It gets better

I grew up in rural Canada during the 60s. The Civil Rights movement of that era was just a distant rumble that didn’t penetrate in the consciousness of a young boy on a farm outside of Schomberg, Ontario. I think I heard when Martin Luther King was killed, but I had no idea who he was or why that was important.

So learning about it later, I have always wondered if I had been in the thick of it, would I have been on the right side. Maybe not marching to Selma, but at least not bad mouthing the people fighting for justice and freedom. And maybe, just maybe, offering them praise, monetary support, votes and doing whatever slactivism I could muster up. I mean, it seems to obvious now which side was the right side, but would it have seemed that way then?

And so I find myself looking at the current fight that’s going on by an oppressed minority, demanding the rights that they should have had from the beginning, and I think of it as “our” civil rights campaign, even though it’s not my civil rights I’m fighting for. It’s a chance to do something, so that in ages hence, I can say “yes, I did the right thing”. And so I am. Thanks to the New York Senate for finally passing this marriage equality bill. Thanks to Messiah Lutheran Church for becoming a “Reconciled” congregation. Thanks to the many ways, small and large that we’re winning this battle. We got to keep chiseling chunks out of the stone of ignorance.

Help me, smart people

This is how the v-rack is attached to the rack
This is my new v-rack. The connection is simple and strong, but it’s too simple for me. It doesn’t allow for access to my hatchback – I could probably get it open a tiny bit, but I’m afraid of the sharp edge of the square bar and what it would do to the glass of the hatch. What I want is either a quick and easy way to remove the rack entirely, or to undo the back clamp and pivot the whole thing forward around the front clamp, or even better, a quick and easy way to loosen up the connection once I take the boat off, so that I can slide the whole rack forwards so it’s not interfering with the hatch, and then slide it back and tighten it up again.

Some of the ideas I’ve had:

  • A quick release skewer from a bike. Not sure if I could get the size I want or whatever.
  • Something like a cable clamp, preferably one that goes over center and locks down really well.
  • Something like a cotterless hitch pin.
  • A plastic knob or wing nut to make it easier to unscrew.

Better ideas, or better explanations of my half-assed ideas above would be welcomed in the comments.

I’m back, baby

I paddled for the first time since my shoulder got bad, back in October. I didn’t go far, but that wasn’t the point. It was a chance to see how fit I am (terribly unfit), how fat I am (again, terrible – I couldn’t do up my PFD), how bad my shoulder is (not as bad as I thought based on experiments on the erg), how badly my technique has fallen apart (not bad at all), how bad my balance in the boat is (pretty bad – I nearly dumped several times and the boat was wobbling back and forth like a crazy thing).

I was also checking out the fit of my old rack on my new car. I originally bought this rack for my 2001 Corolla, and with the replacement of a couple of “Q-clips”, it has been on the Corolla, the Prius and now the CR-Z. It’s a little beat-up looking and the bars are ridiculously close together, but it’s on strongly enough that I can grab them and rock the car back and forth. I tied down my surf ski on top, and it actually held on pretty good, but then again I was only going a short distance on slow roads. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere other than Baycreek until I get my V-bars.

The last thing I wanted to check out was my new “million dollar” idea. I bought a coffee maker at the garage sale last month, and I cut out the “bubble pump”, a tiny one-way check valve that allows the hot water to flow up out of the reservoir into the grounds. I attempted to fit it in the venturi of the ski, figuring that would allow water to drain out at speed like it’s supposed to, but not to flow back in when you’re stopped, which is a pain in the ass at the start of a race. Unfortunately, I didn’t glue it in right, and water was flowing in around it. Even worse, it came out towards the end, and when I was getting out of the boat, I managed to lose it overboard.

Oh, that’s another thing I had problems with. When I finished, I approached the dock, and realized I was on the bad shoulder side. So I spun around (which unfortunately involved back-paddling on my bad side). But when I approached the dock, I still thought it felt a bit high. So I went to the other dock, the one the rental boats go in and out of. It’s much lower. I did my usual “sprawl onto the dock as the ski leans over on its side” ungraceful exit, but at least I ended up on the dock and not in the mucky water.

Overall, I probably paddled a little more than a mile and a half. I purposely didn’t bring my GPS because I didn’t want any incentive to go further or faster than I should. I had to rest a lot, but mostly because of how out of shape I am, not how sore my shoulder is. It feels easier in the boat than on the erg – last time I tried the erg, I was barely able to do 1000 metres (0.6 miles) in 200 metre increments. I’m going to try taping over some of the holes in the fan on the erg to see if reducing the resistance makes it more life-like at the slow speeds I’m paddling these days. But I tried to keep a good technique going while I was paddling, and I think that part at least hasn’t deteriorated too badly.

Man it feels good to be back.