Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two Wheeled Trucks

The other day I saw a bike leaned against the tree outside of Boomtown that caught my eye. The bike was a bright orange single speed "Mondo Utility Bike" made by Yuba and it was unlike any bike I'd seen. Constructed of some serious steel, this long wheel-base bike had a sticker that said "maximum load 440 lbs." That's a lot of lumber on a bike. I talked to the fellow that owned the bike and he turns out to be an owner of nearby Escape Sports which is the local dealer for these heavy haulers. The spokes are heavy gauge to take the load and are at least twice as thick as any spoke I'd seen before. Available in the single speed version he was riding, or a 6 speed, these bikes are being sold for about $1000. My interest was certainly piqued, but I doubt if I can convince my wife that I can drop that kind of money on another bike.

I've been quite interested in another option for a while now, a few years at least. It's a conversion kit which turns any standard bike into a load hauler. The Xtracycle Sport Utility Bike is also sold by Escape Sports and I though he told me they cost a couple of hundred dollars, but the conversion kit is listed on the Xtracycle web site for $399. I've seen these around town a couple of times and it seems likely that it was probably the same fellow from Escape Sports, or his brother. The Xtracycle kits come with the bags shown, and numerous accessories are available, including a wide load carrier, and a $350 blender. All this reminded me that I saw this week that Surly is now making a frame for (with?) Xtracycle (after having a look at Surlyville after seeing Ryan's Surly Karate Monkey, and Tim's Surly Crosscheck - I hadn't been to the Surly web site to drool in a couple of years).
The Big Dummy is a "cargo long-bike" frame that uses the Xtracycle components. The Surly blog has some interesting comments about the handling of a long wheel-base bike. The frame is listed at Xtracycle for $900 (US) and the complete bike at $1800.

Finally, today while waiting for a car tire to be repaired I walked over to the local bike shop, Doug's Spoke n' Sport. Right beside the entrance they had a Kona UTE "utility bike," yet another bike that I didn't know existed until this week.My daughter was sleeping in the stroller so I took it for a ride around the parking lot. It rides like, well, a solid bike that's a bit too small for me. I didn't raise the seat (it wasn't quick release) and I should have to better evaluate it. At $800, I'm very interested in this bike. Perhaps I could get rid of my beater mountain bike that I ride in the winter, and the 1978 road bike that is my rain bike/all-round commuter (it's officially for sale so let me know if you want it, or want more information!).

Looking at these options, they each have some advantages. The Xtracycle option is the least expensive, makes use of a bike I already own, and they come with some really good (large) bags for hauling the groceries, etc. The other bikes have the advantage of being purpose-built with a higher bottom bracket, tougher wheels and stronger frame (than my beater winter bike). That seems especially true of the Mundo as it seems to be far and away the toughest, and therefore heaviest, of the set. If I were to haul bricks on a bike, this would be the one I'd pick. The Big Dummy comes with a truckload of Surly coolness, but that's the only advantage I really see with that option. The UTE is a reasonably priced complete bike and has 700c wheels which ought to improve the ride a bit. The Kona also comes with a pair of panniers, similar to but maybe somewhat larger than the Nashbar townie basket. However, these saddle bags really under utilize the UTE's load bearing capacity. It would be nice to see this bike in a larger size (I'm 6' 3" so a big bike is good), with bigger saddle bags. As soon as they get those two things, I'll be snapping it up, err... if my wife lets me, someday, maybe.

For more on utility bikes, here are some additional links I have found:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Congratulations Kisseynew!

Well Martin Bernardin has yet another Yukon River Quest in the bag. Based on the unofficial results, Martin's team has set a new record in the voyageur class as well as a new course record.

You can see the race results as they come in here.

They left Whitehorse at 6/25/08 12:30 and finished in Dawson at 6/27/08 14:02 for a total time of 49 hours, 32 minutes. There was a mandatory 7 hour layover at Carmacks, and a mandatory 3 hour Layover at Kirkman Creek, for 10 hours total to be subtracted, giving a 39:32 finish time.

The previous course record was set in 2006 by Brandon Nelson and David Kelly with a time of 40:37:05 in a tandem kayak. The Voyageur record set last year (breaking the record Martin et al set in 2006) was 41:15 by team Coureur des Bayou. That team is 5/8 the same as this year's 2nd place team, the Texans. Martin will be very happy to have beaten them. He told me he thought that he could have beaten them last year, as they were closing the gap prior to the end of the race but fell a bit short (if I recall correctly). I don't doubt that there would have been some interesting dynamics on the river as these two teams chased each other. I look forward to hearing Martin's stories.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Launch of the Sea Flea

We launched the kid's Yost Sea Flea 11 a couple of weekends ago at Pike Lake, a small oxbow lake in a local provincial park. The launch was a bit hurried due to some incoming weather and the start of a rain shower (I had just finished a day of kayak lessons), but within a few minutes our older daughter had figured out how to make her kayak go forward, backward, and turn.The outriggers are very similar to that described in the Chris Cunningham book, Building the Greenland Kayak. In my version the boat bumpers (the floats) are held onto the crosspiece by a bungee and a webbing strap. It seemed to work quite well and breaks down easily for transport or storage. The outrigger is secured to the kayak using a deck rigging slider which works quite well. Mom heads out too.
My wife is paddling her guillemot kayak, launched exactly one year earlier (the Saturday prior to Father's Day).
Our younger daughter gets her turn too, just as the rain started.
The next day (Father's Day Sunday) we took another tour. This time we had beautiful sunny skies and warm weather. We launched at the main beach and paddled through the lily pads and visited one of the large beaver lodges. The younger girl & I paddled the canoe while Mom and our other daughter were in the kayaks. After a while, my wife gave a tow. She reported that the Sea Flea towed very easily, offering little resistance (until our daugther learned to use her paddle to increase the drag!). While being towed, she made a game of paddling hard to overtake and pass Mom.
Unfortunately, we never did try the kayak without the outriggers. I wish we had at least tried it without them while we were playing at the beach.
Our little girl played in Mom's kayak by the beach. For more posts about the Sea Flea and the build, click here or click on the label "kid kayak."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mark In The News

Mark's now well underway on his journey from La Ronge to Hudson Bay, paddling 1400 km in his solo canoe. He is about 9 days into the trip and should now be nearing the eastern border of the province.

Mark has gotten a fair bit of media coverage this time around. Over the course of his trip, Mark will be phoning in to CBC Radio every two weeks for an interview with the local Saskatchewan program, Blue Sky. The week before leaving, Mark did a radio interview with Blue Sky. That interview was aired last Tuesday (June 17th) and you can listen to the interview here (Real Audio file). His next interview will air tomorrow, Tuesday, June 24th between 12 and 1 pm. If I'm lucky, I'll remember to turn on CBC radio and listen this time. If not, hopefully it shows up in their archive. You can hear the interview for yourself at 540 am anywhere within about 500 km of Watrous, 94.1 FM in Saskatoon, and many other local frequencies. For those of you outside of Saskatchewan, or for those who, like me, don't have a functioning radio, you can listen online.

Here is a schedule of his CBC radio interviews as pasted from his blog:
Tuesday June 24th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday July 8th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday July 24th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday August 5th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday August 19th Between 12 - 1 pm

His June 24th interview is now available online. Find it here.

Mark also did an interview with the Saskatoon Sun which appeared in my mailbox this weekend. It was a full page article with a picture of Mark in his canoe sitting alongside the boathouse dock. I'd like to provide a link to an online version but it doesn't appear to be available anywhere. Mark also did an interview with the PA Herald which appeared a week and a half ago. You can read it here. He was also planning on doing an interview with the La Ronge Northerner prior to launching.

You can learn more about Mark Lafontaine and his epic journey from his website (, including a map of the route. Mark has also been keeping a blog where he detailed some of the construction of his custom-designed expedition canoe and other aspects of preparation for the trip (

By the way, I got a chance to paddle his new canoe for a couple of minutes two weeks ago. Although I was only in it briefly, it felt very nice. I had just come out of the canoe club's Swift Osprey (mentioned in a previous post), so Mark's canoe felt rock solid in terms of stability. It was tougher to turn, but not bad. The narrow beam at the gunwales made paddling very easy. Of course, it had no load in it so it wasn't a real good test. I expect that upon Mark's return he'll have a clearly defined set of goals to achieve in the next canoe he builds, characteristics he likes and others he wants to improve upon.

Update: Mark ended up suffering physical and equipment problems. These issues (I'm not clear on what problems he encountered), forced him to turn around when he was well into Manitoba and retrace part of his route in order to get himself out. I believe area forest fires were also a concern and could have prevented rapid egress had he proceeded farther.

Bike Blogs

I've mentioned before that an interesting blog I like is Copenhagen Cycle Chic (be sure to check out the sister blog, Today I found a couple of local bike blogs I look forward to following.

A search for reviews on the "iFlasher" battery-less bike light made by Reelight led me to Bicycle Smile. Bicycle Smile is a blog, created by Ryan Warkentin, featuring reviews of cycling gear. Although they have a link to Reelight, they don't actually have a review up (yet?). I covet his Surly!

From Ryan's web site, I found the blog of Tim Brown, aka Tim's Bike Blog. I've known Tim for a few years now. We once competed in a cyclocross race together where I beat him. ;) This was my one and only race (cyclocross or any other bike race) and it nearly killed me, or at least that's how it felt. It was fun though and I wish I had the fitness to do it again (I haven't been riding with Horizon 100 in a few years). One of the things I admire about Tim is his mobility with two kids by bike. I occasionally see him around town hauling his young kids around in the bike trailer demonstrating what can be done. I take my kids year-round and through the occasional blizzard in the bike trailer to school, day care, and sometimes shopping, but Tim takes it up to another level.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shaman Kayaks & Durability

The perception is that wood kayaks are fragile, skin-on-frame kayaks doubly so. Watch the video at the link below and see what you think.

Video: Shaman Kayaks by John Petersen

After watching the video, browse the site to see his kayaks & paddles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Northstar Expeditions Meets Kingston Kayak Instruction

NorthStar Expeditions is the official name for a group of 4 guys (including myself) that I canoe trip with every year. This spring, as a Father's Day gift, our wives signed us up for kayak lessons through Viki at Kingston Kayak Instruction. Some of our group had a bit of experience but mostly we're fairly novice paddlers when it comes to kayaks so we signed up for the Flatwater Skills course. The course included a session discussing various aspects of boats and paddling, a pool session, and most of last Saturday was spent on the water at Pike Lake. Getting the opportunity to practice rescues in a pool was a great way to get comfortable in the water where tipping over in the kayak becomes play. The highlight of the pool session was jumping off of the 5 meter platform - that's a long way down and a lot of time spent falling to think about regrets. Jay jumped off of the 7 meter platform and he said it was a big step up from 5 m. Thankfully, the 10 m platform was closed.

Saturday at Pike Lake the day started off pretty nice with warm and sunny skies, but eventually thunderstorms and rain rolled in (as previously posted). The rain really didn't matter too much since we were spending the afternoon largely in the water anyway. A bit warmer might have been nice but it was OK. My outfit for the afternoon while we were wet and practicing rescue techniques was a "shorty" wet suit, a polyester t-shirt, cycling sleeves (arm warmers), PFD, paddling gloves, with my light cycling jacket thrown over top of everything (I didn't realise how odd the jacket over everything made me look until I saw the pictures later - think red beach ball with a head on top). I tried goggles for about 30 seconds but they immediately filled with water.

After getting pretty confident with our "eskimo rescues" (aka T-rescue) I decided it was time for an impromptu test. While paddling fast alongside Jay, I called over to him and asked "Jay, are you paying attention?" He looked over and said "yeah" or perhaps it was "nah" or maybe "huh?" I promptly flipped over (while still under steam) and began banging on my kayak hull, the signal that I need assistance. My thought was that Jay would just paddle right over and present his bow for me to grab onto allowing me to right myself without leaving the cockpit of the kayak. Only problem is that Jay was paddling fast in the slowest turning kayak in the group. By the time he even realised what was going on, I was under water, banging on my boat and moving my hands back and forth waiting for the sudden appearance of his bow in my hand. Everything also seems to go a little slower while your are hanging upside down under water. I quickly ran out of breath and had to wet exit. By the time I came up in the water alongside my kayak, Jay was rounding the turn in his kayak and just about on his way over to me. Well I guess it ended up being a good practice of assisted re-entry techniques.

At the end of the class our families found us and took some photos. Unfortunately the batteries on our camera were dying so the videos that my wife took didn't turn out.

In the photo below the class is grouped around Viki who is wrapping things up.
Viki and the others head back while the 4 guys paddle over to the families.
NorthStar Expeditions

Using the water pumps to spray the kids.
After the class we launched my daughters' new kayak. I still have to crop & upload the photos so that post will be added in the next couple of days.

Paddle for a Flea, Part 2

I posted about the girls painting the blades for their new paddle a little while ago but I didn't show the completed paddle. I finished the paddle last week so here are a few pictures of that process, though I still need to give it a final sanding and a coat of varnish.

With blades painted, I epoxied them onto the shaft of the paddle, cut and shaped from cedar left over from the Sea Flea stringers. The shaft has a curved profile at the point of attachment of the blades. A fillet of thickened epoxy was added to the blade/shaft joint, and the back of the shaft shaped such that it becomes quite thin near it's extremities and gradually increases to full thickness. The shaft at the back of the blade also has a curved profile. Once the blades were attached and the shaft backing the blades shaped, a 14 gauge copper wire was added to the edge of the blade in order to protect the blade in use. Getting the copper wire attached to a blade edge that was less than 1/8" thick was a bit of a challenge. In order to provide some backing to the wire to keep it in the right spot, I clamped some additional 1/8" plywood to the blade with wax paper to keep glue from sticking to it. I then used Krazy Glue (cyanoacrylate glue) to tack the wire in place.

I worked progressively around the blade, starting at the tips and tacking the wire in place as I went. I would hold and/or clamp the wire in place then tack it in a couple of spots with glue then after a fwe seconds for the glue to take hold I could let go. I would give it a further few minutes for the glue to set before moving the clamps to tack the next series of spots. I only glued my fingers to the paddle a few times.

With the wire in place, the backing piece of plywood was removed and the glue residue seen below was cleaned up.

After a bit more shaping of the shaft on the back of the blade, it was ready for fiberglass. I used 6 ounce cloth left over from the guillemot kayak. I could have used 4 ounce, but it wasn't quite as close at hand as this stuff. The photo below shows both blades with cloth pieces and ready for epoxy.

The silvery sheen of woven glass fibers turns clear as it wets out with epoxy.
Below, the blade nearly fully wet-out.

The back of the blade after a coat of epoxy.
After the epoxy was partially cured to a green stage (somewhat rubbery, stiff but still flexible), the excess glass was trimmed with a sharp blade. The blades then received a fill coat of epoxy which was allowed to mostly cure before sanding and a third coat of epoxy was applied. The shaft also received a coat of epoxy along it's length.

The next photos I have of the paddle are of it in use during the launch of the girls' new kayak so stay tuned for the "launch" post. Later I will have to update this post with a weight and length (it's about 155 cm I believe).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yukon River Quest 2008

The start of the 2008 Yukon River Quest is only 8 days away. Again, Martin Bernardin of Kisseynew Canoe Company will be there with his sights set on another record for the voyageur canoe class in his custom built canoe, the Precipice. Martin will be in Team Kisseynew #15. I expect the "Texans" (#1) to be his toughest competition as most of this team was part of the group that won last year. Another Saskatchewan team, #59 Hatchet Lake, may also prove to be competitive.

Here is a YouTube video from last year's race. Martin's canoe can be seen at about 4 minutes in. It's black with a big Canada flag at the stern and a white bow. I didn't see Martin's other canoe in the video, the Sainte Anne, a cedar strip voyageur canoe that Martin used to break the record in 2006.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Paddling Forecast?

I want to pit Environment Canada (Weatheroffice) and against each other and against reality to see who comes out on top. I am enrolled in a kayak course and this Saturday is the final session, to be held out at Pike Lake where we'll also be camping for the weekend. It would be great if it was nice and warm. That seems unlikely, but maybe we can hope for the rain to hold off? It seems lately that the forecast has been changing on a nearly hourly basis and that they really are having troubles getting it right. I also am no longer certain that what was the Canadian standard, Environment Canada, is any better than the competition, led by the Weathernetwork. Both of the forecasts below were downloaded at about 10:30 this morning.

Here is what Environment Canada is forecasting: Here is what Weathernetwork forecasts:
So for Saturday when we're on the water, Environment Canada says we will have "A mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 7. High 16." For the same day Weathernetwork's forecast is actually pretty similar though they increase the high to 18C and decrease the chance of rain to 20%. This is a lot more similar than these two forecasters have been in the past. I will follow up with this and post an update of how this forecast changes over the next day or so, and how things actually shape up.

12/6/08 - 9:05 pm Update: Environment Canada has modified it's forecast for tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. For Friday's forecast they have reduced the chance of showers to 40%, and reduced the forecast high to 19C. Fairly small changes. However for Saturday, the chance of rain (40%) has been removed entirely and the forecast now is simply for "showers". Great.

13/6/08 - 10:20 am Update:
Environment Canada:

Today - Day: Cloudy. 70 percent chance of showers. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 18. UV index 4 or moderate.
Night: Cloudy. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 10.
Saturday - Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers in the morning and early in the afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h late in the morning. High 18.
Sunday - Sunny. Low 7. High 21.
Monday - Sunny. Low 8. High 22.
Tuesday - A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 11. High 25.

Weather Network: Same forecast as before but the chance of rain is back to 40%. Sunday looks good though.

Update: 17/06/08 - The weekend was wet. Friday turned out pretty nice, but we got some rain in the evening. Saturday, the rain was periodic through the day and we were graced by a thunderstorm passing just to the north of us during our kayak lessons. In the evening it began to really rain and continued to do so for about 3 hours, ending about 10 pm. I think we had well over an inch of rain during the day. Unfortunately, due to the soggy conditions and the poorly graded tent site (we had the best spot in our camp site) we had water come up through the bottom of our tent and our sleeping bags got damp. The following is for the Saskatoon airport, about 50 km north of where we were. I'm just copying and pasting it in so excuse the imperfect formatting.


Latitude:52° 10.200' NLongitude:106° 43.200' WElevation:503.80 m
Climate ID:4057120WMO ID:71866TC ID:YXE
Hourly Data Report for June 14, 2008
Dew Point Temp
Rel Hum
Wind Dir
10's deg
Wind Spd
Stn Press

Wind Chill


00:00 8.6 7.9 95 32 9 24.1 94.88

Mostly Cloudy
01:00 7.6 7.1 97 5 11 24.1 94.89

Mostly Cloudy
02:00 6.5 6.4 99 7 11 24.1 94.86

Mainly Clear
03:00 6.4 6.4 100 26 9 24.1 94.89

Mostly Cloudy
04:00 5.4 5.4 100 24 4 16.1 94.89

Mostly Cloudy
05:00 6.2 6.2 100 21 4 16.1 94.90

06:00 7.4 7.4 100 24 7 16.1 94.92

07:00 9.0 9.0 100 29 6 16.1 94.97

08:00 9.8 9.7 99 28 11 16.1 95.01

Rain Showers
09:00 10.8 9.7 93 30 9 16.1 95.01

Rain Showers
10:00 11.6 10.4 92 30 7 16.1 95.01

Rain Showers
11:00 13.2 9.9 80 30 9 24.1 94.98

Mostly Cloudy
12:00 14.6 9.6 72 34 9 24.1 94.98

Mostly Cloudy
13:00 18.3 9.9 58 32 17 24.1 94.97

14:00 18.4 9.9 58 31 19 24.1 94.96

Mostly Cloudy
15:00 19.4 9.1 51 31 17 24.1 94.94

Mostly Cloudy
16:00 16.1 10.3 68 32 26 24.1 94.98

Rain Showers
17:00 11.1 10.8 98 3 9 2.4 95.13

Thunderstorms, Heavy Rain Showers, Fog
18:00 10.9 10.9 100 30 7 2.4 95.16

Moderate Rain, Fog
19:00 11.1 11.1 100
0 24.1 95.18

20:00 11.4 11.4 100 31 6 12.9 95.24

21:00 11.2 11.2 100 30 4 9.7 95.29

22:00 11.1 11.1 100 23 4 16.1 95.37

23:00 10.7 10.7 100 8 17 24.1 95.42


Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Things You Can Do with Epoxy

The other morning I decided to fix the loose hinges on the door to our basement. The screw holes in the mdf door had loosened so that they didn't hold the hinges tight anymore. Like most boatbuilders would, I turned to epoxy for the solution. I took the door out to the garage, removed the hinges and dribbled some mixed epoxy (West System 105 resin, 207 hardener) into the holes then painted on a bit of epoxy thickened with 406 colloidal silica and screwed the hinges back in place. Those hinges should be very secure now!

While I was fixing doors, I fixed a hole in a hollow core bathroom door, again with epoxy. The hole, about 5" in diameter, was made smaller by hot-gluing most of the pieces back in place. A larger gap that remained was filled with half of a popsicle stick. All the cracks were painted with unthickened epoxy then the area (which formed a valley) covered with epoxy thickened with 407 "low density fairing filler." The advantage of this stuff is that it forms a smooth surface and sands easily. It required two applications to get a smooth and flat surface on the door. It has since been primed, the door replaced, and once it receives paint will be hard to notice.

The third epoxy-realted task of that morning was to fix my sandals (actually, it was the sandal fix that got me started in that direction in the first place). The strap had pulled out adjacent to the heel on each sandal rendering them useless. Good sandals are expensive so I was motivated to attempt to get this pair back in service for a little longer. I filled the void where the strap was supposed to be with unthickened epoxy (a fair amount of epoxy went into that space, I think it partly filled a cavity under the heel), shoved the broken strap in as far as it would go, then drilled a 1" screw in from the side through the strap and into the footbed below the heel. After over a week using the repaired sandals, it seems like my fix was pretty effective and I have, for now, crossed sandals off of the shopping list.

The final epoxy project of the morning was a craft conceived by my daughter. She likes going through the wood scrap bin to see what she can make of them. This time she picked a 4"x4" thin piece of scrap and wrote on it a note to Mom. She then found some colourful glass pieces and used the epoxy I was repairing my sandals with to glue the pieces onto the wood (with my help). Voila, instant craft and a gift for Mom.

Friday, June 06, 2008

2 Books in 3 Days

A couple of weeks ago I was at my parent's house with the kids for a couple of days. Without any boats to distract me, I did some significant reading for the first time in a while and took advantage of my parent's book shelf. The first book, The Ketzer, was written by local author, David Carpenter. Carpenter is one of my favourite authors. His book, Courting Saskatchewan is an inspiring account of his love for his adopted home and I think everyone should read it. For those that have always lived here, it will remind you of why it's a good place to be and you will be able to relate to his stories. For those that have moved here, it will give insight into what aspects there are to love, especially beyond the city limits and their work (the reason most seem to move here). For those that have only heard of Saskatchewan and are aware of our highly inaccurate reputation as a dry, flat, and boring land, it will demonstrate with passion why that myth is so far off base. Another favourite book from Carpenter is Fishing in Western Canada, a Freshwater Guide. This guide has one important distinction from other books covering the topic of fishing: it doesn't assume that you have, or even want, a big fishing boat. Certainly, the book covers all the standard larger fishing waters in the region, but he also covers many smaller lakes and streams, waters that are accessible by canoe, waders, or belly boat. He also addresses the techniques relevant to these self-propelled activities. All of this is done with a good amount of humour making the book not only useful and informative, but also very enjoyable.

The Ketzer is a novella set largely in southeastern Saskatchewan. On the surface, it is about a group of family and their friends that hunts together. The book was easy to read and enjoyable enough, but I'm reserving judgment on this book. Perhaps I'll read it again to better understand the deeper meanings and what it says about relationships. You can listen to an excerpt from this book and others at David Carpenter's web site.

With The Ketzer finished in just a few hours, I turned to The Five People You Meet In Heaven, by Mitch Albom. This book was interesting and easy to read. It's unique in that it starts at the end of a man's life, who then goes to heaven and meets five people that influenced the direction of his life, starting as a young child and ending the journey as an elderly man. The book seems to be about the small actions that can, unknowingly, have profound effects on those around us.