Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This Week In Not Surfing

1. “We must get back to civil discourse.” I’ve heard this a lot lately. Of course when exactly was civil discourse? When it was solely between a few fellas of a certain socio-economic cultural background? So everything is called into question. That game we always play is only poisoned now. “What other time period would you live in if you could?” In this the assumption that you’d be traveling back in time only to be at top of the heap. The dream to somehow teleport myself to the Hawaiian Islands or to Southern California during the late Forties and Fifties rests on the qualification that I’m a white guy with a straw hat, a guitar and a surfboard. I’m not pining to be a farm worker unless it’s all part of the adventure of rummaging up a couple more bucks for gas. I’m not hoping to find myself a Kauwa under heel of some Ali’i. I want to be the Ali’i. Or at least his buddy. So it’s all up for grabs. All the desire in the world to go backward will only get you there.

2. There’s a similarity with all this fetishizing of surfing culture. A whole lot of fetishizing. Arbitrary hierarchy. Desperate oneupmanship. Macho brinksmanship. There’s a quota system here.

3. When I was twenty or so, the owner of the coffee shop where I was working invited me on a surf trip down to Mexico for a long weekend. His nephew was with us and he didn’t surf. After a few sessions at San Miguel he announced he liked my surfing the best. Everyone’s eyebrows raised a little. The next day my longboard finbox cracked leaving me with no choice but to ride the fat little thruster I brought along as backup for the rest of the trip. He didn’t make that same pronouncement twice.

4. A number of years ago I was surfing alone around this side of the Montauk Lighthouse on the other side of a hurricane swell on the purple 70’s Sunset Surfboard pintail single fin without a leash. Big, fat lefts rolling through breaking far enough off the rocks at first. I wasn’t in the best surf shape and I’ve never been able to surf that board going backside and a few sets in I had lost my board, swimming around in the mush as the peak was getting closer and closer to the bunker. Suddenly outta nowhere the famous hairdressing surfer paddles straight in my direction, obviously thinking this was gonna be a life-saving situation, me kooking about and all. As he approached, recognition washed over his face, “oh, it’s you. Ok.” He turned around and paddled off again.

5. Jamie let me sleep on his couch, make him scrambled eggs and even loaned me his favorite hybrid twin fin to surf down the locked gate at Pt. Dume. I had a ball on that board until I rode it up onto the rocks by accident.

6. Mid 90's and a couple guys had a zodiac we’d put in at Gaviota and boat up to The Ranch. Just after I sold my performance thruster longboard to Jon it lay on the bottom of the pile strapped down. We didn’t count on the metal brackets underneath the heap. By the time we pulled up to pristine Rights & Lefts, Jon’s new board had been performing as a fragile shock absorber, leaving him with two massive canyons just inside the rail.

7. On Saturday morning I lay in bed, awake, wondering how long I can go without speaking. My three year old comes in and starts asking me questions. He always asks questions. Smart. I just shake my head and put my finger to my lips. I wander downstairs to make eggs. My eleven year old asks me a question as I descend the stairs. He’s always asking questions. Smart. I just shake my head and smile, giving him a kiss. My wife looks up, smells my vibe and just shakes her head. It’s 9:30 before I say a word.

8. And they said it was going to be an unseasonably warm winter. It’s been frigid. On Sunday I forgo the surf. It’s a good size and clean looking on Instagram but Antonio doesn’t call back and I’ll be damned if I’m going to suffer alone. Besides, it’s Erin’s birthday and Chris has planned a mid-morning trip to the bowling alley to celebrate. And while I protest to hate bowling, there’s something unseasonably warm about it. And I end up enjoying the bowling just fine.

9. The next day we allow ourselves the elongated luxury of a thorough spot check. “Should we paddle out here?” “I dunno, maybe we should check Lido.” “Yeah.” This goes on for far more checks than there are actual spots. Core temperature preservation through lazy procrastination. During the meandering drive, Antonio posits that should he ever write an autobiography the title would be It Was A Younger Man’s Game.

10. Tuesday morning we agree to put on our wetsuits at home. This somehow does wonders for courage. The waves are small, clean and crisp. Better than Monday thanks to a drop in wind. I wear my big, pink softtop and only get flushed a couple times. But my still-wet-from-the-day-before wetsuit manages to take a toll even after being really wet for only an hour. I don’t know how it does that. The new wetness isn’t cold at all. It’s that old wetness. Legacy wetness chills to the bone.

11. And then there’s the itchy butt. The worst itchy butt I ever had was on one of those rides back from The Ranch. On the ride back to Brooklyn I opine that the old New York art scene was a bloody gash while the new New York art scene is just sweaty pores. Antonio gets it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This Week In Not Surfing

1. On the plane to California I watch Atomic Blonde three times over other passenger's shoulders. I watch Beatriz at Dinner then The Hero on my own itsy-bitsy screen. All three films make me wonder what it means to live every day as if it is your last, to appreciate every moment the way they say you ought to, our popular religion in which everyone is chatecised but where no one receives communion. 

2. At one point I let myself believe that when we die we don’t really die but our positive vibe soul pixie dirt carries on to join other soul pixie dirt of a certain cosmic simpatico, forming a kind of enthusiastic pixie clod, packing in with other pixie mounds to coalesce into some sort of terrestrial rebirth. The better you do, the more ethical positivity you can achieve in this life, the way cooler your subsequent reformation will be in the next. Not you, so to speak, but the remnants of you partying along with other way cool, thoughtful remnants making the universe a better place.

3. When we get to Grannie & Papa’s house I find my old Patagonia wetsuit hanging where I left it in the closet, a relief as I once left my favorite black belt (my only black belt) in this same closet only to find it irrevocably borrowed upon my return. 

4. Nina had warned me the waves would die just past Christmas. I figured she was speaking in a California surf vernacular, “flat” on the West Coast having an entirely different meaning to “flat” on the East Coast. But she’s wrong in a different way. It’s flat even before Christmas. 

5. I now reckon every successive evolution in our belief is just a bridge to the next. Bridges upon bridges next to bridges as far as the eye can see, spanning a chasm between the places birth & death. People get stuck in the middle, so taken with the view they’re sure they’ve reached terra firma. Or they've just decided to stay suspended in place. Which is understandable. Sensible even.

6. On the flight to California there are three different films on three different seat back screens simultaneously featuring men in cowboy hats. Out of 43 possible Halloweens I can only remember dressing up as a ghost (the Charlie Brown kind), a lion (with a plastic mask, the kind with a rubber band), a pirate (like Johnny Depp) and a cowboy (lots of times.) (Most times.)

7. At the end of The Hero there is a poignant scene (spoiler alert) where one character (a beautiful woman) reads an Edna St.Vincent Millay poem to another character (a cowboy actor.) My three year old interrupts this ultimate, meaningful scene four times, twice kicking the headphone jack out of the port. When I do finally finish the scene, I cry. Because I’m watching a movie on an airplane. And she's reading a poem to a cowboy.

8. California has never been my home. I lived here a while, a tourist the whole of it.

9. Fatherhood is a bit like tourism. I suppose I don’t have to explain that. 

10. Being married is like being a tourist. But that probably needs explaining. 

11. There is no tourism to surfing. Just suffering. 

12. On my mobile phone I have a link to a webpage titled 10 Cultural Values of the Lakota, or something like that. Most of them have something to do with being quiet. My relationship with that sort of quiet has been a spotty one my whole life.

13. I pull out one of the softtops from beneath the house and paddle from Grannie & Papa’s to Tamarack and surf for an hour off the north jetty in something knee highish. One of the regulars hoots me into waves, talking loudly and telling everyone to paddle harder, then laughing ecstatically. I paddle back to the house not long after he shows up. 

14. We drive to LA in my wife’s late grandfather’s Lincoln Towncar. I walk into a hip restaurant and all the waiters are wearing mustaches. I am also wearing a mustache. I told my wife last year I think I may never not have a mustache again. The upper lip protection somehow translates into lazy confidence. 

15. Graham’s dad shaved off his mustache one summer during high school, becoming so much nicer, more jolly, more jovial. Seemingly overnight. An almost instant loss of authority.

16. In Venice Beach I dip into the water just after sunrise, watching a 3 foot tiger-striped ray glide past my feet as I shuffle out. There are a handful of novice surfers hanging around the pier going straight on nothing shorey. I think for the first time that I understand the draw of owning a cat.  

17. I observe the strikingly Gallic features of my handsomely hangdog friends at their new music venue/bar/restaurant on the other side of Echo Park. The place feels triumphant, victorious and hollow in a youthful way. The product of grit and can-do. It’s beside a dry river bed under the shadow of brown scrubby mountains. I imagine those mountains have sage brush rolling atop them.

18. At the hip restaurant I sit across from three twenty-somethings with three matching meshback caps: Marmot Mountain, Patagonia, REI. They sport thin hair on their lip and cheeks. The baristo has his own attenuated twenty-something mustache and a full sleeve tattoo of some swirly waves. His dusty lip fuzz is feathery and perched. I regard it with vicarious satisfaction, proud of its precarious confidence. The manager walks by. His mustache is very blond. Too-blond mustaches don’t always capture the feeling. I indulge in using my thumb to press the cauliflower rice onto my fork. Like a cowboy.

19. I paddle from Granny & Papa’s almost all the way to the Oceanside pier before I find a little sandbar in front of a seawall just past the Teutonic housing development. The paddle is windless and I glide smoothly over the clear water that feels like I’m looking through a green beer bottle. Surfing isn’t suffering when there is no wind and the water feels like an empty beer bottle. That comes later, on the flight home.

20. I celebrate New Years with a woman who looks out over the sea every morning when she wakes up and every night before she goes to bed. And has done so for around sixty years. I also celebrate with the guy who almost got run over during that surfing motorcycle stunt at Cloudbreak. 

21.  When I get home my son’s godmother is there, dog and house sitting. I’ve left my family in California to return to work. My son’s Godmother makes dinner of polenta and pan friend meat with sage on it. During the meal she tells me about parking her car in a very dodgie neighborhood in Queens but not at all feeling threatened as everyone she passed was too busy looking down at their phones. She convinces me to catch the late night screening of the famous Irish method actor’s final film. Getting to the theater a little early, I drift to a bookstore and read the titles off some of the books heaped on the little islands. “Men Explain Things to Me” by Rebecca Solsnit. “How To Ruin Everything” by George Watsky. “Why Buddhism is True” by Robert Wright. Each title like a small dagger in the heart. 

22. Walking back to the cinema I get a text from my sister-in-law with pictures of my elder son surfing under the moonlight, being goaded into waves by his uncle, the same uncle who pushed the reigning Adaptive Surf champion in the AS-5 category (surfers who ride in a non-standing position and need assistance to paddle into waves) to victory in last month’s title event. When the champ touched down in his native Australia they blew massive firehoses over his plane and put him on the front page of the newspaper. They do this for surf champs in Australia. 

23. My son doesn’t get water cannons for surfing by moonlight. But I do when I hear he’s been quoted exclaiming, “this is the best night of my life!”

Monday, December 18, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. I send him to get expresso beans, unground. A simple task, at eleven years old he is up for it. He comes back with coffee beans. There is a difference I insist. His shoulders slump, his mouth does that tween incredulous thing. He comes back a second time with the same coffee beans, ground. This I cannot fathom. I lightly berate him, even this small admonishment making him visibly miserable. I stomp out the door, head held high, my mouth doing that midlife incredulous thing. At the coffee shop I grab a bag marked espresso off the shelf and approach the counter. One upward glance and the barista guy knows exactly who’s father I am. I put on the most inscrutably blank face I can apply and seethe through gritted teeth that my son has made a mistake. The apologetic barista explains his own confusion. You see, they use these coffee beans as their house espresso beans, not the ones from the bag marked espresso. When the child brought back the bag, he simply thought he was meant to have ground them. My righteousness is shattered, I see it all so clearly now. I drop the bag of ground beans gently into the waste bin, quietly replacing the bag of espresso beans on the shelf and half slither, half shuffle out, leaving a confused barista guy in my wake. My obstinance.

2. And when was the last time you surfed on a Thanksgiving morning, cold and fresh and unexpected? It is as lovely as it sounds, a magical breather before the crucible of holiday necessity. Chilly smiles, easy camaraderie, everyone grateful to sneak the sly one before the weight of the day sets in. I’ll be looking forward to the same thing Christmas morning if I can manage it. New Year’s isn’t the same.

3. There was that one Christmas my mother and father made the public pact not to give each other gifts, a slightly astonishing commitment given that I'd never noticed a single gift they’d ever exchanged. I can only imagine there had been of course, and in retrospect I’ll conjecture their agreement was a convenient one both financially and emotionally. By that point in their crumbling marriage the annual disappointment didn’t make sense in either economy. The truly surprising thing to me at the time was my mother’s conniptious horror at my father’s attempt at a humorous breaking of the detente, an odd sort of African cowbell on the end of a piece of carved wood he’d found at Pier One Imports. She was beside herself. As I said, in the moment I couldn't understand her overblown reaction. I understand it more now.

4. After our wildly successful Thanksgiving surfabout, Antonio and I pledge to make it out to the water once a week whether there are surfable waves or not, giving our bodies a fighting chance at paddling through the winter, keeping our muscle memory fresh for possible vacations and inevitable spring thaws. Two days later I find myself staring at pan flat Rockaway on a frigid Sunday morning with Antonio nowhere in sight. About-face and making a dry drive home I ponder the long winter.

5. I’ve never wanted to own a surf shop, but if I did, I’d call it Longjohns & Lipbalms and it would have a muesli nook and sell only tropical wax and wool sweaters.

6. On the sixth night of this year’s six day holiday party crucible gauntlet of cheery horrors, I find myself on the periphery of a conversation between three women talking about how crazy the sexual harassment news has become; their unsurprised incredulity at both the volume of culpability and the excesses of popular redress. On the outside looking in, I find myself cracking an opportune joke: “hashtagyoutoo.” It gets a big laugh. Later, I wonder if I could repeat the feat in any other context without condemnation and find it unlikely.

7. After one particularly disastrously under-prepped nature videography shoot, my son’s godfather buys a Costco-size pack of chapstick and places a tube in every travel bag and jacket pocket he owns. Always be prepared.

8. Antonio and I make it out one last time this year to the eastern sea, a six hour trek to New Jersey and back a day after it was really good. Slipping into the slightly unrequiting but still ridable belly high & quick peelers, conversations between, we find the expected solace despite the time spent in commute.

9. Maybe I’ll just call my surf shop Yesterdays.

10. Apparently we live a good portion of our lives in a state of blindness, our brain enforcing minuscule moments of obscurity as our eyes scan the world around us. Evolution’s logic seemingly that were we to see every single moment as clearly as we do when we settle upon focus, we’d either be perpetually sea sick or our heads would explode from all the information.

11. Alternate anecdotal wave height measurements:
Rectal Sheath High / Linea Albo High / Aponeurosis of the Abdominal Oblique High / Semitendinosus High / Vestibular Nerve High / Supraspanatus High / Corpus Cavernosum High

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Because you can't watch this too much. Or I can't.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

This. Sort. Of. Thing.

Click on the confusing diagram. 
Via Donn Ito

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Jon Frank's "Broken"

An interesting and broad interview with the bizarrely talented photographer and cinematographer called Jon Frank. I am relatively new to Jon's work, or at least accrediting it properly, having seen it for years without putting the two+two together on the plaudits he deserves. His sensibility is spot on every time, rarely putting a wrong foot, visually. And he once told me my Long Island house-thing feels like a boat. So there.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. For my 43rd birthday I make time for one of the only other pastimes for which I attempt to make time. Besides surfing. The Russian banya. On a mid-November Tuesday afternoon there is a small group of Scandinavian women, a couple single Russians, a quiet gaggle of Hasidic men and a loud group of Financial District business guys. There is also an immensely beautiful and statuesque Black woman wearing a very skimpy bikini.

2. And the middle aged businessmen in the shvitz talk openly, brazenly, about hookers and cocaine and "Christmas Binges." This is a true story. At a certain point one tells the others about being so congested during last year's holiday debauch he was shoving little "boulders of blow" into his nasal cavity and "waiting for them to dissolve."

3. I wonder if the magically obstructive alchemy that is my self-doubt and impatience will ever let me write anything other than this. As was once said, "consistency in style can be important for confidence in production but can lead to insecurity through the gift shop."

4. My wife gives me a tall bottle of mezcal and three slim books for my birthday. Lydia Davis, Maggie Nelson and Wallace Shawn. I am sure I'll never get out of this alive.

5. And while I continue to believe that a concerted discipline to free associate is at the core of most successful endeavors, I miss the now entirely unlikely possibility that I might find a still-smoldering cigarette butt in my french fries.

6. And I wonder if the intellectual laziness that overcomes me in times of emotional trauma will ever release me from its grip. As was once said, "truth is like an invisible object of which we can only make out the edges when we blow smoke its direction."

7.  New York's latest flirtation with something more sustainable has come in the form of a small, brown, plastic waste bin one is supposed to fill with one's composty stuff. The New York Times has referred to it as a "plastic totem," which seems likely given the city's ability to make lasting, positive environmental change. All I know is that I get a truly serene amount of satisfaction from hauling the little bucket out from under the sink and throwing orange peels, egg shells and onion ends into the tiny pungent heap.

8. Today it is so windy in Brooklyn that an adult London Plane tree is cracked, leaving half lying across the walking-path next to the dog-run in the park across the street from my house. I don't think there are any other casualties.

9. The surf forecast two days ago stated that tomorrow New Jersey might be pushing 5-7 feet with ambivalently equivocal winds. A look at that same report tonight predicts it will be flat. New York metropolitan surfing at its finest.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ice Cream Headaches

What can one say that has not already been said? A fantastic frog and a lovely limey infatuated with surfing find themselves a fruitful relationship in New York documenting their passion in the new environment, letting their naturally curious outsider's perspective infuse a newly minted co-production of interviews and photographs describing a scene that exhilarates them. And so is born Ice Cream Headaches, the aptly named archival website and now full-on book publishing adventure. Tilting at windmills you say? Perhaps. But the sort of moon shot dream that does appeals.

Or, as they say:

"Hello. We are Edward Thompson (from England) and Julien Roubinet (from France), a writer and photographer living in New York. 

After moving to New York a few years ago, we met and became friends in and around the ocean. We found ourselves thinking of New York as a surf city, something that goes by almost unnoticed by most people living here and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through each year. 

To celebrate the diversity, creativity and humor of East Coast surfing, we set out to create a book of interviews and photographs documenting local surf culture.  

We aim to shed light on the surfers, shapers, photographers, filmmakers and writers who represent North East surfing and the challenges of lives lived with an obsession for the ocean. Our focus is finding people who experiment with new forms, materials, ideas or surfing styles."

And now you can listen to these two guys speak in the appropriate accent for each on the Swell Season podcast on KPISS :

Saturday, November 4, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. Commercial airline travel always begins with the same things. Second guessing the luggage weight. An anxiety filled car ride. Splurging at an unimaginatively stocked airport chain bookstore. Fear of the automatic flushing toilets. Awkward queuing. The middle and end experiences of commercial airline travel vary more widely but will surely entail uncomfortably spiking body heat. 

2. Francis, the pink and blonde shop boy, explains for glasses to fit properly they ought to reveal the wearer’s brows mostly unobstructed. This is dependent on the proper width of the bridge and the forgiving length of the temple. Here I can think of an implicit joke.   

3. Have I spoken of my distaste for the flagrant practice of showcasing mid-coifed clientele in large storefront windows of hair salons? Like specimens in some sort of wacky performance art meets ghoulish science experiment gone embarrassingly inchoate? It’s true, the sight of someone having their wet hair yanked this way and that, exposing their state of undoneness for all to witness fills me with disgust. Brazen co-optive marketing at the expense of dignity. 

4. Six days after Jeremy receives a text apparently mistaking him for another Jeremy where he is propositioned to drive to 'Jersey because the texter has "heard it's pumping," I arrive at his doorstep in Clerkenwell. Jeremy shows me this mis-targeted text and I conjecture that it may indeed be meant for another Jeremy I know who happens to live in the same building in Brooklyn where this Jeremy, standing here in front of me, also has a routinely vacant apartment. That other Jeremy also lives part time in the building, the other part on Kauai. And he surfs. This Jeremy here lives the other part of his time in London and does not. I wonder if the mistaken texter has entered this Jeremy's name into his phone mixing the two up based on a shared address. This would explain a lot.

5. Jeremy says free will is the location on our tongue where we taste time. 

6. There are moments that occur to me. The moment I want more yogurt than granola in my bowl. The moment the weather changes and my ankle hurts less than it did. These are little mile markers of advancing age. 

7. I go to the Basquiat show at the Barbican. I see an old friend in two polaroids encased in glass. I stand in line behind two French women bent on listening to the full 22 minutes of outtakes from a Warhol/Basquiat T.V. show. They can feel my looming over them, impatient. I wonder if I look like Trump looming over Clinton in that one debate. I'm not sure I can help how I may look and feel.

8. But I feel like a real New Yorker at a Basquiat show in London.

9. The American in his black t-shirt, black cardigan, stiff jeans and well-worn Stan Smiths has been on his feet for twenty minutes, pacing as he talks on a cell-phone conference call in the powder blue Australian cafe. At the end he says "brilliant" then "lovely" then "cheers" then hangs up and goes straight to the bathroom, leaving his aging golden retriever waiting beneath his table. In the bathroom there is a hidden mirror in a slim cupboard opposite the toilet. I suppose this is in case you'd like to observe yourself going to the bathroom.

10. Antonio texts to see if I'd like to surf together this week.

11. We run into our friend on the sidewalk who is going to the introductory night for a later sex party night. She says she's going to accompany a friend who actually is looking to be accepted to the sex night, but feels insecure going alone. Try-outs for an impending orgy, in other words. Two nights later I ask her about the experience. She says it was certainly odd and she left early but with a certain esteem for the people who could feel so brazen and fulfilled in their desires.

12. People in London walk terribly on sidewalks. All over the place. Higgledy-piggledy.

13. When I hear an English accent I think of violence and intelligence and dry, sometimes annoyingly effete humor.

14. While in London I have two surfing dreams, neither of which contain surfing. In one I am on a playground filled with all sorts of metal monkey bars jutting out in opportune angles. I swing around them all, hopping weightlessly from set to set, spinning and twisting. In the other, my eleven year old son and I are in a grocery store on a cruise ship dancing in a kind of intuitive Bob Fosse way through the aisles, clapping our hands and snapping our fingers.

15. On the flight to London, my seat-back screen breaks, leaving me with no choice but to watch the latest installment of "Planet of the Apes."

16. I meet a Danish-French photographer at a cafe on Portobello Road. We find we have many mutual friends and a copacetic misunderstanding of the mysteries of being 20th Century men in a 21st Century world. I mention surfing to illustrate video communication.

17. While walking in Notting Hill some friends from Brooklyn text and ask me for advice about surfing on Kauai. I refer them to that other Jeremy. In four conversations I have with introduced strangers in London surfing comes up as a short-lived topic.

18. I have a seat next to a window on my flight back to New York. I've been on flights where the attendants have asked everyone to close the plastic pull-down shades. This never fails to upset me but I can see why they ask. Keeping the glare off video screens. Allowing people the choice to sleep. But I love the light without exception. I love, at least, the open windows without exception.

19. There are many evenings when my wife asks me to keep the window near my side of the bed open. This can be slightly annoying as it will cause uneven breezes to flit across my face all night.

20. One thing I’d like the one-minute-younger me to remember to say to the one-minute-older me: stop trying so hard to be heard. I wish that one-minute-older me would stick around long enough to remind the one-minute-from-now me of that wisdom.

21. This past week at different moments, both in his apartment, Jeremy twice spontaneously adopts a sort of cockeyed old-timey persona and states in a drawl, "You've got two ears and one mouth! Use them proportionately."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. Ribbons of mist cut across Ocean Parkway in the predawn crepuscule. This word, and another, gloaming, would technically, in this use, be the memory of the previous night's twilight. I haven't yet found the matching archaic descriptive for the light of dawn.

2. I pull into the mostly barren parking lot of Gilgo. Three pudgy beachcombers huddle, comparing their metal detectors. Past the Inn the older locals have parked their smattering of cars. I settle in front of the bathroom, perhaps unwittingly flagging my callowness. Sometimes I park on the other side of the guardhouse, hopping the fence to run across the parkway. I can't be bothered with that today. There are many places to surf around here. Just park in the right spot.

3. When I get out of the car there is a slightly misplaced smell of decay. At least I can't place it.

4. The sun appears to move faster when it is rising and setting, a banal observation which nevertheless surprises me every time.

5. The waves are tiny. Almost not waves at all. More like salty calf tickling water humps. I ride my pink sofftop, realizing only too late the fun would be more if I unscrewed the fins. There are six, maybe seven regulars in the water. Regulars because I recognize their faces.  I can only assume they recognize mine, but I won't. Some mornings in the lineup I am garrulous. This morning I try to paddle away from everyone to tend a private patch of lonely splash lumps, closing my eyes to listen to the placidly gallumphing water retreat from my board.

6. Three days ago in a Facebook instant message I used the word benumbment, a word I had not counted on being a proper word until I noticed there wasn't the requisite red squiggly line beneath it.

7. I do one interesting thing amidst the many uninteresting things. While attempting to improbably insinuate myself into a shabby shadow of a wave, I jump up and down two footed on the shoulders of the board. Like a hopping tantrumic child. And it works. One of those spontaneous, inane moments in surfing when a witness would be welcome.

8. I donate a few dollars to the WFMU pledge drive during the Wake & Bake show. Wifey flips the switch before I hear my name announced. Besides the iced matcha tea with macadamia nut milk I've been getting from the coffee shop down the street, Clay Pigeon is really one of the best morning things going these days. But we don't have to talk about that.

9. Things my three year old says:
"Leave me be."
"Give me space."

10. I've been sleeping on the couch lately. It's not what you think. Well, maybe it is. There are certain people who are natural magnets for mosquitoes. This is well documented but incompletely understood. Wifey is one of those. Every night in the middle of the night she gets up to kill a tormenting mosquito in our bedroom, leaving me equally tormented in a different way. So for now, until it gets colder, I am sleeping on the couch to try and get some consistent shut eye.

11. The weather people say this will be another unseasonably warm winter in New York.

12. There is a granite statue of Father Jerzy Popieluszko in a park at the corner of Nassau and Bedford in Brooklyn. He was a priest agitating for the Polish Solidarność movement who was murdered by Communist security apparatus goons in 1984. Recently the statue was vandalised, the head spray painted red. In a previous desecration the monument was somehow beheaded. The police don't have any leads. The president of the New York chapter of the John Paul II Foundation has opined, "the red color may indicate someone with leftist views, inimical to Father Popieluszko." Inimical indeed.

13. This morning at 4:30 AM my three year old wakes me up, crying about a bad dream. I do not fall back asleep.


The London Surf Film Festival was this past weekend I think. It is the second straight year I've missed it.

This fun little film was on show:


Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Photo By Noah Silvestry
I remember sitting in my bedroom the summer of '89 listening to one of the first CD's I out and out stole from my older brother. "Full Moon Fever" on repeat. A little research tells me it wasn't an especially hot summer - though there were some near 90˚ days in June apparently - but my body remembers it being a scorcher. Perhaps growing up in Seattle will make any day above eighty feel like a day on the face of Mars. It's one of those albums when played returns me viscerally to the specific texture of a time and place. Not even ten years later and I would be sizing up my potential (and future) bride on a number of merits, one box ticked being her obsession with Tom Petty's "Greatest Hits."

He always seemed to be a humble master.