Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mixed Feelings About Robin Williams

Like many of you, I was saddened to hear about Robin Williams committing suicide.  The world has lost a tremendous talent.  There are many people far more eloquent than I who expressed their sense of loss far better than I ever could, so I won't really try.  I will, however, say that the world is a slightly less funny place, and there is a piece of me that is personally saddened from his death.  That doesn't happen very often.

I realize that depression is a crushing state of mind.  I've had a taste of it, and it's no fun.  It takes every ounce of willpower to get out of bed and to eat.  You don't sleep until you physically can't stay awake any longer.  You can't concentrate.  You want to cry, but you can't.  You can't explain the depth of your despair and emptiness.  Those who have never been depressed can't understand it.  My brief, shallow dance with depression was from a divorce... an acute case.  I realize that I'll never fully experience the depression that a lot of folks live every day.  I'm thankful for this.  I have a great deal of sympathy for the chronically depressed.

At the same time though, I can't allow that to justify suicide.  I vividly, painfully recall how I felt when I was going through my divorce.  It's without a doubt the single most painful time of my life.  But I never considered suicide.  I just couldn't do it.  It would have been the ultimate act of selfishness.  Okay, committing suicide will end your pain, but those around you will have to live with the pain for the rest of their lives.  You may take away your own agony, but you transfer it to those who carry on in your absence.  Sorry, I just can't justify that, and I just can't excuse it.  This is why I have mixed feelings about Robin Williams' death.  Yes, the world lost a genius.  But he selfishly removed himself from the world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Look at the Perception Expression 15.0

Last week I purchased a new Perception Expression 15.0 touring kayak.  My planned use for the boat is longer self-contained river trips.  The boat has a roomy cockpit, and plenty of room for storage.  The bungees on the deck allow for the option of putting gear in waterproof bags and stowing them on the deck.

I took the boat out to a local lake on Sunday and paddled around for a couple of hours.  First and foremost, the boat is fast, when compared to boats I've paddled in the past.  (I have extensive experience paddling canoes and whitewater kayaks.)  The retractable skeg helps the boat track very straight.  I also had the optional rudder installed.  The rudder helps the boat turn far more quickly than I had ever imagined.  Raising and lowering the skeg is incredibly fast and easy.  Raising and lowering the rudder is only slightly less fast.

The seat is highly adjustable, and very comfortable.  Even after sitting in the boat for a couple of hours, I never felt cramped or uncomfortable.

My setup has two possible downsides, which I have not yet tested.  Other owners of this boat say that the rudder and the height of the seat's backrest make rolling and self rescues somewhat problematic.  I haven't yet purchased a spray skirt, so I can't yet say one way or the other.  Once I try, I'll report back.

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with my purchase, and I can't wait to take the boat on its first extended expedition.  In the meantime, I will spend some time getting familiar with it, and some money equipping it.  I've read about some kayak sails that I'm excited to try out.

For more information on the boat, click here.