Friday, October 31, 2008

Guess What's Pua's Fault? (Mahalo, Pua!)

Blogger's warning: Happy Halloween! Beyond that greeting, this post contains no further references to either Halloween. No boats, either. If that makes you sad, try this instead!

She had to go and say "lilikoi".

Doggone it. Guess what that meant I had to get before the week was out?

No, not shave ice. Getting to Matsumoto's (or even Aoki's, where the shave ice is also pretty onolicious & the line isn't nearly as long) is not a possibility this year (not enough vacation days for starters).

Just one of these.

Well, guess where you get one of those?

Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while might know...

(oh, and as long as I'm assigning gratitudeblame I should mention that it's HIS fault that I even know about this place...

And guess what I can't walk into L&L Barbecue without buying...

this time, beef short rib mini-plate

Oh shoot, and how on earth did that haupia end up in that bag?

coconut pudding - trust me, tastes way better than it looks!

Now if only they'd add shave ice (at least in the summer), and saimin, and some real Hawaiian-kine manapua, and get Leonard's to open up a branch next door...

(come on, Leonard's people - NYC had it's cream-puff mania moment...the time is ripe for the malasada!)

Well drat that Pua for saying lilikoi!

But really...thank you thank you thank you so much for stopping by - glad to see your life is looking up. Totally worth suffering through a few unfulfillable cravings - not like I don't get those all the time anyways!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where To Vote in NYC -

I realize that the other day I sort of referred to the Presidential campaign as B.S. -

Well, yes, some of it is. But it's still important.

Here's a nifty website that a co-worker passed around. Thought it was worth continuing to circulate.

Sorry, only works for New York!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Snowing.

Right here in NYC.

Well, you know what they say about snowflakes. If you can't beat 'em, make 'em.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A boat I don't want to see, Irish music & the Wooly Bear Forecast

Jarrett over at the Good Old Boat Redwing blog emailed me and Tugster Will the other day.

He was curious to know if either of us had spotted a certain unusual new boat out on the Hudson.

My answer was:

"Holy cow, no! Don't think I want to either, I go out on the water to get AWAY from all the BS on shore, don't want it coming after me out there! Ick!"

Port or starboard, don't care...please, oh please, keep that thing away from Jamaica Bay!

And now I must go find Moonstruck DennisG's wooly bear forecast. I'm semi caught up at work for the first time in months (UNBELIEVABLE, I must have forgotten something), and with a lot of people being out for various reasons I was able to get out of work in time (and with enough energy) to get in both a good walk and a visit to my fave Irish music session (the Tuesday night one at Dempsey's Pub, where us non-prodigy type Irish musicians are welcome*) and dang, it was FANTASTIC to actually go out & unwind after work with a cheeseburger, a couple of pints & some good tunes and old friends I haven't seen in months - but dang, it's COLD here. Somebody told me it was snowing in Jersey. I believe that.

Wooly bear caterpillar never lies, said Moonstruck DennisG. Oh please, wooly bear, have mercy! I'm not ready for winter.

*p.s. - the Dempsey's gang loved this review. My friend John, who runs the session, has worked his tail off making this session the friendliest one in town (with the help of a strong core of people who've been attending for years). It's really something special, striking a balance between keeping it open to musicians of many levels, while making sure that the stronger musicians who really help drive the tunes & keep things together have fun. It took a while to find that balance, but the setup that goes on now works great - first couple of hours it's a round robin & everybody takes turns starting if they want to, which means everybody gets to play something as part of the group (quite a different experience than playing by yourself at home), even if they're fresh from their first classes at the Irish Arts Center & only know one or two tunes well enough to start. Later, it loosens up & the better musicians really get to cut loose & have some fun. I haven't heard about anything else quite like it in NY. Guess my long-delayed return there has got me all warm & fuzzy, but seriously, it's quite cool.

pps: And speaking of fuzzy - I found the Wooly Bear forecast: Wooly Bear extended weather forcast. Large black ring - warm Nov/Dec. Small orange ring - cold Jan and large black end ring - warm Feb and March. Wooly Bear never lies. And Wooly Bear has nothing to say about October. Oh well.

The Kids Say It's Obama (Long Since Broken News)

I've been pretty quiet about the upcoming elections, but following with interest. Let's just say I know who I hope will win (although as I've mentioned, even if that happens, I'm not expecting miracles).

Now, there's one poll that I have been waiting for with more interest than any other - the Scholastic students poll. Some kids may think they're little rebels, and their parents may agree, but apparently enough kids are influenced enough by what they hear in their homes & neighborhoods that when you ask them to vote shortly before the real election, the results will be an almost uncannily accurate reflection of how us adults will be voting in November. The kids' pick has been the actual winner for all but 2 elections since 1940. So I was quite curious about what they'd say.

I was reasonably happy to come back from vacation to find out that the kids picked Obama.

I'd like to say woo hoo, but why do I have this feeling this could be one of the fluky years?

I'd meant to post about it the day the press release came out - but that happened while I was on vacation, and then I came back to a crazy week, and now everybody probably knows about it so this is probably a totally pointless post.

Gonna post it anyways, though!

1. Perfect length for a quick lunch break post!
2. Maybe everyone else isn't quite as immersed in the world of children's publishing as I am, so maybe NOT everyone knows about this poll, and I do know that an awful lot of us are taking an awful lot more interest in every detail of the campaign this year, so maybe it actually will be of interest...

Anyways, if it's not, don't worry, I'll be back to rambling on about the PFD-use habits of normal paddlers & surf-ski deities soon. What, you thought I was through flogging that dead horse? No way, there's still a couple of spots of intact hide...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mayor's Cup - Organizer's Statement

Well, we debated ourselves blue in the face on NYCKayaker, but in the end, I was the most curious about what organizer Ray Fusco was going to have to say - him being the one with the unenviable job of finding solutions to this year's problems that will satisfy the professional surfski racing circuit people, the local kayakers, the Coast Guard, the NY Harbor Police, and the Mayor's Office.

Here's what he had to say.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Body Boat Blade Ocean Currents Class - Photo Report

Well, I actually did the full report on the Flickr gallery - turned out there was a series of pictures that worked well to illustrate some of the sorts of things we were working on, that I thought I'd be able to do better in a just plain post. Anyways, it's a little on the long side, but it was a great class & I just got to having a good time using the photos as a memory-jogger for the various exercises & the way the class progressed. If you've got a little time, head on over to my Flickr photo set to check it out.

What a thoroughly satisfying experienced. Thanks so much to Shawna & Leon of Body Boat Blade, and also to all our classmates, for sharing your skills, enthusiasm & incredibly beautiful paddlers' playground with me & TQ! I hope we'll be back someday.

Missing orcas -

Sad story from Washington State.

I'm putting this under the Urban Wildlife tag because on Columbus Day, I was in the Seattle Aquarium & among many things I saw there was a video about one of the 3 pods. There was one shot of them swimming in a sunset light with the city shining behind them. Amazing - I'd never realized that some of them were right in the urban area, somehow pictured them all as being in wilder places. But then as I know from my own NYC paddling - the lines between urban & wild are blurred when you pass the shoreline.

And speaking of Washinton - having a quiet weekend catching up with myself & hope to produce a full writeup of our incredible experience at the Body Boat Blade Ocean Currents class we took, and also finish up the Flickr gallery I've posted with no titles. It's funny, I thought I'd be doing another one of my favorite "photo trip reports", but as I started working on the gallery, I realized that there were huge chunks missing out of both days - yes, I took a lot of pictures, but it wasn't like my local paddles, where things are relaxed enough that I've always got time to pull out the camera. During this class, the only time I was taking pictures was when I was taking breaks - and I took as few of those as I could manage!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Surfski Gods - They're Just Like Us! (plus fish on Friday for the non-paddlers)

Sorry about yesterday's disjointed post. Came back from vacation expecting to have to have to do some hard work to catch up...actually came back to find that fit had sorta hit shan & on top of the work I was expecting there was a big big big pile of data collection & categorization. Nothing awful, just pretty much filled up the days, the work I'd been expecting to do still needed to get done so with the days booked up that pretty much left evenings for the other work. Nothing like a few extremely busy 11 (or more) hour days to get you shaken right out of all that silly vacation relaxation. It was in a particularly brain-fried moment that I decided to post my aphorism about roads & busses. I thought it was funny. Definite not something I believe, though, seemed more appropriate for "wingers" of either variety!

Anyways...somewhere in yesterday's disjointedness there was something about how I didn't feel like I can say that paddlers like Greg Barton (winner of multiple Olympic golds & now a designer of really nice surfskis, kayaks & paddles, still highly competitive) should have been wearing a lifejacket in Sunday's cancelled Manhattan circumnavigation race.

Oh...hold on a sec, before I get any further into this rambling kayak-geeky ka-yaketty-yak post, how about something for the non-padddlers...hey, it's Friday, how 'bout some FISH?

Nice, huh? They are young salmon at the Seattle Aquarium.

We now return to our regular blather:
So I've been finding the Mayor's Cup debacle has ended up leading to some interesting insights on the surfski racing set's attitude towards lifejacket (which I'd alway's assumed was a rousing "FEH!".

Oh - Anybody going "Mayor's Cup debacle?"

Well, long story short, if anyone is - the Mayor's Cup is a big kayak race around Manhattan. In that form (Manhattan Kayak Company & some Achilles Track Club folks had an event under that name back in 2001, but it was a one-time deal & not a race), it started a couple years back & aside from a big local sea-kayak crowd, there's enough money & coolness factor to draw pro racers from all over the world. It was scheduled & launched & then called off on Sunday. Conditions were fierce (TQ & I were flying in that day & the pilot actually warned us that our approach & landing might be a little bumpy) there was a barge moored near the starting line with which a few of the surfski paddlers ended up getting up close & personal, a number of the sea kayakers were also running out of steam & the Coast Guard ended up calling off the whole race - much to the chagrin of the professional surfski racing set, who were having a fantastic time. For long version, as I mentioned yesterday, go check out Joe Glickman's excellent story on
There really didn't end up being much discussion of it on the list except about the lifejacket thing. Usually I wouldn't mention yet another lifejacket debate -- as I've mentioned before, I usually stay out of those- but this one got my attention because that all the sudden the discussion wasn't about the lifejacket use habits of our local sea kayaking community - the debate was broadened because suddenly the people involved were genuine professsional surfski racers. People who paddle from Molokai to O'ahu every year. People who have Olympic gold in their display case. People you read about in the paddling magazines (or who actually write for the paddling magazines). It's a whole different level.

So I didn't stay out of it as much as I usually do. When I made my little crack about Greg Barton not being "people" , I was accused, by a gentleman who takes the exact ultraconservative "everyone should wear lifejackets" line that I just can't entirely embrace, of having a double standard.

I couldn't fight that. It's true. What I did do was try to explain why:

"I have no frame of reference for what it's like to be that skilled, and I know that the surfski racing culture is a very different one from our local NYC kayaking scene. That's why I have a double standard - because I'm very aware that there's so much I don't know when you start talking about the norms at international-level surfski races. It would be like me trying to offer opinions on what jockeys should
do to be safe in the Kentucky Derby."

That's pretty much it.

At the same time, though, I was wondering - what would one of those skilled surfski racers have to say if they happened to stumble across this debate, with it's highly sea-kayak-centric bent?

Well -- in one of those funny little synchronicity things, just as I was wondering about that, I went back on (been following some of the commentary, which made an already solid article more & more interesting), and just happened to stumble across an article that gave just the point of view I'd been curious about. The guy clearly a very skilled surfski paddler, and there he was, mulling over the lifejacket issue after getting himself into a very nasty situation. Lucky for me & my newly-roused curiousity about what the surfski gods & goddesses themselves actually think about the whole lifejacket thing (which, as I mentioned, is really & truly a choice for them, federal law gives them an out from the lifejacket rules), he had the guts & the genuine concern for his fellow surfskiers to share it in a forum where there are probably a lot more non-lifejacket-users than otherwise.

You can read that here.

The comments are interesting too -- my favorite is actually from one of the guys who run, Alain - his comment mentions how stylish & comfortable some of the latest surfski pfd's are & he closes with "Certainly more stylish than ending up dead in a Speedo".

What's that magazine that shows photos of famous people caught in ordinary-people moments - shopping for groceries, picking up dog doo, slobbing around in sweats eating pints of Haagen-Dazs? Reading this article & the comments, I was reminded of that...Surf Ski Gods - they debate PFD use - Just Like Us!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making up my own folk sayings now (Mayor's Cup inspired, no less)

Words you probably don't want to live by:

"Those who can see both sides of the road are the most likely to get hit by a bus".

Inspired by:

A) a work-frazzled brain
B) a vaguely remembered conversation with somebody about something that some older relative of theirs used to say to them that was along the same lines but made even less sense than mine
C) an NYCKayaker discussion of PFD's lifejackets brought on by an earlier discussion of the unfortunate calling-off of the Mayor's Cup after big problems during the surfski launch (awesome writeup by Joe Glickman & pix by assorted folks on An eyewitness report included the detail that some of the racers weren't wearing PFD's. Discussion ensued over whether that was a mistake on the organizer's part. Now me being notably conservative (in my boating if not my politics) you'd think I'd be on the "wear 'em" side of the argument, but this is one I actually can see both sides of the road on.

Do I think people should wear lifejackets when they venture out on New York's waterways?

Yes! Absolutely!

Do I think Greg Barton should wear a lifejacket when he ventures out on New York's waterways?

Only if he wants to. He & a lot of the other racers who were there are so far above the average, I just can't lump 'em in with "people".

Even the federal government gives paddlers & rowers of racing craft an out on the lifejacket laws that apply to the rest of us. "Federal law does not require PFDs on racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks; state laws vary. Check with your state boating safety officials."

Anyways, I really couldn't pick sides & was suddenly reminded of something somebody had said about somebody having some saying about "both sides of the road". And even though the version I came up with wasn't the actual one, somehow it just appealed to my workfrazzled brain anyways.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Corollary to Murphy's Law.

OK, so there have got to be a lot but I'd like to offer up corollary number, oh, probably eighty-six or so, inspired by a pretty rough first couple of days back in the office. Vacation? Was I on vacation?

Anyways, here ya go, pearl o' whiz-dumb from Not-So-Happy Bonnie...

Murphy's Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.

Corollary 86: The more important it is that everything go right, the greater the probability is that it won't.

Any other good corollaries out there?

A little more Pacific Northwest wildlife:

Monday, October 20, 2008


Wow. I got into an "interesting" situation at one point during the Deception Pass workshop. Even more interesting to see just howinteresting it was. I also see why the surf rolling strategy of hanging out upside down waiting to wash out into settled water backfired so completely!

Glad I went back & tried it again.

Boy, was that fun.

Dave, thanks for posting & letting me link. And hi to Karen! Great meeting all of you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Phoning It In

Hello from the Northwest! Just a few quick pix!

Probably the most photographed phone booth in the country.

All others taken in our campsite on the Hoh River:

Woke up the first morning, came out of the tent to head up to the ladies room &...

After the elk cleared out, the mule deer came through.

The most spectacular campsite I've ever stayed in. Lotta sunshine for a rain forest, yeah? We were lucky. We did get rain too but we got a good bit of this:

Misty morning.

Most fabulous time was had in Deception Pass. More on that when I get home. Today, there are flamingoes to see!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Seattle prep update.

Just spent lunch hour acquiring a Seattle map & a guidebook. It's very weird buying a guidebood for the place where you graduated from high school. I am pleased to see that the actual town where I went to high school is only mentioned as a place that you drive through on the way to someplace interesting.

Poor Neglected Garden.

Notice I haven't posted a garden post in a long time? Just been too busy with work & other things. Poor garden's been pretty much completely neglected since early September.

Nevertheless, it keeps turning out good stuff, to the point that I'm actually not sure I'll be able to finish all the Canarsie-grown produce I brought home after the paddle last weekend.

I should have shared.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cold Water Workshops & Other Events Coming Up -

From Cold Water Workshop at the Small Boat Shop

Working late tonight getting ready to go on vacation (Deception Pass! Saturday & Sunday! And hangin' with my old friends, the Chicken Family! Can't WAIT!) but just thought I'd post a notice I'd put up on Sebago's email list on the Sebago blog & Frogma. Fall is upon us, it's cold-water workshop time!
I'm passing these on because I think that these formal workshops that you'll start seeing at the local outfitters starting around now are the absolute best way to learn about cold-water paddling safety. It's tons of fun going out all winter, and it can be done safely, but you need to know the risks, and have the right skills and the right gear to mitigate those. Go to a workshop run by a reputable paddlesport dealer & you can walk out with 2 out of 3 (don't forget that the 3rd, the skills, are equally necessary)!
EVENT #1 - NY Kayak, 10/11/08I start this with Randy's email to New York Kayak:
We're offering our free Cold Water Immersion Clinic at 10AM onSaturday, October 11. Dr. Lili Banan from Bellevue ER will talk about the physiology of cold water immersion and treatment for hypothermia,Tom Harsh from Kokatat will talk about kayak apparel and cold water immersion wear, and I'll do a short talk on risk management for off season paddling. Tom will have all of the Kokatat Dry Suits and Paddle Suits to try on and water-test after the talk!
Hope to see you!
New York Kayak Co.40 N. River Piers (Pier 40)W. Houston & West St.New York, NY 10014212-924-1327 800-529-2599
EVENT #2: Sunday, October 12th at Empire Kayaks in Island Park:11:00am.. Join us for this free clinic and learn how to dress properly to safely extend your paddling season. There will be drysuits to try on and demo in thewater. Big discounts on drysuits purchased the day of clinic. Call to reserve:
516 889 8300
EVENT #3: Saturday, November 8th, Chuck Sutherland will be leading a cold waterworkshop at the Annsville Creek Paddlesports Center.
Full details here. And here's AKT's BCU Expert Center link - I'ma big fan of going, listening, asking questions; then trying the gear but reading's good too:
AKT's BCU Expert Center
And of course Chuck maintains one of my favorite cold-water boating safety sites:
And of course how can I leave out The Small Boat Shop's. It's not even scheduled yet but this one's particularly fun because they hold in in FEBRUARY. Fall ismore the usual time of year for these, because they are aimed at getting peopleready for off-season paddling - but the problem with trying out cold-water gear in October & even November is that the water just isn't that cold yet. I specifically went to the Small Boat Shop's last year because I wanted to try swimming in full winter gear in very cold water & see how that felt. It wasn't the coldest it's ever been for them - there was no actual ice - but it was 39 degrees and although the situation was completely controlled (warm shop & hot beverages steps away), it was interesting feeling that level of coldness pressing in all around. Gives a real sense of the inevitability of what would tohappen if you were to end up in that water without a way to get out, even with all the gear - that's just buying you time, but in the end, if you can't get back in your boat in a certain amount of time, you are in a kind of trouble thatyou are going to need more and more outside assistance to get back out of.

Nice to get that first-hand understanding and then jump out and run back into a nice warm shop!

So that was the Yahoo group post. BTW I'll also add that if you're up in the Cold Springs area, another one of my favorite outfitters, Hudson Valley Outfitters, is offering 20% off Kokatat cold-water. Even if you can't make a workshop, a reputable paddlesports dealer will steer you right.
A couple more local events that I'm sort of sorry I can't make (psyched though I am about Deception Pass):

Sunday, October 12th: If you happen to wander over to the Hudson, you may notice about a zillion kayakers out there - they'll all be out there for the Riverkeeper's Waterfest. Sounds like a fun day on the water. Weather looks good!

Oct 12 Sunday
Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the upper 50s

And then of course of Sunday October 19th, all the big names in kayak racing descend upon the isle of Manhattan for the 3rd annual Mayor's Cup kayak race. (at least in the current form, 4th annual if you count the one I was involved in back in 2001 - that was not a race, though). Actually would've been a fun time to be in town; Oscar Chalupsky's giving a racing forward stroke clinic on Thursday the 16th at Manhattan Kayak, I've never met him personally but he sounds like someone who'd really be a lot of fun to take a class from. There was also a brief rumour about Freya doing something but life sort of happened, in the unfortunate way it sometimes does, to the person who was originally seeming to organize & I haven't heard much more.

Oh yeah, as long as I'm rattling on...on out in November, Marcus Demuth has organized the NY Premiere of This Is The Sea IV - again, that will be at Pier 66.

OK...that's all folks!

BTW, next real post may be from Seattle. Much to get done before TQ & I leave for the airport. Can't wait can't wait can't wait!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Back to the Graveyard

The first trip I ran to Staten Island's Graveyard of Ships this year went so well, I decided to run another. Small group this time, mostly people who couldn't make the first one. Early in the morning, it was pouring, but it stopped before we all got to the club, and by the afternoon we had one of those Fall days that are just perfect for paddling. And pictures!

Good to be back in my boat & out paddling with friends for the first time in two weeks.

Friday, October 03, 2008




doodle doodle, color color...

Whaddaya think, should I license her?

Actually the funny thing is that "Happy Bonnie" is the product of a couple of really disheartening arguments I've had over the years with people who really like the cheerful, affable, smily person I tend to be when I'm out on a boat, then are shocked to discover that I can also be this total rotten stubborn mule when I get it into my head that something's actually worth fighting for. I really really hate fighting & 97% of my opinions, I don't consider important enough to argue over. When you hit into that 3% though, watch out. Somebody once told me in the midst of one of those 3% conflagrations "We miss Happy Bonnie". Great, I thought. I'm supposed to be a Sanrio character. Thanks ooooodles. There've been a couple of fights with different people, at different times, over different things, that went sort of like that - that's just where the name came from. Actually haven't had one of those fights now for ages (getting out of the Hudson River Park political scene was probably one of the kindest things I've ever done for myself) but this picture of me as cheery manga girl sort of stuck in my wasn't who I am, but, well, for all that, it was sort of amusing to picture.

And then I found a 423 page collection of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy cartoons in the giveaway bin, and still recovering from this stupid cold, I came home from another long day at work, heated up some soup & proceeded to suck down the entire collection in one night.

Yes, what followed was inevitable. I AstrO-D'd. When I came to, there she was, out of my head & onto paper...Here Comes Happy Bonnie!

OK...there may be a bit of exaggeration in there somewhere. Basically cold = boredom, boredom in a T.V. free zone = reading and doodling. I actually did read the entire Dark Horse Astro Boy volumes one & two collection in one sitting, and the subsequent doodling quite naturally wandered off into anime-land.

Perhaps my next book should have paragraphs instead of panels...

Long Island Days 2&3



Lobster roll.

That was Day 3. More pictures & trip report here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Word to a Google Searcher After My Own Heart...

To the person who found my blog through the Google search phrase:

should I buy a sunfish sailboat i live in an apartment

Well, if you happen to live in Brooklyn I would say yes. Absolutely. Just join Sebago first. You'll have a safe place to store it & a nice crew to sail with.

Otherwise -

Hark to the word. The word of the bird. So it is written (Reason #1). So let it be done. Amen.

Sand eels anyone?

(p.s. whitewater kayaks make good apartment boats too! :D)
(p.p.s. folding kayaks too!)
(p.p.p.s. but neither of those is quite a sailing craft!)

Lunchtime Linkage - Brian, Karen, and Puffin Set Forth to Visit NYC's Movable Bridges

Remember my friend Brian? There he is off the coast of Japan during the Japan-to-Victoria, B.C. leg of the 2006 Clipper Around-the-World Yacht Race (and -here's the writeup that came with that photo!)

Ordinarily, his boating is a little more local - he's practically a neighbor in Jamaica Bay, his boat, the Puffin, is berthed in Mill Basin, the next basin over from the Paerdegat. He emailed me yesterday asking whether the scotch helped (answer - don't know if it helped, but I sure enjoyed it!) and to tell me about his new website, A Movable Bridge, which will chronicle the progress of he & Karen's planned goal of visiting every movable bridge in New York City. So far, they've gotten Mill Basin (sort of a prerequisite for all their bridge visits) and travelled up the Gowanus Canal (where it seems that sometimes the movable bridges aren't so movable after all...they pulled through by "thinking short thoughts", though!). It's not going to be a daily thing, obviously, but it's going to be fun following along as they do make their way around the "6th Borough".