31 January 2010

Five Years

My blog celebrates five years of existence today.

Dearest Blog,

I dedicate this Bowie song to you on your fifth birthday.



30 January 2010



Now I can get out of here and go surfing! After that, I'll go buy a helmet, some wrist guards and some health insurance.

29 January 2010

Ramp Build: Day #3

He was this close! (Picture me holding up my thumb and forefinger only millimeters apart from one another.) But he lost time on the build yesterday when he had to leave early because his spouse had been locked out of wherever it is they're staying. Today? He brought her with him. As you can see from the pictures, she knows her way around a drill. They were both working away. It will certainly be finished by tomorrow morning.

There's only one thing wrong with that. I haven't surfed in weeks. I'd planned to paddle out tomorrow for sure. I must now wait for the ramp build to be completed, especially since I'm the one holding the money to pay them. I need to stick around anyway. It is my ramp. So, I will sit and wait. (Note to self: Buy helmet. Buy helmet!! Girl, dreadlocks don't provide enough padding when you fall on your big head. Buy helmet!!! Stat!!!!)

I would love to have been able to afford something like Skatelite Pro or Ramp Armor. That I couldn't swing financially. It just wasn't going to happen. However, I'm not at all distressed. All of the wood on the ramp is pressure treated. When one of the guys working on the house saw the wood in the backyard prior to the build, he immediately commented on it. "That stuff won't rot. The termites won't eat it. That stuff will last." I never said a word about the wood. He volunteered this information with much interest.

I told the guy building the ramp I was a bit worried about splinters from falling. He said gloves will take care of that. He'd laid the plywood in such a way that we'd be falling away from/against/in the wrong direction of the grain. (Okay, I don't remember what the hell he said; I understood what he meant though.) He said that if we were really worried about it, we could use skate paint on the wood after the wood dries out.

I'm stoked. I can't believe I actually had a ramp built in the backyard. I wasn't even allowed to skate as a kid. I used to sneak out when my parents weren't home. Then I'd inevitably get busted and punished. I suppose all that skating I wasn't allowed to do as a kid is now coming to the fore, begging to be let loose. And soon I'll have a ramp. I'll be able to skate whenever I damn well please. I'll also be able to fall and kook out in the privacy of my own backyard.

This is a 40 and over ramp. If you want to skate it and you're under 40, you must get advance permission from the owner. No, I'm not kidding. The young folks can go to the skate parks. The rest of us need our own private Idaho.

Pray for good, uncrowded surf.

28 January 2010

I'm Moving to Wormtown

If living there will make me surf like this . . . I'm so outta here!

This girl just rips!! Makes me—as a female and a friend—proud.

Ramp Build: Day #2

I swear a tornado followed by a hurricane with a side of earthquake couldn't destroy this thing. It is damn impressive. It will probably be standing long after I've moved to the Old Surfer's Home 30 years from now. I'm glad I hired a professional. That was the best way to go.

27 January 2010

Ramp Build: Day #1

23 January 2010

A Space of One's Own

This is mine. And yeah, it's a bit crowded in there. Our place isn't big by any means so finding a space for private thought is difficult in this household. I had such a space (a tiny little corner of a room) set aside for writing, but then gave it up because . . . I suppose that's what the wife and the mother do. That meant my only space was the Woman Cave. As you can see, and as Elvis Costello might sing, it's getting mighty crowded. Since work is being done both to the exterior of our place as well as to the interior of the garage, the surfboards were moved to the safest space I could find. The last thing I needed was someone dinging one of my boards had I left them in the garage. You want to see me lose it? Treat one of my boards like it's invincible, flinging it to and fro. Then watch the slow burn begin. Each ordinary ding costs me about $40. If it's a good ding that also requires color matching, that's potentially somewhere between $60 to $100 out of my usually empty pockets. This is why I squeezed the boards into my already cramped workout space.

It will have been worth it though. I happened to mention to one of the guys working on the place that I would talk to him at a later date about building me some surf racks in the garage. Once the rain came, confining him to working in the garage, he decided he'd do it while he was working in there. Mind you, this guy is a black guy who knows nothing about surfing or surf shops or surf racks. I had to look through someone's blog (thank you, Dave) to find pictures people took while standing in front of a rack of boards. After looking at several of such shots and having me explain the purpose of said rack, I was sent to Home Depot with a list of necessities: 2x4s, dowels, wood screws and probably some other things I can't remember.

By the end of the day, the rack was done. I will add a rope or chain to prevent boards from falling over during an earthquake. But what he did was exactly what I wanted. Once the boards move out, I can workout again in peace.

22 January 2010

The Weight

The problem with the rain, particularly rain of seemingly Biblical proportions, is that inevitable feeling of being trapped indoors. And when one is trapped, one is prone to thinking too much about things which would normally be washed away by a few hours in the ocean.

I have a life apart from surfing. Most surfers do. I will admit, though, that my life is incomplete without surfing. Thanks to the rain, I am unsurfed.

I've spent an inordinate amount of time perusing the halls of YouTube over the last 40 days and 40 nights. (It's felt like we've had that much rain!) As I sit here now listening to Traffic jam "Dear Mr. Fantasy" on a separate tab, I keep coming back to The Band. They know how we surfers, skaters and other outdoor-centered people feel right about now.

I suppose what I'm trying to articulate is that surfing helps me to both shoulder the weight of life and, when I'm lucky, completely shrug off the weight of life. Sometimes, you have no choice but to shoulder your load. Surfing certainly makes you stronger in that respect. But when you can't surf, you can feel those knees buckling, trying not to give way from the strains and stresses that we all inevitably deal with every day.

I know the ocean will be there when she's recovered from this bout of seasickness. Once she's feeling better (and cleaner), I'll paddle out so that I can feel better as well.

20 January 2010

OCD Dance Party

I've watched this video at least 10 times today as I sat here willing the sun to put paid to these torrential rainstorms. I know California needs the water. Our dead lawn is a testament to that fact. Still, enough already. This song, and the accompanying video, makes me feel like I do when I've had a good day of surfing. Hell, I feel like this just about every day . . . unless it's raining. The rain has disrupted every part of my life. "Sleepless in Seattle"? That would be me. No, I don't live in Seattle, but the rain certainly makes me feel like I do. For reasons I don't understand, the rain gutter downspout that is closest to the bedroom window now seems to have a speaker attached to it. So when the water pours in, it sounds like someone is throwing marbles down the downspout . . . the metal downspout. Who can sleep through that racket? I'm surprised the neighbor hasn't called the police to make a nuisance complaint. (I'm sure she'll be making that complaint once the ramp goes in. If you think I'm easily mesmerized by waxing a surfboard, wait until you get a load of me doing fakies for hours on end.)

Apparently I am now somewhat employed. Two people approached me about work. Not well-paid work, mind you. And that's just fine. Neither job involves a cubicle. Nor does either of the jobs involve a 40 hour week. I can work with that. Neither will pay me enough to pay the bills. That's no longer important. Like so many of the unemployed, I spend a lot of time hanging around the house doing little or nothing. Actually, I do things when I'm home. I just don't do enough of said things. The rain certainly hasn't helped in that respect.

If the sun won't come out on its own, I can sit here watching Peter Gabriel riding a bike around the stage while singing his heart out. Every time I watch this video, I feel like the sun is out. Thank you, Mr. Sledgehammer/Shock the Monkey/Biko Man.

18 January 2010

Support Your Local Skate Shop Too!

While we do have skateboards in the house, we didn't have a skateboard that was right for skating the ramp that will soon grace our backyard. So, today seemed like as good a day as any to getting the necessary gear for the ramp. Yeah, I bought a board (SMA stick with Indys and OJs). I also bought some decent pads. Shit, I'm old. I no longer bounce when I hit the ground or other hard surfaces.

The skate shop where I bought the board has been around since . . . well, I don't remember when it wasn't there. You can buy a skateboard almost anywhere, but why would you if there's a local shop with local knowledge and local people trying to make their living helping skaters? I've always felt the same way about local surf shops. So, when it comes down to buying a board (surf or skate) at Costco for less or giving my money to the little guy or gal who truly has a passion for the goods sold or the sport pursued, I'm never hesitant to look at the big picture.

17 January 2010

Mining the Stoke

They call it Liquid Salt.

I've never seen anything like it before. It reminds me a bit of Juice while still being completely different.

Mainstream mags no longer mine stoke. They sell product and pretend to have something to talk about in their articles. But, as James Brown might say, all they're doing is "talkin' loud and sayin' nothin'".

When I first saw Liquid Salt, I was happily surprised. Talk is cheap . . . until you allow surfers to speak for themselves. Then it gets good!

Check out the site. You won't be disappointed.

13 January 2010

My Friend Mike Shot These

I don't do "Big Wednesday" surfs. Too many people. Too much hysteria.

My friend Mike shot these today at breaks a little further to the south of me and my normal spots. When I watched the cam today, my usual point looked . . . like it always does. I didn't see anything worthy of all of the hype.

But then I started hearing of waves in other spots. Eventually, the pictures appeared in my inbox. All I can say is . . . (gulp) damn!!!

12 January 2010

"I'm in Love!"

This is what I heard one man say to the woman, I kid you not, who'd approached the group holding a bat. Apparently she had no gripe with them. She was looking for one guy in particular, one who'd been paid to do work on her abode and had not delivered satisfactorily.

We saw the car pull up. We saw the woman get out. We saw the bat emerge. The men all listened as she let them know her gripe was not with them. She was delivering a message. She directed them to tell the guy in question she was looking for him . . . and that she had a bat. That's when one man was heard to exclaim, "I'm in love!!!"

When another man asked who she was so that they could deliver her message, she told him all this guy need do is describe her to the one being sought. She had a distinctive look, one that people wouldn't easily forget.

And with that, she left.

Who said nothing interesting ever happens at 7-11?

09 January 2010

Pole Down!

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it came out of the ground in just a few seconds. I'm not big nor do I want to put too much strain on this new knee so I refused to even think about lifting it. The two guys who are here doing the work that the Psycho Painter f*!@ed up literally picked it right up out of the ground and dropped it. No problem. I suppose that means Soul Brother #1 and I could have done that. I really didn't want to chance it though. Now all we have to do is have someone haul it away.

Surf's up! I'm sure everyone knows that. I've been out in it for the last two days. I probably won't paddle out tomorrow. I can't deal with the crowds. I'll admit to channeling a bit of my inner wave hog today. I didn't go for everything . . . just everything big. I snagged at least two of the meatier set waves. I suppose I could have allowed others to take them. But when it's crowded, surf etiquette goes right out the window. I spent too many years being the nice one in the lineup. Now, I take mine. If the wave is clearly yours or if we're both on the wave, I'll beat a hasty retreat. But, I'm sorry, if I'm reading the waves, seeing where the big ones will break and sitting in the correct spot while others sit further inside because they've incorrectly assumed that's where the waves will break, I'm not going to let the wave pass me by. If the wave breaks here, you need to sit here. If I know to sit there to wait for the better waves, do you really think I'm going to advise you where to sit or give you the wave when I know you'll miss it (because you've not watched the horizon and paddled out to meet the approaching bomb)? No, I'm going to hope that you paddle over to fight it out with this bunch . . .

so I can keep on finding waves I don't have to share with 10 of my new best friends!

06 January 2010

Can You Dig It?

I've learned a lot from my pool skating brothers. If you want to skate, you can't be afraid to put in a little work. As of Sunday, this is what our tiny backyard looked like. The ladders belonged to the Psycho Painter Dude—long story—and those screens have been off the windows for months. We got the ladders moved to a garage. I moved the screens to another spot on the property.

The dog and I were out there attending to boards. I waxed and put the leash loop in the new hull. Then I did some Solarez surgery on the JB performance noserider.

On Tuesday, I started looking at the yard with an eye toward accommodating the mini-ramp. That's when I went on the attack, removing decades old rose bushes that would inevitably shred me and Soul Brother #2 to pieces when we fell off the ramp. I made them go away. Believe me when I tell you that took some work. In fact, the bush behind the clothesline was a monster. The branches were like tangled, sharp tentacles. Soul Brother #1 had to help me with that one. Its removal required a saw, small clippers, big clippers and a shovel. But by the end of my few hours of clearing, I could see I was on the right track. The point is to make some space for the ramp.

So, out of curiosity, I began digging around the ancient clothesline pole that was probably installed (as was the one on the other end of the yard) when this duplex was built some time during the early part or middle of the last century. I wanted to see how much concrete anchored it into the ground. I was also trying to determine how deeply this thing was set into the ground. I decided I would start digging. I was intent on literally getting to the bottom of this pole. Let the digging begin!

I tried.

Then Soul Brother #1 tried.
Dammit, that clothesline is still there. We've got it to the point where it's rocking back and forth. Obviously, we're close. Close to what? I'm not sure. Nonetheless, I think we're making progress. But the question now is: How in the hell do we get this thing out? Any ideas?

03 January 2010

Back to the Basic Basics

There was a time when a pad of paper, a dictionary, some bottles of ink and my fountain pens were all I needed when I sat down to write. This was before the ubiquity of laptops and personal computers. Over the years, I put all of those things (i.e., prehistoric writing instruments and accoutrements) away. I didn't need them. Everything I wanted was literally at my fingertips as I stared at an illuminated screen. It's taken me years to recognize that computers, while being a wonderful godsend for someone who types much faster than she can write, are of the Devil in many ways. I am easily distracted when I sit down in this chair. The internet calls to me.

I wonder if so and so updated his blog.

Is the tide high or low right now?

Oh yeah!! I forgot I wanted to buy that CD. Maybe it's on Amazon.

I can sit in front of the computer amusing myself all day long. As interesting as my journeys around the internet are, they also tend to be counterproductive. I usually get much less done than I wanted.

So, with the new year comes new intentions. I do not make resolutions. I'm of the Nike school of thought. "Just Do It." When a new intention comes to me near the end of a year, I'll usually table it until the new year begins. Such is the case with me and my writing. I will continue to blog, edit and entertain myself with the computer. My serious writing, however, will involve putting pen to paper. When you're sitting there looking at a blank sheet of paper, you're forced to do what you sat down to do. There are no convenient distractions.

I may post some of the writing, if I actually get something of substance written, on the blog. We shall see. I'm toying with the idea of writing some surf-related fiction. Just because.