Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Birdwells & Brisick


Jamie called up and asked.  Click the pic.

Respect

Foto by Lynn Davis

Saturday, September 2, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. Approaching is 43, a resolutely midlife sort of number, I have largely lived my life without achieving any goals thanks mostly to having not set any in the first place. I’ve certainly been goaded into enunciating a goal here or there at some point if only to satisfy someone else’s expectations. Finding a marital partner for instance, not to mention keeping one interested over a length of time, can rely pretty heavily on (an even specious) quotation of attractive, articulated goals. Beyond that, it seems the act of goal setting has achieved a sort of moral authority these days. And not just the garden variety cottage industry, it is core to the very cultural fabric of the nation. So in keeping with my citizenship, when pressed by the immigration officer, I will easily make the case that I’ve achieved the one gigantic goal I might have unspokenly set: the one of achieving something without having meant to do so in the first place.

2. Listening to the radio today I learn that, all things being the same, most people get happier as they get older. It has something to do with the lesser burden of the future combined with perspective of all that stuff that’s gone before. It has been studied by science and nearly proven so the radio says. In light of this it occurs to me that those who do not become more content as time winds on (all things being the same) are exhibiting signs of mental illness. The gently compressing accordion that is our experience must lead us to some conclusion.

3. “Do you know what maybe means? It means maybe not.”

4. That whole canard about living in the moment can really lead to a lot of future heartache as nostalgia triangulates the most merciless sneak attacks.

5. We surf on the outer beach of Fire Island in the morning. We did the same thing last week. It takes a special County pass and a four wheel drive car. It doesn’t take anything else, save the time and freedom to do so. And the outsized patience needed in letting air out of tires and filling them up again. The waves are very small. But that doesn’t mean a thing.

6. I am colder now. Colder as I am older, the cobblestones along the pathways turned over and replaced haphazardly, the banks of the rivers overgrown and encroaching. I sit on my board with the gentle offshores making the tiny, shifty waves a little better and I shiver.

7. And when I find myself alone for long enough, memory pounces. I put it down to the suddenly quiet void of the solitary scrambling to fill itself anyway it can. And the memories obligingly flood in; those viscera of old hankerings. After family life, work life, life life, pressing, pushing, cramming the memories into corners where they wait, skulking, colluding, taking their chances with surprising subtlety.

8. Name your favorite smell, the questionnaire demands. The plopping undersides of docks. Stale beer seeping out of plastic bags. Mountain pine, approaching, rising out of high desert. The inner ears of dogs. Distant fried chicken. Lime on fire-licked meat. Gasoline. Name your favorite sounds. Morning roosters. My children’s voices. That sound that waves make on small pebbles. Name your least favorite household utensil. Vacuum cleaners.

9. And “live in the moment,” what’s that supposed to mean? Were I to live in this moment’s moment, well, I’d stay in bed, thanks. But there are fun tropical storm waves and I am supposed to be a surfer. It is supposed to be the sort of day I’ve been looking forward to even if I forgot my spring suit in town and all I have are my trunks and this tank top thing and it’s unseasonably cold. And already dark earlier. And this bed is so comfortable. So what moment am I supposed to live in again? Because there was this moment that I realized all I wanted to do with my free time was surf. And then there was the moment I realized there were other things in life that would be interesting pastimes. Like getting married and moving to a culturally vibrant but surf-challenged city and having kids and trying to be good at some career. And then there’s those moments while sitting at my desk watching other people’s instagram feeds explode with missed sessions (mine) and swearing I’d never pass up the chance again. So which moment?

10. Today's waves are fun and clean and head high (if you’re a little taller than me) but seem a little more “critical” thanks to the swell angle. Yesterday's waves were messy and head high (if you're my height) and a joyful ardor to paddle through. I’m content I didn’t live in either of the moments preceding.

11. There are many ways to describe a day of surfing. Among the vocabulary I’ve heard bandied about to perform the task I cannot remember hearing one of the more affecting ones: intimate.

12. Houston. One third of Bangladesh. My brain has been slow to react.

13. And finally, when it feels like someone doesn’t believe in you, remember it is not you they don’t believe in.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. I am one of those people. The people, NPR Liberals, who just can’t find American Football compelling. One of those Americans who has to say American Football. Which fits perfectly because I am one of those people who grew up on American Football. Grandpa’s tickets on the 50 yard line in the 100s section at the King Dome during the heydays of Seahawk suckdom. It’s perfect because I’m one of those people for whom the loss of the love affair isn’t a badge of honor, but a fall from grace. One of those NPR Liberals who still plays Yahoo Fantasy Football and secretly wants to win the league, and even did, twice, mind you, a long time ago. There is a special ring in hell for the self-loathing. It is all stocked shelves of lapsed American Football lovers.

2. There is a curious math game that can spring up. Call it Dollar Over Wave, in which the contestant, showing up late to the beach with the pay-for-parking-after-8-AM policy, shells out a one-third century for the honor, then pays said competitor’s elder son an extra fiver per hour to babysit the younger one, all the while sweatily aspiring to hastily rack up his dollar-per-wave count. When it goes very well it runs out to be about a buck a peak or so.

3. I purposely keep from my wife the evolving title to the book I'm writing about emotional partnerships: “Re-Targeting Affection: How Children and Dogs Bridge Marriages.”

4. My summer unfolds as so many previous summers have. The typical specter of reality which is May. The routine destruction of hope that is June. The habitual terror of July’s existential dilemma. Then suddenly, almost unwelcomely, the glory of August’s generosity. You were so content in your despair! Nearly reconciled! And now you’ve surfed, what, three, nay, five days! Almost in a row! Happiness seems possible. The future looks bright. It is a cruel month, August.

5. There is something powerful out there though. Untapped. Liminal. Perhaps even emergent. One could call it The Efficacy of Shitty Board Fetish Vis À Vis Surprising Technique Development. I pull out one of my “real” boards for the first time in … months… years? I put new wax over the old wax. I wobblepaddle out with something significantly less endorsing than temerity beating in my chest. But I feel the reassuring speed of the glide and the hard assurance of the rails even before reaching the line up. I stroke into a wave, half expecting it to pass me by at best, ignominiously chuck me at worst. But something clicks. The board stiffens, grabs, propels. Easily rising, I find my feat and manipulate the speed. The speed. I can create it. It exists. But there is something else. My body, so used to contorting itself to simply achieve trim, throws weight into places where the earlier me lacked the intuition. Yes, there are a few hangover moments of complacency; a subtle blight on an otherwise effective ride. But there is something else. A courage of conviction. So often the receiver of the screwy eye at my big pink softtop, I suddenly feel older and wiser upon return. Not prodigal (it was never so squandering) rather justified in a way only I will probably ever know.

6. Walking home from work, basking in the warmth of late summer, I pass by the softball fields in McCarren Park just as a beefy ballplayer blasts a home run.

7. At Whole Foods I impulse buy a small blue vat with "Collagen Peptides" emblazoned on the label.

8. I paddle out into rather large closeout tropical storm water pushers. Something akin to body whomping (with board) a bit further from the beach. I gorge myself on death wall suicide tuck-ins. I do not see anyone else enjoying the bounty of non-consequence the same way. I wonder at what they expect.

9. I cannot understand my country. I am alienated from it, perhaps for the first time joining those swollen ranks, but unwelcome there: the color of my skin, a flag of betrayal; the thing between my legs, a wagging totem of guilt. I think about the sea and wait for waves that will take my mind off it all, a pretty piece of privilege that I can wrap myself in. But I always have to return to the shore.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Notes On a Surf Staycation

I’ll be live-blogging my 2017 Summer pseudo-surfcation. Stay tuned for the boring and involuntary. Or voluntarily boring. I’m not sure when gainful employment will cut into this dance, or whether it will at all. The guts of my family, of my life, are on another coast as I shack, literally, with my dog on Long Island, hoping to, as they say, “get things done.” Over the next series of days things may get terribly maudlin. Stay tuned to this channel.

Day One

You can be almost 100% sure that if you invite me over for a barbecue, at some point I will excuse myself for a few moments, head to your bathroom and rummage through your medicine cabinet looking for q-tips. I have been disallowed from having them at home and I'm always on the lookout for an opportunistic fix.

Knowing the question is coming and being prepared to answer the question are two different things. “Everything being equal” seems to be the qualific catch phrase in a phone conversation with my habitually estranged brother.

The first insecurity one is confronted with when alone for the first night on a surf staycation falls along imposter syndrome lines: I've been longing to be alone for so long, is it possible I've been treating myself to some tasty delusion?

The second is a terror of anxiety: to exactly which depths have my surfing abilities sunk?

Day Two

The magic of Long Island: Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s reading of Percival Everett’s “The Appropriation of Cultures,” inexplicably sharing a number on the radio dial with the local folk music station playing its morning Irish jig programming. A see-saw slugfest in two and five second chunks the whole way to Gilgo.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to “real” surfing. A dodgie knee, a trick ankle and a deep aversion to feeling like a failure ensures I may just not. Granted, there are plenty of ways being a soft-top junkie makes one look plenty stupid. But it’s a stupid I can stomach. Lentini says someone out there is making “hand crafted” foamies that actually have rails and can turn and do the things a normal surfboard can do. They cost five hundred bucks or something. Unless they are making them out of biodegradable, recycled material, count me out. This giant hunk of floating petroleum’s only plus side is the fact that it doesn’t provide any of the normal technical amenities while making it easier for me to be lazy. Start messing with that without any improvement where it really counts and I call bullshit.

The waves are waist high and super fun. The first extended surf I’ve had since the last time I had an extended surf. Which was a while go. I spend the morning with friends in the water and the rest of the day cutting up brush and cutting down dead trees and burning shit in a big midday bonfire.

A few nights ago at a party full of children I witnessed my elder son learn one of life’s important early lessons: if, while playing Hide & Seek, you hide too well for too long, no one cares.

Day Three (or) Day Four

I think it must be Day Four.

Yesterday I have a second fun day at Gilgo Beach. With friends. I take the opportunity to flail a bit on a wave while Mike paddles by and he yells, “Trying to roll up the windows?”

I wander around my house like a zombie, the excitement which begot the productivity of Day Two having faded, leaving me what I imagine the lingering effects of shell-shock to feel like. At the added risk of minimizing something serious further, I wonder if there isn’t a PTSD analog that comes along with fatherhood. Or parenthood, motherhood or spousehood for that matter. It creeps up on you. Then it’s there, overwhelming; exhausting; haunting. It causes mildly sleepless nights. The sort of which you don’t realize the effects until its too late. Irritable, irrational, emotionally jumpy. When you are alone, if you are alone for long enough, it turns you into walking putty for a couple days. Or maybe more. I’ll let you know if I’m still like this tomorrow.

Judy Carmichael on the Jazz Inspired radio show to Dick Hyman:
“You actually make it a party!”
“Well, that’s the intention. We actually serve real potato chips and real soft drinks.”
This reminds me of a Jonathan Richman song.

This morning I wake up in a bed in someone else's house and we take my friend’s daughter to horse camp. I find a deer tick crawling on my leg. I go to Home Depot twice. Two different Home Depots. Later, I scrape paint off my house.

Just before dinner I go to Smith Point and body surf and wash my body in the warm salt water.

I slow cook bolognese sauce over the open fire. Two different neighbor’s cats press their nose to the screen door while I eat inside reading a Geoff Dyer book I’ve purchased twice because I’d forgotten I’d already picked it up once. You’re welcome Geoff. Jamie introduced me to Geoff over plastic cups of pink wine in the English countryside. It’s a funny thing to read the book of someone with whom you’ve had a conversation. Especially the way Geoff Dyer writes. I can hear his slim voice and I see his slim face while I read. The memory of him places itself in his story. I wonder if you’re the type of person who meets authors all the time whether this affects your reading experience. Perhaps that’s a dumb question.

This is definitely Day Four.

On the topic of cultural appropriation, Billy Bragg has a pretty good lick at the topic recently on Terry Gross' Fresh Air.

Day Five

For breakfast I eat yogurt and nectarines. For lunch I eat leftover pasta. My dog stares at me.

During lunch I read a book and the author references D.H. Lawrence. I think about what it means to be well-read in the age of 21st Century post-modernism. Of New York Times bestseller lists. Of Wikipedia. I still mostly read, when I get the chance to read, White men who often reference, in their own work, passages from the Great Canon of Other White Men, Mostly Dead. I wonder at this. I wonder that I regard myself as sufficiently well-read yet I am often sent scurrying to Google to slyly refresh my well-readedness. This, perhaps, is what it means now to be well-read: simply a willingness to read at all.

I scrape flaking paint off the house. I get bit by mosquitoes. I listen to podcast episodes of Fresh Air and Hidden Brain.

There is no surf to surf.

I go to Smith Point beach to clean off grime I've accumulated from working around the house. There is a large Indian family at the beach when I get there. They are handsome and happy and I catch them watching me body whomp.

Day Six

I pick up a day laborer at the 7-11 on Horseback Road. There are four 7-11s on Horseback Road. Or as far as I’ve driven on Horseback Road. Presumably, Horseback Road goes all the way to what’s known as the North Shore. Presumably, Horseback Road is named that because once upon a time there were a number of stables along that route. The day laborer I pick up is named Juan, presumably because he is originally from El Salvador. Not everyone from El Salvador is called Juan the same as not every route that had, at some point, some horses on it are called Horseback Road. So there you go. Juan turns out to be a reticent conversationalist, but puts up with my faltering Spanish generously.

I have some realizations today about needing to find ways to appreciate certain things in my life more. Classic being-alone realizations, I suppose.

There is no surf today. But, with the one-morning exception of a friend's outdoor shower, and the one-evening exception of a rubber tube extended from my kitchen sink, I have washed my body exclusively in salt water this week and do so again tonight. This reminds me that exclusivity is only fun for the exceptions.

Day Seven

You only get two opportunities to die prematurely. The first, when you are actually premature, a designation that has admittedly mushified over time, being gradually redefined over the past 60 or so years, and still in flux as of this writing, but safely, I think, defined by being a dependent child, or some young and precocious prodigy of an expectant sort for a limited amount of time past that. I think I can safely say, in my early 40s and with no world-altering talent of my own waiting to bare fruit, I am mature enough to simply die. Except! I happen to be lucky enough to fall into that other available category of premature death: I have premature things in my care. Having premature children, that is to say in this instance children who still rely on my existence, more and less, for theirs, I am a premature death waiting to happen by proxy.

Ever since I was a kid I have preferred unsalted potato chips. Tim's Cascade being the first, and for a long time only, version I could find. Utz has unsalted potato chips now. Yesterday, when I make Juan the Salvadoran Day Laborer lunch, he goes for the bag of unsalted chips. "Oh! Those are unsalted! Here these Ruffle ones have salt," I say to him. He gives me a funny look, slowly withdraws his hand from the potato chips altogether.

Today I drive home from my house near the beach (not the beach itself, mind you), unpack my bags from the car and eat the rest of the leftover unsalted potato chips. I walk the dog and get on my bike, heading to the bank to deposit a check. On my way there I imagine my premature death, a car on bicycle accident, unsalted potato chips spread across the street.

I find myself alone in a house in Brooklyn looking at movie times. The only movies that look good are French. A memoirumentary about French cinema that starts at 8:30 and is three hours long and a film about a gay French man who goes on a cross country Grindr spree that starts at 6:40. The alternatives are Dunkirk, with Mark Rylance and that Irish actor with the crazy eyes that starts at 7:30 and an Idris Elba/Matthew McConnughy vehicle about a spooky cowboy that begins at 8:00. The best of the lot looks to be that French Grindr film. But I'm not sure I can hack it.

It ends up being more of an open road chase film. One lover closing in on another from Paris to Cannes. The director was there answering questions after the credits, mentioning that his producers were telling him to film the actors more, not endless shots through the windshield. He said he could control the actors, he could not control the nature around him. So he shot that point of view to the point of exhaustion. Probably why he felt committed to make sure as much of it got in the film as possible.

Day Eight

I wake late, the previous night's midnight run to the Chinese take-out leaving bags under my eyes and a doughy quality to my movement.

As I take the dog for a walk I mentally line up the things in my life, systematically attempting to define why I enjoy them; why I appreciate them. People, things, situations. For each one the outcome is the same. I enjoy the things in my life because they give me something real to feel now, and I enjoy the things in my life because they are fat with hope for feeling in the future.

In the afternoon my family will return and it won't just be me and the dog anymore. I will once again be carrying a raucous, bulging bag of emotions everywhere I go. Time frames will be reinstated. Expectations will be reintroduced. In preparation I spend the day cleaning house.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Swell Season & the T.J. Breuer


Does your surf scene have a Ty Breuer? You're lucky if it does. Perhaps I won't go so far as to say unlucky if it doesn't. If a question with the term "surf scene" applies to you, you're already lucky. 

There is a follow up podcast recently spit out with Ben and Ty talking less structurally about stuff. You can find that here. Rumor has it Ty is gonna take a few swipes at the mic while Ben is on vacation this August. Stay tuned for that.

Monday, July 17, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. It was a clean, windless summer dusk at Santa Claus Lane, the only near-town spot that would break consistently in the summer. We'd gotten used to heading down there to spin out in the dumping beach break and every now and then we'd get lucky with real waves. My first real foray into a personal style happened here. I'd drop into a wave, bottom turn, drifting up the face as quickly as possible. Once back at the top I'd stand straight up right in the curl with a little dramatic pause, necessitating a second, last minute sweeping drop where I'd try to climb back up the face before it closed. Imagine this all pretty fast; Santa Claus Lane isn't a point. After one particular evening session, the waves a touch bigger than usual, maybe a little overhead even, that first customary peak-pause often meant I'd be thrown, Gabe gave me that novel and still pride swelling compliment over a plate of tacos at Super Rica that he liked my surfing because it had a style all its own.

2. Years later I would be filming street footballers in Amsterdam for a big sportswear brand. On the last night of the shoot the client took us all out for drinks in a little Irish bar set besides a typically idyllic canal and I drank beers and whiskeys for a while, quiet and exhausted. The place was crowded and the vibe was friendly and a big black Englishman wearing a loose fitting white suit sat next to me at the bar. Maybe ten or fifteen years my senior, everyone seemed to know him and he had that kind of garrulous chin that makes grins even grinnier. "Oi, you look like another retired sportsman. What'd you do? What was your game?" He was talking to me, referring to himself in camaraderie and expecting way too much. I suspected he really was some sort of sporting great and I was stuck there, a few sheets to, and looking for an exit before I'd start lying.

3. Last Sunday I needed to drop off some errant sun glasses to a friend at a restaurant and walked in on a small party containing Bill Murray. I've had glancing dealings with Bill Murray in the past and he remembered my wife right away because she's the sort that charms the pants off off-kilter smart people. We sat down for a minute, returned the wayward specs to our friend in the gang and made to go. But Bill Murray just doesn't want to let people go. Tales of his eccentric, yet wholly, almost supernaturally, human kindness are pretty legend. He's a playful goofball guy who fully understands the cultural import that derives from the character that is, naturally, Bill Murray. But we have to go. And Bill Murray is sorta doing his damnedest to keep us there. Asking us questions, talking up mixology, explaining his favorite cars. But my three year old is getting antsy. And we have to go to the grocery store. And I gotta get my house ready for a barbecue that night. I let this last one slip. Bill Murray, ever watchful for his moment to pounce, says "Hey! You want some hotdogs? They make great Chicago style hot dogs here!" I don't hesitate, because who doesn't want some extra hot dogs for a barbecue? "How many?" Bill Murray asks. "Six!" I respond. Bill Murray marches into the kitchen and asks for six Chicago style hot dogs to be made up right away. And I realize he means for me to eat them, right then and there. That's Bill Murray.

4. There is always a moment at the beginning of Beat It when I think it's gonna be Roxanne.

5. I think it's safe to say that at the heart of the human experience is the hope for acceptance, inclusion, appreciation. Generally, people want to feel as if they're part of something bigger than themselves. But the opposite doesn't necessarily hold true. Our greatest fear, at least the one we trumpet, is rarely loneliness. It's usually things like sharks, line cutters and incontinence.

6. The latest entry into the EBNY Urban Dictionary : Diatribinous

7. A sign of the apocalypse or simply proving a tired adage wrong? After a lifetime of actively disliking cherries I am suddenly interested.

8. It feels like there is a regular mistake made conflating giving something due context with making an apology for it. Why can't we delve reasonably into hypothetical motivation, be it for an action warranted or unwarranted, without losing our ability to be upset about the thing? There is a growing disease out there which causes a refusal of empathic conversation about justifications for fear of making bad guys look less bad. The bad guys are bad whether you make them look that way or not.

9. And at my house we have a few rules. One of them is: before you switch off the T.V., set the channel to the tennis channel.

10. There is a moment, also mid-summer, when peaches make sense as the de facto meat in nearly any dish.

11. Yesterday I introduced my three year old's three year old body to body surfing. This morning his brain asked to do it again.

12. Try your hardest but don't let that stop you from succeeding.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Happening: Jamie Brisick in Convo

Jamie burst upon my surf scene thanks to a handful of appearances in the late 80s surf magazines I was furtively sneaking into my mom's shopping basket. Burst may be just generous enough a verb to actually cover his real appearance in my life some 22ish years later. Chris Gentile called up from the Mollusk shop, saying Jamie had some time to kill and an interest in talking turkeym offering to send him around the corner to my studio for a hello. When I got off the phone with Chris, I was thinking "Cool! Jamie Brisick!" knowing exactly why I knew who Jamie was, just unable remember which. Which surf guy from my youthful fascination was he, his name like a clear bell tone bouncing around the inside of my skull. Once I laid eyes on him I could almost remember the very cutback from one of the Surfing photos. I think I probably still have those mags somewhere in a box. Anyhow, since that time he's impressed himself into my esteem with a strength I would not have foreseen. A true intellect, a very good writer, a fine surfer and a lovely person, I am sure this is an event not to miss.

"We are proud to be presenting Jamie Brisick, a prolific contributor to the culture of surfing, for an evening of surf literature, film, and photography. Jamie Brisick has spent more than four decades deeply immersed in surfing, first as a professional surfer in the '80s and '90s, and since then as a writer, photographer, and filmmaker. An author of several books, an editor of international surf magazines, and a Fulbright scholar, he is an astute observer of the culture. In conversation with Chris Gentile, founder of Pilgrim Surf + Supply, and through a selection of his photographs, Jamie will discuss his life in surfing, as well as show excerpts from a few of his favorite surf films, which include Jack McCoy's Stormriders, Greg Schell's Chasing the Lotus, and Alby Falzon's Morning of the Earth." 

Read more about the event and buy tickets here.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Respect


This Week In Not Surfing

1. Head High Hammonds Reef, early to mid nineties, the old, heavy red 9'6" single fin. Springtime. A good crowd was out, and I can't remember whether the tide was pushing or pulling. For some reason I was riding without a leash and lost the board to the shore. After retrieving it, paddling out felt funny and I flipped the board over to find the fin box had cracked, fin gone. It was such a beautiful early evening and I was surfing well, maybe the best I'd yet surfed. I had North Shore fresh in my mind and I figured I'd give it the old Chandler go, sans fin. After spinning and kooking for a couple waves, a local heavy paddled up and inquired after my fitness to surf the break. I flipped the board over, his eyes got a little wide and with a laugh he said "take the next one," a fresh set popping up. In that one ride it all came together. The foot drag, the hand dig, the subtle shimmy slippage, a long ride and finally the 360 ending in a whooping face plant. The heavy would provide cover for me the rest of the evening.

2. Slightly Overhead Mira Mar, early to mid nineties, probably the old Cactus Mexican popout three finned hybrid 8'11". Yes, slightly overhead at Mira Mar. The break getting crowded and Hammonds looking like it was really working, Ian and I start to paddle up past the mansions when a clean up set appears out of nowhere with the two of us somehow in the perfect spot. We both drop in and weave back and forth, hopscotching across the face, passing all the gassers, all the way to the beach.

3. Knee High Refugio, 1997, a borrowed 60's single fin plank. Mid romance, a month before getting married. I'd been watching this older guy struggling with the board for a while and when he finally paddled in, I asked him if I could give it a go. After about 45 minutes of truly magical fun I returned the board and the guy asks, "are you a pro?" This moment was perhaps the height of my surfing hubris, at knee high. A few months on and I'd be sitting in the somewhat scarier swell at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, pissing in my suit, wondering where I could find that guy.

4. North County San Diego, a handful of years ago, Whitney's hybrid Leucadia 9'0". Surfing between San Onofre, Grannie & Papa's in Carlsbad and Swami's for about a week over the winter holidays I magically find my groove again. Deeper-than-they-should-be cutbacks, easy foot fiddling and lots of nose time on a board certainly not made for it. I haven't felt as proficient since.

5. In between there were lots of silly moments. A few trips where I underperformed to the point of questioning my memory. There were some fun days in Montauk. At Gilgo. At Smith Point. A few good waves in Saladita, a handful of great sessions at C Street. One or two waves in Puerto Rico. A good day in Rockaway. Lotsa mornings at Old Mans. Some fun days between Washington and Laurelton.

6. A couple years ago, on a shoot for Nike in Long Beach south of L.A. I show up at Ian's house in Torrance for an early surf off the Esplanade. Knee high, at best. Wavestorms. The water is unseasonably warm, incredibly clear. My ankle is killing me. Ian's knee is killing him. The waves are small, short and foolishly fun.

7. There was that one time I opened solo for a band at that big music hall on Bowery and played Radiohead's Creep on the ukulele. It seemed like a packed house. As far as I know this was the first time anyone had played Creep on the ukulele. I'd never heard it done anyhow. This was before the hipster ukulele craze. I also played the Happy Birthday song. That brought the house down.

8. There was that time I was flipping through the kung fu magazine in the editor's suite while waiting for a render, finding an ad for "Fei Yue" kung fu shoes for ten bucks. I ordered two pairs in different sizes over the phone. As far as I know I was the first person to buy those kung fu shoes for purely fashion purposes. After a couple months of regular wear around Williamsburg, I see them prominently displayed for sale in a shoe shop on Bedford.

9. There was the time I told the "Clown Joke" to warm up the crowd at an IPO party for some website at a big event hall in Dog Patch in the late nineties. I'm not sure how many people were there. A thousand? More? When I finished the joke, ten people laughed. They laughed hard.

10. True stories, as far as I can tell.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Respect



That fateful day my hand drifted along the drugstore newspaper rack from the magazines of the nascent snowboarding industry to the magazines of the full-bloom surfing industry. Among few others, this man has facilitated a great amount of joyful masochism.

Today's Thought