Tuesday, January 22, 2008

California Transplant: NYC Subway Arts

Theo is in New York City. I can not imagine a more misplaced guy. He's a kayaker, guide and whitewater instructor, and he has worked for W.E.T. River Trips for a long time. He and his significant other are in NYC experiencing the world class city together. He sent this post to let us know how he was doing. We miss you Theo. Season starts in a couple more weeks. He promises to get back to California for the rafting trips. Here are his words and observations...

The opportunity to live and work in New York City was one that my love and myself could not pass up. Coming from California to the East Coast provided great change. There are many things that we find ourselves still taking in and will be, I am sure, for some time. One of those changes, however, makes itself more noticeable on a day-to-day basis; that is transportation. For me, walking to get to and from where I need to go has replaced driving. Thus, the daily commute is partially done on foot, walking to the next train, bus or taxi, which will take you to your destination of choice. More commonly than not, I find myself using the subway system to get from place to place. This is where a unique world makes itself apparent, where every man and woman seemingly regards one another as equal, and where performing arts create the mood.

My main point in this blog is to reflect on what happens in the New York City Subway, specifically relating to the people, for whatever motive, who are performing, educating, making a buck or perhaps just passing the time.

As a newcomer to New York City, it is a challenge to be another expressionless New Yorker when I hear the powerful sound of a group of musicians creating music. Certainly, the energy provided makes the transit more exciting. Some of the performances that I have witnessed are as follows:

Two mime interpretations; one of a ballet dancer and the other of a clown

A one-man band; playing a guitar, with a harmonica in the mouth, and still having the rhythm to use his feet on a contraption that adds value to his musical sound

Man with a guitar and microphone singing

Man singing; not a great voice, but consistent, as I saw him more than once in the same spot

Asian man playing what I believe to be a Chinese instrument

Several guitar players

Poetry and songs on the S or Shuttle Train; a train that goes back and forth between Grand Central Station and 42nd Street/ Port Authority

Group on foreign instruments (to me) playing beautiful seasonal music

Mariachi on the moving train; really.

A large group of Quakers (I believe) singing

Thank you Theo for the great NYC post. We look forward to hearing more about your new world... and, get yourself back to California for the whitewater trips, bro!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacation: Sollie's Letter

Hi everyone!
I was dreaming of a White Christmas. And, I did see Santa head south just before the big day - he was headed for the North Pole! Oh, he was. As I sit on the computer, I glance outside. Today is cold. Not like yesterday which was "warm." I can't tell the difference, but that is what they tell me. (Thanks Sollie for the dream... we just got a major snow storm out here in California!)

I am in Ottawa. It's beautiful, if snow is your thing. They have been having an especially cold winter and have already received 162 centimeters of snow - whatever that is (Americans... we use parts of our body for measurement.. ha!). It's actually pretty cool... they plow the streets and as a result there are giant snow walls on either side. So when you come to a intersection, you cannot see any cars coming until you creep out midway. Not that your brakes work anyway.

Otherwise, things are great, and best of all, we will be going curling in two days! These Canadians are walking with a certain air of cockiness thanks to their superior dollar exchange. It's a bit humbling. Come on Rob! Can't you win the presidency so we can re-establish our world dominance!!

Rene's niece and nephew are 4 and 7 and were just giddy about Christmas. So was I. I have been especially good this year, and I got everything I wanted on my list. (Did you get a new kayak?)

We had an uneventful flight out here except a small delay at the California Orange County Airport, and the delay at Chicago, causing us to land in Ottawa at 3 am. So it was a long day. Thanks to Rene's frequent flier status, they bumped us to first class which made it tolerable.

Other than that, Rene and I are going to be celebrating our first wedding anniversary in a few days. We must be having fun, as it seems like just yesterday when we were in Maui with everybody eating those 4-foot burritos and sailing with the humpback whales.

We will be flying to Miami to meet up with Gee and Fit, and from there, flying to Panama City to board the Melody with Bor and Nig for a few days. We will be cruising around the Pearl Islands in the Gulf of Panama... supposed to be the best fishing in the Pacific. And the white sandy and vacated beaches and snorkeling are as nice as the rumors told.

Much love to everyone for this 2008 new year! (it's holiday for me, I'm still vacationing!)

Note from staff: Gee Sollie, rub it in! Remember W.E.T. river trips are starting in 3 weeks!!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

2008 Rafting Trips Coming Up

Relax. It's snowing and in the words of Mr. Bob Marley, "Every little 'ting gonna be all right!"

I just got hooked up by "What-would-Ian-do?" with a new Burton Baron ES to replace my aging snowboard, and I'm ready to go find Nate in his Ski Patrol Hut at Kirkwood and Heffe regulating at Sierra while Bird rules the Magic Carpet. (look for a large speeding object carving old-school Euro-stance). I've also got some key motorcycle rides planned.... shhhh.

With the New Year in our grasp, we've officially opened up a new season of rafting. The early season is river guide heaven: rivers are flowing, snow is still in the hills, the dirt roads are dust-free, and the asphalt twisty roads are oil-free (another reference to those motorcycle rides.... shhhh).

I'm not shocked by the flotilla of rafts and kayaks on the South Fork American every January 1st (Country Mike?). New Year's Day rafting trips are a local tradition, and this year it was definitely raftable. W.E.T. was seen and makes the Scene... yes, we do that.

By the way... Sollie just sent in a pic of himself sitting in the snow in Ottawa in front of a McDonalds eating the regional favorite: Poutine (french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds). Luckily, he's now on his way to the Bay of Panama to celebrate his anniversary and New Year's in hot, tropical weather (mmmmm....more Poutine!).

Drew and Jonny have new babies, Greg D got married, Bird and Heffe have jobs, Maggie is officially a senior in college, Dax, Mr. Concierge is banking cash, Booty is Deep into the snowboard business, Cool J might still be on that couch in San Jose, Wolf is set on getting the turbo Volvo back onto the road, SanJia is possible attending school in Maine while living in a tent, Country Mike will soon own Gold River, JustinO is getting in the best shape of his life, and I've got to check on the others....stay tuned.

And like Bob also said..."'Don't worry about a 'ting!"

UPDATE: Kirkwood Ski Resort just got 11 feet of new snow, puppies!

Post by Big Poppa... hey, how come the SEO staff didn't get invited? Blah on you guys!
Thanks to Wikipedia for the (ahem) tasty photo! Yum!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

S#@% Happens...

This is a story that should have been posted a few months ago... we waited until it was safe! Words from Big Poppa:

While finishing up a Middle Fork American trip at the portage around Rucka-Chucky Falls, Wolf, LilAlex, and AznC were made an offer they couldn't refuse. A group of Sheriff Deputies approached the W.E.T. River Trips' guides for some help. It seems that the sheriff's rental raft for a fishing trip had somehow made its way over the Falls and became stuck half way through the final drop. The Deputies raft had been stuck there for over one day.

Being the adventuresome lads that W.E.T. guides are... the guides finished the commercial rafting trip with the clients first. Then, the guides came back to Rucka-Chucky Falls armed with another raft and plenty of ropes... a "deal" was struck with the Secretary and our team of rescue guides went to work on their Mission Impossible. Apparently, the Deputies had used a small anchor while fishing and when the boat was pushed over the Falls, the anchor was dislodged and the raft became stuck... midway through the rapid, perched like a dead fish.

Wolf, AnzC, and LilAlex all made "hero" moves to get to the boat and cut it loose. (Bird loaned his camera to LilAlex... he managed a few frames, and he did appear to "participate.") The Matrix crew soon freed the raft and faced a new problem... during the extraction, the river flows were cut to "fish-flow" to about 300cfs. So Neo and our crew ran Cleavage, Parallel Parking, Texas Chainsaw, Mama and Thread the Needle with micro-flows. (Where's Morpheus, when you need him?)

At the takeout, the Sheriffs followed through on the "deal"...a chunk of change with $100 reserved for a substantial purchase of Olympia. LilAlex and Wolfe were please to discover that $100 translates into 20 cases of cheap beer at the Sierra Center in downtown Coloma.


  • Raft rental... $150

  • Raft replacement... $4,000.

  • Fishing anchor... $4,000.

  • Pride... TBA

  • Cash for guides and a seemingly endless supply of Olympia in the "Bird's Nest"...Priceless

  • The bigger question was... what did W.E.T. get out of the deal?

    In Wolf-Speak, "Dude, it was sweeeet. W.E.T. got HELLA HUGE PROPS!"

    My response was, "Where is the freakin' PROPS store so that I can cash my HELLA huge check!"

    Big Poppa observes that rewards for the guides should be shared by the company. We say NOT! Hehehehe