Miss Understood

The Misunderstood Shark
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 8, 2015

With Mary Lee now swimming off the coast of Georgia, the public’s fear of sharks has returned. In case you’ve forgotten, Mary Lee is the radio-tagged Great White Shark with 88,000 Twitter followers. We’ve learned a lot from tagging sharks. Great Whites are estimated to live 70 years or longer, and reproduce slowly. No one has observed females giving birth, but they are thought to have a gestation period longer than humans. Because great whites are responsible for more attacks than any other species of shark, they have been labeled as cold-blooded killers. In reality, great whites are warm blooded. And to put your risk of a shark attack in perspective, coastal residents are far more likely to be struck by lightning than be attacked by all species of sharks combined.

Every year we travel to the Outer Banks to windsurf and I’ve always been wary of sharks. The recent spate of shark attacks in North Carolina makes this fear seem perfectly rational. With eight victims in less than a month the risk seems overwhelming. What’s to blame for the surge in shark attacks? Biologists tell us the reason is more people in the water, not more sharks.

Our worst nightmare

A windsurfer’s worst nightmare

Odds and Deep Ends No. 24

It's summer. There isn't much wind and it's too hot to do a lot of stuff outside, comfortably. We think maybe we'll garden but the mosquitoes and the humidity send us scurrying back inside. We flip on the screen and find ourselves disappointed that Randy hasn't posted a new cat or SUP/kite video yet. But, the kids are home so we have that going for us, which is nice.

Go home, forecast. You're drunk.

We were looking at the forecast the other day (Friday the 17th) and noticed something peculiar:

Crappy summer forecast.

Not only was it almost depressing how little wind there was but we realized something else: it was like the wind wasn't even trying. It looked like it intended to blow that day. It got up that morning, thought about it, gave it a go and then just gave up. Or, maybe the forecast has a bit of an afternoon drinking problem. We're not sure.

Forecast when the wind doesn't even try.
Really forecast? Zero? The forecast is for zero miles per hour from the northeast? Are you even trying?

Dots and Punch

Dots. They are a good thing for us windsurfers and kiters (we're too lazy to have to add the "boarders" every time we type it out). On our wind graphs of current or forecast conditions, dots represent wind gusts. On the forecast graph on the front page, dots usually don't appear until gusts are forecast to be around 15 mph or more - enough for many of us to plane.

Dots are less frequent in the summer time since, for a number of reasons, summer is less windy. Recently, we went a few weeks without seeing dots. And, when we did, they were more indicators of thunderstorms rather than sailable wind. Each day, we'd scan the forecast graphs for dots to no avail. Even looking forward through the week showed not much more than a bunch of sixes and sevens. But, no dots.

bad dots
Bad dots, bad. These dots didn't predict sailable wind but rather the likely chance of thunderstorms.

It's all about the dots

Yes, it is; yes, it is. (On Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs.)

In the last week, the dots reappeared and even gave a few good sailing sessions over the July 4 holiday. Welcome back, dots. We missed you.


There have been various characters over time named Punch. In England, they've long had Mr. Punch, who for 450 years has been knocking the missus, Judy, around (to be fair, she gets in her licks, too).

Punch and Judy
"Punch and Judy is a traditional, popular, and usually very violent puppet show featuring Mr Punch and his wife, Judy."
- Wikipedia
(Mr. Punch is on the left.)

The Hawaiian version of Punch is no less violent, either.

Mellon Collie

mellon collieWe get melancholy and whistful thinking about the old days. We didn't have this CD in our van on our first club Hatteras trip; we had a previous Smashing Pumpkins release, Siamese Dream.

Since windy days have been very rare lately, we've had to content ourselves with other pursuits. After watching countless cat videos and spending time on internet forums listening to guys piss and moan about their $8000 dollar bikes, we grew bored and chanced upon the log files of this very web site. Ugly, very ugly.

After the big changes earlier this year, there were a few loose ends. It's like doing a big home renovation and then having one of your new cabinet drawers stick a bit. Nothing major but after a while you get tired of it but not enough to call the contractor back and get it sorted out. But then, one day, you do get tired (or maybe the significant other/spouse got really tired) enough to get off your butt and deal with it. We realize that when we start talking about the technicals behind the web site eyes glaze over like doughnuts coming off a Krispy Kreme production line. But, bear with us.

One big problem we came across was that we'd inadvertently imported the old forums twice and the duplicate copy needed to go - some 3500 posts and their replies. There isn't a really good mechanism for doing really big batch changes like this other than to go page by page in the admin interface and select duplicates while being careful not to delete the posts we wanted to keep. So we started at page 154 and wound back all the way to page 1. It sounds like a lot but if any of you have a bit of OCD, you'll understand that once we started, we had no choice whether to continue, it simply had to be done.


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