Showing posts from April, 2006

Kayaking, Part 2

As "promised" in my previous kayaking post, here's a picture of our (Beth's) Mini loaded up for a kayaking trip. Pretty silly looking, eh? Well, we went out again today, this time to McDaniels Marsh . This body of water covers well over twice the area of Grafton Pond, although it's extremely shallow. I remembered to take a GPS unit this time. We paddled together to about 1.25 miles away from where we parked before Beth decided to stop for a rest while allowing me to go on for a while alone. I got to what I believe was pretty much the far end of the marsh, at 1.65 miles from the car. We saw a painted turtle, some small fishes, and a few ducks. I also spotted a couple of amphibians (newts or salamanders, I'm guessing), a kingfisher, and a healthy looking snapping turtle. When we got back to shore I flipped my boat to try draining it, and (much to my surprise) discovered that there were about a dozen (maybe more) leeches attached to the hull! Which leads to my

A Random(ish) Collection of Thoughts

I've been listening to public radio quite a lot recently and I've been reading Robert Reich's blog . These have stimulated in me some thoughts that I think might be worth mentioning here in my blog: Why are Americans so adept at electing presidents who are either incapable or unwilling when it comes to properly pronouncing the word "nuclear"? It's just three syllables. The "E" is long. There's only one "U". And the "C" is followed by an "L" with no vowel between them. How difficult is that? If there are any high school teachers reading this who might have a bit of free time to run a simple experiment, I'd appreciate the following: Have your students take out a sheet of paper. Ask your students to each write 20 complete sentences of varying complexity. Stress that the goal is 20 complete sentences. The subject matter is irrelevant. There is no requirement to tell truths. There is no requirement that the sentence

New to Kayaking

After half a year on layaway, Beth and I finally completed the transaction and took delivery on our new kayaks this past weekend. We learned or were reminded of several good lessons: What is known in New Hampshire as a fairly small pond is the equivalent of what would, in Maryland, be known as a pretty substantial lake. Our first outing with our new boats was to a beautiful body of water known as Grafton Pond. It has apparently grown from its original size as a result of damming, but it's still considered to be pretty small. In Maryland, there are no natural lakes. (A fact I learned years ago from Beth, who knows many things.) This means that our Maryland-oriented sense of inland bodies of water is pretty warped. In a sense, these lowered expectations are good for us. They keep us from taking for granted the comparative grandeur of our new environs. When the wind kicks up, a flat body of water can become surprisingly choppy, surprisingly quickly. There are places (for example, one

Thanks, Science Guy

I've said before and I'll surely say again that in my view, my generation is as much defined by Ultraman and Kung Fu Action Theater as by anything else. This may well define me as the lone member of "my generation". I'm not sure about whether that's the case or not. There may be others out there. The bottom line on that definition probably amounts to little more than this: For better or for worse, my cultural awareness is and will likely always be something that (at least in part) is tinted by the influence of television. Whether that's ultimately a good or bad thing is not something that I'm interested in discussing at this point. (At least not during this blog entry.) However, I have mentioned it as simply a noteworthy scrap of information . Having said as much, I am willing to go on record as saying that neither is this truth a cause for great celebration nor is it one of the world's great tragedies. I'm quite certain that it falls somew

About a Random Conversation...

I ran into John yesterday while I was on my lunch break from the book store. I hadn't seen him in a few weeks, and I hadn't ever discussed politics with him, as I had previously only spoken with him while we were working--and, of course, the company has a policy that discourages talking politics. Well, as this was my lunch break and as he's moved on to other employ, I asked him whether he had heard that I am running for president. Almost immediately, he said, "I'll vote for you." My instant response was, "Don't vote for me unless you're already not going to vote for someone else." Interesting, this, because John knew nothing about my politics and I knew nothing about his, but he turned out to be exactly the sort of person at whom my campaign is aimed. In describing himself as someone who has opted out of the voting process, and in describing his reasons for having done so, he made it very clear that my target audience is not just a theoretic

Population Density

Below are two satellite images. One is centered on our old house in Maryland. The other is centered on our new (much older) house in New Hampshire. We used to live in a "town" (in quotes because in reality, it's nothing...not a city, not a town, not a village...really just a "rough idea of a place") that's ten square miles with a population well over 50,000 people. We now live in a town that's 40 square miles with a population between 6,000 and 7,000 people. I'll let you do the math. (What you'll come up with is that there's a lot less crowding here than there.) I figure what's pictured below is less than 4/100 of a square mile of ground in each case. And in case it isn't obvious, what you're looking at in the top photograph are two cul-de-sacs, surrounded by townhomes (or "row houses", depending on where you're from). If I've done my figuring correctly, I've scaled these two images to show a land mass that&

The Big Lottery Win

Well, I mentioned earlier that it would probably take me a while to get really ramped up on this blogging thing. But so far it seems both easy and enjoyable, so I think I'll get there without losing interest along the way. Here's the latest news to report: After getting home from the movie tonight, I checked my lottery tickets from the $150+ million Powerball (4/1). Zero hits on ticket 1. Zero hits on ticket 2. And a big $7 win on ticket number 3. I believe that effectively doubles my lifetime lottery winnings. Beth took me to see V for Vendetta tonight. I thought it was fantastic! I'm only a few pages into the book (Beth's more than halfway through). We're both enjoying it so far. She tells me that the book is quite different from the movie (or vice-versa). But even if the book turns out to be much better than the movie, I'm not going to let that detract from my opinion of the movie. I'm funny that way. Yesterday evening we returned home from a few days s

Congrats to Jim and Suzanne!

Big doings over at Monkey Tails ! (Actually really teeny doings, but exciting !) We hope to see these little critters in a couple of days, as we'll be back roaming the wilds of Maryland for about half a week. Congratulations to the proud "parents".

Quick Note

Just wanted to post a quick note to say that my prodding inspired Beth to return to her blog with a new post this morning.