Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opening Up

This blog is primarily about paddling. I've searched around and I've found that the best blogs, or what I perceive to be the best blogs, are centered around an activity, not a personality. Some people use their blogs to keep their families abreast, or tell everyone how awesome their dog or their kid is, and that's fine. But I don't find that interesting. I like to read blogs that are arranged around something that I identify with: bikes, surfing, kayaks, literature, food. Still, while the title of this blog may be Paddling in the Cape Fear, the web address is my name, and sometimes I think that someone looking at this might think that all I do or care about is paddling, which isn't true. I love kayaking, but it's not all I am. I work in a bike shop, and I've noticed that there are some people who can't talk about any thing other than bikes or triathlons. They just can't do it because they don't care to learn about anything else. I'm not like that. I want to die old and reasonably acquainted with as many things as possible. I want experience and knowledge and scars. I want to see the world, and know it, and touch it, even when it's not comforting and easy, because I want the fullest experience that I can have while I'm here.

So, I'm going to keep this thing primarily about paddling, but I'm gonna talk about something else here and there too. After all, nobody is following this thing and no one leaves any "I really love your blog" comments, which means that most of the people reading it already know me.

I was in the Navy. More specifically, I was a submariner. We never "sailed," but I was a sailor. "Sailor" has taken on a broader meaning; one who plies the ocean, or spends time on the water in a vessel with a bow and a stern. I don't know, you can come up with lots of definitions. Being in the Navy ties me to a long tradition of (mostly) men who went to sea for a myriad of reasons that don't matter here. What matters is that they were people of the oceans. They lived and died by it. I like being part of that tradition, even in such an unorthodox way as submariner, or (here we come back to the point) as a kayaker, surfer, free diver, swimmer, whatever. I grew up away from the ocean, but when I was 18 I joined the Navy, and since then I have lived close to, on, in, and under that big beautiful playground, the Ocean.

OK, ok. The point that I'm building up to is far less grand than what I've written so far, which is: rum. Sailors drink rum. It's naval tradition. I've been a rum and coke drinker for some time. It's my go-to drink. I'm not a beer drinker, and while I like a glass of wine with dinner sometimes, good wine is largely lost on me. But rum, I've been developing a taste for rum for years. I started off drinking really sweet crap (think Malibu). I suppose that it's not absolutely awful, but it is terribly sweet. Malibu and coke, then sometimes just Malibu over rocks. It's a little embarrassing now, but what the hell? I'm honest. Like I said before, experience. Trial and error. Then there's the easy stuff, Bacardi and Captain Morgan, both of which are still respectable, but not preferential libation. I've graduated to darker things. My favorites are Pusser's and Myer's. Sailor Jerry's is quite good ( In a pinch, Cruzan Gold is pretty good (the handle costs the same as a fifth of Pusser's) as the discerning economical choice. It's pretty good without breaking the bank. I've been considering buying some of the least expensive stuff to see if there's anything drinkable down there on the bottom shelf, but I've got standards, and even in this economy, it's hard to let go of them. Tonight I tried a new one, Bacardi Select. It's dark and robust. Mixed with ginger ale, an excellent Dark and Stormy (a new favorite to replace the rum and Coke). The D&S has replaced the old Cuba Libre because I'll drink Coke even when there's no rum it in, which isn't a problem with ginger ale. I don't want to drink Coke, because it's bad for me and expensive (but I get over both of those things if I make it worse on both accounts with good rum). Dark and Stormy solves the problem. I don't drink the mixer in the absence of rum, so we still have mixer around when it matters, and I still get to have a drink when I get home from work that I really like. Life's pretty good. Purists on the Internet argue that it's not really a D&S unless you have Gosling's Dark and ginger beer, not ginger ale. But hey, I'm a sailor. We're not that finicky about our rum drinks.

See you on the water.

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