Sea Kayaks On The Fox River

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XM Radio

I have grown dependant on my XM Radio in my truck. Liquid Metal. Deep Cuts. First Wave. CNN Headlines. You name it, I enjoy it. Strongly recommended for anyone that spends time in their vehicle.

As a former Bostonian for almost a decade of my life, I can appreciate expressive photos of the city that will alwasy be dear to me.  This website provides brilliant photos of the city taken by a very skilled lensman. 

A photo site for anyone who loves Beantown.

Canon EOS 7D in Five Minutes

A nice summary, if anyone can understand what he's saying. One correction: he mentions only 12 minutes in HD video--in fact, it records up to 29.5 minutes in HD video continuously (apparently, any more than this and it gets too "hot"), compared to only 5 minutes continuous for Nikon's current DSLRs.


DIllman's Summer Camp  (click for more details) is where I will be spending a week in 2010.  Cathy came up with the idea, and I jumped on the chance for having an olde fashioned summer vacation in the north woods of WI.  You see, the beauty here is that Cathy has her thing, and I have mine.

Dillman’s Bay is a nostalgic resort on the shores of White Sand Lake in Northern Wisconsin - just 12 miles from Minocqua. This classic vacation paradise offers a peninsula with full marina, tennis courts, playground, four beaches, picnic grounds, creative workshops taught by renowned instructors and space to relax.  Think "Baby" on Dirty Dancing.

Cathy is taking watercolor class all week with Tom Lynch, famous Naperville, IL artist, teacher (he has his own PBS show).  It's an intermediate class, and she is taking over 15 hours of local watercolor classes just to get ready to go to Dillman's.

Me, I have three goals in mind: write my short story for the autumn contest, kayak White Sand Lake daily and work on Eskimo rolls, and take photographs in natural settings.

I didn't mention bikes, hammock with reading and swimming. Total relaxation.  Total summer. Totally on my mind.

Coolkayaker1's Writer's Desk: Where The Magic Happens

Last Known (Only Known?) Film Footage of Jerome David Salinger

So Many Books. So Little Time.

Silver Jumping Carp Terrorize Illinois


J. D. Salinger Dies in Cornish, NH

My absolute favorite literary quote is this one passage in The Catcher In The Rye, which sums up the entire book in it's off-kilter, prophetic way:

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." - The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield,Chapter 22


Apple Classic Commerical

Paddle Me Away To The Sunny Tropics (100mm, f 2.8, ISO 100)

The eBay listings continue--Sunday is the best day to have auctions end on eBay.  Sunday night at around 9pm, to be specific.  So, the seven-day auctions for two of my best, but least used, paddles, starts this Sunday.

Up next: guitars!


Apple iPad Is Here &: First Impressions: It Stinks

A giant (but not giant enough) 9.7 inch iPod Touch, uses same apps and everything, for over $699 with a measly 64 GB of memory.

Thank God I just went ahead an bought my netbook.

The Herrington Inn Lobby On Geneva Daily Photo

I am pleased to show you this photograph from my online friend and schooled photographer Kelly at

Full credit to her for taking a sabbatical from her blog, now to return with triumphant new photos of the town everyone loves, 40 miles outside Chicago proper (and only a Metra ride away), Geneva, Illinois.

I enjoy her perspective on the town, from many angles and with many views. This particular lobby is of the famous Herrington Hotel, the toniest place to stay in Geneva, where the Bushes, Clintons and foreign leaders (Gorby) stay. It is one block from my place, and I have walked into the lobby just to peek around. I've not seen anyone famous--or even infamous like Joey Buttafuoco--yet. It's well captured on Geneva Daily Photo, where I learn about photography from perusing Kelly's photos.

Guitar Lesson Night Means Week 1/2 Over

Yes, this is whare the magic happens in downtown Champaign.  Every Wednesday night for over 1.5 years.  It's where Sean, a virtuoso heavy, tone-chasing guitar teacher, works his magic with my son.  Much steel is plucked, much metal is burned through those amplifiers. 

Tonight, it's snowy, so the photo would look different.  Plus I am meeting my friend yanoer at the mall to inspect and sell two paddles (baby steps toward the camera--appreciate the comments of WFF under prior posts).


February 20, 2003 The Station, West Warwick, RI 100 Dead

A chilling video.  A wildfire within four walls.  Never forget.
(click the arrows on lower right of video for full screen)
96 died on the scene; 4 died later in hospital. 230 injured, some burned horrifically.

Details about the fire and its aftermath.

Canon EOS 7D 1920x1080p HD!

Out of the box video from Canon 7d, naterus on youtube:

Guardiansnapper on youtube says: So here is my first attempt at filming with a production Canon Eos7D just one hour after receiving it from my local camera store. Starting at 10pm I spent about 2 hours in total filming this an the Nanluoguxiang Hutong in Beijing which is popular with locals and tourists alike. Due to the lack of light its shot mostly at around 1600 to 6400 ISO.

Although I could carry a video camera around separate from my still camera, why would I? This is brilliant! Professionals take music videos and such with this camera. And it's not just the low frames per second, 780p "HD" that most under $1000 portables espouse, this is the real deal--1920x1080p HD at 30 frames per second. Smooooth! I continue to sell everything I own on eBay to afford this cool kitty!



Listed on eBay, one of my awesome Meridian drysuits.  Two paddles out the door with good deal for my friend yanoer, and some more cash in my pocket.  Gilligan's Island full series DVDs,  my Pentax 20x60 Binos, two Bic Yakka inflatable kayaks on eBay.  It's all gotta go to pay for my new camera and lens.


One Semester of High School Down

I'm proud of my son.  He's done very well academically this year so far.  His first semester of high school.

Photo Advice from Frank Capa, Life Magazine photographer

"If your photos are not good enough, then you're not close enough."

--photo from aquascout on

"Eh No Pilaust Versuite! Eh No Pilaust Versuite!"

I think that means "The photographer just ate shit! The photographer just ate shit!"

Seriously, rather than trying to stand on the ground behind a tree, it might have been safer to get up on top of something. Like a big camera stand or something.

Nope. And with all the little kids and families in the audience, is it really necessary for the announcer to freak out and yell, "Oh, fuck!" over the PA system. I mean really. Walter Cronkite never would have said that.

Freelance Photography: Selling Images

At Borders yesterday, I thought of my brother, a skilled shooter. This book shows places paying anywhere from $200 to more than $1000 for a single photograph!

With 1,500 market listings, "2010 Photographer's Market" is the resource freelance photographers need to find markets for their work. No other book contains as many market listings for magazines, book publishers and stock agencies all over the world. Readers will find "2010 Photographer's Market" easy to use with its clearly marked sections and four indexes that will aid them in narrowing down the markets that interest, $20

Freeman and Luck Photography Book

Browsing Borders today, came across the 2009 edition of this book for $9.99. It's huge, with tons of photos, chock full of camera and technique information. I put the photo magazines back on the shelf and am reading this 500+ page tome now.


Fuji Finepix Z33WP P&S at ISO 800 and ISO 1600

Both photos taken at my table at California Pizza Kitchen tonight, with only change (other than my elbows on table, lop-sided leveling job) being forced ISO at 1600 (top photo) after the camera chose ISO 800 (bottom photo). The level of noise on the 1600 is disturbing. Both are 10 megapixels. It was slightly dark in the restaurant. I took several pics at each setting to assure no movement artifact, these were the best.

I notice my camera seems to prefer ISO 800. Light settings, no matter, it defaults to ISO 800, it appears. Hmmm.

A Tsunami Hits Japan In A Folding Kayak

My dear friend and San Diego/Reno paddler Tsunamichuck ventured to Japan in late 2009 for a 2 month, solo expedition in his bag boat. He took many fabuolous photos (before losing his camera in the drink) and sent them to the boatloads of friends he has in the States. TSC is back in the states and safe now, but he was gone for a long time, and incommunicado for much of it. He was out on the waves in the middle of the seas. Fron the pictures, he experienced every type of weather. The hospitality of the Japanese people came through, and TSC's gregarious personality made him a hit, I'm sure, with the saki-drinking, shanshin-strumming crowds at each port. I applaud Tsunamichuck for grabbing life by the b*lls, and living it.


Mayhem Fest 2010, July, Chicago.

Lamb of God, absolutely epic, with outta this park CD Wrath, dropping it at Mayhem Fest 2010. Lesser bands also present include Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Five Finger Death Punch, the reunited Korn (who cares), and on and on.

A fantastic day of heavy metal fun with 28,000 of your favorite metalheads.

Don't click the video below unless you love monster metal from Lamb of God. Absolutely the most talented, fast and fresh drummer in music today, Christopher Adler (born November 23, 1972 is an American drummer, best known as a member of the metal band Lamb of God). Just listen to that drum!

Paddling Pals

This is my friend and paddler, Gabrielle, a.k.a. Trailmom, cutting an edge as she passes under the bridge over Clinton Lake, Illinois, autumn 2009.  I look forward to more paddles with her in 2010.  She has an adventurous spirit, always up for any good paddle, or hike, or anything outdoorsy.  I enjoy paddling and spending time with Gay, and all my fellow paddlers that are hibernating this winter.


Cute But Very Freaky When U Can't Understand It

Every once in a while, a website makes life easier.  I have not bought much from Criagslist, but I have fellow paddlers that adore it.  Simpler than eBay, and free, it is catergorized by major location, city.  Well, here is the link that is the meta-search engine just for Craigslist, and you can "dial in" how far from any zip code to search.  Simple, Eloquent.  Helpful.  try


St. Charles, Illinois: A gift Shop on Second Street, Fox River Below

This view is a textured wall of a Second Street gift shop in St. Charles, Illinois, with the Fox River in the background. It was taken during an autumn walk. It is these types of views, along with this blog, as well as the interest from my brother, that is making me contemplate becoming more versed in photography. I learn from wonderful photos online from some of the blogs I follow (e.g. by Kelly).

There is a fairly steep learning curve to be a good photographer, as I don’t know an f-stop from a bus stop now. I only own point-and-shoot cameras now. I must confess, many of the pictures that these cameras take are excellent. In my recent posts, the picture of Buddha in my living room, the Health-o-meter scale in my bathroom, the Ferris wheel in Chicago, and the mushrooms by the railroad track were all taken with the same $150 point and shoot Fuji ZZ33WP camera.

The limitations of the point-and-shoot camera are quite noticeable, however. Each of those pictures was taken in highest light. Each is a still photograph, no motion. None required telephoto capability. None required flash.  None necessitated cropping and expansion. 

As I research cameras--and have had a promise from my wife that, should I sell enough of my current stuff (kayaks, computer stuff, other odds and ends) on eBay, I can use this money toward a new camera--I have become increasingly interested in exploring the outmost limits of the hobby. Motion photos, photos at night, pictures with indirect flash, and extreme close-ups are all things to try.  I will keep my promise to my wife and sell enough things to afford the camera. I'm doing my Internet research on cameras, and my brother has given me sound and experienced great advice. Stay tuned in months ahead.


A Weighty Proposition

It's now 2010, and I don't feel fat. I just feel out of shape. The winter time here calls for lethargic days on the Davenport, thinking about what to eat next. Watching Berta on 2.5 Men requires snacking. Envying the slender physiques of the Housewives of OC while downing a bag of Fritos with chili cheese dip is not out of bounds. These episodes of frank gluttony are too commonplace now that the snow has fallen and temps do not edge above 35F.

The scale mentions my weight as reasonable for my height. So, I'm okay then, right? I think not. My 2-3 miles walks on the treadmill in autumn 2009 have disappeared like my green lawn, obscured by a white winter crust.

I've gotta get on the wagon again.

The Great Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier in Summer

When my wife was watching Guiliana and Bill, whose reality TV show is cotton candy for couch-stretching winter Saturdays, I saw Guliana freak out on the Chicago ferris wheel. Apparently, she has a fear of heights. Well, the ride around is only 7 minutes, but "G", as they call her now, was scared stiff at the top. Perhaps she does better on the red carpet as anchor of the Golden Globes than she does in ferris wheels. Me, I'll take a ferris wheel ride any day. This photo is from my trip to the Windy City with family in 2008.


Mansions In My Mind

Want to fantasize with me for a moment this winter? Being raised in New England, I am particularly partial to the many mansions that are along the northeast coast. Driving on Route 1 from Boston through Maine, these mansions are places of history and are rare beauties. Although I do believe it was filmed at Long Island, Something's Gotta Give,  a 2003 American romantic comedy film starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, featured a mansion that is classic New England style with a delightful and sunny New England kitchen. Certainly, these are not the typical small Cape Cod homes; they are homes of majesty, once owned by corporate monopolists from the golden era.

I found a website with dream homes along the New Hampshire coast. This would be the ideal setting if one were to hit the lottery and have no regard for money. Looking at these homes brings a sense of grandeur and grace and peace and history. Enjoy.


Elburn's Safe Haven For Animals

Thanks for the invitation from Alexia and Dave, we'll be heading for a second year in a row to the annual Fox Valley Wildlife Rescue benefit at the Geneva Dam in February.  Last year, I came home with an armful of stuff to furnish the condo.  This year, it'll be about giving back to save the deer, small animals, and yes, even the fox. 

No, not Redd Foxx.  Too late to save him (or Rodney either, for that matter).  But the cute foxes and turtles and other maimed animals--I think the wildlife refuge takes all comers--is a great cause and should be a fun evening with our friends.


You're My False Idol

At a Megadeth concert last year, a fan kept yelling to lead singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine: "You're my false idol!" What in the bejeesus does that mean. Is that a compliment, or a rip?

This glass Buddah sits in my livingroom. It represents a peaceful state of mind, and nothing else. It is a real idol...not a false idol. Lamb of God has an intense tune, Fake Messiah, on their Wrath album from 2009. Maybe false idols and fake messiahs are all the rage. I'll just stick with my glass Buddah.


Microsoft Security Essentials Is Essential

For those that do not know, Microsoft's paid security software, Live OneCare, went bye bye in early 2010 to make way for the free Security Essentials (you must delete the Onecare software from your computer to put on the new software).  Absolutely free, it trumps Norton Antivirus and McAfee in several ways: it's free on XP, Vista, and Win7.  It is updated twice daily.  It is non-intrusive.  It covers all forms of malware and viruses. Did I say, it's free?  Oh, yes.

Take a look at it--just Google Microsoft Security Essentials and find the microsoft website and downloads in about three minutes.  Who better to keep spyware off your PC than Mr. Gates himself.


The Brady Bunch: Cultural Icons With Sayings As Memorable as Mark Twain's

Mushrooms on Railroad Tracks September 2009

Tiny life is everywhere if we take a moment to look around us.  I spotted these mushrooms on decaying railroad tracks during a walk in September.  The image is now something I look at in the winter.


Congratulations to my friend and fellow kayaker, Scott, from my native Massachusetts on his new blogspot.  He's a right up guy, and anyone who's into Valley Sea Kayaks the way I am is, by default, on my "future expedition paddle" list.  Within 2010 he'll post some sweet--and I mean sugary sweet--photos of that brand new Nordkapp Classic with ocean cockpit when it arrives from Nottingham, U.K.  The birth of a new Nordkapp--and a new blog.


Portillo's Chopped Salad Rules!

.1 servings Dressing, Creamy Caeser House
1 servings scallions
3 servings Grilled Chicken Oz
.5 servings Raw Red Cabbage
.1 servings Pasta, Ditalini, Cooked
.25 servings Bacon
5 servings Tomato
2 servings Iceberg Lettuce
Amount per Serving


Calories 393 Calories from Fat 59


% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 0.75g 4%
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6g
Cholesterol 55.06mg 18%
Sodium 737.9mg 31%
Potassium 235mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 30.41g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4.35g 17%
Sugars 3.15g
Protein 27.15g 54%


Go to Portillo's. Order the Chopped Salad. Dressing on the side. Pretty easy right ? Healthy dose of protein, low cal (if kep dressing off--plenty of taste without it) and easy to eat. It's chopped. Enjoy.


The Sun Across My Kitchen Sink

As days grow slowly longer like the beard on an old sleeping man, sunshine splashes across the kitchen through a large window. Blinds open to capture rays of warmth on a single-digit temperature winter day. The light beams on the backsplash. It feels good on my face.


Water Can Flow. Or It Can Crash -- Bruce Lee

Today... crashed. Not my car. Just my life. Like a crumpled VW fender from the car show.

But you know what, hovering above it all like a stratus cloud on a July day, life is great. I have people around me that I can count on. I can count the people I can count on with one hand--hell, with a couple of fingers--but count on them I can.

Yeah, life's rich. I'll keep telling myself that as I suck down codeine pills with a diet green tea while reading a Travis Thrasher novel. And then the back of my eyelids.

The North View From Chicago's J. Hancock Building

Photo by Dan Heller


Ever Have One Of Those Day?

My Live Forever Arsenal

These are the over-the-counter vitamins that I purchased so that I'd live forever. These are the ones advocated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN and Dr. Oz on Oprah.

Well, apparently Gupta and Oz don't have podagra, a.k.a gout.

Which of the above bottles, seen on my kitchen counter where I downed them faithfully, does not belong on the shelf of a gout sufferer? Answer: Aspirin and Niacin.

Now I have advice from a "real doctor", my pal E.C. from Dallas, and following his advice, I have downed water like a camel today, and have my aching dog in ice water now as I type this update. I'm improving here on gout day #10. Limping, but improving.


Wonder Boys After Lunch

Ran errands in the morning, and met friends for early dinner at the new Geneva Ale House, located in the Geneva Theatre/Fargo Building. The veggie burger and salad was exceptional.

Went to Michael and Vic's and finally got around to seeing Michael Douglas, Tobi McGuire, Robert Downet, Frances McDormand, Rip Torn in Wonder Boys. Excellent movie adaptation of Michael Chabon's novel. Highly recommended.


Double Feature

Spent a 15 degree but sunny day with Cathy and Linda. After eating some salad and Devil's Toothpicks at Rock Bottom Brewery, we hit the Warrenville Cantina 30—an excellent theater with seats that are super banked so that even a tall jughead can't block your view—for Precious and The Blind Side.

Precious, executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler “Madea Goes To Jail” Perry, is a bleak story of a 16 year old inner city girl who is abused in every means possible, pops out a couple of love pups, and then learns to read. Her hateful mother, played by Mo'nique (whoever that is) is extraordinarily well acted. The lead character, Precious, has few lines given the length of the movie. Critics are hailing it as very good if not exceptional, suggesting that the non-”Rocky Balboa” ending is refreshing. She manages to learn to read, and even though she's still homeless, has a Down's Syndrome kid named "Mongie", short for Mongoloid (I kid you not) and now has HIV, we're supposed to see this as progress.

Two thumbs down on Precious. We walked out of there feeling like we'd be socked in the gut with a two by four. A dose of reality? Perhaps. Something I want to see on a sunny Friday afternoon with a gouty foot and a fresh Coke and popcorn? No.

Next up, with a mutual desire from Cath and Linda to not leave the theater feeling like toads, we popped into The Blind Side (yes, and endured the painful previews and advertisements yet again). A very motivating movie, takes homeless Michael, puts him with a wealthy family (Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw--who should not only keep the cowboy hat and the goatee, but also his day job as a country warbler). This film, that gets a Yahoo Review C+ from critics but a solid A from thousands of Yahoo viewers, is a winner. There are better movies, but not on Friday, Jan 1 in Warrenville, IL. Uplifting, funny, sweet but not syrupy, it just felt good. After Precious, it felt like hitting the hot tub after an ocean swim. Ahhhh!

I'm the first to hail the critics, and for the most part, they know a good movie when they see one. But many critically lauded movies are not fun or interesting (e.g. Monster's Ball, Lost In Translation, Up In The Air), and you know what, getting that rare “A” from patrons on Yahoo, Flixster, Fandango—they know a rousing movie when they see one, too.

Thanks, Yahoo users, for saving my life today. And as usual, adored my time with Cathy and Linda.


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