Monday, August 31, 2009

It was a fine trip anyways.

And speaking of tugboats - my goodness, can you believe it's almost Labor Day weekend?

Around here, that means it's almost time for the annual Tugboat Race & Competition!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Oh argh. I know meteorology is an imprecise science but how can NOAA go from This (yesterday's forecast for today):


to This (today's forecast for today):


Bummer bummer bummer. I completely rearranged the distance paddle I was leading to find a Yellow Submarine in Coney Island Creek (link fixed, I hope), which involves a roughly 6-mile stretch where you are simply not allowed to land for anything short of a trip-ending medical emergency, to a more flexible Paerdegat to Gerritsen Creek trip.

Now conditions are perfect.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Newtonian Refrigerators

Oh my, this is just getting worse and worse. Silliness begins with Carol Ann's recollection of a trick question on a physics exam & then it just all goes downhill (frictionlessly downhill) from there!

It got started, btw, by my observation that Bubbles didn't quite grasp the concept of how air conditioners work.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senator Kennedy

I haven't known what to say but George at Voyages has shared a nice personal memory of meeting the senator at one of the Mayor's Cup sailing races that used to be held annually in NY Harbor.

I also enjoyed his reminder about how the first thing Kennedy did after the diagnosis was to go sailing.

Sunset in Upper NY Harbor

Sunset, Upper NY Harbor Late August 09

Ho hum, how about another sunset?

Taken last night in Red Hook, from the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, where I'd gone to listen to Captain Pamela Hepburn (a friend from my Pier 63 Maritime days) give a slideshow presenation about the restoration of the 1907 tugboat Pegasus. Fascinating talk. You can seen a lot of the photos she uses on I've always enjoyed wandering around that site, but listening to her talk about the tug's history & the restoration truly brought those pictures to life in a most remarkable way.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunset in Soho

Sunset in Soho

Busy busy week. Here, how about another nice sunset?

Intersection of Broadway & Houston, 8/20/09.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunset on the Paerdegat, 8/23/09

Sunset on the Paerdegat

Too serious? Sorry. Here, how about a nice sunset?

Bubbles got dissed!

Ha, but she certainly put that commenter in his or her place.

Or at least she seems to believe that she did!


BTW, she may be an airhead & not quite understand a few fundamental principles of how air conditioners work, but she was a timely airhead! Late last week, the NY Times City Room blog posted on the same topic, with links to a report by an environmentalist group which did an informal survey similar to mine the one Bubbles did - i.e., going for a walk with a camera. Theirs was quite a bit longer - they didn't make it down to Soho, though.

The interesting thing that I learned from these posts is that there's now actually a law against this leaving of doors open to draw in customers. I feel like a bit of an airhead myself admitting that I had forgotten about this, but last summer, the city council had passed what the NRDC blog refers to as a "'no-brainer' energy conservation bill". "No-brainer" is a good way to put it, too. In fact that sheer obviousness is why I do get irritated when I see open doors pouring cool air into the streets -- whatever your opinions on global warming (and for all I live here in the liberal-elite heartland & am definitely on board with trying to keep my carbon footprint as small as I can manage & all that, I do know people who genuinely believe that the threat is being overstated by people who are angling to make a buck off the matter), I would think that at this point, most rational people would agree that as long as the bulk of our energy is derived from nonrenewable resources, resources which simply cannot be obtained without some cost to the environment, we should do what we can to conserve. Keeping doors closed while air-conditioning is one ludicrously easy way to cut down on waste. Doesn't require scientific inquiry, research & development teams, p&l analyses - just a manager with a little common sense (oh, yes, & a corporate policy that allows them to exercise that common sense).

Hmph. So there.

At any rate, the whole point of this post is to mention thatif you happen to be a resident of NYC who is similarly annoyed by open shop doors, and you want to do something conrete, that NRDC group has a simple, practical suggestion:

Readers...noticing large stores or chain stores with open doors and air conditioners cranked up could jumpstart the overdue enforcement by calling the City's helpline - 311 - to file a complaint. When calling 311 from your cell phone or home phone, just tell the operator that you are calling to report a violation of Local Law 38, relating to energy conservation and open doors at retail stores.

Thus endeth the rant.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Kid and a Kite

Coney Island Kid with a Kite
Coney Island, 8/22/09

NY Beaches are closed for swimming this weekend because of high surf & rip tides from Hurricane Bill.

True beachlovers go anyways.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nathan's on the Boardwalk - Alive & Well, Oddly Enough.

Last September, people were lined up like there was never going to be another Nathan's on the Boardwalk hot dog ever (guy in the blue shirt is the end of the line!) -

Waiting For Nathan's Hot Dogs

Then in December, there was this:

Really felt like the end of Coney Island as it had been.

But then it was hot & sticky today, I wasn't feeling great, didn't feel like shlepping all the way out to the club, but home wasn't very nice - decided to go out to Coney Island & see if I could spot signs of Bill. And lo and behold, there's Nathan's & Cha Cha's & all the other stands, same as always -


In fact I haven't been keeping abreast of the Coney Island redevelopment developments, but aside from Astroland being gone it doesn't look there's been a lot of change. odd!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Comment on NY Times opinion piece re 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood -

I don't usually comment on NY Times articles but the Times had an article today in honor of the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood.

It's by Paul Theroux. You can read it here.

I did. Not sure how I feel about it.

Paul Theroux is brilliant, and a great writer, and all that - but somehow my main encounter with his writing bothered me. And his opinion piece was an interesting read, and he gets a lot right, but again, something about it bothered me. Judging by many comments, I wasn't alone in having that reaction.

Between that, being reminded of a funny incident at a UPS store, and seeing another comment that I just thought was kind of wrong, I actually composed a comment on my lunch hour. However, I think I may have missed the cutoff (I don't know whether it's a number or a time that kicks off the close of the comments, but the Times does have a definite point at which comments are closed). So it probably won't see the light of day over there. No matter, wasn't anything important.

Figured I'd share it here, anyways. Filing under "silly opinions". I suppose I should have a "serious opinions" tag, too, but I always feel like I'm skating on the brink of stupid when I do get serious.


The only work of Paul Theroux's that I've read is Riding the Iron Rooster. I enjoyed it but was bothered by a constant, niggling sense that Mr. Theroux felt disdain for most of the people he encountered on his travels.

When he makes statements like "It is fashionable to drive with your feet out the window" about the state in which I was largely raised, it gives me that same feeling - only it hits home a little harder. It's an interesting piece, but somehow, despite his 20 years of residence there, it does read like the opinion of an outsider who holds himself to be superior (much though he appreciates the scenery).

On a less critical note - his comment about tourists referring to the Mainland as "the States" reminds me of one visit I made to a United Parcel Service outlet here in NY. My father was a teacher on O'ahu at the time; I work in publishing and had gathered a couple of cartons of books to send to the library at my father's school. I was quite surprised to find myself explaining to the young man at the counter that no, I did NOT need to fill out a customs form to send these books home!

Note in response to poster #38, who claims "Haoles (HOW - LEE) doesnt connote whites, on the islands is means non-hawaiian ancestry" - The word "haole" does not literally translate to "white person". However, in modern usage, when a person from the islands uses the word "haole", it's a safe bet they are talking about a Caucasian.

It's not like other ethnic groups aren't perceived as distinct, either -if I'm remembering correctly, Hawaiian pidgin has specific terms for pretty much every ethnic group.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Contest on Tugster - PRIZE for best photo of Dutch ships arriving!

He doesn't say what the prize is, only that it's "material", but he's challenging NY shipwatchers to come up with the best photograph of that Dutch ship arriving!

Details (such as they are) on today's Tugster post.

Dutch Sailing Barges At Sea!

More great shots, again courtesy of Seabart. Very cool. Seabart says estimated arrival date is September 1st.

Tugster Will has been doing some research & has lots of interesting info (including the origin of the word "yawl")to add (in English, even) on Tugster.

Lekker mooi, gentlemen (I just learned that from Tugster Will, too - and if it doesn't mean "Thank you very much", would somebody please let me know pronto)! note next day - Will had said "Lekker mooi" at the end of his first email back to SeaBart & I'd guessed (wrongly, as it turns out) from the placement that it meant thank you - Jos at Racing Rules of Sailing left a correction in the comments, seems it's more an expression of admiration! Thanks!

Inuit Hunters Tag Narwhal for Research

This is a picture of an...

Ooooh, alright, I'm not even going to try to pull off that bad a lie. Real Inuit hunters don't wear cowboy hats. Plus, there wouldn't be trees in the background in Greenland. That's the whole point of the skin on frame construction of true Greenland qajaq.

No, this is not an Inuit hunter, this is just me, in a qajariaq ("like a kayak", the Inuit word for our hard-shelled versions of their traditional hunting boats), in the Gulf of Mexico, trying (and utterly failing, but having a great time in the process) to slaughter some floating bit of rubbish at the 2006 edition of Sweetwater Kayaks' BCU/Greenland week*.

However, I dug up this picture partly because what I'm doing here, if done with a thousand times more skill, might look something like the techniques a certain group of hunters in Greenland who were featured on NPR yesterday morning are using to affix tracking tags to some of their local narwhals.**

You can click here to hear the story, or read the article, about the key role traditional Inuit hunting techniques are playing in a scientific study led - or should I say spearheaded? - by University of Washington-based oceanographer Kristin Laidre.

And you don't need to have ever wriggled your way into a glove-snug qajaq to enjoy it, either!

* I was about to say "late, lamented BCU/Greenland week" as the 2009 symposium was called off due to the blighted economy this year, but I see on their website that it's coming back in 2010!
**The other reason for using that picture is that I just really get a kick out of it & this is the first hint of an excuse I've had for dredging it up in ages! :D

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Barges Are Coming The Barges Are Coming!

Oh my. Had no plans to post again before after work tonight but this will take 2 minutes & I can't resist it!

Look who are on their way for the grand finale of the Hudson River Quadricentennial, which runs for, oh, pretty much the entire month of September, which will be a grand month to be anywhere on the Hudson by the looks of the Quadricentennial event listing. These Dutch sailing barges will be joining the Half Moon on a trip up the Hudson over the month of September. Bet the Onrust will join in on that too!

MAHALO NUI LOA times ten to Seabart of for the heads-up!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garden Update - Blight, Blight, Stay Away!

Produce pictures from Sunday! OK, I also took a few sailing pictures on Sunday although as the day progressed, it ended up with enough wind that I really needed both hands to sail, so it was take pictures or sail, and I was having so much fun sailing that I decided to stick with that but the 10 OK pictures I did take before things really picked up are over on my Flickr site, but I hadn't shown off my homegrown veggies here lately!

Beatific beets!
bunch of beets

Crunchy cukes!

Baby Butternut!
baby butternut

'Eavenly Heirloom tomatoes!
green tomatoes

Plus the basil's recovered from the scalping, the chard is charding away just fine, and there are a few flowers & herbs too.

I just hope that awful tomato blight spares us. Although they were slow in starting, I'm having the best luck I've ever had with full-sized tomatoes, while the cherry tomatoes, as usual, are doing great. In the past the cherry tomatoes have just won the day somehow. Actually the first year I only planted cherries, because we had a cherry tomato plant that volunteered in our back yard in Hawaii & gave us some good tomatoes without our really having to do anything but go down to the 2nd terrace & pick 'em & for my first year of gardening I was really after a no-brainer like that. Last year I tried starting some heirlooms from seeds the Paddling Chef was handing out - they started out sort of OK, but then I think I had one of those crazy periods at work right when the tomato plants took off & by the time I got to 'em I just got too intimidated by the melee to try to sort things out, and the cherry tomatoes (many of which were scrappy little volunteers from the prior year's leavings in the first place) won that round hands-down. This year, I started the cherries from seeds, in the bed, and got some sturdy little heirloom seedlings from the Ralph Avenue nursery. That gave the heirlooms a better head-start, and I have been much more conscientious about staking & trying to make sure everybody has space. So I'm eating cherry tomatoes now & watching these heirlooms get bigger & bigger - and I'm going to be SO bummed out if I lose them!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed - everything's looking fine so far, we all either started our plants from seed or bought seedlings from local nurseries, I don't think there are any plants from big-box stores and our garden is somewhat isolated - but TQ had emailed earlier this week saying that he'd suddenly had to develop proficiency at green-tomato cookery as all but one of his plants, which he'd also started from seed & wasn't raising particularly close to anybody else's gardens or farms, went down fast. I went out tonight & sprayed with a baking-soda solution that I found online looking for organic measures for a mildew that's been attacking my squash plant leaves. How did people grow things before the Internet, anyways? Anyhow, after I read TQ's sad tomato tale, and he mentioned that it can be prevented but not cured, I went looking for preventive measures & the exact same baking soda mixture I'd found for the mildew popped up all over the place as being somewhat effective against this blight, too.

Hope it doesn't get put to the test, though - everybody's tomatoes are gorgeous right now & it would be SO sad to have 'em go the way so many other people's tomatoes have gone this year!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday Sail

Sunday - noonish launch for a 12 mile-ish sail around J-bay.

Winds 5kts or so at first, building to 12-14kts later.

My hands are aching.

My sitzbones are bruised.

I've lightly skinned both knees.

I hung my camera on a convenient twig of poison ivy.

And omigod, I like TOTALLY broke a nail!

How was it?



Thursday, August 13, 2009

HEY! and, Last Day of Free Kayaking in Hoboken for 2009, plus an even better Waterpod article!


Like, omig...

oops, er, I mean,

Oh my GOODNESS! What a tremendously shocking discovery to surface from a couple of frenetic days at work only to discover that in the interim, some person claiming to be a technologically challenged airhead has managed to hack into mine own and only private, personal bloggy, I mean my blog! Heavens! don't suppose this could have had anything with my visit to that conveniently located Kinko's, do you, or the note that I claimed, I mean the note that was most definitely and truly on the computer, the one about the shutdown, which I ignored, la la la?

naaaaaa...couldn't be.


ANYWAYS. Back to our usual Serious Kayak Drivel. And a bit more Waterpod, too.

It has been a gruelling couple of days here at the Really Big Children's Book Company, but it's been for a very good cause - that of taking a day off tomorrow., I mean isn't that simply splendid?

Tonight, I just have 2 quick items to share. Well, maybe 3.

1. An even better article about the Waterpod - they made the front page of the NY Times Art & Design section this morning!

2. I'd meant to post this last night but I was just too tired by the time I got home. Notice is now a bit on the short side, but it's not quite too late. Here's David from the Hoboken Cove Boathouse (or at least the email he posted on NYCKayaker). Take it away, D!

Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse will host the final Summer 2009 Family Kayaking Day at the Maxwell Place Boathouse on Saturday, August 15th from 1pm – 5pm.

Hoboken Boathouse – in partnership with the City of Hoboken and Downtown Boathouse of New York City – has sponsored free kayaking in Hoboken for the past six years, serving over 4,000 paddlers. The Hoboken Boathouse is a non-profit organization supported by volunteers, boathouse space from the City of Hoboken, and borrowed kayaking equipment from the Downtown Boathouse.

Kayaking Days offer a unique opportunity for Hoboken residents and visitors to experience the city from the Hudson River. The programs are free, open to all, and require no reservations. Trained kayakers will be on-hand to provide tips for new paddlers. The boathouse is located in Maxwell Place Park near the intersection of Sinatra Drive and Maxwell Place (metered parking is available on the east side of Sinatra Drive).

For all participants planning to kayak, please be able to swim (a must), come prepared to get a little wet (bathing suit, sandals, etc) - and don't forget your sunscreen! Hoboken Boathouse will provide all necessary equipment (kayak, paddle, life jacket).

Please note that all programs are tentative based on weather and water conditions, and are subject to cancellation. For the latest information on Hoboken Boathouse programs, please email, visit our website at , join us on Facebook, , or follow us on Twitter

David Downs
Hoboken Boathouse
I can hardly believe the summer's already winding down so fast. We're actually in the middle of a time of year that was one of my LEAST favorite times of the year when I was a kid. I mean, here we are, still a couple of weeks of freedom out from the day when they swing wide the gates of the schools, and yet the poor kids can't be left to enjoy them - nooo, everywhere you look, it's reminder upon reminder upon grim reminder that it's "Back to School" time. Funny, it doesn't touch me personally any more, but I still find the advent of the Back to School selling season puts something of a damper on my mood. And now we have the first sign of the looming end of the Summer Boating Season.


This isn't quite so bad, there's still some fine boating weather, but it does remind me that I should probably be shipping my drysuit back to Kokatat for the gasket replacement & pressure testing that I have really got to have done before it starts turning cold.

Heavier sigh...

Well, now I need to cheer myself up.

Fortunately that's pretty easy - all I have to do is move on to Item 3:


I can't wait to see PONYO!

woohoo! yippee! hurray!

(jumping about like a complete lunatic, poing poing poing)

Oh, can you tell that I am just the tiniest bit fond of the films of Miyazaki-sama?


(i like kayak smilies!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Totally Cool Soho Stores Fighting Global Warming!

So, like, wow! Wait until my friends see this! Totally awesome! This is one of those bloggy things, right? I'm so glad I decided to come to this Kinky's place, I totally knew i could do this! Besides, it's like totally conveniently located in this convenient downtown location. There was a funny note by the tv thing about shutdown problems but it's not shut down, it's all set up already, they must have fixed it & forgot to throw the note away.


So, like, hi bloggy peoples! I'm Bubbles, and, like, all my friends laugh at me and call me "technologically challenged" because, like, I'm lucky if I don't send my text message about how I saw Cissie's boyfriend Taddy making out with Bambi to Cissie instead of to Mimi who's, like, really really good at how you should tell somebody something bad (um, like, Cissie, if you're reading this that's just an example, I actually did send it to Mimi that time, not you, and she said I shouldn' no wait I mean I just made the whole thing up as an example, I never realy saw taddy making out with Bambi or any of those othre girls either, k? :) ) and I never went on Twitbook or MyFace or any of those things forget why but I just didn't.

But anyways, I came to this conveniently located Kinky's place today because I figured something out that is like SO TOTALLY AWESOME than I HAD to tell everybody about it and everybody always says those Tweety things are really easy and everybody reads them so I was going to try to set myself up and be a Tweety Bird. And so I walk in here and I don't know how they knew I wanted to tell everybody something but here's this computer with this bloggy thingy already. And I know Twitster is like way more 2009 and blogster is like sooooo 2007 but they must think I should use Blogster for this or they would have twister set up for me first.

So like here's the REALLY IMPORTANT THING I figured out today when I was shopping in Soho. And ohmigod it is sooooo kewl.

So like you know that silly Global Warming thing that all those silly scientists and people are always trying to figure out how to stop before we all have to get snorkels to go in the subway? Well, like, if your apartment is too hot, what do you do? Sell your awesome Hummer? No, silly, you turn on the air conditioning, right? And then it gets cool, right?
So you always see these people on tv going on about how we need to stop doing this and reduce that and carbon footprint blah blah blah, right? Why they are so silly and don't get that like all we need to do is just air condition?

Now I bet you are reading that and going "Wow, Bubbles, no wonder all your friends call you Bubbles the Technologically Challenged Bimbo - that wouldn't work, there's no air conditioners that big",

and if you did I would go "well DUH, of course not, I may not be a smarty-pants bloggy person like YOU are, mister smarty pants bloggy person (or mrs or miss or ms, whatevverrrrr) but even I know THAT - but ha, ha, guess what, if you took a bunch of LITTLE air conditioners and put them all together then it would be just like one great big one and then wow, no more glabol warming!"
And you know what, the coolest thing about what I figured out today was that I saw that, like, while all the scientists and eco snobs and stuffy hippies on tv are all acting like they are so smart and we all have to listen to them and give up stuff we like like hummers and tanning salons or the whole world is going to be like one big boiled egg,
all the cool people who run the cool stores in Soho figured out what we really can do right now to fix global warming -- and they are like totally teaming up and DOING it even if it means that there electric bills are really bad. And this was just in, like, 2 blocks on Broadway.
and if everybody else would do the same thing with their air conditioners then maybe the polar bears can have their ice shelves for their books and china and stuff and and the walruses can has their bukkits and you will never have to use a snorkel to go on the subway.
And they aren't even being all "hey look we're totally fixing global warming with our air conditioners", they are just acting like they are just selling clothes and shoes and stuff just like normal. That's so cool everybody should just go shopping right now ok?

Just make sure you pick the stores with the MOST cold air coming out the door, they're the ones who really care!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

J-Bay Oysters "R" In The News

Hiya! Well, not too bad a day at work today, phew, I'm out at a decent hour, needed to run a couple of errands & have just stopped by this conveniently located Kinko's Fedex outlet downtown to look up the street address of a store.

While I was en route, I read a fascinating article in the New York Times about oysters being planted off of Floyd Bennett Field. These J-Bay oysters "R" definitely the bivalve du jour, they were featured on NPR this morning too. Just thought I'd pop up a post before I hele on, not sure I'll have time for one in the next couple of days.

Here are the links to:

The article in the CityRoom blog,

and here's the snippet from
the WNYC morning news, and it looks like there was a piece about oysters on the Leonard Lopate show back in March. I shall have to listen to that when I am no longer at a conveniently located Kinko's Fedex.

Now in closing, I will mention that there was an odd note on the keyboard about this terminal having some severe shutdown issues, but ah well, I have chosen to blithely ignore it. La la la. Personal website, public place, what could possibly go wrong?

OK, blog at you later, oh, like late, late tomorrow night or possibly Thursday, certainly no sooner than that, off to run my errands now!

What we were up to in PA -

Little bit of this,

little bit of that & that & that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cabstand Anarchy - a complaint I just sent to the Port Authority.

New York, New York.

I had the most unbelievable experience at the cabstand at the Port Authority building this morning. I know the economy's bad, but this was nuts. Never saw anything like it before.

Something really should be done about the cabstand outside of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I got back from a trip to Pennsylvania at about 4:15 AM on Monday morning. I wanted to take a cab home. I stepped out the door to find a dozen cabbies all looking for fares. I hesitated a moment between the guy who was apparently at the head of the line & the first guy who agreed to go to Brooklyn and suddenly they all absolutely mobbed me. They were yelling at me, yelling at each other, closing in on me. It was actually scary enough that I ended up screaming "Get away from me, ALL of you, this is crazy!" and leaving for the next avenue over to get a cab. The cabbies who were on the sidewalk were all acting like complete assholes & I was not about to reward ANY of the participants in the mayhem I was faced with by actually giving them my fare.

I can't even imagine what that would have been like for someone who was arriving in NYC for the first time. I live in NY & I knew that there would be plenty of cabs available if I just walked on over to the next block. If I was new to the city, I swear I think I would've just turned right around & gotten on the next bus out of the town where the cab drivers look like they are about to attack.

The TLC on line complaint form is of course not working. But it's your bus terminal & you really should investigate the early-morning behavior of the cabbies at your cabstand. Maybe it was just an exceptionally bad night - but if that's normal, you really shouldn't allow that kind of anarchy to be practiced, at ANY hour of the day or night. I have never seen a group of cabbies waiting for fares act like that anywhere else, at any time. It was unbelievable.

I hardly expect to get an answer. But I had to get it off my chest.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

On The WaterPod

Hi! Just a quick post today with a few more Waterpod pictures from City of Water Day. I'd posted this first one in my City of Boats Boats and More Boats gallery, and I'd been meaning to get back to it. I'd heard about this eco/artistic endeavour, didn't know what to expect, and ended up being rather taken by the whole project.

View of the WaterPod -

Another view. The idea behind the Waterpod is that the artists living on board are trying to be self-sustaining. Inside the uncovered geodesic dome, you can just see some white hydroponic growing arrangements. The other tall structures looked like they were intended as trellises for some squash or cucumber type vines (good choice for self sufficiency if my little trellis of cukes is any indication - I can't keep up with the production!).

Going aboard. Floating gardens!

Hey, it's Chard! Another good choice based on what I've got going on out at my garden at the club - the stuff is totally trouble-free, grows like crazy, tastes good & is easy to prepare. Plus it's decorative!

But OK - what really made me go "Oh, these people are lucky" was seeing their quarters. Who wouldn't want to wake up in the morning to a view like that?

Want to go see it? Right now it's moved to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where it's docked until August 17th. For more information, check out their website at

And for an view on what it's actually like living on the barge, here's an interesting short article in the NY Daily News. The link was sent around with the post-event wrapup that the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance sent around. I'd been so curious about what it was like living on this experiment, but there was so much I wanted to see on Governor's Island that I didn't stop to talk to anyone. I thought the article did a good job of answering my "What's it like" question. Surprise, surprise - self-sufficiency is hard work!

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Best Trip I Ever Cancelled - 8/2/2009

It started as a full circumnavigation of Jamaica Bay, one of the long distance trips that the 5 Years Around Long Island crew are leading for the club. I'd volunteered to lead this one ages ago.

Weather looked fine early in the week. But around here, if you're doing a long afternoon trip, you have to keep an eye on things - afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Sure enough, by Saturday, all the forecasts had "Chance of thunderstorms" all afternoon, easing off in the evening.

I wasn't ready to cancel. If you cancelled things for "Chance of thunderstorms" or "Scattered thunderstorms" around here, you'd end up spending half the summer twiddling your thumbs on shore.

I did decide to move the launch back from 2 pm to 3 pm, due to the thunderstorms being more likely earlier in the afternoon. Weird pattern, they usually kick in later in the afternoon, but NOAA, and weather underground were all in an unusual state of complete agreement.

I also decided to change the route & stay on our side of the big Broad Channel island. That would allow us a lot more flexibility in responding to how things turned out - more known takeout places if something hit & we needed to get off the water, and more ability to lengthen or shorten the trip as we saw fit.

One of the participants had asked me to call him. As I was telling him the update, I happened to mention that that forecast was about at the limit for weather in which I thought a long trip was a good idea.

He agreed.

The next morning I got up, stumbled over to my computer, fired it up & hit the forecasts.

Every single one agreed that now thunderstorms were LIKELY in the afternoon. Ooh. No good. A look at the radar showed some very ugly red spots headed our way.

I went onto email to send a cancellation. Still wanted to paddle but it was going to have to be at the pleasure of the sky.

One had already dropped out when I signed on. The one I'd talked to the day before has a terribly long trip to get to the club & agreed that the forecast was now past anything he wanted to gamble on.

I had two still willing to join me & see what we could do in the afternoon.

At 1:00, it was in the middle of doing what you see in the picture. Plus thunder. The friend from the Greenland scene who I'd invited along called to cancel. I figured it was off. But I'd had a terrible week at work, high stress & long hours, knew the next week was likely to be the same (it was, and then some), and I had really been looking forward to getting out on the water. Full of wishful thoughts, I looked at the radar again, played the animations again and again - and was surprised to see that it really looked like the very worst of it was going to be passing over in the next hour or two, followed by...light drizzle, maybe. Huh.

Called the last other person, John H. the Summit to Shore blogger. Still expecting to end up staying home. But...

"Hi, John, it's Bonnie. What do you think?"

"I'm just about ready to leave. I'm willing to give it a try. If we just end up hanging out at the club talking to people, that's OK too."

"Well, if you're willing, I guess I am too!"

"Great. Can I give you a ride from anywhere?"

"That would be GREAT, where are you coming from?"

"Jackie Robinson Parkway."

"How about the parking lot at the McDonald's at the end of the Paerdegat? My bus stops right there. If I leave now I should be there by 2".

"See you there!"

Well - sometimes those who are ready to roll with whatever the weather doles out reap the richest rewards!

Here is my own Photo Trip Report,

And you can read John's writeup on Summit to Shore.

And as I found out on the water that day, and later in more detail on his blog, he & his wife Vicky had had a far harder week than I had. The Monday before, their beloved dog, Hermes, passed away after a hike. He was young, only five years old, and it was completely unexpected. Vicky had to work most of the day on Sunday - it's no wonder that John was willing to go to the club even if we just ended up sitting in the clubhouse in the rain talking to people.

We didn't talk a whole lot on the water. Sometimes just getting out in a boat & putting some quiet miles behind you is the best thing. Think that's what we were both after. I'm glad we were able to.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

O Docker's French Quiz

Right. So I thought I was going to go home & write about the best trip I ever cancelled tonight. Ha ha, no such luck, I am fast in the fearsome grip of Month End Close, aka "EOP" in O-Docker Land. agh.

And speaking of O-Docker - since there is not really going to be a post from me tonight, I thought I'd bring up his rather excellent little test of how well one recalls one's high school or college French. Oddly enough, it came up during further discussions of the one-mississippi rule. I had long been living under the pleasant delusion that it's a mile per mississippi, not so, it's a mere fifth of a mile per mississippi. This led to further debate - why Mississippi? Why not Philadelphia, Sacramento, Nicaragua, and it must have been around afternoon sugar fix time for me because I carried that on to why not one malasada (scrumptious Portuguese puka-less doughnut made with potato flour, yum yum), and then Puffin Michael pointed out that in Europe you could say one Seine, two Seine, three Seine to get kilometres; I said wouldn't you say une Seine, deux Seine, trois Seine, and that's what reminded the esteemed O-Docker (or would that be Eau Docker?) of something, and oops, so sorry that the preamble has gotten longer than the entire quiz, here it is for your puzzlement and/or enjoyment already!:

OK, you had to bring up 'Une Seine, Deux Seines, Trois Seines'. A French teacher once stymied some of the best minds of my third period French class with this proverb. But it should be easier for kayakers. Can you translate? No googling!

"Pas de lieu, Rhone que nous!"

Thank you, O-docker!

Oh, btw, in case anyone was wondering, I cheated & googled in the end. I was stumped. Wasn't terrible at French in high school, but that was a rather long time ago - as I've mentioned here, my 25th reunion is next year, eek!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Laughing Gull, Jamaica Bay, NYC skyline

Just one picture from an afternoon's paddle that turned out WAY better than it was supposed to.

Nice when things turn out that way.