Wednesday, June 27, 2007

White Water Rafting

Review: White Water Rafting

In mid-June, I went white water rafting for the first time on the Kennebec River in Maine. It was the experience of a lifetime. I was more than a little apprehensive about the whole thing, but I wanted to do something new and different and bring the summer in right. Well, I ended up having the time of my life. I hope to go again and I’d recommend it to anyone.

We got to West Forks late the night before and the staff showed us to our cabin. It was sturdy, no frills. It had one flood light, four padded bunks that slept two each, and the screen door was covered with a blanket to keep some of the cold out. We claimed our bunks and headed out to the campfire. We had a former marine with us so he tended to the fire and that’s no small task when you’ve got no firewood.

I did a lot of tossing and turning in the night for two reasons: I like a soft bed and I was cold. I brought a medium sleeping bag, but I should have also brought a heavy wool sweater, sweats, and some wool socks. Finally, I decided to stay very still and build up some heat and I concentrated on the sound of the river to fall asleep.

In the morning, our rafting coaches gave us an orientation of what to expect on the trip. They went over the different rowing commands with us and told us what to do if we got tossed from the boat . . . . and people really did get tossed. We got our equipment (paddles, wet suits, helmets, life jackets, and footies), signed our release forms, and headed to the river.

Let me tell you that when I got to that river and saw that water, it was all worth it. It was the most beautiful, bright, clear and perfect day. Words can’t do it justice. We went through three big water rapids (Taster, MayTag, Big Mama). At first I was a little scared, but once I hit that water . . . what a rush! It’s like being in a rollercoaster on water. It was incredible and so much fun. Between rapids, we drifted down the river, played games, and went for swims. The trip lasted about 3 hours.

I would do it again anytime.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Watching Me

I bought a Mac Book last week as part of a broader personal campaign to upgrade my technology and to improve my online presence. Starting up this machine was a bit of a shock. It was around 9 AM on Saturday morning and I was feeling relaxed and somewhat adventurous. I turn it on and find myself having to close it, tidy up my living room, take a shower, get dressed, and then return to the notebook. Why? Well, so that a decent picture could be taken. It had not occurred to me that by starting up this device I would be inviting the world into my living room last Saturday morning. It also hadn’t occurred to me that I might want to shower and dress before playing around on the computer, but this is the world we live in now. I used to log on in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, but how can I do that now? Just because I need a distraction while I battle insomnia doesn’t mean I want the whole world looking into my bedroom in the middle of the night. I mean, how do I know for sure that this camera is off?

So, now I’ve turned into a weirdo with a piece of tape at the top of my notebook’s screen . . . because it's watching me.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Review: At World's End

Disney's latest installment of its Pirates of the Caribbean Series: At World's End though entertaining falls short of the original, Curse of the Black Pearl. What I enjoyed most about the original was the conflict between Captain Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) for the Black Pearl. Their tug-of-war and witty exchange made the first movie for me. The relative absence of Barbossa from Dead Man's Chest, the second film in the series, was disappointing and I looked forward to his reinsertion into the storyline. Unfortunately, the dizzying pace of the plot and the over-saturation of characters pushed me into a sensory overload. As an action-film enthusiast, I loathe to say that Jerry Bruckheimer packed in way too much action into close to three hours of film. As the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl swirl around a whirlpool in the middle of the ocean firing cannons in battle with characters swinging back and forth between ships while sword fighting, I found myself wondering "Is all this really necessary?" The problems listed above are only an issue in the theatre however. I am looking forward to the On Demand release. I will be able to appreciate the film better when I can pause and rewind as necessary.

Although Disney presents a warm and fuzzy version of pirates, their history is sordid to say the least. If you are interested in learning a little about real Caribbean pirates who were generally thieving, murdering, slave traders, check out The History Channel's series: True Caribbean Pirates: Behind the Scenes scheduled to air July 9th.