31 December 2010

It Was Nice Knowing You, 2010!!

It's been fun!!

29 December 2010

I Surfed Yesterday . . .

in spite of the tiny "ain't nothin' but a party y'all" waves. When you've waited the suggested 72 hours and more rain is predicted, you just say, "F*@% it! I'm going surfing!" So I did. And now we've just had another couple of buckets of rain. And now that starts the 72 hour clock all over again. And now there's talk of more rain . . . in a little over 72 hours.


I know that only one of my spots is clean even after a rain. Still, I can't always get there, don't always want to drive that far, know that it can't possibly be perfectly clean all the time and just can't help but wonder about why our oceans have to be as dirty as they are. Our oceans can't possibly rebound quickly or easily from all of the damage we humans have done to them. Yet we surfers blithely go on as if we think they can. I've been thinking about this quite a bit of late. We surfers need to get our shit together and be better stewards for the ocean. We bitch and moan about having to stay out of the water. (We all do it. I'm including myself in that.) I see that as a way of focusing the discussion on ourselves . . . when it shouldn't be about us. It should be about protecting the sea. It has no way to protect itself. Perhaps, then, our focus should be on that which gives us the waves to surf. Even if we think we can't protect it, we should try. And I will. Will you?

27 December 2010

Thanks, Santa Baby!!

This is probably the longest skateboard I've ever seen up close and personally. And I'm going to walk (i.e., cross-step) all over it.

Woot!! There it is!! It's been at least a year since I declared my intent to never buy anything from the iTunes store again. I love Apple, but their music purchasing policies bite!! If your computer dies and takes your un-backed up music library with it, you have to jump through hoops to get your purchased songs into your new set-up. I'm done with that. I decided awhile ago that it was just cheaper, and better, to buy an entire CD. This allows you to really get a feel for the artist. You also pay much less than you would if you bought one song at a time through the iTunes store. And my point is? Well, I'm getting there. I had to rant for just a bit. (Thinking to myself, "Now where was I?") Oh!! Anyway, I have hundreds of albums. There was no way I was going to buy digital files of music I already owned. So, I have all this music that I love and can't listen to on my iPod. Santa felt my pain . . . and brought me a turntable that will allow me to turn my vinyl into digital files. Fantastic!!

Surfing? What's that? I've not gotten wet in close to two weeks. I tried today to no avail. I tried two breaks. The first had clean water and way too many people for the small takeoff zone. Alas, the waves lacked the juice for a decent mat session, therefore I took a pass. The second spot had marginal shape, but was relatively empty. I asked three people whether I should paddle out. The first said, "I had fun." Okay, I took his words with a grain of salt. He always says he had fun. The two other I asked both said the water was dirty. That was all I needed to hear. I came home, lifted weights, walked the dog and made plans to try again tomorrow before it rains.

25 December 2010

Why is It Raining . . . Again?!?!

It's Christmas!! Have you no shame? We all want to go surfing tomorrow. We will have allowed the ocean to clean up after that week of rain. We've been nice, not naughty. Why is it raining now? Today? Again?

So, I actually finished my attempt at 100,000 kilometers. I was interrupted the last time I tried to reach my goal. We had a power outage as I was in the middle of the rowing session. I got off the rowing machine out of disgust. I don't need power for the rowing machine. I do, however, need power for the music that keeps me focused. Once the music stopped, so did I. Thankfully, though, I reached 100,000 kilometers yesterday morning without incident.

Dearest Santa,

Thank you for the new skateboard. It's exactly what I wanted. And thank you for giving me permission to buy myself the '65 Ford wagon. That was the biggest Christmas present I've ever gotten. Do me a favor? Please talk to Mother Nature about the rain. If it continues, it will bring out my Scrooge-like tendencies. We don't want that now, do we?

You stay fat, jolly and generous. I'll keep surfing.

Best regards,

The chick with the alliterative nom de plume and given names.

22 December 2010

Still Hunkered Down

In addition to spending a great deal of time in the Woman Cave during all of this inclement weather, I can also be found in front of the television. I don't watch much TV, so it's not like I'm doing my best imitation of a couch potato. The TV is best used . . . for rock and roll!

Note the surfboard in the background. It's not a Christmas gift. It's my 8 foot Almond mystery board. I rescued it, and the board bag, from the porch once the rains began. The board was fine, of course. The bag was soaking wet. I brought both in to await the return to the porch. Well, it's still raining, so the board stays just where it is, looking like the wonderful Christmas present it isn't.

I'm 2000 kilometers away from my 100,000 kilometer rowing goal. I will reach that goal tomorrow. I will also continue my assault on Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time" as a solo artist. Our band's frontman, at only 8 years old, doesn't know the song well and gets impatient when there's not much for him to do to slay the crowd. In the photo, he's putting Eddie Vedder to shame, exhorting the audience to understand that he's still alive.

You know, of course, that once school is back in session and the rain abates, the band will break up again. Long live rock!

19 December 2010

Hunkered Down

The rain? I was over it two days ago. Los Angeles and rain do not a good mix make. Remember, this is the city that announces "Storm Watch" on the news each and every time it rains. Our drivers are already careless, preoccupied and often certain that they are justified in feeling a grand sense of entitlement (because their expensive cars are obviously more deserving of space on the road than our hoopties are). When it rains here, I cringe.

Well, it's not only raining, it's raining buckets. And it's going to rain buckets for days on end.

I am not amused. First, you can't surf when it rains like this as the conditions are too junky. Second, you can't surf after it rains like this because the ocean is too filthy.

What is a surfer to do?

Before I knew all of this rain was on the way, I signed myself up for the Concept 2 Holiday Challenge. It means I've committed to doing 100,000 kilometers on the rowing machine between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I decided to do it on a lark. I've recently gotten back to the rowing machine. I'd stopped using it seriously after my knee replacement. The machine just seemed impossible to use and quite painful. Because I lost some range of motion in my knee, I can't comfortably row the way I did prior to surgery. So, truthfully, I'd given up on the rowing machine altogether. Then, at my last job (you know I quit that gig, right? What? We all know how I am!), I worked with someone who used to be a competitive rower. He told me that there are many senior rowers who've got bad knees and that they just do a shorter pull. So, I tried that. And now I'm back to the rowing machine. As of today, I'm three-quarters of the way toward my goal. The fact that I won't be surfing any time soon almost ensures that I will reach 100,000 kilometers by Christmas.

The weather also ensures that I will be spending a great deal of time in the Woman Cave as I maintain my fitness until I can get back in the water.

I row in there, but I also lift weights and get some time to myself in there. That's the place where I will be seriously hunkered down, especially given the fact that I live in an old neighborhood with old transformers that blow up every time we have a good storm. The lack of electricity on the premises always sends me out to the Woman Cave. I've got batteries for the boombox and windows that provide more than enough light during the daytime.

It is a bit distressing to recognize that there will be no going outside to play for the next few days.

The dog is none too happy either. I have taken him on a few quick walks when the rains let up here and there. For the most part though, he's as hunkered down as I am. And neither of us likes being stuck in the house. Still, given the way we Angelenos act when it rains, I think it's safer to stay close to home. I'm just sayin'.

18 December 2010

This Blog Has Its Own . . . Wordle

17 December 2010

A living [woman] can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if [she] dies in refusing to be enslaved, [she] reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object — Albert Camus

14 December 2010

File Under "Home Break Mascots"

There sits Titus and that underbite . . . in all of their collective glory. You can't help but smile whenever you see this dog. He is neither menacing nor ferocious. I'm not even sure that I've ever heard him bark. Best grill (whether canine or human) ever!!

For the first time in months, I paddled out at The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless on a board instead of a mat. The waves looked a bit timid and the mat requires some juice. TPWSRN usually has size. When I first started surfing there, I would get completely intimidated by the wall of water moving toward me. However, it didn't take long for me to realize that on most days those walls hardly move at the speed of sound. You often hear a lot of frustrated exclamations when a wave that, say, four people have paddled for simply rolls underneath all of them without taking anyone with it toward the shore. In other words, this wave is usually as slow as that guy in front of you on the freeway who's trying to text and read the paper while steering the car with his thigh. What I love about this place is that the wave has shape. You can count on that unless a swell is hitting it straight on (at which point the spot closes out). Today, I went to check it out, didn't see much and called off a friend who was supposed to meet me there. Thankfully, something told me to keep watching.

Ten minutes later, I was calling my friend back, telling her that I saw what looked like breaking waves. I think she was throwing her stuff into her car before we even got off the phone. After awhile, another friend and I got the texts going back and forth. I reported my findings. He let it be known that he was on his way.

All told, there were probably no more than 10 of us in the water at one time. Waves were shared. Waves were given away. Civility was the norm. I love that. And it was a treat to be back in the lineup on a surfboard. Nonetheless, the next time I see some real juice in the water there, I'm getting back on my mat.

10 December 2010

(Laughing Too Hard to Title This Post)

What the $#%&!? Hey, I'm open-minded and all. Live and let live. You do your thing, I'll do mine. But . . . seriously . . . WTF? Who on earth would wear this?

Okay, people, slow your roll(s). Don't start writing comments about tight pants, hipsters, young people, etc. This is my wetsuit. Yeah, I know. As I was deciding on colors and how to have them laid out on the wetsuit, I kept telling myself I was out of my mind. Still, I kept on fooling around with the color design of this wetsuit. Then, my seemingly psychotropic drug-addled brain settled on what you see here. Once I'd played around with these colors, I knew I wouldn't actually have someone make this wetsuit. I mean, we're talking about me here. I spent so much time trying to blend into the lineup and not be noticed when I first started surfing. Guess what I eventually figured out? If you're black and female and a surfer, everyone notices. Few people care, but most people notice.

And what has my motto been for the last few years? Say it with me: "Since you're going to stare at me anyway, I'll give you something to stare at."

Once again, this is a custom Reunion wetsuit. Once you go black, er . . . I mean custom, you never go back. I don't plan to go back to buying wetsuits off the rack. Ryo's got my measurements down! And the suits are perfection! Perhaps the next one will be less, uh, happy. Then again, maybe not.

08 December 2010

Buy My Friend's Board

It will make a wonderful Christmas present for (fill in the blank). It will!!

What is it? Well, it's a beautiful 8'2" Larmo swallowtail twinzer. Why is it for sale? "A rather foolish impulse buy I made a couple years ago, still in almost new condition. It's barely been ridden b/c it turned out to need a riding technique just about the opposite of how one rides a single-fin displacement hull, and I'm not athletically skilled enough to switch back and forth." There you have it. This thing has barely been in the water, people!

It's currently on consignment at the Surfy Surfy shop in Leucadia. That's another reason why you should buy this board. My friend is cool and the St. Pierres are good people. Support your local quiver-expanding surfer and local surf shop, for the love of Pete. Make this sale happen. It's only $450!

Pray for well-behaved crowds and good weather!

07 December 2010

Kissin' and Tellin'

Show of hands—how many of you have been kissed while sitting out in the lineup? Little did I know I'd be one of those who could raise my hand when asked that question. The kiss, a peck on the cheek, caught me totally off-guard. I remember laughing out loud when it happened because I was just that surprised. Would it be safe to say that this man, an older guy (as in older than I am) who was saying nice things to me throughout the session, has a little crush? Who knows? We'd met before so he was not a total stranger. At one point, he got off his board and motioned me over. I thought he wanted to try the mat. I was pushing the mat in his direction as I kicked closer to him. Before I knew it, he'd planted a kiss on me and started laughing. Since he wasn't a stranger or a freak, I burst out laughing as well. I'm not sure what to make of the whole thing. Admirer? Friend? Both? Kissing bandit?

In the end, it didn't matter. There were only three of us out trading some waves with size. I rode my mat because, well, it's what I do at this spot. Every time I show up with a board, the crowd and the kelp make me rethink my choice of wave-riding vehicle. Granted, it was relatively empty yesterday, but the fields of kelp got more of my attention than the waves did. Oh, wait! Now that I think of it, I hadn't taken a board with me anyway. I wasn't even sure if this spot was breaking. The cool thing about riding mats is that you can always easily have your equipment with you. When you find a wave, you don't have to run back home to get a board. My mats and fins are always in the car. Now that I think of it, I hadn't even expected to get wet. I just went to the spot on the off chance something was there. And something was. And I had two mats from which to choose. And down the trail I went. And out into the water I kicked. And I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

See all of that kelp? Ride a board through that? No, thanks! The mat makes the kelp a non-issue. The mat is the game-changer. You folks on surfboards, don't mind me. I'll sit right over here in the kelp getting the set waves, the rights, the lefts and the laughs.

With that said, I may just take a board with me to surf this spot tomorrow. Of course, that doesn't mean I'll ride it. With the mat, I'm guaranteed to have a ball.

01 December 2010

Buried Treasure

There were 45 years' worth of registration stickers on that plate. I pulled of most off them in one big chunk. Then I scraped down to this. I decided to leave that be. I think it's the 1965 sticker as well as part of the 1966 sticker. To see something like that takes your breath away.

Tomorrow, the car goes to the mechanic. I know the radiator is leaking. God knows what else might be going on under the hood. Nonetheless, the car is in great shape. It's definitely a land yacht. And I'm used to those. I grew up driving gigantic Cadillacs. My mom had a thing for them. Imagine learning how to drive on a Mercury Monarch, but then having to take your driver's test on a full-sized Caddy. I passed the test, but just barely.

Decades later, getting behind the wheel of this much steel was not at all intimidating. I grew up in these big boats. My earliest memory of a car was sitting in the backseat of our massive Mercury Monterey. Since I'm an only child, I didn't have to share that seat with anyone else. I would sit back there all by myself. I just remember it feeling like I was sitting in a room of one's own. There was so much space back there that I felt like I was in some room sitting on a couch all by my lonesome. It was a curious feeling. Perhaps it's what stayed with me throughout my life and fostered my love of old cars.

Let's just hope the mechanic doesn't find anything horribly wrong. He probably won't. The issue, I think, will be in getting parts quickly. Nonetheless, I have no regrets. She is awesome!