Wandering Thoughts

August 29, 2010

Aches and Pain

Filed under: Reactive Arthritis — terence @ 10:56 am
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Thanks to Carina who sent me the link, an interesting article in Salon about pain.

It’s the pain tired nexus that gets me. Pain makes me tired. Being tired causes me pain.

The pain makes me tired bit makes sense: in particular my shoulder and lower back often wake me sometime around 3 or 4 am. Also, being sore has a fatigue of it’s own. It takes an effort. And so it leaves me tired even when I sleep well.

The other link in the chain is something slightly stranger. If I don’t get enough sleep, I end up sorer. Or, more accurately, if I have a late night, I don’t necessarily hurt more, but if I wake early in the morning I do. I haven’t the faintest idea why this might be but fitting into the cycle as it does, it’s a real pain.

August 17, 2010

Meanwhile, in the world of strange search engine queries

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 10:59 am
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To the person who found my blog by Googling, “what is a wandering terrance?”. I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I’ve been trying to figure that one out myself for years…

August 16, 2010

Worst. Election. Ever.

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 9:45 pm

Almost over. Just a week to go. So close, and yet so far.

And via Johann Hari, Benjamin Barber has some good advice, initially given to Bill Clinton, but relevant to any centre left politician.

You don’t always have to tack to the polls. Our extraordinary eloquence and capacity to mould opinion can change how polls read and where the wind blows.

August 14, 2010

Lake Envy

Filed under: Surfing — terence @ 11:07 am
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Under the arthritis diary I’ve been chatting with a fellow surfer and arthritis sufferer, who happens to live on the Great Lakes. Which reminds me…

Growing up in the harbour we relied on southerly storms or huge south ground swells to provide us with waves. When they came, the ground swells in particular, could be great, but the wait in between could be agonising, especially in summer.

And so, in between the big south swells we’d do what we could to keep the surf stoke coming. Riding pushbikes miles out along a closed gravel road to the harbour mouth, to a couple of sketchy rocky reefs that broke in polluted water. Catching the ferry to Lambton quay and then the bus to Lyall Bay, pleading our way past drivers and ticket collectors, trying to convince them that they could indeed carry our surfboards. Sliding down pine-needle covered hillsides on skateboards with their trucks removed, pretending we were on snow boards (this we called Pine Boarding – it sort of worked but you couldn’t turn and the wipeouts hurt.)

One other alternative presented itself from time to time. When the nor’wester was particularly fierce, on the days when the hillsides roared with the sound of the wind tearing at the trees, and when the harbour was covered in white horses. Then we could surf at the Yacht Club, a beach that faced north west, inwards, away from the open sea, towards Petone and the other end of the harbour. The fetch wasn’t long: 7km to be exact (4.3 miles) but for a 40 knot nor’westerly that was still long enough. And so we’d surf these wind ‘swells’ in the stinging salt and sand. It was difficult, although not because the waves were too small, they’d actually get up to head high when the wind was really blowing. The trouble was the wind, and the current that came with it. Too often we’d spend all our time paddling, spindly little arms flailing against the current, slowly drifting south down the beach. Still, amongst all that we’d usually get something. It wasn’t much but we were in the water at least.

The best surf I ever had at the Yacht Club was probably my last, right on the edge of getting my driver’s license and all the open coast that came with it. It was evening, after school, and the salt spray was melting the setting sun over the Western Hills. I was out on my own. For some reason, maybe the wind was more westerly, or maybe I was simply growing stronger, I was able to hold my own against the current. And the tide, or the wind, or something was right too, and so one torn windy peak after another came to me. Short, steep and surfable. Turn after turn. Each one no-doubt much better in my head than in reality. Nevertheless, I was surfing, having a ball. Singing away to myself.

Among the other side effects (terrible surfers ear for a start) of the Yacht club days, one thing I acquired was an ongoing interest in surfing in confined bodies of water. We found an old surf guide once that claimed there were surf sports on Lake Taupo. We wondered what they’d be like. One, supposedly, was a point.

“Points never break any good in wind-swells” my friend Jerry informed me authoritatively. He was already a Yacht Club sceptic.

We read also read about the Great Lakes, in Surfing and Surfer magazines. Their Californian editors were sceptics too of course. Although, I, ever the day-dreamer, got my atlas out and measured the fetch of Lake Superior: over 200km. If 7km was enough for head high waves, who knows what they got on those lakes.

I don’t think I ever surfed the Yacht Club again after that best-ever surf there. With access to a car, I was able to go to Titahi Bay instead when the Nor’Wester was blowing. Still not a great surf spot but actual ocean waves of a sort. And then there was the South and East coasts with real groundswells and offshore winds.

Crazy as it seems though, I’m still kind of hopeful I might get to surf the Yacht Club again. Nostalgia, of course, and curiosity (did the waves really get that big?) and also the fact that when your last memory of a spot is a good one, you always want to surf it again.

Come to think of it, I still day dream about getting to the Great Lakes one day too. Although, for the time being, I’m just hoping I’ll be well enough tomorrow morning to get down to Bawley point for a few.

August 9, 2010

Tony Judt

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 3:19 pm
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Sad news: Tony Judt has died.

[Update: actually I was going to write more – how much I liked Reflections, how I was a fan of his politics, how I admired the dignity of his writing about disease and decline – but I ran out of words. Or, at least, words which seemed worthwhile when measured against the sad, slightly frightening, story of someone’s world caving inwards the way his did. When weighed up against that, words didn’t seem worth it. Although, more happily perhaps, I don’t think Tony Judt would have agreed.]

[Update 2: Adam Shatz has a wonderful personal obit for Judt at the LRB blog.]

August 1, 2010

Water’s Edge

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 8:39 pm
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The risk, I guess, is that this becomes the first ever Lake George fan blog, but we were out there again today. Lured by the promise of the water’s edge, the return of the long lost lake, and weather we woke up to. The west wind and the scudding clouds, and me thinking it was the sort of day best enjoyed surrounded by space.

And so we drove out there, to find it bigger, closer, but still out of reach of the road. So we satisfied our lake hunting impulse by walking out across the flat land of the lake bed towards the glint of water. In front of us the windmills spiraling and light and shade surfing with the clouds riding rising storm.

We turned around with the first drops of rain, just beating the cloudburst to the car, and with me enthusing about the beauty of windmills and as jubilant in my way as the passing westerly storm.

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