Monday, November 30, 2009

Marcus & Biff - Off To Patagonia for Achilles! Presentation at Pier 66 TUESDAY DEC 1!

Adding a note at 9:36 PM - If you were unable to make it to the presentation, you can read about it here. I didn't make it in the end. I started the day optimistic enough to bring the Optio, but quarter-end closes are particularly demanding beasts & although I thought I was in good shape when I left last night, things came up that I didn't foresee. Happens a lot. I guess I will just have to look forward to the presentations when they get back!

Oh, shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot, I forgot this is happening tomorrow!!!! Once again, I will most likely have to miss it, but I'd wanted to help spread the word. Posting 22 hours before an event is not exactly the best way to do that. Anyways, this is a presentation by my crazy-in-an-awesome-way friend Marcus, and Biff, who I haven't met but she must be similarly amazing.

No, Biff isn't in this picture!

From Mayor's Cup 2009

Marcus & Mike with their Mayor's Cup trophy. Mike's an amputee & they raced in a double in the Achilles category. The folks who won the touring tandems category thanked them for being in the Achilles category, because Mike & Marcus came in about 10 minutes ahead of them! Marcus's post-race comment about Mike - "He's not handicapped. He's a machine". Remember, the Mayor's Cup was cut to "elites only". These guys made the cut. Them and Greg Barton (blue jacket in the background). Yup.

Still not a great picture of Marcus - Pentax Optio WP's are sunshine & outdoor toys, don't do so hot inside on a stormy day, but at least it's a change from my usual "Marcus with a giant rubber ducky" picture!

OK, on with the event already. Did I mention it's tomorrow? Tuesday? December 1st? 7pm, pier 66?
Paddling Around the Uttermost Part of the Earth

On December 16th, 2009, New York based paddlers Marcus Demuth and Biff Wruszek will set out to the southernmost tip of Patagonia to attempt the first circumnavigation of Isla Grande Tierra del Fuego – South America 's largest island. The expedition will raise funds and paddling gear for Achilles, a non-profit New York-based organization, which enables people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics.

Starting in Ushuaia, Argentina -- the southernmost city in the world – Demuth and Wruszek will set out to complete the 1,100-mile trip counter-clockwise in what is considered one of the harshest maritime climates in the world. "The Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Pilot book" calls the exposed coastline "one of the toughest a yacht is likely to meet". Nevertheless, Demuth and Wruszek are fueled by the desire to experience the beauty of the 100 mile wide Cordillera Darwin; the abundant wildlife; and the charm of the people living in this sparsely populated region which the Anglo-Argentine author and explorer Lucas Bridges called “The Uttermost part of the Earth.”

Biff and Marcus will tell about the preparations and challenges of the trip. Joe Traum of the kayak program Achilles will talk about the 2010 kayak program which will be held here at Pier 66 for Achilles athletes.

How much: No cover, but donations to Achilles are welcome

If you like: Bring beverages and snacks to share

Presented by Manhattan Kayak Company and NYRiverSports


Note to the media -

Re: Tiger's crash.

Personally, I don't need to know anything more.


So stupid, the hounding. Even NPR had to talk about it this morning. I just don't see why it's so important that the whole world knows. The original report was plenty for me - I mean the one that said "Tiger Woods was in a car accident. Nobody seriously hurt."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Escape from Black Friday 2009

From Escape from Black Friday 2009!

More pictures over on Picasa, just click on the link under the picture.

We weren't sure the weather was going to cooperate with our usual day-after-Thanksgiving lets-get-as-far-from-the-malls-as-we-can hike this year, but although Storm King (the mountain in the distance in this picture, which rises straight from the Hudson) had a crown of clouds, the wind didn't really start to pick up until we were descending (and the ascent is 1,200 feet in a mile & a half & very exposed, so we were glad of that -- the trail is a loop & the descent is much gentler & you're among the trees, so a little wind there isn't a problem), and the rain (90% chance thereof) just never really happened. There was the very lighteset spritzing going on as we were driving back to the hotel, but I don't think we got a drop during the hike.

I'm glad, Breakneck Ridge is a hike I've been wanting to do for ages & it was fun to get to do it with TQ. Unbelievable, the views. I've done the next hike south, Mount Taurus (trailhead in Cold Springs) a couple of times - that's a good one too but this one was definitely more spectacular.

Thanksgiving itself was wonderful, haven't seen my old friend Am in ages & it was great to have a good proper catch-up with her & her family. Amazing how easy it is to just not get around to seeing someone for so long.

Going to be a rough week next week, but a couple of friends & I are planning a more leisurely-paced paddle for next weekend - couldn't pull off a paddle today, so I'm really looking forward to that. I know 2 weeks in a row of cooperative weather is a lot to ask for, but I've got my fingers crossed. Come on, weather gods!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NY Harbor's First Ever Holiday-Lit Boat Parade!

That's this Saturday, 11/28/09, starting at Chelsea Piers at 6:30, winding down around the Battery, up to South Street Seaport, back down & over to Liberty State Park in Jersey & then back to Chelsea Piers. Full details here!

A few comments!

1. What TOOK us so long!!!!???

2. Three cheers for Classic Harbor Lines! for getting it going! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

3. Three more cheers for PortSide New York for spreading the word! Rah! Rah! Rah!

and last but not least -

4. DANG! I'm most likely going to miss it. Well, hopefully this is just the beginning!

It's The End Of the World As We Know It...

I just sent my first text message ever.

To TQ. Said "c u in Beacon 2nite, ps I have my cell phone".

Yep, I have joined the ranks of cell phone owners. Finally broke down & got one last month. Friends will gasp (my real estate broker friend who found my place for me once joked, "Bonnie's cell number is LUD-DITE"). I'm notorious for being the one who refuses to break down & get one of these things. For some reason I just have no desire - and in fact have some aversion - to being as constantly in touch as most people seem to need to be these days. I always laugh at the almost synchronized checking of messages that goes on around me when the B or Q train comes out of the tunnel onto the Manhattan Bridge.

Actually, it's not going to be a big life changer at all for the simple reason that I mostly don't carry it, I really only wanted it for travelling after a really truly horrible bus trip out to see TQ on the day before the 4th of July. Apparently it didn't occur to Greyhound that there might be a few more passengers than usual that weekend. Who'da thunk, eh? I haven't particularly enjoyed my new familiarity with long-distance bus travel, but it's definitely the best way to get out to where TQ is these days, so I do it, and ordinarily it's tolerable & reasonably reliable. But that trip? UGH. There we were, just waiting and waiting and waiting for hours in Philly, in the middle of the night, with no idea what time they'd find a bus for us, and a cranky jerk at the station trying to tell us that we weren't allowed to use the restrooms because he'd already cleaned them*. I was able to call TQ from the pay phone there to let him know what was up, but the last update I was able to give him was the dispatchers actuallY DID find a bus for us & we were about to board. Yeesh. Never again.

Anyways, that was the trip during which I really decided that it would be a good idea to get one of these things, so last month I trotted off to t-mobile, got a prepaid package & the 2nd cheapest cell phone they had.

Why not the cheapest? Well, being a good couscous-nibbling chardonnay-sipping east coast liberal elitist, yeah, I went for the one that was advertised as "carbon neutral". Why not?

At any rate, I used it for the Mayor's Cup, I carried it when I went to PA in Ocober, and it is going to be really nice to have today when TQ & I are meeting someplace neither of us have really been before.

Have cell phone.
Have Gorilla Coffee (Peruvian and Ethiopian both, Am's gonna go "ape"! :D).
Have train ticket (I FINALLY got smart & got that beforehand, can't wait to breeze on past those ticket queues tonight)!
Have book (just turned up yesterday, what perfect timing!)

Will travel!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

*I have to add that with that one glaring exception (who I just ignored, anyways, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go), the rest of the Greyhound staff at the Philly station was incredibly patient, professional, sympathetic to their passengers' plight & I would even say almost as frustrated as we were. Apparently the terrible handling of days when they are likely to be overloaded is due to decisions about operating procedures that are made by people on high at corporate headquarters, who of course are not the people who end up having to deal with the passengers who are stuck waiting for a bus when they were supposed to be well on their way to their final destination.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm On A Boat - US Navy Version!

Engaging Frogma parental (& job retention) controls:

WARNING: NSFW (unless you've got headphones, but still...). The following video contains foul & explicit language. If you are under the age of 18, please send permission slip before hitting play. If you are a parent of mine, do not hit play, period, just surf off & come back in a couple of days when I will have a nice wholesome report on the great Thanksgiving TQ & I are going to have - this year with my old friend Am & her family (yay!) near Poughkeepsie, and woohoo, I think our usual Escape from Black Friday hike is going to be Breakneck Ridge! So come back & check that out. You'll like that one.

There, parental control duties done. If they hit play, they can't say I didn't warn 'em, right?

And now, for the rest of you - you all remember Lonely Island's I'm On A Boat, right (link to original, just in case you were actually somewhere without internet during the couple of weeks this was going viral on the boat blogs - like, say, on a boat, maybe)?

Well...I just stumbled across a version that I think cracked me up even more.

I think that this VERY live crew (blue or gold? dunno!) may have beaten Lonely Planet at their own nautical-themed (pashmina afghan!) game!!!

Go Navy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Post Is For The Birds!

For me?
From August 2, 2009 - The Best Trip I Ever Cancelled.

Yeah, ya big mooch of a laughing gull!

And for this guy too, who's been flying in slow-motion for me here at home since September, but seemed to get stage fright & speed back up when sent to the Web - finally figured out the bit I wasn't doing in my Quicktime edit, one extra save & here he is, black skimmer in slow-mo for the whole world. Look at him snapping at the little fish that he's hunting in that long, shallow tidepool!

I think the black skimmers are some of my favorite birds out in Jamaica Bay. I remember reading about them in a bird book my folks had around when I was a kid, and thinking that their fishing technique was the neatest-sounding thing. Seeing my first skimmer a-skimming & discovering that they are regular summer denizens of my new home waters was a good moment!

Here's a young one that we got very close to on Ruffle Bar on Labor Day. We're not sure whether he was asleep or unwell or maybe just young and trusting, but with those mottled patterns on his feathers, he blended in so that we didn't notice him until we were on top of him.

Juvenile black skimmer on Ruffle Bar

My birder friend Prof. M. told me a funny story about seeing a group of these asleep on a beach one day early in her birding career. She said that they were actually lying flat on the beach, legs tucked under, heads extended in front of them & beaks actually resting on the sand. She said she thought that they were sick until a more experienced friend explained it. Turns out that's just how they sleep sometimes - those big beaks are heavy enough that sometimes they just to lay that burden down. Who can't relate? I would enjoy seeing that sometime.

Those are a couple of the common summer denizens of Jamaica Bay. Today, I joined a pleasant group of 8 paddlers on a beautiful paddle that was primarily for the birds!
We met at the club at 10:30 & by 11:30, we'd set out. Destination: West Pond in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge!

We got a lot of questions about what we were up to. Can't quite figure out why. Hmmm.

Mostly, we were there for the birds.

Partly for the turkey. I'd called for this paddle a few days ago because I just wanted to get a good brisk paddle in, get some exercise before the big feast this week! Actually, when I started planning the trip around midweek, the weather was sort of on the less-than-inspirational side - wind 15kts, cloudy, think there was a chance of rain - but over the course of the week it just got prettier & prettier.

Which made it a perfect day for my secondary goal for the paddle - seeing who's arrived for the winter on West Pond!

The brants, of course, have arrived in force.

They were well in evidence on the Great Tamale Paddle. The buffleheads are here too, we saw one lone one flying over the Paerdegat & the sailing co-chairs had mentioned seeing rafts of them on their great sail on the same day as we had tamales.

Two of the folks I was paddling with today got a nice close encounter with a loon in gray winter plumage, so they've clearly arrived from their summer homes on northern lakes.

Best sighting for me today was a first - snow geese! Those are the white ones here. I'd been wondering what they were & then a passing birder identified them for us, and also told us that the big raft of little ducks further out (click on the picture for full-sized & you might be able to make them out) were ruddy ducks (I'd thought buffleheads because that's the small duck with the white cheeks that I knew about). He also told us that the snow geese are just beginning to arrive & so are considered "a good sighting" right now.

We couldn't quite make out the ruddies but his description of the way the males are marked was delightfully memorable - "Like a baboon, only on a duck."

Back in the Paerdegat - well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And although the incessantly cheery Christmas carols they had playing in a deli I stopped in early this week just set me on edge, somehow seeing this boat's owners break out the annual decor has the opposite effect.

This post for the birds inspired by Tugster and A Movable Bridge. Thanks for the idea - a perfect one for me to play with, as I'm lucky enough to keep my boats simultaneously in New York City, and in a wildlife sanctuary & major stopover for the birds who follow the Atlantic flyway!

And by the way, thinking of paying a visit to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge yourself? You don't need a boat, you can get there by car, bus, train, or bike, and the Brooklyn Bird Club has got a really nice page with all sorts of helpful info!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Upcoming Events - Fundraiser on Sunday 11/22/09, Public Hearing on Tuesday 11/24/09

Sorry, I lied. These are absolutely not for the birds, but there are 2 events I thought worth mentioning -

1. Already mentioned it here, but don't forget, this coming Sunday the Hoboken Cove Boathouse folks are holding a fundraising shindig in Hoboken, which sounds like a lot of fun. My plans for the day don't include a trip to Hoboken - I've decided that even though I could and probably should work both days this weekend to get to a comfortable point for the Thanksgiving weekend, darn it, I am going paddling with my friends on Sunday, and it would be tough to squeeze in a paddle and a trip to Jersey on the same day. But doesn't a Pirate Circus sound like fun? I should be embarrassed, that's supposed to be the kiddie entertainment, but honestly that's what I'd really like to see! - and it's a nice bunch, so I just figured I'd mention it again.

2. Nowhere near as much fun as a Pirate Circus, but shoot, I reallyreallyreally WISH I wasn't so crazed at work, 'cause I'd really like to take a long lunch break for this public hearing.
RE: Oversight: Improving Public Recreational Boating Access in the New York City Waterfront

Please be advised that the Committee on Waterfronts will hold a hearing on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. in the 14th Floor Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY regarding the above-referred topic.

Rob at the Village Community Boathouse (and also the guy behind the New York Harbor Beaches site, which is a good one) was curious for a little more detail, checked in with someone in the know & came back with the following additional info -

"...hearing was a followup on one they held three years ago, at which time they asked the parks department to explain their vision for expanding access to the water. this hearing is an 'oversight' hearing to see how they've done and what their plans are for the future."

I'd like to note that it says "Recreational Boating Access", not "Kayak Access" - we're not talking just kayak launches here, this should be of interest to folks with all sorts of craft, from SUP-er to yachtie & everything in between. We kayakers have done well with access in the last few years, we've got this whole great network of access points now in the NYC Watertrail, in part simply because a kayak is hands down THE easiest craft for which to provide access (if there is any way for a person to actually get down to the water on foot, you can probably launch a kayak there) but also because there are a lot of us and we all go say our bits at these things & people at parks listened (and oh, yes, one key person who was listening & in a position to do something also happens to like paddling herself, yay!). Still, I know that people with larger craft (helloooooo, Puffin people, non-Peconic variety!) find places to tie up to be few & far between, and as far as trailer sailors (hellooooo, Dennis G!) - well, I'm not sure exactly where you could put one of those in the water around here. Sebago is a public launch site & when we're open in the summertime, we can accomodate hand-launchable dinghies up to a certain size, but Liberty State Park in Jersey is the only place I'm sure of where there is an actual launch ramp for cars with trailers.

If you plan to attend, don't forget to bring your photo ID, & don't forget to leave the cutlery at home, as they usually xray your bag & have you go through a metal detector when you enter a government building here. I did get through security with a pocket knife in a backpack once, didn't realize I had it until later, but it's really better to be unarmed when you turn up there!

NEXT post will be for the birds. Honest!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Contractor death in GE dredging

Further to the dredging - sad sad story from up the river - two of the men who were working on the dredging went over a dam. One died.

Terrible addition to the cost.

Now, I suspect that my returns to the subject of the new NYS lifejacket law may be getting annoying, but I do find myself wondering if the one who survived could possibly be the first person who owes his life to that law. Of course the dredging company may have had their own workplace safety rules on the matter, plus they may have known that they were in trouble early enough that they would have had time to don the pfd's anyhow (you aren't always given that when things go wrong out on the water, but I suspect the two knew the stretch of the river where they were disabled & would've known the drop was coming), but the point is that both were wearing lifejackets, one made it to an island & was able to call for help, and the other was alive when they pulled him from the water -- it sounds like whatever chance he did have, he had because he was wearing his lifejacket. And as it is, they were able to get him out of the water on the spot, without anyone else having to take the risk of going in themselves, and at least his family & friends are spared that awful wait. I know it's not much - but it is something.

No lifejackets, and I just think that the chances are good that that article would have ended with "Divers are searching for both".

Sorry. Frogma will return to normal cheeriness with the next post, which will be for the birds.

p.s. - Thanks for the link, Andy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harper's Magazine December issue - looks worth picking up

cover courtesy of Harper's

The December '09 issue of Harper's Magazine should be on newsstands any day now, if it isn't already there. I plan to buy a copy. The editor is one of my clubmates at Sebago & the last time we paddled, he'd mentioned that the December issue included a well-researched and very sobering look at the status of the Hudson River PCB's.

Subscribers can read it online now. For the rest of us, especially those of us who take a very personal interest in the well-being of the Hudson River, it sounds to be worth the cover price.

ps - Dennis G. Moonstruck has been saying all along that the dredging was a waste of money, if not a downright scam. I won't know where this article goes until I read it but it does sound like it's going to make the dredging look like a horribly insufficient band-aid, at best.

ps latest word is that the on-sale date is next week (Thanksgiving week) but that there's a newsstand at Bleecker & Broadway that might have it already. That is not far from my office & fits right in with my current effort to get myself back into doing some good regular post-work walking (more on that one of these days).

11/20/09 update -The Bleecker & Broadway newsstand had it & I read it last night. I'd call that six dollars well spent. I think that is one of the most incredibly depressing & infuriating articles I've ever read.

I really had no idea of the extent of the problem up there. I'd always pictured the PCB's as being concentrated in the riverbed. I'd pictured there being a lot in the riverbed, enough that you won't find any particular celebration of GE's beginning dredging on my blog - it wasn't that I was opposed to it, it was just that I'd read the arguments on both sides & they both sounded plausible & I try not to take sides when I don't have any idea which one is right.

But if what that article says is true, it's not a matter of dredging being wrong or right as much as dredging being an utterly misdirected response to the problem.

Like treating a deep infection with alcohol wipes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

oooooh 3

Even better with a few more lights. And yes, it was totally worth a 5-minute break upstairs.

oooooh 2

I think I need to run upstairs for another cup of tea...


Pretty pretty sunset tonight. Took a moment to appreciate when I ran up to the cafeteria to grab a cup of tea. Thought I would share! Here it is, I think from the top of the Empire State Building.

I do have to say that I'm perturbed by the fact that it was happening at 4:30. Sigh.

Photo taken courtesy of the Earthcam network.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Keeping Abreast of Boating Legislation Developments

When the new NYS lifejacket law was announced, I found out about it when the press release I then posted here was posted on NYCKayaker, the local email list run by the Hudson River Watertrail Association.

It was a very good thing to know, but at least one person asked why it that the first most of us heard about it was after it was signed into law, rather than earlier in the legislative process, when people would have time to weigh in if they had opinions?

Personally, I think that law is probably one of the more sensible things to come out of Albany this year, and if I'd had the opportunity to comment on it, my comment would have been "Good idea".

Still I did think that "we should have known about this before it was a done deal" was a very good point. NYC kayakers (and rowers and canoeists) are an opinionated bunch, we like to have our say, and I'm no exception. This one, I wouldn't have asked to change a word, but the (currently hypothetical) next one might not make so much sense.

However, because I've been a bit swamped at work, and because in this case I actually liked the law, followup slipped my mind until earlier this week, when one of my more activist friends asked me if anybody had figured out how we could make sure of being notified. When I got that reminder, I decided to come home & see what "Mr. Google" could tell me.

Google didn't quite answer the question of how a person could receive notice of pending boating legislation, but within about 5 minutes I was looking at the US Power Squadron's site, which has section called "Must Know Legislative News", where they post information about pending legislation.

Best find was their mid-year report, done in June, which listed nice clear synopses of all such legislation by state in alphabetical order & included contacts. 2nd one down here, "Midyear RBSC Report"

Seems like that might be a good site for people who're interested in what's in the boating-safety pipeline to find information without having to wade through a ton of other stuff.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

They're Having A Party WHERE?

So the nice folks at the Hoboken Cove Boathouse are having a big fundraiser on the evening Sunday, November 22nd, with the funds to go towards new equipment for their public kayaking program.

The invitation that went out over NYCKayaker was very appealing - but I just about blew coffee out my nose when I saw that the place they are holding it is named LUA.


OK, there are about 3 people who read this blog who will get that. For the other ten of you, well, let's just say that if the owners ever wanted to open a place in Hawaii, they'd best start by finding a different name!*


Oh, and seriously, for all that's a funny name for a restaurant to a person from Hawaii, the menu looks pretty onolicious, and the benefit sounds like plenty good fun, too! Tapas & drinks, live entertainment (a comedian & a Pirate Circus, arrr!), a raffle with great prizes, & of course a chance to while away a pleasant evening swapping yarns with a bunch of Hudson River enthusiasts. For full details, head on over to

* OK, if you are actually curious, I did leave a full explanation in comments.


OK, so here's the scenario:

There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but there's a freight train on my heels.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


On your mark!

Get set!


now, STOP!

In the bag & ready to freeze!

So, Sunday's paddle was really -- oh, I'll say it even though it sounds a little overblown for a simple Jamaica bay day paddle -- sublime. The weather, the company, the exploration of a couple of places I paddle by all the time, and yes, the brilliant idea of tamales, it all came together in a purely lovely day. Faraway adventures are grand, but sometimes a quiet day on your own home waters is all you need, right?

And for the cherry on the Sunday sundae o' sublimity, we got back with enough daylight to spare that there was time to catch up with the garden. It's just about time to be putting the bed to bed, so I got a start on that. The biggest surprise was one last cucumber, which is astounding since the vines had produced themselves into exhaustion and had, as far as I could see, given up the ghost in September. But there it was. I picked over the tomatoes; all green (except for one that might ripen inside) but as I mentioned in relation to taking green tomatoes to PA with me, TQ got the blight this year & being a good cook, dealt with that by learning some interesting green-tomato recipes. My favorite is a green tomato rice dish, simple enough that I think I can do from memory & was happy to see just enough green tomatoes to make it.

As you can see here, though, the big harvest was the chard. I pulled all of the chard plants up. Last year's overwintering experiment was quite entertaining, a 2nd year chard plant is a very different animal, big and stalky, and it was fun to see, but aside from taking up a whole lot of room & not really producing much in the way of edible leaves, it seemed to be a big draw for aphids, so I'm not repeating. That left me with quite a bit more chard than I would really want to eat in the time chard keeps in the fridge, so I repeated an experiment from a couple of weeks ago (when I'd just overpicked one day) and froze it. I got the procedure off the internet; looks awfully complicated for the 3 little single-serving bags I got out of it, but it's mostly just water & that makes for an easy cleanup (plus a good excuse to mop the floor afterwards).

I do have to say that it would be fun to do this with a vegetable that doesn't shrink to an eight of it's original volume in the processing! Still, it's nice to have a few servings of chard tucked away in the freezer, along with the pesto.

And speaking of pesto -

O-Docker, this one is for you!

P.S. - I really liked the trust post! Hope to have time to take up the subsequent challenge later this week!

Tamale, and tamale, and...sea beans in the salt marsh!

Photo trip report from a wonderful Sunday paddle in Jamaica Bay now on Flickr.

I still can't believe how long it had been since I'd paddled in the bay. It was really the perfect off-season opener.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunny Today, Hot Tamale

Had a wonderful, splendid, and delicious paddle today, courtesy of the Paddling Chef (and my brand-new very favorite neighborhood tamale vendor, too)!


More details tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Arrival of the USS New York

The USS New York, the new USN ship which was built, in part, with scrap steel from the World Trade Center, has arrived in her namesake city, where she will be commissioned on Saturday, November 7th.

Tugster Will was fortunate enough to be invited to ride out to greet her on the USCG cutter Sturgeon Bay, and has done a marvelous series of posts about the day.


My favorite of all the pictures was this one. The background is where the WTC used to stand.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NYC Halloween from the Sidelines.

Ah, quick, just popping this up on my lunch break, before it's too late, this has been sitting in drafts since Saturday!

Sidelines? Maybe even more like out by the refreshment stands. Ah well.

This is a city that loves Halloween. The heart of the NYC Halloween hoopla is always the big parade in the Village. The costumes are amazing and creative & run the gamut from sublime to the ridiculous, tons of fun to watch, but it's always a jam-packed mob scene of exactly the sort that, combined with being very fond of heading home after work & not leaving Brooklyn on weekends, makes me tend to skip the whole thing.

This year, since I had to work, I did bring my camera. Figured that if I could wrap up enough, I'd reward myself with a photographic foray into the freakiness.

Didn't happen, too much work to do - but even without going after it, I still saw a good bit of Halloween fun just getting to & from work.

People sure have fun with it here.

On the subway. The demon was pushing a stroller, btw.

In a shop window. Actually this could just be a normal weekend attention-getter at Lululemon, local funky cosmetics vendor Ricky's had various men walking in high heels on a treadmill in their window for weeks this summer, but I bet the guy is not normally wearing a lucha libra mask.

The party's over...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Antipodean Blogging!

Hey, I've been tagged!

I'd like to say I can't remember the last time I got tagged, but I can, because I still feel bad for just plain not doing 'em. I wanted to, but my life just gets a little crazy from time to time - hardly have time sometimes to do the posts I think of & would like to do myself, let alone the posts somebody else would like me to do!

But when somebody reached out to tag ne from far away in Australia (hi Chosha!), and it turned out to be a pretty simple tag, I decided to play!

The way it works is basically this: Excluding the person who tagged you (because that would just be silly) you find the person on your blogroll (or if you don't have a blogroll, the blogs you like to browse) who is the farthest away from you. You can use one of the myriad distances-between-cities tools you can find on Google (I liked this one) to do this.

You link to them, and you link back to the person who linked to you.

You give a few statistics, and that's all there is to it! Not bad!

The idea is that a person could follow the links back to the originator of the game (who I think may be just a couple of states south of me here in NY).

I was pretty sure that for me, excluding Chosha, that was going to be FH20, the Kuching Kayaker himself.

But I was wrong. Turns out that Singapore is a hair's-breadth (speaking on a global scale) farther away, and that's the place that Full Moon's Huey calls home.

But alas, Huey hasn't posted since July. Looks like work was getting tough for him. I can sure understand that.

FH20, on the other hand, posted last week. Mwahahahaaaaa.

So I'm going to tag the runner up! FH20, want to play?

I'll just close with the requested statistics:

The distance from Brooklyn, USA, to Kuching, Malaysia is:

9,517 miles
15,316 km
8,270 nautical miles (that wasn't part of the original request but since FH20 & I are both boaters, I thought that was appropriate).

Distance now traveled by this tag:

29,328 miles
47,200 km

Now I just wish I had the know-how to set up a shared map where the progress of the tag could be tracked. That would be pretty cool. Something like this, I guess.

Oh, and in case you were curious - the actual winner won by all of about 50 miles. Singapore is around 9570 miles from Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

New New York State Life Jacket Law In Effect TODAY!

And now, time for a Frogma Public Service Announcement:

The period of the year during which NY State's new life jacket law is in effect begins today, Sunday, November 1st.

From today until Saturday, May 1st, 2010, if you are venturing out in any pleasure craft meauring less than 21 feet in length, you must be wearing a properly fitted life jacket.

I just noticed an odd inaccuracy in the press release I had posted here in September. It stated that the new law was that "starting Nov. 1, kayakers, canoeists and all those aboard motorboats under 21 feet must wear Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices while on lakes, the ocean or other waterways."

They actually got it right in the first paragraph, where they referred to the law as applying to "everyone in all small pleasure craft". The law also applies to rowboats, sailboats, Adirondack guide boats, pirogues, sampans, sculls, punts, coracles, curraghs, chokkibune*, etc. - if it's a boat and it's under 21 feet, it's included.

And wearing your PFD during cold-water time isn't just the law - it's a really good idea, and it could just save your life.

Here's to a safer winter on the water!

*"Chokkibune" is the only name in that list that I didn't pull straight from my own head & is probably unfamiliar to most readers (with the possible exception of Pandabonium). A Chokkibune is an Edo-era Japanese water taxi, and I got the name out of a fascinating article, Building Traditional Japanese Boats, which I found on