Saturday, February 25, 2012

Working with newbies...

...can be interesting.

Paddle safe...
Practice, practice, practice...

In the old joke, that's how the cab driver answer's the musician's question, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" It's pretty much the same with paddling. New comers, anxious to have the perfect forward stroke and bomb-proof roll, often ask how to achieve these worthy goals. We all know the answers.

First: BIB: Butt in the boat. You have to spend time paddling, even if in circles or out and back to the same place over and over. With repetition comes muscle memory as we travel the path from a, not knowing and not knowing we don't know to b, knowing we don't know to c, consciously capable to d, unconsciously capable at a skill. Even then, it is easy to slip back a level when there are long periods between paddles. The idea here is to be able to unconsciously and quickly execute that brace, edge or roll in conditions when it really matters.

So good paddlers (at least the ones I know) often start their time on the water just going through the strokes and basics; and they do it in conditions when ever the opportunity is there. The question now is, what can you do on a moments notice? Are you sure? Do you know what you don't know?

Paddle safe...

Thursday, February 23, 2012


They are tough to keep warm. Let me say that another way. It was hard for me to find something that will keep my hands warm and allow me to use them in a meaningful way (such as putting the skirt on the rim). A while ago I posted about a poorly made (in my judgement) NRS glove. It's stitching fell apart early in its life. This is the other side of the NRS coin.
 I use their mittens for really cold weather. They are neoprene and the only thing that keeps my hands warm. Problem is, I have to remove them to get the skirt on the boat, and my hands freeze. Lately, with temps above freezing, I have worn their fingered Titanium glove with Reeds long glove coverings. I can get on the skirt with the gloves on, then add the Reeds and go paddling.
Both the fingered gloves and mittens now come with a snug cuff that really works. One, however (according to the folks at Rutabaga), has to be careful not to pull the glove off by the fingers lest one tears the cuff from the glove. I  presume and use the same precaution with the mittens. Good stuff.

Now, give NRS a hand.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

50+ years ago...

...that I took my first Judo lesson. It was a sport I loved and taught over the years and in many cities as I moved about. During the war I took my R&R in Japan so I could visit the Kodokan. Over a decade ago a severed nerve to my left keg took me out of the game. The upside was that it led to my discovering sea kayaking which has become a major part of my life. Anyway...

My old co instructor and I substituted tonight for the current instructor who had to be away. I could do a lot of things, and some moves were not possible. In the end, however, I was able to teach and experience the joy of seeing some of the advanced students get it and improve before my eyes. Teaching is teaching, and teaching is what I (still) do.

Paddle safe...

Friday, February 17, 2012

3rd rarest photo in the world...

I have had a list of rare images I have hoped to capture and was down to the last 3 when I went out to paddle in the snow. Now, I have only 2 to go as I have a picture of Milwaukee paddler and forensic scientist Alan Friedman paddling in winter.

Now, where can I find a Yeti and Loch Ness Monster?

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time travel is possible...
I know, I did it tonight.

I am usually in bed and asleep by now, but I am still processing what I have just experienced. If you are not around my age this may not make sense; you may not even know what I am referring to in this piece. First, you need to know that I went to high school in the 1950's, college and war in the 60's. It would help if you also knew that before I was anything else on this planet, I was a musician. I ate and breathed swing and other music of my time. I trtained with the first chair of the Milwaukee Symphony, had my own quartet and still have all the arrangements for my 14 piece band. I sat through the Glen Miller and Bennie Goodman movies multiple times and, at night, listen to Basie on my 76 rpm record player. In med school, during the week I was supposed to be looking for an internship, I went to New York and listen to jazz all night long for 5 days.

Tonight, for Valentine's Day, I took Lady Linda to a DooWop concert. If you do not know what the DooWop style is, I cannot explain it. If you do know, no explanation is necessary. Right there, live, on stage, came group after group of singers doing the old classics in the DooWop style. Some of these performers were older than myself, some were the original recording artists and some had written some of those song. Imagine, the guy who wrote Pennies From Heaven sang it and several of his other 1,000,000-selling hits.

I've heard that lots of things can cause recall of old memories. A smell, for instance, can remind one of a long past experience. Imagine what this music did to me.

First, as always happens with this music, my feet, hands and body began moving in rhythm and, suddenly, I was in high school...then I was in SE Asia and the war...then I watching the civil rights movement on a black and white TV...and on and on as the music of my day flooded me with memories. I traveled back in time.

I cannot say I am all that glad to be back in 2012 with all the crap and crappy music going on. I know it is another generations music, but I will bet anything that their music will survive the decades as well as ours. But, alas, there are records and the such; and I can time travel anytime I want. I also feel better for having written this little note. Now if I could just figure out how those tears got on my cheeks?

Paddle safe...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Let's face it...

The best part of any paddle or trip is

coming home.

Paddle safe...

Sunday, February 05, 2012

You can buy it...but
Can you own it?

   There are some cultures (I believe Native Americans is/was among them) that do not believe in an individual owning land since it belongs to us all. "We are all related" is an expression that includes all living things. (It is not unusual in some cultures for one to refer to brother crow).
   Our neighbor tells us that her family used to own a large farm which was sold, divided up and is now the lots on which many of the nearby homes exist. We each "own" the land...or, do we? It pretty much rains when it rains, it doesn't ask for our permission. If left alone, the grass (lawns) grow when it rains and turn brown when it doesn't. With the next rain it starts growing again...whether or not we tend to it (true, weeds may pop up; but they, too, are on their own.

   Coyotes, fox and other animals wander through our yard at various intervals, and none have ever asked permission. Only fences cause them to change their routes. Seems they are more at one with Mother Nature than are humans. The land is indifferent to who walks, plants or sits on it.
   I suspect the water feels the same about us.

Paddle safe...