Swimming to Antarctica


I just finished reading the autobiography of Lynne Cox – Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer. She is a remarkable athlete with an incredible ability to swim long distances and withstand hours in freezing water. Her accomplishments start in 1971, when at the age of 14, Lynne swam across the Catalina Channel with a group of teenagers from Seal Beach, California. They swam the 27 mile crossing in 12 hours and 36 minutes. She held back waiting for her teammates. But the seed was planted for her bigger adventures.

At age 15 Lynne swam across the English Channel and shattered the men’s and women’s world records with a time of 9 hours and 57 minutes. When that record was broken, she returned the next year and broke the world record for the English Channel a second time with a time of 9 hours and 36 minutes.

She went on to bigger and bigger adventures, breaking more swimming barriers. Her writing is very matter of fact. Sometimes just a brief mention of some crazy swim. The book fails to get at the core of what motivates her and interests her in swimming long distances. Her remarkable achievements carry you through the narrative.

The last swim in the book gives the book its name as she swims a mile from a ship to the Antarctic shore. The more interesting swim is across the Bering Strait at the end of the Cold War. She swims five miles in thirty-eight-degree water in just a swimsuit, cap, and goggles from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede Island in the Soviet Union.

Although the writing is a bit plain, it is filled with joy and a sense of adventure. All of the tales are stirring and heart-warming. A worthwhile read.

A Visit to the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation

A few days ago I took The Son to the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation in Waltham. (The Daughter came along in her stroller.) Its a fun museum.

You can read more about the visit in my latest post on Geek Dad: GeekDad Visits the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation.

You can also see some of the photos of the visit in my Flickr Collection: Charles River Museum of Industry.

Bay State Bike Week: May 11-17


May is National Bike Month and here in Massachusetts we’re doing our part to celebrate this event with Bay State Bike Week, May 11th -17th, 2009.

In Newton, there is the second annual Bike Newton Rally and Ride on Sunday May 17 from 12:30 to 3:00. The ride will be a gentle 3.5 mile loop down Commonwealth Avenue., up Temple Street (past Pierce Elementary School) and back by Prince and a few side streets to Comm. Ave. The pace will be leisurely, and there will be a police escort & rolling street closings for added safety.

There are three key events in Boston:

  • 250,000 Mile Pledge – Join Bay State residents as we try to collectively cycle more than 250,000 miles between May 11th-17th
  • MassCommuter Challenge – A friendly competition amongst Massachusetts businesses and institutions. Support your workplace or institutional team by pledging to bike for all or part of your regular functional trips.
  • Mayor Menino’s Bike Week Festival – Celebrate Bike Week with hundreds of cyclists and enjoy our FREE BREAKFAST, BIKE EXPO AND MUSIC on City Hall Plaza in Boston on Friday May 15th from 7 AM to 10 AM. Ride home with your gift bag and water bottle.

Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day

My GeekSon has shown some interest in comics. At bedtime, we have occasionally read a “racket noggle.” (His preferred pronunciation of graphic novel.)

With the arrival of Free Comic Book Day I took the suggestion of new GeekDad writer Dave Giancaspro and planned a trip to The Comic Stop in Watertown, Massachusetts. I picked this location because they were scheduled to receive a visit from members of the 501st Legion.

What’s better than free comics? Free comics and Stormtroopers.

Walking down the street, I got that sign that every parent loves to see: the happy skip of excitement. “Daddy, daddy, there’s a desert trooper, a scout trooper, and a royal guard!” This excitement waned as we got closer. The GeekSon became more interested in hiding behind my leg as we approached the Imperial troops. Eventually he warmed up to the three members of the New England Garrison of the 501st Legion. We scooted inside The Comic Stop, explored, and grabbed a few items.

The strangest thing? While chatting outside with a few people and the Imperial troops, a couple walked up to us, looked at the group and said to the desert trooper: “Do you know where the Starbucks is?” Apparently the guy in the Star Wars outfit looked like more of a local than me.

The GeekSon walked away with a few of the free comics offered on Free Comic Book Day, an introduction to comic book stores, and memories of the Imperial forces. (The GeekDad walked away with Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men.)

That’s Scout Trooper TB 2832 doing the photobomb.