Friday, May 30, 2008
Life compressed to weekend days
Sad to drown on land.
That's right, it's Self-Pity Party Part 2!
1st one was no cake.
This one is worse - no malasadas, no saimin.
OK, the malasada/saimin reference is probably completely cryptic to an awful lot of people...what does that mean? Just that my parents have left Hawaii & on top of half my division leaving & general year-end close madness, I'm howlingly homesick - couldn't even get in a last trip before they left.
That's not to say I've given up on getting out there this year as I'd originally planned. Whether I can pull that off remains to be seen. But god, what I'd give for lunch at the Forty Niner in Aiea...
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I'm afraid work has turned positively reminiscent of the story of Sisyphus right now...things may be a mite sparse around here for a few days while I pay for my temerity in running off to have fun camping last week (that's what those squall pictures were from - fortunately they were nice enough to hold off until after we'd gotten up, had breakfast, & packed up the campsite).
Dennis from the Chelsea Yacht Club had sent the following note...think he noticed I haven't had much writing time lately & thought I might be interested in posting for Memorial Day. Tried to work it into a little Memorial Day musing of my own, but work's so crazy I can't seem to write anything that doesn't ring completely phony...good that there are still Dennises and DaveO's who are still telling the stories they heard from their parents...
The conflicts we have now are so confusing next to those stories, that one just seemed so relatively straightforward, there were bad guys & good guys who were actually fighting for countries (oversimplifying but you know what I mean, right?), and there was an end. Maybe it didn't make as much sense in the middle. Probably not to Dennis's father-in-law's friend's wife. Wonder how our today's will be remembered in 65 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_LST-455 History of my Fatherinlaw's ship in the Pacific.
His best friend and shipmate was killed in the second Japanese attack on the ship. Evidently he wrote a letter to the wife of his friend and follows is a transcript of a V-MAIL that he received from his friends brother.
TO: MR. Mell USS Achilles ARL 41
FROM Eddie Daigle USMC San Francisco
Just a letter of thanks for the kind letter you wrote to my sisterinlaw, the wife of my late brother, J Daigle.
Many thanks for writing to his wife. A little thing like that made her feel like he was not so lonely and had a friend at the time of his death.
This letter is 64 years old but it could have been written just as well yesterday.
You are welcome to post this if you think people would care to read it.
Dennis - -
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We had a couple more this weekend, and the place is looking quite spiffy now - all ready for Saturday's Open House! Again, if you're around the weekend & interested in getting on the water a little, or just checking the place out, you can get all the information at SebagoCanoeClub.Org
are they working
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Woohoo! This just in from my friendJack of New York By Jack (thanks Jack) (pardon any problems with links, this is a literal cut and paste but the event's a neat one. PortSide New York is a really interesting group, if I had more free time I'd get involved, and the Red Hook Boaters has been spearheaded by the efforts of Tim of the Message in a Bottle Project" - he's been paddling NYC's waters for years & has done an absolutely mindboggling amount of volunteer work getting people the water. I doubt I will be able to make it but it's a neat thing they do & I'm happy to at least post the following announcement.:
PortSide NewYork will run Kayak Valet 2 times this year.
1st is Sat, June 6 for the Red Hook Arts Festival 1100-1900.2nd date TBD sometime in Aug or Sept.
2008 Kayak Valet - year 3:
PortSide offers NYC's only kayak valet service. Paddle to Valentino Park, Valentino Park Red Hook, and we watch your boats so you can visit theneighborhood. Yes, we are trying to get a boathouse installed in ValentinoPark, but until then, we're all there is for visiting boaters!
Sat June 7 (Rain Date Sun June 8):We're there 1100-1700. Red Hook maps and tips will be provided with info onwhere to eat, shop and see areas of local interest. (note IKEA opens 6/18,so don't think you're paddling home with furniture yet.) Info on safeboating (en inglés y español) will also be available. We are working ongetting a group to demonstrate the proper use of VHF marine radios.
The Red Hook Boaters will again run their program simultaneously with KayakValet.
full details at http://www.portsidenewyork.org/KayakValet.htm
Carolina SalgueroDirector PortSide NewYorkaboard the tanker "Mary Whalen"P.O. Box 195Red Hook StationBrooklyn, NY 11231cell 917.414.0565
Saturday, May 17, 2008
But then we were having such a nice warm spring I decided to spare myself the hardening-off business & just plant almost everything directly. I did definitely gamble, I planted well before our last frost date & everything could've just gotten creamed by one last spring freeze - but it all came out OK!
Here it was last weekend. We had a couple rainstorms this week, of the sort I think some regions of the country call "toad-stranglers" - just massive, massive amounts of water coming down - I took advantage of those to NOT go out to water, going out to the club for a work day tomorrow (getting ready for our open house) and I'll see how everything came through. Adele the Gardening Chair was there during the week, said everybody's beds looked good, but of course I'm dying to see for myself how everything looks.
I did start some tomatoes on the windowsill. Last season's tomatoes were just grocery-store cherry tomatoes - this year I'm getting fancier, the Paddling Chef set me up with a bunch of heirloom tomato seeds. Due to work craziness, these got started a couple of weeks late, and actually for a while I was wondering if any of 'em were going to start - but right after I'd asked the Chef how long it was supposed to take, I saw the first one, he said that once one popped up the rest would be right behind & he was right - I think everything I planted sprouted! It also seemed that I planted the pepper seeds too soon, they never came up, so I picked up some seedlings (Sun Bells, pretty yellow bell peppers) & have been keeping them on the windowsill for a bit longer too. Today, I picked up some ageratum - I like some flowers in the bed to make it pretty (although I'm skipping last year's cosmos that grew and grew and grew and grew and grewandgrewandgrew - they were SPECTACULAR when they finally bloomed but the show was only a week or two in fall, and with a 4x6 bed I just decided that that wasn't quite how I wanted to use the space). Since I was giving a few of the tomato seedlings to a famous local garden blogger, and more will be going to another friend, and then everything else will gradually going out to the club to get planted starting, oh, tomorrow, I thought I would just take a picture of this year's peak moment for my windowsill plant population:
& a closeup of the ageratum 'cause I love it - I've actually planted some but I saw these in Newkirk Plaza today & just couldn't resist. No, no, can't wait, must have adorable fluffy blue flowers NOW!
Friday, May 16, 2008
Surfing is cool, though. I took a lesson at the Hans Hedemann School of Surfing that's mentioned in the article once - it was totally on a whim, but it was "plenty good fun", the kid who was my instructor was great, and although I haven't board-surfed since then, I came away with a new appreciation of the sport. Might write more about that after work today.
And as long as I'm being political - Way to go, California!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Oh, jeeze, and here's ANOTHER thing that's happening on Saturday the 17th that I'd love to go see -
The opening festivities of the American Museum of Natural History's exhibit, The Horse.
Summer must be approaching - best thing about NYC in the summer is that there's just such an incredible array of things to do, and most of 'em for free!
And if the worst thing about summer is sometimes just making your mind up, that's a good summer.
Sebago Canoe Club's open house is on Saturday May 24th!
Full info at www.sebagocanoeclub.org - come on by, say hello, go for a paddle, it'll be fun!
BUT it did sound like fun so I thought I'd post it!
Hi everyone, If you're in Brooklyn Saturday, May 17th, the County Kings will be playing two sets atPark Slope playground around 11:15am and 12:45pm. The event is sponsored by friends of theplayground and will include lots of fun stuff for kids and families. I think itwill be fun, butwhat do I know, I'm a banjo player.Park Slope Playground, Berkeley Place between 5th & 6th aves.
Our group is more of a ballad band and you can have a listen here:
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Find their blog under google search: "(insert name of perfectly healthy old friend of blogger here) (insert name of item/activity blogger & friend both love here) died".
Blogger's next visit to referrals section of site statistics = near heart attack for blogger.
My friend is fine but I was on tenterhooks until he said so!!! Then I explained, closing with a reference to that famous Mark Twain quote, "Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated".
I expect we'll be laughing about this for a long time. But WHAT a scare!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Anybody been reading this long enough to remember when I posted this unusual view of the Statue of Liberty? I'm not sure whether I'm flattered or concerned if that's the case & you aren't someone I've paddled with - but wow, thanks.
For the rest of you, it was on a glorious early Spring day in 2006 when some friends and I paddled out to the Robbin's Reef Light, with a lunch break in Port Liberte (known to the Rustbucket crew as "Venice on the Hudson"). Coming back, we took the small channel that the 150 yard security zones around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island leave between the two landmarks.
I can't remember exactly why we took that that day. I was going to say that it was probably because I wanted to take this picture, but I think we were facing one of those massive Spring ebbs (not spring tide, spring ebb, when the snowmelt from the Hudson Valley watershed turns the mighty Muhheakunuk - the River that Flows Both Ways - into a one-way rocket ride with a barely discernable slowdown where the flood is strongest) and to back to the south of the Statue was going to mean another mile busting straight into the full current when we were already pretty tired.
The other time that that channel comes in very handy for kayakers traversing the Statue's vicinity is on a perfect summer day, when the area in front of the Statue is a perfect scrum of bigger boats, all of whom are looking at the Statue, not the tiny little kayaks who are squeezing along as close to the security zone marker buoys as they can without getting squeezed right into the zone and a significant fine. For local paddlers who have plenty of chances to see the Statue when there's less competition, it's not worth the risk & stress on the busiest days - instead, we take the back way - that keeps us almost entirely out from underfoot.
Now, however, the security zones throughout the harbor are under review for possible revision.
Many of the proposals sound sensible, but the one that's drawn the attention of many of the area's recreational boaters - human and wind powered alike - is the proposal concerning the zones around the Statue and Ellis Islands. The US Park Police would like to see that zone expanded from the current 150 yards to 400 yards.
This would eliminate that channel between the two landmarks; the scrum among the harbor cruises would be intensified (when I worked on a local passenger schooner, our skippers would frequently choose to stay outside the melee on the busiest days - the passengers would be a little disappointed, but the view is still pretty marvelous at 200 yards - at 400, I suspect the customer disappointment when the boat fails to shave the buoys is going to be much higher); and the number of tugs, barges & other working vessels that cut through that mass of sightseers is going to rise as the tourist crowd is pushed farther out into the Anchorage Channel (the main channel from the Verranzano Narrows Bridge to the Hudson).
On top of that - the difference between 150 and 400 yards is literally a split-second to a powerful motorboat. Even less to a small plane.
I'd finally had time to work my way through the notice tonight & was mulling the issue over this evening. It is a conundrum - absolutely, there's a need for security around such important icons of our nation's history - but at the same time, I think that the proposed expansion of the zones would significantly decrease both the safety and enjoyment of the thousands of people who visit the Statue each year on boats other than the official Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferries, while providing only a marginal increase in safety from terrorist attacks.
It is a tough call - but I believe that I may have come up with a solution - and it's quite in tune with the history of the Statue.
Remember the stories of how when France first presented us with this magnificent gift, somehow there wasn't enough money to be found for a pedestal - until the freedom-loving schoolchildren of this country began sending in their pennies, and the shamed adults followed suit?
Well, just think today of all the freedom-loving bikers, hikers, college students, kayakers, rafters, campers, etc. who find themselves in possession of Nalgene bottles they're afraid to use -
What if they all sent those bottles to the US Parks Service to be remade to a new purpose - a magnificent, sparkling dome of recycled Lexan, under which our beloved symbol of freedom can be safely preserved for generations to come?
I leave interpretion of Freedom under glass to the artistic. A lowly cog and number-cruncher, I...
But seriously, folks - I can only keep tongue in cheek for so long on something like this. If you are a New York City boater, and you are familiar with the motor vessel gridlock that sets in around the Statue on a nice summer day - just think about what it would be like if you push that whole mess 250 yards further out into the channel, and close off some of the few sheltered areas that the current zones do leave open to smaller craft. If you think I have a point - please, go read the full proposal (thanks again to the NYCKayaker folks for posting & discussing!) - then, on or before July 7th:
"...submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2007-0074 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods:
(1) Online: http://www.regulations.gov/.
(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
(3) Hand delivery: Room W12-140 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
(4) Fax: 202-493-2251.
You must also send comments on collection of information to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. To ensure that the comments are received on time, the preferred method is by e-mail at email@example.com or fax at 202-395-6566. An alternate, though slower, method is by U.S. mail to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, ATTN: Desk Officer, U.S. Coast Guard."
This is encouraged in the notice itself!
"We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/ and will include any personal information that you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility."
p.s. people who saw this early on may notice I changed the name of the post. When I sat down to write it, I actually thought it was going to be funnier.
hate it when that happens...
The days are getting longer, the weather's getting nicer, the water's still cool but at least in NY we're past wear-drysuit-or-die cold (although I have still been wearing mine because I keep going out when it's blowing & I know I'm going to be drenched even if I stay right-side up the whole time, just from the spray), so no, not gonna harp on hypothermia again -
No, today's cheater link is to a really excellent post I stumbled across on Antigua Adventure - it's an excellent post about sunscreen.
p.s. I have to apologize to various people who have tagged me - I have good & bad excuses:
Bad - Work has been crazy.
Good - Despite work insanity, I think I've gotten in well over ten miles of paddling every week for the last few weeks running, plus a good bit of gardening.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tough week at work. Knew it was going to be this way. Happens.
But then the boss left early...and it looked so pretty outside...and I started having this little pipe dream about leaving close to 5 myself, and going paddling, and just doing whatever I had to do tomorrow, when it won't be quite as pretty.
Then reality said "Ahem. Excuse me, Miss? May I please have your attention?"
sigh. Such a nice pipe dream it was...
today's picture taken via the Wired New York webcam #2
May 2, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Anthony Turner, Chief
External Communications Division
National Department of Public Affairs
WHAT IF YOU CALL 911 AND NO ONE EVER ANSWERS?
Starting February 1, 2009 that is exactly what will happen for boaters who have the older model EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) that transmit a distress alert on 121.5 MHz or 243 MHz. The activation of an EPIRB is like making a 911 call to search and rescue authorities. After February 1, 2009 the older model EPIRBs will no longer be monitored by satellite, and are likely to go completely undetected in an emergency. Only distress alerts from 406 MHz beacons will continue to be detected and processed by search and rescue satellites worldwide. Although February 1, 2009 is still a long time from now, the traditional start of the 2008 boating season is just a couple of weeks away and while preparing for the season the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends that the new EPIRBs be part of the season start-up shopping list.
Although recreational boaters are not required to carry an EPIRB, they are strongly recommended for ALL boaters, including kayaks and other paddle craft, along with a VHF-FM marine band radio. The 406 MHz signal sent by the newer EPIRBs when a mariner encounters distress are picked up by the COSPAS/SARSAT satellite constellation, which determines the EPIRBs position through triangulation. EPIRBs with embedded GPS are even more helpful in quickly finding a distressed boater. With GPS coordinates, the position of distress is pinpointed almost immediately. Without GPS, it may take two or three satellite passes to come up with a good, triangulated position. According to Captain Chip Strangfeld, Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego, “the time saved by EPIRBs could mean the difference between life and death.”
As long as the new 406 MHz beacon has been registered (which is required by law), search and rescue authorities can quickly confirm that the distress is real, who they are looking for, and a description of the vessel or aircraft. This means an effective search can be initiated even before a final distress location has been determined for non-GPS EPIRBs. It also means that a false activation may be resolved with a phone call to the beacon owner, saving resources for actual distresses.
Registration is free and can be done on the internet at:
http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/ or it can be mailed/faxed to NOAA by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Beacon registrations must be updated at least every two years or when information such as emergency contact phone numbers and other vital information changes. This registration information is only available to authorized search and rescue personnel. It saves lives.
For more potentially life-saving information along with how to take a boating safety course or get a free vessel safety check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary visit http://www.uscgboating.org/. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except
military and direct law enforcement actions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an integral part of the United States Coast Guard. For more information visit http://www.cgaux.org/ if you are ready to join visit
Bloggitorial comment, cynical variety...hmmm, wonder how many people are going to be evil enough and/or dumb enough to put their old EPIRBS up on e-Bay...
well, only one today. (actually there was another old one, but the other seller was responsible enough to note the pending shutdown).
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
p.s. if you are reading this on a feed or on PaddlingPlanet, I don't think you can see the poll - c'mon by the blog, the link just takes you to the site I used to make the poll!
p.p.s. - oh, this is actually getting interesting - I thought that I'd have more G-stylers reading than fisherfolk, but at the moment it's fishing, and not by a nose either!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Anyways, here's the story. 3 miles is actually not all that long a paddle, so I found myself home again earlier than I'd somehow expected, and with more energy too. Had originally been planning to run up to CT to see TQ tonight (Sunday night)(the work week is going to be miserable so I can't have him come down), but last night worked better than I expected.
So that's how I found myself in Grand Central this morning.
It was easy to see something unusual was going on - this little group was the first thing saw as I was coming off the platform:
Walked past them & out into the terminal to find it full of bright light, people in spectator mode, with these giant luminescent cubes floating in the air above their heads. "Ah", I thought. "Art. A Happening, perhaps. I should take A Picture for The Blog". So I did.
The flash went off. I don't usually use it but I had used it to take a picture of something fun inside the Empire Kayaks shop, and the Optio always leaves the flash in whatever mode you last used. So - FLASH - and a minute later some zit-faced squit of a kid is yelling at me - "NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!"
I yelled right back - "WELL HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT???" - but ZFS is off on another mission - but now I know exactly what's going on - it's another movie shoot and zit-faced squit was probably some fresh-outta-film-school kid working as a production assistant on his Very First Shoot. I've heard they get a little full of themselves on their first few gigs.
Yep, sure enough:
The giant luminous cube aren't art, they're lights, and Duplicity is a movie.
Now, I run into movie shoots all the time & ordinarily I couldn't give a brant's you-know-what about 'em:
But that's because I'm usually on my way home, or to work, or running errands, generally en route from Point A to Point B. Today, I was en route to an Irish music festival on the Hudson River, but there was no great rush - what the heck, why not stop & watch for a while? Not just every day they turn Grand Central into a film set. I've already heard someone ask where "Julia" is - even I know who that is.
Clearly a pretty major flick. Yeah, I'll accept that sign, allow myself to be herded about as they need to clear areas, and YES despite giving ZFS a little lip, I had turned the flash off (just thought he could have been a little more polite - I did notice that every other person on the set knew how to say "please", which made the being herded much less annoying).
Can't have a scene in Grand Central Station without commuters - so here are a bunch of extras. Actormuters. The gent in the green shirt is giving this group of actormuters their instructions for the take. They are "Background".
When the guy in charge yells "Background", they all start acting like busy commuters hustling to catch their train. Here they are rehearsing:
Rehearsal done, very good, now wait some more.
And here are the real commuters watching the extras acting like commuters.
The shot that the extras have been rehearsing for centers on this staircase.
Beside the staircase - sooooo much stuff.
BTW, does that production assistant look maybe a little tense?
Well, aside from trying to get masses of some of the most notoriously uncooperative people in the US to cooperate - well, I think my work schedule sucks sometimes but it's 11 am on a Sunday and these folks? They've already worked a 9-hour day here. Yuck. I got to talking to one of the extras who'd noticed I'd been hanging around taking a lot of pictures & she said the extras had gotten there at 4 - but the crew had had to get there at 2 a.m.!
Oh, boy, look at the intensity here in the bystanders' gallery...
there's a movie star around here somewhere, the actions about to start, but first a quick break to appreciate the aesthetics of Grand Central...
OK, back to the set...and they're rolling, and there goes "Background" --
And there's a movie star!
It's Clive Owen!
He strides determinedly up the stairs! And that's the whole take!
He comes back down the stairs on the other side - He heads over to the bank of monitors & director's chairs I'm standing near -
he joins a group of people -- probably directors, or Directors of Photography -- there
And then he sat down --
And then he watched himself go up the stairs.
Rinse, lather & repeat. I watched about 3 times. I think I proved today that I do not have the makings of a papparazo. Yes, I confess - 3 takes were enough, I totally failed to wait for Julia Roberts to make her appearance --
There were some other wonderful performers I didn't want to miss!