29 April 2007

Weekend Update

The word for the weekend: uneventful. I stayed local, surfing both days at the home break. I didn't think the conditions would be better anywhere else. That's when the home break is an especially wonderful place. The waves were small. The shoulders were few. But it's still home. The people are why you go back.

I don't know when I'll next be in the water. Soul Brother #1 finally goes in for surgery on Thursday. (He hurt this shoulder in November!!) Life is going to be interesting for the next three months. I'd been thinking that I could possibly do some dawn patrol sessions during the months he'll be home from work. I figured he could take the little man to daycare some mornings. I'll surf and then head into work. Well, now this plan isn't looking so good. The problem? I've got the only car that's surf mobile worthy. And that's the car he'll have to drive. My car is an automatic station wagon. His car is a smaller manual transmission hatchback. I'm not going to let him drive his car while his shoulder heals. Too risky. So I'll take it. But then it hit me: How am I supposed to get a longboard in that? And, no, I can't put racks on top of his car. So, I'm screwed as far as dawn patrol goes.

We did recently acquire another vehicle that's perfect for surfing. Unfortunately, it's not ready for much of anything yet.



IT . . .

I can get a lot of longboards in that thing. Now look at that little munchkin car in front of it. It's like a clown car compared to the VW Bus.

Yeah, I went ahead and bought it. I've already lined up the interior guy. First step: deal with the front seats and the bed/seats in the back. Second step: I ain't got one. This will be a nickel and dime project. Stay tuned for updates.

25 April 2007

Sunrise at the Beach

That's how early I got up and out this morning. What's funny is I didn't even check a lot of spots. I went straight to the Pier. My window of opportunity was once again a small one. If I wanted to cut it close, I could stay out in the water surfing and be home by 9. But I don't like to cut it close, so I had to be in and out by about 7:30. Much to my surprise, I was the first person there doing a surf check. As I walked back to the car, having decided that the waves looked good enough, someone said my name. There was Whiff walking toward the water for a surf check. We both decided the waves looked pretty good and suited up.

Today, Whiff got to see my magnet. Alan M always talks about his kook magnet and the amount of people who gravitate to him when he's in the water minding his own business. Well, I don't have a kook magnet. I do, however, have a "Hey-it's-a-black-girl-who-surfs-and-we-don't-get-many-of-them-in-these-parts-so-I'm-going-to-talk-her-ear-off-because-my-curiosity-has-been-piqued" magnet. Whiff was dressed and out in the water while I politely talked to the guy who was parked next to me. It happens to me all the time. Truthfully, it's happened to me my entire adult life. There's something that makes people engage me in long or deep conversations even though I'm a complete stranger. Weird. Anyway, my magnet was working this morning. The guy even talked to me while I was in the water.

The waves weren't great. They looked and were good before I paddled out. Things changed up once I was out in the water. You could see the shape beginning to deteriorate. I caught my first wave rather quickly. Then, nothing. The waves were either walled up and shapeless or mid-sized and mushy. I was not at all frustrated though. Here I was on a weekday morning getting a session in. The skies were clear and it wasn't all that cold. Everything about the setting was gorgeous. No, the waves weren't great, but you can't have everything. At some point, Whiff yelled, "Are you having any luck over there?" All I could do was shake my head.

The session wasn't a total wash. I saw Whiff catch a few and then get out. My clock was ticking and I was looking for my one last wave. Then some woman yelled to me. It sounded like she said my name and then she waved. I didn't recognize her at all. I paddled over to her to get a closer look. It turns out she thought I was someone else, someone who apparently also has my first name. I couldn't help but wonder how many black, dreadlocked women there are in the lineups these days who are also named ****. Frankly, I thought I was the only one. Anyway, she and I talked awhile. We both turned around and saw a wave approaching. As I paddled for it, I realized I was looking at a real, honest to goodness, bona fide shoulder. I was all over that thing. She and I both caught it. It was a right. As it lost strength, I turned around and went left. (This seems to be my signature move, one that I learned out of necessity, one that seems to impress the hell out of people who don't realize that I'll do anything necessary to go left!) It ended up being a long ride, one worthy of a point break. It took me all the way in. Then I went home to start my day in earnest.

24 April 2007

Coolest Button Ever!

22 April 2007

Da Bull

I met Greg Noll!!! Why is it that when I see a bona fide movie or TV star in person, I'm totally uninterested, but when I see someone like Greg Noll, I'm dumbstruck? As far as I'm concerned, if there are surfing gods, Greg Noll is one of them. He took quite an interest in Soul Brother #2, asking if the little man has a wetsuit (yes, by the way, he does) and telling me to let him come to surfing at his own speed (which is just the way I see it too). The old dude rocks! I couldn't afford the book, so I had him sign a Greg Noll sticker and my tide book. (I don't get paid until Friday and I don't use credit. So, I couldn't get the book . . . unless pocket lint is now an accepted currency at surf shops).

The recent rains kept me out of the water this weekend. Seeing Da Bull rivaled an epic session. I'm on a high that's going to last for awhile. Aloha.

19 April 2007

Just Stop!

1. Stop showing the videos of that guy. You're just making it worse. We live in a culture that worships violence, people. We can't deny that fact. We also live in a culture that encourages people to seek fame (even if they're undeserving of our attention). Put those two facts together and you've got a recipe for disaster (i.e., someone else will try to outdo this guy, knowing that he or she will go down in history for his or her misdeeds).

2. Stop talking about his ethnic background. It's irrelevant. He was acculturated long ago. For all intents and purposes, he's American. And, damn!! When Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City—killing 168 people, both adults and kids—no one said jack about his ethnicity. So shut the f$@k up already about where this guy was born and what that might mean. It means nothing.

3. Stop saying it wouldn't have happened had guns been legal. Yep. I heard a guy on the radio say that. I don't want to live in a country where everyone carries a gun. You know what might have happened had someone else been carrying a gun? That person, in his nervousness, might have missed this lunatic, shot one of innocents and then been shot by the lunatic. You can never assume. I'm a gun owner. I abhor guns. However, I'm realistic about how quickly it takes the police to respond when called to this neighborhood. (The night a crazy guy broke into my gym in the back, it took the police two hours to show up. What if the guy had tried to come into our house? What if the guy had been violent? Well, if we'd waited for the police to save us, it's likely something terrible would have happened. Luckily, the guy was unarmed, scared and trying to hide from people he thought were chasing him.) I don't carry a gun on my person. I can't imagine what L.A. would be like if carrying firearms on one's person was legal. This place, especially the freeways, would look like a war zone.

4. Stop ignoring what's going on in Iraq. Yesterday, one car bomb killed over 100 people. One fell swoop. Just like that. Why do we continue to ignore the fact that the people over there live with this kind of violence every single day? I'm not negating what happened in Virginia. I just want everyone to recognize that the world is a fucked up place right now.

5. Stop acting like you care about the blacks in Darfur. (Yes, I'm talking to the president.) You don't care, dude. It's genocide, a genocide that's been going on for years. You don't give a rat's ass. So stop pretending you do. In fact, stop even talking about Sudan. I'd rather you ignore the place than pretend you care.

6. Stop asking "Why?" when you know you'll never receive a satisfactory answer. We'll never know what possessed this lunatic to do what he did.

7. Stop trying to blame the school for what happened. How often does stuff like this happen? Yeah, the guy was crazy in class. But he wasn't the first. I had a few crazies when I taught. Thankfully, none of them was violent. What I think everyone should focus on is why Virginia's background check was unable to determine that homeboy had been involuntarily committed at one point. But let's say the background check was able to stop him from purchasing guns legally. Who's to say he wouldn't have then gotten them illegally? It's not hard to get a gun, people.

8. Stop the bloodlust. It's everywhere. We glorify murder in this country. Just look at our television shows: The Sopranos, Homicide, Law & Order, The Shield, CSI. I don't like that stuff. I think it helps to desensitize all of us to killing. If you see enough of it, it's no big deal (even when it's on a fictional TV show). Many of the video games aren't much better. Don't even make me go there about rap music. I can't believe people wait with baited breath for the next gory movie or the next episode of a TV show that's all about murder. I'm not judging. I'm just saying I don't want to be so accustomed to the idea of murder than I'm comfortable watching this stuff. (Okay, I do watch The First 48, a reality show on A&E. But it doesn't glorify the murder. Instead, it follows the police for the first 48 hours after a murder since that is the most crucial time in a case. See, I'm guilty too.)

When are we going to tire of all of this? What's become of our society?

15 April 2007

Sunday's Session

What session? Between the rain and the wind, there would be no surfing today. I spent three hours doing manual labor (because the way I dig and heave and plant is not the gentile exploit other people call "gardening") and 30 minutes riding the bike on the stationary trainer. I'm pooped.

Saturday's Session

I got three waves. Whiff, who was getting out as I was heading in, said it was kind of good when he was in but it was getting worse. He was right. The home break pretty much sucks these days.

11 April 2007

Not Worth the Fuss

I hit up RPB for the swell. However, I think I mistimed my session. I don't know. Waves came through, but not like they did on Sunday. The waves today were mainly walls with a few shoulders thrown in. I got a few of them. But when you're only in for an hour at a crowded break with waves without shoulders, you're not going to have a whole lot to write about. People said it was better earlier. Well, I couldn't get there earlier. No matter. I'm glad I was able to get a little something in. That's always better than going to work.

Butterflies in My Stomach

Soul Brother #2's daycare is closed this week. I'm off today. Right now he's doing a little happy dance for reasons unknown. That's just what five year olds do when they're happy. Anyway, I've got Soul Grandmother #2 to watch him for a little while later today. The free cams are showing some serious swell. When the surf is like that and I'm able to hit it, I get worked up. I'm sitting here trying to remain calm. I'm failing miserably. I'm wondering where I'll go, whether the swell will be too big—LPB is out of the question on a day like today, whether I'll find parking, whether I'll regret paddling out, etc. I can barely sit still. I'm as bad as my five year old.

08 April 2007

Surf Like a Sista!

Sistas surf with grace and style. Behold the beautiful dismount!

Three days in a row! I surfed three days in a row. I don't get to do that often now that I work full-time. Three days and three different breaks. I'm not complaining. I was surprised I even got a session in today. I said nothing about surfing this morning. I stayed home, let Soul Brother #1 sleep in, and tended to Soul Brother #2. After fixing breakfast for both of them, we sat here looking at one another. Then Soul Brother #1 asked if I wanted to go to the beach. That's his way of saying they'll hang out while I surf.

The home break didn't look good. The waves were up and over. The tide wasn't helping. Normally, we'd simply turn around and go home. But I didn't feel like going home. I suggested we drive up the coast. Believe it or not, I wasn't thinking about finding a surf spot. I thought a session was out of the question. But as we passed RPB, we could see it was breaking. There were also several parking spots available. I turned around to take a look. You'll never guess what happened next? Soul Brother #1 told me to suit up. Even though I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I didn't hesistate to throw on the wetsuit and pop in the contacts. The place was packed at The Point and a little south of that. I saw a little peak with a left that kept popping up in the middle of the bay. So I paddled out to it. There were only a few people in the bay. I definitely wasn't surfing in a crowd. RPB was breaking rather nicely—not that you can tell from the picture above. I stayed in for an hour and a half. That was more than enough for my third straight day. I'm good and sore now.

I may get in another session during the week. Think good thoughts about the next swell!

This is where I should have walked to the nose. I see that in the picture. My brain still can't process this when I'm surfing. The pictures help me though.

Can you believe that crowd? I'm way over on the left popping up.

07 April 2007

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The session was over. I was ready to leave. I looked at one of my tires and said to my surfing buddy from work that I thought I needed new tires. He was unsure about that. We drove off. I swear it wasn't five minutes later that I heard something slapping the underside of the car. I couldn't believe it. I knew (!!!) it was the tire. Luckily, my friend from work was still behind me and pulled over to see if something was wrong. Yep. Part of the tread was hanging off, exposing the steel belt underneath. I never expected that. The tires didn't look that bad. I just had an inkling—call it instinct—that my tires needed some attention.

Well, we get out the spare. That was a nightmare in itself since the spare is stored under the rear cargo compartment. The car was packed with two boards, surf gear, a Wave Board, and other stuff. All that had to come out. Anyway, my buddy changed the tire after our detailed search for the lug wrench and two calls to AAA (the first to tell them to come out, the second to call them off). He threw the bad one in the back and I threw the surf gear back in. Then I made a somewhat mad dash back to L.A. On the way there, I called the only place I ever go for tires. It's a little place in the heart of Inglewood. The old white guys who run it initially seem pissed off about everything. But once you're there for more than a few minutes, you realize they're generally happy people who were probably in that neighborhood long before "white flight". They're still there and they run a tight ship. I called them from the freeway at 11:20, asking what time they closed. They said 12. DOH!! I told them I thought I could make it in 20 minutes. The guy on the phone grumbled about them closing on time. Well, I made it by 11:50, certain that they'd turn me away. Much to my surprise, they were open and seemed to be waiting for someone. I think that someone was me. (Someone came in right after I did. They turned him away.) I was in and out with two new front tires in about 10 minutes. I must be doing something right. I discovered the tire problem at about 10:45. I was back home with two new tires by 12:30.

How was the session? It was good. I was sore from yesterday's session. I'm glad it wasn't as good today at this new break as it was a few weeks ago. I don't think I had it in me today to surf like I did then. There were rather long lulls today. That's fine when you're tired or, like Grace, recovering from an injury. I think our biggest laughs came when Grace, my surf buddy and I started swapping boards. I got on his 10' Bruce Jones single fin log. That was way too much board for me. It took awhile to figure out where to be on it. There's no sticker on the top. Once I got myself situated (and that was hard to do since I couldn't even swing the thing around quickly enough to paddle for waves that were coming to me), I got a pretty good left. Well, it might have been good had I not tried to turn the board. I guess I wasn't back far enough and probably don't weigh enough to work with that board. Instead of turning, I leaned and leaned and leaned myself right into the water. Meanwhile, my surf buddy was trying to work with my 9' single fin Slick. That's not a thick board and it showed. He looked like he was on a shortboard; his lower half and most of the board were completely submerged. Eventually, Grace got on the Bruce Jones and I got on her 9'7" Cooperfish. I love her board, but since she's in booties she doesn't refresh the wax. All I did was worry about slipping. I don't even remember if I caught a wave on her board. I finally asked for my board back. I was missing too many good waves with these unfamiliar boards. At some point, we all agreed it was time to go. We'd been in the water over two hours. My "one last wave" came and went. I kept paddling back out. I think I got four or five last waves.

Now that I've got my new tires, I may go back out there tomorrow!!

06 April 2007

Reach Out and Touch Someone

When did Good Friday become a pre-school . . . scratch that . . . a black pre-school holiday? I was forced to take the day off today. Little man's pre-school was closed for Good Friday. And since his school is closed all next week, I've got to take another day off. (See, the child will be juggled between two parents and two grandparents.)

Anyway, my mom was nice enough to watch him for a bit this morning while I went in search of surf. I started out at the home break. Too closed out. I expected that. What I didn't expect was the crowds I saw as I drove north. It was obscene. You can't tell me a decent session can be had when people are literally close enough to touch each other by simply extending their arms. I knew RPB would be bad, but it was more than ridiculous. It was absurd. Now, I know I've said I don't mind surfing at what some people consider a kook spot. I need to clarify my statement. I don't mind surfing at such a spot when it's not crowded with beginners. On a day like today, I'm sure the place was a nightmare. The waves were inconsistent to say the least. I'm certain at least five or more people paddled for each peak that popped up. No, thank you. There's no fun in that. I took a good look as I sped past. I didn't even think about stopping. As I proceeded north, I passed other well-known breaks. Can you spell "population explosion"? This city is too crowded. I drove by three well-known breaks that were crowded beyond their limits. So I kept driving. I was prepared to return home without a good paddle out. When the crowds in the water are that dense, you won't have much fun in the water.

I ended up at my favorite L.A. break. I figured the dying swell would make it mushy and perfect for a longer board. Well, it wasn't perfect. That was fine. It wasn't crowded! All I wanted was a short, uneventful session. The waves lacked shape. Not a problem. You could still get a wave to yourself. I probably could have gotten more waves had I (1) run over another longboarder who kept getting in my way when I was paddling for waves or (2) snaked other people. I'm not the type of person to do either one. I was happy to be out there. I got one bomb of a wave. I was sitting there minding my own business. I saw it coming. I was thinking it was too big for me. Then I heard some guy yell "Go!" and he was looking in my general direction. I assumed he was talking to me. So . . . I went. Now, the last time I surfed here, I was too scared to drop into the waves. Today, I didn't care. I stood at the top of this thing, shrugged, and dropped right in. That wave was good enough for me! There wasn't much shape. Nonetheless, I made the drop and rode as much of it as I could. After being out there for an hour, I called it a day. It wasn't much of a session. I was satsified with it nonetheless. If nothing else, I got away from the crowds.

05 April 2007

Doh! Tagged When I Wasn't Paying Attention!!

Sorry, beFrank! You tagged me too. I guess my dog ate that page of my homework!


1. I wear glasses. Believe it or not, I like wearing glasses. I look better with them than without them.

2. I actually like some of the shows I'm forced to watch on Nickelodeon when Soul Brother #2 has control of the remote. I've even been known to watch them when he's not home.

3. At 20, I was an illegal alien, living and working in Holland.

4. I did not go to my high school prom.

5. I'm still athletic and active because I believe youth is wasted on the young (famous saying--look it up). My goal is to be so active that by the time I'm an old woman who can no longer be an athlete, I'll be ready for a rest and won't mind sitting and reminiscing about my past exploits.

I'm going to miss this swell. Frankly, I can't deal with the crowds. I also need to take a day off next week. So, I'll bide my time and try not to cry when I read the surf reports for today. If you go out, go out there and kill it!!

04 April 2007

Tag! I'm It!!

I've been sitting here minding my own business. I don't bother anybody. I don't ask for much out of life, do I? Well, somehow, I got noticed while I was trying not to make eye contact!

Paula, the Surf Mom, tagged me (and others), saying the purpose of the tag is to name "seven tracks or albums that have been playing in [your] life recently." This tag is a little silly for someone like me. I listen to NPR and local public radio more than I listen to music.

1. "American Terrorist" - Lupe Fiasco
This song fascinates me. Rap has devolved so much of late that I didn't think rappers with skills and intelligence were allowed to make music anymore. This brotha, in my opinion, is single-handedly saving rap from a horrible death.
2. "Kick Push" - Lupe Fiasco
Soul Brother #2 loves this song. He makes me play it over and over and over in the car. The brotha raps about skateboarding in this song, which seems to fascinate Soul Brother #2 to no end.
3. "Can't Stand Losing You" - The Police
Not my favorite band. Not my favorite song. For some reason, I keep playing this song over and over.
4. "Badge" - Cream
5. The Royal Scam - Steely Dan
I've been listening to my albums recently. I think I got this one in high school. I like it better now than I did then.
6. "Armagideon Time" - Willie Williams
Classic reggae on the iPod. This song was one of the many reasons why I love Forest Whitaker's movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
7. "Golden" - Jill Scott

02 April 2007

Suffice It To Say . . .

I was sitting at my desk at 7:45 a.m. There was no way I as going to waste a vacation day on the nothingness that was our predicted swell. Better waves will roll through eventually. I'll be waiting.

01 April 2007

To Work or Not to Work?

I'm surfless for the second day in a row. I was up early enough, but stayed local. I didn't find anything that I felt was worth surfing. It's one thing when you're looking for somewhere to surf. It's another when all the reports say a swell will arrive and you're expecting to see lines in the water. There wasn't much out there at the spots I checked. The home break, on the other hand, was closing out. Since the tide was coming up, I didn't think the home break would get any better. Yes, the waves would eventually calm down . . . and then they'd be breaking right onshore. There was nothing out there to entice me to get in. Now the question is this: Will there be enough swell tomorrow to justify taking a vacation day? At this point, I'm considering going into work and waiting for a better day. I'll know once I wake up in the morning and start checking the reports.

Today wasn't as busy as yesterday. I lifted weights, shopped for plants with Soul Brother #2 and then did more gardening once I came home. How in the hell do you make old, tired rose plants/bushes go away and stay away? This is a problem we've faced for the last two or three years. These damn roses don't yield flowers. But when you pull them up, they grow right back. They're worse than weeds!! Soul Brother #1 and dug up several. The one that's giving us hell is probably as old as I am. It's the size of a small tree. It must have Alzheimer's since it seems to have forgotten how to yield flowers. We couldn't pull that thing up. Soul Brother #1 suggested putting a rope around it and trying to pull it out of the ground with his motorcycle. This thing is so old and so stubborn that I think the motorcycle would get the worst of that match up.

Pray for excellent surf, good karma, and a lineup full of smiles!