I was hanging out with Owen this morning while Erin was out at the giant Saturday morning farmers market (Mommy sto', bee wan) when I received a phone call from my friend, former office mate and fellow IfA postdoc Jon. He said he was heading down to Kaimana Beach to do some stand up paddle boarding. A couple weeks ago Jon told us about his new hobby and Erin and I had mentioned that we'd like to give it a try sometime. Well, today was the day!

We didn't bring the camera, but the video below gives you an idea about what stand up paddling is all about. The vid nice and cheesy, just like old fashioned surf videos. You can get the gist of it in the first minute or so.

Just like the guy in the video we were going to do some board work in relatively calm water. The video was filmed at Ala Moana Beach, which one of our favorite haunts. Think salt water swimming pool, which is great for Owen. Kaimana is a little rougher, with little 1-foot waves coming in past the reef.

Jon gave me some basic tips such as: head straight into the surf, fall flat so you don't hurt yourself on the coral, stay relaxed and keep your back straight. A lot of the advice about how to react to the waves and keeping my balance was very similar to what I learned when I played football. Paddling into surf or covering a wide receiver, it's all about keeping your torso over your hips.

It's pretty hard to stay up, but after a couple tries I managed to paddle about 150 yards out over the reef. At that point I realized that I only had instructions about how to go straight out, and no instructions on how to turn and get back. So I did what I knew how to do best: I fell. And then swam back to shore, pushing the board and paddle ahead of me.

Erin hopped right up on the board and went straight out on her first try. Jon laughed and said, "Women are always better at this than guys." Erin was definitely a natural. Not to be outdone by Erin, I went out again and managed to paddle about 300-400 yards out, turn around and paddle back while only falling twice.

Talk about a full-body workout. Even my toes are sore. We'll definitely be doing that again soon. Stay tuned for some cheesy surf videos, Johnson-style!

mama mia said…
You don't know how envious I am! Really wonderful thing that you are able to do this....now if you haven't yet watched Endless Summer (I think you can rent it), you must see the ultimate cheesy surf movie....this makes me think of college days on the gulf coast. Ah, youth!
LizRey said…

I forgot to tell you that People magazine had a picture of Jennifer Aniston paddle surfing in Kauai a few weeks ago. Maybe you and JAn could hook up.
karinms said…
Berkeley is all fogged in this afternoon. I'm feeling very jealous of your day at the beach :-) I can't wait to see a video!
JohnJohn said…
Erin and I saw Endless Summer at a surf film festival in San Fran a couple years back. "Jimmy decided to go back and hang 10 on a couple more of the cool pipelines. Danny and I decided to check out the local scenery. Look at these two beauties, probably fresh out of nursing school and looking to have some fun-in-the-sun!"
JohnJohn said…
Of course we knew JAn was into the SUP. Why do you think we decided to try it?!
mama mia said…
what I remember most about the Endless Summer was a continued mellow guitar melody through out the film. I can still hear it thinking about it...this was after I tired of wearing my tiki necklace and surfer's cross, which, if I remember correctly, looked like a swastika! I too await johnson style video...
Whatever happened to good ole fashioned regular surfin'? I remember when the only thing you had to paddle out with was the oars the good lord gave you when you was born, unless of course you was born a cripple an' then you weren't gonna be paddle surfin' neither. I bet they got cripple surfin' on the youtube...
martha said…
You guys definitely have more interesting things to write about than I do!!! Surfing, astronomy, video critiques and trips to organic farmer markets!!! WOW

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…