Sunday, July 26, 2009

Google Earth

Google Earth is an awesome tool for lots of things. I like to use it to find new routes, see where random creeks eventually end up, and keep track of where I've been. When I started this blog I also started logging my paddling trips on Google Earth, mapping them out and using the ruler to figure out how far I went. Now the image is covered with lines and it's neat to look at it and see everywhere I've been. Above is Wrightsville Beach with some of my trips mapped. The white lines represent aproximations of where I went. I've been into many a little creek that isn't indicated on there, so it's still not complete, but you get the general picture. I guess it's a little OCD, but I think it's cool, so what the hell?


I paddled with some of my old SMKC folks today in a super high tide and increasing wind. It was Aimee and I, Colin and Barb, Geezer, Brooke, and a friend of hers. We launched at Jasmine and fought the current S down Bank's Channel to Shinn's and then flowed thru Hidden Creek to the old dredge spoil, where we stopped for a break. We walked all the way to the other side and enjoyed the elevated view. Geezer showed us a fox den he'd come across and we found a couple of sand dollars. It was blazing hot on there. Back on the water and to the takeout. On the water a little over two hours. Then we all cleaned up and went to Incredible Pizza for their killer $5.99 lunch special (a personal pizza, salad, and drink). It was gooooood. Now we're packing for our upcoming move, which is kind of sad, but exciting to go somewhere new too. Cheers

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Handsome Fellers...

Look at 'em. Me with Geezer (still sporting his SMKC gear) and Sharkbait at my Bon Voyage party this past Sunday evening. There's almost 50 years of SE NC paddling experience in this photo. Those boys are two of my favorite people, on and off the water.
Geezer's response when he saw this photo was "How come I'm the only one that looks half in the bag?"
I reckon I look a bit loose myself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pound Cake II

Tonight we had fish tacos with Mr. Geezer and his lovely and charming lady. The fish was cod, breaded in panko and topped with a cabbage/cilantro/lime juice/zest mixture, fresh tomatoes, cheese, and secret cream cheese sauce on corn or flour tortillas with side of black beans and queso fresco. For desert we served the pound cake again, toasted as before, with vanilla ice cream, but this time with crushed raspberries. Once again, it was friggin' delicious. Man, what would life be like without good friends and good food? I don't want to know.

Find some people whose company you enjoy and share some good food and drink with them.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pound Cake

Aimee and I had the good fortune to dine at Colin and Barb's last night, where we ate crab cakes, corn on the cob, and good bread (among other things). We brought the desert, which was my mom's pound cake (a real no-shit true to the name pound cake, I believe), which we toasted and topped with vanilla ice cream and ripe nectarine slices tossed in fresh chopped mint and a wonderfully thick balsamic vinegar that was bottled in 1975 (if you're saying "wow!", I was too). It was amazing. There was universal agreement that mom's was "the best pound cake I've ever had." Which brings me back to a friendly argument I had with my good pal Wildwoman (a pseudonym, some will know, some will not) some two years ago, in which we both insisted that our respective family matrons made the best pound cake. Her's was made by her grandmother, and while I'm sure that it was fabulous, I submit as evidence the testimony of Colin, Barb, and Aimee that my mom's is the best pound cake that has ever graced the South. Originally I had placed my grandmother's cake against her grandmother's, but my grandmother has quit making pound cake because she recognizes the superiority of my mom's and feels she can't compete, so that's where the argument lays.

It was hilarious when it happened, because it went something like this:

Wildwoman: My grandma's pound cake is the best ever.
Josh: No it isn't, because my grandmother's pound cake is the best.
Wildwoman: Everybody in (insert god-forsaken little rural NC town) knows that my grandmother made the best pound cake in the land.
Josh: Well they're all wrong, because everybody in my town knows that my grandmother's pound cake is the best.
Wildwoman: Well I guess we'll never find out, because my grandmother is dead.
Josh: Then I guess I win, because mine isn't. (Don't worry, it's cool, we have that kind of friendship.)

The customer who observed this exchange was thoroughly dumbfounded. It was really funny.

So, not that I love to kick the shit out of dead horses, but my mom's pound cake is better than my grandmothers. Therefore, my mother's pound cake is better than Wildwoman's grandmother's.

My logic is Fort Knox-like, no?

While I may have the best pound cake in my family, Wildwoman has a respectable advantage on the homestead farming front. Check out her blog at:

As for the future of this pound cake discussion, I'm quoting Julius Caesar upon his crossing of the Rubicon on his way to becoming the head of the Roman Empire: "Alea iacta est."

Do your worst, Wildwoman. Do your worst.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Longboat Surf Session

I paddled with some CFPA folks (Rezac, Layne, and a nice couple from the mountains) from Trail's End to Masonboro this morning. Launched about 2 hours before high tide, 10 mph W wind, not too hot. Through the marsh via a pretty small creek to the island. After checking conditions and a little swimming/bodysurfing, I decided to carry my boat over and try a little ocean side paddling. Chris joined me, which I was glad for because he's very competent and while the conditions were great for my first surf launch/land with small 2' waves, it didn't hurt to have some supervision and someone to ask questions on technique. The launch went fine, paddled over a couple small waves and I was out (this wasn't a big accomplishment, it was small and breaking close to shore). I stayed just outside the surf zone and paddled for waves. Most of them I caught unbroken and just sort of got a short little fast ride, but on 2 or 3 I was able to ride in roughly to same position I would on my longboard, as far as where I was positioned on the wave. I'm tentatively pleased with the Tracer's handling in the surf, as it caught waves fine and even handled pretty well. I never got flipped, even when the waves closed out and broke over my bow. I just braced and leaned into the wave until it passed me and spun around to go back out. We played around for 20 mins or so, and then I decided to attempt the landing. I waited for a break between the small set waves and caught a little one in, braced into the shorebreak, popped my skirt and jumped out in a few inches of water and pulled the boat up, basically dry. It went fine. Afterwards we messed around a little while longer and then paddled back to Trail's End, arriving around noon. It was a fun time and a good first experience riding waves and launching and landing in the surf zone. Thanks to Chris for posting the trip and answering my questions. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Bright Shining Lie

Today is the day that I will finish the 792 page Pulitzer Prize winning book by Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, which endeavours to explain the American involvement and subsequent failure in SE Asia through the vehicle of John Paul Vann, first a military advisor and then pacification director who spent a decade in country until he was ultimately killed at the end of our involvement in a helicopter crash (wow, that's one hell of a sentence). It's been very good, and very informative, but I'm excited to move on to something else now, as I feel like I've been reading this book for a long time. I'm off to work now, but there's only 19 pages left, so I've got a date with the end this evening. Cheers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Poor Masonboro

This photo was taken by a Star-News (the local paper) photographer on either Sunday or Monday. It doesn't matter what day it was taken, because it's absolutely fucking absurd on any day at all, ever. I don't know of words strong enough to express my anger and confusion at this sight. What the hell is wrong with you people? Every year on the 4th of July every tool in NC gets in his powerboat/jetski/partybarge and takes his idiot ass and all of his idiot friends over to Masonboro Island, which is a beautiful place that's protected by numerous laws, to drink cheap beer out of styrofoam coolers and celebrate with all the other shitheads. This happens every year, and afterwards we always look at the photos and say "Gosh, that sure is awful that they trash it like that." And then we act like nobody can do anything about it. Bullshit. We need to get on the horn to every organization that has pull over there and demand that this problem be dealt with. If that means policing the island and no beer for a weekend, OK. Great. Problem solved. I don't care what we do; stone people who litter, whatever, but I know that this shit has to stop.

End rant. Sorry about the language, but I'm not mitigating it because it's an accurate representation of how I feel.