Kayak customization

Last night I did some work to customize the fit of my kayak. The foot pegs are too close, and the bulkhead is too far away to get my thighs pushed into the thigh braces. I took out the foot pegs (but left the rails there, because I wasn’t sure if I wouldn’t be leaving screw holes if I took it out. Then I trimmed a piece of 1 3/4 inch foam that I’d bought from Bay Creek Paddle Center so that it was an extremely tight fit, and wedged it into the end of the boat. That gives me something I can rest my feet against when I don’t want to push into the thigh braces, or if I extend my feet a bit it does push me against the thigh braces. Later, I’m going to try to shape the remaining chunks of foam into a couple of triangular blocks that I can put down in the bottom end and glue them to the foam so that I can rest my heels on them when I want the stability of the thigh braces without having to hold a foot extension the whole time. I’m also wondering if I dare put something under my knees, or if that would make it too hard to exit.

One little problem – when I was pushing the foam down into the bottom of the boat, I put all my weight on the top of the back-band, which tore out the two top straps which keep the back-band from twisting. Now I have to be careful when I get in that the back-bank doesn’t end up underneath me or twisted. I think I can do that just by putting a finger or thumb on it, but I might end up having to put a strap of duct tape or something there.

The cockpit is so tight (even before I did this) that I have to move one leg into the centerline of the cockpit to exit. I think I’m going to have to wait for the water to warm up a bit and practice doing wet exits so that this move becomes second nature.

Ok, I’m convinced.

The Ottawa News Administrator’s Group mailing list got the following query. The bit with the quote markers is the start of the ott.events charter.

> ott.events is an unmoderated newsgroup for announcements of seminars and
> the like in and around Ottawa-Hull, Canada. This newsgroup is intended for
> events with no admission charge (unless the charge is sufficient only to
> cover expenses or is donated to charity).
> The following topics are NOT permitted:
> auctions/garage sales — use ott.forsale.other
> retail store sales — use ott.business.ads
> open houses — use ott.housing

Well if there are no advertizing for garage sales…which newsgroup would be
allowed ???

I responded “Which part of ‘auctions/garage sales — use ott.forsale.other’ didn’t you understand?” and underlined the part of the quoted text. After all, about the only compensation I get for being a news administrator is to be snarky to idiots. He replied a few hours later:

You should be careful who you’re speaking with. I have a good mind to rip your fucking head off and shit in your hole.

Don’t you ever talk to me again like that.

Colour me convinced. This person is a moron, and deserved all the snarkiness of my first reply. And more. He didn’t want me to “talk to me again like that”, so in my next response, I was much less polite.

If you don’t want your stupidity pointed out to you, you shouldn’t ask
stupid questions. Especially not when the answer to the question is in
your quoted text.

Fuck off, moron.

What the hell is wrong with my router?

I’ve mentioned earlier the problems I’ve had buying this WRT54G Linksys router. I bought it for three reasons – because my existing router was sometimes flakey, giving in-coming http connections the router’s administration web page login instead of passing through to my Linux server like it’s supposed to, because the performance on Team Fortress Classic would start out ok and then after about 5 minutes drop you down to a “ping” of over a thousand (which gets you banned from every server in the world because that low a ping ruins the game for everybody, not just you), and because this new one runs Linux and is hackable. But twice in the last hour or so it’s flaked out on my – Vicki and I would both still be showing decent wireless strength, but neither of us could ping or reach anything. The wired connections (the Linux server and the G4) were working just fine, and the Linksys administration page was still reachable from those computers.

Oh, as a bit of an aside, I should mention that the Linksys administration page sucks donkey dicks. I could not find a way to list all the wireless clients on it, neither could I find a way to soft-reset the router. Does anybody know if the Swensoft (or whatever it is) firmware has better administration pages?

I power cycled the router and things came back up. I’m not sure what we’re doing this evening that’s so different from normal. I’m writing in my blog, which doesn’t even use the network, keeping three ssh sessions open (like always), bit-torrenting the new Doctor Who episode and playing some songs on a disk NFS mounted from the Linux server. Both of those last two are fairly network intensive, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never done both at the same time together. Anyway, I’m going to refrain from playing iTunes until I’ve got this Torrent done. Which will probably be tomorrow morning. I also made sure the router is clear of the switching hub and the cable modem so it doesn’t overheat.

Cleared as filed? Why not?

This morning I took Liane for a scenic flight along the Lake Ontario to Toronto and back. That was after I explained to her the geographic impossibility to going to visit the Grand Canyon. Yes, she thought we were going to be able to nip over to the real Grand Canyon, not the one in Pennsylvania. Shades of talking to my English relatives about the reason I don’t just “pop over” to my mother’s place for dinner is that it’s just about as far to her as it is to England.

Anyway, we left Oshawa, looking at some of the familiar landmarks of Whitby, and down to the lake shore. We flew down below the Toronto Class C airspace, and talked to the Toronto City Center tower controller, who was wonderfully accomodating and didn’t give me the sort of rigamorol and vectoring around I associate with any flight talking to Toronto Terminal. We flew in between the airport and the city at 2,000 feet, which gave Liane a good view looking down on the CN Tower. Over Ontario Place, I did a steep turn so we could look down the wing at the Cinesphere and the water slides, and then flew out over the harbour back towards Oshawa. It was too nice a day, and so instead of returning directly to Oshawa, we went past them along the Lakeshore and headed North. I was going to overfly Lake Scugog, but I couldn’t remember what the designation of the special use airspace over the south end of the lake (CYA(T) or something like that) meant, and I didn’t want to violate some regulation. I figured that since it was over the swampy southern part of the lake, it might be to protect nesting water fowl, and this might be a bad time of year for that. I don’t want to disturb them, and I don’t particularly want them to disturb me, either.

On the return, as we were taxing in I heard somebody getting a full route IFR clearance to Rochester. Hmmm, Alpha-21, Victor 252, AIRCO, Victor 31. I’d been thinking about filing that route myself, but didn’t last time because Alpha-21 is a NDB to NDB airway and I didn’t want to fly it in IMC. But it has the terrific advantage of being near to the Toronto airspace – as a matter of fact, it’s pretty much the route I flew on Friday from St. Catherines to Oshawa.

When it came time to leave, the first thing I did was call US Customs. Once again, they required two hours notice, and it was only a 45 minute flight, so I had lots of time to prepare everything else, and just hang around reading in the airport. I filed the same route I’d heard that other guy being given as a full route clearance. But when the time came to depart, Oshawa ground insisted on giving me the full route clearance. I’m guessing that they don’t know what I filed, because I tried to be a smart-ass and so my read back was “Oshawa One, then as filed Alpha 21, Victor 252, AIRCO, V31”. But they didn’t like me throwing that gratuitous “as filed” in there, and made me read it back again without it.

I took off, and contacted Toronto Terminal, and as soon as I did they asked me “What route would you like?” I replied that I’d like the route I filed and was cleared for, Alpha 21, Victor 252, AIRCO, Victor 31. He said “no, do you want along the lakeshore, direct to Rochester, or direct to AIRCO?” Sheesh, is my routing strip being printed in invisible ink or something? “Ok, I’ll take direct to AIRCO.” “Fly heading 200, let me know when you want to turn direct to Rochester.”

Ok, maybe I’m not being a good risk manager here, but for some stupid reason I don’t mind being out of gliding distance of shore if I’m near Toronto, but I don’t want to be out of gliding distance if I’m further than 20 or so miles from Toronto City Center. That’s because I’ve seen the rescue helicopter there at City Center, so I figure that if I were to go down there, the rescue helicopter could probably be en-route before I even hit the water. If I’m wrong about that, maybe you shouldn’t tell me.

So basically my strategy is to go as direct across (and as fast as the plane will go) once I’m outside of gliding distance, and then when I’m within gliding distance of the shore I’ll slow down and turn direct to Rochester. Since this afternoon was quite hazy, I just waited until I could see the shore and asked for and got a direct turn to Rochester.

As I got closer, the controller started vectoring me to runway 4 (the big long runway that the jets use) and said that runway 10 (the not quite as long runway that the turboprops use) was available if I wanted it. I’m an accommodating guy, so I said I’d accept runway 7 if that would help. Runway 7 is the smallest runway, and is actually a remnant of the original triangle of runways back when the airport handled DC-3s, and only piston engined planes are allowed to land there. Sure enough, nobody else wanted Runway 7, so I was cleared to land while I was still about 5 miles out. I don’t know why, but I love that when that happens. Probably because it makes me think that I’m doing the right thing to help everything flow better.

I got to Customs at exactly 17:26. Since I’d called for a 17:30 arrival, I felt like I’d timed that pretty much perfectly. The customs guy wasn’t there, so I pulled out my pre-filled-out CF-178 customs form, and started to get out all the stuff the customs officer had asked for last time – my green card, my pilots license, my medical certificate, and the aircraft’s registration. The officer arrived a few minutes later, and said “Oh hi again. Just give me the form, I saw all the other stuff last time.” Yes, it was the same customs officer as two weeks ago.

Flying to Oshawa

Man, I’ve got to sign up for a CANPASS pass.

I flew up here to Oshawa Ontario yesterday evening. In spite of the fact that 90% of the time clearing Canada Customs consists of phoning 1-888-CANPASS before you leave and then 1-888-CANPASS after you arrive (the other 10% of the time, they’ll say “wait there, a customs officer will be with you shortly”), they don’t have customs at Oshawa after 16:30. If I signed up for a CANPASS pass, I could clear customs without the second phone call, which also means you can arrive even when customs is closed. But I haven’t done that yet, so I had to fly to St. Catherines airport to clear customs, and then fly on to Oshawa.

It was a beautiful day, so I filed VFR for a change – mostly because around Toronto it gives me flexibility to avoid them playing games vectoring me all over the place. When I file IFR around there, I file for a nice high safe altitude for over the lake, and then they try to keep me down low and still send me over the middle of the lake, or vector me all over southern Ontario. The straight line between St. Catherines and Oshawa misses the Toronto Class C airspace by about a nautical mile or less, but it does miss it, so I didn’t even talk to Toronto controllers, just climbed until my GPS said it was time to descend, and then kept up there until I was much closer. Altitude is life, and while I trust the club planes a lot more than some random rental, even the best maintained plane can turn into a glider with little warning.

It’s a bit weird to be flying a cross country VFR. I haven’t done it in a while, and the silent radio is deafening. I may do it again on the way home.