Afternoon hike in Wekiva Springs State Park @ Apopka, Florida

Wekiva Springs State Park was a bit of an ongoing natural exploration for myself. I had viewed different passing phases of weather elements ranging from hot, warm, humid, rain to cool, cold, dry, and windy. All these elements had enshrouded different perspectives in and out of the water for swimming, camping and canoeing. One thing I hadn’t done yet, hiking on the many trails emanating around the spring boil. Taking a half day of time off work yesterday, I had met up with a friend for taking a leisurely advance into these nearby woods.

Our walk had started on the boardwalk close to the trail-head. On this weekday, the first thing I had realized the lack of people occupying the grounds. This expectation was bit of an adjustment, on weekends in warmer weather, people flock to this watery arena. Another adjustment was the lack of insects in the air whether wasps, flies or mosquitoes. The offset was the cool breeze washing in and out of the pine and palmetto trees. My logic had concluded this being the reason for lack of ever present indigenous locals either human or not.

Courtesy of www.mappery.com
Courtesy of www.mappery.com

Finishing the short boardwalk, we had moved onto the main trail heading toward Sandlake. The shimmering light of the sun had revealed harvest like colors of auburn, browns, grays, yellows and green. With a recent trip out to mountains of Georgia, the slow arcing topography of the Wekiva basin was a welcome contrast. Both environments had their unique elements of appreciation yet, Florida’s emitting a more familiar comforting emotional refrain.

With an eventual split in the trail, we had steered to the left eventually moving across a road. Coming to the connecting side of the trail, we had seen a metallic hiking icon hanging on a wooden marker. It was a bit of flashy icon with another patch below for “no biking.” Proceeding down the way, we had come to some yellow caution tape on both sides of another road. On the ground had fallen a paper white posting listing the area for a controlled fire burn for January 15 – January 17th. With lack of sight or smell of fire, I hadn’t worried much about such postings; however, with the dashing winds, I had thought prudent in a turnabout. A few moments further down the trail, I had heard the chopping of wood in the distance. I had recalled a presentation from Wekiva burn manager about their preparation for controlled burns. I had theorized these noises from an advancing group of “preppers.” With that thought, such burn notices were better suited for the front gate or a website. With this turnabout, I had accumulated unfinished business for another Florida afternoon.

Read More:
Wekiva Springs (Florida State Parks)

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Urine, something real inside me, inside you?

Sometimes I hadn’t grasped my own limitations until confronting failure. This posting had started with inebriation on a dark summer night gone by. That’s how my memory had remembered a whimsical wager over drinking a few ounces of my urine. I really hadn’t remembered the escalating stakes that evening, only this loss. With the loss dawning on my mind, I had confronted the dubious act. Swinging my head back, I had let the solution splash on my lips and tongue. I had recalled swallowing urgently in hopes of avoiding the body warm temperature and any lingering flavor. In sharing this story, most fair minded people had responded with visceral response of cringing, if not outright frowning; however, I had luckily experienced only a colorless fluid with little aftertaste.

The importance of tale was reconciling the concept of urophagia. Some folks had done it through history in surviving nature or indulging in personal fetishes. For myself, back in October of last year, I had juxtaposed myself between the pride of finishing a morning run and extreme dehydration. The late morning Florida heat had overwhelmed my body with cramping from my calves, neck and lats muscles. The sun had beat down on my increasingly slowing position. Entering the final four miles of this excursion, I had reflected upon my number of impromptu restroom breaks along the route. My friend finishing an hour before me, I had wanted to go on for ego. Our previous outing, I was fairly fatigued yet, able to push to the end. This jog, I was encountering broader muscle exhaustion, compensating for a new knee injuries and no alternate means of hydration. I had additionally lacked a phone, a wallet, or pickup protocol. Painfully walking a brisk pace, I had wanted to quit so badly. I had resigned myself to marching on with the mindset of “Whatever it takes!”

Embracing my night of urophagia, I had headed to an oncoming Porto Toilet filling an empty water bottle. Heading back under the sunlight I had conceded to thirst. This moment of sober reality had manifested itself with the twist of a plastic bottle cap. Moving the bottle to my mouth, I had thought,”Was I committed?” The answer was all about pride. Finishing a quick gulp of the fluid, I had found enough physical and mental strength until the next water fountain. A few minutes afterward, I had started my incline toward a crosswalk. Like magic on cue, my friend had ironically appeared around the next corner with a big smile and a jug of Gatorade. I had brought him up to speed on recent events. His response was a general sense of shock and amusement. I had hardly cared. I had proved to myself a willingness to go further than the next man, perhaps stepping over a line. The line was  crossing into something personal, real, inside me, maybe “What’s inside you?”

Read More:
Urophagia (Wikipedia)
Freak out: Flounder, snakes, and a bear… (GarzaFX)
Something Real (Inside Me/Inside You) (YouTube)

To Protect And Infect Part 2: Jacob Appelbaum covering NSA, iPhone and other high tech gadgetry!

Regardless of your political ideology, technical background or country of origin, I had urged watching this one hour regarding NSA technology. I had watched this reviewing possible issues regarding Apple iPhone’s and the NSA with privacy. This was originally published at the close of  last year. The run-time for this youtube video was about an hour long. I had found this profound in respect to gadgetry, security, and politics. The presenter had provided illuminating examples along the way with humor. I had cautioned you against some unexpected expletives in advance. I had believed this as being one of the most thought provoking presentations of my lifetime. I had re-posted this with no additional comment. Just watch it!

Read More:

Jacob Appelbaum (Wikipedia)

Apple, Jacob Appelbaum and the National Security Agency (Fortune)

Suunto DM4 Vyper Air dive computer @ Blue Heron Bridge

I had recently acquired a new addition to my growing arsenal of scuba equipment in the Suunto DM4 Vyper Air dive computer with wireless transmitter. The purpose was getting more accurate data regarding air pressure and depth during dives. Reviewing a manifest of my friend’s Advanced Open Water class purchases, the Sunnto DM4 Vyper had caught my attention. Before explaining the virtues of this technical device, I had thought a good point in providing some background. The value of this device was consolidating functionality from a rented BCD’s (buoyancy control device) analog gauges to digital readouts and then some. With dives at Manatee Springs State Park, Florida, I had noticed sinking a bit further in maximum depth than my friend. To that end, I had experienced some challenges seeing my gauges under an overcast sky in the Catfish sink. Manatee Springs was a fairly controlled location; however, I was thinking forward of more complex arenas like the open ocean with current. After seeing the device in action with my dive buddy and a follow-up discussion with Paul Shepherd at Seminole Scuba, I had committed to this acquisition.

The first trial run for the Suunto DM4 Vyper was heading out to Blue Heron Bridge. On attaching the wireless transmitter, the guidance I had received, “Don’t twist overly tight to the regulator.” With respect to the computer itself, it was large enough in accommodating my wet suit with ease. As far as general use, I had still required maybe another trip in working with the device in the water. For those calculating RAT, it was perfect inventory of your dive data. Most of the stuff for your dive book was readily available on the digital read out (i.e. maximum depth, surface interval, water temp, dive time, compass, air pressure).

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The day after getting home from Blue Heron Bridge dive, I had synced the Vyper Air with desktop Suunto software.The below outputted screen captures were from the three mini dives at Blue Heron Bridge. What had really peaked my interest, air consumption and depth. I was a bit obsessive with air management after bleeding through my tanks in Open Water scuba class. Or maybe it was just the notion of milking the maximum experience per cylinder. Regardless, it was extremely revealing to look at the depth, time, and air utilization with the surface intervals for snorkeling. Hopefully, I had provided some insight should you be in the market for a dive computer. Safe travels!

Dive 1

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Dive 2

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Dive 3

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Read More:
Suunto Vyper Air Black (Suunto)
Waters off Blue Heron Bridge @ West Palm Beach, Florida (GarzaFX)
Manatee Springs State Park @ Chiefland, Florida (GarzaFX)

Cheat Day with double dipping hot dogs and Oreos!

With 2014 had come echoes of New Year Resolutions for eating right and exercising for some folks. What I had wanted to share the importance of having that day for a meal of whatever you desire once a week.

In that spirit today, I had started with scarfing down a friend’s Oreos before swimming. Returning home, I had fell sleep waking with an unmanageable hunger. With my eyes passing on protein shake mix and bananas, I had wondered onto the frig discovering a rogue package of  bacon flavored Oscar Meyer wieners! Firing up the skillet, I had thought two links should work. After consuming those, I had fired up two more hot dogs gobbling them immediately. Maybe it was the cheese, ketchup, or even the salty stuffing in the casing. Regardless, I had consumed four weiners and 10 Oreos. Had I felt guilty, nope, only the raw power of passing satisfaction!

Staying focused on your food selection while dieting was important but, flogging yourself mentally will likely bring non-compliance. Be real, be consistent, have a cheat meal once a week, Bon Appetit!

Dieting? Try Cholula Hot Sauce with Chunk Light Tuna and/or Peanut Butter (GarzaFX)

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Beautiful day for a swim @ Wekiva Springs State Park, Florida

Most of this week in Florida, the weather had gone back in forth between warm to cold and back again, sometimes with variations of 30 degrees or more. Now, normally I hadn’t cared one way or another regarding the elements outside for going to the gym. Though, starting Sunday, I was blessed with a touch of the cold making the rounds with my fellow bipeds. Monday and Tuesday, I had conceded to resting and hydrating. Entering into Wednesday, two of my good friends had wanted to visit La Fitness. One had inquired if any interest? As with most days, I had stuffed my backpack for either a morning or afternoon gym interlude. In my mind, like the weather, I had switched back and forth on deciding on following through on some basic cardio.

With the witching hour upon me, I had chosen to go. Either way, I was going to be congested. The logic for going, I had thought, “I’ll be so exhausted afterward quickly succumbing to sleep!” Plus, I had figured another means of working phlegm and other impurities out of my body. The good news was after this outing and each on Thursday and Friday achieving deeper sleep and feeling better. Then, Saturday had arrived. I was key on alternating to swimming for resting my knees joints and legs muscles. I had decided on hitting Winter Park’s La Fitness for their salt water pool. After completing my mundane chores for the day, I had started driving to the gym. While jamming to tunes on my iPhone, a friend had texted me up about visiting Wekiva Springs. My immediate response was absolutely. I had pondered hitting one of the state parks during the weekend anyway.

With all the weather fluctuations in Florida recently, some people had wondered, “Why bother?” Well, if you were in one of the snow ridden states today, Wekiva Springs constantly maintains a 72 degree temperature. For some folks maybe too cold but, as another park visitor had eloquently responded later in the day, “Warmer than the North Atlantic!”  Picking up my pal, we had driven out to the park. The sun had started breaking through the clouds shedding heat and light. It had reminded me of the early days of spring. At the gate, the park ranger had stated “That doesn’t look like you?” while looking at our park pass without a photo ID.  I had followed up by turning the card over pointing to a big yellow flower on the opposing face. He then had smiled big waiving us forward.

After parking, we had walked down to Wekiva Springs swimming area. Having affixed  swimming goggles to my eyes, I had submerged into the fresh spring waters. Exhausting myself with just a lap, I had exited looking up to sky. I had reflected on what a great reason to skip inhabiting the walls of any place including the gym. In contrast to the rest of the country’s weather fortunes, I had thought, ”What a beautiful day for a swim @ Wekiva Springs!”

Read More:
Wekiva Springs State Park – Apopka, Florida (GarzaFX)

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San Francisco 49ers, Dark Horse Rising

Last year, just after the Superbowl, I had asked some of my co-workers and friends to make a wager on the following year’s event. That bet had entailed going against San Fran returning to the Superbowl and winning it all. Amazingly, no one had took me up on the bet a year out. Then I had offered straight up win or lose against the field (i.e. rest of the NFL). Only one person was interested in such a bet, only then, a lunch. Summary, I had believed with everyone else, the 49ers themselves, bordering on achieving NFL dominance.

Fast forward a year, the San Francisco 49ers had a rough regular season with questions regarding their QB’s regressive play and a hefty amount of roster injuries. After being left for dead almost two weeks before the end of the season, San Fran had earned their way into the playoffs with a wildcard against Green Bay. At the start of that game, I had thought the game should go the Packers’ way with the weather @ Lambeau Field but, San Fran so many potential threats on both sides of the ball yet, so many questions still. With the 49ers springing an early lead, I had thought their ball movement reminiscent of the previous year, pretty much on demand; However, they had sputtered a couple of times converting drives into touchdowns. Ultimately, with some consistent defensive heat on Aaron Rodgers plus Kaepernick’s improvisation, the 49ers had prevailed on the road. While they had looked like a good team, just not a great team.

So this game had brought into focus the rest of their possible playoff matches going through Carolina and Seattle then, the Superbowl. For the Niners, at least one of those games, probably NFC title game, had required a great performance. That’s the question, were these 49ers, good or great? For them to complete a run to the Superbowl toward dominance had required snuffing out their arch NFC rival,Seattle, plus the Patriots in the title game. I had still believed in them winning out with a stout defense and gifted offense (i.e. Crabtree, Boldin, Gore, and Kaepernick). The funny thing, commentators on ESPN and other networks had only recently rediscovered this team’s potential post the Green Bay win. Since last year, I had stuck with this team now being called a “dark horse.” Amazingly, I had not wavered in their potential for supremacy. Now it was just a question of their execution. If they had happened to beat down Tom Brady’s Patriots in the process, even sweeter!

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