Kristina Pfaff-Harris

Diary of a Serial Geek

Someone had a great idea for us today: Sea kayaking around the marshes ofFort Wright, Fla. Six geeks rowing swiftly through the waves, gracefullyheading toward a far-away beach with nothing but the strength of their owngood arms to speed them on. Red Hat scheduled us to leave at 9 a.m. for the sun and sand of the beach, where we would launch our kayaks for a day of adventure.


Ummm…9 a.m.???? Dudes, most of us were up half the night coding, putting out firesand bug fixing for stuff back home. The rest were intently watching”Austin Powers,” making the RealVideo encoder work or conquering FreeCiv.

Needless to say, the 9 a.m. stipulation didn’t quite work out all that well. Grahamand I were awakened by the arrival of Camera Boy (Rich, our videographerfor the day) at 8:40 a.m. That guy is heartless! Videotaping us right outof bed, no makeup, not even time to brush my hair. I growled at him andgave him my psycho woman look, and he took off in search of a new filming subject. Smart guy.

Then, the mad rush ensued to get into the van. Suzanne wanted to makesandwiches, but I said, “Hell, just throw all the stuff in the cooler andwe’ll make them later!” We were, after all, on deadline. Graham,maintaining a cool head, called Cape Fear Outfitters (whom we highlyrecommend) and let them know we’d be errrhhh…a little late.

Finally, we made it to the shop from where we’d set off. John, our extremely knowledgeable guide for the day, was all-around an extremely funguy! You figured he could fit in with anyone — just a great guy. After abrief safety lecture and an enjoinment not to litter out there, we tookoff for the beach. Luckily, it was an hour or so drive, so Tim got to makesandwiches for all of us.

Cutting to the chase, we made it to the beach, launched the kayaks with moderatedifficulty, and set out. The place we were headed was a couple of milesaway. Paul and Phil looked like they were set to win the America’s Cup orits equivalent for kayaks. They took off like bats out of hell, while someof the rest of us were still figuring which end of the paddle went in thewater.

Surprisingly enough, we all managed to actually gather speed, use therudders, and make pretty good time to the beach. Along the way, fish werejumping out of the water right by our boats, and we passed a crab pot withabout 50 giant blue crabs inside. Mean little buggers, but pretty cool. We considered trying to get one out for dinner, but didn’t want to risk it.


Then, to the beach where we chilled out, ate lunch, and Phil and Tim took aswim. Everyone very kindly agreed to head back at this point as some of us(me, especially) weren’t having the easiest time keeping up the rowingthing. Geez, I sit at a computer for a living! What do you expect?

Our other videographer, Mark, was waiting for us as we rowed in to shore. (It’s like the paparazzi — very scary.) John said we were a great group, and that he’d had a great time as well, so we invited him to hang out at the Tastee Freez with us. We all grabbed some ice cream and milk shakes, then headed home.

To cap off the day, Nikki was at the house making daiquiris, Pina Coladas, andother blended drinks to get us pumped up for “Jamaican Night.” I’m not afood connoisseur, so I can’t really tell you what we ate, but it was great. There was some kind of chicken stuff, some rice with big shrimp in it, somekind of salad, and cookies. Also a photographer from the Chicago Tribunewas there and got some cool shots of the house and us. That guy’s camerawas awesome. $14 grand for the body, but it’ll take digital snapsand sound clips so you can remember what the picture was off. Niiiiceresolution, too.

After dinner, we watched Matt & Trey’s American classic movie,”BASEketball,” and then crashed. All in all, the sea kayaking trip didturn out most excellent. And not a single “nasal-nerdy laugh” nor a “gawkygaffe” to be seen all day…unless you can count the time that I got stuckin quicksand while trying to get the kayak off a sandbar.

Kristina Pfaff-Harris, Data Engines (Reno, Nevada)

Yesterday’s Diary