Thursday, January 20, 2005

what's a frogma?

I'm a sea kayaker.

Well, like most people, I'm a lot of things but I made up the word "frogma" while enjoying a flame war on a rather lively local kayaker e-mail list, so it came from a sea-kayaker frame of mind.

Kayaking is a sport with a lot of subdivisions - whitewater, flatwater & sea kayaking barely begins to touch it. That's part of why I like it so much - so many different avenues to explore & so far ALL of 'em fun. But then I just like being on the water in the water, around the water - I swim & sail too - as long as I can get out there in some way on a regular basis, I'm pretty much happy.

But to return to the point of the story - these subdivisions do sometimes produce divisiveness. Surprise surprise. Recipe for a great flame war - take a bunch of people who have been drawn by different routes to a sport that can be approached a lot of different ways. Make some of 'em fanatically devoted to THEIR approach. Make a lot of 'em opinionated New Yorkers just for kicks. Put them on an e-mail group where real names don't show, drop the temperature to 15 degrees, freeze the river they love to play on, stir in the resultant cabin fever and...yee-HA! Very amusing - from the sidelines anyways.

Anyways, I was following this particularly violent thread one day when the word "Frogma" hopped into my brain. I can't remember whether it was the one where paddler A accused paddler B of trying to lure beginners to an ICY DEATH after paddler B posted a winter trip notice or the one where an inflatable fanatic (I mean a fan of inflatable boats, not...oh, you know) went on this howling rant about the terrible dangers of decked boats. It's always about the terrible danger. Whichever it was, I was following the postings & almost got to the point where I felt like I was reading fundamentalist religious maniacs, it got that fierce. The unquestioning cleaving to certain sets of beliefs - the certainty that all others are doomed...Unbending, self-aggrandizing, dogmatic...only amphibious. Voila. FROGMA - the dogma of the semi-aquatic.

Rather delighted with having made up a good word like that, I did a Google search, found that the only other people using it was some band in Denmark or someplace, and stashed it away for future use.

Seems like as good a name as any for a semi-aquatic persons's personal ramblings.

As I mention in the description, btw - I'm starting this because it's too cold & dark right now to go paddling & I'm bored. There's a very good chance that it will last only until it's more inviting outside - and that's at the outside. I don't think I've ever managed to keep a journal for more than a week. But for what it's worth, figured I'd give it a try. the question is - do I tell the bloggers whose blogs I already read & occasionally comment on that I'm blogging, thereby giving my blog at least a base of people I know (and that's the weird thing about reading these blogs - I feel like I know these people but only one of 'em is actually a friend of mine) - or do I just keep quietly anonymous for a while & see what coalesces?


Baydog said...

Hey, nice blog! I think you'll be around for at least seven years.

bonnie said...

Thanks, Baydog! I don't know though, seven years is an awfully long time!

moonstruck said...

WOW, time flys when you are having fun. Yes, I am still here, just very quiet in thwe Winter.

Dennis G

bonnie said...

Hi, Dennis G. Moonstruck! Was thinking of you the other day when I was reading a story about how Enya got into a copyright fight and it turned out to be Pete Seeger's fault, only in a completely and utterly inadvertent way. Not picking on Pete Seeger, it's just Pete Seeger always makes me think of you!

bonnie said...

Hey, Pete Seeger on Kodachrome by a photographer I got to meet last weekend! :D

madfilms said...

well said, right on the mark and humorous besides.
very zen

bonnie said...


And here's a VERY entertaining addendum - I just got an email from a friend asking me if he was "Paddler B". I'm pretty sure he was not, and in fact I sent him a few more details of the one I was thinking of to see if maybe I'd just mixed up my protagonists (I am sometimes surprised by how I can think I remember something perfectly clearly but actually have mixed up details). If he DOES recall the incident I'm thinking of, too, then I would start to wonder if maybe "Paddler A" made something of a habit of attacking people that way.

And then of course there was "Sponson Man". I think he got himself kicked off the list before I joined in, so I missed all THAT fun, but the legend lives on among friends who've been on the list since before I'd even taken my first kayak lesson! Sounds like he was really something else.

bonnie said...

Oh, btw, I should mention for anyone coming from NYCKayaker - my old posts all have moderation turned on for the comments, this is purely to keep down the spam and I do get notified - it won't show up right away but I will get to it soon!

bonnie said...

PS - Heard back from my friend. Sounds like the particular incident I was thinking of with a friend announcing a winter paddle & getting attacked wasn't a one-time thing.

jkmccoy said...

I followed over from the rcokandwater post. That's the most clever origin story for a blog title I've ever read. BTW I don't think we've met but have paddled in overlapping circles. Agreed about the cabin fever effect in NYC paddling.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bonnie! I've always enjoyed your blog, so I wanted you to know that I recognized you with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can get all of the info here:

bonnie said...

Awww! Thanks, Mitch!

Only hitch is that 2/3rds of your list is the same set of people I'd nominate. Tillerman, Baydog, Tugster, Bowsprite, O-Docker - all my favorites!