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(still editing) June 17th, 2018 A few unresolved thoughts about how to proceed maintaining this site.
For the past 15 years or so, since summer 2003, windinsight.com has evolved and has been a fun hobby project, a resume for work, and a place to learn. It started as an on-line weather & wind windsurf place go to for anyone wanting a visual image showing what (windy) North Shore Lake Erie looked like throughout most of any hopefully potential windsurf day. Over time, sailing, windsurfing, family, and travel became the primary focus as photog skills improved. The site has grown both in size and traffic over the years and has had for the most part a life of its own that I dutifully followed and worked diligently to maintain.
At this point both current computers, the iMac and the MacBook Pro, are aging and hugely slowing down especially while editing (very large) RAW picture files. The two computers both need replacing like the three other computers that preceded them over the past 15 years. There have also been a number of higher end DSLR cameras and lenses that have come and gone as well. Hey, it's been a fun challenge.
I will likely continue to maintain this site on a smaller scale or maybe find a newer format. But the light at the end of the tunnel is fading. A singular laptop and hopefully too a smaller, simpler, and lighter camera bag is almost a certainty in my future.
For now I'm back to shooting (.jpg Fine) as both computers can still handle editing lighter files in a reasonable time flow. Shooting RAW files with pro level cameras (and 4 lenses) gives far superior results but at this point in my life I no longer cherish the overall commitment that accompanies putting the site and everything else it entails. Especially with programs crashing and very lengthy sessions waiting while trying to sort through and edit even a small number of RAW picture files. In a few words the current wait time to sort and then work the photos is hugely onerous. In addition to all this the replacement cost for computers and updating my older photog gear is way up there. Plus, I'm actually enjoying the extra free time away from on-going site (old & outdated HTML) maintenance, and not having to transport and lug about whatever the rather large bulk of cameras and accessories needed for the day, week, or time away. And the difficulty with away from home uploads when the WIFI connection is motel/rental grade…
That said I still love capturing a moment with a camera. And for that still stimulating challenge and joy I will photog on and continue to post any good shots that come that comes my way.
Who knows, (all) this may pass, kinda like that kidney stone a few years ago. There are still a few other compromise options to consider. Like maybe just a new laptop and a new generation - small - light-weight - manually adjustable - very capable camera, and a few small perfect lenses which all comfortable fit into an easy-to-carry shoulder bag. And a simple no hassle template website. How much bandwidth doth a man need? (Sigh)
And too, there's also a new and growing pressing concern of how to better manage time, prioritize, and simplify life.
Kinda like going to confession, eh?
June 9th, 2018 Hope and time. Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. A time to reflect in the best of times and worst of times…
About a week ago I started a reread of The Art Of Happiness. It is essentially a handbook for living. The author is His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.
During this past week two celebrities opted to commit suicide. To me, their suicides are an unfathomable, near incomprehensible, and a sad choice. There is no handbook for suicide anywhere in my small library. Both of these people became so desperate and without hope that they chose to end their lives. The same was true for Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, and Kurt Cobain to name just a few. Suicides and attempted suicides are not isolated occurrences and limited to celebrities. These tragedies happen all around us. And recent reports indicate suicide rates are increasing. Somehow not being able to reach out or being reached out to, or having a suitable intervention needs to be a ready consideration in place when needed.
Maybe some of the demons and conditions that accompanied that final choice included drug addiction, depression, a terminal disease, a financial or economic situation, or a personal tragedy or loss. Hope was gone. Time had simply run out. There was no other possible choice. An overwhelming unhappiness set in. Death, no matter what it actually entails, is better than living.
And to leave a farewell note for your thirteen year-old daughter. Kate, really! (actually wtf)
On the other hand, there are different choices that the majority of humanity can take. There are other paths that can lead to a happier and more satisfying life. The Dalai Lama writes about one and goes on to explain his take on how to attain happiness and contentment.
He points out that when life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it's often useful to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. (pg. 62) He goes on to summarize simply …that the purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren't born with the purpose of causing trouble or harming others. For our life to be of value, we must develop basic human qualities - warmth, kindness, and compassion. Then our lives become meaningful and more peaceful and happier. (pg. 64)
Looking at and listening to the many social and political scenes, near and far, around the world I can sense the likelihood of derision and ridicule to the Dalai Lama's words. The world today seems to wants a more immediate, radical fix. There seems to be no time or willingness to try to recreate a balance and a coexistence necessary to help perpetuate a peaceful and healthy world order. For example. - The truth doesn't seem to matter much any more to some people when according to Fact Checker (The Washington Post) - President Trump has made 3,251 false or misleading claims so far since he took the oath of office. It doesn't seem to matter much to his followers. To my way of thinking the truth is an essential part of any lasting solution.
We do live in troubled and questionable times. But this isn't a new phenomena. Our human history is filled with many tragic and horrible events. But, carrying on…
The Dalai Lama points out that contemporary researchers have refuted not only the idea of humanity's innate aggression, but also the idea that humans are innately selfish and egoistical has come under attack. He cites several studies that demonstrate that humans have a tendency toward altruistic behaviour. Altruism may be a part of our basic survival instinct. In over a hundred natural disasters there is a strong pattern of altruism among disaster victims which seem to be a part of the recovery process. Working together helps to ward off psychological problems that might have resulted from the trauma of it all. (pages 58 - 59)
He goes on to talk about time and hope. Are we utilizing our time properly or not? Proper utilization of time is so important. There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time either you or I will be here. But still we are working for that purely on the basis of hope. So we need to make the best use of our time. He believes that the proper use of time is this: if you can serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. This is the basis of the Dalai Lama's philosophy. (pages 63- 64)
(His philosophy of achieving personal happiness continues to unfold for another 250+ pages.)
I know how some may respond to all of this. Maybe the likes of i.e. Hey! - when a thief or terrorist has a knife to your throat demanding your wallet and a timer is set to go off on an explosive vest pressing against you, don't try to hug him or her and say, "Have I told you today how much I love you."
Am just saying, there is pretty much always another way to go in pretty much everything or anything we think about or do. That said, time isn't always on our side when we consider how thin is the slice of salami that the Great Delicatessen Keeper in the sky has cut for each of us. But As I dig into my Kate Spade fin bag I will carry on to whatever the end, and think about, hope for, and work toward whatever small contribution that can be made or might help improve whatever the state of it all.
All that said, am pretty sure there is a purpose in our existence, and lasting happiness should be paramount in our quest.
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June 6th, 2018 Placebo, Nocebo, or windsurfing. Take your pick.
The Placebo Effect is also called the placebo response. It is a remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo (a fake treatment), uses an inactive substance like sugar, or saline solution, that can sometimes improve a patient's condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. Placebos can have a positive effect on people. An example - researchers found an almost 20% strength increase in untrained athletes who were (falsely) told they were receiving amino acids would increase their strength. One more. Runners were given "super oxygenated" water, which was actually just plain water. These trained athletes ran 8% faster. This effect was consistent across runners as 84% of the runners tested ran faster after taking the placebo water. The list goes on and on.
My mind begins to wander.
I get to thinking that perhaps a placebo could include things like faith healing, maybe sometimes prayer, a motivational speaker or book, following a doctrine or regimen, and the like. These placebos can help propel or motivate people to achieve a success or a result that they might not otherwise have attained. I know it's a bit of a leap. But I keep thinking about it.
On the other hand, a nocebo, the opposite of placebo, can have a negative effect. To doubt, to deny, or to negate is unlikely to help bring any cause to fruition. Unless failure is the desired outcome.
My take on people with nocebos - keep the doubters, quitters, pessimists, and all those gloomy buggers away. Let me dwell among the cheery, positive, hopeful, persistent, buoyant, and Pollyannas.
Placebos are just fine for the most part. They have an effect. But. Let's get down to where the rubber meets the real road. Or, in my case where the gel coat over carbon fibre planes up on the H2O. Where the effect of real happiness goes on and on.
No fake pills, just real stuff. Real activities. Sports for example, or whatever you enjoy and to which you look forward, for that matter anything uplifting in which you wish to be involved.
Things that don't just turn on research scientists and puzzle or amaze doctors. I'm talking about things that motivate and engage the masses. That make a significant difference. Like windsurfing does for me.
For me windsurfers are mostly a positive collection of optimistic souls. We keep coming back even after the wind dies, or maybe didn't materialize when predicted. But, like a hole in one, or a home run, or any kind of win, we know the good feeling when it all comes together on a windy day, and look forward to another.
Plus we support product development. We help improve the economy and help create employment with our purchases needed to follow our quest. We travel about and rent homes on the oceans, lakes, wherever. And buy passes to windsurf at beach parks. We don't litter as a rule. We actually make a difference in the world. Our kind truly pursues real happiness, positivity, and true optimism.
If there is a relationship between a placebo effect and reality - what we do and what we are pretty much create an overall improvement in our lives. When we reflect on our sport we don't primarily see the long swim back to shore after wind or gear fail or the long drive and looking out at calm water after the forecast called for wind. We see the waves and rip across a constantly moving platform underfoot, surrounded by sunlight and spray. We get kinda giddy just thinking about it. And we hug a lot. That's kinda nice.
We work at keeping ourselves physically fit, we do whatever it takes to get over illness and injury, and take huge delight in anticipating the next session. We buy vehicles that will help transport both us and our beloved gear to shorelines near and far throughout the world. Our overall mental outlook thinking about ripping about for another day on the water is somewhat akin to a mega huge positive placebo effect. Instead of taking two pills to feel better we take two days of 20 knot winds at a nearby beach.
It's all about happiness. The happiness we work for, engage in, and hope for. Better than a fake pill. Better in some ways than a constitutional promise or a religious ideology in my opinion. We make it happen. A mindful reality that we envision, pursue and do.
I seriously plan on doing some kind of doctoral study on all this, early on in my next life. Maybe in Hawaii. Sigh.
Deep in my heart of hearts, after rereading this, I kinda sense it's actually a bit flawed and too much of a stretch to be taken seriously for any post graduate contemplation, but what the heck. No fake pills for me to help my performance, but maybe a carbon boom or two. That said, Hawaii will still be a strong possibility if I get a comeback.
I think I maybe took a placebo once. Nancie was taking Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM and magnesium amino acids chelate for arthritic pain. I was having joint pain in my wrists, knees, and hips. I took her Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM and my pain discomfort went away in a few days. Hers did not. Who knows eh? I was windsurfing heavily at the time.
Belief. Placebos are about belief. People who achieve a success after taking a placebo believe that they will do better. And, Placebos work for a significant percentage of believers.
We tend to move with and in the direction of our beliefs. Belief helps shape the program and choices we adopt and live by. This includes politics, religion, recreational activities, diet, a profession, pretty much whatever… Cheers.
June 3rd, 2018 Colour contrast helps.
Contrasting colours are helpful in making a photo subject stand out, like the goldfinch in the Japanese Maple. Shooting RAW is also a process that allows an exposure of the sailboat at sunset become pretty much all that it could be. That said, it helps to be in the right place with the right photog gear when a composition presents itself.
Patience also plays a part along with practice. The repetition involving failing one's way to to a final success with getting the numbers right will eventually pay off.
Life is good. Dwell in possibilities. And never give up.
June 1st, 2018 Problems with this computer are contained and quite manageable at this time.
Shooting with the smallest RAW files (now at 5.2Mpx ~ down from 21.5Mpx) has been one of the more significant changes that has helped keep the failing computer working at a better rate of speed.
Pulling the plug after shut down has also help along with sending all extraneous files and the like into the Trash bin.
Will get the Mac into the Apple Store in the next week or so and have a formal evaluation regarding the current overall health of the machine.
May 28th, 2018 Our 2012 iMac had a ten year warranty back in the day, but a life span of approximately 5 -6 years which no one mentioned at the time we purchased it.
Surges, excessive heat, prolonged hard use, whatever, all shorten a computer's life. For some reason I thought the iMac would outlive me. A near perfect example of early Artificial Intelligence that would continue on and on, travelling sort of eternally through all time and space. Maybe keep reading.
So why keep an old computer? It tends to slow down as its hardware ages, software upgrades are needed, and newer programs begin to crash on a regular basis as the machine nears the end of its useful life.
All of the essential programs which accompany my photog life require upgrading when new computer operating systems are introduced. There simply comes a time when the computer itself can't handle the load of it all.
Like an old car, restoration is possible, but questionable. The computer is old. Why bother when newer models are so much improved. The same is true with cameras, watches, clothing, homes, cars, politicians, (oops), plus all of the gadgets and stuff that we treasure, whatever, you name it.
Time for a change I guess. Or maybe time to rethink basic priorities. For starters, to replace all my aging photog gear, and two computers, time spent, and the all the rest of it make me consider, I may do nothing and embrace a simpler path. Like becoming a monk wandering about with a walking stick, sandals, and a simple orange robe tied at the waste with a coarse, hemp, rope sash.
But it would definitely stop there. No begging for food or sharing any of my profound intellectual or spiritual thoughts unless specifically asked for. All that's maybe way out of the question, more or less. And for sure an air conditioned van (with Sirius FM radio) is still absolutely essential to carry my windsurf gear. Shiza. Life is a complex and sometimes confusing process. Where will it all end? Maybe this is getting way too deep.
OK. How about a start at the Apple store for a consultation? Maybe that would be a good beginning. Make an appointment on line before the whole computer totally fails and is absolutely without any trade-in value. And maybe a trip to a nearby Henry's Camera outlet to consider alternatives. Why stop there, I actually need some new cute rims for the van…
May 24th, 2018 Windinsight website html. Woe is me, sometimes.
So, early this morning I sat down here to begin sorting through the pics from our last evening's race.
And I needed to make sure the two separate links for Cape Hatteras and Lake Erie & Ontario had been updated (to get to page 2 from a link). I inadvertently changed the link forgetting a change I made earlier to try to simplify a problem with site traffic flow, and computer storage, to name two old on-going issues.
KaBoom. WTF. I blew off a few significant pages somewhere into hyper space in the blink of an eye. And to make matters worse I wasn't able to remember what and exactly where I had made the change. The save, uploaded, and quit etc. etc. made it impossible to just go back. I checked the MacBook Pro (my backup computer) but mindlessly in my past haste I hadn't downloaded those original changes, onto my backup. Shiza. Working this old website on two separate computers using pre 2000 HTML technology and a deep 1940 mindset is another issue that becomes a bit problematic at times.
So in addition to just sorting and uploading the new pics from the Wednesday evening race another few hours will be needed to work the HTML and get everything flowing kinda tickety boo once again. (BTW - May 26th -the problem was is patched and figured out for now) But Lightroom and Photoshop software are painfully chugging along at snailpace speed with larger RAW files.
Maybe it's time to somehow simplify the guts of windinsight.com, and make life a bit easier. Maybe. Maybe this too will pass. Shiza. Time for a coffee, and my morning meds.
May 18th, 2018 Qi Gong (chi kung) - 16 months and going strong, a personal review.
I am currently pain free and have been for the past 14 months and am no longer using or needing the 5 prescription/over the counter drugs for pain that I once carried with me wherever I went. Doing Peking Form - 24 posture therapeutic Qi Gong has significantly helped me generally manage my aging physical challenges. As well, I no longer carry any previously prescribed drugs or over the counter medications for old issues involving my back, hips, knees, neck, shoulder, ankles, sinus infections, and chronic dry eye condition.
Practising/doing Qi Gong (and Tai Chi) regularly helps to normalize the body which in turn allows the body to help heal itself (much like cuts and bones will mend). The gentle stretching of the spine and every joint in the body including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, abdominal breathing, balance and posture movements, along with intentional energy flow (chi) all combine to help improve overall health. (The activities might be compared to chiropractic or physical therapies to name only two of the many available (out there) with the added benefit that anyone can learn and do the postures in a month or two and then begin to work them successfully on their own.) A certified, qualified teacher is essential in the process.
It is estimated that in China as many as 200 million people do any one of the many hundreds of registered forms of Qi Gong each day. QiGong and Tai Chi originated many thousands of years ago in China as a part of martial arts studies, martial practise, and healing. Examples of a few different levels of Qi Gong/Tai Chi are linked below. Note the slow, quiet, peaceful, serenity in the movements, but be aware that some of the moves are also fighting postures and should likely be avoided for anyone new focussed on healing.
My wife Nancie and I are students of Sifu George Picard at the Village of Wellness and Healing in St. Catharines, Ontario. Highly qualified Sifu Picard holds a seventh degree black belt in Martial Arts. Nancie is a cancer and heart attack survivor. We are both up there in our upper 70s.
Aside: Absolutely love the discipline of it all. The very settling slowdown, the quiet, a near immediate feel good, the many varied and interesting routines, and especially the on-going physical improvements. All that said I still have complete faith and trust in our very caring, dedicated, and capable family doctor. QiGong is one way to help achieve a healthier life. There are always many ways and many choices. Keep them all open so an informed choice is always available for the many times that an alternative intervention is needed.
|An introduction to 24 posture therapeutic Qi Gong with sifu George Picard|
|Yi Jin Jing (Muscle Tendon Change) Shaolin Temple Europe|
|Shaolin Yi Jin Jing - Shaolin Temple Europe|
|Pan Gen (Twisting Root) Shaolin Temple Europe|
April 11th, 2018 Going fast.
The human race, in general, strives to want to go fast and break records.
For me, at this point, I would somehow like time to slow down, so the next 2 weeks we have in Cape Hatteras will last a few months or more.
|Vestas Sailrocket 2 at speed|
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February 20th, 2018 Beginnings, middles, and endings.
Accomplishing anything worthwhile begins with an idea, hope, determination, persistence, patience, help, compromise, work, and most important a willingness to fail and keep trying.
Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door be opened, ask and it shall be given. Nothing new in any of this. This concept has worked from day one.
So many simply fall short and give up. Quit, It wasn't worth it. Not for me. Who cares.
But when a moment of achievement is finally realized all of the effort and time spent was worth it.
Capturing a great shot. Making a jibe. Sailing in 12 or 40 knots. Hearing someone say I love you. Crossing a finish line. Whatever the dream. Some goals take a few minutes, some a few years, some take a lifetime to just make half way. In one instance, for an example, it was finding the right camera, the right lens, working the many settings in many conditions for thousands of hours, and then simply being patient, waiting for the capture below.
It eventually becomes clear. If it's going to be, it's simply up to me. Whether you're 8 or 80. Dreams still come true. Just never give up.
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January 23rd, 2018 Omissions, and few other frailties.
Was cleaning up the laptop and found some long forgotten pics in a file taken last spring in Cape Hatteras.
I remember being hugely focussed and working the 105 and 75 L boards with the new sails the throughout the last week of April 2017, then routinely spending some high quality hot tub time, enjoying the extended Happy Hours, and relaxing my tired butt after dinner. Bedtime was a welcome relief and pictures stayed in the camera for days at a time.
There were dozens of shots that were left untouched on the MacBook desktop. They were almost deleted last evening. I almost didn't remember taking them. Kinda like finding a twenty dollar bill in a long unworn pair of pants hanging in the closet.
For the next few days they will appear on the WIS Main Page and also placed Spring Trip 2017. Plus, there are a few missing html links on three of the Cape Hatteras indices. Sigh.
It seems that priorities have shifted from a dutiful, fully maintained, website to something like what the heck. Hey, it's winter break.
Either we slow down as we age and get less of our shit done, or simply doing more of the same becomes less important. Our lifestyle downshifts and drifts a bit off course. That once upon a time new career dream with camera and website changed gears somewhere along the line and began to coast slower. Hey, nothing lasts forever. No more Mr. Perfection, in search of excellence.
It might be time to simplify. Maybe make a to do list and get at it sometime later. Maybe just be in search of Pretty Good from now on.
Shiza. Will definitely ask for a complete blood test on my next physical exam, if I remember.
January 14th, 2018 Fake dimensions, an invitation to a new direction.
We search for a purpose in life. Sometimes it presents itself but almost goes unseen. Thankfully my mind is almost crystal clear and kind of highly focussed. Sort of like a spring loaded steel trap, waiting.
So it began… I hesitated to order a new sailboard board-bag online. I've been burned before with internet equipment ordering. So has my friend Denny.
He has a new, unused Neil Pryde board bag (for sale) that measures 250 X 75 (cm) That bag should have snugly fit his waveboard. But no. It's too big. It should also fit my 125 L JP XCITE RIDE PLUS. But no. It's a tad too short.
So I double-check my board's dimensions. 250ish X 69ish (cm). And then go to the JP website. A 250 X 75 (cm) is the bag they recommend. Silent Sports affirms this and in fact say the JP 250 X 75 (cm) will also fit the 135 L XCITE RIDE plus. My mind reels. Relax! THEY can't all be wrong.
So I immediately order one. And wait.
It arrived by courier 23 hours later. I ran to the basement, opened, and placed the new board-bag on the carpet. Then deftly I removed and with extreme care navigated my beloved 125 L XCITE RIDE PLUS from its winter storage sling into position, and carefully, with nimble proficiency, slipped my sweet, blue ride into the new 250 X 75 (cm) JP board-bag. The zipper closed smoothly and safely secured the board, with tennis-balled footsteps, including some wiggle room of roughly two centimetres.
I stared in awesome silence at my fully protected new ride and pictured it securely fitted to roof racks anxiously awaiting our much anticipated southern journey, just three months away, to the Outer Banks Of North Carolina.
Adding to the ecstasy, the board easily pulled out of the bag. Time for a tape measure check.
As expected the length and width measurements were greater than stated, around 255 X 87 (cm) to be approximate.
Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, you cannot depend on what's written on the package. Fake dimensions. This information could go viral in the right hands. Exposé. Think about it! Mast bags, board bags, whatever, maybe there are also discrepancies in reported board volume and even sail size numbers. Where could this all end?
An investigative reporter working for a quaint metropolitan newspaper comes to mind. But that thought only lasts for a few seconds.
Maybe just too much free time on my hands.
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January 3rd, 2018 Checklist.
New Year's resolutions aside, we can now get on with the betterment our lives. Seriously.
Making targets. Using time. Time to work toward our needs and ideals including our ideal windsurfing weight, a substantial diet, a simple, solid exercise and weight training regimen, gear inspection & budgeting for a few new, essential items on the shopping replacement list, planning for Hatteras, and maybe thinking about visualizing a few unfulfilled moves to help our sailing capability improve throughout this coming year.
Focussed and working on improving this wonderful, mysterious journey, and our elusive, ever-changing destination.
Life is good.
The note our boys left said, " Please don't take down the forts." Roger that.
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January 1st, 2018 If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he (or she) has imagined, he will meet with unimagined success…
Written by American writer Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden Pond (1854) (Ticknor and Fields: Boston).
So then, make your life extraordinary.
Making forts with your grandchildren, watching Rocky and humming the theme together watching him train, finding the perfect 125 L board and staring at it at 4 a.m. before heading back to bed. Whatever. Even if it's kinda extraordinary in ordinary ways, make moments count. Maybe even think about trading the Dodge Caravan for a new surfmobile.
life is short. The wind can pooch at any moment. Reach for the stars. Forgive.
And keep dancing after the music stops.
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