Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's SUP?!!

Stand Up Paddleboarding (a.k.a SUP) is an awesome sport to get you out on the water!

Never tried it? Well, my inaugural run on a SUP was just a few shorts weeks ago with my husband and 2 yr old son (YES, 2!) and it was AWESOME!!  I threw some quick photos of our experience together. If you think you are too old to try something new - you are wrong! If you think you are too out of shape to do this, again the buzzer sounds! When the waves get tricky or you feel off balance, just drop to your knees (like the last photo here) and you will feel steady once again. Perhaps the most imporatnt tip: don't stress! It is meant to be just another fun way to experience the water. So when you can't go surfing, but the clarity won't hold for snorkeling, work on your tan and your core strength while enjoying the day.
A SUP is not a surfboard - notice only 1 fin
 A SUP ranges from 9' - 12' typically. It is not a surfboard, so unfortunately just throwing your longboard out on flat water will not have the same effect as your SUP experience. The top portion of the board is covered with tread to allow you to stand without sliding. You will get wet. Water shoes are not necessary, but flip-flops will probably not be as comfortable as just hangin' barefoot.
This 12' SUP had Daddy paddle and the 2-yr old riding the nose!
Jet skis or boat wakes? No problem.
Many outdoor recreation companies that lead kayak tours also conduct SUP tours or rentals.  Expect to pay anywhere from $20/hr -$50/half day (guide not included). We went to Jupiter Point Paddling, here in Florida. This company is very informal and friendly for non-locals and beginners too.  Check out if you want to go where we went, but there are other programs out there too.
My hot coworker is also a SUP guide!

What's the point? If you love the water, there is always some new way to experience and appreciate it.  Try something new yourself, or introduce an aquatic adventure rookie to one of the reasons why you love water so much.  Sharing the fun can also energize and inspire your day to day grind.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

We Bought a Zoo II: Movie Review

Trying to figure out whether to read the book or watch the movie first? Have you already seen the movie or read the book and are now wondering about its counterpart?

Well, I've got you covered, my friend. Here is the short version:
Benjamin Mee was a writer for "Do It Yourself" (DIY) articles and similar projects. Well into his adult life, he broke the mold and embarked on what many would find to be a crazy adventure that potentially put his family at risk - He moved away and quite literally threw all his chips in to purchase a home and a broken down zoo on the same property. This is a TRUE story, but of course some elements are changed in the interest of the film's creative license.
Let me answer the most likely questions (don't want to give away too much!) and then I'll toss in my personal opinion just for fun.

1. Is this a family friendly movie? Yep, no worries there.
2. What about just grownups?
Here's a little anecdote you mind find helpful when choosing how much this movie is worth your time: My husband is a firefighter/paramedic, and therefore never gets enough sleep. I purchased the movie without seeing it in the theaters, and we both expected him to sleep through it. Not only did he stay up to watch the entire film, he really enjoyed it!
3. Does the film stay true to the book? Close. A few things that are important to the book were changed, but just relax and you will find both versions of the story entertaining and maybe even inspirational.
4. I work/worked at a zoo, will I still like this? Yes. I have worked at a couple of zoos and have been involved in animal husbandry of some kind for over 10 years (and I don't mean caring for my cat). There are things we probably don't consider particularly responsible, but in both the book and film the well being of all animals is not only implied, but a vital piece in the development of the writer/character.

My Opinion: Pretty awesome on both accounts.
I am not a big Scarlett Johansson fan, and certainly did not think she could convince me of the conviction and care needed for this role, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. Matt Damon just rocks, that's the truth. The greatest moment of irony: the little girl mentions Damon still has his hair, and the author Ben Mee is basically bald. This is a great example of the humor exhibited by the author in his book and the tone of the entire film.
So feel free to read it/watch it.  Enjoy it with your kids, spouse, or just take a moment to watch a fun picture that won't leave you depressed. You deserve it! Then, go a visit a REAL zoo!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Raising the Titantic

This photo is beyond famous, and rightly so.  The Titanic is such an integral part of our culture now, even before Cameron's epic film brought the ship back to life - then sank her again.

With the 100th anniversary now come and gone, new discussions rise as to how the world's most famous shipwreck should be handled.  The two most prominent arguements are:
1. Should it remain a gravesite and therefore untouchable?
2. Should it be treated as a museum exhibit that must be preserved?

Regarding #1: People died on that wreck. But let's be honest, folks - NO organic trace of those individuals remain. Only artifacts are to be found 12,600 ft. below the icy waters of the northern Atlantic. What is the best way to preserve their memory and their loss? Through movies and speculation?  Through the tiny portholes in the sides of a submersible.  Titanic is simply too deep for the bubble dome subs that might off a view of the ship.  Even if you were fortunate to have the money and connections to go down and look upon her yourself, ROVs do the looking. So you are STILL just looking at images on the screen not so different from the one at the top of this post.

Regarding #2:  Look at how pirates and treasure hunters have been simultaneously condemned and idolized by generations.  Think of museum trips as a kid and an adult - what type of exhibit are truly fascinating and stick with you forever (look at previous posts on this blog to talk more about that topic)?  Personally, a photo or video clip of the Titanic's unforgettable railing on the bow will never reach me the way actually viewing it (standing behind a clear vacuum sealed container) would, and that's all there is to say.

Just remember that the King Tut exhibit that roams the American countryside is NOT comprised solely of genuine artifacts, including mummies themselves. They are too delicate for travel, and REPLICAS of the most sensitive and precious (and most interesting) artifacts are generally on display.  Still want to pay $25 up to $100 to see the King himself? Well, you should! There is no shame in viewing a replica (any more than looking at a photo) and still feeling genuine inspiration.

If that's so great, then why not stick with a picture? For the same reason 3-D is ruling the big screen and creeping into home theaters - something tangible garners real credit more than simply visual aids. We are a tactile species that typically learns by doing, touching, and experiencing first hand.

Keep that in mind when you argue around the cooler as to what the fate of Titantic's remains should be. No offense, Mr. Ballard or Mr. Cameron.

Now find your own inspiration and go dive a wreck!
... Then you will understand even more.

-Callie Sharkey