Sunday, April 26, 2009

More paddling

I have been trying to make friends with some of the white water people and so this gave me a chance to go out paddling with someone on sunday morning. It was quite nice to get back out on the white water side of things, but again I noticed that I have to work on skills and practice more of the basics. I don't think I forgot what I had learned last year but I didn't really have much time last season to really work on the skills that make up the foundation of white water kayaking. So I did some practicing of peeling in and out of the eddy lines as well as just paddling up into the current to get in shape again. I have to work on my core muscles as they don't seem as capable of paddling like they did at the end of the paddling season last year. Oh well. I did have a great time getting out. I missed my roll a few times and I think I am getting a little sloppy with my roll so I will have to pay more attention to that and break myself of some bad habits. It was good to get out.

I did do a quick day hike after I got off the water mostly because I am trying to break in some shoes. It was a really hot weekend and I was also curious if the full leather of the shoe would also cause my feet to over heat. I didn't notice any over heating which was good but I did notice I was tired from the paddling which caused me to hike a bit slower than usual. I think the shoes are a little too small. I will have to look into getting one size bigger. I like the shoes and would like to have the correct size.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back on the Potomac

I was out on the Potomac today trying to get back in shape. I seemed to do well at the kayak festival last week, but I also feel I could do better. So I grabbed the boat and gear and headed out to the marina and hopped on the water. It was more of a slog then I thought it would be. I have been paddling my short boat off and on over the winter in pool sessions but other then last weekend, this month has been the first time I have been able to get my long boat out of storage and used again. I didn't make it very far either which has me a little concerned. If I can't paddle my boat on flat water, what makes me think I am ready to take my short boat out on the white water. Will I be in shape enough to paddle against the river to get up tot eh fun play spots. So I pressed on. I paddled about an hour out and back then I went home and relaxed. It was nice to be out on the water but I don't think the flat water has as much appeal to me anymore. I was thinking of being more serious with the white water this year, but I think that this made the decision for me. I will be paddling some white water tomorrow so I will see if I am in better shape then.

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Band-aid Beer

I made it to another homebrewers meeting. I wasn't sure I wanted to go as I had just dropped of my friend at the airport the other day and we had had a very busy 5 weeks running around to various events. In the end, I did go with a friend and had a chance to try a variety of beers. I brought my new batch of Duval and an old bottle of my Oatmeal Porter. Seems I am getting a reputation as a good brewer at these events as people are starting to ask which ones are my beer. This is nice and heartening. I did have a chance to try a contaminated beer that the guy had dubbed "the band-aid beer" due to the fact that it smelled and tasted like an old plastic band-aid. More it was the smell and taste of plastic that stood out. I probably shouldn't have tried it but out of curiosity I did give it a small taste. I hope I never have to taste something like that again. It was rather foul and I should have known better. Good thing there was plenty of other stuff to drink so I could remove the taste from my mouth. The night turned out to be a much later night then I expected and I am still trying to catch up on sleep and house chores. I don't think I did any cleaning over the last few weeks. Just a wipe here and there as needed but nothing more. I miss my company though, it is very quiet here now.

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Monday, April 20, 2009


I had an absolutely fabulous time at the festival and I am so glad I went. I was a little put off by the first two classes I took as they seemed really low level to what I could have handled but I think I still picked up some skills. Friday was a relatively quiet day for us as we got registration out of the way, then launched some boats. We went to the supper event afterwards to enjoy some company as well as listen to someone talk about their big adventure up in the Canadian Arctic. It sounded great and I had a good time catching up with some people I knew.

The Saturday class was an absolute blast and I realized I really like the relaxed style of Nigel Foster. He really is an excellent teacher. I wish we had had more time with the class, considering we got stuck in traffic on the way to the venue. I am not sure I could have done too much more then the one hour we did end up getting. The class was an intro to short boat surfing and I took my white water boat out on the ocean and surfed some waves with it. I was knocked over once near the beginning but otherwise I had a great time. The waves were a nice height that us as beginners were not too intimidated by them. I was initially a little intimidated as they are much bigger when you are sitting in a small boat, but after my first run I had too much fun after that to be scared of the waves.

Sunday proved to be my big day. I had a morning class on the ocean for advanced open water skills. This was fun as we got to go out and explore a light house plus we did a bit of surfing of the swells and quartered some waves. Then I had another ocean class that afternoon for long boat surfing. I hadn't surfed yet with the long boat and found it was very different from the short boat. I still had a great time but I found it to be more of a challenge as the long boat isn't as maneuverable as the short boat. The goal of the class was to end up broach to the wave, then to turn the boat out of the broach position. At first I had an easy time with it, then I started having trouble. I am not sure why but initially I was trying to follow the instructions and turn the boat back to face out to the ocean and the boat kept swinging around to face shore. After that the boat would simply crest the wave then I have to turn it before another wave came along. One time I was bowled over twice by a wave before managing to roll back up. The instructor was sitting right there watching me and was impressed I had the where with all to roll back up the last time. I had a great time and really can't wait to get back out on the water this year. I did learn that I need to keep my eyes open when I crest a wave, plus I need to learn to spit the salt water out of my mouth better, rather then spitting it on myself. I was absolutely exhausted that night and didn't sleep really well. The drive back was uneventful except for some showers up near DC and some traffic from an accident. I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. We ate out tonight so we wouldn't have to deal with food prep. Plus it is becoming tradition.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crazy busy

Today was a crazy busy day. We got back from Montreal yesterday which was about a 10+ hour drive. Today consisted of having to finish cleaning all the stuff out of the car, running out to get some food, loading the roof rack and kayaks on the car as well as prepping food, packing kayaking gear, packing car camping gear, and loading it all back in the car. We leave for South Carolina tomorrow which will amount to about an 8+ hour drive. At least the weather should be nice this weekend. This is the second year I have traveled to the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival and I hope I have just as much fun this time as I had last time. I was more careful to not over book my days with classes, but I suspect I will still be really busy with on the water events. I am really looking forward to doing the ocean classes as I haven't yet managed to really get my sea kayak out on the ocean yet. The packing was interesting as I tried to figure out where to stick all the paddles. I didn't really need to bring as many as I did but I wasn't the only one paddling and I had to bring paddles for both boats. This led to an interesting mix of paddles ranging from touring, to high-angle aggressive, to white water, to a greenland paddle. Good thing I had the paddle lock on the roof to handle the fixed shaft paddles, made packing the trunk that much easier when I didn't have to worry about opening up the trunk and the back seat.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

La cabane à sucre

We were up in Montreal over the Easter break. In fact I took off quite a big stretch of time so I could do something else after I got back from Easter. The weather was rather cold, but the trip was worth it. I wanted to get a bunch of things done, but in the end I didn't really do much more then relax and try to have a pleasant visit with family. We arrived early Friday morning after a long drive and tried to get some rest. I didn't have much success so I just got up and went down to chat. Later that day I finally bought some blue jeans. I haven't had a proper fitting pair in at least 2 years and felt it was finally time to get a pair. I ended up with 4 pairs that I found at the second hand store. Nothing like a pair or pre-broken in jeans. Saturday morning is traditionally when we get together with my grandparents and have breakfast at a local restaurant together. This was fun as I got to show off my book to everyone. After that I rested and did almost nothing. Sunday we went to downtown Montreal to go to the bookstore and browse as well as tour a little bit of Montreal as my guest had never been there before. I had hoped to hit the leather store as my parents were telling me about this really nice coat they had on sale, but alas they were closed. It was Easter after all. Monday was another relaxing day as we went over to a friend's house to chat, show off my book some more, and get my knees tortured by her. I was happy to hear that my knees are doing much better. I also helped her with some knitting help and showed off a piece of lace I was knitting the last time I visited with her.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My book is in hand!

I received the proof copy of my book today and I am really jazzed up by it. I can't wait to show it off. I wasn't really sure what to expect as it was hard to figure out a few things based on what the web site was telling me. I had a bit of a hard time conceptualizing certain things and I did get a few minor things wrong. Mostly they are things that unless I pointed them out, I doubt people would really notice it. The book is now available at for purchase. I kept the price down as low as possible but I find that is a bit pricey on their softcover format given the number of pages I was printing. In the end, the novel came up to 160 pages in the larger format and 310 in the smaller format and that was after I had resized the font down a little to be closer in font size to an actual paperback novel. I didn't really think the novel was going to be that big, but I am rather impressed not only by the 310 pages but by the feedback I have received from readers. I had a hard time settling on a title but finally went with "The Valley of Hope" I chose a nice picture from my Appalachian Trail pictures for the front cover which I think suits the book nicely. The book can be found here for anyone wanting to purchase a copy:

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Formating work

I have the editing finished for the most part. I also slogged through most of the grammar errors that Word picked out as I was fixing up other edits. I am sure I missed something somewhere but I have to move on and hope I catch it as I go through and work on formating. The formating wasn't a simple thing. I assumed I could set up most of the stuff with document wide settings but I was wrong. I was able to set up an inner margin and an outer margin that way plus set up different headers depending if it was an even page or an odd page. Otherwise, I had to go through each chapter and make sure the chapter titles all lined up in the same location, as well as formating the first letter of each chapter to a larger drop-letter format which required some placement work too. The last thing was to go through and format all the section dividers into something a little nicer. The bear of the work is done and I am now ready to upload to the site.

The site upload was another eye opening experience. Just when I thought everything was done I realized I didn't have a book synopsis, nor did I have a cover. I was hoping that the cover generator that the site had would work for me but as I moved through the steps, I realized I didn't like how it was turning out. So in the end, I had more work to do with a book synopsis, which I also placed on the back cover, choosing a cover image and formating that, as well as setting other little behind the scene things that may or may not have any impact on the book itself but required my attention through the process. I did get it finished and requested my free proof copy. I can't wait to see how it looks.

While I was editing everything on the one site I concurrently did things on the other site to ensure I was getting both copies as close in format as possible. I will only be able to see how things turn out when I actually get the proof copy plus the copies I ordered off I really can't wait to see what the finished product looks like but at the same time I am simply exhaused by the whole process.

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