A little water above and below

We went kayaking again yesterday at Ft DeSoto Park, our favorite kayak hang-out. This time we had a welcoming committee though: a huge swarm of mosquitoes waiting at our launch site. They were thick as could be, forcing us to quickly unload the kayaks and jump into the water, just to keep them off our legs. Looked like I’d been playing paintball I had so many blood-red splats on my legs from squishing them. Once we got into the middle of the canal, the mosquitoes, happily sated, left us alone.

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We started with mosquitoes, ran through a bit of cooling rain, then the clouds parted and gave us some wonderful sunshine.

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Ft. DeSoto is a kayaking paradise. There are abundant mangroves, manatee swim close by to investigate what you’re doing, an occasional dolphin or two will cruise by. It’s a beautiful place.

Even though we were out on Labor Day Saturday, we didn’t have to fight traffic on the roads or in the water. It was as peaceful as could be.

Pam’s friend, Holly, went with us this time. I left her and Pam to chat with each other, while I hung out alone and did a little fishing. I had a number strikes, but never could time setting the hook, so no fish dinner Saturday night. It was so peaceful, so relaxing. I let the light breeze drift me along the water. Occasionally I’d spook a school of Reds, all of them scattering in a cloud of dust in all directions. My fishing technique leaves a lot to be desired, but catching something wasn’t a high priority anyway. Getting out and listening to the peace and quiet was.

Good times.

Pulp Fiction

I was flipping through the channels this evening and ran across Pulp Fiction. It was about halfway through. Usually I’ll just keep on surfing when that happens. But with Pulp Fiction, the rules are different. I had to stop what I was doing and watch the rest. What a movie.

I caught it just as John Travolta and Uma Thurman were eating a late dinner at the Hollywood diner, right before they got up to dance. One of my favorite dance scenes of all time. (Close behind that is JT in the movie Michael, when he’s dancing with all the women at the bar.)

The twists and timing of the scenes in Pulp Fiction are crazy: Bruce Willis discovering John Travolta as he’s coming out of the john. Then JT, still alive and in the apartment with Samuel L. Jackson, who is delivering his Ezekiel speech. The start of the movie is the end of the movie. Or is it the other way around?

Classic.

Hobie no more

[Update: the sale fell through. I still have my Hobie, and I don’t know if I’m going to put it up for sail again. It’s just too much fun – even if it does take a full day to get out there & back.]

I sold my Hobie yesterday, almost 6 months to the day from purchasing it. It was a blast of a boat, and it’s going to a good home. I’ll miss it big-time once the summer thunderstorms and lack of wind end, and the fall breezes fill in. But with a 50 mile drive each way, it just took too long to drive out and set it up before I could even get on the water. I would be gone most of the day on weekends just to get in 2-hours of sailing.

So instead of sailing I’ll just stick with my little skiff and motor around whenever I get the chance.

January 27, 2009 – wandering calf

Been sitting in my office, trying not to think about my tooth, trying to concentrate on work. Zune headphones in my ears, background music playing, concentrating. . .

Then I hear Alix burst into the house, talking about a calf.

In our yard.

Hard to ignore something like that.

Sure enough. A calf had gotten loose from someone’s nearby farm and took a dangerous nighttime walk down the road to our place.

We quickly shut the front gate, opened the gate to our front paddock, ran and got some hay, and shooed him safely inside for the night.

We’ll probably get a knock on the front door tomorrow from the owner. Glad the little guy wasn’t hurt.

OK. Time to focus again.

Update: Here are some pictures I took of him early this morning. http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=8odr4qsw.2r6ehdwg&x=0&h=1&y=2wis9o&localeid=en_US&cm_mmc=site_email-_-site_share-_-core-_-view_photos_button

Old school tennis

Around noon our cable TV went out. It’s still out now, 3.5 hours later. And today the Wimbledon men’s singles final is being played. As a result, I pressure washed the lanai and pool area.

I found Wimbledon Radio online and during rest breaks I’ve been able to catch a number of points – including the 4th set tiebreaker. British accents calling the match, fans ooh-ing and aah-ing, players (well, Nadal) grunting, the sound of the rackets striking the ball.

I’ve finished the pressure washing, taken a bath, and am sitting on the couch listening to the match. They’re on serve in the 5th set, with Federer serving at 4-4.

Update: Well, Nadal took the match, 9-7 in the 5th set. Amazing tennis from what I heard on the “radio” and have read online. Sad I couldn’t have watched more of it, but the sounds of the match will be with me for a while. Called the cable TV company – a technician won’t be out until Tuesday morning.

Update2: Just found videos of the 4th set tiebreaker and the entire 5th set on NBCSports.com. Wow.

Microsoft worldwide telescope

Call me speechless.

I finally got around to downloading this software. It is absolutely amazing. The images are stunning, and the UI is so intuitive. I could stay up all night, gazing into the heavens, er, my laptop screen.

If you haven’t seen it, go download it today. http://www.worldwidetelescope.org

If you’re a fan of the night sky, you’ll find it breathtaking.

Roller coasters at Busch Gardens

We went to Busch Gardens on December 26, trying to get the most out of our annual passes, which are about to expire on 12/31. Pam didn’t go, but I took Zach, Brittany, Alix, Jeffrey, and Jeffrey’s sister. I tagged along with them, trying not to be a 5th wheel, and had a great time. They always do a circuit of the roller coasters; it had been a couple of years for me. I usually hang out with Pam and look at animals, ride the train, eat – you know, kinda sedate stuff. But I got my fill of excitement this day.

First up: Montu. Zach and Brittany sitting in the row in front of me. Alix, Jeffrey, and his sister ended up on the next run. I wound up sitting in a row of random strangers, but they were a hoot to listen to. Lots of good screaming. And of course the classic “I wanna do it again!” once the terror was over. Me? I felt like I’d been run through a blender, waterfall, and tidal wave, all in one.

The next leg: Kumba. If you thought Montu was intense, wait till you get a peek at Kumba. Zach and Brittany are to my right; Alix, Jeffrey, and his sister were in the next car behind. I had another good view on the end. Kumba was so much more radical than Montu. OOF!!!! The loops were so much tighter and faster! The ride so much bumpier. Afterwards I felt like I needed to check into the hospital for a few days. Or take a nice, long, Caribbean cruise. Man, totally intense.

(To all the kids who view this: No, I didn’t hold my arm way out to the side to shoot the video. You kidding? I didn’t want to lose an arm! The camera was safely inside the car.)

Next up: Shekra! 90 degrees straight down drop. I’ve never been on it before, and after Montu and Kumba, didn’t know if today was really the day I wanted to. I ended up with a middle of the row seat, but still had a good view. Had the camera all ready to go, just like on Montu and Kumba. But when the park person came by to make sure everyone was strapped in OK, she signaled the controller and my harness popped up. “Put your camera in the bin over there.” Crap. What’s up with that? So I didn’t get to film the action. The ride was pretty cool, though. Not as intense as Kumba, and smoother feeling than Montu. (Anything is smoother feeling than Kumba!) The drop was exciting. I felt weightless for a couple of seconds – seem like 20 – and it felt like we were dropping past 90 degrees straight down – almost a bit upside down. Great rush.

The kids were ready to move on to Gwazi. But by now, I’d had enough. I was really hungry and didn’t need another shakedown, so I sat with the rest of the losers while they enjoyed this one. (We somehow missed the 5th roller coaster, but none of us felt like going back to make the circuit complete.)

On the way home from all the tumbling we popped into Taco Bell for some nice comfort food. It’s good to be alive. : )

Bushed at the Garden

Pam and I went to Busch Gardens yesterday. Met up with the kids, with their girlfriend, boyfriend, and his sister.

We hadn’t been there in a while, so it was fun going. But, it was outrageously hot, with little-to-no breeze blowing.

Our first stop: the Hospitality House for a free Bud. Ahh, refreshing… but we were still hot.

The kids called us – they were hanging out at the Tidal Wave. And getting soaked.

Now there’s an idea!

We stood in line forever, but it was worth it. The ride was slow paced, lazily meandering through the backwoods of Africa. Then up the hill and over the top, to speed down to the bottom and land with a huge splash!

Now we were soaked too. And cool.

Even folks not on the ride had a chance to get soaked:

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Now that’s refreshing.

Where’s Halo 2?

Ever since I grabbed my copy of Halo 2 back in early November with Greg and Jason, my son hasn’t played any other XBOX game – until last night, that is. He had a buddy sleep over and there they were, playing NFL Fever 2004. I was amazed. They tried to play it on XBOX Live, but nobody else was online wanting to play it.

Since Halo 2 came out the only other games I’ve seen people in my friends list playing have been Rainbow 6 Three and Ghost Recon 2. I’ve played some Ghost Recon Island Thunder lately (I don’t have GR2)…

Why not Halo 2 for me? Zach says I ruin his chances at advancing up the Halo 2 online ranks whenever I play. (And it’s true… I stink at it. I need to get a second XBOX Live account so I can play with the level 3 & 4 folks.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

A little Halo 2, a little football (the Lions are wearing their retro uniforms again (boy they look horrible) (boy, the Colts are going to spank them)), and a bunch of food.

Just a shout out to my brother, John! Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving there in North Carolina!

And to everyone else, fill up on turkey and save the apple pie for me.