Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Smelly pond massage and 800 m intervals

Life in the house of dogs is starting to become more managable. The puppies are as big as (or bigger than) their parents now but Rupert and Trixie are still in charge. A little watering, cycle over to Rachie's and let Angus out, some yoga, some tai chi. Life aint so bad here. Then I get a call from Bill: Harvest season + new equipment + 25% increase in production + heart trouble + production happening here on the estate = a tense call from Bill. All he wants is for me to clean out the smelly pond ajacent to the back porch. I balk because: I want to surf + no warning + had planned on doing some work for my friend John + saw this as a day off + have not done this before = me resisting a bit. Conclusion: Bill ends up buying me lunch at Farmer and the Cook, presents his side of the equation, spells out what needs to be done with the smelly pond.

The pond is cold when I first step into the upper tier. The water goes up to just below my crotch. I can feel the fine mud as my feet sing into it. I polish the walls with my bare hands, breaking up the algae growth. I use my feet to move the 2 inches of mud around and to search for leaves. There are none up here. Next step is getting the leaves out of the actual pond. The upper tier is around 2 feet deep, 6 feet across and 3 feet wide. The water runs over one of the sides and falls into the much bigger pond. The pond is home to many big goldfish, white fish, a whole bunch of mosquito larvae eating fish and 3 turtles. I wade around this liquid; it has a sulfur like aroma, lilly pads and lots of blackened oak leaves submerged on the bottom. I grab big handfulls and dump them on the skimmer, repeatedly pull off the leaves stuck in the pump's intake screen and hose off the three filters.

Devin and I meet at 6:30 PM at Nordoff's $100,000 track. No little kids today sitting in the middle of the track. Just people jogging around, fancy that. When Devin arrives, we stretch and then circle the track twice in warm up for our first 800. The plan is to run 3. I will probably run 2 I think - I have only run twice in the past month. The plan for the first 800 is to run it in 3 minutes - a six minute mile pace. We make this time easily - 2:54. The next 800's target is 2:45 minutes. Coming down the stretch, I feel this one. Even on the second turn, the sound coming out of my throat, as I labored for oxygen, was telling. I stick it out and finish about 2 seconds behind D - time: 2:43. The third interval of 800 m starts without me. The plan is for me to join Devin for the 2nd lap. The goal for him is to run a sub 2:30. I watch him run the first lap and then I am running beside him. He wants me to pace him and make sure we get under 75 secs for this 400. I am surprised how easy it is for me to run this. We both maintain a good pace. Initially, I got a bit in front, I pace myself, he caught up, started to pull away out of the last turn and then I caught and passed him down the home stretch. Devin catches me at the finish line. Our time for the last quarter: 1:14.29.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

So Cal surf sesh #2

The puppies wake me up... I let them outside... go back to sleep. 8:30 AM, pups yelps wake me again, this time for some food. Feed them. Hop in the Miata, drive to Rachel's, let the cat out. Back to the house. My 8 ft long board fits in the Miata. And, it fits nicely I might add. The Miata is a very cool surf mobile. This car is so small that it reminds me of a dune buggy or one of those little race cars that you drove when you were a kid visiting Disney World or some place at the Shore in New Jersey. The engine even sounds the same. I wear the Yankee hat Bri gave me and the big fat Blinde sunglasses that Ash gave me. Pick ups, all jacked up cruise by me and I can't even see the driver, can't see in their vehicle. I could drive underneath them and not leave a scratch.

The Miata's gas consumption is half of the big black jacked up convertible Bronco's. Talk about totally different rides. Another benefit of the Miata is that I can lock the value ables in the trunk. The ride down is smooth, this car hugs the road. The streets all take on the feel of a giant racetrack.

I pull into the Surfer's Point parking lot and a spot awaits my tiny loaner matchbox car. Another benefit is that this car can park in small spots. I lay the red and blue surf board on the strip of grass and watch the waves. They are smaller today. A little more cleaner. A few more folks out there.

Paddle out between the waves, dodge the peaks and I am out again - like yesterday with my bald head still dry. The first wave I catch, push up, land on my feet. The drop is smooth. Suddenly, a surfer in a black wet suit appears, directly in my path. He's trying to paddle over the wave, he sees me and his jaw drops involuntarily. Without thinking, I cut to the right, avoiding the human obstacle, cut left down the wave again. Then it closes out. Fun one. I catch 4 more waves in a row without losing my balance. I am able to carve these waves with my 8 footer.. Something that I did not do with the 9'6 in Hawaii. I could easily turn the big thing but there was no slashing.

I paddle in and walk to the sports car. While throwing stuff in the trunk, I hear some one say: "Didj, is that you?"

I turn to see David, former room mate, former band mate (he was in my band Monkey Puzzle), in front of his white mini SUV Isuzu. "Yo David!" I say, psyched to see him.

"Are you about to surf?"

"No, I just had a 90 minute sesh, I gotta take off and take care of things."

We agree to try and sched a surf sesh and say later.

Rest of the day was a mix of different responsibilities. Dumped 12 forty pound bags of salt into the pool and 8 forty pounders into the water softener. Yoga and tai chi for 90 minutes and then a smoothie that hit the spot. Check on dogs, chill... hop on the CBR 900 and zip to Rachel's, let Angus in, feed him, add some water, then to Farmer and the Cook. This meal really hits the spot, visit Jmoe's, feed cat and watch Roddick lose the third 7-6 set in a row to Mueller for a first round exit out of the US Open.

Finally back here. The pups are hyped and run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They are like this till i tire of their constant battling. They are super nice to me... they lick my feet even, but they just don't know when to stop playing... ah well, their just big ole puppies, 6 or 7 months old I think.

Now all is peaceful here in the house of dogs.

Monday, August 29, 2005

So Cal surf sesh #1

My bright red and cool blue surfboard fit easily into the back of the black jacked-up convertible Bronco. With gas prices the way they are combined with this vehicles gas mileage, each way costs 5 bucks. That means that each surf sesh costs 10 dollars. Oh well, this won't stop me I think, as I cruise down south 101 towards Ventura Surfer's Point. The wind feels cool compared to the sweltering heat I just left behind.

When I pull into the first parking lot, I see that it is full. The height of this truck allows me to see that there are some peaky waves happening. they are mushy and short. Not too many surfers out there consequently. A spot opens up and I back in. The first person I see is Caveman. He has been surfing this point among many others for decades. I have not seen him for a 6 months or maybe a year. He's parked next to me in a white mini SUV. There are cardboard for sale signs in the windows written with a red magic marker. He has 2 boards with him. They have an amazing shape to them - flaring out at the top and getting narrow at the bottom. Moments after he says hello, a dude wearing board shorts says: "Hello Mike Didj, how you doin?"

"Who is that?"

"It's me, Russell."

I know Russell from years ago. He grew up in Ojai. Ended up doing the dosie doe with the po po. He's put on some weight and his face looks different. When he says his name, I was like: Oh yeah.

"Russell, how are you doing?"

"I'm Hooomeless. " He says almost proudly. This does not surprise because of the various clothes that he has been sorting thru on the thin strip of lawn in between the parking lot and the boadwalk; as well as the downward spiral he had been taking since I have known him. It's nice to see him though.

"Are you gonna go surfing?" I ask him. If you're homeless hopefully you at least have a surfboard I think to myself.

"No, maybe somebody will let me use a board."

As if on cue, Caveman says: "Do you want to use one of my boards? Here, use the long board."

I paddle out before these guys. Picking a good spot, I paddle in between the breaking waves and get outside without getting my head wet. Soon after, I see Caveman and Russell paddle out. I can hear Russell whooping loudly. Caveman's gesture really touches me and for a few moments out there, Russell seems almost present, almost back in his body. The first time I met him was surfing out here: Surfer's Point. He looked so much younger then, slimmer. It is amazing how time can change some folks so quickly while others change so gradually. I guess, it is what we do with this time. We wear it on our bodies, in our minds, on our faces and in our eyes. Russell lasts for 20 minutes or so and then he padddles in.

Going from a 9'6 board to and 8 foot board, from Hawaiian waves to So Cal bowls of mush: in my head seemed like it would be easy. What actually happened though, was I kind of repeated all the mistakes I made the first couple North shore Sessions: nosing the board and flipping or popping up and landing too far back on the board and falling off or not timing the waves correctly and other, new mistakes.

Something was different with my limbic system, though. Something good. It did not matter to me that I was not getting up on any waves yet. I recognized that I was just going thru an adjustment. Also, I was not getting tired. Then, I started catching a few waves. I stayed out for 90 minutes until I caught a big wave that left me in the inside. I tried to paddle out for a while but the waves pushed me further and further in until I took their advice, rode some foam and stepped onto the round, grey, black and brown rocks.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The engineer and the pirate

"3 hours time difference aint enough for jet lag," you say with careless aplomb. Well, I guess there are many factors involved but for what ever reason I have not been able to fall asleep before 2 AM since my return to So Cal. Despite my being unable to z out until 3 AM last night, the puppies woke me at 7 AM. This is when they need to piss and doo. Yeah, I am back with these crazy puppies. I don't know if you are new to this program but occasionally, I have stints house sitting for some friends of mine. Feel free to use my own personal search engine to revisit the trauma I survived when there were 7 puppies instead of 4. Anyway, lets continue on with the latest chapter in the ongoing saga that is my life.

The retreat came to a close by fading out slowly. We received a reprieve in the heat department. I do not think we broke a hundred today. Despite waking up early, I was able to sleep until 8:30 AM, thanks to Devin's early morning coverage. Dev is back co managing the retreat thanks to Bill's recent medical developments. This is something that I have not mentioned. Suffice it to say, Bill needs to take some of the pressure off himself. One of his solutions is to have Devin part of the team during these vacation rentals. We have something like 10 more in a row the next 10-week ends.

When I arrive back on the deluxe estate, all is quiet. Most of the guests are in the yoga studio doing that yoga thing. I take care of a few things and then end up in the kitchen. The luscious Cristine greets me with a smile and a hello and continues with her culinary journey. A journey that is near the end. The final meal will be lunch and consists of scrambled tofu, black beans, some kind of soup and 2 birthday cakes.

"Do you want a smoothie?"

"I'd love a smoothie."

"I could really use some help."

"I'd love to help you." Thus, I begin to cut up several peppers. Next, I cut avocados in half, cut them in strips, spoon them out and plop them on a big plate. Other folks arrive to assist the vivacious cook and I slip out unnoticed, thru the butler's pantry. Take care of a few more tasks and then I walk thru the open doorway into the yoga studio. Put away a bunch of chairs. Fit them compactly into one of the Tibetan bureaus. The moment has arrived to place attention on myself: yoga, yoga and [I'll do tai chi shortly]. 2 days in a row with only 5 hours sleep. Can you tell?

The retreat winds down, closing circle opens and closes. I take care of the little things like emptying compost, straightening the back porch, refilling the pool...

Devin has a plan. He's very into the stunning cook as well. You may recall the "Take a number." quote from last night. Turns out that this was the equivalent of staking a claim on a gold mine. Dev and I are bros, so I accept the fact that we both dig the same chick. No biggy gives me an opportunity to watch him make his play. While surfing, I'll let other surfers fight over the first wave in a set. Within seconds I have my own wave, uncontested and possibly bigger then the previous. Any way, Dev's plan is for he and I to take Cristine and her friend Hilary to a swimming hole where we can all swim, cool off and drink some vino. Along the way he begins to call Hilary "the engineer" because of her hat.

Devin is like a choreographer. He has me drive the jacked up convertible Bronco. He's in the back with Kristine and I am in the front with the engineer who is also the photographer. Taking pictures along the super scenic 33 on the way to the Sespe, she has me stop a couple times to get the right shot. The girls are kind of in a hurry because they need to drive all the way to San Francisco tonight. [In fact, they are driving at this moment] They are leaving for Burning Man this Tuesday. Along the way I watch Devin give a massage for 5 minutes or so. He's wearing shades and his hair blows in the wind. Then I see Cristine giving the massage for the next 15 minutes. By the time we get to the swimming hole with our names on it - 40 minutes later - they are ready to go. The water is ice cold and the deepest places are only as deep as our shoulders. This does not stop the engineer from doing swan dives off of rocks into the clear water. We finish the bottle of red.

Cristine says that Hilary is a mermaid. "She just appeared out of the water, that's how I met her."

We all climb the steep slope back up the gully to the black Bronco. Cristine slips a red bandana over her head and sits in the back. When Devin spies the headgear he says: "Hey we got the engineer AND the Pirate."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Algebraic tendencies

There are not many places to sleep during a retreat. I have to give up my t-house for the cause (estate needs lot$ to keep going). Ordinarily, I find some random structure (Skip's hovel) or place (observation deck) on the grounds, to curl up like a feral cat and catch Zs. During and beyond this current go round I have 2 houses to sit. As I sit here, on a couch, relating these magickally mundane details, I am in the house sit with 4 puppies + 2 dogs + 1 cat = lots of messes. The other house (just 1 cat) that I am supposed to sit on is 8 minutes away in Meiner's Oaks. These 2 houses + co managing the yoga retreat + performing with Tony Tabla during Kirtan = where I am at right now. Welcome to my crazy algebraic life. Tonight's equation examines the sum of all these responsibilities dancing across the screen of my mind while I am circular breathing + keeping a drone + keeping a pulse in synch with the unfathomable Tony + singing in harmonies = where I was at then when the whole thing came to an end. Everyone sings along, we got drums, guitars and a harmonium being played by the effervescent Ashley. We got a room filled with 25 people singing ragas to wash their souls and polish their third eye. And then it all has to end. We must return to the mundane world. Tony pulls back the curtain and reveals the intentions, meanings and nuances of the Sanskrit and Arabic words that we sing. His energy, music and presence stop time, stop breaths, stop thoughts and then it is over, he puts his hands together in prayer over his heart and gracefully offers up gratitude. But do not forget that I am now in charge. I have to clear everyone out of the studio, keep them quiet and shut the whole shebang down for the night. So I got this sum of responsibilities being calculated by what used to be a brain but now is just a bio bliss machine and so when Tony says: "Please stay, do what ever you want." To the audience. I sit there flabbergasted and wondering in a string of circles and knots how I am going to reverse the tide of relaxation, highered consciousness and untethered kites. I announce that we need to be silent while leaving and the eyes just look at me as if they have nothing to do with their ears. The door soon opens and one of the girls starts yelling excitedly into the night and some one starts playing the guitar and some one starts playing the harmonium and then there is me with my algebra. I am a unicorned zebra among horses that cannot quite make out my writing on the chalkboard. Am I using black chalk? Or, is the blackboard a whiteboard?

On a lighter note... earlier today, I played Devin a set of tennis. When I pulled into the parking lot, there was an unusual amount of cars there. Normally there is 1 or 2 or none. I wonder if there is a tennis tournament. Before I even get out of the black Miata, a couple informs me that the Bowl Full of Blues is happening in Libbey Bowl.

I am kind of shocked. How did they know I was going to be playing tennis with Devin? We only just decided to play yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I am touched by this extravagant show of affection but I don't even like the blues that much. Any way, they went to an awful lot of work to try and please me and for this they get kudos.

So, while Devin and I are hitting the green ball over the net and inside the white lines, the blues can be heard playing in the background. The first game we play has over 20 deuces before I manage to claim it - I broke his serve. The next game is a battle as well. I am playing good tennis today and Devin is a bit off his game. He's a little rattled. I hunker down and hit passing shots, lobs, overheads and some how win the set 6-3. A lot of the credit goes to brother Bri. My game was honed while playing him in Hawaii. His words of encouragement somehow managed to tattoo themselves into my brain and deliver sage advice in crucial moments.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Let the games begin

The simple beep of my wrist watch yanked me from a now forgotten dream at 7 AM. I can feel the heat of the day already. This will be a hot one. I watch the early rays of the sun paint the green canvas thru the round window. I feel groggy, close my eyes but do not fall back asleep. Time for some yoga and tai-chi. I skipped yesterday and so am quite motivated to get in there, back in the yoga studio for the first time in over 25 days. This is my longest absence since the structrue was completed almost 1.5 years ago.

The magick of this structure lies in the combination of color, size, architecture and the amount of sunlight that streams thru the many square feet of glass. The time flys by and suddenly my session of stretching and slow motion moving concludes. I begin the final preparations for the retreat before 9 AM. I've been doing this for so long that all the tasks seem to happen by themselves while I just observe. The day gets hotter and hotter - just as Tyler warned me it would. Finally, around 4:30 or so, I cruise down to Famer and the Cook for the purely organic salad with most of the ingrediants locally grown. The heat never goes away, no matter how fast I go. The bike still sounds and feels funny. I call up the shop that works on my bike. Daryl is super accomidating and says to come in any time. My meal is delish. It is all young girls that work there, except for Hawk. Most of them are new. Low pay = high turnover. I guess this keeps the cost of my meal down and keeps the young girls circulating like a pump in a fountain...

Back on the estate, everything is smooth, no one is complaining about the heat. [not that I heard at least]. I help out the cook a bit, a very bright attractive woman from San Francisco. I see Devin chopping vegetables, Tony's making gee another bald dude is washing dishes - Tom Sawyer's got nothing on this minx.

Down in the cool, cool basement, I see devin. I can't hold it in, I point to the kitchen above us and say: "She is smokin!"

He smiles like a shark circling tuna and says "Take a number."

We laugh, I say "This aint tennis. I got my number, it's 1."

He just laughs. I get called away to put on a shower curtain and some window curtains. I see Devin grabbing some vino out of the wine cellar. He sure does not waste any time. The retreat ends noon this Sunday so you cannot save the big guns for later. The time is now.

Bill gives me a call and asks me to watch Will while he and E go to a dinner party. So there I am back playing Star Wars Battlefront with Will in the guesthouse. We play on the same team, working in unison to defeat the enemy.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

So Cal return

The plane landed with a slight jolt - enough to jolt out some gratitude for a safe journey across the Pacific Ocean. The walk to baggage claim took 15 minutes and the wait for my ruksak took another 45 minutes. Sunny only had to lap the airport arrivals road once before picking me up outside in the surprisingly warm LA air. The black Miata's top was down. She'd brought along a black pullover jacket for me to keep warm for the ride home along PCH. I could smell the ocean in the breeze as we sped along the mostly deserted road. So nice to have no traffic. The air cooled down but felt refreshing after 3 and a half weeks of the tropics.

We arrived at her place just before 2 AM. I connected to the inernet via the wireless connection across the street, pasted some blocks of words from MS Word and published it on BS. The wireless thing has really caught on. You can find it anywhere. I think this is a very good sign. The puppies were all happy to see me and licked my face, arms and feet to show their affection. I slept soundly on the couch for the most part - woken twice by one or two of the rambuncious canines. I did not pop my head from under the covers until 11 AM.

Daniel treated my bike with amazing hospitality. He cleaned it and lubed the chain. When I left, I noticed right away that it sounded dfferent. It does not seem to be getting enough power in the lower RPMs. After riding it around all day, the "problem" still did not clear up. When I start to move first gear feels like second gear [Any gearheads out there?]. I will have to give my mechanic a call and have him look at it. Regardless, it was a blast to once again have the Fireblade as my chariot.

The various preparations for this weekend's vacation rental were pretty minimal but I still did not surf. I guess I just needed some down time. There were other errands to be run and impromtu meetings to attend. This day ended with Tony, Nick and myself having a drink in Movinos. One pint of Gueness was all I needed. The topic of conversation was women. Nick has the scientifinc approach. He says you have to move around like a molecule or an electron and run into as many protons and such as possible. I guess this makes sense. It's all about exposure, "The law of concentration",proximity, duration, hints and allegations, entropy, disentropy...

Well, it's good to be back in Ojai. Getting some work done, earning some money. This weekend will be mellow and hopefully allow me to get some surf time. I am already house sitting one place and it sounds like I might be watching another as well (puppies). Each place has something to offer so I'll be having a nice time commuting the 5 to 10 minutes from residence to residence to work to residence etc.

Many of my friends are heading out to Burning Man starting tomorrow. Part of me definitely is like: 'Why are you not going?' This part is pretty mellow, not to harsh, a little disappointed. There is always next year...

Departing Hawaii

The plane has just begun to move as I begin my last Hawaiian post of this vacation. The safety instructions are being delivered over the video system. Oops, we’re moving time to put the Powerbook to sleep.

Now, we are in the air, flying above the clouds, above the ocean that looks like the sky. It is almost like we are upside down. This morning, I did not wake up as soon as planned. I rolled off the mat/bed after 8:30 AM. I made the decision to not surf and take my time getting everything ready.

I am sending out a huge thank you to Liz, Roberto, Caio and Jade. It was awesome spending time with all of you and I will treasure this experience. Your hospitality and generosity are deeply appreciated.

Brian, Arlette, Vivi and Vini: It was so nice to be able to share some time with all of you. Thanks for giving me so much aloha.

The drive to the airport was uneventful. Jade sat quietly in the back with big brown pensive eyes. She seemed subdued, I guess she knew I was leaving the island.

I arrived about 2 and a half hours early. This was nice because HNL is such a cool airport. One of the activities I do at airports that I have never seen anyone else do is yoga and tai-chi. For me, this is a matter of common sense to practice these exercises at this time. After passing thru the various checkpoints, I walked down the steps to the outdoor waiting area that is kind of like a park. I do feel a little self-conscious practicing in front of strangers so it was nice that there were very few folks in this area. While doing yoga, I noticed an older couple watching me and then doing some yoga themselves. Who knows? Maybe a new trend will begin and it will be more common for people to utilize the down time. I’ve always thought that it’d be nice for airports to have some kind of a work out room. People could lift weights while they wait.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Two surf sessions and two rainbows

When I awake this morning the first thing I hear is Liz asking Roberto about the surf. He responds that there are some waves out there. I could tell that he'd just had a surf sesh. One thing I know is that If Roberto says that there are waves then that means there are some 2 footers (head highs) especially if he went out with one of his boards. This is the best way to wake up. I bound down the stairs. Liz already has a rash guard on. "There's waves, I'm going out... do you want to surf?"

"Yeah, I'm grabbing my rash guard right now... where's the sun tan lotion?"

I grab Ro's 9'6, walk the 4 houses down to the end of the steet, across the lawn, on the sand, in the water, walk along the edge of the reef. Once it gets deep enough, I put the board down, keep walking and then jump on the board - stomach first. Paddle, paddle. paddle... follow the rip out and then I am out there with these big ole watery bulls coming thru. Liz is already out there with a neighbor - Jennifer.

The sesh is fun, lasts over 2 hours, I enjoy watching Liz catch waves. She's comfortable out in the ocean, lots of stamina, relentless. I ride a few my self, some big ones, fall off a few, miss a few. She heads back in after an hour, I stay out for more and catch several head highs. Several other surfers arrive, there's enough waves for everyone. These bulls are not predictable, some close out, some don't break, most are mushy - big but mushy. They come in jack up and dont't break... but then there are the waves that peak and peel left and right and go for several hundred yards.

After over 2 hours, I paddle in. Time for yoga and tai chi and then some food. In the middle of these exercises, while listening to hard modern rock, i get inspired to write a song and then post it [previous post]. After my first meal of the day, the time for Caio's soccer practice arrives.

My last practice is highlighted with rainbows and a gentle sunshower. Coach Ken ends up having me choose and explain a drill. I pick the triangle plus 2 drill. Once you understand this drill, then you have the core of soccer. You see, soccer is all about triangles. That is the geometric structure that you get when you connect the dots and pass the ball to your teammates.
The biggest challenge in teaching soccer to preteens is getting the concept of passing the ball, working like a team. Many skills have to already be in place in order for this to work but I think that it is invaluable to get the teamwork concept across in the beginning. The drill goes fine and then it is time for a scrimmage. This is when the rainbow appeared. Coach Ken stopped the game and said "Everybody look at the rainbow!"

We arrive back after six - plenty of time for more surfing. Ro takes out a shortboard. I grab the trusty 9'6, paddle out and am soon sitting on the board, loving my last sunset surf, undaunted by the amount of surfers out. The watery bulls start coming thru. I paddle around them, sizing them up, watching for patterns. Almost every one is out on a shortboard so I am able to pick and choose the wave I want. I catch a few and then sit back and admire a big rainbow that starts at the point and ends on a yellow house. Most of the waves I catch close out quicly but I do manage to catch a big one that gives me a great ride - smooth drop and the some speed. My last wave was the best. The sky darkens, I paddle in and walk up the beach. The end of the vacation looms. One more surf sesh tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The new Ohio

Making waves rockin boats
Shake down raves Utah goats
Time to paddle outside the waves
Watch the scapegoats get reef shaves
Razor sharp like cheese graters
Mp5’s, assault rifles both equate life haters
Splitting hairs splitting heads
Too much talk not enough dead?

I’m a wave machine my blood is green
And the waves I make are very clean
If you fall you will bleed
It will burn
You will see

We are food we are eaten
Go to a party you might get beaten
Yeah, do not forget Ohio
Do you remember Ohio?
Have you heard of Ohio?
It’s a food chain gang up
Cultural one up
Warning shot over the bow
Put up or shut up

‘Cause, Utah is the new Ohio
Utah is the new Ohio
Utah is the new Ohio
Neal Young knows go read his bio

Viet Nam was the new Korea
The war on terror is a syntax error
Iraq is now the new Nam
What will be the new Islam?

Need a new Gaza need a new plaza
Need a new volcano to make some lava

No matter how many times you clean your gun
You can’t erase the damage done
Always pointing the gun at the new some one

You make believers
With old lies
Prey on pray-ers
Who don’t know you’re blind

Some one can see that you don’t see
Some one sees a hole where your soul could be

Monday, August 22, 2005

VC Reporter interview

When I began blogging in January of this year, there were around 6 million blogs. According to Technorati, they are tracking 15.7 milion blogs at this point in time. A friend, who makes his living designing websites, told me that 28% of all internet traffic is blog traffic. The amount of people getting their news from the internet is growing every day. The "traditional" medias, newspaper and TV, are on the decline as sources of news. There is an obvious trend taking place and we are all a part of it. Journalists have diefinitely taken note of the personal web log revolution. Many feel threatened, like an actor wary of reality TV. This fear is understandable and healthy. Just like a surfer sitting out in the ocean on his board, watching a huge set of waves rolling in like a herd of buffalo, blocking out the horizon. Change is coming. {blink} Change is here.

The other day, I received an email from a reporter. Molly is writing a story for the Ventura County Reporter on local (Ventura County) blogs. She got wind of Bardo Surfer from Tyler of She wants to inteview me and publish a Bardo Surfer excerpt.

My experience with the press has been pretty limited. The one interview that has been done on me, left me quite annoyed. No need to revisit that one. Nonetheless, I gave Molly a call this past Saturday morning. I asked Molly what the slant was going to be. She assured me that it was not investigative - just a fun expose while "everyone's on vacation". She wants to use an excerpt as well. I agreed as long as I can approve which post is utilized.

The interview lasted 27 minutes. Molly asked the basic questions and came off, over the phone, as a sweet person. One question that has stuck in my mind is: "What's the difference between a blog and a website?" This, at the time was not such an easy answer for me. I said something like: the blog is a subgenre of the website. The blog is a type of website that lends itself to interconnectivity and comes closer to the neural network that we have in our brain system. The blog is free and is less concerned with making money. The focus is on exchanging information. This can change, of course.

It sounds like the Ventura County Reporter article on local bloggers will be in the Sept 2nd issue.The Reporter distributes a minimum press run of 35,000 copies at over 700 locations throughout Ventura County including Ventura, Oxnard, Ojai, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Impromtu boat ride

It's early afternoon and I am surifng the web when Caio asks me: "Can you watch me and Braden at the pool?"


I bring my Powerbook with me. The pool area is a hotspot. I can even pick up a signal on the beach. When we arrive, there's a few residents playing in the pool: Ben, his mom - Heddie and dad - Dave. Plus, their puppy, Nani is swimming too. I watch this puppy jump in the pool and ride the nerf surfboard across the pool. Funny stuff. This dog is really having fun and keeps trying to ride it with the help of Ben.

Soon, they all take off and it is just Braden and Caio diving to the bottom and holding their breath. My attention goes from trying to read the latest post on Twisp and then back to the boys in the pool. I then hear what sounds like Liz: "Caio!... Caio!...CAIO!"

"Caio, I think your mom is calling for you." As I say this, Liz appears.

"Caio, do you and Braden want to go for a ride in a boat?" Liz asks eagerly. "Your father's just offshore here, you can go for a ride." She turns to me "You can go too, Michael."

We all run to the beach. Just to the right I see a small boat, 15 feet offshore, rocking with the tiny waves. I turn and run back to the house to ditch the laptop, cell phone and grab a rashguard. Back on the beach, run over to the boat, walk thru the water and climb up the rung and into the small fishing boat with an outboard 150 HP Mercury motor. Caio and Braden hop in. Roberto, Billy and an unnamed random helper push the the seacraft around and then Roberto and Billy hop in. Soon enough we are riding along, bumping against the waves. Billy opens the throttle and the prow rises up in the air. Caio's a little nervous and clings to his father, Roberto.

I climb up to the prow and let my feet dangle over the sides. There's a thin railing which I lean against as we slice thru the green blue water leaving two waves behind us. Roberto says: "Keep an eye out for turtles, people and buoys." Braden joins me on the prow and Caio stays near his dad.

I realize too late that Bri and I had planned a hike at 3:00 PM. Look at my watch, it is 2:05 PM. Sorry Bri.

Billy stops his boat far out from Shark's Cove and we all jump in the water and swim around. Initially, Caio is nervous about going in the water. It is about 40 feet deep here and we can see the bottom because the water is so clear. The wind and the current push the drifting boat along at 3 to 4 knots. Billy hangs on to a blue forty foot long rope attached to the ladder and scans the seafloor thru his mask, as he floats 25 feet below. I give Bri a call at 2:30 and let him know that I am going to miss the hike. After 20 minutes of swimming, it is time to go. We continue onward, passing by Pipeline, Waeimea, Chums, Turtle Beach... the people look like grains of sand from this distance. There is no traffic, just the occassional vessel. As we approach the marina, we start seeing jetskis bouncing over the ocean waves. They do not go very far and the pilots all seem new to the the controls.

We pull up to a dock near the ramp, secure the boat to the side and wait for the trailer. Billy backs the trailer into the water with his white SUV and we easily push the boat onto it. Billy winds the boat into a secure position on the trailer, we all hop in the vehicle and then we cruise to Billy's ocean front house.

We all end up getting Tom Sawyered into cleaning the boat (scrubbing inside and out with soapy water and then hosing it off). Caio moans and says he is never riding in a boat again but him and Braden do all the inside scrubbing. Next, Roberto cleans and filets all the fish they caught - 4 smaller orange scaled fish were Billy's victims. Roberto caught a ten pound grouper with blue polkadots. This will soon be our dinner tonight. [In fact, I can smell it cooking as I input.] Billy's place is right next to a park, I can hear music and several kids play in the edge of the water. As Roberto practices his fishy surgery, a couple of his neighbors come by. We drink Beck's beer and talk about the 7 foot Hammerhead shark that some fisherman had in his boat that morning.

We say our good byes, thank Billy for the watery lift and head back up the coast to the little community at Backyards.

Cool new magazine

magazine-image, originally uploaded by surfer x.

Cool new magazine to hit stores in September.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Potluck, moonwalk, snorkleswim

Last night, the street had a potluck. I ended up cooking a bunch of some old world pilaf. I had never cooked this collection of grains before. Consulted the internet and was unable to track down any instructions. So, I ended up tapping into common sense. This particular batch of old world pilaf consisted of brown rice, split peas, black eyed peas, orange lentilish looking things and some other unidentified grains. According to my sister, Liz, brown rice takes 50 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to settle. This became my benchmark. The grabbag of grains ended up only taking 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the potluck ends up delaying for an hour or so.

The potluck ends up taking place in the back yard of one of Liz's neighbors. I think I surprised some of the neighbors when they saw what I brought. I had added salt, pepper and onion powder and the dish actually tasted pretty good. Not bad for the first time and not having any instructions. The crowning moment came when one woman's baby kept asking for more. The mother was very pleased and asked me questions about what it was and how to make it. She explained that her daughter was very picky about what she'd eat.

After dinner I was invited to go to a full moon walk. A bunch of us piled in to Andrea's mini van and cruised into Waimea Falls Park. The night sky is grey with indirect moonlight, it is behind some cloud cover. We wait in line to pay money for this unguided walk. There are eight of us, we walk along the asphalt trail and after 10 minutes or so we reach the falls. There must be 80 people or so that have arrived here. We sit in a kind of bleachers type set up that face the waterfall. Time goes by and the moon is not showing. We are surrounded by steep hills that are delaying the moon's appearance. The clouds are also shielding moonlight but once and a while we can see the moonshadow above the waterfall and this gives us some kind of method to estimate how long it will take. Anyway, it starts raining, 2 little girls with us start crying, moon is hiding... thus, we get up and go. Along the way back, we see the full moon. I wonder if they can see it back at the falls. It does not really matter to me. I kind of just want to get back away from all these flashlights. Along the way and while we were sitting, tourists were shining their flashlights all over the place, on the waterfall, on trees and in my eyes. All I can think is: what's the deal with all the flashlight activity. I call this flashlight pollution.

I ended up helping Roberto around the yard today. He trimmed all his hedges and trees. I raked up the green debris (Liz joined in and helped too), dumped it all in the back of his black Pick up and then we drove to the dump. Along the way, we encountered the traffic which has been increasing as much as Google's stock these last few years. As we approached the now famous turtle beach, Roberto told me how much of the traffic is caused by the word of mouth promotion of this beach by the various hotels. Tourists drive from the south shore in rented cars and buses just to see the turtles. There does not seem to be enough parking or any crosswalks. Folks are continually vying to cross the street for a 70 yard stretch. Traffic can be backed up for miles.

On the way back, we stopped at Shark's Cove and snorkled for an hour or so. This is my first snorleing on Oahu. I've enjoyed this past time on Kauai but never here. I enjoyed it more here, the topography of the ocean floor was much more interesting. The classic tourist moment occurred when I spotted a sea turtle being chased by a couple. They were trying to photograph the shelled creature with their new fangled water proof camera. In their enthusiasm, they became oblivious to the turtle's soverignty. Soon enough, the turtle left them in his underwater wake. The woman glared at her husband and he put his hands up in response.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Surprise oceanic gift of waves

Beep...beep...beep...beep says my Freestyle watch until I hit a button and it stops. I just lay there as the last vestages of my dream memories evaporate from the light of my consciousness. Several minutes go by, brush teeth, down steps and there's Roberto typing into the Ibook. He looks up "Good morning Michael."

"Good morning Roberto."

I remember that I have to put the center fin on Ro's 9'6 white and blue stick. The waves have been flat but Bri and I agreed to meet in the water at Turtle Bay at 7 AM. At this point it looks like I'll be a tad late. No need to wax the board, that'll save some time.

Driving in the green explorer with the board sticking out of the back window. The only radio station is playing some technoish reggae as the early moring traffic lines up like train cars. Pull into Turtle bay and park, no sign of Bri, he must already be in the water.

I walk the more that a quater mile to the ocean, switching the board from arm to arm (my arms are too short or the board is too wide - take your pick) and then settling on carrying it on my head. I arrive at the edge of the blue water and it feels warm on my feet. Scan the bay, no sign of Bri, not at the point, not in the middle and not on the left side of the bay. I watch the spot in the middle where the waves are breaking. I paddle out easily to this spot that is less than a hundred yards away. I wonder where Bri is, he must have bailed thinking there was know waves.

I get to the ever changing wave riding launch area, see my ride appear, start to jack up and then spot Bri just inside, smile on his face "Yo Mike!" He sees that I am gunning for this little pop up bump of a wave and says: "Go!"

Paddle couple times and then pop up on to my feet like Bruce Lee and I have already caught a cool little ride on a day that I thought there'd be no waves. Bri catches one, I catch another, Bri catches one... this goes on for 15-20 minutes before a lull spurs Bri to ask "Do you feel like paddling over to the point?'


"I need to get some paddling in today."

We paddle across the bay, both of us on longboards, side by side only a few feet apart. I can see the reef only 2 feet below us in places, it is low tide. As we arrive at the point, I see that there are rideable waves coming thru. The everchanging launch spot is about 15 feet from the exposed reef on the side. Quickly, I manage to catch one of the little bumps as it jacks up into something I can ride; takes me about 60-70 yards in. When I come off this wave, my foot catches the reef below. Low tide, remember? I quiz myself. Paddle back to launch area. Bri sits on his board waiting for his and soon he's on it. We keep up this pattern for 30 minutes or so. Tag team surfing these gentle waves. At one point, I try to lay down on the board after just finishing a ride, I slip and slam my chin on the board. I can feel it in my forehead, ouch! A couple Turtle Bay guests watch us, then they leave, some more arrive, watch, leave. A lull arrives and Bri presents this surf sesh's 3rd phase: "Do you want to paddle out to Peal Box?"

"Sure, lets go."

"How you feeling?"

"Fine, three days no surfing has giving my muscles a nice rest."

Now we are paddling across the bay. For most of it, we paddle side by side, towards the end, I fade back, resting my neck and traps. Eventually we make it to the thrid chapter of this Friday's surf session. Warning: shallow water in places, warning: reef is only 2 feet down in places. I watch Bri easily catch one of these waves as it jacks up and sends him a 100 yards away - faster then Greene, Powell or Gatling. The first one I catch, fizzles, I slip off and BANG! I land on the reef. Lower left back has lost some skin. Before I can rail, yell, bitch, I think: just be happy your out here catching waves - no one but you and your bro. Meanwhile the set comes in and gently pounds me with white foamy jabs. I loop around, catch one. Paddle back out. I watch Bri watch for waves, he signals me over. We paddle outside and wait for the ocassional 2-3 footer that is rolling in randomly. Finally, I catch one of these rogue waves and it takes me 150 Yards in about 6 seconds. Bri joins me 10 minutes later and we paddle in together savoring the surprise oceanic gift of waves on this muggy summer day on the North Shore. Towards the shore, we start to see rocks, weave around them and we land on sand. The time is 10:30 AM, three hour surf session complete.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


In the past I have always felt gratitude towards Blogger for providing this service to me and the millions of other people who utilize Blogger. But, when I looked at my website tonight, I spotted this new link on the top of my site. No one notified me that this change was going to occur. The new button, if you hadn’t noticed is: “Flag?”. The purpose behind this change is in case some one happens upon my site and finds any of the content “objectionable”. Well, I find this new link objectionable and am considering moving to Typepad and setting up shop there. There are plenty of free blog services out there so I don’t have to feel like I am stuck here. I abhore censorship and have trust in the public's ability to avoid sites they don't like.

The waves have left the North Shore for now. Hopefully, they shall return before I return to Caly. Even better, they will be breaking on Caly’s coast when I get back. My exercises went by quickly as I listened to Itunes radio (ambient). I then had a smoothie, waited 30 minutes and then went for a 3 and a half mile jog during the hottest part of the day. Not many clouds out so I felt the heat of the sun magnified by the humidity. Even now the humidity is strong and leaves sweat on my forehead as I recap this day.

I drove Caio to his swimming lessons and then checked out Xcel for a 4/3 wetsuit. They only had one that was not the super deal that I am looking for.

Roberto picked Caio up from swimming and then took him to soccer practice. I drove my self to the practice and continued to pitch in. Another good practice took place. The boys are learning to spread out and pass the ball. There were four men helping to coach and this seems to have a strong impact on keeping the kids focused, an arduous task for their age group in this day and age.

When we got back to the house, Jade came running out to greet us. She was quite happy to see her Papi. Lapoa came over and implored me to scratch her head and the place in front of her tail. Jade kept trying to stop me. She said “Poa my dog, my dog.” And then she’s tell me to stop. This 2 year old definitely thinks that she is the boss. Jade was wearing a white shirt with beautiful needle pointed roses on it.

I point to one of the roses on her shirt and say: “I lost my rose, I think that’s it on your shirt, can I have it back?”


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another tennis match with Bri

The cell phone rings, it's Bri, he asks: "Do you want to play tennis?"


"When can you play?"

"Anytime, now."

"How's five o'clock?"

"I'll be there before five."

The green Explorer fires up and takes me to Turtle Bay. I am about 15 minutes early. As I park, I see Bri's wife, Arlette. She sees me and says: "Michael, is that you?"

"Hi Arlette."

She tells me that she just left the apartment with Brian in there but that I look so much like him that it made her question that. That's one of the interesting things about being here on the North Shore. It seems like every other day some one is saying: "Hi Bri." Even Brian's wife had to look twice.

On the tennis court we don't look so similar. We started out battling. It was 2-2 in the first set and then Bri just clamped down. He won the rest of the games. I actually played better this time around and had many chances to win games but was unable to. I had many break points but was just could not convert. Final score: 6-2, 6-0.

After the match we sat on the side of the court and talked, as the almost full moon sprayed pale light thru the coconut trees.

I wonder if this story will make the main stream press outlets?

The public relations nightmare that will not go away. hit the link below to read this hot coal in a dry field.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Where not to store gum

Last night, I slept in a tent in the front yard. The cool midnight breeze sang an ancient lullabye. The sound water running thru a hose woke me at dawn. Drift back to sleep. The sound of a car's engine wakes me next. Glance at my watch, it is 6:47 AM. Unzip the tent and exit. Liz, Roberto, Caio and Jade are all awake. We exchange good mornings.

Roberto: "Want to go swimming?"


"2 minutes."

"No Problem."

Roberto and I exit thru the open gate which guards the entrance to this micro hood. He's on a black moutain bike - North Shore beater style and I am on a black cruiser type with baskets on the rear wheel - ultra classic beater. We hustle down the now infamous North Shore bike trail. Due to the early hour, the trail was mostly empty, just the occasional jogger. Several folks recognize Ro, offering greetings and smiles.

We reach Waimea Bay in around 8 minutes, park the bikes and walk to the edge. I put on scuba socks, flippers and a mask. Walk like a duck into the water and begin to swim. Roberto is on my left and we begin side by side. Soon enough he's swimming ahead of me and gradually pulls farther away. Despite my flippers, I get tired pretty quick. The water's over my head, I am just past the halfway point to the other side of the bay. Enough. I angle in and swim to shore. This takes longer than I expect and when I finally touch my feet to the sand I am relieved. I sit on sand, half submerged in water, soaking in the aesthetics. The water is pristine, the sky azure blue and white chunky clouds casually float over head. On my right, there's a fisherman sitting in a lawn chair with fishing poles sticking out of the sand with lines streaming horizontally into the clear blue ocean. There are 3 other swimmers making there respective ways across the bay. I walk along the shoreline carrying the flippers, still wearing my black rash guard, black board shorts and florescent orange scuba socks.

Roberto easily makes it to the other side. Rests for a minute and then swims all the way back. No problem. No flippers. This is a summer activity because the waves get to big as winter approaches.

Liz takes Caio and Jade to the pool and I go thru my yoga while Itunes radio cranks some chill ambient overdub. Afterwards, my minimal sleep sends me into nap mode. I awaken with enough time to fully wake up before taking Caio to his swimming lesson. I run an errand, come back with enough time to move thru my tai chi form in the waiting area. I sit down and then Caio comes down the steps, I already have his shirt and towel.

Caio: "Where's my shirt?"

"I have it."

"Where's my gum?"


Caio grabs his shirt and I see that he has stored his blue Bubblelicious gum on his shirt. Next on the Caio agenda is soccer. We stop back at the house first so he can get a fresh shirt. Make it back to practice only 3 minutes late. I get to help coach a bit and the time goes quickly. The first half is drills th second half is scrimmaging. The team looks good already, 5 quality players and a great coach.

Monday, August 15, 2005

North Shore bike trail and sunset surf sesh

Unlike many of the places I have been to in my travels over the last decade and a half, the North Shore has a cool bike trail (runs from the Backyards point break to just past Shark's Cove). Ojai, my home, has one as well. The lack of safe bike trails around the USA is one of the many shortsighted shortfalls of civic planning that suggest incompetence at the least and corruption at the worst. The importance of alternative transportation like bicycles or even simply running are completely missed by most civic planning. These acitivities reduce pollution and increase health. It make economic sense to me.

Meanwhile the North Shore trail needs a trim as many of the plants and trees that line it are making a narrow trail narrower. For me, biking and jogging on this trail has become quite exciting because of the seeming lack of awareness of many who utilize this trail. For instance, today, while I was biking back from a jaunt to Shark's Cove, I saw 3 young women biking towards me. One of them was in my lane. It seemed as if this girl had pleny of time to get out of the way. After all the shenannigans I have seen on this trail over the years, I anticipated her incompetence and easily avoided a head on collision. She smiled and said: "Sorry."

I smiled and said: "No worries."

Further down the trail, I see several people on it so I get on to the road that runs parallel. Soon, I come upon 3 tourists walking along taking up the whole road, a white lifeguard pick up truck is backing up towards them, I cut in just in front of the tourists and cruise alongside the truck, suddenly out of nowhere, there's another white pick up backing up - but this one is moving perpendicular to the road - closing it off. On a dime I swerve to the left, completely avoiding it, never slowing down, never looking back. Yesterday, while biking on the trail in front of Sunset Beach, a teen-aged girl stepped in front of me out from behind a car, she never looked, typically oblivious. Even though I have been using bikes with hand brakes for the last 3 decades, my left foot knew what to do and slammed down the foot break - I once again avoided a collision.

When I spoke with Liz she agreed that many people seem to be clueless and that you have to expect stupidity. She related a story of a woman who was sitting in her chair on the middle of the bike trail with her cooler and dog next to her. Liz actually even told that woman that she'd get hurt sitting there that it is a bike trail. When Liz looked back over her shoulder, the woman had moved.

After the quick obstacle course bike ride I ended up hopping in the ocean with Roberto's 9'6. Liz joined me after I'd already caught 2 waves. Ben and Luke were out there already. They must have had a 3 hour surf sesh today. After those first two waves, I had some trouble catching another one. Then I caught one that got bigger and faster after I had stood up on it. The wall sprung up to shoulder height and it made the sound: "PHHHHHH". It is a sound that I love.

The sky turned tangerine, clouds became purple and I stared at the crescent Moon and the white dot that is Venus. Waiting for the right wave which did not seem to come. I caught a mushy push in that I still stood up on, found the sandy trench that is the way out if you want to avoid the reef and soon stepped on sand.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ultra classic surf sesh with the hood

Bob Marley's "No Woman No Crying" plays on Liz's Imac. The love birds ocassionally chirp and the clouds are turning purple. Roberto is on the grill cooking corn, burgers and an orange fish he caught to day. There are several kids on the porch. It amazes me how many kids spend time here. Caio has many friends and Jade has kids that play with her. All they need are some double arches in the yard because they have more children playing here than Mc Donald's. Last night, Caio spent the night in a tent with his friend, Chase. I could hear them excitedly talking while I sat in the TV room writng last night's song. Currenly, Caio, Jade and three other kids are playing a game as Roberto mans the grill.

Liz and I just got out of the ocean 30 minutes ago.We had an ultra classic surf session that I feel honored and privileged to have been part of. The only ones in the water were Ben, Luke, Ryan, Pen and her friend. Ben has been regularly sufing for 2 years and just turned 14. He catches waves effortlessly, has great wave vision and is easily spotted with his blonde blonde hair. Ryan is only seven so he was our youngest surfer today. Luke's about to turn 12, started surfing when he was seven. during lulls, Luke paddles and stands up on his board balancing until he falls.

After several days with too many surfers out there, today was an oasis in the desert. It was a neighborhood surf sesh straight from the community magic department. Every one totally layed back, chill, happy and catching waves. Ironically, when I first paddled out, I let the first couple waves frustrate me. Over the water I say to Liz: "These waves don't make sense!" I can't remember what she said but it placated me.

As it turns out I only missed the first couple of waves before it all clicked into place like tumblers in a lock on a vault. What opens this vault? It aint numbers... It's attitude, vision, placement and heart. What's in the vault? sunsets, comraderie, clear blue water and more than I can ever describe. Another treasure I found today in the water was being able to make adjustments on the board while standing. Typically, if the board started nosing or a rail caught, then I'd be in the water. Not so today. I had time to think, go with the flow and compensate.

Earlier today, I ran down the bike trail to Pipeline with clouds eracing my shadow. After 10 minutes I start to notice the humidity, it is thick almost like I am running underwater. On the way back the sun comes out and I chase my stubby shadow down the road.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Trouble shooting

I think I am trouble shooting an image nation
but it is just another hallucination
I think I see things in the world that no one ever sees
but once again that bubble bursts - just another daydream
Talk about insanity like its different than reality
Walk around in led boots and sing about the gravity

I think I am trouble shooting my imagination
diving in, to the depths of free association
super power booking anything that rings the bell
it sometimes feels like heaven and it sometimes feels like-

I think I am trouble shooting the cosmology of time
the origin of matter the holographic mind
there's a peice of peace in every war
just before he pulls the trigger
there's a piece of war in every saint
just before the halo gets bigger

I think I am trouble shooting my childhood
when actually my memories are distorted
by what I am but do not know - the shadows in my head - you see
below the surface of the water is where the iceberg lives
all I know that I think there is: is only just the tip

I think I am trouble shooting some kind of dilema
when actually the reason is some hidden agenda
like how do I get with this super fine honey
pimp my ride pimp my house turn funny into money

I think I am trouble shooting my current state of mind
when actually its distractions that I wine and dine
continually escaping this feeling of frustration
that followed me across the sea
to the place that I vacation

Friday, August 12, 2005

2 surf school sessions with drama in the middle

I warm my body up with 5 Tibetans + the hidden one. I hear from Liz that it was glassy at 9 AM and not many people out. The waves just keep on breaking. Backyards. I paddle on out at 11 AM. There's about 7 of us out there. The sets roll in pretty regularly every 5-10 minutes. The first chapter of this surf sesh is titled: struggle. Today's waves here are hard for me to read. I wonder if they came from Japan or something. I watch a beautiful Hawaiian woman effortlessly catch wave after wave. Struggle, struggle, struggle. I try for a wave and the nose goes under water and I am dumped into the sea. Caught inside. Wave after wave washes over me. Paddle, paddle, paddle. Finally back out. Watch and observe. What am I doing wrong? This goes on for another 30 or 40 minutes. Getting schooled by the ocean. And then: I catch a wave. Not too big but it gives me a nice ride. The ice is broken and I am now able to ride these waves. The highlight occurs with a one of the bigger waves of the day. I catch it, cut and slip along the wall. Ahh. That is why I surf. Brief moments that last forever.

Paddle in. When I get near the shore. Liz is there with some friends. Liz is waving at me and screeching. "Come in over there! flip the board over!" She waves her hands crazily not even knowing that she's over reacting.

The reef is sharp, slippery and there are pits and holes. "Let me concentrate." I pick up the board and carefully make my way over the terrain. The wind blows the board and I tighten my grip.

When I reach the sand, Liz continues to berate me in front of her friends. "Don't you no where to come in?! it lines up with there!" She points to something (????)

I try and express that she made me uncomfortable with her histrionics: "Liz, try walking in my feet, it aint easy to negotiate coming in while someone is-" She cuts me off. Unable to listen.

I say "Thanks for embarrassing me." and walk away.

[Almost live]
Just a few moments ago, with Roberto present, we tried to rehash the moment. Highlights: "I was not screeching at you!" and "You're the girl and I am the boy. You're a girl!" and "You're in my house!"

When I walk away from this barrage she says "Run away!"

All I can do is scratch my head at this behavior. Why try and provoke me like that? All I can think is one word: displacement.

[That just happened so I wanted to put it down while fresh in my mind like hot cookies out of the oven. Hmmm hmm. Eat them up, don't cost nothing.]

I had another 2 hour session which started at 6 PM. This one can be summed up with one word: struggle. Sound familiar? lucky for my fragile ego I still managed to catch about 3 or 4 waves. The waves keep coming. I mostly learn the hard way. The horizon is above the sun. Orange clouds become grey. I catch some white water to come in. It reforms into a wave and I stand up.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Summer swell

Lapoa looks at me with her big brown eyes, her tail wags hopefully as she beams her wish to me: "Please take me to the beach, please take me to the beach." I quickly aquiesque and together we walk the 50 yards to the gate. Along the way, Nani the puppy joins us. This puppy never ever misses a chance to join Lapoa and I. She must have hidden cameras or something. Nani always overflows with joy and loves to lick Lapoa's face. Lapoa is too old for this puppy nonsense and always turns away and tries to discourage the puppy's affections.

On this particular morning, the surf is up. As up as it ever gets in the summer at least. A North Shore local sits in the sand and watches the waves as they slap the reef. I say: "Looks like Sunset is breaking."

"Yeah, I was out there from 5 to 8. There were 3 of us."

He turns and starts talking to some other dude. I let the 2 dogs frolic around in the sand. Lapoa runs into the the water. Nani digs a hole. Lapoa trots a bit too far down the beach, I whistle. Soon, she obeys and runs towards me. We three leave the beach.

I see Liz in her kitchen, mention the waves, she's into it. "I have to hurry, gotta get Jade at noon." Liz decides to take the blue nine footer. Missing a center fin but ohh well. I grab the red seven footer. Liz gets in the ocean and paddles out over the shallow sharp reef while I give the red board a fresh coat of wax. The waves are as big as I have seen him since arriving this time. There is one other person out. A twenty something surf girl on a short board. She catches a few waves and makes some nice cuts before paddling in. I watch Liz catch a big wave and then she fishtails and sinks into the white foam. I catch a few on the seven footer. It feels really squirley. 3 days in a row on a 12 footer will do that. The waves are hard to read. Closing out in the middle where they're big and docile on the sides.

Time for Liz to go get little Jadey. We switch boards. It's then that I notice that my leash came off. Good thing I did not let the board go. I surf the nine foot blue. Catch some white foam. A wave comes in, somehow I am in the right spot, paddle a bit, stand up, cut to the left, backside. The wave sounds like a slow motion kiss and I am in the middle of it. A few more waves and I paddle in.

Caio climbs in my side of the Exporer, sits in the back seat and puts on his seat belt. I drive him all the way to his swimming lesson in the above ground pool. Took us 18 minutes. I drop him off and head to a park that we passed on the way. Walk across the grass. Stare at the ocean. Look around. Observe all the trash. Beer bottles. Ciggarettes. A black towel is draped over a bush. I find a fairly flat area in the shade of a tree and begin to move in the slow motion dance/martial art that is tai chi. As I move, I see a turtle in the edge of the water. He's pretty big. Submerged. I noticed him because he sticks his head out to breathe every 15-20 seconds. As I continue, another turtle becomes visible when his black head soundlessy breaks the surface of the water for a 1 second sip of air. It occurs to me that the story of the tortoise and the hare can have a sequel. These two animals could have a race in the water. Hmmm. After 15-20 minutes I walk back to the Explorer and drive a minute up the road to get Caio.

Now, it's time for soccer practice. Time goes quickly. Ken is the coach. He seems very competent and capable of teaching the fundamentals to the boys. After they scrimage amongst themselves, I suspect that they will have a good season.

Back at Backyards, watching the waves. Many surfers are out. It is around 6 PM. I thought that I might surf but the crowd out there makes me think twice. Hunger leads me back into the kitchen. Make a salad, start cooking up some Lentils and then Roberto walks into the house. "Michael, do you want to kayak?"

No hesitation: "Yeahh, lets do it."

We get out in a hurry as the surfers all paddle in. The waves are head high as we plow thru them and over them. Soon, we are stroking the water in synch, catch a decent wave, Roberto, in the back, steers us, keeps us in the meet of the wave. We ride along the wall, shopping for barrels but there aren't any for us today. Paddle back out, thru some waves, over others, the front of the kayak angles almost straight up in the air and the slap, we hit the water. The clouds turn orange around the sun staring over the edge of the ocean. The clouds turn grey as an extended lull gives Roberto and I a chance to talk about this day. The "A" wave comes, we paddle paddle paddle. This one is the best of this sesh and takes us almost all the way to the beach. Caio, Braden and Ryan are standing on the wet sand, they jump up and down and wave their hands, excited and stoked from watching us ride the waves.

Thank you ocean, mahala Poseidon, good night Apollo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blind spot hole

Is the earth nothing more than a sand castle in space
Will we run forever more not knowing what we chase
What I eat will soon eat me even now it takes a bite
Lesson learned feel the burn earn your second sight

Blink your eye and you may miss
The reason that you forsake bliss
It happens all the time you know
Lost inside your blind spot’s hole

You try and find the neural thread
That leads to serotonin
The path is mapped by blind madmen
Who don’t know what they’re showing

The earth is flat to some of us
Or round if you like spinning
Perspective is the dictator
This is why I can’t stop grinning

The answer disappears again
While you ask the question
The teacher lost their track again
Is it memory retention?

The tubes are lined with olive oil
To keep nutrition flowing
The truth was buried in your gut
To keep the flora growing

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Double surf day

I picked up Jade from her preschool. Nowadays, when you are the uncle and not on the pick up list, there needs to be a note and don't forget your ID - picture ID. What other kind of ID is there? I ask myself. Jade stares at me with big eyes and seems. subdued and nervous. She's very used to having her mom, my sister, in charge. She's only 2 years old and quite attached to Liz's attention. No one knows where her flip flops are. When we get to the parking lot, I carry her. She seems comfortable enough as we walk across to the mini van with the built in child's seat. Jade has alot of personality when she is in her comfort zone. I guess that holds true for most of us. 20 minutes or so, we arrive at the house. I take her out of the chair and soon we are in the house. I take her to her room, she hops in bed and I put on her lullabye music. While I sit on the couch, reading a book, surfing cyber info-waves, I can hear her singing along with the music for the next hour or so.

But... that was yesterday. Today, after yoga and tai chi, I grabbed the 12 foot nerf board and walked the 70 or so yards to the ocean. The break here is called Backyards. "Experts only" in the winter. This is the summer. The waves are small. Kind of like summer surf school for the likes of me. The tide is on the low side - the reef is exposed at the shore and shallow where the waves are breaking. Early on I learn that there is no room for error. When I fall off the board, I hit the reef. My foot is bleeding and stings slightly. Welcome to Backyards. Time passes. I fall off the board. No leash. Swim like crazy to catch the board before a wave takes it. Suddenly, I inadvertantly grab the reef. Oops. Now, the center of my left palm is bleeding to compliment the top of my bleeding right foot. I end up catching around 8 waves on a pretty flat day. Cool.

Liz asks me to take Caio to swimming lessons and then soccer practice. We hop in the green Explorer. Caio is initially quiet. He wanted his mom to take him. "Why can't you take me?" he asks his mother. So, while we are driving, I try to clear the air of silence that I perceive.

"Are you getting tired of me sleeping on your floor?"

"Yes, it's not you," he says quickly "I want my friend, Chase, to sleep over. When are you gonna leave?"

I laugh at his forthcomingness and say: "October."

"When does October come?"

I explain and he sits there taking it in. I then say when I am actually departing, August 24th.

Caio tells me that he likes people to sleep some where else. That's why he likes when his Bump and Nana visit because they "sleep some where else".

Our discussion clears the air and he relaxes and starts acting more naturally. Swimming goes quickly and takes place in an above ground pool. 45 minutes later, I take Caio to his soccer practice. Only 3 other teammates show up. It's the first practice and on short notice. I talk with the coach and end up being asked to help coach. So, if I am available, I'll share some soccer wisdom with the kids. The coach runs the kids through a couple drills and gives them some things to practice on their own. The next 35 minutes, the boys play 2 on 2 with me in one goal and a father in the other goal. The coach's 5 year old son joins in towards the end and demonstrates that he can play the game. He's by far the best 5 year old soccer player I have ever seen. Too bad he is too young for the team.

Back at the house, Liz fixes some soy dogs with cheese or avocado. No catsup.

As the sun begins to set, Liz mentions that the waves seem rideable. I grab the 12 foot nerf board for the second time today. The water feels nice and I easily paddle out to the place where the rides begin. I catch 3 waves or so as part of the sky turns orange and a big fluffy grey cloud hangs in the distance. I sit on the board listening to the waves and watching the twilight prepare the sky for stars.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Subversive dreams

The information war involves us all. It does not matter if you watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper or swim in the digital frontier - the cyber-verse. Like dead cells forming the bark on a tree, the hair on our heads, the outer layer of skin on our bodies, there is dead information lining all of these outlets. Like make-up on an actor, stories get cleaned up, embellished, altered in order to meet an agenda, garner influence, persuade. The vein which runs through all: the conveyer of the life giving blood, the oxygen, the nutrients, the money: the sponsor. This is where the roots become corrupted. The bottom line becomes keeping the sponsor happy. Information then becomes laced with the toxicity of deception. The overall theme that the advertising complex presents, either blatantly or subtley, is that you, the viewer, are inadequate. Consume product x and now you have your fix. The consumption provides a temporary feeling of elation and then wears off. Time to buy something else.

Voting, in the traditional manner, has become obsolete. There is another way to vote and that is with your wallet. Choosing ways to spend my money, which support sustainability, is my way of unsurping the current paradigm.

Banksy, maverick artist from the UK, votes with stencilled politcal cartoonish type art. His placement of this art is in public places, where billboards normally reign as the purveyors of messages. Many see him as a graffiti artist. I disagree with this depiction and find it misleading. It is obvious to me that Banksy's artwork bleeds into other genres of classification: activist, political cartoons, guerilla art, philanthropy, muralist.

Not every one is enthralled with his work. My brother-in-law, Roberto, feels that it is wrong for anyone to deface other's property because then the owner has to pay for it to be cleaned up. He thinks that one needs to go thru the proper channels in order to display art publicly. His point is well taken but I wonder if there are any channels one can go thru that allow the exhibition of controversial, thought-provoking art. It seems to me that Banksy's choice of media reflects the times we live in. The thick layers of bark threaten the health of the tree, the high number of dead layers of skin are suffocating the collective human. His work is like a volcanoe, forced above the ground by the enormous, deep power of creation. His imagination erupts, spraying the ash and lava of his memes and subversive dreams into various layers of the media atmosphere. Ironically, in the future, his work may be taken quite seriously and the few examples, that do not get painted over or washed off, may bring in major moola.

His stencilled graffiti is already being imitated in my home town of Ojai - Farmer and the Cook and on Ventura's boardwalk at Surfer's Point. Both are painted on the ground and depict the same words and images: "Free Art" and a picture of a wild cat's face. It seems obvious that these were done by the same person. The contrast between Banksy's work and the imitator's is quite interesting and illuminating. The imitator's attempts are basically graffiti that deface the two properties. Banky's works are original art forms that contain inspiring messages, thought-provoking imagery, enhance the surroundings and represent the voice of the supressed, opressed, disenchanted, unhypnotized and free.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Banksy: activist/guerilla artist, hits the bull's eye.

Banksy activist/guerilla artist, originally uploaded by surfer x.

"Lets build a sand castle so big we can live in it."

"OK, do you think we need an underground bunker too?"

Banksy strikes again

Hit the link below to check out some of my fave artist's latest master peaces. This guy is unbelievable. Transcends any one art form. His commentary is so dead on, unique and ballsy that I wonder how long he'll keep his anonymity. He's also featured in this month's Wired, on and off line. Bardo Surfer gives Banksy the Subverse the Mediaverse Award for the month of August. Congrats!

The above art peace is one of nine that were created on the Palestinian side of a barrier that is being erected by Israeli authorities. A fence made of concrete, barbed wire, razor wires and wood. The International Court of Justice says the wall is illegal. The 425 mile wall is under construction.

Banksy, who hails from the UK city of Bristol, never allows himself to be photographed and created the images last week.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Coconut pancake mountain

The alarm on my wrist watch beeped at 6:20 AM. I turned it off and went back to sleep. This set the tone for a day that seems to be fairly typical for me in Hawaii. I don't know if it is the humidity or what. All I do know is that it can be hard to get motivated. Sometime around 8:30 AM I managed to roll out of the small thin matress that sits on the floor of Caio's room. He is my 8 year old nephew. I remembered last night, trying to sleep out on the porch. I grabbed a big towel and drifted off to sleep as the wind blew thru the trees, improvised musical tunes with all the various chimes and gently brushed my skin. At some point past 1 AM, my ankles begin to itch enough to awaken me. I scratch and scratch and scratch before a mosquitoe starts to whisper in my ear with its trademark high whiney buzz, inadvertanly confessing and ruining its midnight snack. Thus I find a cause to rest my tired feeling on.

Every one here is up and about. Roberto informs me that the waves are smaller today. He invites me to join in on breakfast in Laie, a small town 15 minutes up the coast from here. Liz, Roberto, Caio, Jade and I fit comfortably in Roberto's black Ram pick up truck. On the way, Robeto drops off the various recycleables and recieves $8.45 for his trouble. You have to count and separate your cans and plastic. There were people in front of us so the process took about 10 minutes. The diner that we walk into has that small town feel. All the tables are packed. A table clears and we all sit down. I end up ordering a stack of 3 coconut pancakes. Liz eats a vegetarian omlette, Caio a waffle, Roberto coconut pancakes and Jade a coconut pancake.

Back in the house by the beach, the pancakes seem to compound the humidity's impact and I lay on the couch with my laptop on my lap dozing off. Roberto wakes me "Do you want to go hiking with us?"

"No, thanks" I respond. "I think I'll just hang here and catch some waves later."

Roberto tries his best to entice me but I need some quiet time and some waves. I surf the net first. Take Lipoa to the beach and study the waves here at Backyards. I watch a lone surfer catching waves. He is able to ride each wave and keep his momentum going until it reforms. He cuts easily on the wave despite being on a board that's at least 7.5 ft long or so. Maybe 8 ft. Lipoa sits next to me on the picnic bench, breathing in the ocean breeze.

I return to the house, lock it up, put on Liz's spring wet suit, say good bye to the dozing Lipoa, grab her 8 ft V board and walk the 70 yards or so to the beach. My only company out there will be two wind surfers. They zip by me as they ride the waves. They start further out and take them further in. In comparison my progress is like a snail's. The wind blows and the sky is filled with clouds. The sets are small but consistent and I begin to easily catch waves. At one point, a seabird zings by me as he travels only feet above the churning sea, eyes wide open, searching for his next meal. The waves keep on coming and I keep on catching. My goal is to reach 10. No problem. My final wave, #10, takes me almost all the way to shore. The reef is rough, sharp and uneven. I take my time and step easily onto the sand.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Surf at dawn, kayak at sunset

I must commend myself for once again getting out of bed befrore 6:30 AM to surf at Turtle Bay. By the time I pull in to the resort and park it is 7 AM. The sky is primarily overcast and the temperature is cool by tropical standards. It takes me 10 minutes to get to the water and another 10 to paddle out to where the waves are breaking where I want to catch them. Paddle past a couple short boarders and a boogey boarder. Briefly, I think one of the short boarders is Bri, he has the trademark bald head. As I paddle by he glares at me. Nope, that is not Bri just another territorial surfer guarding his wave-catching-area like a dog with his bone. I look further out and spot Bri, his back is to the shore, wearing his black rash guard with black board shorts. I watch as he quickly catches a wave and rides it 150 yards. A minute later I catch a wave and take it in. I paddle back out.

Even though Bri called me last night and invited me to come here and surf, he is not talking to me. His manner is tense and annoyed. It is obvious that I stepped on a land mine yesterday when my competitve intensity spilled over in ways that Bri found unacceptable. I try and talk with Brian during a lull. We are the furthest ones out, no one is within 60 yards. There are only 5 other surfers in the water. It is obvious that we have different recollections on what transpired. My apologies go unaccepted and the discussion gets heated. The sky seems to darken as a big layer of greyish clouds float, suspended above us. A cold wind blows. Nothing more to be said. Bri paddles away and then sits on his board facing the other direction waiting for the next wave.

I catch a few rides before another big lull of no waves arrives. The blue sky cannot be seen for the clouds. The wind contiues to blow and I start to shiver. I silently pray for a good wave to take me in. The previous discussion weighs on my head like the heavy clouds above our heads and I wonder if it will be resolved before I go, before my next visit...

I spy a big wave as it comes up quick, rolling water, frothing at the crest. Spin my board around while sittting, ease on to stomach, start paddling, ahh... yeah caught it, stand up and ride this shoulder highish bull of a wave 100, 200, 250 yards in. I paddle the last 50 yards to the shore thankful for such a long wave. Walk along the beach. Glance out to the point. Bri sits on his board, furthest one out, waiting for a big one.

Today's yoga slows me down, brings me to a calm detatched state. Afterwards, I am all yinned out and can only think of taking a nap. Sleep for 3 hours.

When Roberto gets home, I mention how nice it'd be to kayak. Even though, the horizon has almost caught the sun, we decide to take the kayak out and catch a couple waves. The green kayak slips thru the oncoming waves easily as we aim for an area where the waves are breaking the biggest on the reef. We paddle in synch and easily catch several waves. At one point, we're on a steep one and the nose gets caught under the wave, throws us into the salty sea. It feels nice, warm, invigorating. Back in the kayak. Waiting. Another lull. Sky darkens. We paddle again, Roberto at the helm. We try to ride a couple waves but they do not break. Finally we catch a wave and it takes us to within 20 yards of the shore.

Back at the house, we soak in the jacuzzi. Jade's in with us. she's only 2. Loves the water. Her eyes sparkle. She holds her breath and goes under. Pops up after a few seconds. She swims around. Smiles. Laughs. First day of pre school for her today. Way to go Jade!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Experimental therapy

The original reason which brought me to my sister's house here on the North Shore of Oahu, was to help watch her kids while she worked as a reading specialist. Two days before my arrival, she ends up resigning because the administration changed her job to something that would not work with her schedule. Consequently, I have been doing a couple things around the place like fixing the fence with screws and a screw gun. Today, I moved a bunch of pavers to the back yard. Still, today's acitivity level was pretty low today. Maybe, I need to run on days like this one. I had kind of this compressed emotional feeling one gets when the humidity is high and you want to do something besides rip CD's on to your music library. At one point, I walked the hundred yards or so to watch the waves breaking on the reef. Lapoa the brown female dog accompanied me and meandered around the beach smelling various debris and depositing some nitrogen into the giant litter box.

Finally, 5 PM inches closer. I stop the labor of moving bricks and pavers, wash up, gather various items: phone, wallet, sneakers, tennis raquet, key and water bottle. I end up arriving at the court 15 minutes late. Brian is there, he's got a basket filled with balls and he is working on his serve. We run some drills for 30 minutes and then begin playing.

The first game, I serve. Brian misses at least 10 breakpoint opportunities before he finally converts. I had a few game points during this stretch but was uable to put the ball away. The rest of the set went by like a nasty beating. Some how, I managed to win one game. I naively thought my little bit of playing with Devin would give me an edge. My brother plays a game where he does not hit many unforced errors. He patiently returns almost everything you hit at him. Covers the court well. I crumbled against him like a wall made of stale cookies.

I have some crazy intense emotions that like to show themselves when I am competing. Especially against brother Bri. At some point the court next to ours filled up with 8 people. 4 of them are 3 to 4 year olds. So, here I am, getting destroyed on the court by my little brother. My typical response to this is to yell. It just kills me to lose so badly. All my pent up frustrations come out. But with the little kids around, I try to restrain myself. On top of it all, my concentration is compromised and I begin to make more and more unforced errors. Soon, Brian's kids appear on the seen. They are outside the fence and keep saying "Daddy, Daddy..." Bri goes over and talks to them. He's up 3-0 or 4-0 in the second set. I'm feeling all coiled, kind of overwhelmed. I just want to yell and release the dense toxic vibration that is burning in my brains. All kinds of things start annoying me. Basically, its all these kids.

I say to Bri: "I can't throw a decent tantrum with all these kids around." I am joking but Bri just looks at me quizically and tilts his head to the side.

Brian's game is on. I wonder how many days a week he's playing. He finishes talking with Vivi and then easily finishes me off: 6-0. After some hemming and hawing about the playpen atmosphere, we decide to play a third set. At some point the quantity of balls rolling over from the other court increases to one per point. They're all toddlers now. "Hey guys, can you keep the balls over there?"

Bri: "That's it, we're done."

I say "sorry." Grab my gear, walk off the courts and drive back to Liz's.

After cooling off a little bit, I realize that I have to choose where to vent my toxic payload. Writing all this down shows me just how ridiculous I can be. Wow, I wonder what I was thinking? I can write a book called: "How to Turn Paradise into Hell"

As part of the experiment, I think I may just let out some primal screaming while driving to my next match. If you see me driving by, screaming my head off, pay no mind, do not worry, just some experimental therapy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


This morning, I awoke at 6 AM thanks to my Freestyle digital watch. Last night, Brian suggested that we meet in the water for a just-past-dawn-patrol. I drive into the resort and see Bri walking down the road with his nine foot surfboard. I honk my horn, we wave at eachother, I park the Explorer, grab the board and jog easily to the waiting Bri. We walk along the road that leads to Turtle Bay's giant hotel as the sky is mostly occulted by clouds and the wind polishes our skin.

Bri hands me the Sticky Bumps wax after he's done with it. I put another thin layer on my wet board and Bri walks on the lava rock, eases into the water and begins to paddle out to the point that the hotel was built on. I paddle behind him feeling fresh, eyes stinging just a bit. I can smell Bri's suntan lotion on the water.

The second Bri reaches one of the magic launch spots along the craggy reef, a wave arrives as if it had been waiting for him. Bri obliges, turns the board around while sitting on it, lays on his stomach, paddles easily, catches the wave, stands up. I watch him as he smoothly takes the ride away from me 100 yards.

Another wave arrives, I catch it, stand up and take it 60 or 70 yards. This is how the morning goes. Bri catching a wave and then I. I managed to nose 2 waves. 'Watch your position on the board,' I tell myself. We have the whole point to ourselves. Another beautiful day on the North Shore. There was one surfer here when we arrived but he paddled in just as soon as we paddled out. An hour later, we see a father and daughter making there way out. Our shift is over. Bri and I catch a wave together. I nose this one and the wave spins me around and tosses the board into the air. Bri begins to paddle across the bay and I follow. He slowlly gets further and further away from me. I watch as he pauses, sits on his board, a wave comes, he catches it and there he goes. It's a right and takes him further away. I just keep on paddling, pleasantly surprised that I am not more tired. My lack of surfing these past few months doesn't seem to matter much. I paddle, paddle, paddle. At 2 different moments along this watery journey, I lose my view of Bri entirely as the small bumps of wavy water obscure his whereabouts. Each time this happened, I stopped, sat on the board and then spotted him around a hundred yards or so in the distance. Finally, the shore seems to be closer. I start counting my strokes.

On my 88th paddle, I pull up next to Bri. He gives me the beta for catching one final wave to shore. "It is low tide, so watch out, don't jump off your board and there's a rock over there."

I watch him catch one, he's on his feet, reaches the reefy shore, lays back on his stomach and then he's walking thru ankle deep water and standing on the sand. I wait for the right wave which does not come. As a consequence I paddle the last 40 yards to solid ground.

We walk 30 yards to a lawn of short grass that runs along side the golf course. We run 3 or 4 splits that seem to be about a hundred yards. Then we run one backwards. That's a nice morning workout. We walk back to his condo, hose off the boards and the say good-bye.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The skeleton key

I am so glad that you are reading this so that I can warn you about something extraordinarily bizarre that is going to happen in the near future. Please try your best to remember this post. One day soon you will be walking down the street. People will be walking around in all directions. They will nicely represent the various walks of life that make up the growing lower class, the shrinking middle class and a token few of the upper class.

You have a good heart. Do you mind if I tell you that? Any way, I guess that is why you'll be so generous to the homeless guy who'll come up to you and ask for a dollar. For some reason, you will give him a twenty dollar bill. Maybe it will have something to do with a secret light in his eyes, like compressed rainbows in his pupils or something. Maybe it will be from his smile. So sincere. No pretense. He'll just be so damn present that you will forget to be lost flipping your focus from the past to the future to the past to the future. It will be like you just woke up into the moment I guess. You'll realize that there really is no past or future, just the eternal now. On some level you will feel Buddha's presence in this man. By the way, Buddha loves to appear in the form of homeless persons for those few humans who appear to be developing compassion. He's got crazy advanced spiritual surveilance technology and god gadgets so he can record his various encounters with the humans on the verge of spiritual emergences. So don't be paranoid or anything, OK? I mean it, Buddha is conspiring for your enlightenment. Him and God that is.

Yeah, rest assured, Buddha's various recording devices beam everything that you do to God. Lucky for us, these guys love to laugh. They have become quite used to how hardened and compassionless we are. They have watched for thousands of years as we perfect the means to destroy and kill. It has actually become funny. They really get a kick out of Bushy. So, when you hand this bum 20 bucks, it will give Buddha and God quite a shock. Congratulations, these dudes don't shock easy. So then, the smelly ragged old guy with the crazy glint in his eyes is going to give you a skeleton key. All he's gonna say is "Thanks for the generosity, here's a key to heaven." Your gonna smile in a goofy surprised kind of way because you won't expect anything back. It will be kind of a spur of the moment thing. You have never been so generous with a stranger before. All your various transgressions will be erased the moment the key touches your palm.

You'll put the key in your back pocket, thank the homeless dude and proceed on your way. You will now feel like you are on a roll. There will be a spring to your step. Your good deed for the night will be done so you'll slip comfortably back in to your grumpy misanthropic mode of being, like putting on an old smelly sock with holes. Folks will sense something different about you, (the remnants of your ecounter will not have completely worn off yet), and look into your face expectantly. This kind of stuff always annoys you and this night will not be the exception which proves the rule. You'll ignore most and to a few you'll say: "What are you looking at? Bozo!"

So this is the crux of it buddy: God and Buddha are watching you. Clean up your act. That skeleton key is a listening device. Buddha's recording everything you say. Wake up again. Don't forget to remember. If you play your cards right, one of these days, I'll tell you where to stick the key.

Are you my mother?

Are you my mother?, originally uploaded by surfer x.

Didj performance for 3 on the North Shore

Travis, Vivi and Isabella enjoy the didj.

Monday, August 01, 2005

You have officially arrived in Hawaii

Brian drove up in a green 2-door Ford Explorer. I was ready with an 8'6 longboard, borrowed from Liz. We loaded the surf board into the back, I grabbed a plastic bag, filled with essentials: rash guard, t shirt, cell phone, wallet and a water bottle; hopped into the small SUV and then we are off to pick up Bri's blue mini van.

We pull up at the gas station and I walk around the car and get into the driver's seat. The plan is to meet Brian at his condo. The drive goes smoothly. I park in the correct spot (they're all numbered here) and walk up the steps, knock on the door and am immediately greeted and welcomed by VIvi, Vini and Arlette. They are on their way out the door to play some tennis. Bri arrives and they sort our some of the details of their Monday reading night.

Soon enough, Bri and I are walking down Turtle Bay's main entrance road, It's a 10 minute walk to the point. He has his 4 month old Rip Curl 9 footer under his arm. He sports a black rash guard and board shorts. I've got Liz's board under my arm, a black rash guard on my back and board shorts. The humidity is so much higher here in Hawaii than California. The clouds break up the monotony of the hot sun and sprinkle bits of rain for a few seconds as we carve a path through the winds.

As we catch our first glimse of the ocean, the point that we will be surfing, we see that there are waves. There is a wind swell. I get in the water first and start paddling. The water burns my eyes but I just keep on trucking. The temperature of the salty liquid is warm and I revel in the supreme beauty as I make my way past boogey boarders and short boarders. Brian catches up and then goes passed me. I can only watch as he quickly catches a wave and takes it a hundred yards in. I try to catch the next wave but my spastic paddling is not enough to ride that wave. Meanwhile, Bri effortlessly paddles back to his spot. Waits a few minutes and catches another. The waves are mostly waste to shoulder high at this point. Thus, I am able to see him from behind, as he stands on the board and cuts to the right, riding the edge. This goes on for the first 15 minutes. As each wave rejects my poorly timed advances, like more women than I want to remember, my frustration grows. I can only admire brother Bri's flawless technique as he catches 5 waves to my none. He bends his knees and goes low, walks to the front of the board, slipping along the wall and lets it wash over him.

Finally, I let the frustration I feel take the form of a loud yell as yet another wave passes thru me like a ghost. I paddle back out to the place Brian has been catching his rides - like a hot chick in a bikini with her thumb out on Broadway. Then it happens. I catch my first ride. It takes me a hundred yards or so. I paddle back to the magic spot. Brian: "Now you have officially arrived in Hawaii."

The ice now broken, I relax and settle in. The launching pad is small. The window for catching these particular waves is near the reef. Bri and I sit on our boards and marvel at the good fortune of there being waves on the North Shore in the middle of the Summer on the first day of my vacation. Another wave comes, we both catch it, shoulder high, we ride, people watch from the side of the point, guests of the hotel. It is unique and special to have an audience while we surf. Normally it is just surfers but here, there are people, sitting on lava rock closely watching and they are close. I finish the wave by whooping and doing a flip off the board. I hear one of the spectators whoop back.

My arms, chest and lats feel tired. This is my first surf sesh in several weeks and before that - months... Bri makes it to the shore first and walks along the beach and up on the lawn. A minute later I am standing next to him, we smile and high the five. We walk back against a cross wind.

Arlette and Brian have a weekly reading night on Mondays. I am the musical entertainment tonight. I brought my slide didge with me on the flight and now I know why. Vivi picks out the books. Bri starts off by reading the first one and then I am chosen to read "Have You Seen My Mother?" Interestingly enough, this is one of my all time fave children's books and so I especially enjoy reading it to everyone. I wrap up the night by talking about the didj, playing it, imitating the elephant, dogs, coyotes, crows, elephants, Tibetan Buddhist Monks chanting and then vocalizing the names of the kids - all of this as I circular breathe.

The night ends with Brian, Vivi and I walking to the hotel. Vivi in the middle holds my right hand and Brian's left. The hotel is layed back but the workers are alert. We walk back along the road, Vivi holding our hands. Vivi: "My legs are getting tired."

We take a few steps, Vivi jumps as we swing her up into the air, she lands with a joyful laugh. We take a few steps and Vivi again is pulled up into the air. No more tired legs. We say good-bye and then I am in the Green Explorer driving the 2 miles back to Liz's. This vacation has begun.