March 22, 2020

Isn't everyone a little bit Autistic? is the question answered in this video...

"When you line up your pens and think oh aren't I a little bit autistic, or when you have a routine that you like to stick to and you don't like to change it, that's not really the same thing as a lifetime of rejection and feeling like you don't fit in.  Not even a little bit."

March 20, 2020

Kayak roll visualization script

I've been working on a script for a roll visualization audio recording. Here is my roll:
"Rolling visualization, C2C, right hand roll.
I have flipped upside down. I tuck forwards and put both of my arms on the left side of the boat. I lift my hands, holding my paddle, out of the water, enough out of the water that I feel air on my wrists; the side of the boat is rough plastic and I feel that contact on my skin; the air on my wrists and the texture of the plastic are sensory markers for me. My wrists are cocked so that my forward blade is flat against the surface of the water. This is the set-up position.
Once I am in proper set-up position, I know I am safe and oriented, and any rocks or turbulent water I may encounter are distractions to be ignored. I remain calm and focus on the task at hand.
I swing my head, torso, and forward (right) hand out to the side of the boat, in one motion together, while arching my back. My goal is to be 90 degrees to the boat. My head leads this unfurling as I leave my tucked position. My right hand is forward of my head and stays on top of the water. My left hand is anchored to the hull of the boat and acts as a placekeeper; it is another sensory marker for me. My paddle is out of the surface of the water, so it is free to move to 90 degrees to the boat, without resistance from the water. My forward blade is flat so it doesn’t dive into the water or catch water as I swing around. Arching my back loads tension in my left side which is curled around the side of the boat in a C; that tension, when released, will drive the hip snap. This is the sweep.
When I feel myself 90 degrees to the boat I am in the position to hip snap. I pull up into the thigh brace on my right knee, and relax my left knee, while maintaining the arch in my back and drop my ear to my right shoulder. The boat rolls underneath me. The first thing to come upright is the boat, followed by my body, and last my head. As I surface my torso goes to an upright position; I pull my paddle to center over the boat; my left elbow goes in close to my torso as my left hand comes back to my shoulder as though I am holding a bar bell; my right elbow is in and down close to my torso and my right wrist is cocked back with knuckles in line with the back of the paddle blade. My back continues to hold the arch; my ear remains dropped to my right shoulder; this is the finish position.
I am centered over the boat and I take a paddle stroke to continue on my way."

March 16, 2020

Fun Stuff 2020

January 1st  BCC Annual Feast on the Beach.  Mulberry Fork.  Level 2.5 on the old bridge.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Water temps chilly, air temps upper 50's-lower 60's.  Photos here. 
Another great start to the new year, paddling on the Mulberry Fork
January 4th  Upper and Lower Mulberry.  Level 4.5 on the bridge, 5.3 on Streambeam.  With many friends.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Air temps lower 60's, water temps chilly, windy.  Some of the others went for a second lap on the lower, and those of us remaining tried and failed to build a campfire at the takeout, even with our cars right there... I bought four bic lighters on the way home and stashed them in my ridgewalk pack, my drybag, and my car...
At the Upper Mulberry putin, 1-4-2020
Me making my challenge fire

January 5th  Ridgewalk and Fire Building challenge.  Confirmed a qualifier which I am proposing be named Tyr's Lair.  Then some of us had a fire building challenge at the BCC beach property on the Mulberry.  We were given 3 minutes to gather tinder, and we had to use just the items we would have had in our boats the previous day.  I was allowed to use one of my new bic lighters lol, otherwise I would have had nothing.  Then we tested other firestarters and tinder options.  We also had brats/hot dogs, and smores, cooked over our main campfire.

January 12.  Ridgewalking.  More ridgewalking in an area not far from B'ham, with the Howells.  We didn't find any qualifiers. 
January 19 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Air temps around 40-45f, sunny bright day, low wind, water temps cold.  With Janice and Joel, Peggy, Vander, Fergus, others.  The level on Streambeam was just under 2 ft, and on the bridge was 2.5 feet, but the level didn't match my observations on the water. The first wave river left above Glen Clark, that we always warm up on, was blasting my stern and wasn't all that wide or friendly.  Training Wheels was not there at all, and Eddyhop seemed high with fewer eddies.  wtf
Afterwards we had another picnic on the beach with campfire roasted hot dogs on skewers, s'mores, and hot chocolate.  We also practiced more firemaking skills.
January 23 Rolling at the YMCA. 
January 25 Ridgewalking.  At a place in Jackson County Al. with Dave Howell.  We had an amazing day, a stout hike, and are checking our many finds to see if they are on the ACS or not.
January 26 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Janice, Joel, and Peggy.  Air temps started out lower 40's and cloudy/cold,  after we got off the river we socialized over a campfire and the sun came out, air temps felt mild.  Level on Streambeam 2.8 feet, the bridge was at 2.5 feet, not my favorite level but we had fun.
February 2 - 9 Ski Copper Mountain Colorado.  With Joan S, Amanda S, Patty C, and members of the Nashville Ski Club.  We started the week very cold temps and little fresh snow, then got dumped on with about 3 feet of snow!  I hadn't done the math but realized when I got home that it was the first 'real' skiing I had done in 3 years, since I went to Breck.  It was challenging for me to get my ski legs back but I did OK, I fell twice the whole trip so that's something.  I spent all of my time off of American Flyer, Timberline, and Woodward Express lifts.
February 15 Survival Workshop/Campout.  At Wolfpen campground in the Bankhead.  We worked on shelter building, fire making, map reading/compass use.  

February 22 Ridgewalking.  Dave and I returned to the area in Jackson County we visited previously and found a blowing lead with water high in elevation.  We walked/climbed down a streambed then routed back via a trail.  
February 23 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Andy and Lynn, Fergus, Michael C., Kevin who I really enjoyed discussing the Picard series with, and Joe I.   Level slightly under 3 ft, air temps started mild ended up chilly, water temps cold, cloudy and a few unforecasted raindrops when we put in. 
February 28 - 29  B'ham Grotto Getaway.  At the NSS Headquarters in Huntsville.  Saturday we went on the ridgewalk and found some nice leads.  Auction that night was fun.
March 1 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Andy and Lynn, Fergus, Michael C., Rebecca R. Level 2 feet, air temps mild, water temps very cold.  Rebecca in the EZ was queen of Lunchstop wave!
March 7 Mulberry Fork Race.  I was actually supposed to go hike Bear Creek in LRC, but the trip leader cancelled due to water levels.   I brought some sides from a local restaurant to the race but didn't stay long.
March 14 ALF 2020.  Greenbriar. In the LL Stomper 80. 1.4 when we put on, 1.3 when we left.  Mild air and water temps, fun day, but this is a minimum flow for this run. Photos here.
March 15 ALF 2020.  Clear Creek, Lilly to Nemo, 432 CFS.  In the LL Stomper 80. Nice level, great day, despite the water and air temps being chilly due to a cold wind.  This is a long run, several class III rapids and the scenery is beautiful. Photos here.

March 21.  Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M. Water warm, air temps warm; but still drysuit conditions. Level on streambeam 3.65, old bridge was right at 3 ft, new bridge was slightly under 3 feet.  A small, discreet group of friends met and practiced social distancing.  Boof rock at Glen Clark was covered; Training Wheels was not in, Eddy Hop rock was still there but not many eddies to hop.  Lunchstop was big and flushy.  Five-O needed a long boat.  Weird level today.  Still grateful for being able to paddle one more time.  Hoping for many more.

March 7, 2020


Stashing this link to examine in detail later.

Meanwhile, here is a cat picture.

March 5, 2020

The Real Me

This is my favorite song, on my favorite album by The Who. 

March 4, 2020

On Not Being A Duck

Shared from:

Imagine you find yourself at a lake filled with ducks. No other people around, just you and the ducks. 
You might spend a lot of time watching the ducks, learning their mannerisms and language, trying to understand their society. They’re fascinating creatures. But it’s often hard to understand. Duck behavior is not logical; at least, not logical to you. You are not a duck. It must be perfectly logical to the ducks. 
Occasionally, some of the ducks will notice you and come up to you. They quack at you, trying to interact with you. You’ve observed them enough that you can even guess at what they want. But when you try to quack back at them, it’s terrible. You’re just not equipped to quack properly. It’s a feeble impersonation at best, and the ducks are confused and unsatisfied. You feel foolish for even trying.
You wish you could explain to the ducks that you mean no offense, it’s just that, well, you’re not a duck. But you don’t know how to tell them. And you doubt they would understand anyway.
Over time it gets better. You learn how to quack much better. Sometimes you even sound like a real duck. At least, they’re convinced enough that they seem to accept you. You think to yourself, hey, maybe I am cut out to be a duck. 
Other times, you are reminded just how much you are not a duck. They invite you to go swimming with them. You can swim, sure, or at the very least stay afloat. But you can’t swim like a duck. They paddle effortlessly around with their webbed feet. They dive gracefully, and the water simply rolls off their backs when they resurface. No amount of observing them will ever give you their abilities. 
You try to tell yourself that it’s fine. You didn’t drown, after all. And the ducks even welcome you to come swimming with them again. But you also feel ashamed and inadequate for not being able to swim like the ducks can, frustrated that you will never, ever be able to swim like the ducks can. 
And then there’s the flying. You know you can’t fly. No matter how much you watch the ducks, no matter how good you become at imitating other duck behaviors, you just physically can’t fly. 
The ducks don’t seem to understand it. They seem to think it’s a choice you’ve made. To them, you’re just that strange duck that doesn’t like to fly. You still wish you could make them understand that you’re not a duck, you’ve just become adept at certain aspects of imitating one. But maybe it’s for the best that you don’t say anything. Maybe they’d think you’re crazy. Worse, maybe they’d be angry at you for pretending this whole time. 
So instead you just say nothing and keep pretending. You’re very good at it by now. But it can still be difficult at times. There are days when your throat is sore from the quacking that still isn’t, that will never be, completely natural. You still get exhausted from so much swimming; you’ve become a strong swimmer, but you just can’t keep up with the ducks. 
When they go off flying, you try to console yourself with all the things you can do that ducks can’t. You’re far, far better at walking on land, for instance. For a moment, you even feel superior. You could outrun any duck in a footrace! But footraces don’t matter to the ducks. And, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re not sure footraces matter to you. You really just want to fly…