Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Voted For Progressives in the Florida Primary

Well, there's a primary election today in Florida. I tried to vote for the progressive democrats and against the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing democrats who are actually republicans and/or soulless corporate puppets and/or sketchy billionaires.

Here's how I voted:

Senator- Kendrick B. Meek
District 16 Representative- Ed Tautiva

Governor- Alex Sink
Attorney General- Dan Gelber. This was a tough one because both candidates seem like typical sleazy Florida lawyer jerks, but I went for Gelber because I thought he was slightly less likely to be a republican in disguise. We'll see.

St. Lucie County
County Commission District 2- Ken Waters. I wasn't sure about this one because I couldn't find much about what either candidate was going to do for local environmental issues, but Waters was endorsed by the local newspaper and the well-liked local sheriff, so I went for him.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My MUFin: Says What it Does, Does What it Says

A while back I made a post about Maui Ultra Fins, aka "MUFins", a newish brand of windsurfing fins. Well, I finally bought one, a 32 cm "No Spin" fin, which I tried for the first time last week. Before going into detail, let me just say it worked as advertised, i.e., it worked fantastic.

I was riding my 106 liter Exocet Cross with a 6.8 msq Aerotech Phantom sail, a combination that I love but hadn't found quite the right fin to accompany. The fins I had tried on it previously were either too small and wimpy, too slow and draggy, or too long and ungainly. The "No Spin", however, seemed to have tons of power to get planing and point upwind while maintaining a quick and maneuverable feel. Also, as the name implies, it was very resistant to "spin out", at least when it was free of weeds. My only frustations with it were that it didn't come with a fin cover, that the well for the fin screw was a bit too shallow, and that the base was a little loose in the fin box until I shimmed it with a piece of tape. Of course, that last bit could have been an issue with the fin box on my board rather than the fin itself.

Anyway, I'm pretty stoked on the MUFins brand now, and I reckon they're a safe bet for folks in the market for a new fin.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Velouria! And Epiphytized Seagrass

Frank Black, from the late '80s band "The Pixies", is so the man. I figured it would be appropriate to have his singing in this video where I'm riding my black windsurfing board, the Exocet Warp SL 71. The sail I'm using is an Aerotech Phantom 6.8, which I like a lot because it's equally comfortable on this slalom board and on my Freestyle-Wave board. The launch site is Old Fort Park on the Indian River Lagoon in Fort Pierce, Florida and the wind is out of the southeast in the low to mid teens.

If you don't blink, you can occasionally spot another windsurfer in the video. That's my buddy Brandon, riding his Kona ONE longboard with a 9.65 msq Sailworks NX race sail that he was able to rig for the first time that day since he just got a formula boom. The mast he used was an aluminum 460 jacked up on two extensions. I couldn't believe it worked, but it totally did! Way to go, dude.

IRL Slalom Sesh 9 Aug 2010 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

The underwater part at the end of the video shows the seagrass ecosystem that I've been studying here in Florida. You can see that the blades of seagrass are covered by tufts of brownish algal fuzz. Those are "epiphytes" (plants that grow on top of other plants). When there is an excess of nutrients in the water (like from fertilizer or sewage in runoff), and there aren't enough grazing invertebrates to remove the epiphytes, they can smother the seagrass. Most of the seagrass beds in the Indian River Lagoon are holding up OK, but they are definitely under a lot of stress from the murky conditions and overgrown epiphytes, so their future is a bit uncertain. I wrote a more detailed post on seagrass a while ago. You can read it here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Too Sassy for my Blog?

My friend Emily Westermeier is a talented pop singer / songwriter / keyboardist with a lot of range in her voice and musical style. She and her buddy Steve Fogel are a home-brewed recording group called "Biscuits and Gravy", based out of Vero Beach, Florida. At the moment they're completely unsigned and unknown, but that could change quickly because their music is good and Emily is hot. I'm doing my part to help out by posting their first video "Bounce Me" here on my blog. As you might guess by the title, it is a sassy number, bouncing along the fine line between PG13 and NC17.

The other Biscuits and Gravy songs all sound different, but share the common theme of sassiness. You can listen to them on the band's website, here.

If you're a big-time recording executive and you want to sign B&G for a multi-million-dollar contract, you can contact Emily through the website. Or if you just want to get them to play at your local coffee shop, bar, or bar mitzvah.