desoto_hia873: (Dragon Boat Head - desoto_hia873)
It was a good day. The weather was perfect--warm and sunny, but not humid. Our races went really well. We have rotating pairs of alternates and this morning was my turn to sit out. There's usually a boat that carries photographers and journalists alongside each race so the other sitter-outer and I hitched a ride with them. It was neat watching the race from the water and I was surprised at how much the driver had to gun the engine to keep up. I'd never realized just how fast we were going when we were paddling full out (I just did a calculation--our speed in our best race was 13.9 km/hour or 8.6 miles/hour). Our start looked a little slow in the first race, but our team scored another best time: 2:11.10. PanaCEAA was just a hair faster than that. After the race, one of their paddlers came over to talk to us and it turns out that we have a title of sorts now: based on yesterday's rankings, we were officially the fastest National Capital Region federal government crew. PanaCEAA has held that title for the past 14 years!

Our second race was also good and I was de-alternated for this one and back in the boat. It felt to me like our unison was slightly off until mid-race, but we pulled it together and finished with a time of 2:11.99. Our times today put us in 24th place, slightly behind PanaCEAA, but good enough to get to the Espoir Final. (The top eight teams compete in the Championship Final, teams 9-16 in the Petit Final, and teams 17-24 in the Espoir Final.) In six years, we've NEVER made it to a final before. Sadly, our lowest-of-the-24 ranking meant that we were in Lane 8 (the pokey lane--I think it must be shallower than the others) and also put us into the only non-standard boat. That and the fact that we were starting to run out of gas by the end of a long weekend meant that we had a rather slower final race than we would have liked. The organizers were having a computer problem so the results haven't been posted yet, but I think we were back around 2:14.

But still! We had several crew bests and made it to the Espoir Final which has long seemed like the impossible dream. Our coach's crew won the Championship--when we went over to congratulate him, all he could talk about was how well we'd done. Which makes him a pretty nice coach, don't you think?

Honestly, you should see this guy--there is no bad here. He's handsome, fit, athletic, talented, encouraging, never mean, and a really, really nice guy. Every woman on our team swoons over him. He's also a fireman--we're all hoping he shows up in this year's calendar. :-)

Like I said, it was a good day. I'm exhausted, sunburnt, and sore, BUT WE MADE IT TO A FINAL!!! I'm so very, very pleased. And now I'm going to get Thai take-out for dinner because I'm at the point of being non-functional and only Pad Thai can cure that.
desoto_hia873: (Dragon Boat Head - desoto_hia873)
Today's dragon boat race results are in. We're 23rd! Last year, we were 32nd after the first day. We're one spot ahead of PanaCEAA--they were four ahead of us last year. Woot!
desoto_hia873: (Dragon Boat Head - desoto_hia873)
I'm so tired at the moment that I'm in a state of bewilderment. This morning started early--the alarm went off at 5:30 am (and I am SO not a morning person). We arrived at the dragon boat race site around 7 am and had our first race at 7:40 am. It was an, er, interesting race. What's supposed to happen is that the boats draw up to the starting line, the referee announces, "Mr. Starter, you have the race!" when everyone is in place to his satisfaction, the starter says, "Attention, please!", and then a few seconds later the starting gun fires. The "Attention, please!" is the signal for the competitors to 'bury their paddles'--i.e., sink the blades into the water and be ready to take that first stroke.

What actually happened was that the starter hadn't figured out how to turn his megaphone on. Being in Lane 8, we were furthest away from him and so couldn't hear him at all. We heard the "Mr. Starter, you have the race!" and then nothing else until the gunshot. Everyone jumped in surprise, still with their paddles across their laps, and our steerperson (and team captain) yelled, "What the hell?!? Are we racing? We're going. GO!!!"

It was not our most glorious moment.

Possibly it was a good thing that our coach wasn't there as he might have grabbed the starter's gun and shot us for making such a stupid mistake. However, we recovered well and won our heat anyway, though with a time (2:21) that was a little on the slow side.

Our second race was early this afternoon and you better believe we weren't going to screw up again. The wind was really starting to pick up by then and there was a bit of excitement trying to get all eight boats lined up at the same time, but, let me tell you, those paddles were BURIED well before the "Attention, please!" (which we did in fact hear this time, the megaphone having been switched on). We're a little slow, but we do get there eventually. We had a really good second race--these heats were seeded and we were up against several very experienced teams. We came in third with a time of 2:14:45 and we beat a team named PanaCEAA (their crew works for the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency, which explains the 'CEAA') that we've never come close to beating before. So we were feeling right chuffed about that.

I don't know the overall results yet, but we'll probably be thirty-somethingth out of about 200 boats. We have two more races tomorrow that will determine our final placing.

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival is fundraising event for several charities. If you'd like to sponsor me, you can go here and do so online. My team's name is Nectar Protectors--most of our crew works for the federal agency that regulates pesticides in Canada. I used to work there too, although I don't anymore, in the environment (i.e., anti-pesticide) division.

After the race, I was somewhat startled to turn around and find my sister talking to my mother's ex-husband and his current wife. I haven't seen him for 10 years and have never met her before. My mother's marriage to him did not end happily. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

Then I came home, had a nap, and am now sitting on my couch in that state of aforementioned bewilderment.

Go Nectar Protectors! I think our new team motto should be "What the hell?!?" Hee.
desoto_hia873: (Dragon Boat Head - desoto_hia873)
The publisher for whom I am doing an editing job emailed me this afternoon and we agreed on a rate for my services as well as a deadline. I feel all official now. And slightly intimidated. I've done lots of fanfic betaing and have reviewed any number of reports written by other people at work, but now that I'm being paid - eek!

In other news, the dragon boat festival is fast approaching and our practices have been getting more intense. Thankfully, they've also been getting better - we were quite a respectable team last night. Which made my aching muscles easier to bear today. ::pops Advil::

On the downside, I feel like I'm getting a cold. Yurgh.

Off now to read Editing Canadian English, learn when to use British spelling and when American, and hyperventilate a little.
desoto_hia873: (I Need A Hug - awmp)
  • Friday afternoon: Worst dragonboat practice ever. No really, ever. I sucked, everyone else sucked, we all sucked. Some of us (including me) have been doing this for seven years now - you'd think we'd at least have a veneer of good technique. I came away with a heavy sense of discouragement and back muscles that ached for the rest of the weekend.
  • Saturday morning: A (long overdue) trip to the dentist. I lost a filling while I was in Cuba, which was enough to make me finally stop procrastinating on this front. Said filling was right up next to and under the gumline of one of my eyeteeth; the dentist also found a cavity at the tip of the same tooth. So I was pumped full of Novocaine (it even made my left eye go numb) and drilled from top to bottom. I practically have a new tooth now. Which is good, except ouch. At least I got to feel all virtuous while popping Advil after the freezing faded. I have another appointment on Friday to see what else she can find.
  • Saturday evening: My evening with my cousin had to be cancelled when she called to say that she and her daughter had been throwing up all the previous night and all morning, poor things. In order to avoid watching the entire fifth season of Six Feet Under in one day (I just can't get enough of that show), I took myself out to a movie and saw X-Men 3. I gather that the film does terrible disservice to several of the characters, but not being terribly familiar with the X-Men fandom, I thought it was alright. It didn't blow me away, but it was a pleasant enough way to pass the evening.
  • Sunday afternoon: Went to my mother's house for a belated birthday BBQ for my sister. Brought some of my laundry with me because some traditions just never die. :-) While in her basement putting wet clothes into the dryer, I wondered vaguely where Linus's ashes were, then decided that I wasn't ready yet to come face-to-face with them.
  • Sunday evening: A thoroughly frustrating and unproductive phone call with Jim that left me brooding until the wee hours. Mostly my fault as I was feeling hypersensitive. I need a new brain.
desoto_hia873: (I've Seen Serenity)
I am exhausted. And sunburned. And really tired. Pretty much pinkened and dead on my feet, but filled with a generally warm glow. (Though that may be just the UV talking.)

Dragon boat races were most successful. The weather was hot and sunny except for about an hour on Saturday afternoon when a fairly violent thunderstorm rolled through, hung up the proceedings, and got everyone very wet. The festival had new European-style boats this year which are smaller and lighter than the old ones (also tippier - one crew (not mine) capsized in practice last Thursday), so everyone had the happy feeling of shaving a significant number of seconds off their times from last year. The same team won overall both this year and last - their time improved by about 15 seconds. Our best time last year was 2:35.35 and this year was 2:13. If 15 seconds of that was due to the boat, that means we got seven seconds faster on our own which is pretty good for a raggle-taggle bunch of part-time athletes.

Our coach said that there were more better teams this year than last, but we still managed to move up from 34th to 27th (out of 170). I think he was surprised that we'd done so well. He was particularly pleased with us today as we beat the team his wife had been coaching in our last race this morning. :-)

I am desperately behind on LJ and email - I haven't had time to join in with any collective Serenity squeeing. In fact, I don't know if there's been any collective squeeing. I will post my own movie-related thoughts tomorrow and look around for others'.

But now: last week's Veronica Mars. And then hopefully a long, long period of unconsciousness.

ETA: Does anyone know what font that is in the Serenity logo?
desoto_hia873: (Whedon Legacy - wickedgoddess_)
And they're pretty much gone. Vancouver tickets to Serenity disappeared in a matter of minutes. Interestingly, most of them appear to have been sold to people who showed up in person at the box office. Movietickets.com had a glitch that wasn't overcome until they were already sold out.

According to http://www.cantstopthesignal.com, everything is sold out everywhere with the possible exception of Miami. Which this Canadian thinks would be an alright place to go and see it, but not a very practical one.

Jim is going to try to come with me to the Toronto screening (it'll require both of us taking the next day off work as it's a four hour drive). He hasn't seen Firefly but he says he wants to hear me "squeal like R2D2". I boasted to him of my marvelous, if rare, self-restraint in not buying a permanent LJ account and he responded by telling me that I should have gotten one. It's so sweet the way he enables my obsessions. :-)

In other news, ow. The Ottawa dragon boat race festival is coming up in a few weeks and I had my first practice last night. My muscles protest. Ow.

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