Thursday, May 31, 2007

Water Heals All
JB pointed out these two boats on the river when we paddled off Sheboygan this past weekend. The one on the left is Happy Hooker and the other is Xdemocrat. I'll have to do another piece on all the names I've seen. No political point is to be made from this nonsense.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Joseph Wasserberg

has this day entered the world. Mom, Child and Husband doing well.

Many thanks to all who commented here and by e mail with your encouragement and congratulatory messages.

Children Having Children

Here are 3 of the most spoiled children in the world. Kids, bless them. The furry one still lives at home and shows no signs of getting work and moving out. It's okay, he runs the place any way.

The smiley one on your left lives away and soon will be moving to Illinois. She and Lady Linda are busy planning her October wedding (can you say bankruptcy...but I digress). She does fine, but she sometimes visits and brings two more fur balls with her when she does.

It's the one on the right that is my main concern...and why I've been up all night. She's the one in Ohio, and she's in the hospital...with her husband at her side. If the doctor does his/her thing and all goes well, I will be a grandpa before this day is over. How cool is that?

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now
I don't remember what I thought it would be like, but as I rush toward age 66 I continue to find that the good things in life are pretty simple to list. Finding them? I can't tell you how. In fact, I am beginning to think that they find us. How they do that is one of the delicious mysteries of the Universe, and I don't need to know in order to feel complete.
Some folks (ever see The Secret?...but I digress) believe that you receive the energy back that you put out. As this idea goes, if you put out honesty and love, you will receive those two in return. The theory, I guess, is that it prepares you to "detect" those energies that are already there.
Others will tell us that our souls reincarnate in different bodies/lives to learn lessons. Some think a good life is a pay back for having suffered in a previous existence. If they are correct, my last time around must have been hell on earth, because this time has been blessed with everything I could ever want.
Among those blessings have been good family, good teachers and good friends. So, when I asked the gentleman at the next table to snap this picture of Derrick, JB and myself, I didn't know that the Universe was conspiring to give me a precious memoir of good times with good friends.
(l-r: Silbs, Derrick, JB)
Paddle safe...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm off the next three days and am almost out the door to paddle with JB and Derrick. Enjoy your holiday and remember what it is for.

I cannot remember a time in my life when multiple wars were not going on around the world. More often than not, we were involved. All this decades after "The War To End All Wars". It is a sad statement on our species.

Although I cannot end it all, I can hold in memory my fallen colleagues and those we left in the Hanoi Hilton who I never heard about again. What a waste.

Paddle safe...

Friday, May 25, 2007

What Now?

There is an old joke in which you are given a scenario in which you arrive home to find you have left the bath water running and the stopper in the drain. The house is flooded to knee level, and you are asked to choose between two actions. You can either pull out the plug or run around and open all the doors to let the water out. It is, of course, a trick question since your first action should be to turn off the water. That is, stop the cause before applying the cures.

It has, it appears, finally dawned on some folks (environmental groups) that the house (environment) is flooded with water (pollutants and life forms) and that we ought to turn off the tap. In this case, the house is our Great Lakes and the tap is the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is, it seems, ballast water from the bowels of ocean going ships that has brought so much havoc to our area. The Zebra Mussels are one of their "gifts.

Now, it remains to be seen if we are up to taking this medication and whether or not our Neighbors to the north will agree (Canada has a similar investment in all this). Meanwhile, shipping companies are telling us that they would welcome laws mandating treatment of their bilge water...if only they all had to do it. That is, I can't do it if he doesn't because it would put me at a financial disadvantage.

If someone doesn't do something soon, we will have to replace our dry suits with Haz Med suits in our basic paddling kit. It is getting harder and harder to...

Paddle safe...


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Urban Squall
Be it on land or water, it seems our numbers grow year after year and there is less space per person left. Milwaukee is in the middle of condo-mania with, it seems, every inch of property along the main river suddenly growing housing units (with a nice view of the crap floating by...but I digress). The prime land sites, the ones offering views of Lake Michigan, are also starting to see shoulder-to-shoulder high rises. Don't even get me started on the costs of these warehouse units (and the taxes).
I have been aware of a similar problem on the lake, itself. When I first began sailing over 30 years ago "housing" for boats was already at a premium. There were, basically, three options. One was to trailer a boat to a from each outing. This, of course, meant putting up and taking down the rigging each time. No mean feet for even an 18 foot sloop.
Next was a mooring, there basically being an area in the northern end of the harbor and the one pictured above off our launch site at South Shore. This was a relatively cheap arrangement but did require a means of getting out to the boat. That, in turn, generally meant car topping or towing a dinghy or carrying an inflatable (which was a pain to inflate each time...but I digress...again),
Most expensive, and luxurious, was a slip with water and electricity. I enjoyed such an arrangement for many years as a member of SSYC (now a life member). All I had to do was mortgage my first born to pay for it.
After I left sailing, I found the perfect solution: paddling. No need for a mooring or a slip, and transportation meant little more than moving a suit case from place to place. No need for bottom paint, water or electricity either. Nothing to inflate. The "dinghy" was, in fact, the boat.
So, no matter how crowded the planet gets; no matter how many boats vie for a finite number of slips; no matter if the mooring area gets filled to capacity; all I need is two feet of shore from which to launch. KISS.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Now, there's a powerful word. Over the years, it has come to mean everything from a group with similar goals (e.g. a crime family) to our domestic unit of living. Most of us have been lucky enough to have family, a group of people who share DNA with us (or married someone who did...but I digress) and who, presumably, care about us. Even these geese are family with the adults protectively surrounding the little ones (the world belongs to the children, and the children belong to us all). The families I have seen have been the best and the worst thing to ever happen to its members.
I have seen those families that stand shoulder to shoulder, love one another and are supportive in a way that can only come from a place of love. Hello Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best and I Remember Mama. In the real world, however, it often doesn't go as well.
I have also seen families that come from a place of fear. It may come out as anger, meanness and abuse, but you can be sure there is a fear in there somewhere. These families wound their young, do not know how to take care of themselves and serve only as a destructive force in their children's' lives. They don't mean to, they cannot help it. Their behavior is fear based, even though they do not realize it. Unable to get beyond their own needs, they strike out at perceived threats and wound those around them. The results are what put their children in therapy.
If the offspring do find healing, it can take 7 generations until the behavior is gone. Anyway, I thought of this as I came ashore from yesterday's paddle on Lake Michigan and discovered one family feeding junk food to another...six feet from the "Do not feed the wild birds" sign. At least that wasn't fear based.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You are As Old
As You Are
In a recent personal posting, a friend was opining the approach of his 41st birthday while expressing concern that he would soon get too old to hike, paddle and do whatever other gymnastic feats he does. Rubbish. That's what I told him. To worry about such a thing is self defeating, in my judgment.
I told him that time was a man-made invention that was developed so that we would be on the same street corner at the same "time". It is a chronological indicator of relativity and, often, does not correlate with one's physiology. Let me share just one observation that has stood the test, "time".
As we get "older" (there's that time thing, again...but I digress), our highest achievable heart rate falls. That is, a younger person's heart can go faster than an older person's heart. So, there are charts that estimate your maximum heart rate based on age. Some doctors use this in the stress lab (I never did, and there is not time here to explain all that...yes, another digression). When a patient would come for a stress test, the nurse and I would guess their ages by they way they looked. The maximum heart rates that they would achieve would always correlate with our assessment more than with their chronological age. You do look as old as you are...physiologically.
More over, I noticed that these younger looking individuals seemed to "behave" at their apparent age level. So, if you go sit in a chair and think you are too old to be in the game, you probably are. Stop thinking about it, and get on with life. (I do, or I'd be too scared to go to bed).
Oh, the guy on the board was captured on the river this weekend during paddle fest. His age? I have no idea.
Paddle safe...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Paddle Fest '07
In the History Books
Congratulations to Sherri Mertz for another well run Paddle Fest. Sherri, a well known paddler and instructor around the Milwaukee area, is the force behind this annual project. It consists of a big sale in the main store, seminars, a film festival and demo boats that attract the largest contingent of arm-paddlers ever assembled.
A Lake Michigan launch and paddle to the harbor, then up the river to the store, was planned for Sunday morning. A chill factor of 31F and a whooping Nor' Easter changed that to a pre-breakfast sojourn up and down the mighty (dirty) Milwaukee River. Safety boats were manned through out the test paddle period by smartly dressed and handsome young-at-heart men. Now, on to the Symposiums (and, I didn't digress...even once).
Paddle safe...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

If It's Wednesday,
It Must BeGarbage!
My interest in rituals includes urban behavior and regimentation. It all looks to me like the young people of most generations who express their desire to be independent by dressing exactly like all their peers. As adults, we fall into patterns of behavior like little soldier ants. The bugle sounds, and we wake up and get on the freeway to work.
The assigned day arrives, and we pay our taxes. The social convenes, and we say our proper lines (which, in turn, are determined by to whom we are speaking...but I digress). Some one dies, and we have words for that. We lose the game, and there are proper things to say so as to be gracious in defeat. There are rules, and we obey.
Starting late Tuesday evening and peaking early Wednesday, the parade of garbage cans happens. Every other week (rule #1) it is garbage only. Every other opposite week (rule #2) it is garbage and recyclables (most of which actually never get recycled....but I digress...again).
There is comfort in rituals. There is comfort (for some) in knowing what they are supposed to do and, then, doing it. The reward is acceptance into the army of drones (read: society). It keeps them in the comfort zone. They get to be 'part of' something. After all, without all this there would be chaos. People would drive on what ever side of the road that fancied them at the moment. Worst yet, people would put out trash on a week that is designated for garbage only.
On the water, on the other hand, ritual ensures that all the equipment is there. It engenders a safe environment. It makes each of our behaviors more predictable, and we become safer as a group. Ironically, this adherence to our rules results in the very freedom we enjoy out there. We can, in fact, "drive" on what ever side of the water we wish. Any way, we pick up our garbage every day.
(off to staff Paddle Fest. Back Monday)
Paddle safe...

Friday, May 18, 2007


To me, force requires strength. So, a stronger person can generate more force than a weaker one. Translated into sports (like paddling and, especially, Judo), stronger individuals often do well at the beginning because they can use their force (strength) to over come poor technique. Heck, any stroke if applied with enough force will get a boat moving (maybe not well, but moving...but I digress).

As one acquires wisdom and technique, they learn to apply a minimum amount of force with a maximum amount of efficiency and technique. The results is something awesome and, well, powerful. When carried to the ideal, no amount of force can overcome full blown power.

In judo, if you can generate the force of 10 and I can only generate 5, I am going to lose to a head to head show of force. If, on the other hand, you push with your 10 and I pull with my 5, I will generate a power of 15 against which you will be helpless. So it is with paddling, so it is with life.

I often see people trying to force their way through life in an effort to fill a mold of someone else's design (pleasers). How sad. This only serves to bleed off their power which lies in following their true calling. On a more mundane level, I see paddlers who actually think that it is the force of the paddle on the water that rolls a boat when, in fact, the paddle has very little to do with coming upright. In fact, as I tell them, a look at the physics involved will quickly tell you that it is not possible to roll up.

The power comes in relaxing and, while upside down, falling upside down-up. Or to put it simply, let the boat roll under you and pick you up. That's power and requires little force.

As I tell my Judo and kayak students, alike, if you are working hard you are doing it wrong.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Weather Men, Stock Brokers
and Other Cults
(The Emperor Has No Clothes)

Silbs' first law of weather forecasts is to ignore them. Like stockbrokers, climatologist/meteorologists are wonderful at telling you why something happened...after it happens. As far as predicting events goes, they don't do so well. In spite of all their fancy radars and soft ware programs, most of their "forecasts" would be more accurate if they just used common sense. Around here, that means getting a clear view of the north western sky.

I've always believed that they predict the worst case scenario so as not to bring on our wrath should a good day go bad. In doing so, however, they threaten to reduce the paddling days around here to about 10% of what they should be (I know, I've written about this before...but I digress).

The photo above was taken yesterday around noon,on the Milwaukee River, just north of Mequon during the storms that were predicted, pushed back and never happened. I wasn't going to paddle for fear of being caught out in it, then remembered the many times I'd needlessly canceled going sailing over the years based on one of these BS predictions. Oh, by the way, there was nothing...nothing...on radar to our west when I shoved off.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One Man's New Window On The World
If you haven't been following it, I highly recommend catching up on the back blogs (BB to us professionals...but I digress) by Derrick Mayoleth, the Baraboo Blogger. He, of paddle and pen fame, has been in Whales (that is some what east of Boston) doing BCU training and romping with the beautiful kayak people.
In his writings, I get the sense of wonder and adventure and excitement that comes of such a journey. Derrick is a complicated guy and, sometimes (as the poet said), life is too much with him. I can tell from his pieces that he has been out there these past several days and has spread his wings. Free of the day to day, he first has come to realize that he can lift his leg high and run with the big dogs. Then, free to roam and explore and let his little creative brain go wild, he has been looking inside and out.
But you can read this all for yourself. To miss it is to miss a chance to journey with a fine man and to get to know him better.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Unguarded Moment
(What's in your closet?)
Greg and I were sitting in my back room (the messy one...but I digress) watching the Dubside DVD on rolling. Amazed by how the man in black seemed to be able to roll everything from a skin on frame to an El Dorado Cadillac, I felt relaxed. For the moment, life was perfect. Then Greg turned his little eyes toward the open closet behind us, and he discovered my long held secret.I swear, it's for the anatomy and physiology course I teach.
Paddle safe...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Where Will It (we) End?

I've shown you this picture before. It tells you which fish in the Milwaukee River should not be eaten or eaten only in limited amounts. The river, it seems, has been polluted with all sorts of industrial and agricultural stuffs. Turns out, there was even a refinery not far from my house, and one arm of the river is filthy with PCB's. The same is true, to a lesser degree, of Lake Michigan. The belly fat of the large Coho Salmon are noted to be full of PCB's and other stuff as well. Pregnant women are advised not to eat fish from the lake. In my medical (and humble) opinion, only someone with a death wish or a desire to work in a side show at a carnival would eat anything that has lived in the local waters.

Some of our problems stem from foreign life being brought in by ballast water pumped from trans oceanic ships. Now, there is talk of closing the seaway into the Great Lakes to avoid future disasters. This after the introduction of the Zebra Muscle. This little fellow eats up the particulate matter in the water and has, in fact, made the water of Lake Michigan clearer than it has been in years. Turns out it is too clear. The sun can now penetrate further down into the water which has resulted in an over growth of some "plant" life. In addition, the little muscles seem to like to populate intake pipes and have reeked havoc by plugging some of them up.

Well, in case we thought there would be nothing to worry about, along comes this headline in the local rag:

I won't even go into the Asian Carp that are huge and have no natural predators and are working their way towards us as I write. Is this going to end up the way it did when the lake was infested with the Lamprey Eels? Back then, all the streams were poisoned, and the eels killed off. Of course, so were the lake trout. That's why the Coho were introduced (and fostered a sports fishing industry here...but I digress). Maybe next time, we can introduce Puff The Magic Dragon. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, May 12, 2007


Off to teach in Madison. Tomorrow in Mom's Day with two get together(s) and a paddle with JB in between. I will try and keep it simple. You...

Paddle Safe...


Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Begun
Though we paddle year round here, I still think about the upcoming months as the paddling season. It is a time when many paddlers, unseen since the first frost last year, reappear on the water. Old friends, apparently ensconced in monasteries for the winter, call and want to go out for a tour of the harbor. Symposiums are announced and occur, and lots and lots of people take their first try in those tipsy little boats called kayaks.
I spent the last two days in Madison doing...are you ready for this...a youth program for Rutabaga. Another instructor (Sarah) and I baby sat 6 sessions of about 15 teenagers (each) during the two days. There was, first, the hauling of all those white water boats which, spirits of the Inuit forgive me, I enjoyed playing in. We hauled paddles and PFDs. And, during a break each day, went back to the shop and hauled and cleaned. At the end, we hauled it all back to 'Baga. I slept well last night (after the 1.5 hour drive home...but I digress).
This Saturday I go back there to give an intro to sea kayaking course.
Next weekend is Paddle Fest here at Laacke & Joy. If grandson number one doesn't suddenly appear, I will be paddling a safety boat on the primordial soup we call the Milwaukee River. On Sunday, Greg and I will give a talk on traditional paddling.
Before long, JB and I will head up to Door County for the symposium there (DKSKS), then visit Picture Rocks National Sea Shore before staffing at the Grand Marais symposium on the upper pennisula.
Later in the summer, I hope to meet up with Alex and others for the QAJAQ USA camp for folks with vertigo. No kayak stays upright for more than a few minutes at these affairs, and we all get rolled more than a drunk salesman in an alley behind a seedy bar.
Only thing I don't know and cant control is my health and age. If all the wires and staples and duct tape hold, I will be a happy and blessed man, and I shall have myself a jolly good summer. I hope you all do as well.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gentle Giant

Among the fine pleasures I had at Canoecopia this year was the opportunity to meet and talk with Wayne Horodowich of the University of Sea Kayaking (USK). Many of you will be familiar with their DVD series on most of the things that most of us sea kayakers want to learn and know. Much of what you see on these presentations is narrated by Wayne.

The first thing that impressed me when I saw him on a DVD and, again, in person, was his size. Well over 6 feet, I'd watch as he folded himself into a cockpit and effortlessly demonstrated strokes and rescues. When he spoke, however, he was concise and deliberate and, yes, soft spoken. A good teacher.

Recognizing him at the show, I introduced myself and immediately used his friendliness and the opportunity to pick his brains on some of his rescue techniques. And, it turns out, they are techniques, not applications of the brute strength I suspect Wayne possesses. He was generous with his time and accommodating when I asked him and his lady to pose for a picture. My only disappointment was that I didn't get a better quality shot. I hope they (and I) are there in 2008.

Paddle safe...


Monday, May 07, 2007

This...Just in
All the Dirt
Tha's Fit to Print
Time for some good old fashion gossip from that zany world of paddlers:

What certain small-city bumpkin, know as the Baraboo Blogger, has taken years of paddling experience and turned it into a debauchery of death-defying behavior...and nearly causing an international incident on top of it all? Not one to kiss and tell, we'll invite you to simply click on the link, an open invitation to his personal diary (a Silbs exclusive find...but I digress) and follow his devil-may-care antics for yourself. Just a reminder, Baraboo Blogger, we don't paddle soused, and we take a spare paddle with us...the main paddle just might break. Let's move on.
In a boorish act of bad behavior and equally poor taste, Bubba (as we will call him here to protect his family), the bearded paddler, has been seen gallivanting around the capitol city of Madison with young ingenues. This old rake, a family man at that, was unabashed as he acted out before our cameras. He leaves at home a lovely wife of impeccable behavior, sophisticated taste(except in husbands) and so-far infinite tolerance.
Need I remind readers that our exlusive buy-us-at-the-check-out-counter expose had caught this man in a similar act just a few weeks ago? And where did this take place? In the capitol city of Madison, of course. It would seem that our man-in-need-of-a-paddle-leash is out of control.

Our sources tell Silbs Says that, from now on, state troopers will be alerted to stop and turn back any white van with three kayak racks headed west on I-94.
That's it for now. Mean while, stay home with your family, behave and...

Paddle safe...


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Day "OFF"
5 AM, head cold won't let me sleep normally. JB due here in 2 hours as we are headed to Madison for a "training" day. See you all tomorrow.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mixed Bag Today
A little of this...a little of that

First time in years, but I have a head cold. Some invisible, microscopic virus has turned me into a very efficient snot machine. Buy stock in Kleenex. Maybe now I will shed those 10 pounds I've been trying to lose. Meanwhile, I have a great raspy voice that would go over big on radio.

Gave a private lesson yesterday, and what a joy. Teaching is my passion, and a coordinated, quick learning student is heaven. Andy is a physical therapist with a PhD. in engineering. Enough said?

Derrick has arrived safely in the Mother Land and reports that he is "hanging out". I swear, his words. I suspect an arrest will take place soon :)

It is official, spring has been reported as being over due and missing. It is cloudy and drizzling. I wore a dry suit for the lesson yesterday and was quite comfortable doing the rescues. The first week in May is almost gone and the only thing that has happened on schedule is the dance around the May pole (don't they do that in Russia?)

The Shadow goes with me (and JB) to Madison tomorrow where I plan to leave it for sale on consignment. It is like letting go of a family member as it was my first boat.

Now, I have to go and ponder whether I take some whiskey to fight the cold and raise my HDl cholesterol or I keep all of my cerebral cortex from shrinking faster than it already is.

Paddle safe...


Friday, May 04, 2007

Scientific Discoveries:
Why Your Helmet Fits Better Each Year

There is actually little to say. The headline in our daily rag, yesterday, says it all. All those brewskies being downed after a hard day (usually two hours...but I digress) on the water have been quietly taking their toll. This explains not only the mysterious enlarging of our helmets but some of the behavior seen on the water (and in blogs).

One has to wonder how this new information will change the sociological reference's now in use. Having a big head, for instance, may actually mean one is devoid of OH radicals in the blood stream. If this all generates enough fear, being called hung over will only refer to the stomach over the belt phenomena (the so-called Milwaukee tumor) evident in non-exercisers. Finally, one has to wonder if, by serendipity, we've finally unlocked the mysteries of the head hunters and how they shrunk those heads. All in all, not a bad way to go.

So, next time your paddling partner can't seem to remember port-left, starboard-right; or if they start low bracing with the power face of the blade; or if they pack that metal pot in the forward hatch right under the compass; just get out the tape measure and see if their hat size has shrunk.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lately, It's Been Like Walking Through Mud
Got that blech feeling, and it is my own fault. I have been sitting around again, eating too much (although I don't gain weight...but I digress) and waking early (I know, that can be a sign of depression). I seem to have lost my spunk.
Yesterday, I took my freshly patched skin on frame out on Lake Michigan. The tuilik kept me warm, but I felt like a slug in the boat. My sweep and angel rolls were okay, but nothing finishing forward worked. More over, I felt un-enthused. The only enjoyable thing seemed to be helping another paddler with his roll.
I just woke at 4:30 am and feel slept out. A boring morning looms ahead as I wait for movers. I will, however, have an afternoon photo shoot for a project I am donating to. Bottom line, I need to get moving.
As I've mentioned before, I have thoughts of camping, but I wonder if I can get myself up and going. Besides, the weather remains cold (relatively), and my schedule is peppered with obligations (most of which I am looking forward to). So, I indulge myself in some self pity. Enough.
I shall get the morning paper, brew some java and get the glutes in gear. Geez, I'm already talking like a party animal.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Eyes Have It
I am always amazed by the kiosks in malls, especially the ones that sell only sun glasses. The first time I saw one I wondered how anyone could make a living selling just selling those things. Then I saw the price tags and thought, what a scam (same with regular eye glasses...but I digress). More over, the buyers (and their egos) were all about style and how cool they looked in what has apparently become a fashion accessory. I would hope that paddlers would take a different approach.
First of all, the basic function of a pair (why is one a pair?) of sun glasses is to cut down on the brightness of sunshine from above and the reflection from the water. This alone is a comfort issue and alleviates a lot of squinting (which, as things go, doesn't burn a whole lot of calories). But those little lenses perched on the bridge of your nose have two other important functions. Knowing about them can make you a better consumer.
One of the main needs we, as paddlers, have is to cut down on the amount of UV radiation that hits the lenses of our eyes. Those nasty rays are what cause cataracts, a condition occurring at younger and younger ages due to the increase in out door activity (and perhaps the ozone thing). So, if the little tag doesn't say the glasses filter out UV light, take a pass. It won't matter how cool you look once you can't see yourself in the mirror.
You might also consider spending just a few bucks more and getting lenses officially labeled as being Polaroid. A polarizer is an optical filter that only allows through light in certain planes. Other light, scatter, is eliminated. These little gems will reduce or remove the glare from any non-metallic surface. It is the photographic filter that lets you see down through the water and, just maybe, spot that rock just below the surface before it tears your skeg off. On a camera, a polarizer (most effective 90 degrees to the sun) is what makes the sky dark and the clouds pop. It is the filter most commonly used by outdoor photographers (and you should have one too).
The glasses pictured above filter UV and Polarize light. They cost only $16...and I really look cool in them.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

You Gotta' Love It

Maybe it's due to the way I was raised. My mother was born in Russia (came here at age 8...but I digress) and neither parent went beyond high school. It was made clear to me that my job was to get an education, and it was clear that teachers were high up in the pecking order of respect. To this day, I hold in high esteem all who have taught me. To this day, my passion is to teach. So, I was honored when JB asked me to do the local REI demo out at Pewaukee lake last Saturday (JB, of course, was busy doing...what else...teaching an IDW).

The interest in learning was amazing, and the questions were excellent as folks of all ages gathered for what was, for most of them, their first paddling experience. What kind of boat do I get? (One that tracks well,turns and rolls easily and costs under $100). What is that funny thing (a Greenland stick)? What is the difference between a sea kayak and a recreational one? (About $1000).What is the meaning of life? (You get that in the advanced course).

Interested students and good questions are a wonderful stimulus for any teacher. I was pumped (but cool and's a gift). I even pulled on a neoprene hood and did some sculling and rolling for the group. I only hope that they got as much from encounter as did I.

Paddle safe...