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      Oct. 2nd     Personal goal - To optimize planing given the right sailor weight, sail size, board displacement, and wind speed.

All of the tables available for the available input data above found online are confusing and do not give reasonable feed back when you plug in the numbers for how much wind do you need to plane with (say) a 120L board, a 6.8 m2 sail, a nearly average IQ and a slightly twisted sense of humour.

It shouldn's be that difficult, what with computers, thousands and thousands of new algorithms every day, and all of the other currently available data on earth.

So far we still have to guess at and end up buying the wrong board and sail or buy the wrong board and sail and still not plane in light winds.   You probably know what I mean.

We can easily end up with too much gear with too small a van, or sit around while people with bigger sails and bigger boards dash about from wave to wave having the time of their lives.

So what's a guy to do?

My current quandary is whether or not to buy a 116 L board, or a 125 L board, or a 135 L board and maybe a 7.5 m2 sail.   Following that maybe a larger Sprinter van and look for a new home with a bigger garage door.   Following that, Following that, Shiza, Following that…

Where does it all end?

I am currently giving myself a meaningful time out and may just do all of the above when I get up from sitting here on the stairs.   Ha!   But, to add the dilemma I'm afraid to ask Nancie what she thinks about all or any of these choices.

(My T Shirt reads - We live to plane in all conditions.)

      October 1st     Please note…

(Please note changes) ~> by Oct. 1st, discovered there are several technical errors below in the September 29th entry while working the 8+.   Will change the recognized mistakes and viewpoints, and continue to explore & work the 8+ as a great point and shoot camera.   For starters, it can shoot in f 1.8 and has a dual camera focal length of 25mm or 50mm, with zoom scrolling to 10X.   Its 4K 60fps video is absolutely awesome.   Will likely report the progress again in a week or so.   It's a clear winner.

      September 29th     And so it begins.
We renewed our iPhones (and provider packages).

A part of the longer term thinking involves using the newest iPhone 8+ instead of the Canon 5D2 and lenses as a downsizing travel tool.   Ta-Dah!

Will use the new, very capable, and versatile flagship iPhone 8 plus as a camera and compare the overall results to the manually adjustable DSLR, in RAW mode, and its four fast pro lenses.   With a laptop (MacBool Pro) I can maintain periodic uploads to windinsight.com keeping this site at least somewhat active throughout the duration of our journey by bus through Italy.

The new iPhone, as a camera, has limitations when compared to the fully adjustable DSLR.   But its size, weight, photog software capability, and overall other usefulness make it a great camera for those many travel memory shots.   And remember, the alternative of lugging around a bulky, heavy photog bag and choosing which of 4 lenses and speedlight to use on a freaking bus tour is the other bloody option.   Smile Nancie and say cheese again, hold it, one more!

Will be looking forward to spending the next week becoming familiar with what can and can't be done in capturing those upcoming touristy moments with Apple iPhone's newest offering.

(Aside)   I did get some decent (carefully planned) shots with my older, much smaller, and less capable iPhone 5S a few years ago in Quebec City.   (linked just below)

Will post a few captures and comments while wandering about (with serious intention) later today.

An iPhone 5S at worked hard in Quebec City a while back.

(above)   Canon 5D2 using 2 pro zoom short and long lenses

(above)   iPhone 8 plus in standard X1 and (noisy & pixilated) finger spread X10 touch screen zoom   (#2 left)

Please click on the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics, and the verdict is just below

      A general overall quick verdict is in.

The iPhone works amazingly well in everyday point and shoot (no adjustment situations).   All this in standard 1X wide angle and a 2X quick zoom (around 25mm & 50mm).   (Remember to position the camera with the sunlight behind you to help illuminate the subject to improve the exposure.)   If pushed to say 10X not sure but somewhere around 400mm, the pixilation/noise results in a poor quality photo.   Will continue to work on zoom enlargements and see.   An aftermarket telephoto lens for the iPhone would hugely improve the longer distance shot quality.   So would a tripod to stabilize the image and reduce hand held shake.   (But please don't run out and buy an expensive tripod to lug around and you most likely don't need a telephoto add-on accessory, kinda trust me for now, keep it simple for a while, but heaven knows, I may change my mind again)

The iPhone is also a handy phone with hundreds of useful Apps to find food, fuel, transportation, and lodging and so much more.   By the way, I also like the wider image, hugely more, in the resulting photos taken.

The fully adjustable Canon 5D2, with pro L glass lenses, is a far superior camera when wanting to achieve anything from wide angle to clean telephoto captures.   Even more perfect and absolutely necessary if you work for National Geographic or the National Enquirer.   However, their combined weight, bulk, technical complexity, and handling make them a far distant second choice for two older tourists on a bus trip with 2 other luggage bags in a foreign country concerned with accessing clean washrooms frequently and finding Visa Card laundromats every other day or so.

All that said, the iPhoto 8 plus is a near perfect, easy to use, light weight & easy to carry travel companion.   It easily, capably, and quickly captures those fun touristy keeper shots in the 25 - 50mm focal range.   Thanks to all the Apps and its amazing internal software, resulting photos will print or upload to FB/Instagram/website/whatever…, without much hassle as well.   AND, the 4K 60FPS video is absolutely out of this world.   Enough said.

      September 27th     The DSLR camera plus the 4 hefty fast lenses that complete it are hugely capable and great fun to work, but…

Their combined weight and bulk are both unwieldy and onerous, especially lugging them around Italy, on a bus, in a big accessorized bag along with all our luggage, baggage, guidebooks, medications, short term perceived needs, laptop, etc. etc. etc…   Would buying a small, single lens reflex mirrorless alternative with a zoom help?   Maybe, but at this point in my life another camera brings to mind the phrase more is less.   It's quite simply one more thing to carry, pack, think about, accessorize, keep track of, and buy.   If anything, we need to simplify and downsize our many possessions, at this point in our lives.

Then maybe it follows, less is more, as poet Robert Browning said in an 1855 poem about artist Andrea del Sarto's painting.   By the way, he was speaking to his unfaithful young wife, Lucrezia, at the time (which may lessen or intensify the impact of his thought).   Enough.

Even carrying a single 24 - 70mm lens on the 5D2 and a laptop adds to the burden of it all.   Hey, we're so close to 78 I can smell the near blinding candles burning on the cake and setting off smoke alarms, downwind, for blocks and blocks.   Shiza.

We'll be wanting to pack as light as possible.   Accessing WiFi for the FTP to upload WIS.com will also be another challenge here and there.   Also, considering theft, loss, possible damage, TRI (time responsibility involvement), whatever, gives us pause to seriously find a simpler solution to our upcoming tourist quandary.   The nagging uncertainty of it lingers like fresh coffee brewing.   How could Shakespeare otherwise have worded it?

One answer continues to surface.   Keep it simple.   Enjoy the moment and our shared time together.

Maybe upgrading our iPhones to an 8+,  buy an international plan and forget the camera, lens(es), and laptop.   Without a laptop with an FTP for uploading picture files we would have to forget windsinsight.com for a month as well.   It would certainly give us some more unstructured time and could definitely extend Happy Hour.   And with all the extra memory in an upgraded iPhone all the pictures could be easily stored till we get home.

Enjoying the moment and not having to capturing it.   Maybe a nice change.   I wonder if there will be any kind of photog/website withdrawal attached to all this digital avoidance after 14 years?   Will give this all some deep mindful thinking carefully weighing all of the alternatives or maybe just ask Nancie what to do.


(Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the recent random selection of pics above)

      September 24th     I plan on getting rid of all my windsurf gear in the late fall of 2035 if everything goes well…

The van too.   The plan will be to finish my memoirs and then buy a kick ass 36' shallow draft shoal keel sailboat and head to Bonaire for the winter.   Or simply rent a place and fly there.   Nancie will get to choose where we go the following year and also how we get there.   Maybe travelling any serious distance by sailboat needs to be reconsidered.   Will likely give that idea some more thought over the next few years.

Rental or maybe short term leasing will be the way to go.   The only way.   For pretty much everything.   Period.   New gear here and there without the worry and responsibility of lugging it around or being responsible for its perfect resale integrity.   Especially for a somewhat wonky but still active 95 year old windsurfer.   Automotive travel will be fully automated by then.   It will be a simple matter of texting Hertz2me.whatever to send a humungous electric cargo van to pick me up and transport me around to and from grassy launches wherever they are located at the time with two boards and 4 virtual sails fully rigged and ready.   And another plus, everything will be accomplished with voice commands, including a Happy Hour setup.   And forget needing any kind of driver's licence.   Beam me to wind Scotty.   Please keep reading.

Our lives returned to near normal, first on this past Monday at our first consultation, next on Thursday when Nancie's oncologist and surgeon who both decreed her still in a long term healthy remission.   Also including, a sincere thank-you God.

We were also hugely fortunate in being able to reactivate our recently cancelled tour of Italy for mid October and then to London to reunite with family before returning home in late November.   Shiza, I'm still shaken but hugely relieved and we're both stoked and looking forward to resuming our travels.

It was a delight to share last evening with Brenda and Eric to be a part of Brenda's 60th Birthday.   Life is good.   (Aside: Brenda looks way closer to 38.)

And there's hope for some long awaited wind later this week.   Another moment of mindful reflection and gratitude.

Cheers all.   There is a God, somewhere in a hereafter heaven, of some kind or another, coming to an afterlife near you, and the universe is unfolding as it should, for now.   Our stories continue…

Rock on.

(Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics)

      August 13th     As the world turns…

Quite frankly put I 'm quite simply amazed.   At pretty much everything.

In this past week there were some rather serious lemons and some sweet lemonade coming at us.   Good news and bad.

But that's life.   At 77, something is eventually going to get us, hopefully later than sooner, but nonetheless we're nearing that final moment when someone else gets all the windsurfing gear or the new barbeque, plus all my National Geographics from 1942 on, forever.   Sigh.

Looking on the bright side (actually the only place to look and focus) we carry on.   We seriously carry on.   Work the body for all it's worth.

And try to keep the traditional concept of Happy Hour to somewhere moderately under 90 minutes.

Here's what I figure.   The body is designed to heal.   Bones, cuts, illness, whatever.   Feed it well, stay active, be aware, keep learning, try not to piss off your friends too much.   Find things that make you laugh, make you strong, keep you fit, work your mind and body, take, and make the time to mend and recover, and most important - never, never give up.   Not ever.

I have found most of my answers.   Photography gives me the opportunity to capture and share treasured moments.   Windsurfing is a delicious, physical experience that takes me to a place where I can still test my courage and experience a near supreme joy riding the wind and waves, from here to North Carolina's Outer Banks, the south Texas Gulf, and back home to where the heart is. Daily QiGong is holistic, pure Physical Therapy and more, at its very best, that helps keep my whole body in a healing state - physically, mentally, and emotionally.   Hiking, cycling, and walking for that precious hour or so each day brings me to totally love and work into the four seasons wherever we are on the planet.   Read.   Good literature and scientific studies help bring much needed personal refection and objective awareness .   The list goes on.   The quest to attain the best of what's left is an on-going adventure and challenge, maybe even a crusade of sorts, that gets me out of bed each day and pulls me along smiling, and truly eager (and also appreciatve) to get on with it all.

Life, recreation, work, love, friends, and family, are good and precious.   Dig deep, with a sense of moderation and balance, and try to ignore the bullshit.

When God has closed my coffin lid, I'll do no more the things I did, thank God I did them when I did…

      July 22nd     Morning and evening light…

The side light of early morning and evening offers an opportunity for better and more interesting exposures when it's used to light the subject.   Shooting RAW and adjusting the exposure (shadow/hightlights) allows interesting sunset colours to be included in compositions.

Overhead light at noon kills shots.   Faces are darkened even more when hats are worn.   A flash will help fill the darkness.   But the natural sunlight of morning and evening is so much easier to work and the golden hues of sunset help create such a warm glow in backgrounds and whatever's in your capture.

      July 20th     Working a capable camera with fast lens has it upsides and downsides…

So there I was, sitting on the deck with my handy smartphone, full size Canon DSLR, a glass of wine, and watching the sun low in the horizon at last light.   Always a beautiful moment, and a great way to end any day.

Not enough light for the smartphone to get a decent shot of a hummingbird at the feeder but fortunately just enough for the DSLR and a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 zoom to capture another wondrous moment.

Reaching slowly for the bulky DSLR and medium lens is a serious combination of patience, weight, and technical challenge.   Nervous hummingbirds can be gone in a split second.

Click.   The single shot was not only fun and satisfying but also the only decent shot of the past few days.

In moments like these we stop time and have a memorable souvenir of an old, familiar friend coming for a visit and sharing a Happy Hour of sorts as well.

Lugging the big camera about with all of its other photog gear often seems like an onerous and unnecessary chore.   Especially when the compact, lightweight, small smartphone gets some great results most of the time.   But the hummingbird was a unique capture and like a hole in one at the Mini Putt with the grandkids, or a home run keeps you coming back for more.   Any thoughts of chucking the big lugabout brute are soon dismissed, at least for now.

      July 16th     Woody - maybe a bit smarter than anyone previously thought him to be.

Not Woody Harrelson, Sheriff Woody Pride, or Woody Allen.   Hey, we're talking about Woody the Seagull!

So I enjoy walking with a good friend who writes books and columns for newspapers and magazines.

Bill was our wonderful neighbour on Sunset Bay for 13 years and the first person we met while we were looking for a new home along the lake.

He was always rescuing wounded birds and stray animals, a true advocate for all creatures needing help or seeking a relationship.   And Woody, his most recent feathered pal, and newest column victim, has become a bit of a celebrity whether he knows it or not.   Patient, persistent, unabashed, and ever hopeful, Woody sits and waits on Bill's breakwall in the late afternoon.   Rain or shine, Woody waits hopefully for a much appreciated daily change in diet from the minnows and edibles along the lakeshore, that the rest of his seagull flock are content to stomach.

And late afternoon, at Happy Hour, and without fail, Bill goes to the refrigerator to find a morsel of something uncommon and delectable for Woody to enjoy.

Gourmet dining at its finest.   And a place at a table with whoever at wherever Bill's column is being read and enjoyed.

A very special symbiotic relationship of sorts has developed between these two distinct and very diverse species.   The conversation is touching.   Bill: Hey Woody, don't shit on my break wall and fire pit ever again.   Woody: (Sqawwkk) OK maybe.   So maybe feed me already! .   Bill: And quit staring , makes me feel nervous and kinda creepy.   Woody: (Squawwwwkkkkk!) So what's for dinner? No more stale breadcrumbs I hope!   You can afford to do way better than that cheapskate!   Bill: Hey orange legs, this isn't Trump Tower and you're no Jonathan Livingston Seagull, so don't get your feathers in such a flap! An old hot dog bun about is the best I can do today!

Negotiations continue for a while and eventually result is a small unopened, best before 2010, free sample bag of Jalapeno Doritos from the Port Colborne Blockbuster Video store.

Sigh, so deeply touching.   Bill says he wants to dress up like Captain Jack Sparrow one afternoon and make a dash for Woody flailing a swashbuckling sword to see how close he can get before Woody regains his foothold, wipes the tears from his eyes, and stops laughing…

But, aside from all this struggle for survival you can be sure, palatable royalties with Woody will continue to be shared for many years to come and if his Lakeshore home is ever sold, a guarantee of daily meals, in the purchase agreement, will be a guaranteed written inclusion for what's left of Woody's digestible future.

Author William Thomas

      July 11th     When a very deep slice of your life suddenly flashes before you…

Graham Speck takes photos all around the Niagara Peninsula from aboard his paraglider.

Paragliding, ultralights, and propelled flight of any kind have always held a unique fascination for me.

But like the motorcycles that never came into my life, I only dream of piloting myself up into the sky, and flying solo.   John Magee's poem, High Flight, was likely a part of the beginning of it all.   But, all that said, my internal wiring renders me somewhat unable to quickly perform those fine motor manoeuvres and repetitions that keep one safe and upright in trickier situations involving balance, dance, serious athletics, and any up, up & away above-ground arial navigation challenges.

So Graham posts this photo below showing the north shore of Lake Erie from the Grain Elevators at Port Colborne and west to Mohawk Point.   I was lost and deep in thought for an hour studying the landscape and the many memorable histories of it all.

Our summer cottage (1938 - 1958) was about 2 miles from Sugarloaf Marina in Reeb's Bay/Camelot Beach, a tad west, across from the (long gone) Red Barn Diner and Dance Hall.   Much later, Nancie and I lived on the shore of Sunset Bay for about 13 years (1993 - 2006).

Lifelong friendships and acquaintances are scattered along the shores below not to mention the many hikes, trail rides, sails, and walks throughout the area.   BB guns, sea fleas, ski boats, first cars, first loves, pretty much first everythings were forged throughout this precious landscape.

In addition to all these early lifetime recollections, reminiscences and impressions, crewing for the past few decades out of Sugarloaf Marina, Hobie Catting about from Point Abino to Dunnville, and windsurfing out of Nickel Beach, Reeb's Bay, Sunset Bay, Burnaby, and Long Beach for the past 38 years pretty much make up a significant bulk of so many great memories in my lifetime.   Not to be excluded or overlooked, my wife and children pretty much understand all this, and they know they are deeply loved and inextricably a part of all this.

And a picture can easily be worth way, way more than a thousand words.

(Thank-you Graham!)

      June 17th     When something looks wrong.   Photoshop it…

So the tape on the wheel is coming undone and looks unsightly.

Or, a distracting thumb needs to be hidden.

And time travel back to the moment to retake the photo isn't a possibility.   Change the composition!

Voila!   The magic of Photoshop…
(Please click the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics)

      June 1st    Serious headshot time…

So we rented a softbox, stands, and a reflector.

Played with positioning the gear and took some shots of daughter Maggie in their office foyer before the serious staff photoshoot the next day

And, it worked out.   It's all pretty much in the lighting, camera, lens, and a white background.   Not sure if I want to run out this afternoon and buy all this extra photog baggage.

(Please click the thumbnails above to enlarge the pics)

      May 24th     Headshots.

Experimenting with a softbox and a reflector.

Will be working with some new photog gear this weekend to take another step (forward) with portrait work.

Doing a shoot at youngest daughter's Spa a few weeks before the grand opening and am in the thinking/working process of some professional/personal improvement.

Will be looking forward to seeing whatever the results of this new direction.
Tutorial 2

      May 6th     Jibes are improving because…

With only an 85 and a 105 L board - balance and rig control technique began to change for the better.   A large board with lots of flotation forgives footwork and hand/rig mistakes negotiating turns and other moves.   Practising extending the arc of a turn, feathering the footwork, and extending the back hand back and then the front hand forward in the sail transition helped kept me drier and looking good more often on the 2 smaller boards.

The other advantage is in the organization within the van.   Two boards and 5 rigs stores and carries easier.   Less shit simplifies life.   I think it was maybe Aristotle, Socrates, or Confucius, who said something this.

And, larger boards do get bouncy and uncomfortable in the chop.

All that said, if sailing time, in lighter winds, is noticeably reduced and hugely missed over the next six months, a 118 - 125 L board and maybe a 7.5m2 sail might become a consideration.

A happy wife is a happy life.   A happier male gets a larger sail.   A happier me means more time at sea.   Something like that.

Anything else kinda rhyming with 120 litres, maybe let me know so I can share it with Nancie over Happy Hour…
Confucius say, less is maybe more sometimes…

      May 4th     Hugely organized for 2017

At long last, in my 77th year, the beloved van is finally perfectly packed and ready.

With 2 boards and 5 rigs, gear choice is simpler.   Stop by for a peek at the latest reshaped, custom stacking, pipe rack!

Now if only my mind & focus will continue to hold, the summer should unfold tickety boo.   And, a bright new Canadian Flag, on a 230 cm, 100% carbon fibre, 2 piece modified DrkHlbrdnk mast, will ripple proudly close nearby, in whatever the wind this summer!


(Please click the thumbnail above to enlarge the pic)

      April 24th     QiGong   (my first 100 days)

The daily benefits resulting from ChiKung (QiGong) are real and best of all - holding.

I am currently feeling little discomfort or basically no pain anywhere.   Looking back over the past 30 years, I have experienced chronic pain in my shoulder, neck, lower back & hips, right knee, all originating from from arthritis, old and new injuries, and sciatica.   Relief was ultimately achieved with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Naproxen, Oxycocet, Robaxacet (Robaxin), Prednisone, Celebrex, and included trips to chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, and the family doctor, etc. etc.   I'm currently not taking any drugs.   This is especially remarkable, and reassuring, after windsurfing hard each day for the past week, with my 77th birthday just a week away.

Surprisingly too, I am producing tears again relieving an old condition called dry eye, that only lubricating eye drops relieved.   In addition to this, my sinuses are currently clear and maybe chronic sinusitis is also behind me.

Balance is improving.   Posture is improving.   And quite simply I'm feeling way better.

I cannot speak highly enough about the benefits of healing QiGong (and beginning Tai Chi).   Both have been around for some 4000 years.   Today, some 100 - 200 million Chinese (Wikipedia) do the postures daily either as prevention or helping in some kind of recovery.

ChiKung is slow, gentle, expansive, and circular in form.   It begins with easy repetitions involving only what is comfortable in achieving, and slowly builds.   Over time stretches are deepened and extended, but cautiously, never overdone.   Essentially there are energy postures, stretching postures, and strengthening postures that are opened and closed.

When ChiKung is linked into motion it becomes some form of TaiChi.   When ultimately reshaped and reworked again it becomes a martial art like KungFu or Karate.

But best of all, it's fun and relaxing.   As an exercise, participants begin to feel better almost immediately.

Methodical breathing, stretching, and strengthening, are all incorporated into the 24 postures that take from anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes depending on the receptions and timing.   Slower is better.   QiGong helps realign the spine, work all of the joints and muscles, opens the central nervous system, and simply said helps put the body into balance or homeostasis (much like chiropractic, physiotherapy, and the like.)   Once normalized, the body simply begins to heal itself, like a bandaged cut or a broken bone in a cast.

In addition to doing daily ChiKung, a small number of Yoga postures and Tai Chi are used from time to time, plus a few running stretches when needed.   There is no way, only ways in which to allow the body to heal and help and prevent injury.   (aside) - I still carry some (unused) prescription drugs that have also helped relieve pain in the past, just in case.   And yes, I am also mindful to not overload the wheelbarrow, push cars up the driveway, lift the big rocks without help, take frequent breaks from windsurfing in heavy winds, and not move the trees in planter boxes around the yard without assistance.

QiGong and Tai Chi are recognized and documented as beneficial healing tools by the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard School of Medicine, and Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre to name a few.

There are many thousands of (differing) registered QiGong forms and from all over regional China that all result in much the same outcome.   Nancie and I are currently involved in the Peking 24 posture style (daily).   Highly qualified Martial Arts teacher, Sifu George Picard at the Village for Healing and Wellness in St. Catharines, Ontario is our primary instructor.

Testimonials from others, qualified referenced literature, and personal experience all bear out the validity of what is now working for me, after three months of committed daily practise.

A report from Harvard School of medicine about the positive effects of using Tai Chi.

A report about using Tai Chi from the Mayo Clinic

A similar linked report in 2017.

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