BLACK PEOPLE DON'T SURF
(Did I stutter?)
31 October 2008
29 October 2008
I Like What I See
There's a new blog (?) on the surf scene. Is it a blog? I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I like it enough to devote my own blog entry to it.
Grass is Greener
In other news, as suspected, Soul Brother #1's job told him good-bye. He had worked there for 24 years. The only thing I've done for that long is be black. But I digress. What did he get for his 24 years? A few months of severance. What's that you say? Is that all? Yes. That's it. Now, it's personal. And I'll just come out and take sides. There's no fucking way in hell I'd ever vote for McCain. Aside from the fact that I know he couldn't care less about helping those in need, he will take this country down a path that would have my son (and other people's children) being shipped off to war when they reach the age of majority. If you can't define what you mean by "succeed" with respect to the Iraq war, you're telling me that you're happy to be at war forever. And who was the dimwit who thought Sarah Palin was a proper running mate? If I'm a white guy running for president against a black guy who just beat out a popular white woman in the election for his party's choice, I'm going to pick a kick ass female vice presidential candidate whose credentials can't be questioned. I'm picking Condoleeza Rice. That's how you get us to shut up and take notice. But Sarah Palin? As the saying goes . . . n!*@a, please!
We are much worse off than we were eight years ago. I blame Bush, Cheney, Rove and the like. McCain is no different than they are. He can call himself a "maverick" until he's blue in the face. You're only a maverick to me when you give George Bush the finger and tell him where he can shove it.
Am I bitter? Yes. Am I objective? No. Do I think things will improve overnight if McCain's opponent is elected? No. When you have a baby, you're reminded that it took you nine months to gain all of the baby weight and it's going to take probably that long to get it back off. No one can fix this mess overnight. But if we give McCain the chance to try, he'll screw it up, die and leave us with that chick who . . . never mind.
Okay, this entry ended up being a rant masquerading as an entry about another blog. Rant over.
27 October 2008
I sent this to myself just to see how it works. This is even better than the Ron Howard video from a few days ago. Someone sent this to Soul Brother #1 this morning. He generally abstains from voting. I generally vote outside the box. We are considered pariahs to our politically active friends. Soul Brother #1 got a good chuckle out of the video when his name was peppered all over it, especially since his sample ballot just arrived today . . . and he plans on using it.
Dance Party Mondays!
Can't stand her! She's one of those crazy Jacksons—and I do mean crazy. I've never seen so many black people in one family who went to extreme lengths not to look black. Michael . . . I won't even go there. And you'll never see one of his videos on this blog. Brother, if you're that ashamed of your heritage and the physical characteristics that come with it, you've got a bigger problem than someone like me can understand. Bleaching your skin? (I ain't fallin' for that vitilago stuff!) Completely straightening your hair? Jackin' up your face with one plastic surgery after another? I mean, come on! You're black. That's how your nose is supposed to look! Ain't nothin' wrong wit it! Janet is not far behind him. She's spending way too much time fighting her body. As good as she looks thin, it's not healthy for her to be that small. That's why her weight goes up and down like a yo-yo. And she, too, worked hard to rid herself of the nose. (Shaking my head.)
With that being said, I have to admit that Janet, in particular, makes great music for dancing.
25 October 2008
A Saturday Respite
Come to San O on Saturday, they said. I looked for reasons why I couldn't go. I wanted to go, but I often feel like my responsibilities at home preclude and preempt my wish to leave L.A. to surf. I suppose I don't give my men enough credit these days. In the past, the bigger one and I have figuratively gone to war over my surfing. He appreciates that I do it. He's proud that I do it. He, for whatever reason, still doesn't like it . . . or should I say didn't like it. Today I got the green light to head down to San O with a couple of friends. It was even suggested that I could take the day if I wanted it. Unaccustomed as I am to such cooperation at home when it comes to my surfing habit, part of me wandered what was up. Why the change of heart? I pondered that question for about 10 minutes. Chewed on it actually. Then, I spit it out, thanked my spouse and went to San O.
Is it possible for a session to be great without being great? I think it is. For those of us from L.A. (and perhaps other places where the breaks are much too crowded for their own good), a day at San O is tantamount to a mini-vacation.
What set me off this week was a session at the infamous Beer Can Beach (as Christian calls it). I no longer have patience for the mayhem and foolishness that abounds at that place. I saw a friend there during the session. She got out before I did, but when I talked to her later, she commented about the guy who dropped in on me . . . and then went straight. Straight. At least when they drop in on you at Malibu, they find trim and head down the line in front of you. For some reason, when my friend mentioned this breach of surfing etiquette, it seemed to be the last straw for me. I'm now at the point where I'm going to start saying something to all of these people. I don't yell, so it's not like voices will be raised. But I'll be damned if I'll stand for much more of this ignorant behavior. When I surfed San O today, I noticed that when folks were paddling for waves, those of us inside of them did our best to move out of the way. At Beer Can Beach, you'll go to paddle for a wave and here are two guys sitting horizontally with their boards, thus taking up almost 20 feet of space. They either don't know or don't care to move out of the path of someone paddling for a wave. What the hell is that about? Or you'll paddle for a wave and someone on the inside will turn and start paddling for the same wave right in front of you. WTF? I saw none of this today. I'm sure it happens at San O at times. It happens all the time at BCB.
L.A. is simply crowded—on land and in the water. There's no getting away from the masses. San O, on the other hand, serves up space. I suppose those who've surfed there forever think it's way too crowded now. I wouldn't know. I appreciate the space, the generally good vibe in the water and the fact that you feel like you're out of the concrete jungle when you're there.
The waves were big (yay!) and mushy as hell (boo!). There were faces to work with. There was time to surf the wave and try some things. I'm always appreciative of that. Not one person dropped in on me. Not one! People were in good spirits and we played nicely with each other. Why is that such a useless proposition in L.A.?
24 October 2008
I Still Rip
23 October 2008
See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die
I'm not trying to proselytize. Vote for whomever you like. This video cracked me up. The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite show of all time . . . even if it made you believe that no black people lived in North Carolina. I ain't mad at 'em. That would have meant tackling the Civil Rights stuff going on in the 60's. Nope. I wouldn't have done it either.
I surfed today. I said I was going to take the day off. How can one make such a decision when it's hot and gorgeous outside? I had to get wet. The waves were small. The lulls were long. It was still better than sitting and sweating on land.
22 October 2008
Alone Again, Naturally
No, I wasn't alone out there today. There were six of us out during most of my session. I managed to surf a peak without company for about an hour and a half. For that I am thankful.
Then all hell broke loose! The wind began howling offshore without warning. It got so bad that my locks were in my face whether I was facing the horizon or facing the shore. It was at that same time that a bunch of other surfers began to paddle out. They paddled out. I paddled in. I couldn't surf in; I couldn't see!
I got out only to find that someone had ordered hot with a side order of sweating. I'd had no idea it was supposed to be close to 100 degrees today. Here we were at the ocean . . . and it was 90 something degrees. It's usually hot inland and cool at the shore. Not today.
I did, however, surf in almost solitude. That was good enough for me.
21 October 2008
Can a Sista Get Some Solitude?
Tomorrow's goal is to find an uncrowded wave. Period. I'm willing to put some miles on the car to find one. I don't think I'll find an empty wave. I mean, this is Los Angeles. I do think I can find a wave to ride without 25 of my closest friends. Nothing personal. I just need some time to surf freely.
Think about it: Do you surf freely when there are other people jockeying for the wave? I don't. If I have to spend an inordinate amount of time looking left and right before I pop-up, I'm already thinking the wave is too crowded. If I have to surf as if I'm in the Winter Olympics skiing through a slalom course, I'm already thinking the wave is too crowded. All I want is a chance to surf with my guard down. I won't drive all over L.A. County looking for this mythical wave. That alone would probably set the ozone layer back about a month. No, I've got a specific spot in mind and I'll be heading up there tomorrow morning. I don't think it will be crowded.
Pray for uncrowded surf.
20 October 2008
Dance Party Mondays!
My appreciation for Ike and Tina Turner is actually the result of my appreciation for Angela Bassett, the only woman my husband is allowed to leave me for. (I'd given myself permission to leave him for Don Cheadle but now the lead vampire from True Blood is the top contender for my attention. He can bite on my neck any time he wants!) I remember Ike and Tina Turner from when I was a little kid. I didn't like them or dislike them. I just knew they were there. It was the movie that made me pay attention to their music. These days, I hear them often on XM Radio's Soul Street (channel 842 on DirecTV). If nothing else, they could get you up out of your seat to shake it! So, what are you waiting for?
18 October 2008
I'm completely enamored of surf mats, not that I've ever tried one or seen one in the flesh. Now that I'm pretty much without employment (as a surfing friend and I, who work for the same outfit, learned yesterday), I won't be getting a surf mat any time soon. There's one more board that will be coming to the quiver shortly. After that, who knows?
17 October 2008
Thank You, Mother Ocean
The waves weren't great by any means. We're talking about the home break. It's never great anymore. Surfing, as we all know, is more than riding waves. I truly enjoy being away from pavement and in what is essentially another realm.
The ocean certainly didn't disappoint today. The dolphins put on a show for no one but themselves. We surfers were lucky enough to be witnesses. The dolphins were out in force. One group in particular was especially active. First, one would jump. Then another. Then another. I'm not talking about little hops. I'm mean full on shot-out-of-a-cannon-SeaWorld-dolphin-show jumps. First, one. Then another. Then another. Finally, all three of them were jumping and twirling simultaneously. Cheers, screams and hoots erupted in the lineup. If waves were rolling through, we never noticed. The dolphins had our undivided attention.
A little while later, a lifeguard boat roared by . . . followed by a cavalcade of dolphins playing in the wake. It seemed that every time you turned around today, there was a dolphin.
Near the end of my session, I took a wave all the way in. I hadn't planned to take it that far, but I was too busy staring at all of the sharks on the ocean floor to end the wave before I was in knee-deep water. They were everywhere. That was an amazing sight.
This is the kind of session that can help you to forget about your problems on terra firma. I got out of the water with a smile . . . and a shuffle. (There's nothing like stepping on a shark to make me scream like the girly girl I'm not.)
15 October 2008
Blog Action Day!
WHAT DOES POVERTY LOOK LIKE?
My post for this year's Blog Action Day will be a short one. It's not that I don't want to give my best effort to this year's subject; I simply haven't had time to do the kind of research I was able to do for last year's Blog Action Day.
Please consider the fact that you and I, although irritated by the current economic situation in this country, will not go hungry at any time in the foreseeable future. My six year old child, who has the height of a seven year old and the weight of a five year old, is well-fed (although you might not know it by looking at him), well-educated and safe. We are not rich by any means. And while I often talk about having no money (and that means I literally have no money in my wallet), I try not to flippantly use the word "poor" when describing our financial state.
I'd like to think that our next president will turn his attention, at some point, to the needs of those who go hungry each night. I'd like to believe that the American people recognize that there are people in this country who have no bootstraps by which to pull themselves out of the caste into which they were born. Yes, I said caste. Think about it. Am I wrong?
Poverty, whether in the U.S. or in the Third World, is often a life sentence from which there is no parole. What's worse is the fact that it imprisons generation after generation of innocents. Children die because their parents are poor. Wars are fought because resources are scarce and need is high. Little is done because too few people care. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find out how you can help at least one person living in poverty. (I support Kiva. You can find your own organization to support.)
13 October 2008
19th Nervous Breakdown
It didn't last long. It's kind of like falling into a hole that you know you can climb out of, but it's going to take all of your strength to do so. Instead of making many futile attempts, you stay in the hole biding your time and waiting until you feel you're strong enough to drag yourself out. I pulled myself out of the hole a few hours ago.
Now all I need are some waves. Strike that. All I need are some decent waves. I tried to ride my 7'0" yesterday. I was so out of sorts that I couldn't even pop up. My timing was off and there was no commitment. None. That's not the way I surf . . . usually. Let's hope that tomorrow brings a little something, a little something with some shape.
12 October 2008
Sometimes You Prefer Champagne
I am a person who is quick to make lemonade when life hands me lemons.
This time, I'll admit, that the lemons are just too bitter.
So, today's session was pointless really. Surfers often talk about how being in the water makes you feel better about life. Well, sometimes life is hard . . . and surfing does nothing to change that. Today was one of those days.
Cold, tired, distracted and sad, I pretended to go through the motions. We're all running around here going through the motions right now. For me, going through the motions means doing what I do: workout. It doesn't mean that I do it well. It doesn't mean that I enjoy it. It simply means that I keep doing what I do as a means of maintaining some semblance of order while all hell breaks loose around me.
And that's all I've got to say about that. Forrest Gump
11 October 2008
10 October 2008
It's Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better
I think we Americans have had just about enough of this shit. Between the economy, the presidential mud-slinging, and all of the other ills that are too numerous to list, we are a weary bunch of soon-to-be unemployed, homeless and penniless folks. I, for one, can't blithely blog through that. In some ways, I'm immune from what's going on. I haven't worked a full-time job in over a year, so I'm in no danger of losing such a job. Soul Brother #1, however, worries that he may not have a job to which to return once the doctor clears him to go back to work. At this point, we're figuring his 401(k) and my investments in the market (which my dad made years ago) are probably worth next to nothing. Thankfully, we have no car notes—finally got the last one paid off a couple of months ago. We're not struggling to get bills paid any more than usual.
Unfortunately, I was thinking it was time for me to start looking for work. While I will never pursue a career, every so often I take a break from my real life and go sit in a cubicle somewhere. I always think, "This will be the job I keep." Wrong. I inevitably get bored and quit. Anyway, it's time for me to find my next temporary permanent job, but there's nothing out there. And if Soul Brother #1's company goes under and I can't find work, what will happen then?
I'm not going to tell anyone how to vote. That's on you. Just remember it took this fool eight years to run the country into the ground and we're not going to pull out of this death spiral overnight regardless of who wins the election. It's going to be awhile before we all breathe a communal sigh of relief.
09 October 2008
08 October 2008
Is it the Economy?
It's not the Great Depression. People aren't jumping out of windows or anything like that. No, they're all out surfing . . . badly . . . because they no longer have jobs. Today's session started off rather nicely. It was hot again. The water was glassy. Every once in awhile, a decent set would roll through. There must have been fewer than 10 of us in the water. Although there were a few breaches of surf etiquette, we all played well with others for the most part.
Then, THEY paddled out. Who are "THEY," you ask? THEY are the people with little home break training. They paddle out, sit right in front of you as you're about to pop up, drop in as you're going down the line. THEY are the people who make you start cursing under your breath when you see them coming. Well, THEY were at it again today. THEY surfed with reckless and leashless abandon on a day when the swell was still making an appearance. THEY surfed a big-ass longboard right into some woman's head. THEY sat in a group right in front of me, totally fucking up the end of my session. THEY didn't know how to surf, yet insisted on lining up with those of us who were waiting for the biggest set waves. THEY did what they do best.
THEY tried to drop in on me and then THEY sat, with his back to both me and the wave, in my path. THEY never considered the fact that he should have, one, kept his eyes toward the horizon and, two, gotten out of my way. THEY were out there in force today.
How bad was it? CYT and I opted to paddle in rather than wait for the "one last" set wave. We'd seen enough. It wasn't safe to be in the water with the them I'm referring to as THEY.
Once again, I surfed about three hours. It's hard to get out when the weather is perfect like that. And the little one was getting out of school early today. It was easier to stay in the water until it was time to pick him up than it would have been to run home only to come right back to where I was.
06 October 2008
Dance Party Mondays!
Missy Elliot appreciates a good dance party! I've never bought any of her CDs, but I absolutely adore her videos. This girl is a freak, a freak with a good attitude! (Catching my breath after taking a dance break while watching this video on YouTube as I type this.) Just watch and listen. You'll see what I mean.
Dance Party Mondays?
I got nothin'.
For one thing, I forgot it was Monday. I'm also bummed because most of the music I like to dance to doesn't have a video. The day's not over yet. I may get inspired before midnight.
05 October 2008
We finally get some chill in the air and some waves with size. Although I was cold and complained the entire time, I stayed out for three hours!! Okay, today's session doesn't apply to my last post, right?
04 October 2008
A Life of Balance
Now that the weather seems to want to turn cold, I'm getting a bit contemplative about my surfing and my family. Everyone who knows me knows I'm always cold in the water. What makes that worse is I hate neoprene. Nevertheless, it's time for the winter waves to arrive. I won't even go into my belief that these waves will clear out our cluttered lineups. I realize that I've come to like winter (if you can call what we have in Southern California that). It forces some balance into my life.
When the weather is warm or hot, all I want is to be outside. What I want even more is to be in the water. If it weren't for the running out of steam after a few hours thing, I'd probably stay in the water all day, family be damned. When summer arrives, it's all about me even though it really isn't. I'm still a wife. I'm still a mommy. I never forget those facts. But I feel like it's my time of the year to go outside and play. It's the time of the year when I take advantage of all of the "me time" I can get. Once there's a bit of chill in the air and a lot of chill in the water, I'm much more of a homebody. I still surf, of course. I also complain . . . a lot. I stay cold from the minute I leave the house until I return to a hot shower. My surf sessions are abbreviated. I can only stand so much cold water. After about an hour, I'm thinking about home. By an hour and 30 minutes, my head is already home, snuggled up with my husband and son. I don't want to stay out all day.
This, I think, is a good state of balance for me. It seems to work for us as a family. It also keeps surfing from occupying too much of my quality time.
01 October 2008
Claim Your Break
We did it!!! Hell yeah!!!
It all begin with the phone call I made last night. What did I say? "It's time." Time to claim our home break and do an open water swim out to the buoy. We've both been in the pool for months. We'd decided earlier in the summer that we would swim out to the buoy on a relatively flat day when it was hot. It had to be hot. Neither one of us wanted to wear a wetsuit. Well, summer pretty much came and went without us making the swim. I think we'd both decided it wouldn't happen. Then this heatwave hit. I realized it was now or never. My swim buddy was, as it turns out, thinking the same thing.
We met at the home break this morning. I'm not sure why we were nervous. Both of us were more than capable of making such a swim. I guess the trepidation comes from the fact that pools are easy. You spend your time watching the line below you until you reach the wall. Then you can either take a break or you can turn right back around and go. There are no breaks like that in open water swimming. No lines. No wall. No deciding in the middle of your workout that you're bored and will simply stop there. The ocean demands that you keep swimming even if you can't see anything.
First, the water was cloudy. That's not uncommon for Southern California. I wasn't too thrown off by that. Second, I couldn't seem to spot the buoy while I was swimming out to it. I'd swim a few strokes, lift my head, rinse and repeat. Nothing. Then I decided to simply tread water and look for it. I still couldn't find it. Even though it was a somewhat flat day, there was enough swell in the water to obscure the buoy. All I saw ahead of me were little waves. My swim buddy was having the same problem. Thankfully, her husband was paddling next to us on a longboard and we finally realized we could use him as our compass.
The swim was neither easy nor hard. I guess it was just different. Swimming in open water is nothing like swimming in a pool. It's better than swimming in a pool! I think it's a necessity if you're a surfer. We've surfed that break for years without ever having gone past the invisible line that separates the lineup from the rest of the ocean. My forays into the pool were inspired by my newfound understanding that a surfer should aspire to be a waterman or waterwoman. You've got to get more familiar and comfortable with the ocean, especially your home break. It makes no sense not to do so. And today we did just that.
I'm tempted to go back and do it again tomorrow!