Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Frogma Frog Post

This was going to be a Froggy Friday post but work is pretty busy right now & I'm not foreseeing really having time to do a proper post, just a quick lunch break one, I thought today would be a good day to bring up O-Docker's frog question, which he'd left in the comments back when I did my recent explanation of why this blog is called what it's called.

Here's O-Docker's comment, with a question that some of you midwestern paddlers (or other freshwater folkd) might be able to answer better than me:

If you're entertaining ideas for new posts, maybe now's a good time to ask about the frogs themselves, Ma' Frogma.

Biologists report a huge reduction in global frog populations over the past few decades. Who better to see this than paddlers, wanderers in the wetlands that you are? Have you or your paddling readers noticed any changes in the frogs? Do you see or hear frogs when you paddle?

We live just a few blocks from the American river and occasionally one of these guys finds his way into our yard. It's a real kick to hear froggie sounds in the garden at night, especially in the semi-urban neighborhood where we live. But it's a reminder of just how rare this is becoming.

Now I can't really answer that, because although the name "Frogma" might lead you to think I'm out communing with Kermit's wild cousins on a regular basis, I'm not, for the simple reason that I'm almost always paddling salt water. I think there are only one or two frog species who can tolerate salt water, and neither of them live this far North.

So I don't see a lot of frogs. That's why I had to take a picture of this little bitty frog who was hanging out on the rainfly of my tent one night when I was up at Croton Point for the Hudson River Greenland Festival last June!

I know that there are some coqui frogs in Hawaii who are doing fine to the point that they keep people awake at night. They're not an endemic species, so that's not necessarily good news.

Another random frog story - here's a link to an article about some very tough Irish frogs who survived the ice age. Appropriately posted on St. Patrick's Day on Yahoo.

So how are your frogs doing?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Praying Mantis Egg Case in the garden at Sebago

A very good thing to find in your garden.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Henry's Obsession

Well, FrogmaMa and FrogmaDa have arrived in NYC for one of their adventure in campanology (heh, and you thought MY hobby was odd). They are crashing at my (lily)pad so I think things are going to be a bit quiet here 'til next week.

In the meantime, here's something fun I've been following, and meaning to link to, for a while -

Live from 1609, it's Henry Hudson's Blog!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


ur doin it wrong.

4/2 note - the original thing I'd linked to was gone but I found it elsewhere & fixed the link - that now shows what it was supposed to, not something about the fashion sense of the women connected to the G-20 summit!

Seriously, though - buried somewhere in my sorting-things-out-on-natural-gas were some points about something that I was surprised wasn't more the focus of the evening's efforts. This video might be a good illustration of the sort of drilling-related problem that look to be very real, very nasty, already happening & maybe more worthy of environmentalists' efforts than this fight against "planned" drilling in the NYC Watershed (which seems to be "planned" in about the same way I had "planned" to go paddling with Marco and René in Venice this year - I was looking into it, I sure would've liked to, but it just isn't going to happen, not this year anyways, nor next, big sigh).

Here's a quick set of excerpts of the stuff that got buried:

I didn't come away with the idea that the Paterson bill from last summer suddenly legalized anything that was illegal before. Actually it sounds like what really opened things up to some possibly questionable drilling practices was the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which made it easier to use public land to energy production and included a loophole a mile wide for hydraulic fracture drilling - that's a fact, here's wording from the act's official summary:
"Provisions are also included to increase access to federal lands by energy projects — such as drilling activities, electric transmission lines, and gas pipelines. In addition, the law prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating hydraulic fracturing to protect drinking water sources...
Hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking", seems to be the specific bad guy here - other forms of drilling were mentioned, and most of the people in the room want a complete ban on drilling in the watershed - but hydraulic fracturing sounds like it's the one that would really threaten the water supply if it were used in the NY watershed.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office has put together a report on the subject. That includes some 20 summaries of articles about cases where things had gone horribly wrong with drinking water in areas where hydrofracking was being done. I suspect that having your toilet erupt isn't nearly as funny as it sounds.
H.R. 7231 is likely to resurface in Congress this year. That's a bill to put hydraulic fracture drilling back under EPA regulation.

If you're worried about this stuff, the absolute best thing to do right now might just be to write to your representative asking them to support H.R. 7231.

I don't have time to go into a lot more depth right now (I wish I did) but although the video I linked to doesn't specifically link that one Colorado household's tapwater trouble to hydraulic fracture drilling, a similar "firewater" effect is one of the sorts of unpleasant problems that came up again and again in Scott Stringer's report. Many of those reports are from Colorado, and it's actually a Colorado congresswoman who sponsored it in the 110th congress. I can't find ANY info on the bill beyond it being referred to a subcommittee during the 110th congress.

I don't quite get why pushing to get HR 7231 passed wasn't the main focus of the folks who were in that room last week. Somebody actually DID ask, during the post-panel Q&A, why the focus was so NYC-centric, when it sure seems like there are people all over the country who are directly affected by the same issues. Seems like focusing efforts on HR 7231 would do a lot more good for a lot more people.

As it was, the bill was just sort of mentioned in passing, sort of in an "oh, yeah, our new administration is taking care of that, nothing to worry about there" way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adam Has A Cool Idea - Let's Make April 22nd Something Special!

No, that's not Adam, that's Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, winner of a tremendously famous sailing race, and Suhaili (image copied from YachtPals.com).

This not being a sailing blog really (although it sort of used to be, weird how my sailor self apparently went on shore leave & never found her way back - well, you know how those sailors are - maybe this summer will be better), I won't assume everybody knows about him or that famous race, the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race -- it was a race to become the first person in history to singlehandedly sail a sailboat around the world non-stop. For more info, here are Wikipedia articles about Sir Knox-Johnston and the Golden Globe Race.

April 22nd, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the successful completion of that first ever non-stop solo sail around the globe, and Adam from Messing About In Boats has sent out the call for sailing bloggers one and all to make April 22nd Robin Knox-Johnston Day on the web. I think it's a great idea, I'll definitely be joining in the fun - any other kayak bloggers (or rowing bloggers, or windsurfing bloggers, or other assorted boating bloggers) want to join in? Adam said sailing blogs, but heck, don't need to be a sailor to appreciate an amazing feat like that!

After all, who among us hasn't at least pipe-dreamed of a epic voyage around one rock or another?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sebago Kitteh.

Sebago Kitteh...

enjoyz teh Spring...

But kitteh's work is never done. Ceiling Cat noez, dem hoomins needs supervising.

Good thing Sebago Kitteh too bizzeh to readz LOLCATS...

thank u "Kayak-Boy & Kayak-Girl!

cross-posted at teh Sebago Canoe Club Blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Recorded Cookie-Cutter Shark Attack on Living Human...

Fascinating! Ever heard of cookie-cutter sharks? I'd learned about them while doing research for a team reporting project in 7th grade at Aiea Jr. High School. We invaded the icthyology department at the Bishop Museum, the staff icthyologist there was great & we learned about a number of fish species we'd never heard of. I don't think I've ever seen them mentioned in print before. Here's the true story!

Time for another Jaws sequel?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hoboken Boathouse Public Meeting, Tuesday March 24th - plus Sad News - No Gateway Bike and Boathouse.

This notice came out on the NYC Kayaker email list* today. I can't make it, but it sounds like fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 6-8 PM, Maxwell Place Park Boathouse, Frank Sinatra Drive & Maxwell Place, Hoboken, NJ

Come tour the new Boathouse and beach at Maxwell Place Park and learn more about the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse organization. Presentations will include an overview of Hudson River boating and how other NY Harbor boathouses – like the Long Island City Community Boathouse, Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, and the Downtown Boathouse – operate. We are also looking foryour input on the types of boating programs and activities Hoboken residents want and your help to make these goals a reality.

Meeting is open to all interested participants – beginner, expert, and non-paddlers alike.

Please RSVP (or for more information), by email at info@hobokencoveboathouse.org.
-- David DownsPresidentHoboken Cove Community Boathouse



For more information about the NYC Kayaker email list:



Oh, and this reminds me of a piece of sadder news. You may not recall it, but earlier this winter, I was really excited about these guys - http://www.gatewayboathouse.org/ - opening up across the bay from us. One of the fun things about the Hudson River Park (and there were a lot of fun things, which is why I sort of kept my finger in the political stuff even after I dropped out of Manhattan Kayak Company - it wasn't always exciting but I always thought it was worth the time I spent on it) was having so many different human-powered boating organizations in such close proximity - you'd always run into people from the other places when you were out, you'd say hello, sometimes you'd join up with them for paddles, sometimes you'd just wave as you passed, whatever the interaction was, it usually added a nice extra social dimension. In Jamaica Bay, we're the only club, and I thought it was going to be great having another club in the bay. I thought I might be able to paddle over and try that-there windsurfing thing that's always being talked up on some favorite blogs of mine; I thought it would be fun for me & TQ to go over & rent a couple of bikes for the afternoon (they've got some beautiful bike lanes out there); and I thought it would be fun for us to invite them over for a barbecue (and hopefully be invited over there for something), or just plain stop by to say hello when we were paddling out that way.

So I was saddened to hear, earlier this winter, that they won't be opening this Spring. Sounds like the Parks thought they were getting a Downtown Boathouse-style operation when Gateway was more picturing themselves more in the Sebago model & the misunderstanding ended it.


Random thought about gardening.

It's a funny hobby, when you can try to bribe your friends with dirt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Naaaah, not really. Just missed both fun events tonight, kinda tired from staying up too late last night, and I had this picture of a crab in Chinatown. Just seemed to fit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CB2 Public Hearing re Gas Drilling

Premise 1: It's got to come from somewhere!

So I went to the hearing to hear what I could hear,
And what did I hear? I heard the herd!

No, not really, I'm just playing with words again, hard to stop after the ogma ogma ogma fun.

But I was going to try to be serious for a little while here. I did go, I listened for 3 hours, I walked out undecided but in possession of a lot more information. It was pretty interesting. I'm not going to try to give a blow-by-blow, but I am going to try to jot down some impressions while they're still fresh.
I'll start with my biggest criticism of the evening:

That wasn't a hearing. That was a freakin' pep rally.

Every public hearing I've ever been to, you hear both sides of the issue. Tonight's meeting was the choir was preaching to the choir. I was the only non-chorister person in the audience. I had suspected that but it was confirmed while Siobhan Williams, the legislative policy analyst who was there representing Speaker Christine Quinn's office, was making her brief presentation. Now she was in an interesting position because Quinn has not taken an official public position on the issue, although she's been supportive of the anti-driller. Somebody put her on the spot about that, and suddenly somebody with a mike was saying "Hey, how about everyone who want Speaker Quinn to come out with a statement against drilling in the watershed say so with a show of hands" - and EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE ROOM EXCEPT ME RAISED THEIR HAND. That was sort of weird.
Got some interesting background on NYC Water. There were a few things I did clap for - one was City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chair James Gennaro's beginning his speech by looking at the Fiji Water bottle in his hand & saying "You know, I shouldn't be drinking bottled water. Somebody handed this to me." I thought that was pretty sharp of him to recognize the irony. Anyways, Mr. Gennaro talked about how hard NYC worked to win "Filtration Avoidance Status" back in the 70's. There are very few cities in the country that have that status - I think he said 4 - and the others are all drawing their water from unpopulated, undeveloped areas. NYC's watershed is populated; there are towns, and farms, and industry & highways & all that stuff. The EPA & a panel of water-quality experts were initially reluctant, but rules and regulations were upgraded, buffer lands established, various inspection requirements put in place & finally, with the cooperation of city, state, Federal Government & towns in the watershed, the city's request was granted.

Mr. Gennaro said that failure to win that status back then would've cost the city 6 to 8 billion dollars. Who knows what it would cost now?
I didn't come away with the idea that the Paterson bill from last summer suddenly legalized anything that was illegal before. Actually it sounds like what really opened things up to some possibly questionable drilling practices was the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which made it easier to use public land to energy production and included a loophole a mile wide for hydraulic fracture drilling - that's a fact, here's wording from the act's official summary:
"Provisions are also included to increase access to federal lands by energy projects — such as drilling activities, electric transmission lines, and gas pipelines. In addition, the law prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating hydraulic fracturing to protect drinking water sources." That exemption, coupled with runaway fuel prices, led to a whole lot of drilling, as described in that Times article I posted yesterday. The Paterson bill sounds like it was basically just an effort to milk that by allowing a little more density.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking", seems to be the specific bad guy here - other forms of drilling were mentioned, and most of the people in the room want a complete ban on drilling in the watershed - but hydraulic fracturing sounds like it's the one that would really threaten the water supply if it were used in the NY watershed.
The first commercial use of hydrofracking was in 1949. The pioneering company?

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office has put together a report on the subject. That includes some 20 summaries of articles about cases where things had gone horribly wrong with drinking water in areas where hydrofracking was being done. I suspect that having your toilet erupt isn't nearly as funny as it sounds.
All that being said -

I still can't believe the threat is as imminent as it's being made out to be.

2 main reasons:

1. The NYC watershed only covers about 9% of the Marcellus Shale formation that was the focus of all the interest. If I had a gas company and I were looking to drill, guess which area would be the LAST area I'd even dream about drilling? That would be the NYC Watershed. I just can't imagine that anyone would voluntarily drill somewhere where if something goes wrong, you're not going to just end up trucking drinking water to the residents of the poor little hamlet whose wells have turned to gobs o' goo...you're going to have every resident (including & especially every resident lawyer) of one of the biggest cities in the world after your hide. Might as well just tie yourself between two teams of horses facing opposite directions & then set off a few firecrackers. It'll be a lot more pleasant.

2. As was outlined in that Times article which I linked to, the economic picture that was driving all the drilling madness has totally changed. That was one very odd thing about the hearing - it didn't seem like any of the speakers had taken that into account. It's like the figures they were using were all based on forecasts done in June 2008. And they were stating those figures like they were hard, cold facts. As it is, just like I'd said in my earlier post, the silver lining here is that I'd bet that new drilling in the Marcellus is going to come to a screeching halt for a while, just like new development on the waterfront. In the meantime, H.R. 7231 is likely to resurface in Congress this year. That's a bill to put hydraulic fracture drilling back under EPA regulation.

If you're worried about this stuff, the absolute best thing to do right now might just be to write to your representative asking them to support H.R. 7231. There's time now.

Gotta wrap this up now, it's getting late.

On the whole, it was an informative & interesting evening.

There were a couple of moments where I felt like I'd sort of fallen through the looking-glass into extrema-eco-lefty-land...

One was when when Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney for Earth Justice's NE office, was talking about one possible strategy they've been looking at, which would be pushing to get control of regulation of mineral use away from Albany and into the hands of local authorities. this was in response to a question about who the "decider" is & who people can go to if Paterson doesn't want to listen - the answer is well, really Paterson's it, then she touched on the idea of letting local authorities make their own regs. The idea was that the regs become such a patchwork that the gas companies run screaming from NY - but what made me think "Did she just say what I thought she said?" was when she mentioned one thing she thought was a drawback to this plan:

"Of course, you run the risk of having areas that actually want (drilling)".

The other was actually what inspired the picture for this post, and the "Premise No. 1" caption.

Someone asked a question about why the groups that had speakers there tonight were all so focused on NYC & the NYC watershed. They felt like the efforts needed to be more inclusive to get any real traction. For some of the participants, that was an easy question - the elected officials have to answer to their constituencies. The Riverkeeper guy was sort of able to take the same track - he works for Riverkeeper, and Riverkeeper's mission is to protect the Hudson & surrounding watershed. But then he started into a very sensible additional bit about practicality & picking your battles.

As an example, he asked:

"Should we ban natural gas drilling across the entire country?"

A truly shocking number of people in the crowd shouted:


Even he looked a bit taken aback.

I really wonder how many of those people went home tonight & turned on their stoves to cook dinner.

I wonder if they even think about where that gas comes from. It's got to come from somewhere.

It's sort of like a person who says all people should become vegetarians, then goes home & has hot dogs for dinner.

Anyways, pardon the massive wandering off into Serious Stuff. We now return you to your regularly scheduled frivolity.

CB2 Meeting Tonight - Either The Sky Is Falling, Or It's Not. Or Maybe It's Falling a Little Bit?

Well, I wasn't planning to go to a public hearing tonight, but I might just have to, just to hear what's said for myself.

Don't have time for a long post right now, but here's the deal. Last night, I noticed this on a street lamp in Soho near my office:

My gut reaction was, "That sounds improbable". The reasons behind my having that gut reaction are the sort of thing I don't have time for, but that's how it was.

So I got home last night & checked in on my email and found this, posted to NYCKayaker -

New York City residents finally have a chance to voice their concerns on the threat natural gas drilling poses to their drinking water supply--

*Manhattan Community Board 2 Holds Public Hearing on Natural Gas Drilling Planned for
NYC's Upstate Watershed *

The hearing will address the threat posed to 90% of New York City’s drinking water supply by a plan to drill for gas in the city’s upstate watershed.

*When: 6:30pm on March 18, 2009 *

*Where:* *Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall
*239 Thompson Street
Washington Square Park South

*Among the speakers at this public hearing will be:
*- New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chair James
- Dr. Stephen Corson, Policy Analyst for Manhattan Borough President Scott
- Joe Levine, architect and co-founder of NY-H20
- *Craig Michaels, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper
*- Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney for Earth Justice’s Northeast Office
- Jared Chausow, specialist in the issue of gas drilling in New York City’s
Upstate Watershed, for New York State Senator Tom Duane.

*More information on this event*http://river.convio.net/site/R?i=MMEYZJLD67c8rL23XQ1awg
*More infomation on gas drilling in the NYCWatershed*

I went to the "More info on gas drilling in the NYCWatershed" link & according to that, oh my, scary stuff. Sky is falling, cats sleeping with dogs, etc.

But although I usually tend to fall on the conservationist side of things, I also do have something of a skeptical streak, and when you tell me that the sky is falling, my reaction tends to be "Really? Let me do a little looking into that for myself".

So I did that and I found this:

and that had a whole bunch more info including this statement made by the Commissioner of the NYS DEC, back in September of last year:


Which included stuff like this:

"First, DEC has not received any applications for Marcellus Shale horizontal drilling in the New York City watershed. Accordingly, there is no imminent threat of harm to the city's water supply and most certainly no 'emergency' action is needed. Even if we were to receive an application, no permits will be issued until the completion of a full environmental review specific to the special sensitivities of the City's watershed"

My mild skeptical streak applies to government statements too. I don't know if the info on the DEC website is too optimistic any more than I know if Riverkeeper's stuff is too pessimistic, but I'd rather have both sides of the story & reserve judgement. Although I'm suddenly thinking of my original pseudo folk-saying, "She who stands in the middle of the road is most likely to get hit by a bus".

I found another interesting piece of info in the New York Times. The article was just published on the 15th, and I don't expect to hear it in the testimony that will be shared tonight, but the article is about how falling fuel costs have ended the "drilling frenzy" that was going on not too long ago:


Interesting - it's not much of a silver lining, but the real estate bust has relieved a lot of the pressure that was being put on our waterfront by developers. Seems that maybe the fall of those crazy fuel prices could do the same for our watershed.

Just mulling things over out loud. That's what blogs are for, right? Anyways, I'm curious enough that I'll probably go, just to hear what's said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Revenge is a lunch best served cold.

Someone (not me!) posted this on the refrigerator at work today:

Glad I'm not the Sandwich Bandit!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Flowers, a Veddy Fancy Fish, and Ogma Ogma Ogma.

Remember my bad scrod poem the other day? Well, on Saturday, The golden koi did indeed delight mine eye - this one especially! Check out the fanciness!

And a few nice early spring flowers, and promises of more to come...

All taken in Green-Wood Cemetary - TQ was in town & since he was coming from PA & didn't have gear, I had to come up with something else. So I took him for a walk in a graveyard. Romantic, huh? No, seriously, we went on one of Steve Baldwin's Brooklyn Parrot Safaris. We didn't have the raptor-parrot drama that my friends & I were lucky enough to see the last time I went (You can see my slide show from that day here), but it was another thoroughly enjoyable experience. Thank you, Steve! I took plenty of pictures, and there will probably be a parrot themed post or two this week.

Possibly pizza pictures too. It was pretty special pizza. There's always room for parrots & pizza on this boat blog!

Speaking of that slide show, did you realize that "raptor" and "parrot" are anagrams of each other?

And speaking of wordplay - I didn't really set this up as a challenge, specifically, but I had the best time reading some of the "Ogma" variations people came up with in the comments after I explained the origin of the name of this blog. They really need to be up here in a post!

Pandabonium, who is a flyer, sort of started it trying to come up with a similar term for aviators, who apparently have similar self-appointed Safety Squads..."Fly-ogma? Flogma? Aviogma?"

Things really started going downhill when the Puffin himself checked in:
"I've also now imagined Clogma for shoe dogma, Togma for clothes etc, because I'm a pretty simple guy. Eggnogma?"

Being pretty simple (or at least easily amused) myself, I couldn't resist jumping in:

A Harley rider could start Hogma.
A rum fancier could write Grogma.
A cultured European traveler could write Praguema.
A fan of, uh, de-regulating industry could write Smogma.
An easily amazed person could write All Agogma

ok, I am stretching it with that last one or two there. What else?

O-docker rose (or maybe sank) to the challenge with:

Sail on the Bay - Fogma
I'm a Lumberjack, I'm okay! - Logma
Run around outside - Jogma
Fit to be tied - Flogma

O-docker has not got a blog, but keeps those of us who do on our toes by being one of the slyest commenters in boat blogdom, for which service I believe Lord Admiral Tillerman has appointed him, what was it, Poet Laureate and also Secretary of the Navy?

Stan from Kayaking Dreaming came in with:
"I like this post. Kind of nostogma." Yes, Stan, you're right, that was stretching it, but keep posting about stuff like actual ice rescue training & all is forgiven!

Peconic Puffin came back in with:

"hating digital...Analogma" (I almost died rolling on the floor laughing)

And Don's got the last word so far with "Parental abuse - Flogma".

I am indeed all agogma.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Beautiful New Arrival!

Everybody should go offer congratulations (and/or advance sympathy) to Pandabonium! YAY!

What's A Frogma, Frogma is Four and Change, and a pseudo-milestone which involves the Kill Van Kull

That could be my longest title ever. I've done posts that were shorter.

I'm kind of up past my bedtime here because I didn't want to leave that Guild-related crankiness sitting up on top when I had left something in the comments the other day that according to the Peconic Puffin should have been in a post. Thought I'd post it as requested!

It ended up in comments because I got asked what the word "Frogma" meant & this turned out to generate quite a bit of speculation, so since there was an actual story I told it. If you've been reading my drivel for a long time, you might know, as I told sort of a looooong version of the story as my Very First Post and tend to link back to that on my "bloggiversary". I missed that this year because...oh, let me go look...oh YEAH, because TQ and I had gone on the best snow paddle the day before & getting a trip report up for that blew all thoughts of bloggiversary out of my brain. Then there was that friendly fur seal, and Sita, and a visit to Nathan's in Coney Island & lion dancers & the Cold Water Workshop & an Irish music party, and then there was an inauguration I was really, really happy about, even though I don't think I ever posted about it, didn't have anything to say that hadn't been said better on a thousand other blogs. With that much good stuff, I just didn't bother doing the "Frogma Is Four" thing this year.

Speaking of things I missed because I had too much other stuff going on, there was one more pseudo-milestone I passed right after the day of our Boat Blogger Get-Together in February (time for another one yet, guys?). I'll get to the explanation in a minute, but first - hey!

My sitemeter hit count hit 100,000!

I say "pseudo-milestone" because I have been posting fairly regularly for 4 years now. There are 1,209 posts in this blog, very few of which are unpublished. Every time you publish, it generates a hit. Furthermore, I have been known to check in from other computers & I really don't feel like my own hits count. So hitting 100K doesn't really mean I've hit 100K. But it was fun to see the count go to 6 digits & I did note that although the IP address was one of those ones that don't give you the location, the referral was a Google search under somthing like "Crossing the Kill". That brought them in to a post I rather enjoyed seeing again myself, a trip report from February 07, when I got to go on a fantastic frostbite sail from Liberty Marina to Tottenville on the Rosemary Ruth - a day that was also notable for being the first time I met Tugster Will in person. There was a lot of traffic in & out of the Kill Van Kull that day & in the post, I mention how much I dislike crossing the Kill in a kayak (it feels way too much like a giant, slow-motion, real-world, first-person Frogger game, and you only get one frog). That's what the Google search that brought in the Hit That Was Not Really Hit Number 100,000 found.

Oh, speaking of the Kill, one more sidetrack before I get to the explanation (this post is going to be about twice as long as I planned but the Puffin wants a post and the Puffin shall have a post) - Bowsprite has a very nice post on A Day in the Kill Van Kull. Don't miss the earplugs, everybody loves the earplugs!

Awright, back to the comment - it was supposed to be the short version but it still came out pretty long. Oh well. Without Further Ado, here it is, the story of the name of this blog:

I'm on a kayaking email list that tends to get a bit contentious on safety issues, especially late in a long winter. One year, in January or so, a particularly good flame war erupted when a friend of mine mentioned that he and a friend of his were paddling out of x-and-such beach that weekend & asked if anybody wanted to join them. The Safety Squad went to town on the poor guy because he failed to do the full insurance-waiver type announcement of proper gear & hazards. If I'm remembering correctly, Miles was eventually accused of trying to lure innocent beginners to an ICY DOOM!!!! When really, he just wanted to see if anybody else wanted to go paddling. It was effin' cold, I think that was a year we had ice in the Hudson down here in the city, Miles was assuming that people would have the brains to look outside & realize that this was not flip-flop & t-shirts weather; furthermore, if anyone had wanted to go, there would probably have been a pre-trip email exchange during which ability & gear could've been discussed, and if somebody HAD just turned up at the beach with the wrong gear, Miles & his friend would not have let them go! The Safety Squad disagreed, though. I think that was the last time anybody tried to organize a winter paddle through that list - who wants to open themselves up to getting jumped all over that way?

And I sat there reading this thinking, "Wow, these folks are all so dogmatic...only they're kayakers, so it's more like...hey, it's FROGMA, there's a fun word!"

Sort of along the same lines as that silly joke about "My grandma ran over my dogma in her carma".

Anyways, I was curious to see if anybody else had come up with the Frogma variety, went on line, found an English folk band & a video game going by the same name. Think there's an artists' collective that uses it too. I actually didn't start blogging for a few years after that but when I started, I thought "Hey, I finally have a use for that word!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Date Update for Marcus Demuth event at the Downtown Boathouse

Marcus had had an event he's doing at the Downtown Boathouse listed on his website as being on April 8th. That event (also featuring the NYC Premiere of the Eastern Horizons sea kayaking movie by Bryan Smith) is actually on the 7th.

Posting here (despite the Hudson River Paddlers' Guild connection that turns out to exist*) on the infinitesmal chance that somebody could have clicked through to his website yesterday & added the 8th to their calendar.

* It has been a long time now since the Guild set themselves up as the spokespeople & leaders of the "storage hold" set during the shutdown of Pier 63, and the organization may have evolved, but some of their leaders & supporters left me feeling seriously stomped-on back then. They put together the occasional interesting event, like this one, but I generally just stay away from them. It's sometimes been really hard not to "talk stink" about them here, but there are some people who are involved who I respect a lot (like Marcus himself!) & who didn't act like I needed cutting down to size the way some of them did. Because of the former set of people, and because other friends of mine HAVE enjoyed some of the Guild's events, and because vendettas are a really sad & ugly use for blogs, I mostly try to follow the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Upcoming Events, and the NYC Watertrail Calendar

Quite a few events coming up in the next 2 weeks!

This Thursday, 3/11/09, from 6 pm to 9 pm, the Long Island Community Boathouse will be holding a fundraising Bongo Surf Party winter fundraiser at The Foundry, one block south of the Queensboro Bridge. Entertainment, prizes, Indian, Thai and Italian food, and more, all for $20.00. Full details at www.licboathouse.org (plus you can find more information about their free public paddling programs in Long Island City, which will resume once the water warms up!

Marcus Demuth is doing the rounds with another slideshow, this time of his Falklands adventure in January '09. He's a great guy, a great paddler, and a great photographer, and I think I can guarantee it'll be a fun evening there at the Pier 66 Boathouse! Next week Tuesday, 3/17/09, at 7PM. Yep, St. Patrick's Day, hey Marcus, you should drop in a couple of your favorite Ireland slides at the end! More info at the Manhattan Kayak Company blog. More about Marcus's adventures (including dates for appearances at the Downtown Boathouse & my own Sebago Canoe Club) at www.MarcusDemuth.com.

And as next week Thursday, 3/19/09, turned out, there are 2 really neat-sounding, no-drysuits-required events going on. I'd have a terrible time deciding, except that lucky for me (mirthless laugh, ha ha), I probably won't be out of work on time for either one. Plus my folks are dropping into town for one of their adventures in campanology (this time at NYC's historic Trinity Church, I may get an interesting picture or two out of that) so phew, no pesky decision-making for me. The duelling events on Thursday, March 19th are:

1. Kate Williams, Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, will be giving a talk about the Trail at the Arsenal Gallery at 6:30pm. The Arsenal Gallery is located at 64th Street nd FifthAvenue inside Central Park, NY. I'd posted more about this back in February, full details here!

2. Dr. John Waldman, author of Heartbeats in the Muck, an absolutely fantastic book about the history & ecology of the Hudson River & a great addition to any Hudsonophile's bookshelf, will be giving a talk at the Beczak Environmental Center in Yonkers. That begins at 8 PM. A flyer with full details can be found here.

Advance notice, but somewhat timely insofar as I've got stand-up paddling on the brain (and the blog) after last weekend's fun - want to try this SUP thing for yourself? Live in the NYC area? On May 24th, there will be a SUP try-out day at New York Kayak. I'd mentioned my try-out to one of my co-workers today, he was really intrigued, wanted to know where a person could try this, so I checked in with Randy & that's the day!

Finally - just want to put in a plug for the NYC Watertrail Calendar! This is something that a couple of my favorite local "kayaktivists" have been working on over the winter; the idea is to help maximize the public benefit of the NYC watertrail by having a calendar showing all the various events on or around Watertrail sites, many of which are free, open to the public, and require NO paddling experience! Another goal is to have a central calendar that groups can consult to avoid schedule conflicts - for example, Marcus's presentation came very close to happening on Thursday the 19th too - an event in Yonkers & an event in Manhattan will most likely not impinge upon each other too badly, but add in Marcus in Manhattan & you're definitely starting to play tug-of-war with the potential pool of audience members.

I've actually volunteered to help out with this a little - I don't put in a fraction of the volunteer hours that some of our area human-powered boaters do 'cause I just don't have the free time, but the calendar is something that fits in well with my blogging hobby anyways. I'm posting stuff here all the time anyways, I can always take a couple more minutes & add them to that calendar, too. It doesn't require a huge time commitment - I can do it in ten-minute increments here & there if that's all I have & that works well for me. And whenever I'm finally able to get to updating my sidebar (Blogrolling.com is back, YAY!) that calendar will make a good addition. Much more helpful than the 2006 Cruise Ship Schedule I think I still have over there!

Monday, March 09, 2009

How To Show Your Kayak You Really Care...

Forget the Thule rack system. Buy your carbon kevlar baby a camper van!
From Long Island Paddlesport Symposium 2009 - Unabridged Version!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Guess What I Did This Weekend?

(BIG thank-youu to Adele the Gardening Chair for this one!)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues - now online, and TONIGHT on WNET-13!

image from www.sitasingstheblues.com
Remember my totally-off-topic post a couple of weeks ago, where I posted 4 little clips of an animated retelling of the Ramayana, using Annette Henshaw songs, from the film Sita Sings the Blues, by cartoonist Nina Paley?

Well, anyone in the area served by New York's Public TV station WNET-13 can watch it there TONIGHT at 7! It's also being streamed online on www.thirteen.org, or you can download it from a number of sites which are hosting versions. Lots of links on the Sita site!

Enjoy! I went to a screening last weekend at the NY International Children's Film Festival. Lots of fun, and listening to the children asking their parents all sorts of "Why" questions as they came out of the theater was quite entertaining, too!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The coolness of photosharing sites...

If you looked at the Seal Watching 2 With Bonus Snowy Owl gallery I put up over on Flickr, you'll know that I utterly failed to come through with a picture of the Snowy Owl.

Instead, I offered this:

There's a snowy owl over there, I swear

with the title "There's a snowy owl over there, I swear".

There really is. And actually, knowing where the owl was, I think I can see a little light spot that I swear could quite possibly be our owl:

Or maybe the owl is the other little light speck in the sand patch to the right. Hard to tell.

Yes, great little toy that it is, I an resigned to the fact that I am not winning any wildlife photography contests armed with my Pentax Optio W20.

However, my picture in which I swore there was a snowy owl was enough to prompt a birdwatcher who goes by the nom de Flick "davidlepnyc (on a break)" to send me a Flickr-mail asking me where we'd seen this invisible bird - he wanted to go find one himself before the birds all head back to the tundra.

I told him the location (we were in the corner of the parking lot of the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center), wished him luck & asked him to let me know if he found one.

Well, he did - and he's got much better camera than mine!

Sometimes the Intrawebs are just too cool.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How Does My Garden Grow?

In disorderly, but exuberant, fashion...

2 years of my little 4x6 plot. Just sorting through pictures & did this on a whim.

Winter will eventually end, right?

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Messy Commute

Well, March came in like the proverbial lion with this big March 2nd snowstorm. I wouldn't quite say the snowstorm wreaked havoc with my morning commute, all in all, considering the conditions, I think things were not too terrible on the B line. Predictable delays. It was a little messy, though -- you certainly heard a little grumbling & cursing.

Here's some pictures from the messy morning rush hour:

Foster Avenue

There was a bit of a crowd on the platform. I've seen worse, though. This many people on a day like this means the trains are running, but you're going to need patience.

After a bit of a wait, a snow-encrusted B train arrives.

Great. On the train, should be moving along soon. Better than I expected.

But then the snow encrustation proved to be too much - the doors were frozen. The conductor opened and closed 'em a dozen times; then tried an old-fashioned fix, walking to the problem cars trying to kick the ice loose, to no avail. So they had to kick us all off the train. Banished.

Waiting on a jam-packed platform while the conductor makes sure everybody's off the train. Took forever (or at least 10 minutes).

Left waiting. Next train came & went without everyone here being able to fit.

The third B train of the day arrives. I don't think I saw any Q trains at all - they must've been having even worse problems.

I wonder how many Aruba trips get sold on days like this?

SoHo in the snow

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Boat blogger's gathering, 2/27/09

Boatbloggers 030

Alright, I've stayed up late putting up a set of Flickr photos from the boat blogger gathering on Friday, so I might as well link here (half the other attendees already have really nice posts about it, I'm feeling slow).

The get-together came about through a bit of serendipity.

Brian & Will & me are all schooner people. Although I am (somewhat regretfully, but necessarily) retired from "schooning" for now, I worked as crew on the schooner Adirondack for 5 years. Brian & Will both volunteer on the Pioneer (I'll link all these up at some point, too late right now) at the South Street Seaport Museum, and Brian actually started working for the folks who run the Adirondack a year or two ago. I think I actually met both Will and Brian in person sailing on the Rosemary Ruth. As happens with busy people in NY, though, we don't actually see each other much. We ran into each other (and Brian's girlfried Karen, who coincidentally freelances for the publishing house I work for, small world) briefly at the Mary Whalen's birthday party, but that possible opportunity for catching-up got wrecked because I got invited to go on a tugboat ride. Anyways, to get to the point, recently we'd been seriously saying "We have got to get together for dinner", I wanted to meet new blogger Bowsprite, who's friends with Will & Elizabeth, so we were in serious discussions about a late February get-together.

In the meantime, Adam of Messing About in Boats and Peconic Puffin Michael have been enjoying the occasional lunch & beer & thought it would be fun to invite me. And since the 2 proposed dinners were about a week apart, I suggested that we combine them. And then various people invited various other people and we ended up with I think it was 13 people there. We had a lot of fun, drank a lot of beer, and at least 3 of us have admitted to having hangovers this morning. Mine was particularly ironic since the discussion I was having with Will, Elizabeth & Joe revolved around the topic "Isn't it nice to be old enough to know how much beer is enough?", as we passed sodden & sad-looking club kids who were being poured into cabs by their friends, or gently lowered to a sitting position on the sidewalk.

My Optio doesn't do that well at night. I don't mind that as it's a brilliant little toy for daytime outdoor photos, which is mostly why I have it, but I sometimes just don't bother bringing it at night. I did this time, though, and I get about 15 pictures which were either passable or seemed to help illustrate last night's fun!

Attendees and their blogs:

Will Van Dorp - Tugster
Will's partner Elizabeth - Sex in the Public Square
the Bowsprite
Brian & Karen - A Movable Bridge
Joel Towmasters (btw this post got delayed for half an hour because I went over there & couldn't stop reading)
John Summit to Shore - and Vicky, his wife (they were on that first fabulous Jones Beach sealwatching paddle, the one with snow)
Michael http://www.peconicpuffin.com
Peconic Jeff Peconic Windsurfer (again, got stuck watching ice sailing videos...)
Adam Turinas Messing About in Boats/
John Huntington Control Geek