Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Me the nerd

Is it bad that I am outwardly rejecting applications for our job posistion when the first sentence reads, "I am responding to your add for a producer's assistant."

Is it bad that I trash resumes of people who don't know how to use apostrophes?

Is it bad that the American public school system obviously no longer teaches grammar?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Go slow or go fast?

This weekend I was back at the home break with all its humans and human effluvia. I witnessed Sis's kook magnet, but strangely, even with all the people in the line-up, I didn't have a problem and got my share of waves. Maybe part of it was my whole goal for Saturday was to NOT get my head in the water. It made me very picky about the sort of waves I took and it made me kick-out early. Not a drop of water went up my nose. Sunday I wasn't so lucky. My back-side kick-out is pretty much non-existent and I got dunked once.

Sunday also brought with it the joys of a sunny Saturday at the beach: trash floating in the water. I stuffed my wetsuit sleeves with floating bags, grabbed a wave all the way to shore, walked up to the trash bin and pulled out plastic bags like a hobo magician. I did this four times.

I was on my fifth paddle-out when a drowning moth floated over the surface of my board. Without thinking, I picked it out of the water and let it rest on my hand. Now I was stuck sitting on my board, responsible for a living thing, and no way to get to shore. I thought the best thing to do would be to kill it fast instead of letting it die slowly covered in salt water, unable to fly.

One of our loudest local guys agreed. He's a tough lookin' dude, so I held out my hand and asked him to kill it. "No way! I can't do that shit!"

Help came in the form of the biggest plastic bag of the day. It was thick plastic like something used to package products in the factory for shipping. I felt my feet get caught in it and I kicked it up to grab it with my left hand; the moth still in my right. Without thinking too long about it, I smashed my right hand into the plastic in my left and then crushed the whole thing up into a wad the size of a baseball. I stuffed it into the sleeve of my wetsuit and looked for a wave to take me to the trash can. I didn't have too much time to think about how we so conveniently use plastic to shield us from the ickiness of life (think about all that neatly shrink-wrapped meat at the grocery store). A wave came and I took my death package to shore.

My last bag of the day came from a Spanish language mercado. "El Super: Cuesta menos!" it read in bold colors. How appropriate. "Costs less!" It's our untiring consumption of cheap goods that is a major source of economic and class inequity as well as the more obvious pollution problem. I wondered if we were going slow or going fast. One of our biggest weaknesses is our inability to see how our actions affect life beyond our lifetimes. We live just long enough to begin to understand the consequences of our actions, but we also live short enough lives to be able to justify our selfish choices.

Sometimes it feels like a slow march to annihilation, but I wonder if maybe a giant hand might pick us up out of the water and decide that it's better if we go fast?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

H2O Anxiety

All week I had anxiety when I thought about getting into that water in Santa Monica. Seriously, my palms would start sweating. I knew I had to get in the water - being a month out - but I couldn't do it in water where there would be potentially high human effluvia.

So I drove to County and had a good time catching some okay waves on Saturday. The ones that didn't close out were kind of soft and my timing was off, so I dug a rail more than once and bunked some decent shoulders. Decent size - maybe chest-high on the tweeners. And when the infrequent set wave did come through it was probably head high, but I was always in the wrong spot. I had an onslaught of sneezes about an hour into my session and my sinuses started closing up so I couldn't quite breathe through my nose. This makes me think I might just be allergic to the ocean.

On my drive home, I talked to Suzy Q who let me know that Venice was closed again because of a sewage spill in Ballona Creek which just made me happy I'd driven 45 minutes to County. I'm not sure I can ever surf at home again.

Today, I met Suzy Q and we drove to RPB, which is really still too close to civilization for my health, but I figured I'd be able to keep my head out of the water on those easy waves.

I have to admit to having a stick up my butt about RPB. Too many people, too soft of waves, too much paddling. I have tended to be really tense when I've gone there in the past. This time, though, was easy. It was weird. We positioned ourselves between the bathrooms and the point and I found myself easily sliding into waves with confidence. It was easy to spot who you can take off in front of because they wouldn't be able to turn and it was easy to steer my board around those paddling out. My last wave Suzy Q and I had already loudly announced we were taking in so we "shared" it with one other guy. It was challenging to chase Suzy Q within two feet and manipulate the speed of my ride so I wouldn't run into her. The guy was much further behind me on this very slow wave, so I wasn't worried that we were ruining his wave.

It was a good day. It went a long way in easing my anxiety about polluted water and it made me see I haven't completely lost what little skill I had.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That goddamn water

I'm a little afraid to get back in the water. I'm not talkin' being afraid of big waves or sharks or kooking out. I'm afraid of the pollution in the Santa Monica Bay.

In Vegas this weekend, I could NOT taste the foie gras or the fallow deer. And I mean COME ON! FALLOW DEER! I can kid myself for only so long that I enjoy eating the foods I CAN taste... the sweet and acidic and tart things. Tomatoes exploded like light bright stars in my mouth. The cherries and reduction complimenting the foie gras were rich and tart. And the lobsters in the lobster salad were cool and sweet.

That's all very well and good, but I don't normally crave sweet things. The things I am normally drawn to... the savory things, the dark rich tones of shiitake or liver... they are tasteless because of this sinus infection brought on by surfing in red tide over a month ago.

I'm still dosing myself with antibiotics. Today marks one week of medicine. And my calendar says I am free this weekend to surf, but I really can't see myself out there.

It's not that I'm sleeping in. Today, I was up at 6am and decided to make use of that gym membership I've been paying for. I suppose I could have gone for a surf, but I told myself I wanted to finish reading the book I started last night so I read while I pedaled... stationary, but my mind was racing with the words. The stories distracted me from the fact that I wasn't surfing.

I'm really kind of paralyzed when I think about that goddamn water.

The idea of dousing my head with polluted water from the Santa Monica Bay this weekend freakin' scares the livin' crap out of me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Foodie senses no Flavor

So, I'm awake early on Friday morning. I COULD go surfing... the first time in nearly two weeks. Instead, I opt to read the paper and do some gardening at first light. Why? Ever since dipping into the ocean almost three weeks ago, unknowingly in a red tide, I haven't been able to smell a thing. Surfing in Santa Monica while Venice was closed to a sewage spill a week later didn't help things either.

I toughed it out most of this time, hoping that being out of the water and doing some saline wash would eventually get whatever was going on. It didn't look like an infection (and I know this because I carefully examine what blows out onto the tissue after I make loud honking noises).

Finally, this week, I started a course of antibiotics (a prescription I refilled two months ago "just in case") because I'm going to Vegas this weekend. A town known to most as smoky casinos and ringing slots appears to me like a hedonistic playpen. Not only are there twinkly lights to amuse and sexy postures posted everywhere, but there are the expensive, quiet little corners with some absolutely fine food.

I am making another visit to Picasso at the Bellagio where I once had a melt-in-your-mouth black bass and a beautifully rich foie gras paired with a sweet citrus sauce. I would really like to taste tonight's menu, so I hope the antibiotics have done enough since I began taking them on Tuesday.

I think there has been progress. I'm breathing easier at night and the last couple of days of honking have resulted in some evidence that I did indeed have a sinus infection. Those particular sinuses were just so inflamed that they weren't letting anything go. I'm going to go have a bagel with some lox spread and see if I can taste it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007