www.brichmond.com, Bard Richmond's site

(also see www.bardandjulie.com, my family site)

Concerning Mountains, Water, Wind, some Goofy Experiments

and Gratuitous Bragging Section


Update 1/22/13:  Kiting in Baja!:  Google Map is here.  Kip, and I and his friends from Brown's Point in Tacoma (Trevor, Scott, Kurt, and Todd) did several of these a day  last week, from "the hot springs" back to the beach at Baja Joe's in La Ventana.   The takeoff point was isolated on a dirt road and beautiful.  We were able to make the 4.5 miles in probably 20 min (winds were really good) but it was more fun to take time and slash around on the waves.  Here's a very short video of me high-fiving Trevor at the departure area on youtube.

10/25/12: A thought about the Big Bang:  you can actually see the Big Bang by tuning an analog-antenna TV to an unused channel.  The random static you see is the microwave background left over from the Big Bang...the old, cooled-off photons are still bouncing around in space.   It's easy to observe...as a matter of fact, it's a lot more observable than the curvature of the earth is from ground level.  The earth looks flat, which is what people believed until it was proven otherwise.  So I guess you could say that believing the earth is round, to the lay person, is more of an act of faith than believing in the Big Bang!

12/17/11:  Kiting in Brazil!  The Google map below shows the course my friend Kip and I took on a kiting downwinder on the north coast of Brazil a few days ago.  Speed is colorized in km/hr, but isn't much because I was a little cautious as we zoomed by giant windmills (pictures coming).   The area is Ilha do Guajiro, maybe 220km NW of Fortaleza (zoom out to see), and 6000 miles from Seattle.   Our host David from WindyAddiction.com, who built and runs the hotel, also was a great tourguide, taking us on several expeditions like this one (one of which involved donkey riding after we landed).   The lagoon water is flat, warm; the days hot and sunny, and the wind non-stop, usually 6 to 9m.  Truly a kiting paradise.

Kip shot this movie of me jumping over him in a lagoon east of the above map.  Winds were light that day (the only light day).  His narration as he took the movie is priceless.

Update 11/18/11:  RC airplanes!   The kids and I have learned how to fly these very fun devices.   We had some disappointing crashes, and then realized we needed simulator time to deal with things like the controls being backwards when flying towards ourselves.   That improved our skills rapidly, and now we're enjoying aerobatics and mounting various things on the aircraft, like a GoPro camera, which recorded the following video last summer near our house.

I've also flown a GPS to check speeds, and most fun, a live video-transmitting camera.  Next step is to hook that up to video goggles, for total immersion in the craft.  This hobby doesn't substitute for flying real airplanes, which we did a bit in the summer, but some of the same pilot training is required: maintaining flying speed, landing into the wind,  and making loops gentle enough not to rip the wings off.  It sure is convenient.  We fly at either the beach near the house or at Discovery Park, with getting there and setting up taking only 10 minutes.  Now windless days don't seem depressing.

10/15/10: Great shots by Lauri Streaker of me on a mellow wind day at Lyle are here in a Picasa slide show. (Click the slideshow icon on the top left.)  Most of the summer kiting days in the Gorge had winds of 40mph +,  with kite sizes of 6 meters or less (watch what you wish for).  Other slideshows for the summer are in the family site.

7/28/10: Wow, 16 months has gone by.  Below is a new Wolfram widget for finding anagrams.  Type in "north" for example.  You can easily make your own widgets of any type.

3/10/09: First update in 10 months!  Here's a shot of me in Baja in January, shot by Jim Stringfellow:  .

And here's a 3D of my face shot by a new little USB webcam, the Novo Minoru: .  You'll need the typical 3D glasses: red on left, cyan(blue) on right.   You have to cross your eyes hard while looking at the finger in front to "pop" into 3D, which works suprisingly well.   I'll post a movie soon.  They really should have standalone consumer cams to do this.

Then, back to last summer.  A Google Map of my GPS track during the annual kiteboarding BLOWOUT in the Gorge that I endured on 8/02/08, is  hereThe Google Map is moveable, magnifiable, and includes a colorized chart of speeds.  (Many thanks to Adam at  GPSvisualizer.com ).   Or, simply, a jpg of it:


The backstory: everyone rigs a kite that seems appropriate for the beginning of this 25 mile downwind course that starts in mellow Stevenson, WA, but it is usually way too large for the end of the course in windy Hood River, OR.   This time was no different, and my 12m kite was horrendously overpowered, with winds peaking to probably 40mph about 5 miles W of Hood River.  Some of the participants had their kites shredded and had to be rescued; I heard of broken bars and boards.  Going straight downwind was the only force-reducing option, and still, I accelerated so quickly that I skimmed the wavetops until an inevitable crash when the board caught a crest.  I barely made it, almost chipping a tooth during one of the crashes.  I was one of the last to arrive back home after two hours and forty minutes where the last hour was torture.  Outside of that, it was pretty fun.


5/08 From a recent trip to Corpus Christi: The place is Packery Channel: foot deep water, and on the day the picture was taken, 30 mph of wind powering a 9m kite.  The pelicans laughed at my limited altitude and flight time, but the telephoto makes it look good.

And while on the family ski vacation in February, I managed to get this session in:   These were near Sun Valley, ID.  Skis are hard for me, and the snowboard was easier.  However, if you're a good skier, skis offer big advantages: ability to edge WAY upwind, and easy tromping across deep snow to lay out lines or get to the kite.

On a trip to Kaua'i in January, I obtained some air at Kapa'a (2Mbyte, Quicktime).   This location is warm and great, but the reef is right below the surface and is tricky.  16m kite.

9/15/07: Finally, a kiteboarding video of me not taken by my own helmetcam.  Instead, Jonah photographed me sloshing around him at the Lyle Spit, starting with a small jump and ending with a respectable one!  A bigger, higher resolution QuickTime 5Mbyte version is here.  The still and slide show, with Lauri and Larry, are from the same session.  Click on the lower left of teeny slide show where it says "Lyle - 9/07" and then, once at Picasa, click on "slideshow"-- it has nice, big, resolution.  On some browsers, it may not appear, so go here instead. 


3/24/07:  Helmetcams!  Below is what my helmetcam took while kiting at Third St in San Mateo, just south of the final approach to SFO.  A great kiting spot, made more exciting by flying right under jets as they land.   Click on the pic-- very small and short file with a lot of jerky movement because I was in a turn as the 747 went over, and had to check the kite-- I didn't want it hitting the water way out in that cold bay.   A month ago I took the helmetcam out windsurfing in Magnolia and  shot this video.  (extremely compressed to 6 Mbytes, windows media, should immediately stream).

Recently my own cam that's looking out at the water 24x7 (Webcam facing Puget Sound from Magnolia) caught a picture of me kiting and a friend ready to relaunch.  A kiter from Seattlekiteboarding.org happened upon it and posted it:


It's the realization of a dream, to be able to kite from the house where we live.  It's tricky, because barnacles are everywhere, and one touch will ruin a kite.  I've learned to drift launch and use a buoy and anchor.  But the commute can't be beat.

11/25/06: Check out this chart of the current radiation readings at my Studio in Seattle.  (A similar bunch of data was converted into music, a 5Mbyte file,  here).  To assure that it's updating, click and refresh later to see if the sample numbers have changed.  I'm told this background reading of about 12 counts per minute doubled during Chernobyl, here in Seattle.  Here's a picture of the brain that thinks of these things: MRI of Bard done at McGovern Institute, MIT, 10-06  More on how I got this image later.

This is a Google map (you need to zoom in to see the speed detail of the tracks)  of my kiting session in Maui on 11-22-06, from which the pic below of me coming into shore toeside was taken...and is so blurry you can't even see the kite lines.   But the waves behind were really fun.  The shot on the right shows the West Maui mountains and me in the distance, kiting all alone out there.   I don't know why no one else was out-- the winds were perfectly powering my 12m Rebel.  Kiters looking at the detailed GPS track will notice the immediate effort to work upwind, followed by a lot of "lawn-mowing" and straight runs in with the waves.

 Toe side coming in on waves B kiting at Kite Beach

9/15/06:  Kiting has become a big passion for me, starting this last  year that we spent in Puerto Rico (see www.bardandjulie.com).  From left to right: my first session where I was finally able to go upwind in San Juan; my GPS tracks when I rode recently off Jetty Island (in the harbor of Everett, WA, with speeds colorized in km/hr);  a session at The Spit in Hood River; and one at the sandbar in Lyle.   I made the Jetty Island track using a Garmin 305 and www.gpsvisualizer.com.  The pictures were taken by Roberto ? in San Juan and Jonah Peskin in Hood River.   I used a 9 meter kite on the last one, in 35mph winds.   

 First time upwind in SJ, end of May 2006 Jetty Island track, North is up Big fat pic with no resolution!  Hood River, OR Me, at the sandbar near Lyle, WA 

I had planned to windsurf instead of kite when the winds called for a 4.2 or smaller sail, but the winds this summer were never lighter than that, and I was too excited to learn to kite.   Rooster Rock was the scene of some great easterlies in early September, with winds so strong  (37 mph even at the parking lot, proof in the pic) I had to give up using my 7m and come in.  

Showing 37mph at the parking lot at Rooster Rock  It's pathetically low and the landing didn't stick, but my first jump is here (14MBytes, not streamable yet, so watch out when clicking on it).  Taken by Jonah Peskin, who can really jump after only 2 months of kiting.

Windsurfing seems so mellow and easy in comparison.  Some shots from the last few days in PR are below-- the second is completing a jibe.  The sky and water colors are real.

San Juan, 5.7m sail, nice windy day Midway through jibe, San Juan, Ocean Park beach

Magcam:  the scene from our house in Magnolia.  Click on any of the pix below for a real-time look:

Sony analog video cam zoomed in on Olympics, Mt Thor I think 

The pics are taken by my webcam looking out onto the Sound from Magnolia.  Click on one to see the current wind/water conditions.  You can select the update interval, but the speed of updates is now set to once a minute.  Watch for changes in the water surface or tree branches moving to determine wind.

The pics don't need much explanation.  The water view is endlessly variable.  The aircraft carrier one is appropriate, given what's going on.  The last one, I should note, was on a day where gusts hit 60mph (I hit the water with a 4.2 right as the wind declined quickly from 30kts to 0kts in less than an hour).

Here's one of me windsurfing in the same area in heavy rain and wind in March of 2002.  The pic was used in an article in NW Home + Garden about the windsurfing shed that Thomas Isarankura designed for us (click on portfolio, then boardshed).  Note that it was blowing so hard that only the fin of my Avantride 130liter was in the water.

B wsf'g in front of house in Magnolia 

Click here for a looping set of pictures from the webcam.   Or here for a user-controlled loop of a great sunrise on the Olympics.  

4/03/04:  Fly through the universe. universe.JPG (141373 bytes)  Download the software from:

This is very cool.  Free from Hayden Planetarium-- the digital map of the universe, and flight software to explore it.  Takes a little doing (installation has to all be in same directory, and you need to skim the pdf  "digital universe guide",  turn on fly mode, and use the left and right mouse buttons the right way), but once you do, it's amazing.  I just wrote this down as an idea a couple of months ago, and voila, here it is!  Now you can see how the 2-D constellations totally distort as you fly towards the actual 3-D arrangement, where some of the stars are actually much further than others.   (I've always thought that the best way to look at the stars at night is to imagine they're at different distances-- as soon as you do that, "up" and "down" go away, and you feel like you're hanging in space).
A neat thing to do is to fly out to the limit of where our radio broadcasts have gone (50 light years) and see how many stars have planets in that sphere-- see who could possibly have picked us up.
Of course this is only the visible universe, i.e., the part where light has had time since the big bang to travel to us, despite the universe's expansion.  No one knows how much bigger it actually is, nor does it matter, since we can never contact any other part of it.

3/31/04 Gratuitous Bragging section: A self-google finds some of this:

First,  write-up by Bennet Blake on one of my patents, #5,327,493.   Two other patents I'm on are 5,070,526 and 6,976,216.

I was in the band "The Road Apples" in the 70s.   Our song "Let's Live Together"  Bard, Jean-Do, Chuck, Finn, and Flip in back  made it to #35 on the charts, and can actually still be bought using this link at Amazon (or listened to here, but please don't copy).  Also on   YouTube.  And you can get some CDs that I was on in the Ken Boynton Band a few years back.    A second, and final hit, was Holding On, nicely transfered from vinyl by Chuck Eisenhardt, the piano player.

Career stuff: with Bob Greco, I started a company named Active Voice Corporation, took it public in '93 and sold one part to Cisco in '00, and another part to NEC.  It had magnificent people and was really fun.  We sold our products worldwide and got up to about 400 employees.  A video of a "Serious Money" interview in '95 is here and a still from a CNN show is below.

A great charity that I'm involved with, Springwire (formerly Community Voice Mail),  talks about me on its board of directors.   Springwire was started within Active Voice in '92 and helps tens of thousands of homeless to find jobs and housing every year.  On behalf of them, I accepted an award from President Clinton in 99.    Interestingly, a reference to them showed up in this section of www.how-it-works.net.   And a great startup that continues to be a lot of fun is streamzap (filer of the third patent above)

But see www.bardandjulie.com  for what I love to brag about most.

11/1/03: Here's a slide show from a  nice two-night campout on the flank of Mt Baker, on a ridge called "Railroad Grade," a knife-edge running from about 5200' to 7000'.   A drizzle came in overnight, only on Baker and nowhere else, which made it much more dramatic as the clouds lingered and parted during the next day.

2/09/03:  For you hikers, I've calculated how fast you'd have to climb up a steep trail to freeze or even rewind a sunset.  For the latitude of Seattle,  on June 21st, you'd have to climb up at 260 feet per minute.  On Dec 21st, it's 460 fpm.  My calculations were born out by the time it took for the sun to set on Mt. Rainier after it set in Seattle (15 minutes-- but note that it's not linear, since the mountain points away from the sunset as the earth rotates).  This rate of hiking is not doable, except for an elite athlete, but it could happen in an elevator or a car going up a hill.  Please test this.  (If you're interested, here's the spreadsheet in very rough form.)

1/22/03:  Here's a very strange piece of music, a 5Mbyte mp3. (And if that's too long, here's a very short midi file of the same thing that'll sound like whatever midi ability your computer has).  I took a set of radiation readings, here in Seattle in June '02.  They were basically the counts every minute for a month, numbers that clustered around 11; some minutes there were only 2 counts, some as much as 20.  Pretty normal background radiation.  But very random.  I took them and stuck them as input to a music-generator I've been working on.  It takes input data and uses it to pick from a set of built-in notes, also picking the sound, the rests, the chords, and even which stereo speaker they come from.   Click on this screen shot (400Kbytes) to get a fee for the program:

  softstep_radiation_muse.JPG (379150 bytes)

9/13/02:  A set of slides from a backpacking trip to Glacier Basin, Mt Rainier.  I searched for a slideshow maker that had transitions and finally found one, but it lacked controls, so I added javascript to do so.  A great learning process.  Anyway, the trip is over two days; note the crescent moon hitting the top of Rainier in one of the early pix.  Also some pix of a mine abandoned in 1925; and towards the end, the 12' food-hanging pole to thwart bears, which spooked me when I was alone the second night.  I easily imagined hearing bears snuffling and killing marmots on their way towards my tent.  [Note: current version of my modified viewer (9/15/02) includes a load-ahead of only 3 slides so you don't have to spend a lot of time waiting for the first slide.  On slow connections, things may get sloppy after that.]

8/29/02  A pic of Kip at Nuclear Alley last weekend, 150Kbytes.

Kip at Nuke Alley 8/02

6/28/02 Finally, some stuff from Maui '02 with the Maui Guys.  The first clip below, about 1Mbyte, is of Bard, enhanced by Larry's inimitable narration.   Note Kip and Bard almost hitting each other at the end of the clip and almost repeating the disastrous episode of September 1995.  In that crash, Bard broke a rib and his fin cut through the bow of Kip's board.  Other pix: all the boys at dinner with friends Steve Sussman and others; Chris sleeping at Lahaina Noon (sun vertical) in the crater of Haleakala; and Paul Mann's manly chest.  All pix are > 140Kbytes.

Bard on 266 and 4.7, Larry on microphone  126-2665_IMG.JPG (175266 bytes) 127-2731_IMG.JPG (180682 bytes) 127-2752_IMG.JPG (139203 bytes) 


3/18/02 Click below for a windows media movie of Kip sailing in 35 degree conditions.  I was out earlier, and was too cold and tired to go out again, so instead I filmed him.  Then, of course, seeing how much fun he was having, I had to go out again.  I put on my dripping, freezing wetsuit, and we had an amazing time, racing each other with numb faces and hands.  5.7 and 6.5 on Avantride 70's, wind 22-24kts.

kip_in_cold.jpg (109987 bytes)  Another new thing: click on 123-2380_IMG.JPG (60294 bytes) for a slideshow of sailing in Costa Rica, February 2002, at Lake Arenal.  The show begins with my finca/cabina on the north side of the lake, a nearby windfarm, shots of me doing bad jibes in sub-3.5m2 conditions, nearby Volcan Arenal and its  new lava field, some friends in San Jose, and a nice shot of sailors below the hotel.

More pix (click on the first two to enlarge): a recent magcam shot of an eagle that periodically visits a tree near the water; a great day near Bandera Mountain just as the mists lifted; and sunset using the webcam.

mtn_eagle3.jpg (33000 bytes)  sun_trees_bandera.JPG (107540 bytes) 

Kip jibing in Rowena, 8/01.  Mpeg format, not too big a file.  Kip enjoyed a rare opportunity to use Paul Mann as a jibe marker.

And here's why Kip works:

  why_kip_works.jpg (132796 bytes)   

A movie of Jonah and Bard windsurfing at Celilo in July 2001.  This one is in  Windows Media format and might require a player download.  Seems to be a good format, though, because it's streaming and OK quality, and, even better, the encoder is free!   It's big, so don't look at it with a modem.  Notes: in the first scene, Jonah's the one out in front doing the jumps.  There's a moment of black fade in the middle (wait for it to end), then it's Bard and then Jonah in close ups.

Bard and Jonah at Maryhill, the day before the above.  Quicktime format for this one, but not streaming!  Watch out, you have to download the entire 9Mbytes.  Taken by Jonah's girlfriend, Karen Andrews, with a Nikon camera made for stills, so there's no soundtrack, but the camera works well.  Notice that Jonah has the guts to attempt a duck jibe and I'm just doing the usual.  Here's a shorter.avi file.  And here's an even shorter .wma, which might actually stream.  On any of these that seem to be hung up downloading, a trick is to try to get the player playing before it's all downloaded.  

A movie of Bard windsurfing out in front of the Richmond household.  Music brought to you by my iMac and other various gadgets.  (Careful!  It needs Quicktime, and is a huge file.  Don't click on if using a modem.)  Or here's a smaller format.

And a movie of Max and Eli around the beginning of April, 2001.


MAUI '01 WINDSURFING TRIP-- Chris Soelling, Peter Erickson, Larry Breuer, Jeff Haley, Kip Wylie, and yours truly, brichmond.com.

Click here for a 5 minute, 17Mbyte movie of the trip in Quicktime.  Do NOT use a modem!  Some notes on the movie: the first sailor is Bard, followed by Bard and Kip, then a "vulcan" by Bard (NOT); Chris achieving high speeds;  Larry showing how it's really done; and finally Kip finishes it off with a "Yo Yo Ma" jibe and some outside work.  Too bad no tape of Peter or Jeff's jibes. 

Below are some still shots from the trip.  Larry, Jeff, Kip, Bard are shown sailing below.  The fifth shot is of JibeMaster Kip.  Click to enlarge.

    larry_da_kine_hi_res.jpg (75509 bytes) jeff.jpg (47695 bytes) kip_hi_res.jpg (79464 bytes)  bard_hi_res.jpg (79999 bytes) kip_jibe_master.jpg (93196 bytes)


Some of the injuries in the first few days (from left, Bard's downhaul-tightener-smashed anklebone, Chris' hand blisters, and Peter's fin-gouged shin).  No need to enlarge these.



These you can enlarge: Chris busted a boom with his vigor for footstraps and harness (note foam coming from mouth); Kip and Peter appearing to ask themselves why they should ever leave;  the tub of water that we dipped our feet into every day and never changed (people said that the life forms in there actually developed intelligence by the time we left); and finally, our sails waking up in the morning sun and waiting patiently for us to give them freedom out on the wind and waves.


chris_go_boom_boom.jpg (122884 bytes) Kip_Peter_contemplating.jpg (51311 bytes) bacteria_water.jpg (106260 bytes)  sails_waiting_for_us.jpg (132656 bytes)


No pictures, but other damaged equipment included a mast of Kip's,  and at least one fin on everyone's board.  The coral was very hungry this trip.

Now this is pretty cool-- a "photostitched" panorama, taken 5 miles deep in Haleakala's crater, by Bard, using the Canon digital Elph camera.  Click on it, then hold down the mouse on the right hand scroll button, and it shows the entire 360 degrees, including the trail going out and coming in, and some wild rocks created as lava bubbled and foamed while cooling.

haleakala_very_wide.jpg (428776 bytes) 

Click on this amazing shot of a Silversword.  They bloom every 20 years or more (hence the other name, "Century Plant"), then die.  Hopefully not like our group on Maui.  And finally, yet another nice windy day at our beach.

silversword.jpg (422638 bytes)   tilted_nice_day.jpg (125495 bytes)


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