Monday, April 28, 2008

Lake Anna weekend

We were out this weekend at Lake Anna in Virginia. The lake is used by the nuclear electric plant as a tertiary cooling system. As such the lake is usually warmer then the air temperature. And we had fun playing in the lake with our kayaks. This was a teaching and learning weekend put on by the local paddling club. The club has several paddling piracies and our piracy had the best showing.

We had a lovely night paddle Friday night to explore the lake. It was a shame the sky was overcast as we couldn't see the stars until later when we had arrived back. For this event, my boyfriend was going as an assistant instructor and I as a student. I got to learn about different ways to do assisted and unassisted rescues and tried to further develop my forward stroke. My boyfriend was helping to teach rolling and forward stroke.

After the classes on Saturday, several people started goofing off which eventually lead to someone standing up in their kayak. So I thought I would try it too. I managed to stand up but didn't stay up for long. I was up longer the next time but it is certainly harder than it looks. I now have a lovely set of bruises on one leg from getting into and out of my kayak several times. My boyfriend worked on fine tuning his strokes and rolling, I think they look great but we are our harshest critic. Saturday night was bbq night with a large fire followed by a flares demonstration. People brought in their expired and old flares for people to play with. And with permission from the local authorities we got to watch flares going off in the rain. Yes, it rained, but that didn't really stop the fun.

Sunday morning was overcast but thankfully it had stopped raining. The two of us went out for a really nice leisurely paddle and got to enjoy the calm serenity of the lake. The air temperatures were cool and the water was warm so we paddled off into the mists. What a beautiful area. The rain came after we got off the water and changed into dry clothes, of course. We had to take down the tent in the rain and load the kayaks. What a wet mess. I'm glad I had rain pants with me.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weeknight paddling

We set up a great event for the recreational kayaking crowd that we are organizers for. We are trying to set up a regular after work paddling night to get people on the water for leisurely trips but to also help get people to get to know each other better too. It is a great way for people relax after work and to improve their fitness level and skills. As this first event was a little short notice, we had a small crowd. The next weeks event looks quite full and should go more smoothly, we hope. The current was a bit fast tonight and it took some time to work our way upstream, but only 10 minutes to come back down. We had some serious rain on Sunday and Monday so that has raised the water level and flow. I'm looking forward to the next event.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm published

On the net that is. But it is something. I wrote an article for Associated Content about the different types of backpacking shelter styles currently available on the market. The article can be found here: If you read it please leave me a comment and please pass it on to anyone who might be interested in learning more about shelters. I am planning on writing a few more articles so stay tuned. It didn't pay much and I won't get rich on it but it is cool to get some money for writing something. I haven't made anything with fiction but I seem to be doing well with non-fiction.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nature cover

Nature cover
Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie
I am not normally a science magazine reader as I find science journals boring. But the cover of this particular magazine was very interesting, enough so that I pulled it from the discard pile and I plan on reading though at least some of it. Despite the very retro scifi cover, the articles seem to be current with a scifi slant. Might be fun.

Missed weeknight paddles

I miss going on the thursday night paddling sessions. I hope I will be able to go again soon as the season is starting soon again. In the meantime, my paddling partner and I have been doing wednesday night paddles to make up for the lack of exercise. They have been good but I ended up missing the last few of those either due to a business trip to NY or due to the weather. This week I am missing the paddle as I am preparing to go to SC to take a few paddling classes at a festival. I am not looking forward to the drive there and back as I don't really know the guy I am carpooling with. I hope the other group can caravan with us so passengers can move around a bit. At least it will help spell both drivers as one passenger is not a driver.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lazy weekend

This was a lazy weekend. We managed to get in some repair time on the kayaks and tightened the replaced deck lines and put in foam padding to make for a better fit. I think my kayak might be a bit too big for me. I likely should have gone with the Force 3 but I didn't want to buy a boat I had never paddled before. I had tried the Force 4 and had really liked the one I had paddled. I didn't think there would be that many differences but I guess there were a few. Sunday was quite windy with winds of at least 10 mph and gusting up to 15 mph. That may not seem like much but in a kayak on open water, it is a lot. The waves were not too bad but the wind was awful. I had been having trouble with my forward stroke and was working on trying to improve it. So once I killed my arms, the proper movements all came together to give me a good stroke. Now if only I can remember that on the next paddle. We had to fight the wind back and over about 2 miles. Once on the other side, we did manage to get some rest in the lee of some trees, but the current was pushing us back out in the the wind. Mildly challenging conditions but at least I have improved some.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brookhaven Again

I had to go up to Upton NY for the spring set of experiments. We also have a summer set and fall set. Big fun there. The summer run dates just came out and we got stuck with a Friday and Saturday as the boss responded a whopping 3 hours after the schedule came out. We had been warned that dates move fast, but we were unprepared for them going that fast. So in the future we now know to response immediately to avoid getting weekends. So basically one whole weekend in June is now shot. There was the small hope of getting out Saturday night after the run, but we have a 24 hour harvest point to deal with so leaving early is out. At least part of the team might be able to leave a bit early. Oh well. I will have to talk to the boss about getting off a few days to swap out for the loss of that weekend.

We actually went up to Upton without the boss this time. It was interesting to not have him around but I think next time we will bring him along. I think he was sad that his teaching schedule didn't allow him to go on this trip. Or rather maybe he had hoped to go so as to avoid the teaching schedule. Oh well, the mice were of the right age so that was that.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Horrible weather mix up

What a horrible weekend. We had such great plans for Saturday but the weather was calling for miserably rainy conditions so everything was moved to Sunday. Instead we drove around picking up paddling supplies and kayak foam to fix the fit of our kayaks. And it was a beautiful day. Saturday night the weather forecast changed and the weather that was called for on Saturday instead was moved to Sunday. When the forecaster was asked about this seemingly repeat of weather he just shrugged and said nothing. So Sunday was absolutely miserable with rain and wind. We did managed to get some help in at the Boat House to help them get a start on the season and look good doing it. I feel a bit bad that we couldn't stay longer but we tried to go to the paddling event that had been moved form beautiful Saturday to awful Sunday. Oh well, you can't win with the weather, all you can do is accept it and try to find something else to do.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!

Another year older and I feel like I am walking on the tread mill in reverse. I am not sure why I have this feeling, but it seems like everyone is passing my by and I am stagnating in place. I guess you can't compare yourself to anyone else, but that seems to be the societal standard. At the very least, I am doing somewhat well in the savings department. I may not have a ton saved but I have but measures in place to ensure that money is being moved regularly to retirement accounts. I hope I can put enough aside so that I may one day enjoy retirement. I'd rather enjoy it with someone, but at the rate I am going, I might have only myself to look forward to spending it with. Might be time to go rescue another cat.

I am also moving towards some security with my living in the states. I should have applied for my H1B years ago but I only just did it this year. While it is putting a crimp in foreign travel, I really don't travel that much. I won't be able to visit home until my visa comes in but at least I will be a resident alien instead of a non-resident alien. Then I can go for the coveted green card. Meaning more travel restrictions. Oh well.


Backpacking articles

As a way to find out if I am might be able to run a backpacking meetup group, I decided to start writing some articles about backpacking. I felt that this would help me organize my thoughts as well as see if I have anything useful to say. I have been working on a relatively simple post about tents. Or at least I thought it would be simple but it is getting a little out of hand. Oh well. Surfing around and looking at tents isn't so bad. I am actually having a bit of fun thinking about what I want to write about next. I think stoves are up next then I am not sure but I am pulling together a list of things that might be worth writing about and that I have some experience with. Once I finish with the article and if it gets accepted for submission, I will post a link to it here.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Busy workday

Work has started to get really busy lately. I think some of it has to do with the mice but even in the lab I have been finding myself more busy, running around to get things done. TIme is starting to become scarce. Either I am doing more work or I am not working as efficiently as before. I think it is a little of both. I am trying to set up part of a preliminary project and I am not sure how to go about it, so that is taking some time to figure out. It is nice as this is new for me but it is a little bit of a time sink. I also have to decide if I have time in my already busy schedule for masters classes in the fall. I have been trying to do this for a few years now and have finally been in one place long enough to move forward with it. Unfortunately, there are many things I want to do outside of work that are more fun and/or interesting. While advancing my education, degree and job would be great, it has become less of a priority. I feel like I am now working just so I can get out and afford my weekend hobbies. If I could make reliable money doing just my hobbies, then that would work out even better.