Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thoughts On Trying To Write Something Of Substance For a Surf Blog

"I'll tell you what it was like. Go to the Uffizi in Florence, or the Louvre in Paris, and you are so crushed by numbers, once the might of greatness, that you go away distressed, with a feeling like constipation. And when you are alone and remembering, the canvases sort themselves out; some are eliminated by your taste or limitations but others stand up clear and clean. Then you can go back and look at one thing untroubled by the shouts of the multitude."    -John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley

Truth be told, I love pizza parlors. An all you can eat buffet, a little quarter arcade nook near the bathrooms, some Roaring Twenties style stained glass light fixtures. The place you went with your soccer team at the end of the season. To get even more truthy, I once read the whole of a thousand page tome about the history of India in multiple sittings in a Taco Bell on Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco. A cosy, pink, molded formica seat at a Baskin & Robbins is about as comfortable a perch as I might find. I read articles about old people hanging out at McDonald's all day sipping cheap coffee and eating like birds and I understand their sensibility.

The other night I wore a black bow tie and a black suit and a pair of sensible rubber galoshes to the New York premiere of Wes Anderson's latest film. I felt like a million bucks but could easily have looked like a pair. But feeling is where you get your feeling and if you don't feel sexy, you never will be. The Wes Anderson Film Experience is a polarizing one it seems. People love them or hate them. Maybe there are some indifferent people out there, but I bet if you scratch half a little, they'd bend one way or another. And no wonder. He tends to make films a couple ways. One, he makes a list of all the little elements, tropes, references and inside jokes and ticks them off dutifully, letting rhythm and intelligent casting make tidy, aesthetically taught movies. Or two, he does all that stuff and somehow then adds human emotion. I tend to forgive the lack of the latter in the former simply because I like romps. This persuasion then tends to glorify the latter in my estimation, when the latter is achieved, perhaps far beyond its proper place. Perhaps. This latest film, one about a hotel concierge in a fictional Central European country, is far more the former, while his previous film, Moonlight Kingdom, is far and away in the latter camp. No pun intended. I say this only because at the after party I witnessed Bill Murray riding the elevator at the Russian Tea Room. I mean I witnessed him continuously riding the elevator, making motions to get off at the floor (I was observing from the the third) only to turn around and get back on the elevator at the last minute every time. He must have made that loop six times. Times three floors. Each instance settling back into the rear of the car, shaking his head and nodding at some other passenger with a wry smile, mouthing "oh no, that's not it." Comic genius in the flesh I suppose. Not everyone likes Wes Anderson films. But I do.

I recently got back from surfing around the north western bit of Puerto Rico. It was fun, headish high the first night, fun shoulder high the next morning, fun waist high later that day, then sorta cruddy fun waist to nipple high for the rest of the time. I gratefully borrowed a sorta crumby Walden nine foot longboard that worked just well enough to have a great time paddling around in gorgeously warm water. Nothing beats warm water surfing. Nuffin.

(Ed. Note: Antonio (("The Other Gustav")) just flew off on a surf trip to Mexico with none other than the dynamic photo force known as Chris Pfeil. I'm hopeful he'll return with a story or two publishable here accompanied by maybe even some great Pfeil pics. You never know with Tony Jr.  He's been promising to post more for years. Deadbeat.)

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