December 26, 2012


I know I'm a geek, but The Avengers movie totally missed the chance for a great line.   When Stark pokes Banner with the "pointy thing" and Cap't America calls Stark out on it, Banner says, "It's alright; I wouldn't have come above if I couldn't handle pointy things".  And when I see that scene I say, "A prick or two!  A prick or two!"  Come on, it would totally have rocked.

In addition, enjoy this.  Happy New Year btw!

December 25, 2012

Fun Stuff 2012

Below Powell Falls 
Jan 1 2012 Middle Tellico. Level 1.7, air temps upper 50's. In the Riot Magnum. With Ryland and folks from Knoxville.
Jan 7 Upper Locust ("Wagon Wheel" section). Level 3.5ish? air temps upper 60s. In the Riot Magnum. With Paul E and Rundell. Jan 8 went to Mulberry putin, level 6ft and rising and a storm coming, so I declined.

Jan 21 Duck River.
Air temps 60s though it went down to upper fifties as the afternoon progressed - not in weather forecast either. In the Riot Magnum. Level low (no gauge). The Duck is slated to be dammed after which the whitewater section will be flooded, perhaps under a lake. With Silent Jim, Vander and Mark G. Pics HERE.

Jan 15 Locust. Level 4 ft or so. air temps 50's. In the Riot Magnum. With Ben and Austin. Got a combat roll without nose plugs after flipping in the rapid above Ender Hole.

Sweet Ben and my Warrior Dash Horns
Jan 22 Calvert Prong. Air temps upper 60s. In the Riot Magnum. Level low, Locust at 6 ft. With Spelunkologists and K1chik. Pics HERE and HERE.

Jan 28 Upper Mulberry and Mill/Murphy Creek. With Team V, Joan S, Chuck N. In the WS Project X for Upper Mulberry and in Joy's WS Diesel for Mill/Murphy Creek. Mulberry level 3 feet on the bridge, air temps in the upper 50's.
The Slot, South Sauty Creek

Jan 29 South Sauty Creek. In the Riot Magnum. Level approx 20 inches, Town approx 750. With Dane W., Andy and Lynn, Silent Jim. Air temps in the lower to mid 50's. Ran The Slot, sneaked Bonecrusher, dry hair day.

                                                                                     Feb 2-5 Ski at Sugar Mtn. on Friday, Hike and hang  out in Asheville on Saturday, Hike and Paddle at NOC Slow Joe Wave on Sunday.

Feb 11 5kBR Race. 30:57. Then Graves' Cave with Randall and Karen.

 Feb 18-19 Grotto Getaway. At Paint Rock Valley Lodge. Pics HERE.
Feb 24-26 NPFF. Pics HERE.

March 3 - Upper Mulberry. Level around 5 feet. In Mary's Dagger Crossfire. Slalom races were post-poned due to level. With Joan S. and Mary M. Waited for Mary to complete downriver race. We started late and took off just before dark. Banquet and Halo Effect movie, campfire and sleeping in my car... air temps in 50's with cold wind, night it got into mid-30s.

March 4- Mulberry. After watching some of the slalom races. Level on bridge was just under 2.5 feet. In WS ProjectX 56. With Joan S., Rundell C.; saw Halie and Tara TNT on the river. Air temps in 60's, sunny gorgeous day. Island at Training Wheels was under water, and Lunchstop looked bigger than I remember for this level. I am curious if the bridge correlation has changed.
Me, Rundell, Joan
March 10. ALF. Greenbrier with the Lost Tribe. Level 1.98 when we put on, 1.8 when we took off.
March 11. ALF. Tellico. With TeleDave. Level was 576 cfs in the morning, which on boating beta was listed as 2.3, and on wrww was correlated at 2.7 (my guess). Great level.
March 14-18 ACA Kayak Instructor training/certification with Kent Ford. Mulberry, level around 1 foot, in the Magnum. I was certified Sunday as a Level 4 instructor. I am very proud of this as it was one of the most challenging things I have ever undertaken.
March 24-25 Locust Fork race.
I was a spectator Saturday. Joan, Julie and I practiced rolls and strokes below the finish line at the course. Sunday I raced K1 womens cruising and placed third. Air temps 70's.
April 1 Ocoee. In the Hyside Paddle Cat with Wendy. Then a second lap in a demo Jackson Fun Runner 60 with Ben. Saw Kenny and Shirley as well. Air temps 70's.
New Fozzie
April 6 Tellico. Middle Tellico 1.7, in the Riot Magnum. With Andy and Lynn, Bill D., Nancy C., Christine B. and Kathy from Nashville. 2 combat rolls sans noseplugs. Then late lunch/early dinner at the Crab Trap/Tellico Pavilion. Great day. Air temps upper 60's/low 70's, we wore drytops and shorts. Video:
April 11 Roll Practice.  At Joan's on Choccolocco Creek.  With Joan, Lynn, and I forget his name... Air temps 60's.
April 13 New Car/Guitar with Charlie Soul Band at Daniel Day Gallery
Me and Rick playing at Daniel Day Gallery

Chilling at the ERA Wavesport Open Party
Nanty falls in Ecuadoran mask.. I had no peripheral vision...
April 21 ERA Wavesport Nantahala Open/NOC Demo Days.  Joann brought masks from Ecuador and we paddled the falls wearing them, and won a prize at the party.  I was in the Diesel 60.  Also paddled the new WS prototype creeker, the new WS crossover boat, and demoed a Pyranha Loki at the Slow-Joe wave. Air temps upper 60's
April 22. Ocoee.   In Jenni's Mamba 7.6.   With Ry and Jenni in the Demo Dynamic Duo.  Air temps mid 50's... brrr.
April 29 Ocoee.  In the Riot Magnum 72.  Lesson with Juliet from ERA.   Great day!
K1Chik and I showing off our Born To Knit tattoos from
May 3-6 SERA.  
May 10.  Anniversary of my Mom's passing.    I can't believe it was a year ago.
May 12 I Ain't Skerd Workshop.   In the Riot Magnum 72.   Level - well, the Upper was releasing for the first time this season.  With instructor Juliet K. from ERA.  With Mary M. and Juliet E.  Did Whiteface Boof and caught eddies in Tablesaw.  Great clinic!
May 19-20 Boaterchick festival.  Pics here.  Saturday, Nantahala level 3.6 in the ProjectX 56.  One roll at the Falls.   Then roll practice with Gretchen and Mary at lake Fontana, with surprise instructor Ken K. Sunday Ocoee normal release in the Magnum 72.   Rolls at Slice n Dice and below Cats Pajamas, swam at Flipper trying to do the Watauga move to the river right eddy.
May 26 Ocoee Hometown Throwdown.   At Slice n Dice. In the Project X56.  High lower 90's, water level had the Upper flow.  Woke up with a tummy ache and almost blew off going up.  Website had the event starting at 3; I got there at 2:30 and it was almost over, for some reason they had changed the time. But they let me get in and take my turns in the hole.  No warmup, no clue... Rumor has it that I actually won the 'cougar division' that Christine B. and I made up (women's masters I guess) but I'll believe it when I see it in print, as I was tired and  had just floundered around in there.  I then had the joy of swimming after my last playboating "turn", after 6 roll attempts, and watched my boat go down the left side of Moon Chute.  I sat on a rock for awhile contemplating life... maybe 10-15 minutes?  Then 3 nice gentlemen noticed me over there on my rock and 1 helped me swim to shore, where I walked down the eddies and avoided poison ivy whilst two of them went to retrieve my boat. I waited at Double Suck for Christine and her crew.  Christine said she had assumed I had left with another group when she didn't see me paddle back up after my last turn.  No worries...We had a great rest of the day.  Spent that night at River Rats with Ben and paddlers from the Nashville area, great times...  Mark N was there, and Marty, and Winston and Christine... and Chloe the Bassadach.   We had chili dogs and homemade icecream and smores, and there were fireworks, just a few and not too late, and they were very good ones..  *Update* well it was true:
May 27 Hiwassee.  In the Project X56.  High lower 90's, two generators.  With Ry and Jenni, and Rundell; also folks from the BCC and GCA.   Lots of spinning and surfing. I also found a rattlesnake crossing the road on the "back way" from River Rats to the Hi.  Pics HERE.
May 30 Roll Session at Pell City Lakeside Park.   With Larry D., Joan S. and others.   My first visit to this great site for rolling practice!
June 2 Coosa Whitewater Festival.  Level 8000 cfs., weather a nice 80's mild day, rare for summer Coosa.  With Joan.  Pics here.
June 3 Blueberries.   Went to Bear Mtn. Blueberry Farm with Juliet Ellenberger and her kids, and some of their friends.   The farm wasn't officially open yet but the blueberries are ripe early so the owner let us in anyway.  The farm officially opens in 3 weekends.   A few pics here.
June 9 Hiwassee Roll Workshop.  With Larry D., his friend on a sit-on-top whose name I forget, and Mikeyboats.   Two Generators, 80's cloudy.  We must have rolled 30 times each minimum.  Great day.
June 10 I Ain't Skered 2.  With Mary M.  Left roll at the Hiwassee... I got two combat rolls but had three swims.  We worked on Clean Spins and Broken Nose eddies.   I am going to rest today.
June 15 Early Morning Rolling Session.  7:15. At Pell City Lakeside Park.   In the ProjectX 56.  With Sue R.
June 16 Hiwassee.  With Larry and Stephanie D., Carin P., Heywood, Rebecca, and the sit-on-top guys.  Weather mid to upper 80's.  In the Project X.  Photos HERE.  Videos HERE.
June 17 Ocoee.  Demoing the new Dagger Mamba 8.6.  Mid to upper 80's.  Ran into Sue and Steve R.  Photos HERE.  Boat review HERE.
June 23 Ocoee.  In the Project X 56, with Christine, Andy and Lynn.  Air temps Hot As Hell all weekend.
June 24 Upper and Middle Ocoee.  In the Liquid Logic Remix 69 demo from Rock Creek Outfitters on the Ocoee.  When you go there say hey to Ben!  With Andy, Lynn, Helen T. and Bill L.   Andy demoed a Jackson Zen 75. Took out at Go Forth to get the demo boats back.  Boat review HERE.
June 29-July 2 Week Of Rivers.   Friday - Nantahala with Joan, Bill, Greta and Mary.  Saturday, Pigeon.  Sunday, Hyside Paddle-Cat with Julie, also Ryland and Jenni, and Nancy C.  Monday, Nanty with Hayward, Carin, and Julie.  Pics HERE.
July 3 Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band.  With my sister Kathy.  At the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.
July 14 Coosa.  In the Project X 56.  Level 6200.   Mild weather for July, perhaps 90.  With Scott B., David an OC1 paddler, and his friend Matt in an RPM.
Bottom of Alien Boof, Upper Ocoee
July 20-22 BCC Beginning Kayak Class; I was an assistant instructor.
August 4-5 BCCSummer Slam.  Upper and Middle Ocoee both days.   Saturday in the Dagger Mamba 8.1, Flash flood made the Ocoee spike right as we put on the Middle, Go Forth Creek was going off and Joe and Jeff ran it.  Sunday in the Liquid Logic Remix 69.  Dynamic roll in the Olympic section above Callahan's earned me a gold star.  Photos here: 

Aug 11-12 Nantahala. In the Wavesport ProjectX 56.   Air temps 90 or so.   With Andy and Lynn, Ted and Helen, and the BCC canoeists.  At Turkey Creek campground.  Flipped above Surfer's and bonked my head on a rock, rolled up.

Aug 17-19 Ladies Cabin Trip, Hiwassee.   Temp 80's, 2 generators, sunshine except for rain when we put-on Sunday morning.  With Joan, Linda, Heather, Julie, and Sarah.   In the ProjectX 56.  
Aug 25 Upper/Lower Ocoee.  In the Riot Magnum.With Lynn and Andy, Robert W. and his dad.   Worked and swam at Callahans, cut my knee.   Met Larry at Matt at Lower put-in for Larry's first descent of the Ocoee.  Larry put-in at the rails and had a great day, he had 1 swim at Tablesaw after riding the whole rapid upside down and taking a hit to his helmet and head from Guide Ejector Rock.  Once we got to the take-out I drove to Cleveland ER and got three stitches in my knee.
Next day I ran shuttle for the others, hung out with Jenni H. at the Olympic section while Ry and Andy ran the Upper, then watched them all descend Broken Nose and Double Suck, then drove home.
Sept 1-2.  Ocoee.  In the Riot Magnum.  With Halie and Tara, Larry, Andy and Lynn, Christine and others.  Waterproof bandaid, gauze, purple duck tape, and a strategy of not flipping, not practicing rolls, and not getting out of my boat until the take-out kept my stitched up knee dry.
Sept 8 Coosa.  4000 cfs, temps in the upper 80's.  With Joan and Ashley P.
Sept 15 Ocoee.  Upper and middle, in the Riot Magnum.  Upper with Lynn, Ryland and Jim T.  Middle with Lynn, Andy, Jim T., Ryland and Jenni, Carin and Larry.
Sept 21 Lower Gauley.  With Andy, Lynn, Jim T., Bruce B., Chris K.  Photos here:
Sept 22 New River Gorge. Level 3 ft. With Andy, Lynn, a guy from Colorado, and Jim T.  Photos here: 
Sept 23 Hike to Sweet's Falls on the Upper Gauley.  Photos here:   Video here:
Sept 24 New River Gorge.  Level 1 ft.  With Andy, Lynn, and Jim T.  Camera died so no photos.
Sept 28-30 GAF.  With Joan S., Rebecca R., and Larry D.   Drove up Friday, camped at wonderful Smokey Mtn. Meadows, paddled the Nantahala Saturday, Bought A New Toy from NOC, rested and walked the Upper Nantahala road Sunday.  In the WS Project X 56.  Larry was in his new (used) Project X 56 as well.  Rebecca got a combat roll below Nanty Falls!  Level a beefy 3.1 (normal 2.6), air temps 80 or so.
Oct 6- 7 TAG Fall Cave-In.  Went up for one night.   Camera is dead so no pics.
Oct 11-16 Motion2012 Motion Graphics conference in Albuquerque.  With Liz and Maria.  Pics from my droid phone, here.
Oct 27 - Hiwassee.  With the BCC, Fall Colors Trip.  In the Liquid Logic Remix 69. High around 60.  Saw a bald eagle. 
Oct 28 - Ocoee.  With Ben, Andy and Lynn, Bill L. and Tony D.  In the Liquid Logic Remix 69.  High around 50.  brrr.
Nov 3-4.  Campout at Joan's.  With Amanda and Derek, Linda, and a lot of kids...
Nov 17. Bluff River Cave.  With Reed and Forrest, Shay Valerie and Dave H.  Photos here.
Nov 23.  Hike at Coldwater Mtn. Trail.  With Joan.  4-5 miles.
Dec 23 Mulberry.  In the LL Remix. With Mark G., Ashley and Taylor, and Aaron M.  Level on the bridge was 1 ft.  There is a new gauge to the Mulberry and it's not calibrated yet, but it read online at 5.1 ft.  Air temps 50's, cloudy.  Brief drizzle of rain at the putin.
Dec 27 Ecuador.  Left Bham around 10:30 am. for paddling trip with ERA to Ecuador.
Dec 28 Ecuador.  Landed around 1 am.  Stayed at Hotel Embassy in Quito. Went to Otovalo to see the Cascades de Peguche.  Met up with Juliet and friends that evening for dinner at The Magic Bean. 
Dec 29 Ecuador.  Tour of the Old City of Quito, then tours of the Equator sites.   Dinner at a mexican restaurant, forget the name.
Dec 30 Ecuador.  Went to Rio Quijos Lodge, paddled the Quijos river Borjas to Lodge section.
Dec 31 Ecuador.  Paddled the Quijos river Lower Quijos section.  Celebrated New Year's Eve at the Rio Quijos Lodge.
New Years Eve - 50Judy & Pepito Ecuador pictures here and here.

December 23, 2012

Cool documentary about Johnny Quest online

Me and Tone at Highland

Great times... Me and Tony cracking up at Highland Music Saturday Dec 22.

December 22, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts for Dec 22 2012

1.  Almost Christmas and my knee still hurts from my swim on the Oly section of the Ocoee.  I put up a photo of it from where I was sitting on a table at the ER waiting to get stitches, back in August.  It's rather gross so you've been warned if you click here.   All I had to do was roll up and I'd have avoided this injury.

2.  Carport Crossfit is getting new digs.  The new location is literally across the street from our old place.   Instead of a couple of mini-storage spaces it's 2000ft of indoor gym and 5000ft of outdoor yard.   It's sweet!

3.  I've been making little diagrams of lines through some rapids, and posting them occasionally on this blog.  They are all collected here, and I'll add to them as I get suitable photos over time.

4.  Everybody has flaws.  Mine include being a control freak.  It's one reason I'm so grateful to have found paddling.  There is no way to control the river, and being flung down a hill by a torrent of water can have profound effects on one's perception of how much control over things we can realistically have.   When I wrote this I was specifically thinking of Double Z rapid on the New River Gorge.  I think that Double Z, at 3 ft, is one of the few rapid's I've run that I wish I had worn a camera through, because it was such chaos going through it.  Terrifying.  Anyway.  In addition to being a control freak, I have a lot of regrets for things I've done due to that personality, uh, trait including some major bridge burnings that really, must stay burnt.  But I will say this.  I can do better.  The River teaches that too.  It's amazing, that River.  It's saved my life.

5.  Enough of that!  Enjoy this:

December 18, 2012

The Woggles

Yet ANOTHER find from The Underground Garage on XM/Sirius.  That station alone is enough reason for me to keep my XM subscription (which I've had since 2002 btw).

December 16, 2012

December 12, 2012

Great Band, Great Song

Yet ANOTHER gem from Little Steven's Underground Garage, the best radio station ever:

The Grip Weeds "Speed of Life" video from The Grip Weeds on Vimeo.

November 29, 2012

You need this

Dear readers, you need this.  Props to garmachi for sending me the link.  It's free, multi-platform, and is your own private planetarium.

This is awesome

November 25, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts for Nov 25 2012

1.  If I consistently posted these, they wouldn't be random.

2.  I am forcing myself not to do anything outdoors this holiday weekend in the hope that my knee will be well before I go to Ecuador to kayak.

3.  Still, I managed to go on a hike on Friday.   We went to Coldwater Mtn., link to info here:   We were going to ride bikes but I had an equipment malfunction, so we hiked instead.   It's a fantastic new park, many banked turns and whoop-te-do's in the trail.

4.  My crossfit box bought a new building!   We will have space for our ever-increasing group of athletes to train.

5.  I am beyond bored right now.


November 24, 2012

November 16, 2012

November 11, 2012

Rollin rollin rollin...

Few of us went rolling today. We went to a private lake that a buddy of ours lives near (as in, 100 yards from his house). He didn't roll with us, due to a severe hangover. Three of us rolled. Two women and one man. The man got out after about 20 minutes. Us women stayed and rolled and rolled. I laughed at one point and said to her, "Well, we are crazy". Water was cold, not Nanty cold, it was warm enough outside and I was in my drysuit.  
It was kind of crazy. 
I love this sport.

Red Beans and Rice

This is so easy to make, and so good, I am going to share it with you.  It's Joan's recipe for Red Beans and Rice:

Red Beans & Rice

2 c dried red beans plus 1 T baking soda

1 chopped onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 can diced tomatoes

1 t cumin

2 t salt

2 T Joan’s chili powder or add extra cayenne for store bought

32 oZ chicken or vegetable stock

¼ c fresh cilantro

2 c dried red beans soaked overnight with 1 T baking soda

Rinse and drain the next morning. Saute onions & garlic till they begin
to sweat. Add tomatoes and spices and cook down a bit. Place beans and tomato mixture to crock pot. Cook 7 hours on low.

Saute Andouille sausage and set aside to stir in at last minute. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

October 20, 2012

I. Love. This.

Quick Random Thoughts for October 20 2012

1. Watched college football today (on the Internet) for the first time this season.  It's been nice. I sure hope the Tide Rolls over the Vols tonight, else I have to put up with my Knoxville paddling buddies giving me grief all year. BTW when I bought my Magnum I chose to buy a lime green boat instead of an orange boat because of all the Vols fans I paddle with. Didn't want them getting any ideas about my team loyalty.  And I just bought a lovely Crimson Red Remix 69...  yes liquidlogic calls it brick red but what do they know.
2.  There is an indescribably good feeling about thinking you are going to learn new things and challenge your mind.  That's how I feel about my upcoming work projects.  The Motion 2012 conference really did kick start my brain, just as promised.  I have to get down and dirty and obsess over minutia, which for whatever reason I love to do!
3.  My knee still hurts from when I cut it swimming on the Ocoee Olympic section in August.  I guess I bruised the bone. ?  I do not recommend swimming the Olympic section.  Roll the damn boat.
4.  I support the use of the Interrobang; some of these others I am not so sure about...
5.  Goal:  Relearn Hand Roll

October 4, 2012

17 things worth knowing about your cat



I didn't watch the debates or the baseball game.

October 1, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts for Oct 1 2012

1.  A fellow lady paddler was caught in a pin in a strainer on the Upper Nanty with her head under water for over 2 minutes.  She was rescued by heroes, one of whom ran into the river with no pfd or helmet to pull her out of the strainer, hold her head above water, and save her life.    CPR was done and she was revived and will have a full recovery.   CPR saves drowning victims' lives!  Get certified!  And take a SWR class too!

2.  I have a new boat -Remix 69 in brick red.  I love new toys. Have to outfit it now.  I got a killer deal on it from NOC at GAF.

3.  It was a great GAF this year and I especially love camping at Smoky Mtn. Meadows near Bryson City.   There was an osprey that followed us for part of the trip down the Nantahala.   Lots to think about.   Losing Jeff; nearly losing our friend mentioned above; my friend Jim who was in a terrible motorcycle accident and lost a leg; being grateful for each day I can spend on the water and in company of such good friends.  Spending time with Ben and walking the Upper Nanty with Teledave.  Crisp nights in the tent and stars out.   Solid rolls; solid strokes, good lines at the falls.  The Gorge is my home away from home.

4.  Happy Birthday.

5.  Need to rest.

September 19, 2012

Alabama Historical Rapids

I am looking for photos of the rapids underneath the lakes and dams of Alabama's rivers.
Examples:  Devil's Staircase on the Coosa River near Wetumpka, the Falls of  Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River, and the double falls underneath Smith Lake.  If you have access to photos of these or other rapids, or information on where to find them, please let me know!

September 17, 2012

September 16, 2012

Jeff West Memorial Fund

We all owe Jeff a huge thank you.  Please consider making a donation to help bring Jeff home from British Columbia and to remember him at the Memorial Party.  Any excess funds will be used for the continued operation of Ace Kayak School.  Thank you.

Please post this link on Facebook, Twitter, etc: 

September 14, 2012

Cool Song

Found this one sort of accidentally; it's the sort of thing I *would* find out from The Underground Garage, very cool:

September 13, 2012

our Champion

From Boatertalk: 
We have lost our Champion
A true gentleman, a great hero admired by all 
for his generosity and courtesy 
Always willing to help 
A civilized man in an age of vulgarity/crudeness 
the soul and spirit of the Ocoee 
although I cannot paddle like him/ I will 
try to follow Jeff's behavior on the River

An article about Jeff and what happened last weekend:

September 12, 2012

Jeff West

One of my instructors, Jeff West, passed away on the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River this past weekend.
I am heartbroken with grief and cannot believe it is true.  The kayaking community has lost the best of us.
I can't write about Jeff right now but those of you who knew him know what a wonderful person he was.

Here is a link to an article Jeff wrote about his 2010 trip down the Stikine:

September 11, 2012

LRC Chairlift Rapid Diagrams

Last fall I made some diagrams of the lines through the two harder rapids on the Chairlift Section of Little River Canyon.   If you click on the photos they show a larger version.  Here they are:

Eddy Hop on LRC Chairlift.
 I think AW's page calls this rapid Blue Hole Memorial.

Entrance to Bottleneck on LRC Chairlift

Bottleneck on LRC

September 9, 2012

September 8, 2012

well I didn't expect it

but here it is in a nutshell:

Very Cool Website

Dear Friends.  I hope your September is wonderful so far.  I am going to make it a tiny bit more wonderful by providing a link to a cool website I just found:

Take care dears,


September 7, 2012

wise words

A good leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a
black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow
bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax
hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the
moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it
shines bright and never changes, but keeps his
course truly.

Ocoee River Playboat Race 2012

I love it.

September 6, 2012

My Guitar Hero

"The Descent" is the first single off of Bob Mould's new album Silver Age.  This is the best album I've bought in recent memory; the song "Keep Believing" is just. damn. awesome.   I lack proper superlatives this morning.  Just... get it.


For those of you who took my recommendation and read The Emperor of All Maladies, you will really appreciate how mind-blowing this article is:
From the article:"The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches."


 "Human DNA is such a long strand — about 10 feet of DNA stuffed into a microscopic nucleus of a cell — that it fits only because it is tightly wound and coiled around itself. When they looked at the three-dimensional structure — the hairball — Encode researchers discovered that small segments of dark-matter DNA are often quite close to genes they control. In the past, when they analyzed only the uncoiled length of DNA, those controlling regions appeared to be far from the genes they affect."

This is an example of something I wish more engineers could get their paws on - 3d models of the way DNA is coiled into the nucleus of a cell...  

Thank you Government Sponsored Research btw.  

September 5, 2012

The music makes it wonderful

The big chroma-key eyeglasses and 1971 pant-suits etc. help make it wonderful too!  

August 31, 2012

The older I get, the more I like this song.

"We made a vow
we'd always be friends.
How could we know that promises end."

August 30, 2012

Quick Random Thoughs for Aug 30

1.  Ben says my Indian Name is "Paddles With Boo-Boo".

2.  Worked up a ukulele version of "Someone To Watch Over Me" only to find that it's a common song for people to work up ukulele versions... there are a bunch on youtube.  I think the Great American Songbook and the uke just go well together.

3.  In addition to the uke, I am trying to learn Nuke:

4.  When I am particularly un-kind or grumpy I watch this and remind myself I can behave better:

5.  So, to be more precise, yes, sometimes I get wrapped up in my own problems and forget that everybody has problems to deal with - everybody.   I'm not so bad about this as I was years ago, thanks to some help I got (and get) along the way, but still.   If I have no room in my heart for anything but my own troubles, then I have nothing to give anybody else.   So I try to do better.  Last year was pretty darn... awful.  But we made it through, as a family.

Vote Yes For Forever Wild!

August 29, 2012


Last blog post this morning.   I had to repost the link, it's an amazing article!

Quick Random Thoughts for August 29

1.  I got worked in Callahan's on the Olympic section of the Ocoee last Saturday, and subsequently got three stitches in my knee.  And my knee hurts.  It effing hurts.  I was one good roll away from all of this pain and cost.

2.  I'm just grumpy about it this morning.   It gets better every day.

3.  Faith in the future, out of the now.  Miss you John.  Glad your killer didn't get parole.

4.  So Ben has a bum left foot.  I have a bum left knee.  Andy has a bum left ankle.  Is this a pattern?  I hope not!

5.  I need to be around children more.  I never wanted to have kids.   But I like kids.   I'd be a great evil stepmother.  I'd make them go into the woods and drop breadcrumbs to find their way back.  Just kidding! Instead I'd force them to go kayaking and camping instead of to the mall.  Poor things.  And they'd have to take piano lessons too.

6.  Donna told me about seeing a sign for something called, "Straight Outta Brompton".

7.  Email me already.


Wednesday Song

I'm not a big Yoko fan, but this is one of the best songs she has ever sung.

Great Kayak Instructional Video Online

Genes - Advanced WW & Steep Creekin' White Water Kayaking Instructional from Gene17 - Simon Westgarth on Vimeo.

This is one of my favorite instructional DVD's and the entire thing is online in low rez.   Enjoy!

Wear Yellow On Friday

August 16, 2012

I would LOVE to do this creek

Or something similar, in the SE instead of Germany, and just as narrow and cool

August 15, 2012

August 10, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts For August 10

1.  Summer goes by way too fast.

2.  Always think of nesting compositions.

3.  black and white kitties are Best.

4.  Three of my friends in my little ski group have now sustained knee injuries, and two of them have required surgery.   Am pondering the wisdom of my latest hobby.  But damn it is so fun.

5.  Gauley.

6.  Would be nice to get back to Whitesides Mtn. for some rappelling and climbing.  It's 650 feet and breathtaking.  By 'breathtaking' I mean both in 2000' ft. panoramic views and in how out of breath I am when I've climbed back up.  BTW the video I linked has clicks on the soundtrack from my friend's camera's autofocus freaking out.

The Leslie

Team Jib Realming at The Leslie from Dave Matthews on Vimeo.

August 7, 2012

July 26, 2012


Members of the Birmingham Canoe Club will be at Pell City Lakeside Park this Saturday at 10 am to practice eskimo rolling.   Come by and work on getting your roll or improving your roll...
Cost is free!

Directions to Pell City Civic Center & Lakeside Park & Sports Complex
  • Go I-20 east; take exit 156 @Pell City/Eden
  • Turn right follow road (Hwy 78) into Pell City.
  • At St. Clair County Court House turn right at red light onto 19th St. South.
  • Follow 19th Street all the way to Hwy 231. Cross over Hwy 231 on to Hwy 34. Follow Hwy 34 and it leads in front of Civic Center and Lakeside Park. (2801 Stemley Bridge Road)
Another Option:
  • I-20 east to Pell City exit 158:
  • Go right onto Hwy 231 south;
  • Go south about 5 miles turn left at red light (8th red light) on to Hwy 34.
  • Follow Hwy 34 and it leads in front of Civic Center.


Great story, great photos - expedition class V wilderness kayaking in Wyoming - check it out:

July 25, 2012


The new Dagger playboat looks awesome, esp. with Rush Sturges in it:

July 18, 2012

Was singing this out loud just now

I was singing it about my basil/homegrown tomato/zucchini pasta sauce... It 'won't be long' until it's done... anyway:

July 17, 2012

Black Coyote Green Chili

My friend Jeff K made this green chili for a cook-off and it was so delicious I asked for the recipe. Here it is:

Black Coyote Green Chili
World Champion 2004
Source: Wes Carlson
Submitted by:

2 lbs Pork Loin - Cubed
1 can 28 oz. Green Chili - whole
Seed and cut into small cubes
1 tbsp. salt
2 cloves garlic
2 cups water
5 jalapenos - seeded
1 medium sweet onion - chopped
5 tbsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 cans campbells chicken broth
2 tbsp. green tabasco sauce
8 oz. green sauce 
Mix together salt, cumin, and oregano, set aside.
Blend together jalapenos and green sauce, set aside.
Gray pork in frying pan, set aside.
Combine chicken broth, half the water, onion and garlic in cooking pot.
Heat until onion is translucent.
Add blended jalapenos, pork, and 1-1/2 tbsp of cumin mixture to pot.
Continue cooking over medium heat.
After one hour, add 1/3 can green chilis (blended), 1 tbsp. green tabasco sauce and another 1-1/2 
tbsp. of cumin mixture.  
After 2-1/2 hours, add remaning green chilis, green tabasco sauce and cumin mixture.
Salt, thin or thicken sauce to suit.

July 15, 2012

Hey bulldog

Hope for the future

More info:

Days For Girls International

In the U.S. we women take for granted the ready availability of products for menstruation.  In many other countries this just doesn't exist.  I'm planning a trip to Ecuador and have been forewarned that anything of this nature that I might need,  I must bring with me from the U.S.
Days For Girls International is making washable feminine hygiene kits "available to women in 22 countries on 5 continents and has helped organizations in the creation of approx. 50,000 feminine hygiene kits."
Check them out at:

July 13, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts For July 13 2012

1.  A reminder for anyone interested in, or beginning to, paddle whitewater: my friend Steve and I have built a wiki for new padders here:   I try to keep it updated with new and current info as I can.

2.  I want a Nord Electro 3 full-size keyboard, please.  

3.  If you are looking for a non-fiction book to read, I cannot recommend The Emperor of All Maladies highly enough.  I love it when a book teaches me things I thought I knew something about.  This book blew my mind.

4.  In keeping on the subject of the book, check this out:

5.  I am going to stay home and play guitar tonight.  I tried using my M-Audio to record some stuff on my laptop, but there is a lot of hiss etc. in it.  So recommendations for a better system are welcomed.   I wouldn't mind recording to an SD card or hard drive instead of straight to the laptop.   I will admit that I suspect my Korg Pandora box is to blame for most if not all of the the noise.   So suggestions regarding that are welcome too.

6.  After a year and a half of dedication to Crossfit,  I pretty.

July 11, 2012

Sat June 21 - Avondale RiverFest benefiting Black Warrior Riverkeeper!

Avondale RiverFest to Benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper on Saturday July 21 Free Live Music Event at Avondale Brewing Company from Noon to Midnight Birmingham – On Saturday, July 21, noon to midnight, Avondale Brewing Company will host “Avondale RiverFest” to benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization protecting the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. Free to the public, Avondale RiverFest will feature live music on the brewery’s new backyard stage.

Pic of the Tablesaw rock

Here is a pic of the rock in Tablesaw on the Ocoee that gave the rapid its name.   The rock fell over during a storm' I think it was in the late 80's.    The rock threw up a roostertail of water that resembled a spinning tablesaw.

July 10, 2012

Quick Random Thoughts for July 10 2012

1.   Why didn't I think of this example of great pop yesterday? It is one of my favorite songs.

2.  Whenever people tell me they want to get in shape and might even try Crossfit, I suggest they do some burpees everyday first, after all they are free, require no equipment, and we do them in Xfit all of the time; they are a whole body aerobic and bodyweight exercise... and for some reason they never take me up on it.  Maybe it is because they are horrible.

3.  Book suggestion - "The Emperor of All Maladies" by Siddhartha Mukherjee.    It's about cancer.   I've just started it, fascinating read.  Also suggested reading:  This article in the NYT:
and its sister articles as well, there are links to them on the page.

4.  I can't help thinking that there is something obvious about cancer that we are missing.  I wonder if great minds from other disciplines, like the branches of engineering, and art/design, and all other human endeavors, applied themselves to the puzzle of cancer if some answers to its genesis would be found.  Because cancer at its core is simply growth, unrestricted growth.  Now I am sure someone more knowledgeable can correct me on that definition. 

5.  Insomnia is one of the great perks of perimenopause.

6.  I love you.

7.  I painted my toenails sparkly blue.

July 8, 2012


Eric Jackson, the man, the legend:

July 7, 2012

How I Learned to Play The Blues

For years, I would try to hear the solos in blues songs.   I just didn't hear them.   What I mean is, they didn't compute in my brain.  So I couldn't play them.
Elisabeth Cotton - a regular on my Ipod, check her out
To me they sounded like repetitive, simple pentatonic patterns but the language was foreign.  My typical voice is in the power-pop happy melodic solo.    Like the solo in this song:
or this song, yes it is a keyboard and guitar:
or this song which is simply kick ass:
But I digress.  A couple of things happened to tell me how to play the blues.  First, I started playing ukulele. I blogged about the uke last year.  Don't laugh! (wags finger at you).   Ukulele breaks down all the chords into three or four notes.  The patterns of notes are the same as on the top strings of a guitar, though the key is different.   (huh? read this maybe it will explain better:
Thus, ukulele has helped me memorize note positions in a way I hadn't thought about them before.  Ukulele has also helped me with learning some of the American Songbook classics like Gershwin's hits or Kern's.     I have a great ukulele vendor btw if you're in the market:
ANYWAY.   The second thing that happened is someone who is a great guitarist told me that blues solos are like sentences you speak.   If that was obvious to you, well it wasn't to me for whatever reason.  Pop solos are like sentences too, but the sentence in a pop solo, to me, is really making a melody that is a counter-part to the melody of the song it's in.  Whereas blues solos are speaking a paragraph about... well I don't know exactly but they have a beginning, peaks and valleys, and a denouement just like a novel.  
If these thoughts are helpful to you, here is a link that explores the subject in depth and I do mean in depth:
It's so in depth that it makes my face melt, but I try to understand it. 

Just The Way You Look Tonight
So, I got better and better at hearing, and playing, blues solos as I learned more of the language.  I do not have the same fondness for them as I do for my melodic pop solos, however.  For one thing blues solos are not something I write and memorize and play over and over because they make me happy.  My pop solos totally are that for me.  In fact I'll make up a song just to play the solo.  I'll never play the blues that often because it really isn't my thing.  But it's nice to not eff up the solos so much anymore in a jamming session. 

Definition of 'pop' to me: quintissentially The Beatles and every happy note that sprung from their influence.

BTW if you want to play some pop or blues or whatever I am often found at Highland Music on Saturdays.  Here's a Ticks song I did a solo on back in 1994.