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|Blakey's Got Musical Talent!|
|Gus debuts with the ABC song!|
|Entries are generally works in progress that often take a while to edit or sometimes rethink.|
|Mostly about windsurfing, photography, redemption, and wandering about…|
|Scroll down for older entries.|
March 31st (One of those lightbulb aha moments) I didn't much believe in life after death until…
I realized how cutting down a tree and turning that wood into paper for a best seller (book) actually related to this idea.
A seed sprouted nearby after the parent plant died in my front yard. AKA, a wee pesky volunteer crabgrass sprout appeared.
A subscription to Life (Magazine) continues to arrive on time for months after the funeral.
Your friends dig you up on your birthday for a few years and carry you around in the back of their pickup to go bar hopping or going to Long Beach on a windy day with you in a free-ride board bag.
Your wake goes on for 64 days because of all the booze you left untouched in your liquor cabinet. Sigh.
Your ashes are mixed with epoxy and used by your windsurf buddies in repairs made to their boards.
I like that last one a lot. It would mean a lot to me if anyone would do it in the unlikelihood that I would actually ever pass away, that soon. Honest. No wavers involved, oops I meant waivers.
Not making this up.
March 30th The ABCs of a video stereo recorder linked to a DSLR, in my opinion.
Awkward, Bulky, and somewhat Confusing. For me at least.
The Zoom H5 is capable of great sound recording with a simple line out and into a DSLR camera shooting video mode. Even in MP3, forget the WAV format!
But overall, it's somewhat unwieldy, heavy, tricky, and imbalanced as an accessory when lugging it about mounted on the camera attached to a tripod while seeking usable capture footage. (see pics below, in last entry) It also didn't secure that well to the camera shoe and often needed to be repositioned. Plus I needed to wear headphones to do soundcheck checks inside, another accessory to carry.
Yes, there is an equation for balancing needs and wants in the meaning of life argument. Somehow the time spent, frustration level, mental and physical effort, overall financial cost, and burden of extra storage all factor in the decision that maybe (sigh) the right to return a product within 10 days is simply the better solution.
When you get right down to it I love to windsurf. I enjoy taking pictures. I like making videos. Photography for the most part gives me the opportunity to both relive and share those unique experiences by capturing moments in our sport. A picture is worth a thousand words. But a picture is just that. It's only a picture. Videos are much the same thing.
Editing pictures and videos is hugely time consuming and is best done after the fact. To repeat all that, when the wind dies, the water settles down, and Happy Hour has passed then maybe that's the only time to be screwing about with all huge time involvement required in the post edit effort.
After studying countless on-line tutorials, working through the lengthy recorder program display, and editing a few miscellaneous videos, there was a eureka moment, and a lightbulb flashing on over my head, that clearly said stop.
Plus if the YouTube hit numbers are any indication of actual achievement my accomplishments are mediocre at best. My decision is an easy one.
Time to box up the amazing H5 Zoom and return it. Spend that money on a new 370 Ezzy lower mast, buy a new pair of windsurf booties, get the wheels refinished on the van, and then maybe consider a lightweight, compact, (simple 3 basic switch position) Rode Stereo microphone to accompany the very simple (shotgun) Rode Video Mic Pro. There's still lots of room in the small video accessory bag.
Forget the graduate electronic degree, the larger diesel dually truck, and trailer in case I find myself needing a second home.
It's the E in ME inextricably flowing in E = MC2 and somehow kinda divided by time, money, and play, eh?…
I do have a new and huge respect for filmmakers who have persisted with the overall effort involved in creating better, even superb, sound results in their work. But for now I'm going to be content with pretty good, and some new gear.
March 27th Currently working with a Zoom H5 stereo, video recorder, kind of.
Understanding the H5 will likely require what amounts to a lengthy learning curve, but hopefully in a few months it should all prove to be a proverbial piece of cake. God willing.
The zoom recorder can pretty much do it all if one knows the secret language of decibels, hertz, XLR, TRS, low frequency hum, overdubbing, looping, MP3 or WAV, plus abstract gizmology like software editing programs, or limiters, and compressors, just for starters.
Thankfully there are a number of on-line reviews, tutorials, and overviews to help gain insight to the ins and outs of how to achieve a small measure of greatness in creating a decent soundtrack. They are mostly all a blessing of sorts and a huge help.
The worst part involved in this new acquisition could be the number of different microphone heads available for different sound applications. Plus the many unique accessories for each mic from wind muffs, boom poles, tripods, extension cables, bluetooth stuff, to reflexion filters. How many more storage bags will be needed to transport all this shiza. It could actually lead to needing a larger van, or maybe a second home, not to mention returning to school to study electronics, film making, videography, and audio software manipulation.
(aside: Thankfully I also have a simpler to use Rode Videomic Pro with just three easy adjustments that work well for interview-type and general camera work, ready nearby to replace the H5, in a flash so to speak.)
One step at a time. One day at a time. Maybe just hope for one small success for starters and then go from there.
Anyone out there (with a same or similar device) wanting to partner up and share some in depth audio learning experience? A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or two.
|Zoom H5 Demo and Overview|
March 23rd A slow wait.
Just 14 days to go. That's only 2 weeks till we depart Niagara for The Outer Banks Of North Carolina.
Time seems to be dragging along. Temperatures aren't cooperating. Ice patches and sleet cover the pavement.
However, that said, the robins have returned, goldfinches are colouring up, tulip sprouts are showing, and colour in the morning sky are all enough to prove that spring is at work and the universe is unfolding as it should.
The anticipation is building. Senses are loading with wind filled sails, blue skies, and dazzling, brilliant sunlight on the chop as we high tail it back toward shoreline. Sometimes catching a rainbow in our spray while glancing back. Pretty close to heaven on earth in my opinion. No other obligations or responsibilities getting in the way of spending day after day doing most whatever comes to mind.
Making memories that help carry us through whatever unfolds in the months and years to come.
Life is good.
March 22nd Windsurfing through space and maybe time…
How windsurfing works in outer space… Keep reading.
Cosmic radiation and light have unique properties. They both emanate from the sun. They both travel at high speed. Somewhere around 186,000 mps. (That's miles per second.)
Without getting into the serious, hard to analogize models that actually explain the real physics of it all consider it as high speed solar wind. You can simply Google solar wind for more information or details.
We board up and catch this energy in an RAF (Radiation Accelerated Foil) type of sail. The actual resulting speed is about twice the speed of the wind, just like windsurfing on water, due to lateral resistance caused by the fin pressure in water on a broad reach.
We shouldn't be too hasty in trying to get anywhere out there much beyond the moon because aliens will likely prohibit us from entering their star systems. They have built huge walls to help protect their planets from Homo Sapiens entering their planetary territories.
Not sure where or why this idea originated but I strongly suspect that they have been monitoring our major TV networks during the recent political electoral debates.
March 18th One book leads to another, and another, and another…
Finally hit the mother-load of understanding and self reflection. At least for me mostly knowing how I think, love, believe, and do in this shared journey.
Just finished reading Yuval Harari's Sapiens. (A Brief History Of Humankind.) It's a clever text and not a novel. But it clearly describes our origin as a species, how we're uniquely different, what we've created in our history, and where we're likely heading.
Religion, politics, money, credit, bureaucracy, consumerism, happiness, war, whatever, and more are there for our study and reflection. An all encompassing, holistic study. He nailed it in my opinion.
Whether you golf, pray, vote, laugh, or shop, this book will help you understand the why and what of who we all are, sharing this planet.
A must read.
I also that see my desk (pic below) needs dusting.
March 15th Follow your bliss.
Find where it is. Don't be afraid to follow it…
It could be the work that you're doing. Or the work that you want to do but are afraid to try. Or that elusive whatever in your life.
Your fear is like the proverbial dragon locking you in.
At some point we either enter the cave, slay the dragon, and emerge or stay locked in that cage. Joseph Campbell described all this in 1988 with Bill Moyers in his most wonderful book The Power Of Myth.
To understand any myth is to better understand our life journey.
Jonah emerged from the belly of the whale. Jesus after forty days in the desert. Even Bob Dylan disappeared after being with Woody Guthrie to appear a time later fully shaped with a revelation and on his career to stardom. Bob Dylan's actual words were, "I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie's greatest disciple." I could go on but I think you get the idea. From darkness or despair we can search our mind and emerge fully focussed, motivated, and on track.
At some point we all have that crisis in our lives where we either surrender to our fate or seek a deeper level within, slay our dragons, and get on with what Joseph Campbell called, "the soul's high adventure"
For me it was finding a number of blissful passions in a darker time when a return to university was a serious choice. Pleistocene geology, philosophy, ed. administration, and a multi science investment were revelations, recreations, and relevant devices enabling a doable career path. Windsurfing, photography, and a penchant for automotive restoration, all as avocational pursuits followed obediently and close behind. And lastly amassing an organization of literature, tools and accessories to help provide an exterior foundation to hold it all together in what was then and still is today a strongly focussed (still ADD) mindset.
Maybe somewhat shallow compared to the likes of other far more gifted and accomplished figures in the world, and what they were able to achieve. But it worked for me in helping put it all mostly together.
Following your bliss is truly a motivation to get your life in order and on track. It requires serious planning and motivation to have the surroundings and wherewithal to be involved with all of the bits and pieces in trying to get life right.
And we fight time. There are only so many beats left in our hearts. There are so many possibilities of something not functioning and stealing our short glimpse of mortality and fulfillment. But the search for and struggle with are all that we have in our control.
Sharing time and life with family and friends is also a hugely significant part of what is important. We can't simply rewind the tape and do it or any part of it over again. This means that we need to negotiate and ask for forgiveness from time to time as we fail our way to any lasting success and love in our lives.
So I continue daily reading (and often rereading) that currently includes Campbell's The Power of Myth, Harari's Sapiens, Harpur's This Pagan Christ, and Patterson's Zoo. All good, no, great fun to contrast and compare!
The very recently twice readjusted rack in the van now works much, much better. The 911 needs a battery and a search to find the irksome and quirky electrical draw discharge. And the raking, trimming, and yard work to help spritz up the outside to enjoy the many birds, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and fox that feel somehow invited to join me for either morning coffee or Happy Hour outside. And let's not forget the head-bobbling, popcorn, peanut, and seed-loving, patient, friendly pigeons.
And best of all, Hatteras is only 26 days away.
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March 12th Hatteras. Just four weeks away. That said, I may have missed the boat this past winter.
Watching JF, Cliff, and Greg sailing on Wednesday was more than a huge turn on. It was one of those seeing is believing moments. Windsurfing through this past unseasonably mild winter was a reality for our braver colleagues. I believe that Cliff had seven great days on the water in the past month and a half. And this little piggy had none.
My gear was all stowed away late last November just after the snow blower was uncovered, thoroughly refreshed, and fired up to make sure it was running tickety-boo.
A heavier 6-5-4mm winter wetsuit with a hoody and 5mm booties are the only two requirements actually needed to increase my on water time. Very doable I believe. And belief is the only other part added to motivation that it takes.
Hang onto that thought!
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March 9th Temple Club Gin.
Maybe time to begin retelling some of the story.
My grandfather created the Temple Club, 268 East Main Street, Welland, Ontario. An older business venture of his that thrived during the roaring 20s and survived for many decades.
Most everyone in Welland drank beer at the Temple Club at some time, played cribbage, and watched hockey on the TVs there under his watch.
He also created a network that ultimately received and shipped booze into the USA, when Canadian Whisky was not just desirable, but hugely sought after. A number of Yankees were distilling alcohol using lead filled car radiators at the time. (A dangerous recipe.) Pop Grant created a far reaching entrepreneurial operation that received and distributed high quality whisky from Montreal and successfully moved it through connected channels first into eager speakeasies and later into business establishments throughout the northern USA.
My mom met my dad in an empty hearse from Dunnville, driven by her dad for a whisky shipping pick up, heading to Port Maitland and Dunkirk, NY in the 20s. But this was only a very small part of a much bigger business story involving ships, the Welland Canal, bottling, transportation on land and lake, and some rather dark connections.
I still have six large and small martini bar glasses that were used on New Years' Day at the Temple Club. (one is picture below) They once held a drink known as a Tom & Jerry (high octane egg-nog concoctions) that were served to patrons and their wives, who simply purchased a key for membership to gain entry, way back in the day. It was classified as a private club and under different licencing than beverage rooms of that era. The key was another smart move on grandpa's part.
Life was good for the Grant clan for many years. Until a beer strike, a business loss, and then transfer of ownership of the club to the Beauparlants and Tanguays, back in the early 60s.
I celebrate Pop Grant and my wonderful dad, John Jr., now both passed, on many Happy Hours, with a Stoli or Grey Goose Martini, sometimes two, always with 2 olives.
Cheers dad, cheers grandpa!
I dearly and deeply love and miss you both!
Eldest daughter Beth is currently distilling gin in London, England. She's seeking a unique flavour to market. And she now owns the domain name templeclub.com… It's not yet fully registered and operational, but it's most likely on it's way to somewhere kinda big knowing her.
Where will this all lead? Hopefully I won't be taken away to be on some distant Board Of Directors. Way too much to do here what with way too many responsibilities locally. But blood runs thicker than water. And not as thin as alcohol. Not sure how that all fits in actually.
This story begins a bit too late in life for my comfort.
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March 8th The kidney stone is past history.
Gone. Feeling nearly new again. Just another milestone in my life.
Avoid salt. Keep well hydrated. A few dietary restrictions of which to be mindful.
Should be fully back on track within a few weeks.
|Motivation & belief lead to the discipline that leads to a successful outcome(©2116). Onboard 2020.|
March 7th A change is as good as a rest.
Apologies for the last, rather harsh, entry. It was a bit of an old rant that became reshaped partly due to advancing age, a dreary February, and a few still lingering ailments that only the promise of spring seems to be helping shake out.
Being away from home since Friday and without easy access to my site server to maybe soften the language in that journal entry left me somewhat uneasy for the past few days. One of those come to from a deep slumber and react a bit too quickly to a current event moment over coffee and back pain. However, no taking it back at this point. But it seems that Sunday's sunshine, blue sky, and change of pace helped clear away the funk and lighten the angst for the most part.
We babysat our youngest grandson this past weekend at daughter Maggie's 1877 home.
Waking up on Saturday and Sunday to his call for Nan and Pop and the warm wash of sunlight through period stained glass and frosted windows sure helped to clear my senses. But let's be perfectly clear, we're not thinking of moving anywhere near a school and starting over again thanks. But it was huge fun and refreshing to share some grand-parenting time with Gus, while his mom and dad had the weekend away to themselves.
I must say the combination of kids, cats, vintage surroundings, and sunlight streaming through leaded glass, had a lot to do with a positive shift in attitude. And a chance to hike about Hamilton. Nice.
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March 4th An aging windsurfer's personal dilema…
Doctor assisted dying is now a reality and currently in the spotlight. But, Catholic hospitals deny our right to choose that option.
As a former educator and school administrator I understand how publicly funded separate schools came about. They have been grandfathered as the expression goes. But if a Canadian provincial referendum took place regarding publicly funded Separate Schools, they would cease to exist or be forced to change their admission policies. They are simply unfair and unconstitutional today. Period.
But back to the many hospitals beginning with St. (Saint) and the like. I understand the challenge for some individual doctors of conscience not being able to help assisting someone gravely ill opting for their right to die. But can a publicly funded hospital have the right to refuse a dying patient under the circumstance when all conditions are met? As an aging (actually being in the death-zone), non-catholic, senior citizen, I find any Canadian hospital's refusal, regarding a right to death choice, completely unacceptable.
And I don't want to be the first want to die test case at the time of being admitted, at St. Magdalen General Hospital, after a lethal shark attack in the lower St. Lawrence River with absolutely no chance of ever windsurfing again. Granted, that's bit of a stretch but maybe it helps convey the idea.
So where do we stand regarding our right to sail to that unknown heavenly shore peacefully or simply die, and fade to black, but with some dignity when that time comes. And it will.
OK, why not discontinue Federal and Provincial funding for any hospital not abiding our current Supreme Court ruling. Institutional conscientious objection simply doesn't wash in my opinion. Let church collection, individual billings and contributions, paid indulgences, candle incomes, and parking revenues make up the differences in any income that they are denied. Why should (my) tax dollars and life long medical plan contributions fund their coffers?
And chalk up other financial shortcomings to simple forgiveness as something they should be able to easily exercise considering their Christian foundation.
There, that feels better.
|Doctor-assisted dying and end-of-life decisions (Supreme Court of Canada)|
|Suicide Is Painless MASH|
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March 2nd Form follows function. Function follows form. Form and function fight clutterfunk.
The newest rack has been modified and rebuilt for the third time. Rack #7c The seventh interior van board-rack since 1984. All built for and used in about a dozen dedicated surf-mobiles. All this from a wonderfully misspent, but clearly focussed, wind-driven life.
Countless numbers of roof racks and roof rack modifications have passed through these hands and this mind since 1980. Five (5) cargo boxes came along and 4 somehow went their way. Plus a trailer or two that hauled windsurf gear and all the rest of the baggage. Everything was always a work in progress as the years unfolded. Everything always had rebuilds, and a myriad of adjustments in any given season. My waking and sleeping dreams were always filled with solutions, and new ideas to help transport my beloved necessities and much cherished gear.
But this current one, model #7 (3rd modification), looks like another success story and the one best suited for hauling and accommodating all of the coming needs through 2016.
The adjustable screw fitted elbows allow quick height adjustments and easy removal unlike many of the older older, permanently glued-up editions. Glue-ups were way more expensive to adjust, difficult to get right, and more time consuming to rework as situations changed.
This latest one is for my current three boards. An 85L, 105L, and 161L will be safely stowed in their designated, padded storage slots. The rack also easily holds all 5 booms with 2 suspended on the sides and 3 sliding into the padded area below the top board for easy access. Bungy/shock cords quickly attach into eye hooks and nicely secure the boards whose noses snug between the front seats. All of the sails stow above and beside the boards or outside along the sides and above the masts, and change place as they are needed. Any one board can be quickly removed. Whatever the rigging accessory is needed is also handy and easy to find in the floor spaces. With all of the unnecessary seats out of the van, the remaining gear organizes easily into the large, open Stow and Go spaces.
A backup roof rack and cargo box can be pressed into whatever extra storage is needed at any time, for pretty much anything else that comes up. The roof rack and cargo box can be quickly attached to our other vehicles in case a gracious permission is granted to bring along a board or two on a shared journey. But I never hold my breath, expect such an offer, or whine about the hope and any disappointment of it all. Not ever. At least not openly. OK, maybe being someone's back sometimes, but never that much. Honest.
And the big bonus is, it actually all works. Pure genius doesn't actually describe what is really a trial and error, persistent plodding along. Through 36 happy years, working to overcome windsurfing disorganization and the confusion that comes from needing way too much gear to sail most of the time.
The rack easily navigates sideways through all of our doors to get from our garage into the basement workshop. And, it looks pretty good too.
Everything will be loaded into the van on the first warm spring day for a debut picture or two during Happy Hour. Cheers.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
February 27th I'm haplessly lingering somewhere between a brain fart & the truth… (Plus still editing this entry with a 5mm kidney stone moving blindly downward in very slow motion , another Visa bill in hand, and a copy of our last quarterly earnings, all of which are not helping that much)
It's a big moment in everyone's life when the truth about Santa Claus is sadly revealed. He was someone in whom you could definitely put your complete faith, trust, belief, and behaviour. But somewhere, back there in primary school, the older kids destroyed everything that was Christmas. Santa was a make believe fabrication. Aka, a lie.
And for a few years many of us hung on because if we confessed our concern maybe the magic of yuletide presents might somehow disappear. In any event, no matter about whatever the truth, we continued to behave because (Santa) knew if we'd been good or bad …
More recently our faith, trust, and belief in money has been shockingly put into question and also put to the test.
Other than real estate, gold, collector cars, and the like, there's a total sum of some $60 trillion out there in our world today (according to Niall Ferguson in his much acclaimed book The Ascent Of Money). But, he goes on to say that there's only about $6 trillion in actual coin and banknotes.
That's a big, number-filled, empty void that was almost a negative reality about seven years ago during the investment banking fiasco and the much debated failing auto industry Bailout. I'm not sure that I ever truly understood that mess or its solution, but it did go away, and we somehow survived. Somehow.
Today, somewhere in this financial bubble, to use an analogy, my cash value is a changing, questionable, monetary number stored in several bankable accounts that can be exchanged for a some kind of dollar value in a rather unstable and uncertain world market economy. And unfortunately, for us and others we know, it's being devalued.
Simply put, our failing dollar was tied to oil and pipelines a decade ago by our federal government. And now, with a falling world demand for oil, our trusted Canadian dollar is losing actual value in today's financial market. Not nice. Not fair. And according to my security blanket, who I named Chicken Little, the sky may be falling.
As retired senior citizens, our years of saving and investing, trusting in our democratic government, and playing by the rules that we felt were just and immutable, are all currently in some degree of serious doubt.
Our belief in money is being redefined. Our faith in the system is again being tested. It's time to both seriously reflect and readjust not only our values but also those things that we hold near and dear.
What's important? Who can we trust? What's in their wallets?
Our personal relationships, including family and close friends is the highest and most cherished entity that I value. Then comes independence, home, health, and lifestyle. The air we all breathe, the water we drink, and on a large scale our home planet Earth. Recreation, including windsurfing, cycling, hiking, fitness, and personal transportation are all valued necessities. Sustaining and maintaining ourselves is an essential part of what I consider important, especially now when returning to the job market is unlikely. Especially with a still intact pesky kidney stone playing hard to get.
In summary, our faith, belief, and trust, in these changing economic conditions, that we felt were prior basic rights and entitlements, are all being put to a very serious test.
As a Canadian I watch the American political scene with both amazement and moments of actual disbelief. Maybe a bit like how I imagine the French Revolution, when imperial heads were being publicly severed, and an ever haughty Marie Antoinette admonishing the poor people to eat cake. Truths are being played and twisted it seems to make sense mostly to gain votes. We all know that mathematics has basic truths throughout the universe. One equal unit plus two equal units equals three equal units both here on earth and also in a trillion light years away in another galaxy. Most everyone can believe in something that. But what is real and truthful? What we see in religion and politics are systems that should be maintaining our values and ability to survive peacefully in large numbers. However, the world news from Russia to the USA shows that war, injustice, lies, violence, corruption, slaughter, a disregard for human condition, greed, and indifference throughout the world are proof that religious belief systems and politics are failing their promise.
With hundreds of sects of Christians, Muslims, etc., and growing numbers of political parties, we the people continue to reshape and weaken our governments, and interpret God's written Words to suit whatever our perceived needs, wants, and desires might be.
But now, the belief in money, the one thing that unified all of our species, is wearing thin as well. Even Osama and Sadam loved American dollars. It was their currency of choice when they were taken down. Our greatest invention, and the one singular thing in which everyone wants to believe may be failing.
Hey, maybe reality TV can help show us the way. Just stay tuned for the next episode in the series airing SUPER TUESDAY on CNN! Humans, Their Rocky And Somewhat Unpredictable Journey In Time In Search Of Truth… with host David Suzuki. And a panel of talk show and super star hosts, moderated by Wolf Blitzer, to follow. Panelists include Bill Maher, Bill Cosby, John Oliver, Glenn Beck, OJ Simpson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Billy Graham, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Robby Naish, and Rush Limbaugh to name just a few. Everyone gets two minutes to speak their mind and then are free to use a paintball gun defending themselves during an open rebuttal.
In the meantime life goes on. We plan for our upcoming Cape Hatteras trip in mid April. And then spring windsurfing begins around Niagara. And a warm, windy summer and fall will be the bonus kicker in all of this lovely dreaming.
One season at a time. One election at a time. Maybe a Victory Garden in case we still won't be able to afford to purchase cauliflower.
And we trust in our minds to find ways, to somehow get it right, as we walk upright and mindfully into our future.
No doming will slow us down in our quest to ride out this light wind folly, fully powered up. Maybe I should run for office with a slogan like that.
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
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|February 21st A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words. Maybe fewer.|
Or maybe… Hey Descartes. We, as a species think, therefore we windsurf.
About a thousand years ago if we wanted to sail away somewhere we either had to steal or build a boat. And then fabricate a sail and somehow create rigging to help support a mast.
Or maybe we could barter, bash, or trade our way to harnessing the wind and making our way wandering about on some lake or ocean looking for plunder, food, or conquest. As an evolved species, we Homo sapiens had a cognitive ability and could get cool and cruel things accomplished.
But it certainly wouldn't have been the same sport that we currently enjoy today.
Windsurfing as we know it came about in the mid 1970's. Fibreglass, epoxy, sail materials like dacron and mylar, and inventions then known as a universal joint & rope together or clamp on boom were all conjured up and conjoined to create both the concept and reality of a wind-driven surf board, Voila! A new sport was born. Simple. Or maybe not so simple in the grand scheme of our human history.
Human development since the Industrial Revolution was more or less inspired by our growing cognitive development and likely a bit of greed. It was another of many milestones in our history that helped bring many of our ancestors to a better place where they didn't have to worry about hunting and gathering, making stone tools, trying to survive wild animals, snakebites, neighbouring warring tribes, and clothing ourself to survive another ice age. We could get a job, pay for a place to live, and buy food. It all quickly got better for many as the years and a few wars unfolded.
We currently pretty much depend on what others create and manufacture. We also rely on some form of employment or income, and a stash of cash that enables us to buy a surfmoblile, fuel it, get it repaired, and find rental agencies online that provide shelter, near a food store, somewhere along the windy Atlantic coastline.
Amazing, when you consider how delicate a balance we've somehow weaved and been able to perpetuate for ourselves this past century.
For me I can also appreciate the larger scale political, religious, nationalistic, ritualistic and the like glue that in the past mostly held this complex tapestry mostly together. Our chimpanzee and Neanderthal ancestors would never have been able to cooperate and achieve anywhere near this level of social sophistication. Rally 'round the flag boys!
A simple thank-you is all that I can muster as I prepare my body, mind, gear, and van for our next trip to Cape Hatteras. Somehow we got it right. And somehow we've got it good. But, the somehow may be wearing a bit thin.
Hopefully in our war torn, often despairing world, elected and self-appointed leaders will be able to somehow see the light, and begin to work toward sustaining and promoting the good in all of our achievements. Economies, monetary systems, trade agreements, human rights, and some form of earthly housekeeping need to be recognized as priorities and require a huge, mutual cooperative effort to change and make right. But, some of our significant population get so lost in political, racial, hatred, and religious bickering that the future of our species is actually looking bleak and quite questionable in my opinion. It gets so foolhardy and impossible that just maybe some of this counter-productive behaviour might even be somehow deeply rooted in our DNA, or simply characteristic of our Homo sapiens species. (We) continue to fight like warring factions of neighbouring hell bent chimpanzees determined to eliminate one another. If maybe or yes, will we ever be able to overcome this flaw? We should be smart enough, given our brain size and intellect. But it seems that maybe we carry some deep rooted personal imperfection, race memory, survival compensation, or interfering gene that can actually derail any lasting and good intent on any global basis involving others.
Our founding windsurfing fathers, Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer, couldn't have created their first windsurfer without the likes of our Harpers, Hillaries, Trumps, and Trudeaus, along with the inventive genius of Ford, Firestone, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Tesla, and Edison. What an amazing production line we currently hang on and need to help sustain if we hope to enjoy another century of splendid, sunset sailng. Is all of this sustainable? Is all of this worth sustaining for the good of the planet? What are the options and outcomes that we honestly need to address? The time to seriously reflect and make some hard choices is here and now.
Just maybe we will all be able to rock on for more than a few more centuries. Just maybe. Carefully consider your vote, very carefully. Carefully consider the health of our planet. Careful consider a safe place for our grandchildren, and theirs. It's actually the only actual legacy that we have to offer future generations, if we honestly care. Let it begin with me.
I worry. But I still occasionally sport my old T-Shirt that reads - Rock on Sapiens, with Endless Summer's Robert August profile, supporting a surfboard on his head.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
February 18th Repaired two faulty pages. (For anyone out there still working a hand-made website.)
Hatteras 2008 and Lakes 2006 were redirecting incorrectly for some cyber-silly reason. Will have to be more vigilant in checking the site after rearranging and making major changes. (BTW - thank-you for the heads up about it)
Am still not sure how or why the pages somehow corrupted or actually changed. In any event they all work now after a rebuild. Hard drives, servers, and the like are not perfect storage containers. And windinsight here chugs on much like the vintage cars that still survive in Cuba.
For anyone using BBEdit as an HTML writer it does have a Save As advantage. This allows taking a page that works and save it as a page that for some reason doesn't work. Once that's done and saved then Text Edit can be employed to rework the details on the correct old-new saved page. I find Text Edit to be a much simpler, easier to use, editing tool than BBEdit. That said I still don't know why Text Edit removed their Save As feature a few years ago without an apology. Without that feature you have to (abysmally) retype or try to copy/paste up to a whole page of HTML that for me often failed to work correctly. At least, that was my peck and punch (self taught) frustration. Thankfully BBEdit helped me to overcome that problem. That said, both editing programs are used here when needed to keep windinsight up and working.
(By the way you can view the html build here (or anywhere on the internet) by right clicking your mouse and selecting - View Page Source…) (or go through Tools/Web Developer/Page Source way above. I use it to check out other sites occasionally to see how they work)
The new Adobe Photoshop CC on the other hand decided it was about time to eliminate a simple Save For Web command used as a common shortcut. But the last I checked many, many thousands of complaints about that forthcoming demise had been registered and noted by Adobe.
Photoshop has currently relented and the Save For Web command will remain in something close to it's original form. Hallelujah! Along with many thousands of others I use it daily for all my picture uploads. It was considered by the elite webmasters at Adobe as an old school tool that was outdated. maybe even unsophisticated, and/or sadly lacking for today's much higher technical standards. But, for many of us, it was quick, effective, and simple to use. Simple has worked here since 2003.
Our world is fundamentally changing. Try working on your car that can park itself and wake you up if it feels that you've fallen asleep at the wheel. In a decade or so it seems that most all of our cars will actually drive themselves.
Not a bad thing for some old guy like me who might not qualify for his driver's licence renewal in half a dozen years and wants to head to Hatteras with a few other frail and crusty geriatric dotards! Nice!
Thank goodness for technical change!
And thank goodness - feedback complaints still work!
|Photoshop will retain at least a version of Save For Web|
|lots of negative feedback still works|
February 16th Your heart will lead you home. (Kenny Logins)
Everyone, if they live long enough, will eventually lose their way.
That sentence began an article that I read some 5 or 6 years ago in a waiting room somewhere. Wish that I had snagged that magazine to help refresh the purpose of that commentary. But as I remember it was too large to fold and stuff in my pocket.
I remember pausing there and reflecting, before reading on.
You will wake up one day and find yourself lost, it continued. You. Me. Yup! That had been true for me a number of times. I wasn't alone. The piece must have had a large audience in mind.
All that read and said I remember at the time that, at least for me, there had always been a way back. And hopefully always will be, back then, now, and at least for most of whatever my future holds.
A job change, a new direction to consider, an old friend to consult, maybe go engage in a comfortable past pursuit to help relax, whatever. But get my sorry ass in gear and find something, someone, or somewhere to help assuage my anguish.
To feel alone, lost, vulnerable and unworthy at times is likely quite common and maybe even prevalent among our species. Having been through some personal failures and mistakes I realize that this state of mind is even a necessary part of our experiential growth and adjustment to living well.
Failing our way to any kind of new success is a great practice and a valuable exercise to work through. The process can be objectively set and driven with hope and faith gained from past adventures and exploits. We get stronger each time we somehow make something happen. Persistence and eventually a growing sense of worthiness are also involved in this dream fulfillment.
Luck and fate don't just step in and see us through like the song says. It takes focus, hard work, motivation, and occasionally some chutzpah as well.
Needing to further an education or skill, move, run a marathon, restore a car, endure an entry level placement to becoming a skier/windsurfer/father/husband/wife/breadwinner/photographer, whatever. We somehow learn to overcome, champion, or at least adjust to whatever the obstacle, issue or problem that we face. Every one of us holds the reins for our current place in time. And there's a bit more involved as well. Take windsurfing for example. (OK, because that's mostly what we're all about here.)
Windsurfing to me is not only a unique form of recreation. It's an ultimate goal of skillsets that will always dangle another move somewhere out there, way ahead. Diet, exercise, strength training, buying and selling gear, planning wind excursion near and far, to name a few examples, are all a part of the whole, a means to an end, and ultimately a worthwhile lifestyle in the making. There's a holistic set of inputs and connections that contribute to the fulfillment of our sport. It pretty much works the same way for any other form of avocation, play, or pastime.
So any time I start feeling somewhat alone and a bit lost it's an easy return trip. I start by simply walking into our basement, garage, or van and check out my hanging boards, rigs, wetsuits, and related gear. Fire up the surfmobile. Maybe do a few chin ups. Check out the calendar and count the weeks left till spring. Have a quick browse through windinsight or Windsport Magazine. Going for a walk on a nearby beach also kickstarts and gets the mind back on track.
I dwell in possibilities. More fun that way and fewer disappointments. One day at a time, one season at a time, maybe a whole year or two. That seems to be about far ahead I currently think. But I sincerely work toward and hope for way more.
At this point in my life I try avoid anyone or anything advocating truth and certainty. That's mostly for politicians, preachers, and the like. Not that they are all a bad thing. But I prefer the company of windsurfers. And Happy Hour after a day on the water. And family, a few close friends, and home…
So it was Kenny Loggins (singing Tigger) who actually had it right…
If you feel lost, and on your own,
And far from home,
You're never alone, you know
Just think of your friends, the ones who care
They all will be waiting there
With love to share
And your heart will lead you home
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
|Home Page (lyrics) - Kenny Loggins & The Tigger Movie|
|(the song performed)|
February 13th Riding out the winter watching windsurf moves, working out hard, and walking lots.
Hey, we're hugely on the mend and without issues at this time. Nancie's angioplasty did the trick. We're currently hanging in there, and waiting patiently till we can qualify once again for travel insurance.
For one, Hatteras is only 9 weeks away.
Most mornings I get a coffee, read for an hour, take my senior meds, get another coffee, and often watch some windsurfing moves usually set in exotic and way warmer locations than Niagara in February. And sometimes make a post like this when I get excited. My pulse rate and blood pressure are both definitely spiking as we speak.
Today I watched Duck Jibes in Dahab, Egypt and a number of moves likely filmed somewhere in Australia by Team JP. Sigh. Increasing O2 levels invigorates my consciousness and a nice overall motivation sets in. My right knee is bouncing uncontrollably.
Two workable moves on the daily practise list (once again) in April will be the fast tack and a smooth duck jibe. Both unmastered manoeuvres are still somewhat elusive in my windsurfing repertoire and need serious work on my part.
The desperate anticipation and emotional stress of it all are freakin' unbearable.
A nice way to start the day.
|Duck one in Dahab.|
|When you have your morning coffee check these out.|
February 10th Rebuilt the pages for our Cape Hatteras Spring Trip 2013.
The HTML somewhere within the tables was somehow corrupted or maybe older and no longer supported. Using (ancient) TextEdit as an html construct editor might also have contributed to the problem. Maybe it was somehow just me stuck and spinning my old not so hot wheels in a declining senior snowbank of sorts. Not sure.
After an hour of wasting time it became evident that an easy fix wasn't going to appear. I opened BBEdit (a more current text editor) to redo the HTML.
Retyped a new main subfile index using http://www.windinsight.com/index13csa.html (the a at the end is the new file directive for the trip). The 13cs stands for our 2013 Cape Hatteras Spring trip.
SHAZAM! It worked perfectly on the first upload! BBEdit has a unique Save As feature that Text Edit (stupidly) removed along with an update a few years ago. This short cut permits not only saving but also renaming indices to speed up the workflow hugely. It was a breeze using a copy/paste and Save As to quickly create the remaining pages.
Voila. Working perfectly (at least for now). One of those rare and unique moments when the sun streams through clouds as the rain stops.
Seek and ye shall find!
|The 2013 Cape Hatteras Spring Trip is all back on line and working.|
February 9th Angioplasty was hugely successuful.
We were at Hamilton General Hospital this morning at 7:45 a.m.
Nancie's procedure was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and timing was important.
Everything went off without a hitch and at 3:30 p.m. her surgeon came for a visit in recovery and proclaimed a strong pulse in both arms. A first since our double by-pass operation, November 24th, 2014..
February 8th Housecleaning again.
A never ending task that will eventually end in some form of total nakedness. Old files, still lurking about, are being rediscovered and eliminated to help reduce unnecessary data storage. Like outdated clothing, unused tools, all manner of long untouched books, and other unnecessary accumulation including those long standing old glossy photos and trays of slides, the nudge to simplify our lives and discard stuff finally becomes a priority.
Some pics do help bring back some great memories and might also help to rekindle some motivation to carry us through another season or two. But the need to uncomplicate our lives and reduce baggage is an important, current priority here. So we plod on.
Among other things, my biking, photog, hiking, and windsurfing gear have been hugely reduced. Either that or I just don't remember where and what it all was. Ha, just made that last bit up! But having fewer boards, sails, camera related accrual, and other related mass reserve is actually a huge relief.
Tire impressions and footprints that I currently leave behind aren't as deep as they were a year ago. Nice.
In any event, a few of those memories are worth sharing again and taking up just a bit more digital space. Voila.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
February 3rd What a day!
A deep blue sky, warm sunshine, and windy. Somewhere around 12 - 14 SSW knots of steady wind. More than a winsome breeze!
Be still my heart.
Hoping that a windsurfer or kiter might chance the day I headed to LaSalle. An offshore wind and small choppy incoming waves were whitecapping out there beyond the sandbar. It looked doable for my floaty Mistral and 6.3m sail. Second thoughts about having putting all my gear away have come back to haunt me several times this winter.
Hey, it's February 3rd! The shoreline here is ice-free and the temperature has soared to an unbelievably unseasonable 160C.
Seagulls fill the void above where a kite could easily be pressed into service. The dry ground is perfect for clean rigging. Conditions seem near perfect. Except that it's February and this is St. Catharines, Canada.
Temperatures are predicted to drop tomorrow so simply enjoy today. Our near future weather most certainly holds a few cold, stormy blizzards just waiting to pound us. That said, thoughts of an early spring and Cape Hatteras bring on a hopeful smile.
And for a growing number of our brave and persistent wind-loving sailboarders that line that separates last season from the next is faint and still moving.
February 2nd I would love to shoot some serious video footage with a drone. If I only had one. (Definitely on my bucket list…)
At this moment in time, with the financial markets mostly flat and the Canadian Loonie valued at SFA and falling, I simply can't justify spending a few thousand dollars (or more) on another piece of photog gear. Needs and wants play heavily into this. In an honest attempt to be a good steward with my given, annual somewhat non discretionary financial windsurfing/photog budget, expenditures like this quite simply don't wash that well on February 2nd with 11 months left to go. Damn this mindful road to perpetual retired recess.
Sure, I hear you. John's in the death zone. So, why not live for today? Or as the licence on their black, beloved, vintage 911 clearly boasts FIYOLO. F It, You Only Live Once. Candy Ass for the second time this week.
Sigh. Maybe I could find some meaningful part-time employment.
If I had a drone, it would be a very precious and cherished item in my gear bag. Not a toy. And like Casey Neistat I would go to great lengths to persevere and/or retrieve it, if it ever became lost.
Casey, a filmmaker living in New York City, keeps a meticulous daily vlog that I follow. I also hugely admire his drive and spunk!
Here's a wonderful video he just created doing pretty much what I would do if I owned a drone and my drone became lost.
Have a watch. And maybe check him out. His many, many vids are all amazing, creative, inspirational works of art in my opinion. I love his workshop and inventive mindset. Surviving and thriving in the heart of NYC, doing what he loves. sigh…
|Casey Neistat ~ Retrieving his missing drone in NYC…|
|Casey Neistat's YouTube Vlog|
February 1st Survival windsurfing safety tips at any time of the year.
Cliff Scott circulated this valuable video worth watching. Especially if you are one of the hardy die hards sailing this winter.
Please check it out. It could help save your life one day.
|Important windsurfing survival tips…|
January 30th When you're in serious pain in the middle of the night, whatever you do, don't Google the symptoms.
1:35 a.m. (About 10 hours ago.) I was awakened with very strong cramping pain in my upper left abdomen. I could barely get out of bed. Nothing that you usually do at age 76 and at 1:35 a.m. when you normally get out of bed seemed to help. The fall a few weeks ago came to mind as did the extra reps and sets on the weight machines at the YMCA that were the likely hurtful cause of all this. OK, maybe just tough it out for a while and see how a half hour will work into all this abysmal discomfort.
2:00 a.m. Still tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position in bed. Now sweating, nausea, dizziness, and twitching have set in and the pain hasn't diminished in the least. Somewhere around an 8. Get up again and walk around. That seemed to help. But the pain is beginning to radiate into my lower back. What to do? Turn on the computer and Google - Very painful upper left abdomen. Shiza.
I knew it. Failing pancreas, PMS, ruptured spleen, abdominal hernia, the list went on. A good friend recently died from pancreatic cancer this past summer. I was next. This was it. Done for.
More moving around up and down the stairs helped some. Sit and try to read. Nope. Try walking again. Thankfully the pain lessened and the need to call 911 became less of a concern. Back to bed. After dozing off a few times the abdominal pain came back in full force along with all of those dismal computer diagnoses.
Taking a pain medication might prove counterproductive in masking the symptoms and so too a hot or cold compress. Whoa. I was in a state of denial. To go to Emerge or not to go. Let's weigh the pros and cons. Better now than in the light of day when the Emergency Room would likely be filled with long lines of sick or injured patients, a long wait, a frustrating sense of chaos, and Triage chugging along in second gear.
I woke Nancie and explained my plight. In minutes we were on the road and heading toward GNGH. No traffic, no lineups, no problems. Triage was thorough and to the point. Within minutes I was admitted and consulting with a friendly professional who knew what he was doing. I didn't tell him about my failing pancreas, ruptured spleen, or PMS. It would be better for him to confirm the diagnosis and report back to my sad and tearful family gathered around my bed after all the testing was complete and my wretched fate ready to be made public.
A nurse came and took my blood pressure, blood samples, other samples, and gave me some amazing pain killers. Nice.
A CT (CAT Scan) couldn't be completed until 8:00 a.m. After sharing a small chair-filled, too brightly lit patient lounge with some poor soul suffering from some form of hacking bronchial pneumonia, and what could have also been Tourette's syndrome, a thoughtful and sympathetic nurse escorted me to a small darkened room with a bed, fresh warm blankets, and made my stay for the wait hugely and wonderfully comfortable. Out like a light. I must say the overall care from beginning, through this, and to the conclusion was pretty near perfect.
The rest of the procedure was a breeze. Plus, after being told that I only had a 5mm kidney stone that would most likely pass on its own in a week or so the doctor mentioned the other very ill patient before me who they had to transport in a wheelchair only had a 2mm stone. I wanted to ask him if I could send the Urology Ward a large framed picture of me to act as an inspiration for others with similar symptoms so they could see my smiling and enduring courage. I didn't say this, but I wanted to.
There are several places you shouldn't try to joke or be amusing. For example, at U.S. border crossings, or when confronted by police at some legal intervention, and with doctors when your time is anywhere near up. Pity.
I also resisted mentioning that my wife has dual Flovent Mufflers on her amazing, black 911 when he wondered if I knew about one of the prescribed medication that acted like Flovent that is both an anti-inflammatory and a steroid that would help ease the passing of the errant stone in question. I so desperately wanted to see if he would smile. I ultimately hope this isn't factored into any afterlife considerations that might be encountered in the big CLOUD somewhere out there. Hey, we're both in the death zone around here you know.
For next week I'll be laying low, drinking plenty of fluids, taking all of the medications as prescribed and using a 1mm strainer to try to capture the wee calcium culprit that is slowly moving between my kidney and lower escape passage. Someone told me a company will actually incorporate the offending pebble into some kind of wearable jewelry, but am pretty sure I'll pass on that! Ha! Pass on that! 8)
Life is pretty good when a few of those other gloomy alternatives are considered in the middle of the night. Another reason to only seek medical advice from a certified doctor and avoid pseudo caregivers like Google.
Thankfully too that this didn't happen in the USA on a winter or windsurfing trip. The approximate overall cost in an American hospital could have easily been in the tens of thousands of US dollars as a friend of Nancie's related to her a few weeks ago.
While waiting for the coming out party, I plan on sporting the plastic hospital ID bracelet for a few weeks if anyone wants to see it.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 27th How dangerous is kiteboarding, windsurfing, and surfing? Simple survival is more than an answer, it's a way of life.
The numbers are quite muddled in my opinion. You would think that you could simply Google death by (chocolate) and come up with a definite local or worldwide number all tabulated and organized.
Not so easy. I tried and the information is a bit all over the place and even somewhat contradictory. A few of the searches also uncovered some bizarre occurrences like a collision with snorkelers, serious kite line tangles, exposure, and somehow related traumatic injury. It seems to me that some of theses situations could have been avoided. Made me stop and think about how we reason and what we do as we surf about throughout the year.
Deaths, accidents, whatever, are surprisingly fewer than I expected. This is based on what I anticipated knowing the thin line that sometimes separates poor judgement and stupidity with most anything throughout the world. Especially in light of the frenzy and delirium that often ensues on any given day our wind and weather conditions are right.
Ignorance can also play into the game. So many enthusiasts who venture out on kites, sails, and boards may have learned the skill set to get up and go. But may have little or no idea that there are formal rules of the road. Written regulations are designed to give right of way when any two devotees are about to collide or challenge one another in any type of sailing confrontation. Kiters, it seems to me, are less considerate of staying downwind of windsurfers, and in particular feel an entitlement when launching in public swim areas. This is of particular concern with beginners who lack both control of their rig and decide to flaunt their watch this, first jump, check me out attitude.
That said, all sports have participants who bully and push the limits when it comes to safety and concern for others. Not sure how this will ever be overcome. Maybe one of those personal mottos like Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me kind of concepts. We have to be mindful to play more defensively, set a good example ourselves, and anticipate that the worst might always be heading our way at any given moment. That way we could reduce the odds of a collision of any kind, and hopefully better survive any given day.
Wearing a helmet, pfd, wetsuit, and keeping our gear in excellent condition are hugely important. Keeping fit and knowing our limits is also a significant step in the right direction. Polite communicating with others is better than yelling a profanity or making a negative gesture. Waving a no no finger, or dropping into the water and hailing a please come here for a moment is a consideration that can sometimes work better than a what the f#*k fist in the air or a screaming a four letter blasphemy.
If there is one that rule we all should know it's which sailor has right of way and who needs to move aside. The short answer is - the sailor who has their right arm forward has right of way. Or - give way to any other sailor who the prevailing wind of the moment flowing over their starboard (right) hull. Not that difficult to remember.
Hmm. Maybe I'm becoming a hall monitor of sorts. But then, if not me then who's willing to educate and police the other half of the world to go stand in the corner for a much needed and meaningful time out…
Hey. Maybe all this pro active thinking is another result of my recent conversion from candy ass to whistle blower. The whole world is now my personal Sherwood Forest.
Or could be another Lone Ranger lurking about here.
Think about it, not only a silver star on my PFD but also looking for a few like-minded deputies to form a posse to help with the big round up.
January 25th It was a personal choice to do nothing, and apparently not that well received by a few colleagues and a dear friend.
Passive resistance on my part didn't cut it as a few emails suggested. Not kicking the hornet's nest (January 17th) was a weak choice. Admitting to being a candy ass somehow jeopardized my place and standing among a cherished group that I hold near and dear. Maybe I should rethink my lack of courage in the pursuit of some kind of justice and reconsider doing something to rectify the healing but hurtful situation at hand.
As my thoughts begin to reengage there are other problem's in this world that come to mind. Some of them are way more difficult and complex to address. Like the following…
War, increasing environmental damage, political stupidity and corruption, failed investments, global needs being ignored, misused grammar & language, dog poop on sidewalks, secret farters in confined areas, spellcheck popups somehow taking over written pages of otherwise pretty good prose, and here it goes again - unlawful motorized vehicles on trails…
And included in all of this our please remember that our devaluing currency is hitting us hard in our recreational pocketbooks. Windsurfing boards, rigs, and gear prices are all soaring. A bicycle tune up can easily exceed a hundred dollars and way more if tires, tubes, a chain, and those multi coloured plastic streamers dangling from handle bar grips need to be replaced. Now I'm building some steam.
In my opinion the world is turning to shit. How's that for personal headline!
Maybe the answer is a simple one that just needs some spark and leadership like selling Amway or going door to door like the Fuller Brush salespeople from way back in the day when I was a boy.
I hinted at it a week ago. Almost jokingly, tongue in cheek so to speak. But now it seems that it could become a real answer just waiting to be unveiled.
Remember? (In short) Robin Hood and his merry vigilante posse, bounty hunters, and singin' the blues band. Keep reading. Let's hang all of the dirty laundry out on the line and share possible solutions in a unified and collaborative way.
A forum to discuss and strategize about anything related to concerns, vendettas, causes, improprieties, injustice, snubs, scandals, bad service in retail outlets, product warranties not honoured, lost receipts, unsolved acts of vandalism, and more. Much more. Sure, the overall concept needs some tweaking and the underlying concept of no bloodshed, no explosives, and no bashing anything with anything will help hopefully keep everything mostly legal. Admit we have a problem to solve. One issue at a time. One day at a time. Hey it sounds a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous.
In order to keep it simple only 12 people can join any one band. This includes one leader. Twelve is a good number. Pretty sure that's why juries, disciples, months in a year, inches in a foot, AM and PM time breaks, days of Christmas, etc. all make use a 12. Plus the cost of more than 12 forest green T-Shirts, bullet proof vests, and studded sneakers could get out of hand, not to mention the financial burden for anyone who buys the next round of beers at the Queens hotel after each well thought out intervention.
Each group is responsible for electing the leader who has to remain true to The Rule and any Mission Statement forthcoming. One other thing. Keep it to ourselves for the most part. No Robin Hood signs as you enter cities, towns, and villages like the Optimists, Lions, Kiwanis,or Rotary Clubs. Why do the call these service groups clubs I ask? Not a part of our retaliatory philosophy. Not that a pair of spark plug wire snips is out of any gameplay.
To grow, we simply franchise to help support the concept and make some money. It goes on and on in a form of pyramid scheme that helps perpetuate itself until much of the whole world is involved. A new movement of sorts. It actually doesn't matter what religion or political view anyone holds because of the no bloodshed, no explosives, no bashing Rule required to be eligible to join. OK OK, maybe a few fine adjustments are needed here and there but the overall concept remains worthy of creating a Mission Statement. I feel a bit like Mahatma Gandhi but maybe lack the willingness to die for a cause emphasis that he was able to muster. But who knows that could change or be worked in partly because of my age. Think about it - becoming a martyr as simple attrition kicks in.
The ways in which a group of 12 could work effectively would include creative punishments to help deter offensive actions. A group could discuss ways of helping to some a common problem and decide on appropriate interventions. I'd willingly go to court to testify against an ATV rider whose attitude and mentality made him or her violate a Walking Trail violation. As long as I was part of a larger group, not just an individual.
But, not on windy days. We all have to draw the line somewhere.
And the punishment doesn't have to fit the crime. A pail of collected dog poo could serve well in any confrontation. Or maybe take all their clothing in warm weather so they had to walk home naked. Of course these ideas need to be discussed, refined and made into an agreeably workable action plan of sorts. Publicly posting a picture of the culprit involved might help. Maybe not if it's our wife. Common sense. Collaboration. Hence the need for a beer or two once in a while.
Still wobbling on the fence or feeling critical? The put up or hush up!
Send me your name, cell phone number, a disclaimer not holding me responsible especially if you're in any way gullible, foolhardy, or incapable of saying no. Include a small cash donation (say $50Can.) to help defray incurred gasoline costs, postage, photocopying supplies, long distance telephone charges, or whatever the deemed need at my discretion while we get this horse off the ground and flying. And no more whiney, demeaning emails (and pictures of my currently misplaced hat now bearing rude comments) if you lack the cojones to get seriously involved.
(Hopefully those outrageous labels on my running hat below are not super-glued on.)
(Light applause as the curtain closes. Theme from Rocky fades and the lights dim. A warm gush of adrenalin and purpose fills my cerebral cortex and slightly expanding consciousness.)
January 22nd So now we're ready for the carve tack!
This is just too much to bear. Delirious!
Watch this video 25 times and then give it a shot in your basement on your simulator!
Need a simulator? You can borrow mine for a few days. Seriously.
|The carve tack, an ultimate, fast, desirable, and very achievable upwind turn.|
January 21st And check out this jibe.
A beautiful move done to perfection by Sam Ross. There's a step in this well executed carve jibe.
And then check out a few of the others in the YouTube videos featured with it.
Good fun waiting for our world to warm up.
|You gotta watch this.|
January 20th Tacking.
The perfect way to stay upwind. A simple move that was most likely used and mastered when we first needed to turn around. It should continue to be a part of our turning repertoire and windsurfing agenda.
Wavesailors tack their shortboards to stay upwind and not lose any ground to help get them back on a plane quickly.
Anyone can do a faster tack with a bit of practice. It's an extremely worthwhile manoeuvre.
I hope that Dr. Denny (my personal windsurfing coach and move mentor) will help me master fast tacking in the coming season.
Here are a few videos worth watching in the meantime.
(Current focus, personal motto, and mental in head tattoo - On Board 2020.)
|How to fast tack.|
|Tacking a short board (advanced)…|
|The tack, clearly explained, as only a Brit can help clarify in the Queen's best English.|
January 17th This is all becoming a personal hornet's nest that most likely won't be kicked. By me.
This area, around what was once known as The Sand Pits, from Firemen's Park to the Half Way, has been a moto-cross haven since the 1950s. Maybe long before. Still is. Everybody rode here. Still do. To expect any changes in any of this is simply dreaming. Their loud exhaust can clearly be heard from our back deck reving, whining, and barking, throughout the warmer months.
Unfortunately, I agree that police are not equipped to chase down motorcycles, ATVs, quads, Skidoos, whatever. If they do catch up then what? More significant, a high speed chase could cause a more severe injury, or end up in a fight.
Signage helps and some kind of barricade might also work but the mentality of this minority of offending riders who persist with Trail trespass is basically some form of entitlement or right. I would not want to end up in court testifying against anyone with that attitude. It's quite simply not worth the retaliation that could come back to haunt me.
Hikers need to walk with care in seasonal times to avoid injury. I have poles that would help in most situations and will carry them. I promise not to thrust one into the front spokes of any delinquent rider motoring by. Besides, there are other places to walk when the frozen ground is the threat that toppled me a week ago.
If we feel brave enough maybe remind offenders who we encounter that their machines are not allowed on the Trail but try do it in a non confrontational way so an argument doesn't escalate into anything more than words.
So like many things in my life that I've let slip this is another. Am not becoming a hall monitor at my age. Write it off as one of those acceptances of things that I choose not to fight or try to change.
Wuse. Pussy. Waffle. Coward. Namby pamby. Chicken. Milksop. Yellow Belly. Sissy. Candy ass.
Perhaps a somewhat disappointing conclusion in light of so many memorable moments. We live in dispiriting times.
Hey. I just might change my mind about all this.
But only if one of the fuckwit buggers runs me over.
January 16th A recent thaw has made the Bruce Trail soft and safe underfoot.
My hiking boots now hold the wet firm ground that was frozen hard and hazardous for most of this past week.
The trail is still mostly covered with wet snow and there is no recent evidence that any machines have been been back at least for now.
Tire ruts, bootprints, wet snow, and some small ponding currently cover most of the trail as of this morning. I took a few pictures to help validate my concern.
The signage tells us that three trails are actually involved here. The Bruce Trail also includes and incorporates the Laura Secord Heritage Trail and the The Trans Canada Trail.
Tire ruts are still evident throughout the melt as well as splash-created ponds and some damage to a foot bridge likely caused by the motorized intruders as they entered the ramping incline at speed. That's my take on the broken section showing above the tire splash ponding below. (middle right)
It's also interesting to note the (previously mentioned) soil-eroded depression in the trail caused from many decades and decades of tire/tread splash in the sandy soil. (below, middle left) This is also an unacceptable, abusive, machine caused, environmental impact included in my concern.
The Laura Secord Heritage Trail (last photo) exits at Dorchester Rd just below the CN railway line, about 100 metres south of the Bruce Trail. This where the ATVs, skidoos, and the like can easily access the Bruce Trail where the two trails join.
PS: It feels great to hike the trail again.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 15th Considering future encounters, who to call if necessary, what to say, what to do…
A journey of any length begins with a single step.
The decision to check the signage at the beginning and end of the Bruce Trail from Dorchester Rd., to St. Paul Ave. was productive and reassuring.
Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail. It is clearly stated by the Bruce Trail Conservancy. The addition of a Niagara Regional sign indicates that Niagara Regional Police would be the officers who are in charge of enforcing whatever law is involved.
This will have to be verified with a call or a visit. Maybe. Not entirely certain about this.
Questions to be considered are:
Who do we call if we experience a motorized vehicle on the Bruce Trail?
Are the police responsible for enforcing the signage?
Should we confront the operators of the vehicles?
Should we take a photo of the driver and vehicle?
(maybe other thoughts to be addressed will come to mind)
My challenge and concern is the hard fall and soft tissue damage that I experienced after tripping on one of the many a wide knobby, tire ruts and slipping on an ice-filled tire tread depression. It could have been worse. I realize and accept the personal responsibility and risk involved in walking the trail. I'm not blaming the Bruce Trail Conservancy or any offending driver/vehicle. This is honestly not about any law suit or personal vendetta. Hiking is an important part of my life. Just like trail-riding is important to cyclists, moto-cross enthusiasts, skidooers, and ATV lovers. The point is that the Bruce Trail is signed as a footpath and not a vehicle trail. My injury could have been avoided if my footing hadn't been obstructed.
This rant will continue for a while until I can get all my facts together to help me deal with any future encounters of this nature.
January 14th Things that I actually wouldn't do but thought about this past Monday.
The once purple bruise around my thumb and first finger is slowly turning russet. Russet is a shade of reddish-brown with a very slight undertone of orange that sometimes can be seen in an early morning sunrise. Like in the opening of Shakespeare's play Hamlet …the morn, in russet mantle clad, walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill. Like a sunrise and a new day beginning it indicates that my hand is slowly healing.
Parts of the rest of my body are still aching and a bit off. Worrisome.
My fall along the Bruce Trail on Monday was both unexpected and caused by a trip and fall from walking over ice filled ruts made by ATVs abusing the area.
As the shock subsided, rational judgement took over and everything began to shift from retaliation to kinder thoughts including:
OK, no explosives,
No inflicted mechanical damage from sledgehammers or wrecking balls on any of their mud-caked ATVs.
I mentally listed the things that I would definitely not do. These were actually only a few of the foolish thoughts that came to mind this past week.
Getting into a deer costume and as I leap over the offending machine and rider on the trail projectile defecate with great accuracy.
Create a camouflage diversion into which the offending fuckwits will drive haplessly off the Escarpment or
straight into the Niagara River Gorge.
Organizing other like-minded hikers into a Robin Hood and his merry band, sneak about along the trail, wait, and reciprocate with
appropriate counterattacks, then meet up later at the Queen's Hotel for a beer to plan our next intervention.
Become like Carl Hiassen's character known as Skink, an ex governor of Florida, who sought out and dealt with
offenders who negatively impacted the environment. (not) My kinda guy!
Post pictures of the HBO sheriff in the Banshee series who works things out with baddies in his own unique vigilante style.
Seek out local unemployed, off duty, or volunteer hit men looking for target practise and the opportunity to stay in decent shape
going after a few of the transgressors.
All bad and misguided action plans. Why do we let our minds wander like this?
Any one of those stupid notions could easily start a war of sorts.
A likely starting point will be to contact the Bruce Trail Conservancy and maybe local law enforcement and see what the reaction would be to simply enforce the No Motorized Vehicles Allowed posted at the entry of the trails on which we hike. Would a cell phone call and picture be taken seriously or even become a possible personal risk inviting a pushy dispute or worse?
Perhaps suggest a step-over or narrow barricades that hinder or discourage motor cycles and ATVs from entering the pathways. But hopefully not something that turns everything into an us versus them confrontation.
I don't have a quick and easy answer. But I am concerned and bit pissed.
Over the past decade I've stepped aside a number of times and off the trail as they motored by, some politely, others in a loud hurry.
The Bruce Trail should be a safe hiking trail, not a dangerous, rutted battle zone waiting to break a bone.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 11th What's your keel?
A keel on a sailboat, a fin on any board, will simply keep you going, on course, and help you reach your destination.
Without one you're stuck and move about in uncontrolled circles, going where the wind, waves , and current take you.
In windsurfing we buy different sized and shaped fins for pointing more into the wind, or shedding weeds, or going fast, riding waves, or for more control. Whatever the condition there's a fin choice.
I'm a shoal keel kinda guy. Don't want to hit bottom in shallow water. Whether it be a Lake Erie marina, navigating around Long Point, or the shallow reef conditions in the Keys, the Caribbean, wherever. A shoal keel, for cruising, in medium wind, that's my choice.
Changed my mind once again after wandering through the Boat Show yesterday. A sailboat is the only way to go. Even now, at this point in my life.
Somewhere around 35' but with a furling main and jib, maybe a colourful drifter for a bit of sport on lighter days, but definitely a full washroom (aka a head with shower and hot water), and it must have air conditioning and a heater. Ok, Ok, include stereo, studio quality speakers, widescreen TV, full navigation, and a large, thick, comfy memory-foam mattress.
Other options will likely keep piling up.
No racing, no gale force, white knuckle, big wave, killer storms for me. Better to check the forecast, and lie anchor and locate in a safe harbour watching TV, sipping a martini during Happy Hour, mandatory 2 olives, in a large well lit galley, and leisurely wait for the storm to pass.
In my view simply know your limits and respect the open water, wherever you are.
A keel is more than a tool. It's a way of life. A comprehensive plan. The GPS in our mind.
Don't go anywhere without one.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 9th Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Yesterday dictates today, today predicts tomorrow. Live well and strong today and our tomorrows will mostly be the best that they can be.
About 5 years ago I found that my super-fast Mistral Flows were all becoming a bit hard on the knees, back, shoulders, hips, and hands as the wind picked up. Especially in waves or big chop. Couldn't be me, must be the fault of the boards. After a few board rentals and shop demos they were replaced with 2 Quatros, a Goya, and more recently a vintage, classic 161L Mistral Explosion. All in the Buick Roadmaster much-easier-to-ride class . The larger 7.5m, 7.0m, and 6.5m sails were all sold and an easier 6.3m became my Go To sail of choice.
Smoother, easier on the body, quick but not rocketship fast, turny, you get the idea. Life in the slow lane became the way to go, so to speak.
At 75 years my wind driven life was becoming a challenge both on the water and also in my head. I simply accepted fewer runs on windy days and the lack of stamina as an aging thing.
About 13 months ago Nancie and I joined the YMCA and began an amazing journey together. My wife was recovering from a heart attack and I decided to join her to really give it a go to see if a serious fitness program would help get me back on the water in all conditions once again.
Fitness has always been an important part of my life. So has diet and a generally strong exercise discipline involving a 12 year running career with 10K race times around 50 minutes for about 5 years. In addition to this my life journey included hiking, cross country & downhill skiing, always a series of fitness memberships here and there, long daily walks, lengthy cycling adventures, and a sincere passion for windsurfing.
The decision to get back on track was a relatively easy one for me. Lose some weight and get back lost strength.
To ignore this choice would be the end of my windsurfing career.
We both consulted a personal fitness advisor who considered our personal goals and helped us create a much more meaningful action plan at the gym. We began a computerized weight program that recorded our progress at each workout.
Being in the Death Zone surely motivated and promoted my thinking.
No more looking over my shoulder wondering if the Grim Reaper was somewhere back there following me in an aluminum boat with a 5 HP Evinrude waiting for me to fall down and not get up.
Sorry, not trying to be funny, but it really was quite like that. Trying unsuccessfully to waterstart in Pamlico Sound one huge wind day a few years ago gave me pause to wonder if it all might be over. Oh, he died doing what he loved. Not at my eulogy Nancie! Hey! I didn't love where I was or what was going on at the time. The problem was that I simply wasn't able to hold on and get up. Way, way overpowered. Definitely getting out of shape. Time to make changes.
I didn't want to give up or give in. So today a fitness program involving an advisor, a followup computer record showing daily improvement, sessions recorded, and a workout progression printed out on a screen not only made sense it actually helped me regain lost stamina, vigour, and brawn.
No steroids, TV specials, or magazine promotions. Just a simple focus based on a real passion. All you need is a reason. Mine was windsurfing.
Yes. We can live better and longer if we engage in sensible, prescribed diet and exercise.
And it follows, how you live today can dictate how you want continue living tomorrow, doing what you love to do, at least for a while longer.
So, my very first tattoo might say Today is For Tomorrow in a strong heart surrounded by seagulls, waves, stormy winds, cross trainers, cool lululemon shorts & shirt, and a Bowflex workout contraption. But where on my body?
Or maybe spend that tatt money on a larger sail and newer board. Maybe like a 119L Pro Construction JP Magic Ride for the 7.5m Gaastra! And a 6.7m sail for the 105L Quatro when the wind drops a bit! Oops, just dreaming again.
That's where it all begins and ends. In our minds.
Post Script: Any future followup thoughts about aging windsurfers might also address baldness, senility, dry eye, liver spots, incontinence, uncontrolled eyebrow/nose/ear hair, bladder dribble, avoiding Tilley Hats, purple blotches, vericose veins, and liver spots. Not so sure about how to work through dementia or being a part of the TV channel choice committee in some nursing home. Hopefully a windsurfing video or two will be tolerated after The Lawrence Welk Show. It's gonna be one day at a time I figure.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 7th When you fail to begin you immediately begin to fail. Keep reading.
A little more than a year ago I read Kevin Ashton's book How To Fly A Horse. (The subtitle continues with - The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery). One of those fun reads that's filled with great historical information and lots of useful insight. Several of his thoughts still strongly reinforce and continue to help me to understand my thinking in achieving any success that I yet hope to earn in this life.
Somewhere in Chapter 7 he mentioned that we must begin somewhere in whatever we hope to accomplish. If we fail to begin we're doomed. He uses the example of swimming into the sea. No tiptoes, no wading, just go under. Get wet from scalp to sole he proclaims. Splutter up salt, push the hair from your brow, then stoke, and stroke again. Feel the chill change. Do not look back or think ahead. Just go. No more non beginnings.
My initial reaction to this was quick and easy. If the only time you have is pre dawn and you decide to start a serious shape-up walk/run program then set your alarm clock early, get out of bed, put on your GORETEX garments, lace up those cross trainers, and get your sorry butt out the door. Something like that, BUT start doing whatever it takes. Today.
Do you want to get in shape? Then go to a reputable gym, get some professional advice with what you need to do, and do it. It all starts now, not tomorrow, or when you and a friend think about maybe beginning something when it warms up a bit or maybe stops snowing. If you need any reminding or motivation just get a Nike shirt that says, Just Do It. Get Pumped.
A healthy diet, a hearty walk each day, reduce salt, sugar, alcohol consumption, no smoking anything, breathe deeply, and engage in yoga or a fitness activity that suits you. Strive to achieve an ideal weight and body mass. Get strong. Get fit. Get lean.
Make the commitment. Once you make that decision you don't have to make any choice throughout the day. It becomes a simple matter of time management. James Fixx stated and published this in his best-selling book The Complete Book of Running (1977). So what if he died soon after his book was published.
My goal is to windsurf for another year. And then another. For as long as I can. This has been my deepest passion since stepping onto my first Mistral board, clutching white knuckles on boom, holding up a beautiful white/green/blue 6.0m2 sail, every day all summer, in 1980.
So, what's the light at the end of your tunnel?
A small caution. Just don't start showing off your 6 pack abs, muscled legs, bulging biceps, and ripped body after a few months, unless someone asks for a quick look. Make them pay.
Charge a small fee like I plan to do to help defray the fuel and motel cost on the way to Hatteras this spring. Maybe even go as far as the likes of Dr. Jeffry Life, pictured at age 74, below. (Jeffry Life is an American physician and the author of the three books The Life Plan, Mastering The Life Plan, and The Life Plan Diet.)
So what if our failing Canadian Loonie needs to get propped up with a teeny bit of vanity and physical exposure. Turn your efforts into a cash cow of sorts. It's all about win, win, and more win. But remember - no free peeks and it's cash only for signed photographs.
If it's going to be it's up to me.
|Not quite me, yet.|
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|
January 4th Nailed it, well maybe.
I struggle with getting it right all the time.
With anything and everything. Most of the time things work out and it feels good.
Some things are quite simply out of reach. Some things are not within my ability to negotiate. Some things are left for another time to return to and get reworked.
When I looked at my pictures I honestly felt like I hit the motherland when I saw this one below. No reward, no comment, no recognition other than where I might promote the image. The caption below is a bit of a reach bit it's what the picture said to me.
It's relatively safe here in my journal. No one can comment and soil the belief in what it means to me. OK, it may travel away somewhere away in the vast internet but that's technology and what the present reality dictates. That's both my monkey and the circus in which we live.
In any event it seems to me like this is my hole in one. That moment when all of the failed putts and derailed hooks down the fairway keep a golfer coming back for more.
Cheers and remember that we all fail our way to some success if we simply persist and have faith in what we do. Fate steps in and sees us through still works for me. Have a listen…
|Should we sell and convert to US$ or hold on for another week?|
|When You Wish Upon A Star (Cliff Edwards)|
January 1st No more New Years' Resolutions ever, except this one.
Pretty sure about all of this…
No more missing windy windsurfing days because of
- statutory and religious holidays,
- planned or unplanned shopping trips, vacations, leaves of absence, sick days, time outs, or any apocalyptic occurrences,
- unscheduled or scheduled visits, interventions, mandates, or calls from friends, family, law enforcement, telemarketers, door to door salespeople,
jury duty, or any kind of package delivery service,
- illness or medical emergencies or treatment of any kind from dentists, hygienists, optometrists, doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists,
psychologists, nurse practitioners etc.,
- any other serious condition regarding weather, road, flood, detours, warnings on TV or radio or Twitter or FaceBook, or from psychics, religious cults, astroids, meteors, comets, aliens, bombs from North Korea, including Conservative, NDP, or even Liberal propaganda, or anything else thought about whenever it comes up, ever.
Hopefully you get the big idea, the overall level of commitment, and depth of emotion involved in all of this.
This is actually a binding, irrevocable, imperative proclamation, not just any old resolution.
Nothing will stop the getting to (wherever the wind source) on any given day where a congregation of like-minded, highly motivated enthusiasts even hope to be heading…
Now, all I need is Nancie's signature (or not, her choice) it actually doesn't matter in this case. Pretty sure about all this.
Done, finito, and ohhh yes.
|Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge any of the pics…|