Thursday, July 30, 2009

probably poor navigation

Via the Marmot's Hole, I see a fishing boat on the East Coast crossed into North Korean waters and was towed to a North Korean harbour. I suspect the boat is lost, to enrich the North Korean fishing fleet, but I hope the crew are returned, and in good time.

Image from offshore motorboat.

All there was some rejoicing.

Quietly celebrated my birthday with some friends last night. I have reached the mystical age of 42, which means I should have some knowledge of life, the universe and everything, but still seem to be waiting to see what I'll do when I grow up.

Thanks to my well-wishers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give the kid a break

I'm not really in a blogging mood these days but will return to regular posting....sometime.

For now, I'm really feeling sympathy for Pak Tae-hwan, who is being questioned everywhere (see reports in the Herald, the Times, the Joongang and the Donga).

I need to read more before commenting knowledgeably, but, at his level of competition, you cannot swim fast at every meet. In preparing for a best time, you need to take one to two months to reduce your workload and recover from training. That's one to two months you are not increasing your fitness level, one to two months that competitors might be increasing theirs.

I've questioned his coach-hopping, and I see that now in the news reports but need to sit down to them before commenting further today.

Best of luck to him in the 1500!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Potato Festival

Much as I love potatoes, this seems a little silly.  On the other hand, Gangwon is known for potatoes, so I guess it fits as a regional speciality.
From the Herald:
On Aug. 1-3, the festival will be held in the areas near Hwengye of Pyongchang, with wide ranges of programs and contests prepared. They include potatoe picking (which participants will get to keep), scavenger hunts, as well as exhibitions showcasing various potato products.

I can't imagine what a potato scavenger hunt looks like, or if it is different from actual potato picking.

Perhaps I am being too hard on the festival.  Kids, and maybe others, need to learn that veggies don't really grow at the stores.

Wait, is there a way to incorporate the Olympics bid into the event.  I bet there is!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cottaging on the Pickeral River

My plans for a big canoe or kayak trip were too ambitious- my friends were unable to join in them and I was too out of shape for prolonged paddling. Instead, we visited an uncle's cottage.
We rented a canoe at Grundy Lake Supply Post -they set us up well with a canoe and gear and are open until 8:00pm, which is much better than Swift Canoe rentals.
I want to also recommend the French River Visitor Area, which is between the French and Pickeral rivers on Highway 69. A lot of local history is described and displayed there but, it being built by the Ontario government, doesn't advertise much for fear of disrupting local businesses.

Anyway, we paddled for fifteen minutes to the cottage past lots of bare rock and bent-over pine. Some find it beautiful.

While there, my uncle taught his grand-nephew how to drive.
Near the cottage is a railroad and a tunnel was dug through a ridge of rock at some point. I have explored by flashlight the whole tunnel but on this day, we just peered into the opening.
Around my mother's house and in central Ontario generally, I have seen a lot of cormorants and no loons. I worried that the cormorants had out-competed the loons as both are fish-eaters. I was happy to see a pair of loons near the cottage.
Apparently, turtles are in decline. We saw eight of them in one day, so we were satisfied.
We also saw a small water snake that allowed us to get quite close.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Koreans and genetics: this time Dr Hwang doesn't appear to be involved

Recently, two articles were published in prestigious scientific journals describing the genetic sequences of two Koreans. Unsurprisingly, there is now controversy, although problems with publishing etiquette seem mild compared to previous shenanigans.

Craigleith Provincial Park

This trip home has been a sort of nostalgia-fest for me as I take the little guy to places I liked. I barely remember Craigleith Park, indeed, I thought it was named Craigleaf, but I did remember the fossils. It was hard to explain that we would not be finding dinosaur fossils but rather much smaller critters, albeit also much older.

Click to embiggen any photo.

It was not a warm day and the wind had lots of room to gather strength before reaching us. Spring jackets were required. Look at that open water behind the little guy!

Along shore at Craigleith Park, the shale is comprised of many layers - and chock full of trilobites and the like.

There was one danger that, so far, we have avoided. We found some poison ivy at the park but stayed away. I hoope the same is true for our trip to an uncle's cottage later this week.

posted by GeorgianBayBrian.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Santa's Village

Santa's summer Ho-ho-home is in Bracebridge, Ontario because Bracebridge is halfway between the equator and the North Pole -yeah, that makes sense.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Santa's Village - I had enjoyed going there as a child and my son likes it now but they did not hire me when I applied 28 years ago. The first job I applied to and they shut me down, while hiring all my friends.*

The roller coaster in the trees is a good example of the rides there. The coaster was exciting enough for GeorgianBayAlex and the views were scenic enough for me. As the pictures show, this coaster had the right combination of terror and fun for the little guy.

Santa was there and greeted each child warmly. A few of the elves appeared tired but most were perky and in character.
We went to Santa's Village with my mother and my sister and her kids. There we met four of her friends and their mothers and kids. It was a big group going around. One of the grandmothers invited us all to her house for dinner and play by Lake muskoka. This duck wandered by and let me get extremely close, even while a Golden Lab was playing ten or twenty metres away. Strange, but beautiful.
*Is this a typical Korean ESL teacher story? A loser who wasn't hired by the local equivelent of McDonald's goes on to work in Korea? Much as I hate that stereotype, I fit it in this regard (ONLY!)

Posted by GeorgianBayBrian.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Total Eclipse - a short swim south of Jeju

Alright, a long swim, but we should be able to see at least a partial eclipse on July 22

Image from news for a cruise, as is further information (including a countdown).

If this interests you, even a little, you should already be listening to the 365 days of Astronomy Podcast.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Small tall ships and more

We awoke to rain Thursday morning so it was time to camp indoors. Also, I had to air out the tent as I hope to use it (outdoors) later.
While traveling downtown, I saw some hooligans had added soap to the fountain. Good work!

A few days ago I saw a sailboat that looked traditionally rigged. There was an information sign beside it that included an email address. They are "The Ship's Company of Penetanguishene". I sent a request to join them for an evening's sail and was told they were busy preparing for a trip later in July and could not take passengers. By chance, during the fireworks on Canada Day, I met the president of the company and told him I wanted to go out. He invited me to join them the next night.

The Badger is something like a replica of a ship-of-the-line's gunboat or gig. The hull is adapted from a Great Lakes lifeboat although much is clad in wood.

A huge crew showed up Thursday night - well, fourteen of us - and we fit comfortably but wandering fore and aft was possible but not welcome.

We went on a three hour tour - out a bit and back to the harbour. Below, we are passing Discovery Harbour -a historic site that runs somewhat larger tall ships, but is provincially run so faces more restrictions than the volunteer-run Ship's Company.
Here we are under sail.
A closer look at Discovery Harbour.

I had a great time with the Company and wish them luck in Halifax, which is celebrating it's 250th year as a harbour.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Canada Day Pics

We had a good time, although, what with wearing coats and long pants, it felt like early spring not summer.

First, we went to Midland for a parade and their celebrations. Below is a heritage-recognized house with a 'widow's walk'. Many of the older homes have them so women could watch for their lake-faring husband's return in times of yore.

This truck, in Coast Guard colors and design, was driven and prepared by the Shriners - I don't know if there was any Coast Guard involvement. As Kwandongwife is in in the Korean CG, I begged the men to take the little guy aboard for the photo. There were large crowds for a while after that and I wasn't able to collect my son for some time - I think they were regretting their kindness by the time I was able to pick him up.
At Little Lake Park, there were many exhibits and activities. in contrast to a Korean festival, it was not a chance to go shopping. Here, the little guy is touching a rat snake, the largest snake in Canada and non-venomous.
Back in Penetang, the lawn of a museum was home to the celebrations. Entrance to the museum was free and below is a picture of a book-keepers desk. The abacus on the right caught my eye.
The little guy is almost on track for sleeping now, which means he missed the fireworks. Here is my best photo of the night.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

It's six am and the little guy and I have just come in from a walk to the dock, where we saw two or three beavers and some Canada geese - a good way to start Canada Day.

The picture is from a recent trip to Tim Horton's donuts. I had planned to write about some new symbols of Canada that I don't care for - Tim Horton's is one, although I like the food - but I'll leave it to be grumpy on another day.

We have a lot of events to take the little guy to, so expect photos about when my Korean readership wakes up.