Monday, April 30, 2007

Busy Weekend
Been busy this past few days (hence, no blog...but I digress). It was dynamite weather, although I still wore a dry suit both days. Let me tell you about Sunday first.

The IDW class came to our beach to do some on water tweaking of their teaching techniques. Our own JB was first chair and was being mentored by Sam Crowley (he of the bandy legs in the pic above) who is about to do a circumnavigation of Ireland. Visit his site for good inside info and some Irish humor.
Again, on Sunday morning, we saw the return of Leslie to the water. Having healed from extensive surgery, she looked like she hadn't missed a day as she paddled inside the wall. No, she didn't play her accordian for us.

And last, and certainly not least, we returned from our Sunday morning paddle to find Sherri (sorry no picture) policing the beach area. She, too, has recently had surgery, and it was great to see her up, about and out. Sherri has been a mainstay of the kayaking community as long as anyone (in spite of her youth). All in all, it was like a family reunion.

Tomorrow, a report on Saturday.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Say "HI" to Derrick
Say "BYE" to Derrick
Derrick Mayoleth, of kayak and blog fame, will soon be headed for Wales (the original one, not the one in Wisconsin where the prison for young boys sits...but I digress...already). In a recent blog, he spoke of his anxiety over the challenges of 5 star training and paddling with the biggies (my word, not his). Derrick, in my judgment, has little to fear.
Being from Baraboo, Wisconsin...the heartland of sea kayaking...he has had little exposure to tides, races and all that salt stuff paddlers to our right and left experience daily. Still, he brings with him a bags (he even has a TRAK) of skills that will serve him well. I've watched this guy paddle and have done a short passage along with him and JB. If Derrick isn't taking pictures with his little Optio, he's looking for a wave to surf or suddenly practicing some roll I've not seen before (or, maybe, it is a common roll and he is doing it all wrong). On his home "turf" (tell me you're not surprised he paddles on Devil's Lake....professional courtesy?), he is constantly working and working on skills (when he isn't videoing hours and hours of JB practicing the sacred head dink).
You will be great, Derrick. You will learn a lot and, then, return and explain it all to JB and myself. And...think of the pictures you will be getting. Just remember, over there, they paddle on the other side of the water. Yes, I can already hear the BBC announcer saying (imagine the accent), "Yank takes the isles by storm. Film at eleven."
Paddle safe...

Friday, April 27, 2007

A M*A*S*H Moment

These are photos of Bob (l) and Greg (r) taken during December of 2006. Seeing them just now brought to mind an episode of M*A*S*H which began with the doctors celebrating Christmas. Colonel Potter, in a pathetic Santa beard, sadly makes a toast in which he hopes that they will all be home for the next Christmas. The episode eventually ends with him, a year later and still at war, making the same toast and wearing the same crummy beard.
Well, this is the "next Christmas", so to speak. Tomorrow begins a new paddling season, at least for me. I will be doing a demo at a local inland lake (we don't think of Lake Michigan as being inland...but I digress). Thing is, the furnace is chugging and I am wearing layers as I sit and type this. I am, it seems, as pathetic as Potter as I wait for the summer to start.
Oh well, it is supposed to be 70 tomorrow. Of course, the lake will still be cold, and I shall be in a dry suit. And it is nearly May. Maybe next year.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Showing up
(continued from yesterday)
All those settings we talked about yesterday do have a use. First, we need to understand that an exposure of, say, 1/250 @ f-11 is the same as 1/500 @ f-8. "opening" the lens one f-stop doubles the amount of light entering the lens. Cutting the shutter speed by half has exactly the opposite effect, thus balancing the two combinations. In each case, the film or pixels get the same amount of light. But why bother, you ask. Sometimes it is obvious. You use a fast shutter speed to stop or "freeze" action, such as a white water stunt. Other times, you want a slow shutter speed to blur, say, water (see two days ago). Sometimes, however, it is the f-stop that takes priority, and you need a shutter speed to accommodate it.
Say you want to take a picture that keeps everything from near to far in focus. You can do this by using a short lens (e.g. 28mm on a 35mm camera) and a small (f-11 or 16) opening. I don't want to get into spherical aberration. Trust me, smaller opening will give you more depth of field (and, you will need a slower shutter speed to let in enough light). Like this:
On the other hand, you may want to create an image with selective focus. That is, you want the main subject in focus and the things behind it (or in front...but I digress) blurred. To this end, you can get closer to the subject (the closer you focus the less depth of field you get), stand back and use a long lens and/or use a big lens opening (e.g. f-4, f-5.6). That will get you this:

Now you know everything. So, go take some pictures, and... Paddle safe...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Showing Up
A common expression among landscape photographers is, "f-16 and be there." It makes a lot of sense to those of us used to metering and setting our shutters up manually. In this day and age of point and let the camera figure it out, the expression may require some explaining.
The size of the opening that lets in light through a lens is called an f-stop. Without going into the geometry of it all, the larger the f-stop number, the smaller the opening and the less light that comes in (an inverse ratio thing...but I digress). The f-stops seen on lenses are generally 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 and, on really good large format ones, 32 and 64. If you are a puzzle addict (or belong to Mensa) you may have noticed that each number is double the one two before it (I will pause while you dwell on that.......). It also helps to know that each one effects the light by a factor of 2. That is, f-16 lets in half the light as does f-11.
Now, film is rated in speed by what was called an ASA number and is now called an iso number. 200 speed film requires twice as much light as 400 speed film. That is why we need 400 speed for action shots where faster shutter speeds (less light) are used and slower film for waterfall pictures (see yesterday's post).
With all that in mind, I can tell you that without a meter, the proper exposure for any film in bright sunlight is generally 1/iso @ f-16. So, on a sunny day and using a 200 speed film, the exposure is 1/2ooth of a second (or 1/250th on some cameras) at f-16. Knowing that, all you need to do in order to get a great shot is be there. Hence, f-16 and be there.
Tomorrow, why we need all those shutter speed-f-stop combos. For preparation, read all you can on quantum physics and the string theory.
(apologies for no photo on this photo blog: the system seems to be down)
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Capturing Moving Water
(on film or pixels)

Being around water, and usually carrying some sort of a camera, paddlers are always taking pictures of rapids and waterfalls. And, since they use a "point and shoot" technique, they are almost always disappointed in the pictures they get (like the one above). Even today, the most common photo question I get is about how to make these shots work. Today, I shall reveal all (this is common knowledge amongst photogs...but I digress).

To begin, you will need 1, water that you want to photograph; 2, a camera (film or digital will do nicely, however, the film should be iso/ASA 50 or 100...unless you have a neutral density filter...but I digress...way too much); 3, a tripod or way of absolutely keeping the camera motionless; 4, a cloudy day (here is where we separate the pros out). Oh yes, you must have the ability to alter your f-stop/shutter speed combination. This may be a bit much for some, but stay with me, it all becomes obvious.

Put the camera on the tripod. If it is digital, set it to its lowest iso speed (50 or 100, NOT 400). Frame the picture in the view finder. Now, you must shoot the picture at 1/15th of a second or slower...this is the golden key. If the pic at the top is simply re-shot as described, you will get the following:

Same framing, same exposure but with a slower shutter and smaller (higher numbered) f-stop. There it is, and you can stop there and admire your work. Or, if you have Phot0Shop or something like it, try juicing up the color:Or, desaturate it entirely (my truly great waterfall pics were done on black and white film:Paddle safe...


Monday, April 23, 2007

Guardian Angels?

Yesterday, I hung out at a swap meet in Two Rivers while trying to sell one of my boats (I didn't...but I digress). While there, I noticed (re-noticed?) two phenomena. The first was that paddlers are, as a group, the most approachable and likable people I've ever known [then there's JB and Derrick:)]. The group up in this somewhat small Wisconsin town is very active and surprisingly well organized. So, I was able to chat with old acquaintances and meet some new paddlers, too.

The second thing I noticed were the yet-to-be-paddlers looking at boats. Now, there is that glazed-over look of a young man looking at a bunch of Trans Ams on a used car lot, but this wasn't what I observed. Rather, it was the where-am-I or how-do-I-start look of an even younger man on his first date. Hands in pocket, they roamed like characters in the Day of the Living Dead looking desperately at the array of available boats while wondering, what the hell is the difference between them? Thing is, a lot of them, from that precarious base of knowledge, purchased boats and will, sooner than rather, try them out.

Listening in on conversations, I did hear the sellers trying to help the zombies sort things out. I did constantly hear advise on proper dress and the need for basic instruction being offered. Still, I knew (know) that some of these more-guts-than-brains type will fore go all this advise for the thrill of trying and (heaven forbid) facing the agony of defeat. Oh well, caveat emperor.

Paddle safe...


Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't Bug Me
Back Monday

Had 6:30 coffee with JB and Nydia and just got back form a board meeting in a windowless room. It is in the mid 60's out there. I will be busy from 6am tomorrow to dinner time because I am pouring a sweat lodge. Sunday is for paddling and/or a swap meet up at Two Rivers. No time to blog. Have a great weekend and...

Paddle safe...


Thursday, April 19, 2007

How It Looked...
How It Felt

When looking at my photography (I have tons of 11 x 14 black and whites mounted on museum boards...but I digress), people often ask of a scene, "Is that how it looked?" Well, no. Of course not. Well, almost never. After all, some burning and dodging goes into the print (digital or traditional). Even the choice of contrast will alter the look of any image. Besides, simply recording a scene is no fun, and does not allow for personal expression. Take this photo of the south gap near our usual launch site.

No, it didn't look that way. For starters, I increased the contrast, especially in the sky. I also made subtle edge burns all around to draw the eye into the center (and, by the way, I do not consider this a great picture. Just one to make the point). I also tweaked the color balance and color saturation and, finally, lightened a few selective rocks. Then, I desaturated the entire thing and used a curve adjustment to alter the contrast in the shadows and high lights. Because...

This is how it felt.

Paddle safe..


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In Need Of A Change
It scares me to say it, but I'm in a rut. Ennui. Unstimulated...with paddling. There, I've said it. Lately, I find I am not enjoying my time in the boat. I am tired of long underwear, tugging on dry suits, avoiding rolling because of freezing water of questionable quality and paddling the same one or two places over and over. As I told JB the other day, I've become so familiar with the South Shore break water that I've begun to name the rocks.
I know that some of this is part of the winter blahs and likely to improve when (if) warm weather returns. Still, I feel sluggish, less interested and less motivated. Perhaps part of what I need (or, needed) was to say so out loud to someone else and to get it out there for me to deal with (not one of my better sentence structures...but I digress). So, there it is.
Just a few degrees elevation in water temps, at least up into the 40's. That would help. I know a change of scenery would. Maybe I can squeeze something in midweek. Tonight I will be giving my class their final exam, so I can free up some time soon. My schedule, however, is bursting with stuff, and it is close to the time to be on-deck for the birth of my grandson. Hey, that perked me up. Something awesome to look forward to.
Okay, I feel better already. I am ready for morning coffee and the cold dreary day fore casted for this area. Later, I will get out some maps, some charts and some touring books and see what is doing in Door County which, unfortunately, is north of here and colder. Maybe I will explore the possibilities in Illinois. At least that is south of here and, although it is the same lake, there definitely will be other scenery. Let me think on it.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Add Water
In Any Of Its States

By states, I do not refer to the solid, liquid and gas forms of this wonderful and life giving compound. Instead, I am thinking of the conditions in which we find water and how, in all its states, it has an uncanny attraction. At least for some of us.

You may prefer the calm surface of a lake on a windless or even moody day. Maybe you like tucking your pony tail into a brain bucket and riding the white water of a gnarly river. What ever. As paddlers (those reader who are), we are simply drawn to this union of hydrogen and oxygen. When ever we can free up the time, off we go in formal dress, boat atop the car, in search of a new place to wet our hulls or to revisit a known and friendly launch site. And, when we can't get out there?

Then, we stand on shore and watch the waves clean the beach or rinse the rocks. Myself? I go to the parkway (a 1 mile walk...but I digress) and sit by the waterfall that is for ever changing its presentation. I listen to it talking to me, and I bide my time until I can once again meet these waters down stream where they come to gather in the great Lake Michigan.

Paddle safe...


Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Official !

It is now officially spring. While paddling near the South Shore Launch Club yesterday, I had my first North American Yachty (NAY) sighting. This species, native to this area, is a most interesting breed.

Much like the Dung Beetle or the tropics, the Nay's gather crap and store it in large fiberglass structures for a purpose science is yet to discover. They do this all summer and into fall while the structures are floated and tied to piers around the club house. The structures seldom go anywhere as the NAY's spend much of the season cleaning and polishing their little dung structures. Then, come late fall, the structures are suddenly found on shore again and the NAY's no where to be found until they reappear in spring to repeat this ancient ritual. It is also interesting to note that the dung poiles are often found in blue cacoons.

Once an official spotting of even on NAY is reported (as I am doing here...but I digress), summer soon occurs; and this has been true 100% since these sightings have been recorded (this being the first year). This is one instance where I truly welcome the NAY-Sayers.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gone Missing
The Growing Legend of JB

Although someone using his initials occasionally posts a comment to this site, my friend and mentor, John Browning may have been missing since February 12th of this year, the day he last posted on his blog site (we know it was him since only he knows the password...unless THEY have made him talk...but I digress). Go ahead, check for yourself. Ironically, that posting was about a missing paddler (are you getting thsi?). As with most unexplained disappearances, there have been many sightings (unprovable) of John in the past two months.

Twice there have been "sightings" of JB supposedly at Bella's Coffee Shop. These generally took place around 6:30 am, and it was said that John was wearing a tie, shirt and pressed slacks. The FBI has told me that at that hour most people aren't all that observant (hey, they haven't even had their coffee yet...but I digress). A few of these reports put JB in the company of another guy and, once or twice, with another guy and a lady (who one observer thinks "JB", or who ever it was, referred to her as Nydia).

Then there are several reports of him (get this) in an ambulance (with siren on, no less). Observers differ on just whether John was driving or riding shot gun, but all agree he had on some sort of official-ambulanc-guy shirt. One guy even said he was sure he saw John in an ambulance and watching the ball game at Miller Park.

Then, of course, some people think that they've seen him kayaking off South Shore launch area. Maybe so, but when questioned and shown pictures of JB, most of these folks become unsure that it was really him, many saying, "In those funny cloths all those guys look the same to me. Why do they go out on such cold days, anyway?"

An inside source (a cop I know) has told me that JB's wife, Oz, when questioned by the missing person police, said, "He might be gone. I hardly ever see him as it is. Come to think of it, his side of the bed sure looks neat." She is, reportedly, putting JB's kayak's up for sale on Craig's List, include the one he has been "test paddling" for the past two years.

Finally (and this is spooky), I have gotten e mails from someone signing JB to the notes. Who ever is sending this is perpetrating a cruel hoax. So, John, if your out there and you see this, put something on your blog site so we know you're okay. You know too much and have too much to share to not post ASAP.

Mean while, we will keep the vigil and anticipate JB's safe return, paddle and pen in hand.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Old War Horses

I didn't know it at the time, but when I bought my used Romany I was adding an old war horse to my stable. As it turned out, I began seeing pictures of the boat in magazines in articles by Brian Day showing how he had laid on a keel strip and patched a war wound that the boat had suffered. Checking the hull, I found the patches and matched them up to the pictures in the article. With NDK's poor quality reputation, I figured that this must be one of the good ones since it had survived so many wars.Then there's my 2000 Blazer with over a 100,000 miles on the meter. I've never had an engine problem with it and have never had to add oil between changes. Although I would be hesitant to buy an American car today, this one has turned out to be a real veteran. I hope I can get another 100,000 miles from her.

Yes, old reliable war horses. You can count on them. You can't beat them. They are often scarred and not particularly pretty, but they are always there when you need them (I wonder if Lady Linda thinks of me that way...but I digress).

Paddle safe...


Friday, April 13, 2007

Those Awkward Stages
It seems like just yesterday that the awkward stage of life referred to my early teen years when hormones and brain cells struggled to get along. Body parts grew at different rates, and graceful movement took concentration. It was, in essence, a 'tween' time, between childhood and something else I've never fully understood.
Flash ahead many years, and many other awkward stages have come and gone. There was the switch from child to adult (ha!). From single to married (I shall not take time to digress here). From student to professional (these are not necessarily in order...but now I do digress). And so on. None of these, however, have been as difficult to deal with as the one I face now: the hardest 'tween' state of all.
Now is the time in life when there are no more pool sessions and the Lake is cold enough to induce life-sucking reflexes if one's face is plunged into its cold waters. Now, or very soon, this will also entail another frustrating 'tween' phase: the deadly "bet you can't figure out how to dress comfortably" phase. Soon, those of us around here will face having to dress for water the temperature of liquid nitrogen while subjecting ourselves to global-warming level heat waves. Soon the paddlers around here will go to sea in little self contained sauna suits, work themselves up to delirium-producing internal temperatures and, then, have to decide if they will risk sudden cardiac arrest by rolling in the frigid soup in order to keep their cortex cells from frying.
So, tell me, when does life get easy?
Paddle safe...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Oldest Bestest Friend
I remember being at a dinner for dormitory house fellows (I was in med school and was working as a house fellow...but I digress) where a man described an educated person as one who could entertain a friend, entertain an idea and entertain them self. Yesterday, the view from from my window was the one above. The return of the bad weather has begun to effect my health. I sat, I ate more, I exercised less and I lost my enthusiasm to entertain anything, especially myself.

After a good dose of self pity, I reminded myself that the more complex the illness, the more basic the solution. So, what basic cure did I need? Then, I remembered my first love. I'd met her when I was 8 years old, and we became instant lovers. I used to put my mouth to hers and press her buttons while imagining wonderful things. When the hour grew late and the noise too loud, I had to be satisfied to sit with her in my bedroom and just silently finger her buttons.
Over the years, our relationship matured. At age 12, I left her and took a new lover that I have to this day. I learned every nuance of her curves and with my lips and finger tips could get any response from her that I could imagine. So it was only natural that, in my darkest hour of need, I let her out of the closet, pressed my lips to hers, closed my eyes and played her.
The sweet sounds first, then the heady bop riffs, and I'd soon forgotten (for a little while, anyway) about winter. Now that's a bestest friend if there ever was one.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Reader Writes
A reader recently wrote: "Dear, Dr. Silbs, I am writing from my up-turned kayak where the water temp is 45 F. I have been inverted for about 45 seconds. I tried to roll up, however, I have lost the one paddle I had brought along. My symptoms include blue finger tips. My signs include tunnel vision and portions of my life flashing before me. What should I do?" signed, Anoxic.
Dear Anoxic,
You have made several errors. To begin, blue fingers are a sign and not a symptom. The tunnel vision and the life-flash thingy, on the other hand, are both symptoms (I see your signs, you report your symptoms...but I digress...and I understand you are in a hurry for an answer).
I recommend you take 2 paddles and call me in the morning.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I didn't know there would be a test
Synchronicity...again. Yesterday, Derrick's blog had linked a super article on taking care of one another when paddling in groups. Then, Ron left a comment on my "Pop Quiz" blog about not knowing there would be a test (quite clever, actually...but I digress). These two converging events were clearly a sign from above that I should comment on all the little pop quizzes that pop up in real life.
They're happening all the time, little test that life or other people give us. Sometimes they are of little consequence, and sometimes they are life and death situations. An example of an innocuous test is when you decide which movie to see. Biggest risk here is that you waste a few bucks and hours. Then there are the biggies, the tests, that if failed, can get you killed. An example is when a fellow's significant other asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?" Pop quiz, and your life on the line.
Paddling, of course, throws these challenges at us all the time. After a while we make the small decisions without much thought. Do I go out into the wind and have it at my back when I am tired and returning, or do I go straight out onto the water to see what is out there? Other times, it is the sudden capsize of a paddling partner. Sure, you've practiced it many many times on calm waters...and always meant to practice in waves...but never got around to it...and, suddenly, someone better know what to do.
I leave you with the advise of two well-known paddling groups (they could have been):
Boy Scouts of America: BE PREPARED.
Hill Street Blues: BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.
Paddle safe...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Who Knew?
Came across this in the Milwaukee "newspaper" about a week ago. Two men, Michael Schnitzka and William Perdzock, were attempting to paddle the Rhine River in record a canoe. Weather was against them, and they called it off part way through the voyage. Turns out that the paper refers to them as one of the best marathon canoeing duos in the world. It also turns out that they each live in a town within 30 minutes driving of my house. Who Knew?
I am often amazed at the previously unknown talents of people I've known or have lived near me. Ordinary folks, so I had thought, with skills, talents and stories I could not have imagined. Like my quiet neighbor, almost shy, who turned out to have a few dozen patents on municipal monitoring devices (for heat, electricity, etc....but I digress). Or the quiet elder I once met who had flown F-105 fighters in Viet Nam. Hell, look at JB and Derrick and I bet you wouldn't guess they are world class Irish Whiskey drinkers.
Then, too, there are ourselves. People meet us, form an impression and go about their business with no idea about what we can do. In fact, I find most people don't seem aware of their own personal wealth of talent. To them, doing what they can do is just doing what they can do. While doing it, they fail to realize their uniqueness in this world.
So, who knew or, for that matter, who knows? Seems it is everyone except the one.
Paddle safe...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pop Quiz!

I am the king in my house. I do as I please. So, when it got too cold to work on my SOF in the garage, I put the boat in our kitchen area where it is warm and I can watch TV and grab snacks while I work. Now for the multiple-choice quiz:

Something happened 2 hours before this picture was taken Saturday morning. What was this event?

1. Peace was declared in the Middle East

2. A cure for the common cold was announced by Harvard scientists.

3. A geneticist proved beyond doubt the superiority of men over women by all measurable parameters.

4. Lady Linda left for a 4-day visit with our daughter in Cincinnati.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, April 07, 2007


I guess it happens as we get older, the desire to simplify. I, for example, own a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff I once had to have and for which I now have little use. There are the 35mm, medium format and large format film cameras, a professional wet darkroom, all sorts of "toys", and five kayaks. After a while, the things I accumulate seem to turn into stuff and even become a burden rather than a joy. If I had the money I have spent on all this stuff, I would be wealthy beyond belief (not really, but it sounds dramatic).

I now have a Romany which I use a lot. It is well suited for rolling and, with its nimbleness, for teaching. More over, it isn't quite a full size kayak and is, therefor, easy for me to off and on load. That's one. I also have an Arctic Tern, a wood boat I built from a kit. It was something I'd wanted to do. So I did. It is a good looker if you don't walk up to close to her. If you do, you will see the warts and imperfections of a first time effort. I am willing to part with this boat. That's two.

I have a Kevlar Perception Shadow with a rudder and smart pedals and have had the boat up for sale. It's a good boat made for tripping. It has a good deal of storage space. It does not track as well as I'd like (without the rudder); besides, I've become a skeg guy. I would like to sell her (and, don't tell Lady Linda, replace her with something else). That's three.

Then there are the 2 SOF boats (for you public school grads, that makes 5). One I made myself, the other was made by Peter strand. As you know, I recently got a short gash in the first (it is canvas...but I digress). I have sewn the wound, but the edges will not pull together, even after wetting down the canvas from the inside. I will make some filler with chalk and linseed oil and, finally, glue on a patch...probably with GOO. The second SOF is a pure rolling machine. That makes 5 boats, and I could do just fine with 3. I figure it would be more than enough to have the Romany for teaching and paddling alone, one SOF to play Inuit and something with a long water line so I don't have to work so hard to keep up during group paddles. Besides, I've been having thoughts of camping again and may want to do some short trips. I know, I know. The romany will hold more than enough for a short trip, but this is my wish list.

What I've learned from all this and from trying to sell used boats is that simplifying is anything but simple.

Paddle safe...


Friday, April 06, 2007

Ohmmmmmmmmmmm's Law

Note to Mother Nature: You win. You control the universe in which I live, and I can but adjust to it. When you decide it is time (and only then...but I digress), the leaves change their colors and drop to the ground in obedience to your power. When you decide, snow falls and ice covers my world. When you decide, winter ends...but not until you decide.

But, Mom, I am so freaking sick of the cold air that I am starting to experience depression, constipation, irritability and a general funk. So I must, in the face of your overwhelming largess, keep my sanity until you decide it is time to make the world warm again. So, I will sit, look at pictures like this one and say, "Ohmmmmmmmmmm."

Paddle safe...


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Empty Nest?
I Think Not
Lady Linda has just left to run errands, and King Ansel is sunning himself on the porch where the air temp is below freezing. I have the house to myself for a bit. I like being alone... sometimes. Other times, I rejoice in the energy of friends and families standing shoulder to shoulder, laughing and exchanging hugs and stories. But most days, there's not much happening here.
For many years, the house was full of the sound and energies of my two daughters. Ours was the house in the neighborhood where all the kids came to gather. Many came, I suspect, because either Lady Linda, or I or both were always home. Some of those kids used to sit a tell me about what they had done in school that day. Once in a while, they would call me dad and Linda mom. Some of those kids, now adults, still drop by. sometimes, they bring their children.

Our oldest, Carri, lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Scott. They will become parents in about a month. Tammy is about to move to Illinois and will marry Ben this fall. Ansel has decided not to get his own place but to continue to mooch off us. Tammy and her two dogs drop by now and then, Tammy comes over more often alone...and Ansel loves it. The two of them have a special relationship. That dog will, instantly, do things for her that I cannot get him to even put on the agenda to consider.

Now, I sit in the quiet waiting for one of them to visit again. Mostly, I wait for my grandchild.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How to tell
You're getting old

Styles change and so does the music. Vinyl 78 records are replaced by tapes and, then, by Cd's. The fins disappear from cars the size of tanks, and no one wears poodle skirts any more. Fashion changes. I can live with that.

But when they screw with our icons, they screw with our heritage. When that happens, what is there to believe in any more? I'm sorry, I can never accept this guy as "my" Maytag repair guy. It's just so wrong in so many ways.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Too Busy
To BlogAlmost 6 am, raining like crazy out there and lots to do today. First, and most important, got to meet JB for coffee at Bella's in half an hour.

Then there is the Milwaukee Harbor Commission's safety Committee meeting at the MYC. I hope to get a bulletin board at the South Shore launch site for paddlers' info.

Local elections. Must vote

Then there will be some time to work on the SOF repair as well as do some class prep for the Anatomy & Physiology course I teach Wednesday nights. Finally, I have the high school mentoring program where, presently, I am teaching some PhotShop. So why am I sitting here typing? This being retired is hard.

Paddle safe...

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's A Small World...Reading Michael's blog just now brought back memories from the 1960s when I was a flight surgeon during the fiasco in SE Asia. I recalled a night when I was in the stag bar at our base in Thailand and tipping back a few with the fly boys (hey, it was my job to stay close to them and watch for psychological problems...but I digress). That night, I found myself next to a well -lubricated transient pilot who was just there for the night (on his way to where, I never found out). In any event, around his 75th drink, he raised his glass in a toast and said, "Here's to Joey."
Digging the camaraderie, I lifted my own almost empty glass and replied, "Here's to Joey from Boston." The guy froze, looked at me and asked, "You know Joey form Boston?" I laughed and told him I was referring to my cousin, a doctor who had grown up in Boston. As it turned out, this guy and my cousin had been room mates in college. We exchanged some good tales that evening.

Another day found me in a KC-135, a Boeing 707 modified as a re fuler. We were, much to my discomfort, in North Vietnam air space and, according to the charts, were over flying a surface to air missile (SAM) site. We were not supposed to be there except for the fact we were trying to rescue an F-4 that had taken a hit and was leaking fuel fast.

As we all scanned the air with binoculars, I muttered (not realizing I had said it out loud, "I hope I live to see Milwaukee again." The copilot, a young lieutenant, turned and said, "Hey, I went to Custard High School." Small world, ain't it?

Paddle safe...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Derrick Mayoleth
to be
by the

(To the reader: I became aware of what you are about to read when the staff at BCU in England contacted me along with other bloggers to get information about Derrick. Because this will be announced "tomorrow" from England, and because of the time zone difference, they have given me permission--as the person living nearest to Derrick--to publish this information now)

Derrick Mayoleth, often referred to as the Uber Blogger of Kayaking, will be honored this week by the BCU for his unique contributions to the sport. The international certifying organization intermittently issues one of these awards when they feel an individual has broken new ground or done something worthy for the sport. Previous recipients include many of the paddlers about whom Derrick writes.

In their announcement, the BCU will recognize Derrick for several areas of service to kayaking:

1. Blogging: Derrick is among the first and, certainly, most read of kayak blog sites. His creative writing and positive words on kayaking have drawn many to the sport.

2. Teaching: Derrick is a BCU certified coach and has developed his own unique teaching techniques that have allowed new paddlers to get onto the water.

3. Reporting: Derrick is often the first to break news regarding new equipment and upcoming expeditions. His recent efforts to keep us up to date on the disappearance of a paddler making a long crossing will be specifically noted.

4. Paddling: Derricks constant efforts to improve his game are singled out for recognition. He is constantly working on his rolls and balance techniques.

5.. Participation: Derrick is at every symposium in the mid west, he is constantly going to Madison to teach and is now planning his first circumnavigation

The award will consist of a BCU plaque and a new NDK Explorer.

I am happy for Derrick, pleased to be the one to announce his award (and to scoop him...but I digress) and honored to have him as a friend.

Paddle safe...