is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Minnesota Dreaming

Minnesota winters are awful. This is not because it always snows, because it doesn't. This winter has been particularly snow-free; I think Oklahoma may have gotten more snow than us. No, Minnesota winters are bad because they just last so damn long. Today it is forecasted that we will top 60 degrees, which will be the first time that has happened since last October, I think. And then there's the lakes-- they remain frozen, which means that even though the weather is now nicer I still have to wait to get the canoe out on the water.

Ah, but canoeing. Maggie and I have owned our canoe (it's a We-no-nah Spirit II fiberglass/nylon composite) since 2000, and have taken it all over the state, although surprisingly, we've never been to the Boundary Waters. This is because we were such rank novices when we bought the canoe that the idea of going to a place where we had to portage and paddle for long periods of time with uncertain weather made us nervous. But not anymore. We are seasoned canoeists with experience in all kinds of weather conditions, from snow to fifty mph straight winds (by the way, I wouldn't recommend doing much canoeing in that kind of wind. fyi).

So this year we've decided to become Boundary Waters buffs. There are some really neat online sources to get one going. This is an awesome site that lets you get topographical maps for every entry point. I have been scouting around in there to find out what good entry points look like; I think we will be starting off by going to Trout Lake before the fishing opener, provided that the lakes ice out by then (and hence me complaining about the weather). There are also two links on my sidebar that I use a lot, namely the ice-out tracker and the lake finder. The lake finder tells you what kind of fishing to expect-- this is Trout Lake, for example (although the narrative report on the status of the fishery is uncommonly good compared to most lakes in the database).

I myself am planning on going with no external navigational aids (although I will bring a GPS for distance measuring purposes), but this site has GPS coordinate information for various places, should I want that. And finally, when planning a trip it's best to keep in mind the storm damage that the July 4, 1999 windstorm did. Maggie and I were in a tent in far Southwestern Minnesota that night and saw the most frightening lightning storm we ever saw. Later we found out that it caused amazing blowdown damage in the Boundary Waters which snarled portage trails and denuded the forest in hundreds of thousands of acres.


Since I've been gone

As has been the pattern for the last couple of years, I go on a publishing jag for a few weeks and then either forget about this space for a few other weeks or just forget to post something.

This time was a little different. In a foolish moment of pique, I promised Jeff that I'd make my next post a wholly hyperlinked villanelle, which I half-assedly worked on for a week then abandoned as beyond the scope of anything I had time or inclination to do. But then I felt like I couldn't post anything until I came up with the damn poem, which kept me away for another few weeks, until I decided that I'd just been a moron and that the only way out of the situation was the dishonorable one-- that's right, no villanelle.

At some point I'll have to belatedly comment on all the current event issues. Until then, here's my summary:

  • Inauguration: didn't watch it.

  • Terri Schiavo: wow, watch the Right eat itself. Go jurisprudence! Boo, Frist!

  • Bird Flu: hysteria is not fever pitch yet. Give it until October.

  • NCAA Basketball: The best sports value out there. Suck it, professional leagues.

  • NHL Hockey Lockout: Maggie still is employed by a non-existent team in a non-existent league. I wish they'd solve their problem for her (our) sake. Otherwise, see previous comment.

  • NCAA Football: Last I checked, the Sooners were undefeated and going to play in the Orange Bowl. I don't remember anything after that.

  • Michael Jackson trial: wake me when it's over.

  • Scott Peterson trial: He did it.

  • Robert Blake trial: He probably did it, too. But the rules are different if you're a rich and famous dude.

  • Martha Stewart: Welcome home! I'm still glad you went to jail. Now if we can get Bernie Ebbers (GUILTY!), Jeff Skilling, and Kenny Boy Lay there too...
  • Hubble telescope: another beautiful thing that Bush is trying to kill.

  • Mars Rovers: SCIENCE!

  • Iraq: a terrible, bloody, worthless quagmire.

  • Me: I'm thirty now. It boggles the mind. This has been the most personally eventful year since 2000.

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