Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Epic Return Part 3.



Day 5: Redding - Portland

We woke early and hit the Holiday Inn restaurant, ordered and then waiting for forty five minutes for our meal. It was the wrench in the cogs of our thus far, highly efficient morning. After having our first cup of coffee Lisa made the mistake of reading the creamer cup.

Non-dairy creamer.

"What the hell is this stuff?" she asked. We figured it must be some oil based abomination so we asked for cream or milk which they had lots of in the back.

America, some times I'll never understand you. Is it really that difficult to throw real creamers in the fridge and bring them out to the table when coffee or tea is ordered? JOB SECURITY MAN! No wonder the economy is in a state. As president my first plan for economic recovery would be creamer based.

We got on the road and headed to Portland. By this point we had learned that the kids needed lots of breaks to stretch their legs, to pee and to provide a break from the boredom of the back seat so we made a couple of stops here and there.

We stopped in Eugene for lunch and found some Organic diner. It was pretty typical hippie fare. Healthy but served with a side of underachieving ineptitude. In any case, it filled the gap and gave us a chance to walk around a little bit. Miete and I found hop-scotch chalked on the sidewalk and I showed her how to do it. She has been addicted ever since but doesn't really know the name.

With a few other stops we made Portland in good time. It was around six when we pulled up to the Marriott Courtyard hotel on Oak st. It was quite nice and they put us on the quiet and scenic sixteenth floor and valeted our vehicle in secured parking so I didn't have to pack my board through the hotel.

We got settled in our room and ordered pizza. That is to say, Lisa ordered pizza and I sat there grumpy not being able to make up my mind from being both tired and famished. Eventually I mumbled a half-assed order to her and then ran out to Deschutes brewing to grab some beer.

On my way down I had missed Deschutes as I had no time and really wanted to sample their fare. So when I arrived and found that they have no store front like Rogue does I was greatly disappointed. Only warm six packs if I wanted beer. This would not do.

I headed in the direction I thought Rogue lay but found myself somewhat lost. I wasn't really sure where Rogue was so I decided to head back to the hotel and go beerless. Then I saw Whole Foods. Why buy just one brewery's beer when you can buy several?

They had most of the local breweries represented in some way so I bought three large bottles and headed back to the hotel. When I entered the room I was greeted with the smell of warm pizza. It was really quite good and we all wolfed it down, Miete eating a fair share of hers and spreading a decent amount of sauce on the bed sheets before finishing.

We all crashed out soon after. Miete was having trouble sleeping so Lisa climbed in with her and I took the other bed all to myself. Solid, deep sleep!

Day 6: Portland - Vancouver.

Up respectively early and on the road right away. The valet brought the car around and thankfully my board was still on top and the fins hadn't been busted off by some low ceiling parkade.

We headed to a local coffeeshop, Stumptown Coffee Roasters. We were not disappointed. Yes, it was filled with hipsters but the coffee was great. I ordered three Cappuccinos knowing that the one size they offered would not be quite enough for both Lisa and I so opted to share a third. I also purchased a bunch of pastries and scones. All was decent but the coffee was the best I had south of the border.

Boom. On the road heading north stopping only for a lunch of cold pizza from last night eaten in a park on the east side of Seattle. I still don't like Seattle. It's the uglier version of Vancouver with all the bad weather and none of the cleanliness. Grunge it up Cobain. You can keep it.

We made the border and had to tell Miete to be sure to be quiet as we went through and I was asked questions. She sat silent in the back watching the man in the booth ask me three or four questions.

"Welcome back."

We were through and home.

It was a good feeling crossing the border and a little sad. I knew the adventure was at an end and to me it ended a little too soon in retrospect. Nonetheless, further adventure awaits. I thank you all for following along and sharing this with me. I will be discontinuing this blog and starting a new one and will post its address here when I do.

* end of transmission *

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Epic Return Part 2.




Day 4: Carmel - Santa Cruz - Redding.

As nice and comfy as Carmel was, the open road called and we needed to continue on to our final destination so after a two day stay in our three bedroom bungalow we headed off for Redding.

Along our route lay Santa Cruz. A must stop for any surfer and when we pulled in and I checked ouut 38th Ave I could see why. Endless waves rolled in. They were all in the 2-4 foot range and were aching for a longboard. I happily obliged catching multiple waves in the hour and a half I was on the water.

The crowd was super friendly off the 38th Ave staircase. Congratulations on nice rides were given out and encouragements to go for waves when someone paddled hard for one. After a number of short rides and some waits between sets I decided to paddle for the 35th Ave staircase where the rides looked longer and more consistent.

I had to cross an expanse of unpopulated water to get to the next group of surfers and the distance looked to be a few hundred yards. I have to admit it made me nervous. This was the red triangle after all. An area which accounts for 38% of the world's great white attacks. Being a lone sheep was not the ideal so I paddled hard and even harder when I would feel the bump of kelp against my board or the subtle tug of the same against my leash.

I made it with no problem to the next group and lined up. The crowd here was a little more aggro than the other friendly group at 38th. Everyone was competing for the waves and the short and longboarders alike gave out shit when someone cut them off and had no problem snaking you to get a nice ride.

Even with the crowd and the aggro I managed a couple of nice rides. One wave I lucked out in catching late shot me down the line nice and fast and I ended up in the kelp. The good wave came at the price of being entangled in kelp and have both me and my board washed past the catch point and bonking together as successive waves rolled in. I can see why kelp is dangerous. I climbed on my board and paddle back out as far as I could till the kelp held me back and reefed on it till it broke. I took a couple of waves in the face but finally was free, cleared the weeds off my leash and paddled out.

After sit in the water and catching some great waves I knew it was time to head back in. Lisa and the girls were gracious enough to give me the time in the water while they were down the strip on Santa Cruz beach having lunch and sitting in the sand. I paddled in, packed up and called to tell them I was on my way.

After collecting Lisa and the kids I hit a great Taqueria for a quick and extremely delicious bite before hitting the long hard way to Redding some four hours away. When you hit a Taqueria and there are only Mexicans there, you know it's good. It might be a little dangerous and you may pay for it later but it will taste like heaven going down. I dove into a burrito as I waited for Lisa to pick up some road snacks at Whole Foods.

The Santa Cruz Whole Foods allowed me to see something I never thought I would. In front of the doors was a homeless dude asking for change. Not too out of the ordinary really unless you looked at his backpack and blankets against the brick building. There atop his filthy rags and sweaters was his iPhone plugged in and charging. I don't even have an iPhone.

As Lisa came back with Miete and we were about to load up and take off the homeless guy walked by our car and peed in the large rhododendron behind us. 
Stay classy, Santa Cruz.

We hit the road and frankly, the kids traveled well. We made good time as there was little traffic and we made it into Redding at about 7:30pm. I checked us into the Holiday Inn where there was a nice little pool and we all took a dip to wash off the road filth and then retired. I sat in the bathroom writing the first draft of this while sipping Californian Cab Sauv, maybe a low point maybe a high point.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Epic Return Part I.


The Weekend:

We spent our last weekend in Los Angeles, not in Los Angeles. We instead went south to San Clemente to surf and have some fun with some damn fine people we have grown to love, The Nash Family.

It was bitter sweet. It really sucks knowing you are departing and yet spending time in the company of folks you know you really are going to miss. The move to Los Angeles was made worth while alone based on getting to know people like Pete, Liz and Jack. I'm pretty sure there is some horribly malformed karbunkle on Lemmy Kilmister's ass from which Pete, Adam and I were all cleaved at one time. We share so many things and in some odd twist of fate, found each other and formed what I would consider a lasting and fiery bromantic triangle.

I'll regret that last sentence, I am sure.

The weekend was fun. The surf was better on Saturday than on Sunday or at least that's how I saw it. Frustration took its toll on me come Sunday. My dead arms and shoulders, atrophied from long hours animating and basting in my own juices, just wouldn't power me through the chop and allow me to catch the waves I wanted. I wanted to quit and toss my board into the surf by the time we left but I knew this was the learning curve.

Pete confirmed it. Most people don't make it past this point. I get why. Getting your ass handed to you and feeling like you've been beaten with a stick is no fun. I was really hoping to go out on a high note and instead got a low one.

"Mistah, I pack your things reeeeal nice."

Monday: The Move

The movers arrived at 9:15 am. I was driving back with Eireland asleep in the backseat after dropping Miete off at Liz and Pete's so she could play with Jack and stay out of the way. I toured around Westwood a little for the last time before coming back so she could get a decent knap.

The movers were two very quite Mexican dudes. One had a long pony tail and a fu-man-chu. He was in charge. The driver to be sure. The other, lankier and lackier was doing the heavy lifting for the time being. The driver looked like a young Danny Trejo. He would quite possibly shank me if I pissed him off. I decided to sit back and stay out of the way.

Hours went by. They wrapped each piece of unboxed furniture and goods methodically in 5 layers of heavy gauge moving paper. Shit was taking for ever. I have never in my life seen a couch wrapped like a present. You name it, it was wrapped like a steak at the butchers. I'll give it to them, they were thorough. They were so thorough in fact that the driver took three shits in our bathroom in the process of packing. I pretty much lost my mind by 3pm when they had left.

Nevertheless, I gave them a $30 tip to make sure my stuff wasn't hawked in North Venice later that afternoon.



The Drive North

Day 1: Los Angeles - Santa Barbara

We took off and headed through Malibu and wanted to make Santa Barbara two hours away to stay for the night. Midway through Malibu Lisa remarked to me that Los Angelinos sure like their personalized license plates. She pointed out the plate on the Camry in front of us which I had not noticed. I broke into laughter at what appeared to be a gross oversight on the owner. The female driver had her first initial and last name embossed on her plate. A real mark of pride for her I am sure. She must have never heard the murmurs or jokes around the water cooler regarding the combination of her first initial and last name.

S Hart.

Always too late, SHart carries a change of clothes in the trunk.

The ironic thing about this horrible choice in names and vanity plates is that it made me laugh so hard I nearly shit myself. I told Lisa to take a picture but she had a hard time focusing on the moving target so the plate is a little unclear but rest assured, Sally Hart was driving her Camry beside us down the PCH that day and probably had stained her whites with a brown bingo dabber.

Entering Santa Barbara it becomes immediately apparent why everyone from Los Angeles comes here to get married. It’s pretty and quaint and most of all, clean. I had never really noticed how dirty Los Angeles was until I left it. I guess it’s a matter of desensitization to filth. The garbage and detritus strewn about the street and sidewalk, the constant cacophony of traffic, the brown layer of haze that sits five hundred or so feet above the ground on days without wind become white noise against the busyness of the lifestyle.

I’ve been running at a sprint pace for seven or more months now and the stroll which Santa Barbara meanders along is a welcome change and marks the end of the Los Angeles experience with double bold and underlined punctuation. So be it. I have no mixed emotions on this matter. My sole emotion is exhaustion.

It's no wonder then why I put up no fight when Lisa strays from the advice that Liz and Pete gave us to stay at the humble but clean Motel 6 and instead opts for the place across the street because she prefers the appearance. The Cabrillo Inn does look moderately nicer than the Motel 6 so I put up little resistance and check us in. The rate is decent so I'm not too worried. We will only be here overnight in any case.
As we enter the room it's like we stepped back in time to the mid-seventies. Tacky as all getout. What's more is there's no air conditioning and the room is hotter than hell. We open all the windows and leave the door ajar and turn on a massive floor fan they have left in the suite for cooling purposes. The room is brutal. The bed is like lying on broken springs. After a harrowing day of running about and being generally stressed this is not the relaxing stay I was hoping for.

We leave the "comfort" of our room and head into town to grab some food. Lisa suggests fish and chips and I look up the restaurant directory and as it turns out, there's a Brit run chippy with great reviews. I'm stoked. We arrive at Mac's Fish and Chips and order and we are not disappointed. This is the best fish I have eaten since arriving in Los Angeles. Delicious. Good chips too. I highly recommend this place should you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara.

We get back to the Cabrillo (s)Inn and crash out in the hot sticky room. Lisa and Miete go for a quick dip in the heated pool and come back shivering twenty minutes later. I have a brutal sleep and awake grumpier than a bear with a sore ass.

 A/C or not, this kid doesn't care.

Day 2: Santa Barbara - Carmel

We head back into town and hit Joe's Cafe for breakfast. I get a really decent Huevos Rancheros but the other meals are mediocre. It's like they knew I really needed that meal. We're packed up and we head out shooting for Carmel if we can make it.

We hit Morro Bay by lunch and Miete has been melting down in the car for the last hour. Both Lisa and I are ready to leave her on the side of the road. We pull in to the small fishing town and I take Eireland for a walk around the small single strip which runs the length of the sheltered inlet. We look for a restaurant and find something that looks decent enough and decide we'll hit the fish and chips again since we've been so deprived for the last seven months. Lisa, in the meantime calms Miete down and meets me outside the restaurant. We hope we can get through the meal without another melt down.

We barely get through the meal. Miete is restless and wants to get up and leave so Lisa takes her into a neighboring shop which sells little porcelain keepsakes. They select one to bring home and break another so two are purchased. Miete comes back and sits through our meal as there are some sea otters playing in the ocean outside the window of where we are seated. They're super playful and almost pose for photos as kayakers pass.

Pete had told me that Morro Bay apparently has a good wave but that he had never checked it out himself. I go to the tourist office and do a quick read on a pamphlet and it says the large rock which towers out of the ocean and lies in front of their power plant has a decent surf spot to its right. I elect to check it out and we drive to the area and lying there is some pretty nice looking waves.

Don't let the weather fool you. It was warm and so was the water.

One of the best things about Morro Bay is that you park your car and can walk past the break and put your board in the water and paddle a mere forty feet and catch waves. There's several areas of break and it looks like the main area is down the way but I elect for the easy and less crowded area right around the parking lot. I am not disappointed. 2-3 footers are rolling in with the odd 4 footer.

I share the break with one other guy. The perfect three wave sets of easily managed 3 footers keep rolling in. The waves are benign and boost my confidence so I am going for almost anyone that rolls in provided my sole competitor isn't trying for them first. I catch a small ride which is short lived but enjoyable and paddle back out. After the disappointing trip to San Onofre I am really hoping to exorcise the demons of uncaught waves. I see a really nice 3.5 footer forming up and paddle for it. I catch it and stand up and ride it to the beach pumping my fist as I drop off my board and into the water at the end. Consider the demons gone.

After another half hour or so the kids are wanting to get back in the car and Lisa is itching to get going so I change and pack up the board and we hit the road.

We drive through Big Sur. It's apparently scenic and beautiful but we wouldn't know it. Mist and fog obscure all but the road directly in front of us as we press on slower than usual. The cliffside drops away sharply into the murk below. I'm sure that more than a few lives have been lost to a lapse in concentration.

As we get closer towards Carmel we have some snacks while driving and decide we will make the last push although everyone is tired and wanted to get out of the car. We are all glad we did when we finally hit Carmel because it is so beautiful and quaint. After a quick look around we rent a three bedroom cottage minutes from the beach. It's so nice we both decide that we could stay in it permanently.

 Our quaint living room.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On Electing Fandom.



The only thing more disappointing to a sports fan than following his team for thirty plus years and watching them reach the cup three times only to lose it is the riots which have followed two of the last three cup attempts.

Vancouver played well during the season and displayed far less of their on-again-off-again style of play. Luongo, was even a little better this season but still had a major blow up every fifteen games or so. It looked like we really had a decent chance as we headed into the post season and although I didn't have high hopes, much to the dismay and disgust of fellow fans, I awaited each round with a healthy dose of nervous anticipation and giddy excitement.

After making it past the second round I was pretty stoked. At least it wouldn't be another typical blowout. The third round passed and we were headed for the final where I thought we really had a good chance of winning.

Whatever your view on the last game of the playoffs, Boston won the series fair and square. It looked as though Vancouver was squeaking through as Tim Thomas stood on his head time and again to make amazing saves. He truly did deserve the Conn Smythe over and above anyone else on the ice. Well done Tim Thomas.



The predictable riots which followed and the apparent public disgust evidenced on Facebook was truly illuminating for me.

"Those aren't true Canucks fans".

The mantra was repeated in hopes of washing the blood off our hands.

"A few bad apples".

Horseshit.



Those Canucks-logo-clad miscreants burning cars and smashing windows are every bit as much a Canucks fan as the person sitting in the stands twirling a towel.

"WHAT AN OUTRAGE!" you say.

Those idiots, and they are exactly that, probably cheered just as hard, watched on average as many regular and post season games and were probably as aware of the roster as anyone else. Certainly no sane individual would say that someone who smashes a window but watches eighty games a season is less a fan than someone who only watches the last round when the Canucks are in the Cup. The fact that their behavior is disgusting has nothing to do with them being a fan. People who say as much are seeing a correlation between two unrelated values. After all, isn't it just as possible  for a law-abiding person to NOT be a Canucks fan? Criminality and fandom have no relationship. I'm sure there were plenty of incarcerated individuals in both Boston and British Columbia cheering in front of the prison television.



"Well then, those people are not fans like me", you state in defense.

Well actually they are in many ways. You have both elected... ELECTED to follow the Canucks and call yourself a fan. You weren't born into a system of Canucks fandom. You weren't made to be one by some dictator. You possibly grew up watching them and therefore consider them your home team but at some point you looked at all the sports, leagues and teams in the world and said, "Yeah, I'm a Canucks fan". You made a conscious decision to follow this team and it was instant acceptance as there were no qualifications for entry.

The criminal smashing windows did this as well.

Criminals exist in society. 32000 or 0.13% Canadians were in prison in 2001. 10% of Canadian have a criminal record. We know there are criminals in Vancouver and it would be foolish to suggest that none of them are Canucks fans.

Does a criminal record make the three hundred thousand Canadians with criminal records in Canada not Canadians? It does not. Not by law or by any other line of reasoning. Do criminals in our society make us not want to be Canadian or to relinquish our citizenship? More than likely not, as much as we all wish there were no criminals. We accept that there are criminals in our society and attempt to dissuade their behavior through punishment but even when there is no end to criminal behavior in sight most of us rarely reach a point where we burn our passports and set off for another land seeking asylum. Why? Probably because ever country has criminals. By the same token, does a criminal record exclude one from Canucks fandom? No.

So, to sum up:

With citizenship you earn or are born into it and there are qualification requirements. With fandom you elect it and there are no qualification requirements. Just as every country has criminals, every sports team fanbase does as well.


Those who say the criminals who perpetuated the destruction on Vancouver's downtown core are not "true Canucks fans" are creating a distinction between themselves and those idiots which frankly does not exist. Remember, there was no qualifications for entry in Canucks fandom. The only distinction which exists is that one group of fans rioted and another did not. The rioters are Canucks fans and more than likely they are Canadian. Many are probably native born Canadians but NONE of them including yourself was a native born Canuck. I have yet to see one person write that the riots have made them not want to be a Canadian (though they may exist). I have read a few posts that it has made some not want to be a Vancouverite. I have read far fewer that no longer want to be considered a Canucks fan.

So as you choose to stay a Canucks fan remember you are electing to be a member of a group which has no qualifications for entry. A group that includes the people responsible for the riot.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Digs.

We found new digs. That is to say, Raphael found new digs for us. My sister is my house hunting proxy and sniffed out a nice place with some shoddy neighbors in an otherwise great neighborhood in Vancouver.

We will be moving to East Van on our return into a brand new, never been lived in duplex. It will cost us a pretty penny per month but should be worth it as it seems to meet all our needs and exceed a few.


Here are some pics which can also been seen in greater detail on Facebook:

 There's a little yard with a white picket fence in front. The covered porch has a gas hook up for BBQing and brewing. This shot is looking east so the entire front gets unimpeded southern exposure, great for tomatoes and hops.


 One sweet ass new kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Lots of cupboard space for once in our lives.


Small but nice living room. All out furniture will fit but the large dining room table we have will have to stay in storage. There's just nowhere to put it.

My favorite room of the house.

We take possession whenever we get back. The landlords seem amazingly sweet and very accommodating and just want us to take great care of the place as it's their future retirement property. I'm sure we can manage that. I could have been a little more centrally located but at this point we are just happy to not be looking anymore and subjecting my sis to it as well.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Down And Out In Cheviot Hills



I feel like Nick Nolte looks. I've been rather negligent in updating this blog in the last couple of months because frankly, I don't have the time. 

Work has gone from intense, to extremely busy to all out insane. I have about two and half hours of waking time a day that is not spent at work. I'm up before seven and at work by eight, home between seven to nine in the evening to eat, watch a little tube, talk to my wife and then promptly pass out for a few hours before being woken by a teething eight month old or a bouncing three year old. When you only see your kids for fifteen minutes in the morning and half of the nights during the week you miss them altogether before they go to bed, they want to play with you if they happen to wake up at quarter past six ie. yesterday.

Surfing? Working out? What's that? I'm tired and getting more so by the moment and as I write this I sit on the couch, sniffling with a snotty nose at home sick for the afternoon.

Alas, all this comes to an end on the seventeenth of June a mere fifteen days from now. The road has been long and hard and a lot of fun and at this point, I can't wait for it to end. I will miss this city and the awesome people I have met here but it is time to return home where I have work waiting for me. The adventure has served its purpose. I've made the contacts and worked on another film and if it all works out, I will return to work for Sony in the fall at their Vancouver location.

Our three year old Miete became rather upset this afternoon when she saw the first couple of boxes Lisa had packed. Change is never easy when you're a tot but I know she'll love being back with her friend at daycare and seeing family again.

We are searching for a place in Vancouver to rent and is it ever an ordeal. The challenges of finding a place down here seem insignificant in retrospect. The prices in Vancouver are pretty high and we are looking for something to live in long term and therefore our standards are elevated. We'd like a three bedroom house close to or in Mount Pleasant and have found a few candidates. Nothing is cheap. All are over two grand a month but there is a couple of gems which I would gladly pay that for. In the long term if we can't afford it we can move and downsize and adjust. For now, that is the plan. Get something nice and enjoy it for the summer and next year while I work away at Rainmaker on their film with Woodsy.

It is truly amazing what some people consider rent-worthy in Vancouver. I know there were some real shit-boxes down here ie. The Hacienda Del Dookie I saw in Culver when looking for a place but I think Vancouver takes the cake. We have been sending my sister to look at places most of which are in the eighteen hundred to twenty two hundred dollar range. She has left more than one with some stories. A few quotes:

- " It needed a cleaning but was pretty nice inside. Two guys were moving out. There was a real bad smell in there like mold. I could still smell it on my clothes an hour later." (Commercial area $2000/month)

- "The front yard was tiny, like unusable. You could never leave anything out there or you'd lose it overnight. The neighbour's was a shit pile and the two garages across the street were interesting. One had a band jamming in it and the other was wide open with two guys in lawn chairs drinking beer and watching the hockey game." (Fraser area $2300/month)

- "It was small. You would have to saw your table in half. " (Main area $2200/month)

So we have all that to look forward to when we return. We are planning a June 30th arrival or thereabouts and are making the family road trip back over four or five days. I thought it would be a fitting way to end this blog so before I end it all  or transfer it over to Wagnerfied British Columbia I thought we could wrap it up with some family fun/lunacy on the road up.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hero Of The Day


Sunday, the only day I have off these days. There's no energy for cooking on my part so most often Sundays involve a meal or two out. Miete and Lisa have really been into the pizza lately at one of Culver's best places, Pitfire Pizza so off we went for lunch.
I'm dragging ass today as I have come down with the same cold that three people sitting around me have. Lisa and the kids go in and make the order while I decide to go to a nearby store to buy a hat for surfing. I exit the parking lot and see that it is at least two blocks away and my cold tells me that there's no way I am willing to hoof it the five hundred yards down the street so I turn around and head back in to the restaurant.

With our orders in,  I grab a highchair and we head to our table. The tables around us were swelling with 13 year olds from Santa Monica Rugby Club and they were systematically destroying the pizzas placed in front of them. I think Pitfire must have gone through most of the dough they prepared that morning by the time they left.

Our food arrived. Lisa and Miete had pizzas and I opted for the baked Mac n' cheese wanting something different. We ate our meals while the teens jumped from booth to booth shoveling varying forms of Italian food into their mouths.

Eireland was sitting in Lisa's lap gurgling away and playing with a toy on the table. Miete was beside me on my side of the table and about half way through her pizza. She stopped and focused on Eireland as Lisa and I were having a conversation and said, "Eireland has something in her mouth."

We both looked at Eireland who was at this point, choking with no breath coming out or going in. Lisa flipped her over on her belly and I got out my phone and started to dial 911. Lisa hit her three times in the back with the heel of her palm, the life saving technique we learned in first aid. On the fourth thump I watch what can only be described as a Linda Blair like fountain of blended peas fly out of her mouth and both nostrils. The Exorcist, right here at my table.

The entire contents of Eireland's stomach shot out and all over the bench seat of the table and the floor below us. An ample portion landed on, in and around Lisa who now looked like Father Karass covered in pea soup vomit.

I canceled my call and Eireland regained her breath and started to cry.

She never went blue or beet red but she was certainly choking. Lisa searched the puke and swept her mouth and came up with a wadded up chunk of napkin that Eireland had torn off without us noticing. Once she had jammed it in her mouth and soaked it with baby spit it formed a real nice wad which then lodged in her throat.

We are both very happy we did first aid when we were expecting Miete or had just had her years ago. I cannot recommend it enough. But we are not the heros. No, we are just the unwitting clods which went about our business as our youngest choked. Miete is the true hero here and we made sure we told her so.

I leaned down to her and hugged her and said, "You're the best big sister in the world. You saved your sister's life! I think you deserve something special today."

She looked up at me and said, "Ice cream."

Deal.
video

Monday, May 2, 2011

Leo Carrillo


An hour north of Culver City and lying just beyond the borders of Los Angeles County is Leo Carrillo State Park. Named after a Mexican-American silent film actor from the '30s who later became mayor of Oxnard (or maybe it was Ventura County) the beach has a pleasant mix of rocks and sand, tidal pools and fresh water runoffs.

We drove north to the county line and decided we would get some fish and chips at Neptune's Net on the PCH. I knew from the surf reviews that this was a great spot to catch long waves and Neptune's Net was a bit of a biker hangout but the ocean was flat and thus the board stayed at home. When we arrived at Neptune's Net, the "biker hangout" portion of the surf review was confirmed as there seemed to be nothing but leather clad, unshaven tough guys and Harley's parked out front.



"Urrr, we aren't stopping here for lunch. Do we really want to stop here for lunch?" I asked Lisa as we drove in to the parking lot. She agreed to run in and check it out and came back with a good report. That's right. I sent my wife in and sat in the safety of the car. I'm a damned pussy.

The line was long but the crowd was more than friendly and the service was quick. The line to order  and pay snaked back through the restaurant, past the coolers and ended near a back door. Every few moments you received a polite "excuse me" as a massive biker shouldered his way between you and the person in front or behind you and grabbed another cold beer from the fridge. As we neared the head of the line Lisa left me with Miete and went to find a table. I ordered a couple of baskets of fish and chips and a side order of crab cakes and then went to look for her.

We sandwiched in to a picnic table with two other couples while throngs of bikers came and went and occupied the majority of the spots. Rough looking as they were, all were in good spirits and seemed to know each other. The sounds of  burnouts and harsh acceleration filled the air as we mowed through our meals which were mediocre but welcome.

Down the beach we drove after our meal. As with any State Park you pay to enter and for parking. Not a problem. As a parent, twelve dollars is more than worth it when you are packing three bags, two kids and a beach umbrella. After unloading we made the walk to the beach and set up our spot and then went to play in the water.

Miete has been taking swimming lessons and is getting braver and braver but the waves still scare her. Not a bad thing necessarily as there were some small waves and big rocks covered in barnacles. She mostly stuck to the fresh water run off coming out of the hills that formed a nice little river which emptied into the saltchuck.



I remember playing in the same way at Kye Bay as a kid. Spending hours floating driftwood down the river to see if it would make it to the ocean in a successful kayak run. Or damming the river to the best of your and weak sand's ability. The river always won.


Even Eireland got in on the action. Lisa sat her in mid-stream and she went nuts splashing and carrying on gurgling out baby talk. Even when Miete ran past and splashed her in the face she didn't mind.


After a great time in the sun we packed up and made the drive back to Los Angeles. As predictable as the rising sun, we hit traffic on the PCH and the one hour drive took almost two. No matter, we ordered pizza and relaxed when we got home. 

As we unpacked sand seemed to spill out of everything. I'm sure we'll be finding it for weeks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crazy Eyes: Part Deux


What's an Easter weekend without a run in with my neighbor, Crazy eyes?

I pulled into the parkade behind a small size SUV. Little did I know that SUV's towing capacity was 150 lbs of crazy. Out popped my least favorite neighbor and the lunacy began.

Let's back it up a little. 

I was out surfing in the mid-afternoon and had come back and just removed my board from the car and gathered my wetsuit etc. Crazy eyes had sat in his car waiting, watching for the precise moment to exit his vehicle and pounce like a jungle beast driven mad by... non-prescription drugs, plastic surgery and failed dreams.

As I picked up my gear and quickly made my way towards the entrance to the elevators I heard his door open and the immediate cry of, "Hey! How was the ocean?"

"Good", I answered, "a little windy but decent enough."

"Polite? Was it polite?" Crazy eyes asked.

Let's stop right there. Crazy eyes had either mispronounced something, used a word he didn't know the meaning of or anthropomorphised the Pacific and assigned it rather pleasing and subtle properties. Alas, Crazy eyes was no Margret Atwood. No, he was at the end of the day simply insane, the Easter Bunny left chocolate eggs in place of his anti-psychotics.

"Urrr..." I was at a loss for words so I simply repeated myself. "Ah... a little windy?" swinging upwards at the end of the sentence in a plea for him to understand.

"Polite?" repeated my bat shit crazy nemesis as we entered the elevator together. It like he refused to give way to sanity. This man was a in immovable rock.

"Sure, yeah." I conceded looking down and noticing that his otherwise summery and normal wardrobe became muddled with his choice in massively over-sized and sockless footwear in the form of old British Knight runners.

Left horribly confused when Crazy eyes got off on the first floor only one thing seemed certain. From this day forth, the Pacific Ocean shall now be referred to as the Polite Ocean.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lessons From The Surf



Ahh yes. Another post about surfing and the wonders thereof. Before you leave, let me just say that this is one less about surfing and more about learning in general. There, I said it so if you still want to leave then do so.

Pete came up with the idea that we should spend a weekend in San Clemente which is located south of Los Angeles and north of San Diego and takes about an hour and a half to reach. Situated there, is San Onofre Beach. Home to some of the best and nicest longboard surfing in SoCal, San O boasts about a mile of coast line and break which to my limited experience goes unparalleled.

When we arrived on Saturday evening the skies were cloudy, the wind was up and it was all in all not that attractive. We had planned to do an entire day on the beach on the Sunday trading off parental duties while we took turns hitting the surf. As it looked then, we wouldn't be spending any time on the beach as families and we might just have to pack in a few sessions here and there and hope that the sun would eventually make an appearance.

Pete and I made our way into the surf and I must admit, it looked huge and kinda scary. The paddle out was the longest and most strenuous I have ever experienced. San O has three breaks. An inside, mid and outside break getting larger in that order. So after hitting the middle break and being exhausted I though I was in a whole heap of trouble when I still had the large outer break to paddle through. The waves were five to six feet with the occasional seven footer mixed in just to scare the shit out of me. After making it through the mid break I called out to Pete saying, "I can't make it" but he had his head down and was paddling like mad to make it out past the big waves which were now breaking closer and closer to us. I saw him make it through and I knew I didn't have the gas so I waited for a large six footer to break and I turtle rolled under it catching my breathe as I got back on my board. Just like Pete had said, there are nice waves and then there are waves that crush and pin you. San O was replete with nice mushy waves and regardless of their size they moved horizontally over the surface rather than jacking up vertically and then slamming back down on top of exhausted surfers.  Another six footer was on its way and so rather than paddling again and becoming tired I just wait for it and turtled again and when it had passed hopped on my board and paddled hard making it to the other side of the break. As I came clear of the big ones, Pete turned and looked at me saying, "Hey! You made it! I thought you might have turned back. Welcome to the outside line up."

These were the first two lessons learned:
1.) Not all waves (or situations) are created equal regardless of appearance.

2.) If conditions are not dire rest, even if it means letting some scary looking waves (or situations) break and roll over you.

Now that I was out past the break Pete turned to me with another gem, "Wow, pretty big huh? Like, maybe a little too big for you."

3.) There are limits to your abilities. Recognize them but don't stop trying to broaden them.

"Yeah dude, I have no idea how I'm going to get back in", I replied. You see, getting out can be the easy part. Getting back in is not unlike trying to climb down something you've climbed up. Pete caught a couple of waves and I was happy to be out there looking for something smaller that I could catch. There wasn't a lot. Most of the smaller ones would fail to form up and would simply wash under me and leave me in the path of other large waves. I saw Pete come off a couple of waves and take other ones in the face as he had to battle back out past the break. This showed me that even right as they broke they were powerful but not dangerous. "I think I'm just going to try and catch something and ride it." I said. Pete agreed and told me if I didn't catch it to just keep paddling and then catch the white water from the next wave. I did just that and was shocked at how powerful the white water was. My board and I took off like a rocket much, much faster than I had ever moved over the water. It eventually knocked me right off the board and I got sucked into the spin cycle. Pete's words regarding the spin cycle popped into my head, "If you get into it relax and just let it happen. Don't fight it, say calm and wait for it to pass and then come up."

4.) Fighting that which is much more powerful than yourself just burns precious energy (and oxygen in this case). Relax, wait for it to pass and use your energy once it has resolved.

Into the tumbler I went. Blackness and the sound of a 747 in my ears I felt my body start to roll in the wave. My feet went up further and further and I just held my arms around my head in case my board were to come crashing down. I relaxed and didn't move and limbs just rolling with the water and as my feet were about a half body length above my head I stopped rotating and the sound of rushing water died and I swam to the surface and quickly looked for my board. I grabbed on and caught the next wave of white water into the beach.

We awoke the next morning at 6am to hit the beach early. The weather was calm and as we arrived we noticed the waves were on average a foot smaller than the night previous. The paddle out was still arduous but knowing what to expect I paddled extra hard. I dry heaved three times from the massive pain and lactic acid in my shoulders. Six hundred yards through big surf is not easy so when I arrived in the outer line up I had to rest for fifteen minutes. Pete however, caught three waves on the paddle out and was grinning like a fool when we met up. "It's beautiful out here!" he said. I agreed without any fear of the four and five foot waves.

5.) Fear is often the product of perception and not of reality.

The waves looked ripe for the picking and try as I might I was having no luck catching waves. My arms were just way too tired to generate the power and speed. I had to rest more while Pete caught wave after wave. I thought I might have more luck on the middle break so I told Pete I was going to head in and catch them instead. As I paddled in I looked behind me and there was a five footer crawling up my butt. I decided I might as well paddle for it and I managed to catch it just as it broke, the white water enveloping my legs. I popped up and was surprised again at how fast it was moving. I was exhilarated to find myself riding a five foot wave calmly  down the line. It was mushy and it turned to a white water ride quicker than I would have liked but rather than hop off I decided to ride that baby all the way into the beach. I rode that wave the full six hundred yards and twenty seconds later I got to the beach with possibly the stupidest grin on my face. I actually was yelling out loud, "This is nuts! This is amazing!" because I couldn't believe how far the wave was able to maintain its power. After a rest, I paddled back out just to tell Pete.

While sitting again on my board out past the break I spotted a pair of dolphins swimming parallel to the waves. Shortly after another surfer down the line called out, "Yeah! They're chasing away that shark!" Now I had never seen any sign of a shark while the forty or so of us were out there waiting for waves. I heard no other mention of it. Pete claims to have seen a fast moving fin that was not shaped like a dolphin's but only after hearing the comment about the dolphins chasing it. Considering there was no other evidence to support the presence of a shark and the fact that the same surfer who had made the comment laughed about it and then just sat there on his board I really have my doubts that there was anything out there. 

This is not to say that there are not sharks in the waters surrounding San Onofre or even the local waters where I normally surf. There are plenty. There are threshers, hammerheads, black tip, siilvertip and whitetip reef sharks AND the big daddy of them all, white sharks. The waters off the coast of San Clemente will even see juvenile great white sharks in late summer and early fall after they spawn and make their way north. So the question really is, are there man eating sharks out there?

There has been only one fatal shark attack in the last eighty years in Southern California. There has been only three attacks at all in the same time. There are sightings every year but rarely if ever do any of the sharks do anything but swim by. Scary? Sure, it's scary when an animal with large teeth and serious potential passes by. I never want it to happen but the statistics speak for themselves. It's safer to surf than it is to drive to the beach. 1,198 Californians were killed in 2008 from alcohol related accidents alone. I'm sure thousands more die in non-related accidents each year.

5a.) Perceived danger is often a result of being out of your element but is sometimes warranted.
6.) Statistics tell us when the danger is real.

The next weekend I hit the local surf at Sunset Blvd. and it was bigger than I had ever surfed there. The waves were four to five feet and normally I wouldn't even get in the water at that size. I knew Sunset to be nice and mushy, just like San O and the waves moved slower. When I got into the surf I quickly realized how surfing the past week in much more powerful surf had altered my perception. These waves were nothing. I went for any wave I wanted with little regard for whether or not they were too large. 

6.) Stretching our boundaries leads to greater comfort in an increasing number of situations.

Eventually I caught one and went "over the falls". That's basically wiping out as you catch the wave too late and are too high on the wave. You vault over your board and out in front of the wave. As I looked back I could see my board riding quite nicely on the wave towards me while I crashed into the water and quickly covered up to avoid getting nailed in the face by the board. Going over the falls was something I had always feared. It seemed like the most terrifying of wipe out options but as it was all happening so quick there was no time to be afraid and I just stayed calm and covered up and waited for the spin cycle ride to end. I surfaced, grabbed my board and paddled back out past the break to try again.

7.) Even that which we fear and is real is sometimes nowhere near as bad as we imagined.

All these little life lessons were learned simply from pulling on a wetsuit and paddling out into the water to catch waves. Maybe I'll be wise enough to apply them to the rest of my life and maybe not but here they are again in summation:

1.) Not all waves or situations are created equal, regardless of appearance.

2.) If conditions are not dire rest, even if it means letting some scary looking waves or situations break and roll over you.

3.) There are limits to your abilities. Recognize them but don't stop trying to broaden them.

4.) Fighting that which is much more powerful than yourself just burns precious energy (and oxygen in this case). Relax, wait for it to pass and use your energy once it has resolved.

5.) Fear is often the product of perception and not of reality.

5a.) Perceived danger is often a result of being out of your element but is sometimes warranted.

6.) Statistics tell us when the danger is real.

7.) Even that which we fear and is real is sometimes nowhere near as bad as we imagined it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Crazy Eyes


It was dark as we drove into the parkade last night and the front of the car dipped as we descended down the ramp to the lower garage. From the left side of the ramp beneath the guard railings suddenly popped a head like a surprised coyote caught in the headlights of our car. The eyes abulge with curiosity and in this case a touch of the crazies.

I call this individual Mr. Crazy Eyes. He lives in our building and I have spoken to him on several occasions all of which have had some memorable content and none of which have been in any way normal.

On this given evening, Crazy Eyes was doing like he does many evenings and he had his guitar and amplifier setup in the last stall next to the ramp. He was on break between imaginary sets and thus having a his forty ninth cigarette of the night while the crowd in his head called for an encore. I have run into his solo performance several times and at first I understood that if he is a musician practicing then doing so in his apartment might be annoying to neighbors hence, practicing in the garage. I think that this in only part of the picture.

Crazy Eyes seems to crave attention like many koo-koo for coco puff folks do. What better place to set up to busk then at the gate of the lower garage where both tenants and passersby can gaze on your single chord glory? Unfortunately, single chord glory is exactly what it is. I have seen him play on three different evenings and each time the same single chord ending in the same flourish is repeated. Strangely, it is neither poorly played nor uninteresting but seems to be the sole progression in the endless open jam he hosts for the crowd of thousands in his mind.

His appearance is what turns his slightly nutty demeanor into a masterpiece. The first time I saw him in our lobby I remember the phrase, "plastic surgery nightmare" running through my mind. He has definitely had some work done and his face looks far too tight. The nose is most certainly sculpted, the cheekbones possibly too. The eyes. Oh the eyes. That overly tight skin just make those crazy eyes pop out even more. If he would just blink, they might seem a little more normal but I don't think I've ever seen him do it even once. Instead, he Charlie Mansons you into the corner of the elevator while he says something crazy to you. These interjections require neither prompting nor response as he tends to continue the conversation without you.

Here is a couple of unprompted gems he has said to me:

- Looking at my bike helmet: "Are you a courier? You look like a courier."
- Looking at my bike helmet on another occasion: "You know, you don't even have to wear a motorcycle helmet in some states!"
- "Do you shop at Trader Joes? You need to buy this salmon (pulls out of bag). It's amazing" The salmon smelled old
- Looking at my surf board and me wearing a wetsuit pulled down to my waist, "Were you surfing today? How were the waves? I heard they were fifteen feet!"

I've frozen up every time he has spoken to me. Getting locked in the tractor beam of his unblinking eyes I am terrified and baffled as the stream of crazy bullshit gushes from his collagen injected lips. Please Crazy eyes, I just want to ride up to the third floor without hearing that the jet contrails in the sky are the government spraying mind control drugs.

As I finished grabbing the last of our bags and entered the lower lobby to wait for the elevator I heard him begin singing along with his jam and damnit, it wasn't bad.

I wonder when he will announce his tour dates?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Splashin'



It seems as thought splashing in water dates back to my earliest memories. 

First there as the tub times. Toys of all assortments and bubbles and  I remember crapping in the tub :( with my friend Graham Woods who was staying over while his family was out of town. Sorry buddy.

Then there was running through the sprinkler on the lawn.

There of course were the beach days spent with my mom and sister at Kye Bay during the summer while Dad was hard at work surveying the Comox Valley.

That segues into school days. Those seemingly long spring and fall days of the seventies and earlier eighties spent in the classroom in wet denim. British Columbia is most unforgiving of those who don't know better than to stay under cover whilst the cloud open up and spew their contents on the hapless fools below. I was gladly one of those fools then and still am today.

I remember in third or fourth grade we had a wild child in our midst. Chris Billy, the denim clad bezerker would revel in the the rainy season. Long, fifty meter puddles would form on the lower fields of Comox Elementary and Chris would take it as a challenge, nay an insult not to run through them. He would wind up with a crazed yell and hurdle himself through at top speed almost skipping along in a Jesus Lizard fashion till he emerged on the other end speckled and spackled with mud, dirt and grass only to sit the rest of the steamy uncomfortable afternoon in the classroom. There's nothing like the smell of Keds and a Lee Jeans jacket on a radiator.

Alas, I have rediscovered my childhood admiration of Chris. Surfing and swimming was the first harbinger of my waterborne reawakening. Then came the rains.

Los Angeles is like a frail old man on ice when it comes to rain. It neither tolerates nor deals well after the fact with precipitation. It tends to spew it out like an unseasoned freshman given too much drink whereas I tend to bathe in it and welcome it like a cleansing.

Any city or town takes on a whole new persona when washed and born afresh. Los Angeles and Culver City is no different. Mid-bath mind you, careless childhood is to be found.

Riding home in the somewhat daunting and dangerous rains this evening was at first scary and then hilarious. The first large puddle I rode through was more than likely met with a grimace and a groan. The second however was most certainly met with a giggle and the immediate search for a third. 

I was soaked when I reached home and completely renewed. There's truly nothing like some childhood fun a la Chris Billy to take one back to simpler pleasures. When water meets skin and worries are washed away.

Who knew a puddle could bring such fun?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trader Joe's Shoot-out.


Saint Patrick would be pleased with the LAPD. As the story goes, Ole Paddy freed Ireland of drunken leprechauns by luring them to a cliff with a shamrock and hurling them off... or maybe I've got that wrong.

In any case, the Los Angeles Police did the lay public a solid on St. Paddy's day when they arrived in the area of town lying directly between my work and my apartment. There they found a crazed male holding a handgun to a women's head. The squabbling couple were standing beside a car with two children in the back in classic, don't-shoot-there's-kids-here fashion. Saint Patrick would have hated this! He always let the kids ride up front where they had a better view.

The women struggled, as many Irish wives do and in the process the leprechaun's gun went off. Alright, I know he wasn't a leprechaun but it makes the story better right? The leprechaun then fled towards my work and took up refuge in... Trader Joe's!
If I were a leprechaun on the lam, I too would hold up in a Trader Joe's. Plenty of food and drink and they have that big bell they ring from time to time for completely inexplicable reasons. I hate that bell but it might come in handy if you were bored.

Anyway, this crazy drunken leprechaun took a hostage and the LAPD had to surround Trader Joe's. Eventually, they shot that leprechaun in the head with a shotgun but his purple horseshoes, green clovers and blue diamonds protected him and he lived.

Lucky, as he is now referred to, is doing ten years in San Quentin and makes a very nice wife for his cell mate who is into short chicks with accents.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Quake Quack: Stand back, I'm about to Science.



Jim Berkland, retired geologist and full time crackpot is calling for a massive earthquake to hit the Los Angeles area today. He has been reprimanded in the past for potentially inciting panic in the populous by doing similar things. Granted, he apparently successfully predicted the "World Series" quake of 1989 where a 6.9 magnitude quake rocked the area surrounding San Fransisco.

Berkland made an appearance two nights back on the least responsible network on the airwaves today, Fox News:




I love how the report is wrapped up with, "He's a pretty good geologist". A ringing endorsement for the only side of the story presented as fact. Is there another side? NOW THAT'S FAIR AND BALANCED (their moto)!!!

I think that the scientists and geologists at the USGS would beg to differ. Geologists world wide have been working on earthquake prediction for decades and have failed to come up with reliable method yet Berkland claims he has the key!

Here is the basis of his claim:

1.) The moon's gravitational pull exerts force on the Earth's plates influencing shifts and creating quakes. Alright, the moon does do this. It exerts forces on the oceans as well causing tides etc. Let's keep in mind that the Earth does the same to the moon only with much more gravitational force (ten million times).

2.) This same magnetic force causes strange animal behavior such as beaching whales, dogs running away from home, homing pigeons getting lost and sardines dieing off. He offers no explanation for the same chance happenings when they occur without being coupled with an earthquake. He continues to cite the large Sardine die off in Redondo beach as evidence of the impending quake as a beaching or suicidal move on the fish's part though Marine Biologists are now saying it is most likely due to an algae bloom 12 miles of the coast of Santa Monica. He also admits to thinking there was no correlation between pets running away from home until in retrospect he noticed his own cat had run away a week prior to the world series quake.

3.)THUS, if the moon is full and your dog runs away, there's probably an earthquake coming.

Feel free to listen to his side of the story here on an interview he did yesterday:

http://itsrainmakingtime.com/2011/jimberkland/

You'll note that he waffles on about the 1933 Long Beach quake and the 1971 San Fernando quake and the fact that there were no major Californian earthquakes between the two. This is complete bullshit. There were three. One actually happened on a full moon which would seem to back up his claim. The others of course did not. All were 6.1 or larger. He conveniently skips over facts and includes others.

After going through a list of dates on which major earthquakes have occurred (I looked at only those measuring 6.0+) and comparing those dates to the lunar phase calendar I noticed the occasional correlation between a full moon and an earthquake. Alright, so from around 30 6.0+ quakes since 2008 only one fell on a full moon. Around 4 fell within 4 days of a full moon. The others were nowhere close to a full moon for their geographic location (northern and southern hemispheres have different moon phases). In regards to a Californian quake, well... we have them several times a day. Naming a date and  saying there's a quake is like saying, "I bet the sun will come up tomorrow." As far as world wide prediction, there's an earthquake of 4-5.0 magnitude on a daily basis. There has been 13 earthquakes of a 6.0 magnitude since January 01 of this year that have happened outside of Japan. That's one every 6 days. A full moon happens about every 30 days. You can see how the odds of earthquakes happening on or around the time of a full moon are pretty good. Berkland also uses some voodoo math to claim accuracy. If the quake happens within 140 miles of where he predicts he is 100% accurate. If he is inaccurate with the prediction of time he docks himself 10% a day. Thus, he can claim to be 50% accurate by predicting a quake for Vancouver or Santa Monica on the full moon but it happens in Merritt or San Diego almost a week later on the half moon. Considering quakes are a daily event in the SoCal region it's not surprising he's able to claim 75% accuracy.

I can only attribute Berkland's claims then to what one sees in the superstitious. The recollection of past correlations coupled with the ignoring or forgetting of past dissonance. This sort of thing is really weak. He's a scientist and furthermore, he's a geologist which has been a personal interest of mine since selecting it as a minor in University. The scientific method denotes that he needs to test and recreate this correlation to prove it yet he hasn't. Only anecdotal evidence of pets running away has been given. Shame on him and shame on Fox news for reporting it at all.

For my friends down here, always be prepared for an earthquake. We live in a seismically active area and therefore it's rather foolhardy not to be prepared. Lots of water on hand and some non-perishable food. $50-$100 cash somewhere safe.

That is all.

Please check the information yourself:

What bullcack the supermoon is: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/18/kryptonite-for-the-supermoon/#more-29783

List of significant earthquakes by year: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/significant/

Moon phase calculator: http://stardate.org/nightsky/moon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Conversation With A Seal





I went surfing today. I know this how many of my posts have begun so I'll make this relatively short. While waiting for waves...hmm,  surfing should actually be called "Waiting". Generally speaking, you wait around for waves much more than you actually surf. In my case, it should be called waiting and missing.

So, I was waiting for waves and in a group of about four people when a seal popped it's slick, rubbery head out of the water. I've seen seals before. I've seen seals while surfing before. I've never seen a seal right beside me though. Like close enough to touch. One of the surfers freaked out and pulled his legs up on his board. I wanted to ask if his flowered panties chafed him under his wetsuit. It's a damned seal man. The only disconcerting thing about the seal's presence was that I was surfing in Malibu where there happens to be a resident Great White which can be seen here:



Was I scared? Absolutely not. Did I shit just a tiny bit when some kelp hit my board and I felt a thump? You can ask Pete Nash as he's the one who rinsed my suit out after surfing. There's probably a fairly good chance there was a Hersey's Kiss in there.

So I decided to engage the seal in conversation and this is how it went.

Me: Hey seal. How are things? You eating some fish?

Seal: Yeah man. You know, hanging around and eating fish. Same old same old.

Me: I see you have no ears. More like holes in the side of your head.

Seal: Yup, just holes.

Me: I hope you don't mind me asking but sharks really like to eat seals right?

Seal: Oh yes, they love our tasty flesh.

Me: That must be scary. I'm glad I don't look like a seal. All black and shiny and swimming around. You must look like a juicy piece of licorice to them.

Seal: I like your black wetsuit.

Me: Screw you.

Seal: Someone stole your shoes.

Me: I hate you seal.


I will go back and damn it, if I see that seal again I'm going to punch him in his super cute little face. If I catch the guy who took my flip flops I might club the seal with him.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who wants a catheter?



I'm watching a little late night television and an advertisement comes on between the pockets of the nauseating Ben Affleck movie I am subjecting myself to in the hopes that it will induce vomiting, asphyxiation and as a result I will pass out into a deep slumber. I am jolted far away from the sleep I seek by the content on the screen.

The ad is for catheters.

Now, I was never one to buy things off television but surely even the most avid dial-and-spend, home shopping network granny is not going to take them up on this offer. Then again, the website www.freeCatheterSamples.com is offering me up to 200 catheters a month for little or no out of pocket expense. WELL HOLY PISS! SIGN ME UP!

Just think of the possibilities, NAY pissabilities! 

I'll never have to miss a goal, touchdown, or advertisement offering free catheters again. I could daisy chain the catheters and then form a charitable foundation naming it, Piss Across America. I'll never have to leave the theater mid-film, never have to search for a restroom and I'll never have to buy straws again. Should I be chased by a mad swarm of killer bees I can dive into the nearest body of water, tear out my catheter and use it as a slightly salty yet perfect bee proof snorkel!

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I've made it this far without 200 free catheters a month.
Let me do the math. 200 catheters a month equals 2400 catheters a year which means I can use 6.5 catheters a day. With the multitude of uses I'll have to budget wisely but I think I can make it. 

I see one major drawback.

I'll never be able to screen calls and use the excuse that I was in the washroom. I know what you're thinking. I could say I was in there dropping a deuce but I'm also willing to bet that there's a sister site called www.freeColostomySamples.com which would ruin that excuse because if you're already getting the catheter...