Kayaking? In January? Are you crazy?

Yesterday, Jim contacted me minutes after I woke up asking if I wanted to paddle. It’s been above freezing during the day for a couple of days now, and there was open water near where he lives. He had to get going quickly because he had something going, and I had to do some work too, so I rushed down to the water. Unfortunately in my rush, I forgot my GPS, but even worse, I didn’t stretch properly. Jim brought this funny boat with no deck on top and a one-bladed paddle. I think he called it a “canoe”.

We were paddling up into a strong current, which meant hugging in as close to the bank as we could, and then when the river was blocked by ice, he turned up this creek that was running pretty fast. And worse still, it would get very shallow and very fast at the same time, meaning that I had no depth to paddle in just when I needed it the most – I ended up being pushed backwards several times and I was worried I was going to break my rudder. The rudder is designed to kick up if you run over something going forwards, but has no protection for going backwards. But mostly what I ended up doing because of the lack of stretching was hurting my shoulder. I didn’t want to make it worse, so I paddled very easily back to the put-in and let Jim go off and do some real paddling without me.

Today was even warmer than yesterday, so Jim, Stephen and I met at the same location. This time, my plan was to stretch a lot more, get woken up and warmed up, and show up a bit early so I can start paddling easy before they both show up. And it worked – my shoulder was a bit sore, but it felt more like a residual from yesterday, and got less sore as time went on.

I got to wear the new Hydroskin shirt, paddling jacket and neoprene socks that Vicki bought me for Christmas. They were very good. Actually too good – after warming up for a few minutes, I took off the jacket and my pogies. Man, it’s great to be warm and comfortable while paddling in January.

We warmed up by paddling downstream, because it was clear of ice a long way downstream and not very far upstream from the put-in. Jim said “once we turn upstream, it will be `anything goes'”, which is code for “Jim and Stephen are going to try to race and leave me in the dust”. One thing about paddling my Looksha that I think I’ve mentioned before – in spite of being wider than the Thunderbolt, the cockpit is actually might tighter, and in winter clothes my hips are locked in place and I don’t get much rotation. I should probably see about removing or planing down the foam sides of the seat. Because of that, I didn’t feel my technique was really working right. I really miss paddling the Thunderbolt, but every time I crunched into an ice floe or over some debris close in to shore, I was glad to have my “beater boat”.

When we turned upstream, Jim started going hard before Stephen had even finished turning, which I thought was a neat trick, but it turns out afterwards that Jim had seen that I was ready and thought we were both ready. Anyway, I held Jim’s wake for about a mile or so as he snuck in between fallen trees and ice floes up the shore, but it was hard going. My heart rate was a pretty steady 160 bpm, which is close to my anaerobic threshold. Stephen managed to grind his way up to us, and when I found my heart rate going even higher than 160, I decided to let Jim go and Stephen passed me and continued to ride Jim’s wake. I kept grinding along at 160 bpm and losing some ground. Eventually they decided to stop for a rest, and I caught up to them, but they continued to go at a fast pace so I started losing again. This would never have happened in my Thunderbolt! (Mostly because I would have broken my rudder on a submerged log in the first mile and been out of action.)

This can’t be right

Is there anybody out here who knows anything about Subversion? I’m very new to it, and I think I might be used to better revision management systems like ClearCase and Git. Here’s the situation: My boss asked me to fix this project so that it could be built with Maven instead of Ant. One of the important things I had to do to was to move src/com to src/main/java/com, and move test/com to src/test/java/com, which I did using the “svn mv” command. I foolishly assumed that since I used Subversion commands to move the directories, that Subversion would then know that things had been moved. And when I merged my branch into the trunk, it appeared to work. But now somebody else just finished work on a branch that he branched off before my work. So we go to merge his stuff into trunk, and basically Subversion appears to think “ok, he made changes to src/com/foo/bar/baz.java, but that directory doesn’t exist any more, so it’s irrelevant, so discard it” instead of what I expected, which was “ok, he made changes to src/com/foo/bar/baz.java, but src/com has been moved, so I need to merge that into src/main/java/com/foo/bar/baz.java”.

Is there a way to make Subversion do the revision management, or am I going to be manually merging this guy’s changes for the next two days?

Google Chrome: not ready for prime time

Here’s what I discovered after a day of using the current beta of Google Chrome for Mac:

  • It frequently lost the text cursor in text input fields, especially on GMail.
  • It seemed much slower and more likely to corrupt the display compared to Safari in Google Wave.
  • It had a bad habit of undocking a tab on the slightest provocation.
  • The fact that the tabs take up space in the window frame means that you’d frequently undock a tab when you were trying to move the whole window.
  • It doesn’t have a “Reload all tabs” option. Supposedly there is an extension to that, but in order to use extensions I’d have to upgrade to the latest development build. That’s more work than I’m willing to do when it has all these other problems.
  • It doesn’t recognize or tell you about RSS feeds. In Safari or Firefox, any page that has an RSS feed displays an icon, and if you click it, the OS opens the feed in the currently configured RSS reader. The functionality is so ingrained in browsers that many pages don’t seem to have any other indication that they have RSS feeds. Once again, I’m told that Chrome has a plug in for that. Once again, too much trouble.

About the only thing I liked about Chrome more than Safari is that when I restarted it, it would re-open the three pages with 15 or so tabs between them that I had open beforehand. Safari can be trained to open the one page with 10 tabs that is my main window, but then I have to manually fiddle with the other pages. Oh, and Chrome opens new links in a tab instead of a window – that’s nice that I don’t have to hold down command when I click.

The main reason I was tempted to use Chrome is that using a busy wave in Google Wave causes browsers to eat memory like crazy. In Safari, to recover that memory I have to close the whole browser. In Chrome, you can recover it by closing the tab. Nice, but I was closing the tab and re-opening it every few minutes because the “space to next unread blip” functionality would stop working. I have to restart Safari about once a week if I avoid Wave, and about once a day if I use Wave.

I find it deeply ironic that the two biggest problems I had with Chrome were with Google apps. Maybe I’ll come back to Chrome when it’s ready. But not now.

New Years Resolutions

Start this off with a look back at last years, because for once I did a pretty fair job.

Here are my resolutions from last year:

break 20 minutes in the Baycreek time trial
I actually broke 19 minutes, so chalk that one up as a win.
finish the Long Lake Long Boat Regatta long race (9 miles)
I didn’t just finish, I came in 5 seconds behind Mike Finear, after dragging him in my wake for several miles. Another win.
figure out if I want to continue flying or not.
Gave up flying, didn’t really miss it. Found myself obsessing over every mistake I ever made in the air and about how blasé I was about the danger at the time. Trying to tell myself that’s because I was on my game back then so I could handle it, and now I’m out of practice I wouldn’t handle it so easily if it happened now. Can’t tell if that means I should never go back, or if I need to really practice a lot if I go back.
develop an ajax web site, using either GWT or jquery or ruby on rails or something
I started an iPhone app, but hit a snag and put it aside. Realized that the GWT web site would be a better help with my job search, and made some half decent progress on this before I actually got a job.
That went pretty well. Between February and June I lost 40 pounds and then hit a plateau. Unfortunately it’s the same plateau I hit every time I go on a diet. Spend most of the fall still within spitting distance of being on the diet (it’s hard to be strict when you’re home all day) but not losing any weight. However, I think I was building some muscle mass in my arms and core, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad. Managed to gain 10 pounds of it back between Thanksgiving and now. Still a win, I think.
Yeah, pretty much. I started out the year being barely able to paddle 2 miles, and now a 10 mile workout holds no terror for me. Still trying to figure out how to keep that fitness over the off season. (Yeah, I know, “Off season? What’s that?” – getting out to paddle once in a blue moon is no substitute for paddling three or four times a week)
get a better job
Well, it took until a week before Christmas, but I got a decent contract job. Hopefully it will lead to more decent jobs.
once more subject myself to the psychological torture of trying to get more treatment for my pain
I didn’t actually do anything about this one. But between not having to sit at a desk, not having to drive much, losing weight and exercising more, my knees weren’t that bad. Of course after a week of driving 3 hours a day to my new job, my knees are now the worst they’ve been since back when I used to drive to Ottawa twice a month. Hopefully that will recover now that I’m working more from home.
How about 1920×1080 on the left, and 1920×1200 on the right. Now *that* is resolution, baby!

That was the year that was. This is my list for this year:

  • Break 17:30 in the Baycreek Time Trial. I’d like to break 17, but I think 17:30 is more attainable.
  • Join NYMCRA and start competing for points. I’d like to do at least 5 of the points races this year, but they haven’t put out the 2010 calendar yet so I don’t know which ones those will be. Last year I did Tupper Lake, Armond Bassett, and Long Lake, and I could easily extend that to 5 by doing Round The Mountain or Bear Mountain and the long course at the Rochester Open Water Challenge. I probably won’t get a lot of points, because unlike the other guys I don’t get any handicap points because I’m not over 50 and my Thunderbolt is Unlimited Class. If I’m reading the points system right, at Long Lake I would have gotten 85 points because although I was only 5 seconds behind Mike F, he got handicap time for being in an EFT, a Touring Class boat and time for being over 50, so his adjusted time is 3:34 ahead of me. Competing for points might add a new twist to races, but mostly I see it as a reason to go to more races.
  • Start building up my training volume. This year my GPS recorded 670 miles of kayaking, and that’s not including the early part of the season before I bought it, and the few times I forgot to charge the damn thing. I’d like to increase both the number of paddles and the length of them. If I can manage a few 20 mile plus days, I’d be slowly working towards doing the “90 Miler”, maybe in 2011 as a 50th birthday thing.
  • Get the diet back on track and try to break through this plateau I was stuck at this fall.
  • Finish revamping my navaid.com site into GWT so it doesn’t look like something designed in 1992, which it probably was.
  • Figure out the GRIB thing that Laurie wants me to do.
  • Hold onto this job, or find another one quickly when it ends.
  • And that’s about it for the public ones.

Hopefully I’ll do as well this year as I did last.