31 January 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I blame Pet Cobra and Tres_Arboles for the meme. Consider yourself tagged. If you want to play along, let me know that you did so.

25. I hate to shop for clothes and don't hang out with women who find this pastime enjoyable.
24. I paint my toenails in alternating colors. Sometimes the colors alternate by toes. If I'm lazy, I'll paint the nails on my left foot a different color from the nails on my right foot.
23. I have three degrees and would happily pursue another if I had the money to do so.
22. I was once an illegal alien in The Netherlands; I was paid in cash while everyone else received a check.
21. Of the cars I've owned, my favorite was the Subaru WRX.
20. I practically live on hickory-flavored pistachio nuts I can only find at a particular farmer's market.
19. I live around the corner from the house I grew up in.
18. I don't claim to have many "favorite" things because my tastes are always in a state of flux.
17. I met my husband in 1989 at the Martin Luther King Day parade.
16. I played ice hockey as a kid.
15. I played soccer after that.
14. I blew out my knee playing soccer.
13. Knee replacement is in my future.
12. I'm not claustrophobic, but view cubicles as ersatz prison cells.
11. Tank tops are the new black.
10. Five tattoos and counting.
9. I've never been drunk; I don't ever drink more than two drinks.
8. I'm closing in on vegetarianism.
7. I've loved classic cars since childhood.
6. I learned to swim at 23.
5. I believe women should not tattoo their arms—spoils the look of a sleeveless dress (not that I wear such a garment often, but still).
4. My vocabulary always includes except for (e.g., "I don't do dairy except for parmesan cheese" or "I'm tired of longboard films except for those made by Herbie Fletcher").
3. I would like to live to a ripe old age but don't believe I will.
2. My quiver is never static.
1. I believe human beings are basically good.

Cyrus S. Sent This (His Way of Having Fun When It's Flat)

Handplane First day test from Cyrus Sutton on Vimeo.

29 January 2009


He inaugurated.
They celebrated.
I surfed.

24 January 2009

Rainy Saturday Dance Party!

Being this funky should be a criminal offense. No comment on Sly's pants/jumpsuit and the shirt with the butterfly collar.

22 January 2009


I don't find it difficult to be philosophical after today's session—broken leash and dings be damned!

It was one of those rare days when you obviously see what others don't. This happened to me only once before. The day was much like this day. Same break. Same conditions. On that occasion and today, it seemed as if everyone had been scared away by the spectre of rain.

This morning, I discerned lines coming through. If you see those lines at high tide, you can bet there are waves to be had as the tide begins to drop. This I knew. And I got myself to this point break, with my 90 minute surf window, to wait and watch.

By 8:30, I'd seen all I needed to see. The tide was falling. Just enough. To deliver surfable waves.

There was no one else there.

I was neither excited nor scared. All I wanted was to surf. The fact that the crowds were gone, that everyone was gone, meant nothing. I'm at a point in my life where I don't attempt ascribe meaning to things. They are what they are. My arrival at an empty point break with decent waves was not a matter of good luck, good karma or anything else. It was what it was.

My first wave wasn't my best wave. However, it was the wave where things went to hell for a moment. I went left. Because. I could. This is a break where everyone goes right . . . even when a left rolls through. I went left and watched as the lip got longer and taller. I knew a closeout was in my future. I didn't decide to bail until it was too late. I got slightly worked. I could feel my board tugging violently on the leash. Then I felt the leash go limp. "Fuck me," was probably what I was thinking. When I came up, I pulled the leash toward me. I don't know what I expected to be on the other end. When I got to the end of the leash, there was nothing there. Nothing. Fuck me. All I could do was look toward the rocks.

When I finally got to the board, it sat propped on the rocks—perfectly propped as if it were on a stand in a surf shop. I think I may even have paused to stare at it in wonder before I snatched it out of harm's way. I got out to check the damage. I saw the dings. I didn't see the fin box. Nevertheless, I wasn't leaving. I had this break to myself. I got duct tape and another leash out of the car. Then I paddled back out.

The moment of clarity. There was one. In fact, I think it was my first surfing moment of complete clarity. When I'd surfed this break in solitude years earlier, I was not the surfer I am today. (Yeah, ready for the WCT . . . NOT!) It hadn't all begun to come together. Today I got a glimpse of what surfing is and can be when one is alone with a wave. There is a complete moment of clarity. Time slows. Ambient noise fades away. There is a wave in front of you. And you see every inch of it, every drop of water separating itself from the whole, every bit of light that reflects off of it as it moves. With no one else in the water, I could give all of my attention to the wave.

A right. About head high. I don't know how I did it. One of the side bites was barely hanging on. It was still probably the most significant wave I've ever surfed. I knew exactly what I wanted to do on the wave and had all the time in the world to do it. I stayed on the wave until the shoulder disappeared. I knew, then, that this is what surfing can and should be.

Sometimes you have to pay for clarity.

Yes, it was worth it.

17 January 2009

You Know It's Bad When . . .

you encourage your child (who's in Catholic school) to pray for waves. I am not a religious person. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. So when that angelic little face heard of my plight and began praying for waves, I couldn't help but end with an "amen". What? God might hear us, right?

15 January 2009

The Waterwoman Chronicles (Continued)

Oh, who am I kidding? It should be "The Sore 45-Year-Old With the Arthritic Knee Chronicles". For some reason unbeknownst to me, even though I was there—I mean we are talking about one of my many internal conversations with myself—as both participant and observer, I decided I should swim in the ocean today. The L.A. City pools are all closed right now for maintenance. I haven't gotten my swim on in a bit and felt the need to do so. I sometimes swim at a pool in a neighboring city in the afternoons, but I couldn't make it there today. Then, Soul Brother #1, who's been cleared to resume all activities now that he's seven weeks past the cancer surgery, decided we should skate today. Hmm. I want to swim. He wants to skate . . . with me. There was only one solution: I'd do both.

Well, damn, the water is cold. I was in my speedy triathlon wetsuit (that I got for a song directly from the manufacturer last year) swimming not so speedily. I'd opted to get a sleeveless suit; I hadn't expected to use the wetsuit in the winter. I figured sleeves weren't necessary in the summer, fall and spring. Let's put it this way: sleeves would have been nice. I swam out to the buoy and back. As I was doing my swim, I kept thinking they'd moved the buoy further out. Now, I know good and well that buoy hasn't moved and doesn't move unless they remove it altogether. But it sure seemed like it was farther out there than it was when I did my last buoy swims during the serious heatwave we had in October. The wetsuit definitely helped. Damn if it wasn't buoyant as hell. I'm really not used to that. So I did my swim and headed back to the car to do the quick-change into skating duds.

See, we don't just skate. Oh no, that would be too pedestrian for us, wouldn't it? We're speedskaters. You know, custom boots, five wheels, crouched down in a little paceline skating in unison. I started out as the one who was hurting. Then I warmed up and SB #1 was lagging behind. Nevertheless, we still did our skate at a rather good clip.

Now, a couple of hours later, my knee is hurting. I was told years ago that I've got osteoarthritis, to stop running and to hope that I can stave off knee replacement by babying the knee and allowing technology (which might find a way to help joints such as mine without replacing them) to catch up. Or something like that. I don't know what that doctor said. All I remember is him throwing Celebrex at me—Dude, I didn't ask for that and don't want it!—and pissing me off. Anyway, I mention this because my knee has hurt quite a bit of late. When it does that, I always think it's finally time for a knee replacement. Inevitably, the pain will subside after a few days and I'm back to normal (which means the joint constantly hurts a little rather than constantly hurts a lot).

What is my point? I'm not sure. I think I'm trying to say, See what lengths we're driven to when there isn't any surf?

12 January 2009

Nice Try

My attempt to walk while surfing the mini-Simmons did not end well. At least it provided some fun on a virtually flat day.

Will the Lineups Be Getting Thinner?

Californians Waking From Dreams, Leaving

Rising Taxes, Failing Schools, Mortgage Woes Take Toll

Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he's going to look for it in Colorado. With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state's lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure. Is there something left of the California dream? "If you are a Hollywood actor," Reilly says, "but not for us."

Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley's instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood. But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.

The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period -- more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.The state with the next-highest net loss through migration between states was New York, which lost about 125,000 residents. California's loss is extremely small in a state of 38 million.

And, in fact, the state's population continues to increase overall because of births and immigration, legal and illegal. But it is the fourth consecutive year that more residents decamped from California for other states than arrived here from within the U.S.A losing streak that long hasn't happened in California since the recession of the early 1990s, when departures outstripped arrivals from other states by 362,000 in 1994 alone. In part because of the boom in population in other Western states, California could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.

Why are so many looking for an exit? Among other things: California's unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in November, the third-highest in the nation, and it is expected to get worse. A record 236,000 foreclosures are projected for 2008, more than the prior nine years combined, according to research firm MDA DataQuick. Personal income was about flat last year. With state government facing a $41.6 billion budget hole over 18 months, residents are bracing for higher taxes, cuts in education and postponed tax rebates. A multibillion-dollar plan to remake downtown Los Angeles has stalled, and office vacancy rates there and in San Diego and San Jose surpass the 10.2 percent national average. Median housing prices have nose-dived one-third from a 2006 peak, but many homes are still out of reach for middle-class families. Some small towns are on the brink of bankruptcy. Normally recession-proof Hollywood has been hit by layoffs.

"You see wages go down and the cost of living go up," Reilly says. His property taxes will be $1,300 in Colorado, down from $4,300 on his three-bedroom house in Nipomo, about 80 miles up the coast from Santa Barbara. California's obituary has been written before - "California: The Endangered Dream" was the title of a 1991 Time magazine cover story. The Golden State and its huge economy - by itself, the eighth-largest in the world - have shown resilience, weathering the aerospace bust, the dot-com crash and an energy crunch in recent years. But this time, the news just keeps getting worse. A state board halted lending for about 2,000 public works projects in California worth more than $16 billion because the state could not afford them. A report by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., last month said the state lost 100,000 jobs in the last year and the erosion of home prices eliminated over $1 trillion in wealth.

"I don't think the California dream, per se, is over. It has become and will continue to become grittier," says New America Foundation senior fellow Gregory Rodriguez. "Now, perhaps, we have to reassess the California of our imagination."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is among those who say the state needs to create itself anew, rebuilding roads, schools and transit. "We've lived off the investments our parents made in the '50s and '60s for a long time," says Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. "We're somewhat in the position of a Rust Belt state in the 1970s."

Financial adviser Barry Hartz lived in California for 60 years and once ran for state Assembly before relocating with his wife last year to Colorado Springs, Colo., where his son's family had moved. "The saddest thing I saw was the escalation of home prices to the point our kids, when they got married, could not live in the community where they lived and grew up," Hartz says. "Some people call that progress."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

07 January 2009

I Nominate Cyrus Sutton for Secretary of the Surf

Phoresia recently interviewed Cyrus Sutton. Damn if one thing Cyrus said didn't impress the hell out of me. Mind you, Cyrus is extremely talented, both in the water and behind the camera. What I like most about him is his attitude.

PHORESIA: I was thinking about my quiver the other day and it dawned on me that I have the hipster quiver. I mostly ride my little quad fish or my single fin log – both with resin tints and gloss finishes. What’s your take on board styles and board fashion? Does it matter?

Cyrus: If you’re feeling good about what you’re riding and that helps you paddle out more often then that’s what it’s all about. Surfing is so over-exposed and we’re all so jaded that little things like resin tints and certain board shapes can often make the difference in whether or not we paddle out. We’re all kooks really. I mean right now I’m dividing my surfs between a fucked piece of wood that I sink up to my eyeballs on and an ass-dragging log, but that’s what’s keeping me in the water everyday. As far as I’m concerned the less we need to travel to compete over the same “world-class” breaks and the more stoke we can learn to squeeze out of our local surf, the better off we’ll all be.

04 January 2009

How Do You Stop Black Kids From Jumping on the Bed?

Put velcro on the ceiling. (Cue rim shot!)

Okay, that is one of my favorite racial (not racist) jokes. Because it's true. Case in point—I have a knee leash that's on its last legs. It doesn't always stay attached. Recently, it managed to work itself loose mid-ride. As I was coming up after being thrown in, I was wondering why I was being pulled toward the shore by my head. That's when I realized the leash was no longer attached to my leg. No, it had attached itself to my dreadlocks! And guess what? Velcro has no problem staying attached to locks. So now that joke really resonates with me. Because it's true.

02 January 2009

Keeping the Mind Active on a Flat, Cold and Foggy Day

Watching and learning.

Yes, the picture on the TV screen is in black and white. No, I'm not hiding a wire hanger antenna and pliers channel changer somewhere in the room. Herbie Fletcher shot much of this flick—Walkin' in Style—in black and white. Why? I guess to be different. As far as I'm concerned, Herbie Fletcher can do no wrong. If he wants to shoot in black and white, fine. I like his surf films and I especially enjoy his surfing. Some day, I will own one of his boards. Some day . . . if I ever win the lottery, I guess. Well, I can dream, can't I?