Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Tides of Change

Why is it impossible to recreate the first time you experience something?

The weekend was spent relaxing on the beaches of the Outer Banks, NC. The weather was fine: occasionally threatening rain, but only so cloudy as to take the sting off the midday sun and keep temperatures pleasant. The water was refreshingly chilly. We were far from the only cats on the beach, but never had any problem securing a spot for our chairs. We sunbathed, swam, read, ate, drank, and were merry.

But it wasn't anything like the first time. The first time, OBX felt like a coastal wilderness like I had never experienced back home. I'd had an idea that people escaped to places like this, camping in the dunes and cooking tuna over an open campfire on the beach. Now here was I, feeling a million miles from home and loving it.

So perhaps its not OBX that has changed, but me. And of course if you visit at the end of September, hitting the beach around dinner time, then it's easy to forget that such a majority of the population of the East Coast and beyond (we saw a lot of Quebec plates this time) treat OBX as their Summer playground.

It's heartbreaking to see a beach full of F250's. There's really no reason for it. For an avid fisherman I can see the benefit in him taking his jeep to the surf with all his tackle and bait and supplies for the day. A family on a beach trip need to park the truck in the parking lot, hand the beach chairs to Junior and start walking. The Environmentals are doing what they can to protect the wildlife, but making themselves hugely unpopular in the process. As a chemist all I see is the residue left behind. Hundreds of vehicles carrying material from the roadway onto the sand, laying down a blanket of Carbon monoxide, complex hydrocarbons and trace precious metals. I was always taught that the beach was a vulnerable environment by dint of its nature as a transition from sea to land.

Of course I respect the rights of visitors to recreate on the beach, but as with all things, with rights come responsibility, and little responsibility is being exercised by most of the visitors. What disappoints me is that as the people who have been visiting the area for decades complain about the erosion of their rights, they fail to realize how they have not kept up on their responsibilities to be examples of how to treat the environment with respect, to educate other visitors about the fragility of the beach and it's inhabitants, to exercise a little frugality and not abuse the resources that the barrier islands hold. Having completely ignored these vital roles, now they only have bad things to say of the legislators and civil servants working to do what they didn't do themselves. No, you can't fish from the beach around the inlet, because where the trucks used to be sparsely dotted along the waterline, they are now wing-mirror to wing-mirror. The traffic along the dunes rivals Highway 12. The Oystercatchers and turtles want just a sliver of their home to call their own.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Origami 001

Origami 001, originally uploaded by evens.john.

While in Boston we stopped in some cool shops along Beacon street, including a puzzle and game store. I picked up a book called 3-D Geometric Origami: Modular Polyhedra by Ron Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein.

I've managed some simple models that required fewer than 10 pieces, and that start with standard origami squares. Not sure if I'm ready to tackle the 20 piece Triangle Module Dodecahedron yet!

Chocolate Mint Tea

Kristal's Mom gave me a few Chocolate Mint rootings when we were starting our gardens. It has done rather well just outside our front door, so I attempted to make tea today. I took enough stems to give me a loose handful of leaves, and brewed them in just-off-the-boil water for about half an hour. I then diluted it down to double the volume an ended up with about a quart. It's rather nice. It doesn't taste overpoweringly minty. In fact it doesn't taste of much at all at first, but leaves a delightfully refreshing feeling in your mouth!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!, originally uploaded by evens.john.

Just got back from an awesome trip to Boston with Kristal, Chris and Rowie for Independence Day. Chris really wanted to make an appearance on my Blog, so here he is!
Took a tour of Richmond

Went Canoeing on the James
Shot handguns at the range

Drove to Boston
Ate Thai food

Heard the Declaration of Independance
Saw the USS Constitution fire a 21 gun salute
Went to the original 'Cheers' bar
Went round the corner to 'Sevens'
Walked down the Esplanade
Played Uno in an Irish Bar
Ate Fried Dough
Watched the Fireworks

Visited the NE Aquarium
Ate Dim Sum in China town
Tried bubble tea
Toured Beacon Street
Ate wood oven baked pizza
Drank in the Replica 'Cheers' bar
Drank some more in a cool bar with live music
Got lost on the way back to the Hostel

Visited the MIT Museum
Visited the Harvard Natural History Museum
Ate all we could eat at Fire and Ice
Sat in a park

Drove back to Richmond
Stopped at the Statue of Liberty

The Photos are on my flickr.