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Recent and instructional videos…

Cultivating life energy, Qigong in Cancer Care (worth a watch)

Healing QiGong (Home Page) with Sifu George Picard

QiGong demonstation ~ (Peking 24 Posture) with Sifu George Picard (master instructor)

Spring windsurfing in high wind conditions in Rodanthe, NC.

Great carve jibe video  ~  All 14 possible jibes in about 5 minutes including "Look ma, no hands!"…


Scroll down for older postings.   New entries are usually works in progress…


      May 4th     Hugely organized for 2017

At long last, in my 77th year, the beloved van is finally perfectly packed and ready.

With 2 boards and 5 rigs, windsurfing gear choice is hugely simpler.   Stop by for a peek at the latest reshaped, custom stacking, pipe rack!

Now if only my mind will continue to hold on, the summer should unfold tickety boo.   And, a bright new Canadian Flag on a 230 cm, 100% carbon fibre, 2 piece mast, will ripple proudly nearby, in whatever the wind this summer!

Cheers!

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      April 24th     QiGong   (my first 100 days)

The daily benefits resulting from ChiKung (QiGong) are real and best of all - holding.

I am currently feeling little discomfort or no pain.   Looking back over the past 30 years, I have experienced chronic pain in my shoulder, neck, lower back & hips, right knee, all originating from from arthritis, old and new injuries, and sciatica.   Relief was ultimately achieved with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Naproxen, Oxycocet, Robaxacet (Robaxin), Prednisone, Celebrex, and included trips to chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, and the family doctor, etc. etc.   I'm currently not taking any drugs.   This is especially remarkable, and reassuring, after windsurfing hard each day for the past week, with my 77th birthday just a week away.

Surprisingly too, I am producing tears again relieving an old condition called dry eye, that only lubricating eye drops relieved.   In addition to this, my sinuses are currently clear and maybe chronic sinusitis is also behind me.

Balance is improving.   Posture is improving.   And quite simply I'm feeling way better.

I cannot speak highly enough about the benefits of healing QiGong (and beginning Tai Chi).   Both have been around for some 4000 years.   Today, some 100 - 200 million Chinese (Wikipedia) do the postures daily either as prevention or helping in some kind of recovery.

ChiKung is slow, gentle, expansive, and circular in form.   It begins with easy repetitions involving only what is comfortable in achieving, and slowly builds.   Over time stretches are deepened and extended, but cautiously, never overdone.   Essentially there are energy postures, stretching postures, and strengthening postures that are opened and closed.

When ChiKung is linked into motion it becomes some form of TaiChi.   When ultimately reshaped and reworked again it becomes a martial art like KungFu or Karate.

But best of all, it's fun and relaxing.   As an exercise, participants begin to feel better almost immediately.

Methodical breathing, stretching, and strengthening, are all incorporated into the 24 postures that take from anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes depending on the receptions and timing.   Slower is better.   QiGong helps realign the spine, work all of the joints and muscles, opens the central nervous system, and simply said helps put the body into balance or homeostasis (much like chiropractic, physiotherapy, and the like.)   Once normalized, the body simply begins to heal itself, like a bandaged cut or a broken bone in a cast.

In addition to doing daily ChiKung, a small number of Yoga postures and Tai Chi are used from time to time, plus a few running stretches when needed.   There is no way, only ways in which to allow the body to heal and help and prevent injury.   (aside) - I still carry some (unused) prescription drugs that have also helped relieve pain in the past, just in case.   And yes, I am also mindful to not overload the wheelbarrow, push cars up the driveway, lift the big rocks without help, take frequent breaks from windsurfing in heavy winds, and not move the trees in planter boxes around the yard without assistance.

QiGong and Tai Chi are recognized and documented as beneficial healing tools by the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard School of Medicine, and Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre to name a few.

There are many thousands of (differing) registered QiGong forms and from all over regional China that all result in much the same outcome.   Nancie and I are currently involved in the Peking 24 posture style (daily).   Highly qualified Martial Arts teacher, Sifu George Picard at the Village for Healing and Wellness in St. Catharines, Ontario is our primary instructor.

Testimonials from others, qualified referenced literature, and personal experience all bear out the validity of what is now working for me, after three months of committed daily practise.


A report from Harvard School of medicine about the positive effects of using Tai Chi.

A report about using Tai Chi from the Mayo Clinic

A similar linked report in 2017.



      April 21st     Walk the beach, windsurf, beer, snack, nap, windsurf, lawn chair, beer, windsurf, hot tub & cold beer, (optional) very small rum & coke, dinner…

Aging gracefully with a plan.   Keep well hydrated with lots of coconut water and filtered water.   Daily QiGong & stretching yoga postures all worked mindfully in as needed.   Carefully strategized.   Mindful and smart.   A grand design to windsurf through 2020 at 80, like a fly on a smartie.

This session on the Outer Banks has been one of the best.   Strong SW wind and warm water have been the two biggies that put this trip way over the top for everyone.

It's like summer here.   We're sailing in bathing suits, shorties, and rash guards.   So sweet!



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      April 11th     We're leaving for the Outer Banks of NC in just two days…

Sigh.

One clear focus and intention.   Waiting for wind.

☑ Body feels good. ☑

☑ Van packed and ready. ☑

☑ 54th Anniversary Card lovingly signed with an ∞ of hugs and kisses. ☑

☑ Maps, medication, stop at duty free planned, attitude way up, and more. ☑

☑ Leaving On A Jet Plane (oops van) (a song written by John Denver in 1966 and made famous by PP&M) is definitely somewhere in the playlist.   On The Road Again as well. ☑

☑ Bandaids, sunscreen, sail repair tape, some fibreglass fix, wetsuit patches, Bud Light T Shirts, and hugely mindful of a North Carolina point of view ☑

Shiza!   I only wish Ke, Nancie, Matt, and Carrie were coming.   And, Cliff, John, Chris, Kelly, Paul, David, Laure, Bob… OK, the list goes on and on.

Giddy-up!



      March 24th     The Wizard Of Oz.

…Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn't, didn't already have

The 1974 song Tin Man was written by pop rock America's band member Dewey Bunnell.

This classic double negative was the first lesson many of us pre baby boomers might have learned.

Lion wants courage, Scarecrow wants a brain, and Tin Man wants a heart.   After discovering the wizard is bogus, Dorothy and her friends realize that everything that they actually wish for is already inside them.   Just follow your own yellow brick road and open yourselves to whatever experiences you encounter.   Learn from them.   Wisdom, bravery, and sensitivity will follow.   Yuval Harrari also goes on to say that Star Trek's Captain Kirk & Jean-Luc Picard, Mark Twain's Huck Finn and Jim, Easy Riders Wyatt and Billy pretty much did the same thing as they journeyed about.

So if the answer lies within each of us how come our unsettled, often chaotic world is in such a current state of unrest, upheaval, and our future often seems to be in serious doubt and question.

How come?

It seems to me, that instead of our governments having to change, we the people need to become informed and act responsibly.   The purpose of our education should make us able to think and be accountable for ourselves.   I know that's actually a very tall order.

Is it possible to combine all the elements of sensitivity, knowledge, understanding, tolerance, wisdom, patience, ethics, Health Care, fairness, economics, history, science, religion, race, discrimination, and …(will the list ever stop?)

Okay, okay, it may not be feasible, possible, or even hopeful.   Especially in a democratic, market based, capitalistic society.

How do you create a system that actually envisions and directs a better world?   Especially considering that power, control, greed, corruption, and the like includes most of the serious flaws many of our Sapien neighbours possess.   Sigh.

So maybe it all needs to get kicked up another notch.   So, here goes.

It might actually have to come down to a computer-based, all powerful Entity leader, built by Apple and Microsoft, that doesn't lie, bribe, take bribes or answers to lobbyists.   And more, this benevolent controlling digital design might ultimately be programmed to begin reshaping all humanity genetically.   If we hope to flourish as a future surviving race we will definitely have to change.   If not from without, then from within.

Hey, we already get heart and liver implants, knee and hip replacements, drugs for nearly everything else, hearing aids and ocular insertions to name another few, free monthly publications from the LCBO, and our DNA is just a hop-step-jump away.

But, before I paint myself into a corner, it needs to be asked - Would life still be fun and fulfilling?   Does it include windsurfing?   What about Health Care, hot rods, and Happy Hour?   Will we ever be able to throw away our keys?

Shiza.   I'd definitely go for it if our loonie would always be at par in the world market and global warming could be terminated around the point where all Canadians could windsurf year round in shorts.

Click on the link Tin Man below, crank up the volume, and call me if you're more than interested in taking windsurfing lessons in North Carolina next month.

Tin Man ~ America



      March 20th     Cape Hatteras - With just 25 days to go another much needed rhythm begins.

Not only do I actually miss the rhythm of responsibility I recognize the need for real responsibilities.   More than two decades of retirement and nearing 80 gets one's thinking a bit muddled and somewhat off track, especially through the long dark winter, and in the winter of our lives.

David Gilmour best summed it up in The Perfect Order Of Things when he wrote - (1) without having to answer to anyone you become out of rhythm with the world, and (2) sometimes you're fucked just by who you are.   Can't quote the pages in his book from where I lifted all that but I distinctly remember shuddering when I read it.

So with the van half packed, some amazing new windsurf gear almost in hand, a bout of sciatica slightly behind me, prescriptions for Naproxen and Celebrex, and packing a heady Rodanthe state of mind, an expectation and beautiful tempo of wind and waves brings new hope and promise - the next best thing to eternal life, salvation, and everlasting love.

And being this close, anticipation of this upcoming adventure becomes the whole new kit and caboodle.

Senses reel, the mind spins, feet stumble, and trying to concentrate on vacuuming and doing dishes becomes a hugely difficult chore.

A new rhythm begins, lose some weight to snug easily into the wetsuit, file and sand smooth damaged fins, check mast base tendons and tighten cup assemblies, you know, the real personal responsibilities we owe ourselves - to not just ride fast but to get back to shore, safe in all conditions.

Elsewhere, let the political chips fall where they may.   I feel our world will stumble, but somehow fail its way to whatever success we deserve.

I continue to feel the responsible need to express concern for our precious environment and will continue to vote, and work in any way to help improve the health of our planet in whatever direction that takes.   I'm not alone with concern that Trump has committed to eliminate the current U.S. Climate Action Plan, among a myriad of other shit.   The Congressional Hearings (House Intelligence Committee) today featured FBI Director James Comey and Michael Rogers, a United States Navy Admiral who serves as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA).   Mostly the questions and sometimes the responses were affirming examples that answers and truths will likely surface in the near future.

Hopefully Karma, Fate, or some kind of Divine Intervention will somehow intercede and bring Donald back as a polar bear in his next life.

Now that would be both fitting and nice.


A few results from the House Intelligence Committee today…



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      March 15th     Beijing and Elysium.

Beijing has become so polluted that people avoid going outdoors.   Air purifying systems there are as common as air conditioners are around here.   Protective contraptions cover the yards of the super rich and The International School Of Beijing has built a huge inflatable dome over its playground so children can safely engage in outside sports activities inside.

China also leads the world with coal fired generators.   More than 2500 and still counting.

Sure, you can improve the combustibility of coal but burning it still produces carbon dioxide.

In 1970 our fossil fuel burning world was releasing about 10,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.   Today, it's around 45,000 tons. (Source - Emission Database For Global Atmospheric Research, aka EDGAR, European Commission.

Trump is getting ready to burn coal again in the USA which will further increase CO2 emissions.   Ontario's Nanticoke Generating Station, on Lake Erie was the largest coal plant in North America and Canada's #1 air polluter.   Nanticoke, our only remaining coal fired generator, was shut down last December, amidst controversy.

Our quality of life depends on clean air and continuing atmospheric controls.   The hydro, wind and solar alternatives in producing electricity can initially be somewhat more expensive but ultimately will help keep us from needing air purifiers, masks, and inflatable domes like citizens in Beijing.

Air + water = life.   But it seems that clean air, oceans, lakes, and rivers along with the rate of climate change throughout the world are no longer priorities in America.

Compare Beijing, and other asian cities in the eastern coal burning belt, to cities here in Ontario, and think about your choice for a minute.   Trump's disregard for the earth's health really pisses me off.

Shiza.   Belief alone isn't enough.   Our beautiful world is rapidly changing and time is no longer on our side.

Remember the 2013 science fiction film Elysium that starred Matt Damon?   Elysium was a gigantic space habitat that orbited Earth.   It was populated only by the super rich, maybe kinda like living on Noah's Ark except for the addition of golf courses, perfect health care, state of the art homes with swimming pools and electric flying cars.   It could all pretty much end up like that folks, with us, the middle and lower classes struggling to survive here on what's left of the Earth's surface.

Advancing technology could well be a part of the answer, but like the new Trumpcare, it's gonna cost big bucks and who are the real losers?



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      March 13th     Just 4 weeks to go and guess what?

Pretty sure the sciatic nerve extending into my left leg has been the aggravation felt for the past week.   Likely caused from walking further and faster this past winter.   Older lifestyle goals and long term physical activities are hard habits to break.   There were some other recent, questionable physical activities involving some lifting, or maybe during the ladder rescue while shooing out three unwilling birds perched high in the garage rafters - but exuberant walking was more likely the cause.   A few other self-diagnoses ranging from a groin pull to another kidney stone all today were pretty much ruled out by Dr. Google.   It's more likely that my sciatic nerve is acting up, reminding me to slow down and work on healing whatever the injury.

Time for some rest, medication, and maybe some heat/icing.

Like Chairman Mao, who didn't trust or use Chinese Medicine, I plan on seeing my doctor in about an hour to seek some professional advice, but also plan on continuing with QiGong and Tai Chi till this miserable discomfort leaves my body.   One way or another I need to get well.   Our spring trip to Cape Hatteras is just four weeks away.

Perhaps a part of my healing includes moderation.   More and faster anything isn't necessarily a better gauge of fitness, especially in one's 77th year.

Aging sensibly can be such a pain.


(It looks like taking it easier, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and an MRI to check my lower back are what the doctor just ordered.)



      March 9th     Alien Intervention vs. good old Readin', Writin', and 'Rithmetic

Yuval Harari, my literary flavour of the month, pointed out in his book Homo Deus, that the Egyptians were able to build the pyramids and create Lake Fayum (dug to control and regulate the Nile River) because of being able to keep written records, collect taxes, and record numerical information.   All their documentation allowed a strong bureaucracy to exist, oversee, and maintain control of any projects undertaken.   This information disputes scholars who have found hieroglyphic records of alien creatures with flying machines that were believed to have lent assistance to help create those ancient marvels with otherworldly advanced technologies.   The latter makes for a much better screenplays but who's right?   The controversy continues.

There are countless debates and examples that could be used but the one example above is enough to make a point.   As intriguing as aliens are the 3 Rs have made it solidly into our mainstream lifestyle and have more credible clout in solving the old question - who built the pyramids?   IMO, humans alone were responsible.

So, what's the point in all this?

There's always two sides to every argument.   In all debates there are opposing views, sometimes with harsh words, sometimes resulting in violence.   How do we solve issues that affect a larger population?   For one, hold a democratic election - a majority vote can determine who wins.   Or at least until the Russians come along and get involved in a possible hacking that tips the balance.   Then it all gets a bit murky and heated.

In fact murky and heated are just the beginning.   We can't tune into any news today without witnessing ongoing arguments, highly controversial accusations, alternative truths, and what might otherwise be called - sheer nonsense.   The political shitstorm that we're witnessing on national and international reporting helps me understand why many American people are questioning the sanity of their recently elected president.

History tells us that civilizations come and go.   Perhaps then, a timely question might be, are we coming or going?

Abraham Lincoln said you cannot deceive everybody all the time.   P.T. Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute.   Winston Churchill said you can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.   Sigh.

Cause and effect.   This all began began many decades ago when Middle East oil was first recognized for what it was worth.   Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dahabi, and Bahrain sat on half the world's known oil reserves.   Western interest perked.   The resulting interest has mainly been in the oil and in the families controlling the oil rich regions.   This simply translates to having a very small percentage of the population controlling the wealth that was received for the oil and the remaining population kept in a state of poverty.   These economic conditions have become justifications for jihadists, along with the casualties of a series of invasions/wars that destabilized regions perpetuated by Western powers.

The hornet's nest was kicked more than 40 years ago.   The American flag and effigies of American Presidents have been burned in protest by angry citizens in the Middle East since the mid 1970s.

Anyone remember seeing the film Argo about 5 years ago?   Argo is an American historical drama film about how Americans were helped to escape from Iran in 1979, directed by Ben Affleck.   (Affleck somehow forgot to give any deserved credit to the Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor who was instrumental in saving American lives.)   The film shows the anger and hatred of the Iranian militants as they storm the US Embassy in Tehran.

Anyway, all this has me deeply reconsidering the fact that we in the west have not done enough to reach out and gain credibility with those Middle East citizens who do not share in the region's wealth.   With all of the many dozens of volunteer groups sent all over the world our efforts to unkick the hornet's nest in the war torn Middle East have been inadequate.   (Canada currently imports about 100,000 barrels an day from the Middle East.

The notion that walls and border control will help are only more likely temporary solutions at best.

As a citizen living in a First World Country my question is simple - what is or should be our role and responsibility in any new beginning?   We somehow have to ensure that Middle eastern oil money will also fund regional development, more education for all citizens and be used to help rebuild the resulting devastation that bombing, from the invasions, has caused.   (There are currently around 900 Canadian troops deployed in the Middle East.)

And, something else.   If the Russia Federation was responsible for tipping the balance in the American election we all have a very serious problem at hand.   This gets a bit scary but here goes.   It is strongly rumoured that 40% of the steel created so far for the Keystone Pipeline was manufactured here in Canada (Regina, and maybe Welland?) by a subsidiary of Evraz, a company that is 31% owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, (a Russian billionaire, businessman, investor, and former Governor of Chukotka) who is currently a close ally of Vladimir Putin and a Trump family friend.   (Google any of this and see what you find)

This concerns the crap out of me if it's true.

So it seems that we are at a crossroads.   It seems that the US population has become so large and is so polarized by left and right wing ideologies that perhaps America has become ungovernable, as well as having a questionable and disturbed leader.   And to add to that it seems that Russia, classified as a Second World country and an enemy of sorts, is a bit too close for comfort.

So back to Alien Intervention for a moment.   The hieroglyphics and cave drawings noted below show what appear to be flying machines and space suits.   This somehow maybe indicates that life exists beyond earth and they have made their way here for some reason or another.   If (with hopeful fingers crossed) I ever have the opportunity to meet some aliens, my question would be - What have you learned in all your history that could be of any use to us here on Earth?   An honest guess at their translated response would be - Make the world great again.

My hope is simple and doable.   Here goes.   Our story, as a race, might unfold and be like a big Hollywood Blockbuster movie starring the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Bruce Willis, Jeff Goldblum and directed by James Cameron (Avatar & Terminator).   I just love it when the bad guys get an analogue arrow in their analogue heart.   Hold that thought.   It can only happen if we take an honest look at ourselves and the science we have at hand.   Much of what Trump and the Second World are doing is in direct disregard for our planet's failing heath.   Deregulation, pollution, and burning more fossil fuels will increase the rate of global warming.   Come on America - Help make our world great again.   Please look at the facts and stop believing in all the lies.

In any event it's unlikely that any aliens will come and rescue us.   I wonder if our hope, intellect, and technical skill-set will be enough to help get us working together and figuring out how to survive.

The issues, technologies, motivations, and politics are complicated and debatable the deeper you look.   But, at the heart of it all, the future of both our planet and our humanity are at stake.   A timeline course of action is critical.   If you can't backup your beliefs with factual, scientific proof, then it's time to face the facts at hand and get real.   Our earth's temperature is currently in a warming phase (should be no argument from anyone) and our burning fossil fuels (in any way) increases the rate at which the both global temperature and pollution are rising.   If any belief comes into this - I still believe that much can be done to reduce and slow down our negative earthly impact, but time is running out.

I plan on doing my best to not only kick (ok, some of the older and more wrinkled) butt on the water in the next decade but also to seek out a more sensible, no nonsense action plan and get involved.   Even if the journey begins with just my one, single vote.

Giddy-up.



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      March 5th       Always in search of a safer and more effective sunscreen.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun.   It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye.   Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer.   Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer.

The first line of defence in protecting your body from the harmful rays of the sun is to wear clothing, including a wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses with a UV coating.   Clothing reduces sunburn and UV risk by about 27% according to the EWG or The Environmental Working Group.   (SPF enhanced clothing can be more helpful but repeated washings will reduce SPF effectiveness.)

Sunscreens are products usually combining two to six ingredients that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.   Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.   Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.   These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.   Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.   There are a number of on line concerns raised about these ingredients that can be somewhat confusing and alarming when deciding as to what can be safely applied to your skin regarding your health.   Google harmful sunscreen ingredients for starters.

Some of these products are absorbed through the skin and because of that raise safety concerns.   But the Skin Cancer Foundation says that sunscreen products, and specifically the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, are safe and effective when used as directed.   That said I chose a sunscreen that likely doesn't use questionable chemistry.   It's worth looking into what's said about these ingredients both on-line and from your dermatologist, doctor, or pharmacist who are all qualified and knowledgeable sources.

All on-line information about the top 10 best or worse of anything is always open to question and with regard to sunscreens should be professionally verified by your (doctor) or agencies like Snopes.com that fact checks urban myths and claims made by (advertisers) looking to make money (at our expense).

In particular windsurfers and all of our colleagues who kite, surf, SUP, whatever, should not only use sunscreens and protective clothing but should also get their skin checked by qualified doctors on a regular basis.   The worst of the skin cancers is melanoma, and it has a high morbidity rate.   Actinic keratosis (AK) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are slow growing and can be removed more easily when caught in time.   If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes very difficult to treat and can be fatal.

Everyone exposed to sunlight should get their skin checked by a qualified doctor on a regular basis or at least ask about any questionable skin condition during physical examinations and check ups.   It's up to each us be our own life advocate.

Last Monday I had 24 skin irregularities zapped with liquid nitrogen (Cryotherapy) and one basal cell carcinoma removed surgically that required 5 stitches.   A bit scary.

I think any choice of a sunscreen is a personal and an important one and I hesitate to recommend or list products.   That said I currently choose to use La Roche-Posay Cream, 60 SPF, Anthelios XL and follow the instructions on the package.   Another that caught my attention is BullFrog (WaterArmor Sport InstaCool SPF 50+ spray) that has continued SPF protection promised on its package after water immersion.   Cautionary advice - avoid inhaling sprays.

BTW, I Googled >>Does neoprene stop sunburn<< and it pretty much seems that UV rays cannot penetrate neoprene, even as thin as 1 mm.   There are high SPF vests, rash guards, surf clothing, etc. that help protect us from the sun as well.   Check the label for SPF protection.   Be advised, a white T-shirt does very, very little, if anything, to prevent sunburn and UV penetration.

And, I take 2000 UI of Vitamin D daily to make up for what isn't likely being produced by my body (now pretty much safeguarded from sunlight).



      March 2nd       A second review of our progress with QiGong.   (see also February 16th)

My wife and I joined a well-qualified QiGong group in early January.   QiGong is a health practise used by the Chinese that might be compared to a kind of physiotherapy that can be employed to help heal the whole body.   Twenty-four postures are taught by our very qualified master instructor, Sifu George Picard.   The philosophy of QiGong is based on Chinese medicine that has been around for many thousands of years.   Quite simply, it is designed to help bring the body into a state of homeostasis, or perfect balance.   Once the whole body is well it can begin to heal itself.   This can be interpreted quite differently from our traditional western medicine that deals with specific treatment for specific illnesses.   (All that said, I have a deep and abiding faith in my doctor(s), our health care system, and the medications which I currently take and might need in the future.   As my T-Shirt proclaims - I'm hip to OHIP)

The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system.   It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.   Simply put, the body is put back into a healthy state.   Muscles are stretched and strengthened, the central nervous system is allowed to flow correctly, the spine is gently realigned, and deep regular breathing accompanies the 24 postures.   A generous supply of oxygen is put into the body to help with the overall healing.

We have been on the lookout for an alternate exercise, workout, or activity program.   Nancie is a cancer survivor who underwent surgery and radiation and recently suffered a nasty heart attack that resulted with a triple bypass to correct the issue.   From a physical standpoint and two months into the program we both feel better and speaking for myself I am walking faster likely because of the stretching, and chronic pain and discomfort in my ankles, knee, hip, and lower back have diminished.   I haven't needed eyedrops for the past while and my lungs are are also clear, likely from the deep breathing that accompanies the postures.   Asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis have been on-going, life-long issues for me.   We'll see how this all unfolds over the coming year.

I have to add that Nancie and I are blessed with having an amazing instructor, Sifu (master) George Picard, who holds a 7th degree black belt in Karate and is also qualified and competent in mixed martial arts.   George is a master QiGong teacher and the principal instructor in our QiGong program.   George and our other instructors lead us through the 24 postures each day and offer guidance and advice to help perfect the 24 QiGong postures on an on-going basis.   Taken to another level QiGong (and also Tai Chi) become a martial art and the postures, acupuncture points, and use of body energy become agents of defence and attack.   Karate, Jiujitsu, Judo, Taekwondo, Kung Fu and the like, are all better known examples of the martial arts that can be studied if anyone feels the need.   For me, QiGong and a stout walking stick are pretty much all I ever hope to need.

Once the forms are mastered with the help of competent instructors a consistent practice is the most important asset that can follow.   It takes about 30 days to learn the basic postures and begin to note healthful improvements, and about 100 days of practise with some supervision and correction to achieve a more healthy body.   QiGong is something that can and should be continued for as long as one lives.

Sifu George has an infectious ability to both motivate and guide our flock at whatever their level.   His advice, background, and ongoing instruction are uniquely encouraging, interesting, and motivating.   In addition to QiGong we are encouraged to learn Tai Chi, which incorporates many of the QiGong postures and puts them in motion.   The health benefits of Tai Chi are long established and have many beneficial outcomes.   The Mayo Clinic, Harvard School of Medicine, and Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre have all declared the health benefits of involvement with Tai Chi and QiGong.   There are a number of students in our class and in George's book, who are living testimonials to the benefits of QiGong and Tai Chi practises.

As a novice, and going through the Tai Chi postures and moves I am amazed at how I perceive the similarities with windsurfing footwork, body, and arm movement.

Hang loose is an old expression that's been kicking around windsurf circles since our sport began more than 40 years ago.   In my third Tai Chi class yesterday morning Sifu George had me going from standing tense to hanging loose, relaxing shoulders and butt, balancing over the body centre, being mindful of footwork, and knowing how to be strong without flexing muscles.   To me there are obvious similarities that can be put to on-water testing when we get to Cape Hatteras, NC.

QiGong and Tai Chi rely on the natural flow of energy in our central nervous system and deep breathing to help oxygenate our bodies.   Our internal organs, vascular system, central nervous system, stretched and strengthened muscles, joints, an aligned spine, are all worked on a regular basis and for me, the most obvious effect is that I feel better.   I also enjoy the quiet and relaxing daily ritual of it all alone as a solitary soul, with Nancie, and in our group of new acquaintances.

My posture and balance have also improved over the past two months.   My daily walks not only faster but are pain free.   If this beautiful weather continues the bike will be pressed into service for some long-distance treks and good hills to conquer.   I am becoming more mindful of moderating Happy Hour and eating a bit less to help keep my weight down.

All this said I am looking forward to how these two new activities will translate in some way into windsurfing improvement on Pamlico Sound, NC in just 6 weeks.

There is likely no one way to achieve good health or in accomplishing goals.   There are only ways.   These ways include diet, exercise, practise, patience, recreation, friends, a good doctor, heath insurance, the right gear, a loving partner, and so much more.   Hey, at some point we all die.   But hopefully, as Sifu George often says, maybe we can avoid spending our last five to ten years in a nursing home.

More than 85 million people reportedly practice QiGong daily in China and more than 50 organizations outside China in 29 countries are also involved in this practise.

Cheers.

Master George Picard

Grandmaster Lu Zijian at 118 years, (his enemies say he was only 113)

Some general Information about QiGong



      February 27th       Ouch.

One very polite nudge hit home.   Thank-you.

Apology.   Yesterday I should have said something like - (paragraph 7)   I need to focus on minimizing the number of sails, boards, booms, masts and boards being carried in my beloved van to maximize my time on the water.   Now there's a broad, realistic working statement of recreational scope and purpose of significant relevance that also matters in my life.

There are other many other concerns and matters of importance in my life besides windsurfing.   But this is windinsight.com, not the Washington Post or the Toronto Star.   We strive to be light and breezy and into the environment.   As a sailor and internet advocate - clean rivers, lakes, and oceans are most important for aquatic life and also good for our windy recreational pursuits.   WIS is a also perfect venue for anything relating to amount, transportation, and kind of gear we seek and use.   I guess it also all boils down to being more careful with conveying clear purpose and thinking, and avoiding any misunderstanding, especially with sensitivity and consideration to the many issues encompassing political dissent both here and abroad.

Legislators who threaten deregulation and the lessening of anything that could further increase the damage we've done to the health of our planet deeply concern me.   But on another level, here in this 17 year old pictorial attempt to keep a record of our windy day recesses and recreational pursuit selecting the right and best gear is a serious matter.   Especially with our Canadian dollar at such a low point in current international financial markets.

No one one should ever have to apologize for attitudes involving money, health care, and environmental issues.   But selfish, single minded, totally self-absorbed focuses involving dealing with windsurfing equipment should always be open to commentary and explanation.   When a carelessly written, insensitive misunderstanding occurs involving a choice in reducing windsurfing clutter and seemingly avoiding other matters of importance, I stand apologetic, red-faced, and ashamed.

Hugs.



      February 25th       What really matters.

That decision actually comes down to one question.   What matters to me?

The answer we make is a chance to do what matters most.   This might seem somewhat selfish, but consider this.   If what really matters to you is an external issue, then get involved with that issue and pursue a course of action in that resolve.

Our time here on this earth is brief.   Trust me, you get old way too quickly.   So decide what really matters.   Then do what really matters.   This thought originally came from The Lightning Notes, a wonderful and unique daily post by Caitie Whelan.   But when I just went back to try to find the original article, it eluded me.   (Definitely losing it, will have to begin noting and safekeeping exact source locations)

No problem, I pretty much remember the basic gist of it all.

So back to what matters.

Let concerned Americans figure out how to deal with their new president.   After all he's their problem.   The same goes for anyone here in Canada with any of our many problems.   Maybe, just maybe some good will come from all our turmoil and struggle.

For me, at this time in my life, it really only boils down to minimizing the number of sails, boards, booms, masts and boards being carried in my beloved van to maximize my time on the water.   Now there's a broad, realistic working statement of recreational scope and purpose.

Sails - (Ezzys) 6.8✓, (5.7), (5.0), 4.2✓, (& one more around (3.5) or so)     2 Boards✓ (Quatro FSWs) 85L & 105 L with booms and Ezzy masts.

Now relax, go figure out what all the surf-mobile will need for a safe return trip to The Outer Banks of North Carolina (loaded up for two), think about a quick stop at Duty Free, and hope for some good wind.

What matters is a choice.   Change is inevitable once a choice is made.   But it's up to us to make whatever the choice.

And, I plan on running this all by Nancie first thing tomorrow morning.




      February 22nd       One last thought before I finally shut up, totally chill, and get back to living the dream.

Belief works.

In fact it's very difficult, if not impossible, to debate anything to any check-mate, with anyone who truly believes otherwise especially when their focus is based on an alternative reference source.

Myself included.

Facts are important but when it all comes down to the wire shared dreams and beliefs will likely actualize and collectively win whatever the prize.   (Trump election - 2017)

Or take the Crusades as an example.   In fact, take the Third Crusade.

In his book, Homo Deus, Yuval Harari tells the story of John, a young English nobleman who left home to fight the muslim leader Saladin who defeated the crusader army at the Battle Of Hattin (1187 AD) and conquered the Holy City of Jerusalem.

His Holy Father, (either Pope Gregory V11 or Pope Urban 111) declared another new crusade to take back Jerusalem.

To make a long story short.   John was a devout Roman Catholic and believed that if he died during a crusade battle his soul would ascend directly into heaven.   He would immediately upon his death, however painful, begin enjoying enjoy everlasting celestial joy, starting with angelic voices, melodious harps, and radiant winged cherubs beckoning him through a magnificent golden gate.   His belief was so strong that he packed up and headed to the Holy Land to win back the Holy City of Jerusalem.   (Harari goes on to beautifully develop this story and concept over a number of pages)

John goes on to discover that his enemies, the wicked Saracens surprisingly also shared his belief.   Only they believed that the Christians were the infidels and that they (the Muslims) were doing God's will.   And they too would go to heaven if they died on the battlefield fighting the Christian Crusaders (and don't forget their bonus ante of 72 virgins).   Hmmmm?   Radical thinking?

No, just true belief.

Has anything much actually changed today?   The current war in the middle east shares some of the same beliefs as it did a thousand years ago during the crusades.

Bomb the infidels.   Strike down the allied forces attacking our homeland.   God is on our side.

The carnage continues.   The debates continue.

One political party chooses to believe that we are speeding up climate change.   The other not only holds the opposite view but denies global warming entirely, despite any evidence presented.   Scientific data and observable Pleistocene geological history tell us we have been in a global warming trend for about the past 20,000 years.   Scientific evidence tells us that burning fossil fuels accelerates the rate of climate change, much like in a greenhouse effect.   Diverse religious doctrines and beliefs confuse the issue even more with widely differing belief systems about our creation, a timeline, our purpose, our planet, and the concept of God's will.   I guess the choice is ours to make.

I get it!   I get it!   But how will it all end?   Maybe stay tuned to CNN, Fox News, SNL, The National with our own Peter Mansbridge OC, and Rex Murphy to get the very best (imo) and latest (info) on how it's all unfolding.

I'm pretty much done here.

The planet was doing just fine for the first 4.543 billion years until we came along and starting mobilizing.

10 - 4…
Imagine (John Lennon)



      February 21st       Anybody else wondering what the hell is going on?

I know weather reports are all over the place across Canada.   But here in Niagara Falls our snow blower has been sitting unused, since mid December.

In our true north, strong and free, CBC news reports an unusually warm February weather has hit most of the North West Territories.   Communities there are seeing temperatures 10 degrees warmer than normal.   As a concerned environmentalist, all of this worries me.

2017 is well on its way to being the next hottest year yet on record.   Northeast U.S. temperatures are decades ahead of global average and predicted agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier (for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole).   This is based on a study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Here in Niagara we had this kinda figured out when we decided to keep Nancie's beloved 911 totally insured and road-ready anticipating another a milder winter.   This past weekend we logged more than 300 km on the beast, in balmy 110C sunshine, with sunroof open.   Now renamed The Groundhog it not only saw its shadow, but completely ingested it through intake manifolds, 6 on the floor, and spat it out barking loudly through a beautifully tuned exhaust and high tech emissions control system.

Aside:   Our next vehicles will be electric powered and by 2020 mostly autonomous or self driven.   Sad in one way but ultimately necessary for not only our future survival but also for the health of our planet.

Back to what the hell is going on…   Climate change south of our Canadian border has more recently been rivalled with political change.   Global warming is being ignored by the current political heat in the U.S.A.   Any hope of employing any science-based, common sense steps to slow down the rate of increasing global temperatures are not only being being ignored but being given the finger by the current Trump administration, very busy in undoing their hard-earned environmental legislation this past month.

Ignore the facts, follow your beliefs, what you hear, or more simply how you feel about most anything.

You get the government that you deserve in any democracy.   That said, not my circus, not my monkey is about the only thing that comes to mind.     Except when new American environmental legislation affects areas beyond the US border, including Canada.

Deregulating controls that were created to help clean up, assist ecosystems, and help protect our environment can only speed up our ultimate demise.   Donald Trump's ending the current moratorium on coal mining leases, fast-tracking new fossil fuel proposals, supporting new fossil fuel infrastructure, and scrapping regulations including former President Obama's Clean Power Plan are all huge steps in the wrong direction.   All of his changes will set back dealing with our overall carbon contributions and world involvement with increasing the rate of climate change.

One selfish aside?   When this new US legislation kicks in our on-water windsurfing season will not only lengthen here in Niagara and be accompanied by warmer water temperatures but also will be accompanied by more wind.   Al Gore described these side effects in the 2006 film documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The background study that was presented in the film was based on scientific data and agreed on by credible scientists.   Since the early 1970s ExxonMobil has been aware that the burning of fossil fuels was most likely manner in which mankind was influencing global climate change.   But advocates and lobbyists for the oil industry, politicians, and related businesses have put a spin on all this that confuses the real issue - that our human activity involving our burning of fossils fuels is in fact speeding up the rate at which the earth is being affected.   Period.

Like others who watch the new Trump presidency unfold with his outrageous press conferences, accusations, disapproval ratings, tweets, spins, Saturday Night Live's biting satirical jabs, rants from talk show hosts, newspaper headlines, credible journalists reporting truths, major network television media broadcasts, other world leaders responding daily, and worst of all his outright lies, it seems there are many truly concerned and sane minds speaking out.   But.   The unbelievable comic-tragedy just continues on and on, day after day, week after week, like a never ending train wreck, with no apparent end in sight.

Shiza.

As a species we have come such a long way in our relatively short history on earth.   But real science that tells us that we are honestly and negatively impacting our planet and generally ignoring the truth in it all.   Forget the air we breathe or the water we drink.   Our planet earth is getting dirtier, hotter, all used up, and fast becoming less able to support our growing and abusing human population for much longer.

Renown English statesman Winston Churchill once said, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."

In addition to not having much else to say at this point I sincerely hope Winnie was right.



      February 16th       Therapeutic QiGong - a personal review & evaluation, from a novice, after just one month.

Nancie and I started doing (Peking form) QiGong (pronounced Chee Kung) in early January.   There are daily classes, qualified instructors, videos, and homework expectations at the Village Of Wellness and Healing (a martial arts studio in downtown St. Catharines).

QiGong involves learning 24 postures that ultimately work every muscle and joint in our body.   Breathing correctly is fundamental throughout the process and is strongly emphasized by our 4 instructors each week.   (Not chest breaths but rather deep stomach/diaphram based inhalations that systematically accompany each move.)

A follow-along DVD by Sifu George helps (at home) but for beginners there is no substitute for qualified instructors who demonstrate and assist in getting the postures up and working correctly for each individual.   Each participant is encouraged to perform at whatever level that suits their current ability and not over extend their limit.

(Aside:   This is nothing like what you see in Bruce Lee movies and reruns of Kung Fu (a Shaolin monk and martial-arts expert Kwai Chang Caine - played by David Carradine).   To put this in some kind of Martial Arts perspective we are just starting Junior Kindergarten in our understanding this one, of many QiGong forms.

My thoughts after 30 sessions and additional daily practises at home are as follows:

       1.   I'm loose, better stretched, and easily walking at a faster rate on old, measured daily hikes.

       2.   My balance and posture have improved.

       3.   Three long term chronic injuries are improving and the accompanying chronic pain has been noticeably reduced.

(Please note:   There are hundreds of forms of QiGong going on out there.   The Peking form is just one of them.)

With instruction, it's easy to learn and become proficient in QiGong.   Health benefits begin immediately.   Learning something like Tai Chi, that does the same thing, can be much lengthier and for some a more frustrating process.


Sifu George Picard, our qualified master teacher, talks about how QiGong (again, pronounced Chee Kung) helps to get the spine realigned through stretching, movements, and postures.   Joints, muscles, nerves, vascular, are gently urged back into their proper place and begin functioning the way they were designed.   As the body gets realigned and put back into place healing begins spontaneously.   In any event it sure feels good.

(Aside:   At this point in my current, left brain logical thinking about our internal energy and trying my best to understand QiGong and Chinese medicine I still have many questions, but here goes…   I think it's about taking in way more oxygen and along with a balanced diet, our digestive system helps to better nourish our body and promote an increased overall health.   The body can then take over with any healing needed and rebuild damage like it does when we have a cut or broken bone.   When the body is correctly adjusted energy can then get moving throughout all of our central nervous system to where it is actually designed to travel.   Our vascular system, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and internal organs, all get correctly stimulated and working together, and become reinvigorated.   Voila - our overall general health and well-being improves.   That's kinda my current personal take on it all, just one month in.   And I'm sticking with it, at least for now.   That said there's so much more to experience and learn about how our brain controlled internal and external energy actually works.)

Students of Chinese medicine and martial arts use and understand our energy force and how it flows everywhere both within and outside us.   Advanced martial arts students use that energy to balance, root, fight, defend themselves, and heal.   Demonstrations and explanations of how we can use this energy in our classes are both intriguing and useful in helping us learn, understand, and progress.   A few of the ways in which energy can be controlled and directed by Sifu George are wonderfully amazing.

Scoliosis, spinal stenosis, cancer, cancer recovery (post surgery, radiation & chemo), arthritis, coronary heart disease and recovery, sports injuries, celiac disease, immune system disorders, and a vast number of other conditions have been hugely improved and helped with QiGong.   There are many personal testimonials from both students and instructors in our sessions together about their healing and improvements which they experienced first hand.

A number of Black Belts, both men and women, in many disciplines teach and follow along as well in our sessions.   They use QiGong to help heal their injuries, to stay flexible, and to aid in staying healthy.

QiGong is a great introduction to Tai Chi as many of the basic QiGong postures translate into Tai Chi moves when the postures are joined together in continual movement.   We are both beginning with the first Tai Chi postures and movements.   Again, let me emphasize that we are at an entry level Junior Kindergarten placement in all this but should be able to advance with continued practise over the next year.

We use a number of different Tai Chi movements (Peking, Shanghi, form 4, Form 6 Yang Style, form 24, and form 26) that all employ different routines but all with postures and routines that are somewhat similar. It's estimated that there are many hundreds of forms and levels of Tai Chi.

The same is true with Karate, Kung Fu, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, and any other Martial Arts not included in this list.   They all have much the same end result.   These practises are thousands of years old and are all worthy of consideration as they have stood the test of time.   (By the way, fans are used in Martial Arts.   They are not just for cooling fair maidens on hot, sunny days,   Fans are deadly weapons designed to sever the carotid artery, stab a vital organ, or enter the nose in an upward strike to pierce the brain and kill an attacker.

There is North American medical confirmation for using Tai Chi from both the Mayo Clinic and Harvard School of Medicine…

Validation - The Mayo Clinic and Harvard School of Medicine say that Tai Chi is both meditation in motion and medication in motion.   Improvements with anxiety disorders, asthma, cancer, celiac disease, depression, high blood pressure, pain, sleep disorders, Parkinson's Disease, muscle strength, flexibility, balance, can all improved with continued use of any form of approved Tai Chi, as noted in the two links down below.

We are enjoying the slow moving, quiet, relaxing classes and especially our Sifu George Picard (multi degrees in black belt karate and much more) discussing all of the reasons behind each posture, and sharing his unique demonstrations about energy, his fascinating knowledge of Chinese history, explanations about body energy as it is used in QiGong, Tai Chi, martial arts, and Chinese medicine.

It seems that with some dedicated effort it will likely take us about three months to learn the 24 QiGong postures, and then much of a lifetime to master and perfect them.   That sounds just right for me.

It will also be interesting to see what effect all this will have with windsurfing.   (Just 2 short months away)


A report from Harvard School of medicine about the positive effects of using Tai Chi.

A report about using Tai Chi from the Mayo Clinic

Tai Chi (form 24)

A link to (local) Therapeutic QiGong studies, and more…



      February 14th       Here are three technical problems that windinsight visitors experience.

An email tally of technical problems site visitors encountered here began in earnest back in November 2014.   In total, 40 issues were received to date and kept in a side file in a Gmail account.   Site instructions like - Click On The Main Image To See Another View,   Click On The Thumbnail To Enlarge The Pic,   Entries are works in progress that take a while to edit, or Click Refresh or Reload to ensure the latest image, were all employed and rewritten occasionally to try to help people navigate through windinsight more easily.

That said, very similar email questions still continue since the site began back in 2003.   Email issues haven't changed.   And I suspect that if I get a few emails about any issue that there must be many more site visitors who experience the same problem but don't make or take the time to ask.

By the way, this isn't a complaint.   Windinsight has a life of its own.   It pulls me along at times.   As do a number of positive and encouraging emails, remarks, and personal encounters.   So I gratefully include a sincere thank-you.   Your kind words are hugely appreciated.

As the site grows in content I try to improve the instructional words and navigation of it all.   But, perhaps this site is simply becoming too large for newcomers to negotiate easily or instructional words get lost in the organizational clutter of it all.

Windinsight.com is mostly about photography that mostly focuses on windsurfing, sailing, and wandering about.   For the most part we stay true to all that.   However, grandchildren, family, photog accessories, occasional mind muddles, and travel get thrown into the mix on occasion because a camera or two are usually at hand and a part of my carry on baggage.   (Carry on baggage, hmmm, maybe that's where the mind muddles originate.)

But, getting back to the main theme and purpose of this entry - For what it's worth, an effort will be extended to try to better improve the following three visitor issues.

1.   You keep changing your journal entries, why, how come, it's odd that…)  (4 emails)

reponse:  Journal entries are actually written in an HTML construction.   Windinsight is not a newer template style webpage.   It helps me to actually see the entry as it currently shows here to both edit and revise the thinking and writing.   You can see what I mean if you do a Page Source or View Page Source by right or left clicking your mouse on this page, or by checking the View options in your Tool Bar above to find View Page Source and clicking on that.   This site is written in good old fashioned HTML which is sort of like working in another language and as such is more difficult to edit than an essay written by hand, typewriter, or with a Word Processor.   When an entry (like this) is actually up, posted, and public it becomes a real copy and can be much more easily reread, tweaked, and corrected.

2.  The pictures are very small when I download them.   (27 emails, a few phone calls, and a number of conversational encounters)

response:   There are 2 pictures.   (1) The small thumbnail and (2) A larger linked picture.   Click on the small thumbnail and when the 2nd larger picture shows, save that larger one.   If you get a pic with an "a" (like 16lk999a.jpg) - it's the small thumbnail.   (The larger pic is recorded as 16k999.jpg)   Sometimes "aa" (16lk999aa.jpg) is added to link to a third, different (bevelled) thumbnail.

You can do a right mouse click (Apple) "View Page Source" where there are pictures to see how the HTML table works linking thumbnails to larger pics.

I keep most original files for a few weeks and if the pic is about you it's freely available to you on request.

3.  You don't change the main picture for many days.   (9 emails and a number of conversational encounters)

response:  The picture is almost always changed daily or a message of explanation is posted.   Your computer holds on to older images in it's cache.   Click refresh, reload, or to clear the cache and get the latest image.   Voila!

Hopefully this helps a bit.

Cheers!



      February 12th       Converting old slides (and more) to digital.jpg

There are a number of old slide, photo, and photo negative conversion scanners available at Camera stores (like Henry's).   These electronic devices will help remake our old analogue photo memories into new digital delights.

Analogue to digital.   Step right up.   Those huge seldom opened boxes, full of slide carousels and trays, stored in the basement or crawl space, can be eliminated.   Those old photos can be converted to digital and be readily seen again on your computer screens or used on current media like FaceBook.   (Anyone remember the noisy slide projector faltering in forward or jamming the last time it was set up many years ago while someone in the audience rudely dozed off in the darkness?)

I was able to convert a few of the old slides and early photos using my Canon 5D2 DSLR and a fast lens.   But the process was slow, and the image quality was sometimes disappointing.   It meant setting up and hand-holding my trusty DSLR camera then taking pictures of old photos or slide projections on the wall.   Next a download and a Photoshop edit.   And lastly converting the result into a saved digital image.   As said, the overall process was was both a chore, sometimes iffy, and hugely time consuming.

So we went shopping for a slide and photo scanner.   The most worthwhile and affordable one, in my opinion, was the Epson V550 Photo.   See pic below.   There are better ones with more sophisticated software but at additional cost.   Many have all of the adjustments needed to edit and fix slide quality.   But for me, with a background working knowledge involving Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop, the more affordable Epson V550 (currently on sale) was a much better value.   We added the 4 year extended & transferable, over the counter, exchange warranty, just in case.   Our lawyer just assured us that the warranty transfer is already registered in our Last Will & Testament.

Some older slides were badly scratched and corrupted with unknown contamination from sitting around in storage for near half a century.   These damaged problems needed Lightroom & Photoshop editing tools to help clean, crop, repair, edit, improve, and reconstruct an equal or better than original picture.   Check the 2 middle before & after results below.   The first slide (before) is pictured in a Photoshop screen shot, the second pic (after) is the resulting digital.jpg Photoshop reconstruction.   Red eye in the cat was removed along with whatever contamination was in the hair, clothing, and elsewhere.

Four slides at a time in the scanner currently require about 15 - 25 minutes to clean up, covert to digital, and organize.   Photos seem to move more quickly through the Epson and editing process.   But photos as they currently exist are easier to store and handy to flip though so they are not huge, near overwhelming, storage issues.   For the time being they will be ignored and allowed to remain in their easy to access albums, all stowed in 3 boxes from the LCBO.

The Epson scanner software tools are quite easy to use and work well for the most part in resolving problems and achieving good results if anyone is unfamiliar with any other post editing software (like Photoshop).

About 50% of the slides so far were discarded because they were repetitious, deemed unflattering, or were poorly composed in some way.   This quick discretionary move helps to speed up the overall process.

I suspect it will take about 6 - 10 months at a current weekly rate of about 24 to 36 slides to process all of the 50 full carousel trays.   This includes a few late night binge editing sessions.   But who knows, it could take years.   Especially while redoing some of our most precious early family, and old windsurfing memories.

All newly created digitalized work will be permanently recorded on DVDs and either mailed to appropriate family & friends, in large, plain brown envelopes, or warmly given as Birthday and Christmas gifts.   All slides, assorted trays, and the noisy struggling Kodak carousel projector and screen, will be forever tossed to make room for playing indoor lawn darts, and creating a small roller skating/Zumba area in the basement.


editing a damaged slide above (before & after)
(Click the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics)



      February 10th       The largest response in windinsight hasn't been wind or surf related.

Our trip to Newfoundland a few years ago has been the biggest acclaimed draw since the site began in terms of emails received and FB response.

St. John's, Nfld, is along the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, on the northeast of the Avalon Peninsula, in southeast Newfoundland.

Nancie and I rented a small apartment in downtown St. John's and took day trips in a rental Chev Malibu, in all directions for 9 days.   We also spent time carefully exploring St. John's in restaurants, pubs, museums, parks, historic buildings, etc. and wandering through the sometimes steep streets like all the other tourists.

Having an undergraduate Geological background along with strong, personal interests in continental drift and glacial history I was quite overwhelmed at times.   The rocks on Signal Hill were identical and a part of those located in Morocco, North Africa.   Fields of boulders left behind by the last receding glacier were on our left and right just kilometres driving out of St. John's.   Central Newfoundland is actually the northernmost part of the Appalachians.   (The personal list goes on and on.)   (Source) - The link below (prepared by Jim Cornish, Gander, Newfoundland, 2003, Gander Academy).   Try taking the pop quiz test after reading his concise publication!

Being in our most eastern province was both a photographer's paradise and a rock hound's dream come true.

In short, our trip also resonated with website regulars & day trippers and FaceBook friends when they came upon daily entries and the pics we took.

The very readable link below fills in some of the geological background I mentioned, and the pics help bring it all back, at least for me.

Aside: Nancie's cardiologist, cardiac surgeon, and vascular surgeon have given us the green light to travel.   Our Out Of Province Insurance kicks in again for the most part in fewer than three months.   We'll be good to go with both renewed coverage and peace of mind.

More immediate in our future this spring is to pick up where we left off in France and Italy.   Beautiful Labrador is on the short list as well.   Our travel will be limited to countries with good and affordable hospitals, just in case.   Wintering in the southern US is currently off limits for us what with the many American 6 figure Health Care For Profit horror stories that we've heard or read.   Sigh.

A page of our pics.

A brief Geological History (with a pop quiz) Of Newfoundland.


(Click the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics)



      February 6th ~ There was a fin positioning strategy that helped get the Mistral Challenge Flex to working well.   Back in the day.

Tinker Tails kinda came and went, like Y2K.

A wave sailor from Hawaii, surnamed Tinker, was responsible for the original design that really seemed to work impressively.   Mistral bought the rights thinking it would turn out to be a money maker.   Yup, yup…   Uh-huh.

I had one the first models.   It was an LCS- Carbon edition (below) that came with two tail sections.   The tails sleeved mid board into a slot and then secured with three recessed bolts up front, and two recessed bolts and springs aft, set between the tail and underside that allowed the tail to flex.  (below)  Hugely impressive.   I actually swooned and fainted when I first saw one at the Boat Show.

(Aside):   This fibreglass love affair quickly began to fail when I totally lost one of the attachment bolts, for the tail section, in the sand, Oceanside in Avon.

(Please continue) - The shorter tail worked best as a 264 cm 80 L board.   But that control was because the leading edge of the fin was directly under the rear footstrap.   When the longer tail was installed (now a 280 cm board) the fin had to be repositioned in the same place relative to the back footstrap or the board was a bit difficult to turn.   This repositioning was all a eureka adjustment once that secret placement was revealed.   And, when sailing, it was also necessary to really weight up the back foot with the longer tail to get the board to turn quickly.   Once that all got figured out it was a fun ride in the waves.

A carbon fibre tail became available shortly after I lost one of the attachment bolts while changing tails.   The board, as originally purchased, was a bit on the heavy side with all of the built in flex technology.   Sure, it was smooth, with the extra weight and all, but with a carbon fibre tail it was reported to handle - way better.   However, with that said, and owning an over inventory, close out board, then retailing brand new for around $400 in its second year of production, I was reluctant to toss out $800 for new tails.   The FOR SALE sign was quickly pressed into service.

Chalk it up to experience, and move on.   A young windsurfer from Quebec who demo'd and loved the board was last seen heading toward Trois Rivières.

Anyway, I was also deep into Seatrends for those few years as well and did't much miss the Mistral Challenge Flex with it's two Tinker Tails, three bolts, three springs, and extra screwdriver that was mostly hiding or left lost somewhere from the last time.

The 90s brought on the new CHS and carbon generation of Mistral Ecstasy, Energy, and Explosion.   Another new direction.

Hooked, and hooked in all over again.


(Click the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics)



    (corrected)   February 5th ~ Snakes on sails, Tinker Tails, and The Canadian Hole (Haulover) .   Circa later 1880s

We believed the numerous banded snakes that we encountered on Pamilco Sound were poisonous water moccasins but in fact they were thankfully just non venomous water snakes.   That said, these water snakes were fearless, could move very quickly, and would chase anyone if confronted.   The venomous cottonmouth and copperhead snakes (we learned much later from Brenda and Albert) were located in the swampy area near the Avon Lighthouse.

The Mistral Tinker Tail (actually named the Challenge Flex or the Flex Tail) was a great board.   It came with two tails, making the board either an 8 ft. - 8 in. (264 cm) or 9 ft. - 2 in. (280 cm).   It was a bit of a hassle to change tails, especially if the board was wet and in sand.   But that said the ride was smooth, flexy in the chop, stable, and fun in higher winds, chop, and waves.   Lost one the springs and it's recessed bolt Oceanside, Avon, NC. This occurred mid October, doing a tail switch when the wind dropped.   Using the other two bolts near the outside rails held just fine for our last few days of the trip.   It took a few months to get the replacement parts.   And we learned soon after that, future production was in question. The Tinker Tail boards only lasted one for one more sailing season and then were cleared out for 80% off the price I paid.   Bummer.

The Canadian Hole, still located between Avon and Buxton, NC, was always hugely populated with windsurfers in the 80s.   The parking lot quickly filled on windy days.   Cars, vans, and trucks lined the shoulder of Highway 12 and stretched on and on to accommodate overflow parking through November end and again beginning in early April.   Our beloved metallic silver-grey '86 Dodge Ram Van (aka the milk truck) can be seen in the grassy foreground with a Thule storage box atop.   Out on the Sound, it was a short tail & 3.7m2 day dodging others in the heavy traffic, as I recall.

Beth and Maggie were with me on this trip and we stayed and also sailed Oceanside a few times.   I vaguely remember a worm, in a now long discarded tequila bottle, that was about the only thing that avoided being consumed one late night.   Oh to be 47 again.

Those were the days, my friend.   We hoped they'd never end…


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      January 31st ~ Making the connections work now, and way back then.

For reasons that I do not fully understand, working with website HTML and jibing are at times very similar.

I can carefully examine HTML tables that I recently constructed or reconstructed here for windinsight.com and surprise - one works and one doesn't.

Somehow using older table construction continues to be supported by new browsers like Firefox, Safari, or Windows, but sometimes when I type with newer font HTML constructions and upload it, most everything shows wonky and becomes strewn about helter skelter.

I suspect new commands and upgraded HTML, with newer or different font styles could be to blame, but thankfully, when it finally works for whatever the reason, the dark of it all is light enough for me, (an Amish expression).   If I do a copy & paste using an old table and everything goes back to normal and looks pretty good, then voila, who cares.   Kinda like driving a car or flying an airplane and not really understanding the mechanics or aerodynamics involved.   Turn the right knob or push the right pedal and staying put on the road in traffic or landing at an airport works just fine.   Just do this and that will happen.   Turn the steering wheel clockwise and the vehicle goes right, a simple cause and effect.   Nice.

Back in the day I completely rewired my High School 1950 MGTD into a new Volvo engine.   No store bought wiring harness was used.   It was a one new wire at a time job.   The rebuilt 1959 B16B Volvo engine we rebuilt ourselves was a Bosch electric, Swedish built, negative grounded, 6 volt, 1.6 L, 4 cyl. beast, that was being transplanted into a positive ground, made in England roadster, with Lucas electrics, and 12 volt circuitry.   It took 2 electric fuel pumps to keep it from starving at higher speeds.   The end result worked perfectly and included a new 12 volt Bosch starter and a rebuilt 12 volt Lucas generator for the Volvo implant.   The whole restoration took a little more than 10 years from 1963 - 1974. The engine was painted vermillion red, with yellow wiring, and new chrome or nickel plating everywhere on the 120+hp power plant, near blinded the eye in direct sunlight.   It was a big deal back then, just like our beloved surfmobile, gear, and windsurfing moves are today.

Undoing all of the Lucas electrics in the vintage MG proved to be a true blessing.   Lucas had been crowned King Of Darkness by most everyone owning a British car in the 1550s, 60s, and 70s.   (A 12V Lucas generator, that powered the mechanical tachometer, was pretty much all of the original electrics that remained onboard.)

Returning to the main thrust.   Our human body is also wired.   If in doubt check the large diagrams of the nervous system next time you visit a chiropractor, physiotherapist, medical doctor, Qi Gong class, or whoever deals with trying to heal the human body.

Like this old website (2003) - this old body (1940), fails to make connections work from time to time.   Like how a newly constructed HTML table sometimes fails, starboard jibes in high winds and rough choppy water mostly elude me.

I can patch the day with waterstarts but the completion of a turn hangs out there like a near win on a lottery ticket, echoing a loud, resounding Close only counts in horseshoes Johnsie!

This past month I have been working at rewiring my central nervous system, trying to undo the years of damaging error likely imprinted into the mind and muscle memory of this vintage framework that miraculously transports me while windsurfing about.   Visualization after watching instructional videos, and dancing about on my simulator are helping with the reprogramming of it all.   But in all honesty, taking this clear focus and mental/physical workout onto Pamlico Sound, NC this coming spring, with the sincere hope of fulfillment, plus working at it day after windy day, for two whole weeks with helpful colleagues, will be another hopeful beginning in the holistic perfection of it all.

Ok, my idea of holistic perfection is staying dry in a turn, and not necessarily looking good.

Like all three of my old MGs and two Austin Healeys, I have a problematic Lucas electrics genetically coded in my UK surname spirit - (Grant).   That said, my mother was a german Werner (Donna Elizabeth Werner) to be exact.   That means there is some german Bosch electrics imprinted in my DNA as well.   I made the system wiring change work in the MGTD/Volvo, now it's up to me to heal myself.

Gentlemen, start your engines.






Click the thumbnails above to enlarge the scans above.



      January 28th ~ It's all about focus

Most anyone who has enjoyed some form of success had employed a sense of focus.

Get focused.   Focus.   Stay focused.

For windsurfing the focus may be sailing 12 months out of the year regardless of where you live.   Or turning your head to where you want to go whether it be heading upwind or in the completion of a jibe.   The body will follow where the head leads.   It may take some instruction or trial and error footwork to complete that elusive turn but at some point, way back in the day, some windsurfer jibed successfully.   Our sport immediately advanced by that single move.   One step at a time.   Another check mark for the old adage that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step .   Today, we still focus our hopes on making every turn in every condition.

We watch.   Seeing is believing.   Believing is seeing.   Windsurfers currently acquire windsurfing gear long before mastering turns, jumps, and riding waves because this journey that we take and share is the great fun of it all.   We know when watching others and seeing their success that eventually we will achieve those all those moves as long as we focus, and practice, and keep at it.   Just, never, never give up.   Not ever.

The January/February 2017 issue of Windsurfing dedicated a number of articles in their magazine to FOCUS.   It contains inspiring testimonials and accomplishments from windsurfers who focussed and persisted and succeeded though many difficulties and challenges.   In the final analysis in their getting there a refocus and persistence paid off for them.

Visualization can be a serious tool.   Three groups of basketball players were compared.   One group practised shooting free shots for a month, the second practised visualizing making free shots for the same time.   The third did nothing.   When compared, the group that visualized making the shots were just 1% behind their (on the court and actually practising) counterparts.

This indicates that practising shooting free throws provides only a 1% greater improvement over those who visualized the move.   Similar basketball studies have been successfully repeated not only with shooting hoops, but also in other sports where visualization has been shown to work.   The Huffington Post reported on June 17th, 2011 that mental imaging or visualization has been employed by sports legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tiger Woods and pitcher Roy Halladay to improve their performance and help them to achieve their personal best.

Several of the basketball studies about visualizing shooting hoops have even resulted in the visualization group doing better than those actually practising free throws on the floor.

Focus can be a significant tool in anyone's life in helping them work through and achieving most any goal.

By the way, quitting isn't an option.   In fact quitting can become a bad habit that begets more failure.   Yes, we can fail our way to success but this failure is only a temporary step that includes working in another direction refocussing, and reworking the outcome with new or simpler strategies.

One step at a time.   Focus.   Glide that back foot out of the foot strap and step softly onto the leeward rail.   Focus   Turn your head and keep looking at the exit of the turn.   There you go.   Eight steps left.   [Carpenters singing softly in the background]   [Volume builds slowly]   You've only just begun…

Visualization shooting baskets.

Another good one - Visualization vs. reality - shooting baskets.

Carpenters singing - We've Only Just Begun   (maybe open a new tab & play this during a second reading if you're older than 60)

Click the thumbnail above to enlarge the pic above.


Another good 10 step gybing program with a visual video aid



      January 25th ~ Looking back to December 28th, 2013

    After watching the loveable movie Sideways and being captivated by the deeply touching soliloquy from Miles (Paul Giamatti) I fondly remember that all this somehow came to mind…

A play in one act, one scene, one paragraph, one shared thought, one mutual hope, and featuring the two of us, the Grants…

Nancie:   Can I ask you a deeply personal question, John?

John:   Sure.

Nancie:   Why are you so in to Windsurfing?

John:   [laughs softly, a soft piano ballad begins]

Nancie:   I mean, it's like a real serious thing with you.

John:   [continues laughing softly]

John:   Uh, I don't know, I don't know.   Um, it's a hard skill to master, for me, as you know.   Right?   It's uh, it's imbalanced, temperamental, usually short of wind.   It's, you know, it's not a survivor sport like skiing or tennis, which can just go anywhere in snow or a flat surface and uh, thrive even when all else is neglected.   No, windsurfing needs constant care and attention, and focus.   You know?   And in fact it can only improve in these really specific, little, tucked away open beaches.   Shortboards for me in heavy chop or steep waves can be so damned temperamental.   But.   Um, it's,   [pause]   it's just the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling activity on the planet.   It takes a lifetime to get your fill, and then, just maybe…

Nancie:   Then how about South Padre Island for February, together.   Just you and me and maybe get lost in the high wind and endless runs on open flat, warm, water…

John:   [sighs]   Maybe.   Let me think about it.   [pause]   Might need a new Garmin and maybe CAA in case the van chokes.   Maybe stop by Graceland along the way.   [long mindful pause]   Ok.

[They embrace and kiss, music fades, cut, slowly, and softly cross dissolve to black]


I like my version above way better than the one I kinda stole from the movie Sideways.   Please watch this very short clip…

I somehow ended up with an for award for my part in all this as it eventually played out.
(Click the thumbnail above to enlarge the pic)



        January 24th   Finding something worthwhile.

Funny how, when you search you find.

Persistence and faith will always reveal something new and needing.   Most of the time.

My morning ritual is a haphazard start up that can begin anywhere from around 6:00 a.m. to around 8:30 a.m.   Read, search, stretch, coffee, Google some more, walk, tidy up, birdwatch, whatever.   But always a search of some kind.   Sometimes the search is loosely based on whatever good read is at hand, or a late night movie that had me captivated or puzzled, or an involvement of a friend who's caring enough to share their eureka moment.

Aside:   I apologize for the rather flippant ending to the last entry.   But it will likely stay at this point.   Hopefully, it won't come to any sizeable fruition because an explanation to our tax accountant could prove embarrassing and having to pay income tax on all those $10 bills stashed in a secret mad money windsurfing envelope would most definitely urk me to no end.   Plus returned comments with participation awards would reveal a deep, dark, crack in what's left of my once keenly disciplined educational focus.

So, this morning, in all good faith, it was a toss up between EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon - the alleged communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices.   OK, last night I watched Michael Keaton in the 2005 Thriller/Supernatural movie - White Noise) OR Revisiting the link - The Lightning Notes (Caitie Whelan) that daughter Maggie thankfully emailed.

It was an easy first choice going to Lightning Notes (linked below) and read a few of Caitie's archived and uplifting messages.   I particularly liked - The Truth About Bananas.   Whelan wrote about ripening a green banana - Put the green banana alongside a ripe banana.   Check back in after a bunch of hours and that green banana will have become what it had in it to become.   It will have ripened gorgeously, yellowed where it was green, sweetened where it was bitter.   It will have risen to the company it kept.

Nice.   She goes on to add - The company we keep plays a part, and no small one, in our ripening, rotting, or staying forever green.

With that in mind I was quickly reminded of the love I hold dear in seeking the company of my optimistic windsurfing congregation.   A highly motivated congregation of physically fit and highly energized wind-crazed and adrenalin seeking surfheads.

For the most part communicating with the dead is on a low level wave length for me.   But I must admit the concept had me somewhat intrigued for the 91 minutes in which the film rambled on with Dr. Who like injections to help keep you awake.

Super easy looking back.   I choose wet noise over white noise in a heartbeat.


The Lightning Notes   (Main Page - with a link to the Archives)

White Noise (Michael Keaton) - Trailer



        January 23rd   On The Road, again…

Back in the late 50s I started reading Jack Kerouac's - On The Road (1957)

It was one of those novels that meandered across America with no apparent plan.   In '05, the book was acclaimed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 - 2005.   It took me some 40 years to finish it.

It also took me a long time to finish reading Ulysses.   James Joyce was employing a stream of consciousness, also known as interior monologue, a literary device or narrative mode that depicts the many thoughts and feelings which pass through the author's mind as the novel unfolds.   Yawn.

That said, I eventually enjoyed reading both books, but as a young person I was looking for a message, a lesson, a purpose, a centrefold, or at least some kind of motivation.   When none appeared in either novel I lost interest and turned to Napoleon Hill's Think And Grow Rich, or a Coles Notes, or Trigonometry for Dummies to help me with an upcoming exam cram.   Something meaningful to help get me one of the family cars for the weekend.   Something very pragmatic in other words.   Hey, it worked.

And like so many other books these two followed me through the years in a cardboard box with old year books, a few near brilliant undergrad essays, poems, a still unfinished manuscript, and a dozen or so resumes.

Ulysses took until the winter of 1998 to finish.   On The Road about 2 years later.   Their writing was definitely good literature.   Their purpose made better sense it seemed if we projected ourself into story characters and ask ourselves, what would I have done in their situation?

What also struck me was the simple fact that life here in Niagara Falls or anywhere in Wainfleet for that matter, was pretty much the same as life in Joyce's or Kerouac's world.   Different characters, different geography, etc. but all of the intrigues, relationships, mistakes, situations, whatever, are pretty much the same as they are anywhere else in the world.

Daughter Maggie sent me a link to The Lightning, a blog written by Caitie Whelan where the author talked about Movement In Every Direction.   Whelan wrote - life is about movement, but it doesn't have to be forward to be valuable.   She goes on to say - there's wisdom on the side that won't be found, can't be found on the main road.

We have to value and learn from the detours, sidesteps, and backfalls, as much as the forward charge.   Or maybe, in other words, a personal vision that I still hold dear - we can fail our way to success.

I know this point might be arguable to some degree or another and I accept the notion that what works for one may not work for another.

We can beat our selves up with any number of issues affecting our lives, and blame others for interfering or causing our situation to be what it is.   But ultimately it comes down to the fact that it is up to each us to make and get on with our lives, accept whatever shortcomings, defects, and deficiencies we possess, (and please forgive these words from Jerome Kern's 1936 song, maybe even sing it aloud if you know it) - pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

Keep reading.   Please.

Money doesn't necessarily guarantee or buy happiness.   Friends can't always be there when you need them.   Our governments sort of help and take care of some of our needs but ultimately can't be trusted.   But when all is said and done we need to _____________________   (complete this thought in up to 5000 words, legibly printed or typed & double spaced on standard 8.5 X 11, good quality 3 ring lined or plain copier paper, and forward it to me by February 28th)

Include your response, along with $10 cash, in a self-addressed, stamped envelope, (mailed to me) and your submission will be graded, acknowledged, and somehow acclaimed if deemed worthy.

Shiza.

I could become wealthy, praise worthy, and maybe even cherished doing things like this.



        January 21st   Toes in the water, feet in the sand, and quite literally grounded…

Many windsurfers, kiteboarders, and surfers, have long been known to want to sail barefoot in spite of the dangers that exist below the surface, hidden from view.   Wearing rubber booties makes sense when shells, glass, and metal debris scattered on lake and ocean bottoms threaten serious cuts on feet.

The moon stays put in it's orbit around earth.   We stay put in our orbit around the sun.   Ocean tides come and go because of the gravitational force of the moon on our planet.   In addition to our earth having a negative charge it also has a polarity (magnetic field).   Energy.   The northern lights, lightning, and electrons everywhere. There's external energy all around and internal energy all through us.   Energy that might be easily accessed and harnessed in helping anyone to heal.

Having some knowledge about these facts, I watched the documentary video linked below.   In turn, as the story unfolded, I was moved not only by the simplicity of the focus but also the likelihood that bare feet might be a part of an answer so many of us search for for a host of reasons.   Rubber prevents us from being grounded.   For me, successfully jibing barefoot might be involved and included in some kind of personal salvation that's being unfortunately deferred until our spring trip south to Cape Hatteras, NC.   Will just have to wait impatiently for April and see if this works.

Take some time and have a watch.   Grounding has been shown to be helpful for all sorts of painful and debilitating conditions.   Try to keep an open mind.   Nothing to lose except maybe those rubber shoes…

Another consideration.   Earthing.   Becoming gounded…



        January 18th   Another view from my eggcup…

Everyone wants to help their children take shape.   And for the first 18 - 20 years we help feed, clothe, shelter, and encourage or push our kids through school, a variety of activities, a home/work ethic, with both a balance of freedom and discipline of sorts, maybe a political and religious bent, and most of the rest of that which we feel is our responsibility to convey, as parents.

And then it takes another decade or so for our children to stop blaming us for their confusion and misguided upbringing and try to sort through and figure out their own lives.   This cycle has repeated itself throughout the universe for countless millennia.

What worked for us as individuals or parents doesn't necessarily work for our kids or anyone else for that matter.   (i.e. I provided our children with windsurfing lessons at an early age, from a competent instructor.)

I'm also pretty certain that sometimes parenting, upbringing, whatever, works out perfectly, and everything unfolds right on.   In my professional life I noted that some children actually go from being amazing adolescents directly into perfect adulthood without a hitch and head for life's finish line, with baton firmly clutched in hand, running at full tilt, accompanied by throngs of cheers from everyone in the bleachers.

And for others it can take much or most of a lifetime trying to get their lives figured out.

I love to watch our grandkids experience a reflective moment or look at an occasional photo of them and wonder about what they're actually thinking at that moment.   (Daughter Beth took the photo below.)

I love to listen to them talk and give verbal shape their thoughts, their arguments, triumphs, justifications, and moments of apology.   Sometimes that moment can be unpleasant when they have to admit wrong doing, or say what their elders want to hear, or refuse to submit and face whatever the consequences might be for that decision.   More often than not it seems that in time a heartfelt appreciation of sorts is acknowledged.

As adults, we can look back and remember that we went through all of that at some point in our early lives.   And somehow, we survived, in spite of our mistakes, and wrongheadedness.   For the most part.

And yes, there are times that I would love to return to a time, moments before our eldest daughter was born and start our lives again.   Knowing what I know now.

Yes, things might be different.   But would they actually be any better?

Without the challenges they faced growing up how sure can I be that our children, or us, for that matter, would be any the better for having their parents be different people in their/our upbringing.

Time quite simply doesn't work that way.   We do get a few second chances to right our wrongs but in all likelihood we are pretty much hard wired to continue to make most of the same right, wrong, good, and bad, choices time and time again.   That's probably why our marriage vows included the to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.   Wow.

In his Essay on Criticism Alexander Pope best summed it up by saying, "To err is human, to forgive divine."   As simple or difficult as this may sound it could be all that anyone could hope for.

Life is good.



        January 12th   Maybe an indefinitely prolonged windsurfing life is in our immediate future…

I'm currently a huge fan of bestselling author Professor Yuval Noah Harari.   He wrote Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind (2014) and his recent book Homo Deus is a most fascinating sequel.

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams, and nightmares that accompany our human will to overcome death and create artificial life.   Sapiens showed us where we came from.   Homo Deus shows us where we're going.

Harari points out the fact that we are living longer, healthier lives thanks to improvements in diet, exercise, health care, medicine, controlling disease, bacteria, viruses, cancer, etc., and being able to implant knees, hearing aids, visual devices, major organs, and the like.   Wars are actually fewer and smaller so far, this includes battle deathcount when compared to the last century.   Safer and self-driving cars have and will result in a huge reduction of fatal traffic accidents.   The list goes on.

Google has recently started a company called Calico whose stated mission is to solve death.   Presiding over Google Ventures Investment Fund is Bill Maris.   Maris believes that it is possible to live to be 500.   Whoa.   The questions begin.   How much will it cost?   When can a 500 year old think about retirement?   Can a marriage survive 500 years?   What about the kids' inheritance?   And, a list of challenging inquiries has only started.

Clinics, hospitals, Health Care Centres, are emerging throughout the world promising a younger, more beautiful looking, more vital, healthier you.   Anything from stem cell treatments to critically monitoring body health and much more.   Maybe even some snake oil involved is some of the hopeful procedures so be careful if you're in the eternity market.   Hey, history is full of Fountain Of Youth stories.   We want to live forever, death is the enemy, and the possible reality of all this hype is currently huge with testimonials, hope, new scientific discoveries, and optimism.   Life enhancement advertisements can be read that target wealthier clients and can be found in upscale magazines like The Robb Report (August 2016) that also advertise million dollar cars, luxury watches, jewelry, homes, exotic vacations, and the like.   The right to live a longer, healthier life comes at a price it seems.

Continuing on with Professor Harari and looking back to the end of the Second World War.   In 1945 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.   It states that the right to life is humanity's greatest and most fundamental value.

To add to this the American Declaration of Independence guarantees the right to the pursuit of happiness. Note, it's not the right to happiness but the pursuit of happiness that's the operative guarantee.

Life and happiness.   Who could ask for anything more?   But, it's important to note the point in all of this is - that the right to life and the pursuit of happiness is entirely up to each of us, with no guarantees.   Being able to afford the medical interventions is the first consideration.   Being able to enjoy an extended life is another separate issue entirely.

So, when do we have to hang up our neoprene booties and let go of our beloved windsurfing gear?   Something to think about.

With about 70% of Harari's book left to digest and snow in the more distant forecast the answer for me is still in question.

With an unknown amount of time and life remaining I take everything pretty much as it comes.   My new Ezzy sails, masts, and extensions are as much a leap of faith as anything.   Several current therapies for a few physical discomforts in my life are another.   At this point, my windsurfing quest and all the joy and happiness it brings will begin again, fully engaged, this April, 2017.   Fingers crossed.

With some luck Nancie and I will also begin travelling once again, somewhere near where we left off two years ago, with no hassle Out Of Province Health Care Insurance this coming spring.

But to live for another 425 years is neither in my wallet nor anywhere in my long distance thinking.   That said, is anyone looking to buy great 4.2m2 and 3.7m2 Ezzy Wave Panthers in 2018?

One year at a time Cher Ami, one year at a time.   ONBOARD 2020 is modus operandi since turning 76.

Bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd, 78, attributes her youthful looks to diet & exercise
and will soon be able to so much more with drugs, according to scientists.   (And, lots more…)


Please click the thumbnail above to enlarge the pic…



        January 12th   Windsurfing and The Theory of General Relativity.

In outer space, beyond our atmosphere, are billions and billions of planets, stars, and galaxies, all held together in a vast universe.   Physicist Carlo Rovelli noted that Hubble telescope has recorded galaxies in all directions beyond ours throughout the universe with hundreds of billions of suns like ours and the majority of suns have thousands of billions of planets about the same size as ours.

Gravity, time, light, and matter are somehow working together in an expanding universe following laws of physics that we humans have been slogging away at trying to understand it all or in part for centuries.

Ancient cultures built pyramids and stone structures that helped show the positions of the stars and our sun had a regularity in their orbiting journeys as well as in ours.

Einstein developed two theories known as General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics that helped solve problems in our understanding of the way our universe works even though the two theories have some contradictions.   That said we can use these two theories to effectively solve many of the problems about space, time, light, particles, gravity, and matter.   Albert died working on a Unified Theory of Everything.   Today scientists including Stephen Hawking are pursuing this quest but generally agree it's a tall order to explain everything from the works of Shakespeare to the human brain and the forests and valleys of our natural world as well as resolving the contradictions existing in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.   But with only four fundamental forces there is agreement that finding a theory of everything is quite conceivable…

In his book Seven Brief Lessons In Physics Carlo Rovelli went on to describe General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in short detail.   He outlines the architecture of the cosmos, elementary particles, quantum gravity, probability and the heat from black holes.   Rovelli went on to include general relativity as a near perfect creation which explains that the force of gravity actually arises from the curvature of both space and time and includes it as one of those quintessential creations much like Mozart's Requiem, Homer's Odyssey, The Sistine Chapel, and Shakespeare's King Lear.

What struck me after reading the book was the way humans fit into this huge picture.   Rovelli describes us as stardust.   We are a sentient composition of all those outer space particles, atoms, molecules and the like.

I am pretty sure that windsurfers mostly understand the nature of gravity, time, and the curvature of space.   Rovelli revealed this likelihood clearly when he wrote in the first chapter of his book as follows… The gravitational field is not defused through space; the gravitational field is that space itself.   An entity that undulates, flexes, curves, and twists………where the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and sway like the surface of the sea.

Now, with that in mind let's slip into an atomic wetsuit, shoulder our quarky board, and go nail all of those infinite jibe considerations kinda like in that gravity, space, time continuum grid shown below for starters.   (Note too that in the equation   E = MC2   that E = Eric and MC represents a derived coefficient for Much Chop charged with energy generated times the speed of light squared.   (Btw, UV coated sunglasses, carbon fibre board shorts, and lead lined PFDs are mandatory in deep space wave classics)

Please click the thumbnail below to enlarge the pic…



        January 5th   Keeping it simple.

The norovirus paid us a visit a few days ago.   Nothing like a bit of throwing up and all the rest of it to help get the New Year jump started.

So, for a bit more than two days it was sleep, do some laundry, forget still standing Christmas decorations, and get over it.   Actually for me it was good moment to reflect on the importance of life and living.

As for 2017 it became clear that simpler routines, mindful diet, and realistic planning all come into a lifestyle that will carry me safely and happily through the year.   Of course the routines involve cardio workouts, strength training, daily stretching, and arranging for a realistic quiver of windsurf gear.   Simple.

Photography still seems to be an integral part of an on-going joy.   To capture a reasonable composition in those things that I love always continues to make my world a better place for the most part.   So, it follows that finding lighter and less obtrusive photog gear will also be a quest so an appropriate camera can be there when those moments present themselves, as they always will.

I often start my day here on the computer, with a few thoughts in mind that sometimes need untangling.   Then the Yoga Sunrise Salutation is a great way to begin a physical wake up.   It's also a great way to break the day at noon, late afternoon, and before bedtime.   Whenever.   Aside from this I need to work my knees, ankles, back, and hips.   Miranda Esmonde-White's book Forever Painless is helping with all that.

The depth of snow and presence of ice determines whether I walk outside or head to the indoor track at our local YMCA.   Along with a brisk daily walk a workout is usually on the agenda.   Nothing too strenuous, just enough to help up the endurance for our spring windsurfing trip to Cape Hatteras, NC, just 4 months away.

I keep a few past glories close because they both remind and motivate me to continue with all this daily quest.   The high wind video (linked above) from last spring on my boards helps keep me stoked, looking forward, and eager to get going each day.

This site is a place where great memories are stored and my cluttered mind tends to get unravelled writing about the light and dark muddles that continue to sometimes cloud and distract my thinking.

What I currently possess isn't what I necessarily think I want but it's basically all that I need.   Making a list of real needs is always the beginning of a longer process that eventually brings necessary attainments into possession.   Impulsive buying is a no no.   Discuss, think, research, shop, discuss, think, then buy, more often results in less remorseful spending and help avoid wasting time and effort.

Most of this is based on common sense and inextricably bound in the desire to still keep sailing in 2020.   On Board 2020!   Yup, that's currently a mental tatt.   Would love to be able spend my 80th birthday on Pamlico Sound.   But simply wishing that to happened is both whimsical and foolhardy.   Ass in forward gear must always be the prime directive.   Rock on.

It will take mindful planning and effort to achieve this goal, and more.   Starting today.



        January 2nd   Not considering a bit of a site facelift presently.

Restarted Instagram, also looking at a long dormant Twitter account as two more ways of reengaging in 2017.

Photography and maybe aging gracefully will help become a central focus.   Using an iPhone as well as the somewhat unwieldy DSLR could well be the mindful way to engage with social media at this point in time.

Have found some more interesting reading material to help with deal with physical discomfort and growing older that could well prove to be a bonus for successfully working through many more windsurfing seasons.

The grandchildren are back (and arguing about something downstairs) so with all this in mind another new day in the new year is cranking up.

Nice!   Maybe some of this could help snag and kickstart a few other aging wind junkies.

If it's going to be, it's up to me.




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