Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Summer plans

July 1, 2015

This summer I appear to have a lot of free time.  I hope to work an ESL camp in August and have a few other commitments but essentially I have time to work on my own projects.  Most of these projects deal with writing.

Writing Plans and Goals:

  • 13 blogposts for 6,500 words.  Why 13?  I can’t recall why I chose this number.  Somewhat more than two a week, I guess.
  • 3 short stories: Working titles are 1) Ants, 2) Vampire on a boat and 3) Hyperbaric Chamber.  I’m figuring 2,000 words each
  • Push forward one or all three of the books I have started and let sit.  30,000 words is the goal and I don’t mind jumping from book to book as seems fit. Working titles are 1) Return of the Haloed Hunter, 2) the Distancing Engine and 3) Creationism’s worst arguments
  • 2 letters per week to friends.  Around ten letters and 2,000 words.
  • Perform research and planning for future “Crowded Sky” story. As much as 5,000 words.

To keep the writing interesting, I have made further goals.

  • I want to write over the course of a full day.  That is, at least once in the month write from 12:00 to 1:00 AM, once from 1:00 to 2:00AM …
  • I want to write in a variety of locations.  The local mountaintop has a good table. There are some nice libraries to write in.  I’ll talk about coffee shops in a moment.  Eulsookdo Eco Centre might be a nice place to work in for an afternoon.
  • Soundtrack: I may use Ommwriter which has its own soundtrack but otherwise it will be autoplayed classical music starting with some Janecek and letting Youtube suggest from there. Away from Internet connections, Doug and the Slugs and other 80’s music would work; the tunes are so familiar that they can be white noise or a fun background as needed.

Snacks: I bought snacks for my Nanowrimo writing and I will definitely eat in front of the computer but I need to show restraint here.  My weight is slowly dropping and I want to keep it going in that direction.  Controlling my weight is my greatest concern this summer.

Fitness:

  • 18 runs with an average of 7.0 km.  I hope to attempt a solo half-marathon this summer late one evening and have been working out the course and where to place energy drinks along the way.  I am currently at 96 runs over the past six months so only the weather could prevent reaching this goal.
  • Run faster than a subway train.  The local subway stations Seo-dae-shin and Dong-dae-shin are about 500 meters apart and the train takes 2:35 seconds from doors open at Seo- to doors closed at Dong-.  Further, this route is slightly downhill.  I can easily run this fast on a level surface but Seo-dae-shin is deep underground. I have no qualms or conscience problems about using the escalators but even with that assistance, there is a big climb at the start of the run.
  • Swim 2km at a time. Korean pools are crowded with conversationalists and it is hard to get an unbroken swim in.  I am likely to need to stop a the end of a lane a few times.  Today, I did 1250m, with breaks and could have gone farther.
  • Find 3 snorkeling places in and near Busan
  • For at least 6 days, eat three meals, plus one snack plus one sweet drink.  I snack a lot and plan to spend a lot of time in front of a computer so this will be a challenge.

Education:  I am enrolled in 3 MOOCS.

  • The Bilingual Brain
  • Modern Korean History
  • Archaeology of Portus

Family

  • Teach my son to swim.
  • Go on a weekend trip with the family. I would prefer a swimming site but that is negotiable.
  • Read two books with my son.  I don’t want this to be a purely teaching experience but one we both enjoy.  Tintin is a good contender here.
  • Work on the farm.

 

korea law and cycling

April 14, 2014

The Korea Law Blog has  a post on cycling in Korea.  There’s a lot of good stuff there but here is a piece:

2. Rules Applying Only to Bicycles

a) To stay on the far right side when riding a bicycle on the road.

b) To get off and drag one’s bicycle when crossing a crosswalk.

c) To refrain from riding a bicycle on the sidewalk.

d) To refrain from operating a bicycle while being drunk, etc.

e) Overtaking through the “right side” is allowed.

3. Rules That Do Not Apply to Bicycles

a) Regular speed limits do not apply to bicycles.

b) Driving w/o a license do not apply to bicycles.

c) Drunk driving (forbidden, but no specific punishment for a cyclist is currently outlined).

d) The ban on the use of cell phones (while cycling) do not apply to bicycles.

 

Via James Turnbull.

Great Muskoka Paddling Experience 2013

October 13, 2013

The Little Guy and I were fortunate to get to Bracebridge for the first part of the Thanksgiving weekend.  We met friends and did the Family Paddle event in the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience.  On Friday, we borrowed a canoe from some friends and  tried it out on the North Branch of the Muskoka River near Wilson’s Falls.DSC09620 b

Here are the Falls in question.

DSC09615 Stitch b

On Saturday, we went to Annie William’s Park for the paddling.  You can see that it was not just any canoe but a Langford 16′ Cedar Strip, made in Bracebridge, beautiful and a joy to paddle.  Many complemented the boat and I felt compelled to admit that I had only borrowed it.DSC09627 bThe colors were good during the paddle, and the trip in general – but I don’t think they have peaked yet.  This striking tree was opposite the Riverside Inn and where the North and South branches of the Muskoka meet.DSC09630 bI was impressed by the variety of vessels competing.  First up below is what I consider a sprint canoe, a very modern version of what I once competed with for Akomak Sprint Canoe Club.  OUr races were up to 500m and I really can’t imagine going 10 or more kilometers in one.DSC09629 DSC09628 b SUPs were common and another craft I would not want to race long distances in.DSC09626My friend Glen is in this boat and, as of October 13, 2013, the one used in the promotional materials here.DSC09624 b I really can’t say what kind of boat this is.  I am especially intrigued by the high stern seat.DSC09622 A few leading members of the 10km race passing our vantage point.DSC09621

I would never have finished it, but I wish I had seen this race, also on the Muskoka River.


Added later:  Results -for the actual races, not the ‘family paddle’ I was involved in, are now up.

Cycling, in October, and more

October 4, 2013

I’ve been trying to cycle to work every other day, weather permitting, and really enjoying it.   I’d always been an early riser and my son really is so I am definitely up and ready in good time.  The weather has been cooperating, too.  It hasn’t always been sunny, but it has been obviously poor or obviously great in the morning so I haven’t been caught in miserable conditions.

One fly in the ointment is my weekend work.  This weekend are two rides I’d like to be involved in but I am scheduled to lead some cub scout activities at my workplace.  On Saturday, in Nobel, a village near Parry Sound is a 7.6km ride.

October 05th (Saturday) Parry Sound Area Active Transportation presents a “Fall Fun Ride” starting at the Parry Sound Mall and wrapping up at the McDougall Recreation Centre (7.6kms). It’s a free event with registration from 09:00 am to 10:00 am, with the ride starting at 10:00 am. Register and ride for an entry into a bike draw. The Rotary Club of Parry Sound will have a BBQ at the finishing point. For information call 705 746 5801. www.psactivetrans.org

This would be a great event for my son and I, again, if I were not working.  While searching for online info about the Nobel ride, I found the Sudbury Cycling Union page, which has information about work to create bike trails around Georgian Bay.

On Sunday,  the United Way is running a series of rides from 25 to 100km in Simcoe County near Barrie.

 

On Facebook, friends shared two videos that fit with today’s topic.  One is about a man who was fined for not riding in the bike lane in New York and so wen tout of his way to show how dangerous the bike lanes were  The video is interesting but his method – crashing into obstacles left in the bike lanes – seems a little too personally costly to me.

The second video was made by a Dutch visitor to the US and compares the cycling culture in the two countries.  Briefly, he feels that the way cyclists locally (Canadian bike culture is nearly identical to American) dress up and prepare for riding shows it is not yet normative or entirely accepted.  I get this: one doesn’t really need spandex and lycra to ride.  The situation reminded me of hiking in Korea.  Korean hikers often dress in brand name hiking clothes and boots, and with poles and packs suitable for Nepal when shorts and running shoes are entirely sufficient.  Perhaps Thorstein Veblen’s views on conspicuous consumption are still relevant.

Back to the video.  The Dutch rider also compares infra(structure) in the two countries and this is fair although I think geography is at least equally relevant.  I don’t know much about the Netherlands but my impression is that it (they?) are pool-table flat and so more bike-friendly from the get-go.

 

Two pictures from recent rides I have taken.  The first can be found in a previous post but is worth showing again.  It is a Dekay snake or Northern Brown snake that I shooed off the bike trail.

DSC09531 bThe colors are just turning around Midland and the views are only going to get better in the next two weeks.  I predict an incredible Thanksgiving next weekend.  The bike trails around Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny Townships will be the places to go!DSC09564 b

Legoland, Toronto Island, the ROM and more in Toronto

September 24, 2013

The Little Guy and I spent a good weekend in Toronto, but one that left me wondering just how computer literate I really am.

First, the activities.  We met a fellow ex-Korea ESL teacher and his children at Legoland in Vaughan.  I’ll describe the pics, then the day.

A miniature of the ROM – ironic that we finished the weekend at the real thing.

DSC09479 b

Building a Lego camera takes serious concentration.

DSC09482 b

Peddling for height on the Lord of the Rings ride.DSC09485 b

 

My son loved Legoland as did the other kids.  I thought it was as good as it could be.  We entered ($18 per child, $22 per adult) and learned how blocks were made, then really enjoyed a dark ride where we could use laser guns to protect various Lego people.  Then, we were in the common room which contained many giant bowls of blocks, a workshop room that offered assistance in building things, a few ramps for Lego cars, a jungle gym (that the eldest child was too tall to be allowed in), an LOTR ride and a 4-D movie theatre.  I guess my main concern is that Lego is all about building things and blocks were provided in abundance but it just felt like, “Come in for a Lego adventure! Now sit still and concentrate!”  Loud adventure and contemplative concentration just don’t mesh all that well in my opinion.  The ramps, which looked like they were intended for cars were just used to roll wheels which were connected to nothing.

Again, perhaps I am being too much a middle-aged adult because the kids had fun, but the ‘serious’ activities were underutilized.  The LOTR ride seemed fun but was a weak fit with the general Lego theme.

It was a great place to be because of the miserable weather that day, that’s for sure!

 

On Sunday, we went to Toronto Island and I want to go again, soon.

Does Parks, Forests and Recreation want us to have fun or to tramp down the goose poop that was everywhere?

DSC09492 b

There was an ‘Island Girl’ run going on that featured Hawaiian and steel-drum music along the edges of the course.DSC09496

Mute swans.DSC09497 b

Toronto’s skyline from the Island.DSC09498 b

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next to the ROM was The Word on the Street Event, featuring TVO Kids.DSC09506

Finally, we went into the ROM.

DSC09508

 

 

Now the description of my poor internet savvy.

It was raining on Toronto Island -OK, probably everywhere – and that dampened our spirits but we were having fun.  We wanted to rent bikes but were concerned about interfering with the race.  the TVOKids Word on the Street event took us completely by surprise.  Why did I not think to research our destinations to see if anything special were happening? The information was not pushed to us but why didn’t we think to look ahead?  Next time.

Skiing Awenda in the Winter (Provincial Park Photo(s) of the day)

March 23, 2013

I keep saying Awenda is little known, but perhaps I have merely been there on quiet days. The Friends of Awenda page  seems well done.

I had a great ski there with my mother on Friday and want to go back.  I’m lucky to have gotten this day in so I doubt I’ll make it next week.

One problem with skiing there is there are only two ‘official’ trails, a short, easy 4 km or a long 13 km.  I’ve managed 10 km in a day, more or less, but didn’t feel up to 13.  So we followed a ski trail to the beach.  It was around 5 km as a 2.5 km in and out on the same trail -no loop.  The map showed the beach route, but I think it was only as part of the regular map, only the two trails above were explicitly described.

The skiing scratched an itch I didn’t know I had.  The silence was total and I felt like a church-farter when I yelled a comment to my mother.

among the giants

among the giants

 

 

 

 
winter awenda (10) resized

 

I think this is Christian Island.winter awenda (14) resized

 

The pictures above and below show how cold it can be.  You can see that the waves froze in mid-surge.winter awenda frozen wave blog ready

 

On the way to the park, we saw a fox run across the road.  The first I have seen in Ontario.  Midland Naturalists reported in February seeing 22 deer at one time in the park but we saw none.  There many tracks of many different animals but none actually seen.

I have decided to add a mark to the bottom of my pictures.  I have never previously worried about copyright or intellectual property theft (the benefit of being a poor photographer, I guess) and the writing is low enough to be cropped out if someone wanted to.  I welcome the idea of others using my pictures but want to keep some kind of identifying mark on them.  Suggestions? Ideas? Should I have the full url for my blog?

Provincial Park image of the day: Craigleith

March 22, 2013

fossils (18)Craigleith is a specialty park.  Sure, you can camp and swim there, but the biggest deal is the vast number of  fossils to be tripped over.  I think it is best for younger children, who dig the shapes in the rock, and adults, who can feel the weight of time in their hand.

Craigleith’s page is here.  Google map is here.

 

A lesson from Springwater Provincial Park for Arrowhead

March 20, 2013

Thank you very much, Emily Mckiernan for your corrections and advice regarding a year-long all-parks day pass for Ontario Provincial Parks.  Summer and year-long passes can be found here.  Thanks also to Lisa Fleming who linked to my previous article about Springwater Park on the Facebook Save Our Springwater  page.

I hope their work goes rewarded although, as I’ve previously noted, I have not been in the area long enough to be greatly invested in the park.

I need to correct a mistake I made in my previous post. I wrote that I had been to Springwater two times but I have since learned that my parents took me there many times when I was a young child.  I don’t remember this at all.

A new article in the Barrie Examiner suggests that the work to close the park is continuing.  The article describes plans for the animals currently in the park to be moved to new locations.  Ah, the article describes the animals as ‘wildlife’, and the animals mostly fit that definition but these are animals:

“… that have been injured in the wild, or are unable for a variety of reasons, unable to survive in the wild. This makes it [Springwater] unique among parks and an especially valuable treasure: one of a kind. It is a legacy for future generations,” Miller said.

They are not removing every squirrel or free wild animal.  That would be a little creepy.

Also in the article:

Springwater is the only provincial park with an animal sanctuary,…[and has] 29 animals, including Monty the bobcat, a black bear, a timber wolf, two foxes (one red and one silver), two raccoons (one of them albino), two wild turkeys, a turkey vulture, a great horned owl, a peregrine falcon, a rough-legged hawk, a trumpeter swan, two mute swans, three Canada geese, four white tailed deer, two lynx, two bald eagles and two skunks

Finally

Two groups are leading the charge to keep the park operational.

They include the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition at www.SpringwaterParkcc.org and the Friends of Springwater Provincial Park at www.friendsofspringwaterpark.ca.

 

I think other Provincial parks need to take heed.  Algonquin, in my opinion, will always be here.  It is giant, famous and historic and just close enough to Toronto to be a daytrip.  Parks that I like and think are lesser known are Awenda and Arrowhead.  Arrowhead, get a Friends Of… group, get a real website, a Facebook page and more.  If you already have these things, I need to tell you that a Google search didn’t find them on the first page.  I did find this wordpress blog that looks like it is updated annually and dryly informative.  It does have a facebook page that looks well used.  Awenda could use one; this page needs work.

 

These are suggestions only.  I wonder how saturated people are with wilderness-based advertising.   Algonquin Outfitter’s Facebook page is updated nearly hourly. as is Pure Muskoka.  Well, even if the Facebook pages or other online content doesn’t attract many new visitors, it does a good job of maintaining the enthusiasm of longtime patrons.

What is RTO7 –Ontario Ministry of Tourism’s designation for the area (Regional Tourism Organization 7) doing to help Springwater – or Awenda?  And RTO12 for Arrowhead?

 

I am too newly returned to help Springwater in the way I would like, but I will do my best to post a Provincial Park image every day.

The closing of Springwater Park

March 19, 2013

On Saturday, my son and I visited Springwater Provincial Park. along with a few hundred others, to show support for the continued existence of the park which is slated to lose its status at the end of the month.  It is a great little park and everyone there had fun.

Springwater links:  Facebook, Barrie Examiner.

I will be sad to see the park go but I can’t claim to be heavily invested in it.  It is a great local park for Barrie but I have only visited it twice.  I guess I won’t be visiting it again as it will become a ‘non-operational’ park the beginning of April.  I think that means the cross country hiking or ski trails will continue to be open but the animal sanctuary, the unique part of the park, will be no more.

Animal sanctuaries are my thing.  I love seeing local wildlife close up and even as a young adult would call strangers walking down the street to see some raccoon or snake I had found.  The Robertcats (I convinced my son that it was too informal to call them ‘bobcats’) and lynx were the first I had seen ever. I even loved the “site vacant” signs with their explanation that the park did not buy or collect animals but only provide a home for those unable to return to the wild. This kind of viewing opportunity needs to be preserved.


The thing is, from a numbers standpoint, the park really should be shut down.  I said that several hundred people attended the Saturday gathering, but that is probably the same number as visited the park in two or three months last year.  This is a local secret that people only seem to learn about from word of mouth.

I hope Springwater stays open but I also hope other people and parks are taking a second look at marketing and public awareness.  I’ve been out of the country for thirteen years so perhaps my ability, or lack of, to name parks is no indicator of the average Ontarians’.  I looked at the Ontario Provincial Parks website and was happily surprised to see how many there are, and how many I didn’t know about in my neighbourhood.  Well, I might be a little upset, too.

Why aren’t these parks better known?  Springwater is a great park that I suspect no one knew about three months ago.  I only recently learned that Springwater has cross country ski trails.  Wish I’d known that in early February.

As I’ve repeatedly written, I’ve been away.  I am not sure what the responsibilities of a park are compared to the responsibilities of the “Friends of…”  Who is involved in marketing?  How professional are these groups.  Back in the nineties, I had thought “Friends of Algonquin Park” was a volunteer organization of enthusiasts.

The thing I want is for those responsible for Awenda Prov Park and Arrowhead Prov Park to be sure they are keeping their parks in the public’s eye.  These are two great places that I know about that don’t get much attention. I know nothing about Bass Lake, McCrae or Mara Provincial Parks even though I drive within 50kms of them twice or more a month.  Explorer’s Edge, are these parks are in your region of responsibility?

What advice can I give to the marketers?  Well, I have a few ideas.

First, when you make a website, Facebook page, Google+ or Twitter account, Keep Adding Content!  The Wye Marsh, a great place that also needs to be aware of its marketing, offers both a good and bad example.  The Facebook page Wye Marsh has four friends and five photos (all mine!).  It has been in operation for two years with no apparent support from Marsh management.  The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, another Facebook page, is full of what appears to be daily content.  Attention seems to attract attention.  Next to actual Wye Marsh generated content is more content made and prepared by the public.  Win-win.

Second, make sure you have accounts with the three media above (and more) and your own website.  Link between them.  Really, these two steps are all that is needed for basic Search Engine Optimization.

Third, plan some events and write about them now!  Don’t wait until news comes that your park will soon be shut down. Do it now.

parenting milestone

July 24, 2012

My son and I went for our first bike trip on Sunday.  We rode along the river and across a bridge to Eulsookdo, a park with ecological preserve, a drive in theater and other tourist attractions.

 

Previously, I had jogged or roller-bladed beside my son as he rode, careful to be close enough to try to catch him if he tipped over.

This time he was on his own and I followed . Oh, in taking this picture and others, I tried to hold the camera back enough to get my profile in the shot and ended up crashing into the fence.  That’s not really part of the trip as I plan to remember it.

 

Later, we were walking the bikes on a sidewalk and found this little lizard.  My son first thought it was a snake and I was able to give a little bio lesson about how the lizard’s hips cause the legs to jut out sideways so it runs in a slithery sort of way.

I don’t remember cycling with my father.  He certainly taught me to ride and I remember him running beside me as I started, but I don’t recall actually going anywhere by bike with him.

We travelled by canoe and that I do remember clearly.  His long powerful stroke, at a rate of one per two of mine, and the surge I would feel when he dug in.  We explored many rivers and lakes together.  I don’t remember him as the patient sort except when we travelled by canoe.

I intend to travel more with my son, by bike, canoe and on foot.  I don’t expect to be the homework dad or the team sports dad -the way I think my dad wanted to be with me – but I will be the explore and educate dad and I am looking forward to it.

 


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