of ownership without actually owning...that's what I think of as community-garden-itis. Applies way beyond gardens, though.

So when I start saying things that sound like I'm saying that the Trust should make sure that they preserve whatever boating establishments have sprung up as interim tenants, subtenants, whatever...I do try to keep in mind that when Manhattan Kayak moved to the barge where New York Outrigger had already been based for a couple of years, we knew we were gambling, we'd known it was temporary from the git-go. Randy must have known he was making the same gamble when he moved to Pier 40. A lot of neat stuff happens in NYC because there are people who are brave enough to take a chance on a temporary set-up. Some work out. Some don't. That's the city for you.

For all that, though, I do wish that the boaters were being watched out for a lot better. The Hudson is an incredible river, and it's unfortunate that some of the people who love it the most end up being put into situations where they end up going head to head when storage goes away, even temporarily.

The whole thing makes me awfully awfully glad to have landed on the so-much-less-fraught banks of the Paerdegat.

Speaking of which, I think I hear the Romany calling!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rustbucket News

slightly later in the day...almost forgot, heard a far more rumorish rumor that the barge may be moving VERY soon, like maybe tomorrow. No word yet from the DEC, at least as far as I've heard, but I think that at one of the recent meetings there was discussion of looking at the north side of the barge once it's moved. Theory is that will be too small a space (between the north side of the barge and the south side of Pier 66) to allow any large motorized vessels to use it, which would mean that kayaks could be there even if you accept the premise that motorized & non-motorized vessels have to be separated. Post move, I guess people will be checking things out, see how everything will actually work spacewise.

later still...update on still EXTREMELY rumorish rumor - windy forecast has put the kibbosh on tomorrow. Probably safest to say that the barge is supposedly going to move sometime in the next few days & leave it at that.

Don't hold me to it, though, OK? If I was a journalist, this would be some pretty darned irresponsible journalism. Fortunately I'm just a blogger.

Jeeze. I wonder how excited I'd be if I actually planned to go back?

Friday morning - took down rumor #1 at request of 2 old friends. Will repost when it's not a rumor any more. Sorry guys, I got a little too excited.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Smokey Mountain Breakdown is one of the blogs that made it onto my blogroll in my last Blogrolling update (biannual, whether it needs it or not - oh, who'm I kidding, it always needs it...). I first ran across Rosiewolf over on Buzznet, back before they became quite so...well, buzzy...seemed like it used to be more about photography, but then I guess Flickr kinda elbowed Buzznet out of that niche & so Buzznet's now all about bands I'm far too old and square to ever have heard of. Anyways, I'd loved Rosie's pictures of her farm & community, and she wrote lovely commentary - and then she stopped posting. Finally one day I stumbled over the answer on one of her last Buzznet postings - turned out that DSL has not made it to her corner of the world & with all the extra "stuffs" Buzznet added to appeal to the fan-tykes, her phone modem would have a li'l meltdown when she tried to open the site.

That being concurrent with Blogger's improved photo uploading thing (which had some glitches in the beginning, but now seems to do the job almost all the time), it turned out that she'd decided to concentrate her efforts on her Smokey Mountain Breakdown Blog.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the window she gives me on a VERY different world.

She's a great writer - left the following comment about squash the other day that just killed me:

I'm getting fresh squash seed this year to plant. Most of what I had saved from 2005 came up as mutant zombie squash last year. Squash and gourds are very promiscuous and breed freely with each other. You never know that your prize winning pumpkin was getting it on with the trashy slut gourd from across the hedgerow until it comes up all mishappen and inbred the next year. Though I did have a happy accident between my heirloom punkies and heirloom yellow summers...tasty pumpkin that was easy to peel. It'll never happy again though.

Prize winning pumpkins getting it on with trashy slut gourds...holy cow. Who'd-a thunk squash could be so spicy? And here I always thought gardening was a rather quiet hobby...ha!

Anyways. She's also very good at serious, and she's just finished the fifth installment of an unbelievably moving coming-out story. I've got a lot of friends who are gay (including the guy who started me blogging, a dear friend from college - sadly, he shut down his blog not long after I started, it was great fun while it lasted) and I've heard a few. Coming out seems like it's got to be the most amazingly pivotal process - almost said moment, but it's hardly a moment, - in a gay person's life - you never know how people are going to react.

Rosie's told a story that reads like fiction, but her "Friend Scott" is a real person. 5 installments. Can't resist sharing his story - her story - her story about him. If it doesn't give you chills...hopefully it'll at least make you think.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Upcoming Events...and The Rustbucket Gang is Still Holding Their Collective Breath.

OK, got a hit from somebody doing a Google search under "hudson river trust rfp Pier 66". I'm not the only one dying of curiousity, so fast post here to say -

I don't know.

No official word yet; I emailed my friend Richard at MKC and they don't know yet either. Sigh. I'm scared to email the Trust and ask them, because then if they decided to give it to New York Kayak Company instead of the barge will somehow be my fault. Rationally I know that's not true but there's SO much of the human mind that's NOT rational that I'm afraid to ask.

Trust me though (pun unavoidable), there will not be a long lag behind my hearing and it turning up here.

A couple of other QUICK items of interest before I return to my forecasting -

1. The Working Harbor Committee has posted a Calendar of Events for 2007. Maybe since I'm not (really, no, I'm not) working on the schooner this year (I mean it, seriously, I'm not), I'll actually manage to go on one of their highly-regarded Hidden Harbor Tours!

2. OMG. Speaking of way-way-out-there voyages... Reid says he's leaving on April 21st for his epic 1000 Days at Sea voyage. I left a comment in the last post about how I like boating, but also enjoy the going-ashore part at the end of a long day...well, the stated plan is that Reid, Soanya and the schooner Anne won't be going ashore for just shy of THREE YEARS.

He's been looking for crew from time to time. Somehow, I have never been in the least bit tempted, but I'll follow their voyage with the same fascination as I've followed his extended preparations. If they actually pull it off? That will be a truly astounding feat of endurance. And tolerance. I could never do it. Nope. Nu-uh. Notice this blog is named after an amphibian? No coincidence there.

Anyways. Wow. Best of luck to Reid & Soanya. Gogogo! (and go, and go, and go...)

Thanks to Tugster for the tip-off!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Another Frogma Public Service Announcement

This in on NYCKayaker on Sunday from one of the local paddlers who's done a fair amount. Too tired for a post of my own tonight but just thought I'd pass this along. Not for me, but who knows?
To NYCKayaker:

We have a swimmer who needs a team of really strong kayaker(s) with good skills and endurance to escort her on a "one of a kind" swim. You must have a valid passport. The schedule is still being created. All expenses would be paid at completion of the swim.

We look forward to hearing from you. Here is the plan and the route.

Step 23 is the critical one.

Best wishes, R.C.


past my bedtime now. One last thing though - there's this weird-lookin' thing that shares the storage container with the Romany and the ski. Strikes me that Joe "I'm tired of sake, weekend wahines, Friday fish and lurkers" Rouse might have something to say about it, maybe --

Sunday, April 01, 2007

More windowsill.

Didn't make it out to Sebago to either garden or paddle this weekend - that was my original plan, but a very good friend suffered a very bad loss last week & when it turned out that just having friends around was helpful, next to that, original plans didn't matter. We went out for a walk on the boardwalk today - it turned out to be Opening Day there & I was SO sorry I'd left my camera - even on a cold & windy day, people were out riding the Cyclone, eating corn dogs, playing games of skill - lights were flashing, bells ringing, dough frying - . There were polar bear swimmers holding hands & dancing in rings in the grey and still icy water - and stiltwalkers, and a giant rabbit who wanted hot dogs, and I glimpsed a tiara'd prom queen - who could have been a queen in more ways than one - back in the dim recesses of that Coney Island classic, Ruby's...

J's sad, but he was taking all of this in and enjoying it. He's Brooklyn born & raised, he loves this borough, and - well, I think it was good, and he's got good things to do for the rest of the day, and I'm glad I skipped the paddling in favor of going out to the boardwalk. I never realized that April 1st was one of the significant days in the Coney Island liturgical calendar, just like the Mermaid Parade and the New Year's Day Polar Bear swim.

Svmer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!

And speaking of sed a-growen,

As I mentioned, I've started a few other random seeds from vegetables purchased at the grocery store. One of them is a kabocha squash, or Japanese pumpkin. I was looking at it closely this morning & noticed these wonderfully delicate-looking little spiralled tendrils beside tiny new leaves. Pictureworthy.

I'm not sure I want to plant this thing, though. Claire and CKayaker Michael both warned me back when I started the first set of squash (and the garlic, which didn't work out, but was fun for a little while) that squash plants have a tendency to take over. Well, the acorn squash plants have been reasonably well behaved so far & in 2 weeks I'll be able to move them out to the raised bed I'm working on out at Sebago.

This kabocha squash, though? I'm wondering if it's name is Squashzilla. Or Audrey II. Just LOOK at this. The kabocha is the one in the taller pot on the left. Remember, the acorn squash were started in mid-January. I think I planted the kabocha seed about 3 weeks ago - and it's already as big as the acorns, and much less open to the sort of suggestions of "Here, why don't you grow over this way, and then come back over here" that the acorn squash plants have been very good about listening to. We're talking about a 4x6 bed max here...probably smaller as I hear that I ended up laying out the area a little closer to another bed than it should have been (has to be room to walk between & I totally forgot that people tend to put potted plants around the outer perimeter of their beds, have to make allowances for that). A plant that's gotten this big in 3 weeks? Hmmm...maybe not, huh?

and here are some nice little cherry tomatoes. I was eating some cherry tomatoes one night a couple of weeks ago when I remembered the "volunteer" cherry tomato plant we had in the backyard of the house I grew up in in Aiea. We didn't plant it, it just grew there without a bit of assistance except for maybe a little water; we got tomatoes from it, and (best of all for working with a small space) it really seemed to just stay in this one little corner by the stairs down to the second terrace, where we also had 3 papaya trees (named after my mother's 3 cousins), a bird of paradise, and a lovely bougainvillea plant, and 6 or 7 plumeria trees that my folks planted after they'd had the land cleared & the terraces built.
The way the terraces worked was that we were on a hillside, and the property went down in three giant steps - the front of the house was on the ground on the first step; there was a lava rock wall that the house straddled; the "aft" end of the house was on stilts 15 feet up in the air, then well past the footprint of the house there was a 2nd lava rock wall. The plumeria trees grew in a line along that wall, and it was nice because when you had a visitor coming in from the mainland & wanted to make them a lei, you could reach a lot more flowers walking along the wall (once the trees got tall enough, which did take time) than you could have from the ground. My mom picked some lovely colors, too - the familiar white with a yellow center, but also pink ones with a yellow heart, and ones with petals streaked in commingled pink and yellow, and finally a deep, rich scarlet.

There was only one tree with scarlet, and it didn't seem to have as many flowers as the pinks and whites and variegated, so you could seldom get enough flowers to make a whole scarlet lei, but you'd work in what you could get & they'd make lovely accents...

Oh my. How was that for an unexpected little wander down memory lane, all the way back to "small-kid time"?

Nothing like spending good time with a grieving friend to get a person reflecting.