Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I guess I don’t even know where to  begin or how to begin for that matter.  At the moment I find myself wrapped up in a plethora of confused contradictory emotions.  It was a long time coming, but then happened so fast. Part of me thinks I may have made some mistakes, another that I didn’t try hard enough. I took the easy way out.  Maybe that is the hopeless romantic side of me always imaging what could or could have been.  The intelligent, practical side of me, that I usually ignore though somehow keeps me alive confirmed I did what was best for me in the long run no matter how hard a decision it was.

God Damn!!! 2014 was a whirlwind of a year for.  Although haven’t they all been that since I began living?  I suppose a mellow relaxed life wasn’t and couldn’t have ever been in the cards for me and if it had been then I would most likely have nothing worth writing about.  For all of our sake it is a good thing my life is crazy.  I know as far as writings go it was a slow year.  I did manage to write a little blurb about my surfing and life nearly everyday in the surflog portion of this blog.  Here is a semi-brief overview on how my year played out.

New Years Day 2014, Pitas Point.  Photo: H. Rayburn

New Years Day 2014, Pitas Point. Photo: H. Rayburn

2014 began innocent enough.  I was living with Heather, the third woman to be crazy enough to share residence with me at the Lisanti Palace.  You can Read “I Wear My Heart on My Sleeve: Part III” for the details on how that played out.  Heather and I tried to build a life together through a mutual felling of desperation, despair, and financial desolation.  Probably all the worst reasons to decided to move in with a significant other.  I think we both knew this going into it, but it was the best idea at the time.

By the middle of January I got this bright idea that I could help the relationship run smoother and proposed to Heather.   Nothing makes a bad situation worse like exacerbating the situation with an expensive diamond ring.  Who really needs an extra few grand anyhow?   Easy Come, Easy Go.  Of course instead of fixing our problems it only made things more complicated as a result of adding a new level of gravity to the partnership.  There is more detail about how I actually felt about the engagement in “What’s Been Happening” Blog, scroll down the the part about said event.

HeatherMeBlueWater

If that isn’t happy recently engaged couple, I don’t know what is…

Around this same time I got promoted at Westmont to night and weekend Sous Chef.  This may seem like a great distinction and should have been. The job was basically begrudgingly handed to me by default and only because if not I was going to quit for I had been offered the same job I was already working for the same money over at UCSB.  UCSB was overing year round employment and better benefits.  As has been evident 2014 was a year no to be synonymous with good decision making.   Looking back a year later,  I can still barely believe I have been the sous there for a year now, fucking gnarly.   It has been a great learning experience in running a kitchen and managing a very diverse group of employees, while attempting to keep upper management happy.  Most of the time I feel like I have just been walking a tight rope between the two.  There is more detail about this in the “Whats Been Happening” blog as well.

To be honest I don’t know how much longer I plan on staying on over there.  As far as upward mobility in that property goes I have reached the top of the latter and there are no more left to climb.  All my bosses above me are also only a few years older then  I, comfortable and are not leaving anytime soon unless an untimely death were to happen.  Considering I live the riskiest life survival wise between the four of us most likely I will be the first to be pushing up daisies.  If there were to be a management regime change then I would be going with the rest of them.  I have also found that I am not learning anything new there as cook/chef.  Even my personal growth as amhuman seems to have been stunted.  I don’t know whats in store next, but this stagnant water has been trapped behind the levy for too long.

Basically the highlight of my day is making a fucking fruit platter.  I secretly hate fruit platters.

Basically the highlight of my day is making a fucking fruit platter. I secretly hate fruit platters.

There were some surfing adventures that I was lucky enough to experience in 2014.  In February Heather and I struck out for a Big Sur get away where I found all sorts of cool surf and fell in love with a part of California I had always ignored.  I wrote a killer little series on that saga, check them out if you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.  I did my annual San Francisco trip to see Mauriello with my boy Calvin in tow.  I am still yet to compose a piece on that summer adventure though if you check out the August Surflog  entries 8-8-14 to 8-12-14 you can get a good scope on all of the insanity that took place.  Maybe I am still trying to decompress in my head all that went down before getting it out on paper. I do have a full photo feature of the trip on my facebook page: Central/Northern California Album.  Mike and I also enjoyed a sick thirty hour Big Sur mission where we scored and almost died attempting to surf Point Sal. Read about the Point Sal extravaganza in “The Point Sal Idiot Mission” blog.

IMG_9078

Charging the wind chop at Montara Beach. Photo: Mauriello

As all of these adventures and work opportunities we presenting themselves my home life was becoming steadily unbearable.  Heather’s jealousy had allowed me to become a prisoner in my own apartment.  I could no longer hang out with my closest friends in fear of how she might react or the headache it would cause me later.  I began to get frustrated.  My only outlet became surfing and my focus rebounded in that direction and at least that felt good.

No matter what happens in life there will always be surfing.  In 2014 I redesigned my go to board by taking an entire liter of volume out of it, adding some nose and tail rocker, thinning out the rails and pulling in the nose a bit as well.  For the past two years I have been adding volume and width and have steadily been more and more unhappy with my performance.  I keep a board on my racks at home that is the best one I ever had so that when a situation arises where I am no happy with my equipment I pull it out and go back to phase one.  The results have been night and day.  Now all I have to do is revisit my step up and I will be golden.

Loving my new board. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

Loving my new board. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

In the early spring I was pleasantly surprised with a message from an old friend I went to culinary school with.  “I’m coming out to Santa Barbara, lets open a restaurant”.  Calvin and I used to cook together all the time in school and connect well as a team in the kitchen.  I had been fucking with the idea to open up a little Italian place out here for years.  I was pumped that the ball was finally in motion.  He came out and took up residence on the couch.  We used the time to build a menu, design the place, look for potential spots, formulate a business plan.  We even had a schedule that if all went as planned we could have been open for business by July 2015.  Plans changed, shit went down resulting in Calvin and I having a terrible falling out to say the least.  It’s my own fault for hitching my star to the wagon of another.    Partners are for dancing after all and not business.

By September I found myself feeling rather dejected, emotionally devoid and a dreamer with out a dream to follow.  By this point Heather and I were acting as the perfect married couple (we were still engaged).  She hated me, I despised her.  We both walked on egg shells around each other at home, when we were at home together, which became more and more scarce.  I tried to spend the bulk of my time at the beach or work.  She as usual consumed herself with her own work.  By this point I found myself back at the Wild Cat 2-3 nights a week getting black out drunk for no good reason.  The result of this became further depression.

My little bar rat pack...Alcoholism loves company.

My little bar rat pack…Alcoholism loves company.

The only real positive thing that came out of the fall of 2014 was the photo alliance formed between Bizarro and I.  One day he decided he wanted to get into surf photography and began accompanying me on my surf sessions when our schedules allowed.  At first as always with a new photog we missed most of the action not quite linking up.  Now a few months in we are beginning to get some gold. Here is a bit of our work together:

The culmination of four months of shooting.  All Photos by Christopher Dunlea

The culmination of four months of shooting. All Photos by Christopher Dunlea

In November I finally asked Heather to move out.  It had been a long time coming.  We both needed that space.  Living together any longer I think we would have killed one another.  I believe the two of us still had a deep love connection, but had forsaken it over the past six months and the situation it caused between us was far from healthy for anyone.  At the same time JP announced that he was moving back to Europe after living in the Palace for over two years, making him the longest standing resident here since Cory left in 2010.  Bizarro decided to take the room and the entity of our friendship known to Santa Barbara as “The Chris'” took shape.
TheChrisThat brings us finally to the present.  2015 sort of began just as 2014 ended.  Bizarro and I still share the Palace and besides a few drunken tussles I would say we are getting on alright.  Heather and I are still on occasion seeing one another.  It seems we get along fine when we only get together once or twice a week. I don’t really know what is going to take shape there or anything at all for that matter.  All I do know is that we both missed each other and what we have at the moment is enough.  I am in yet another semester at Westmont as sous chef, which is business as usual there.  Besides that I plan on the continuance of surfing, shooting photos and hopefully more opportunities to write for I know 2014 was rather sparse and sporadic at best.

At the moment I have no real plans for 2015.  Maybe that is better.  Every year I make all of these plans and predictions and every year I find myself right back in the same place, sitting down at the drawing board with out a piece of chalk.  My only plan is to allow what ever is going to happen in 2015 unfold in front of me and act accordingly when necessary.  Let’s hope for good tidings and more writings!
BoxChris

Its been quite some time since we have heard from our friend on the dark continent.  Truth be told I had thought he died from Ebola.  Holding true to his ridiculous ability to survive insane situations the kid is hanging in there and at this point I would say safe money is that he will come out of this whole Tanzania folly unscathed and better enriched from the experience.  He finally decided to share with us a little tale of a small adventure that was bestowed upon him during some of his down time.  Enjoy.  Oh and since we have no pictures to go along with the blog I thought I would throw in the occasional cat photo instead.  As per usual anything in the color red are my own personal dick head sarcastic comments…Lisanti

Kooky Kyle writes:

You never know when that sage bit of wisdom you have been given will pay off, or when your ignoring of that advice will bite you in the ass. This is a story of the later. Growing up as groms under the tutelage of Lisanti, we were privy to plenty of advice.  Some of it was questionable, but some pieces (still questionable) have stood the test of time. One of those is “always carry $40.00 in cash and a condom”.  After I blew my knee out I had this bullshit job managing this bullshit hole in the wall surf shop.  Kooky, Mauriello, Nick the Kook and a host f other kids would come in and just hang out all fucking day.  One time I was late to open the shop cause I drank to much the night before and I got a phone call from one of them wondering where I was.  If they were going to hang out all day then I was going to subject them to all of my words of wisdom, psychotics and delusions.  In a lot of ways one could say it may have been the live version of SurfingRuinedMyLife.net. 

CondomCat

Kooky got that piece of advice wrong. You should always carry at least two condoms…

A few weeks back I went into town to run my usual errands for the morning. When I got to my mini bus (Kooky has had lots of practice riding the short bus) to return to my village it was packed. As it turned out the all girls boarding school 7 km up the road from me was resuming session and all the students were returning. By the time I was on the bus there were 40 people on it. It only has seats for 26.  The bus was so packed that the driver had hired two taxi’s to take some of the girls and their luggage. After we got moving and were about a mile past the police check point I realized why they had hired the taxis. The cabs got the luggage and excess passengers past the police check point to avoid paying a hefty “fine”.

By this point I had girls sitting on my shoulders and was squeezed so tight I could barely breath. I had enough and asked the driver if I could ride on top. “Sorry no roof rack today” was his reply.  Over it I told him I would come back tomorrow. He said that was fine and even got me on his friends bus going back to town for free.

Once in town I checked into my usual hotel and went off to the internet cafe to take care of more paper work ( and caught up on pornography). When I returned to the hotel, I sat down with a nice elderly lady and had a wonderful conversation with her in Swahili as she ate her dinner. She like many Africans are amazed that I live by myself and can cook. As she finished her meal I excused myself and went to the bar to order a beer. When I came back there was a group of white people sitting down with the local Lutheran Bishop. Figuring they were missionaries and that they could be of use to me in my current line of work, I greeted the bishop in the tribal language and had a conversation with him entirely in Swahili. This greatly impressed the missionaries and they insisted on making my introduction. After a few pleasantries I pardoned myself and went back to the lounge. There I began talking with a new group of Africans.
ProperCatOne was quite pretty and she began heavily flirting with me. This isn’t unusual. I’m exotic here, (Fuck, Kooky is exotic everywhere. when we used to chill at the Wild Cat he would attract chicks to him just by making crazy faces at them) also white people have this rumor about us that we are all rich and smart. She was trying to use her feminine wiles to get her green card.  That bitch was deluded, the HIV rate in my region is about 25% for women in the age group of 18-30. I played along though, it would at least be entertaining.  Shit it’s not like he was going to get HIV from her sucking his dick a little. 

That is when she walked in. Out of all the nice but affordable hotels in this country, she walked into mine. She was checking in with her friend and I could see them from where I was sitting. Like a mirage she vanished. I knew I could bide my time and they would come to me I mean where else were they going to go?  When you are this far off the beaten track, the only thing impressive to other white people is nonchalance.   I kicked it while listening to this African man telling me his tales of being in the merchant marine and sailing to Asia and Europe.

finally the girls reappeared. She was a lithe, blonde.  Her English accent stuck out strongly against the voices of the American missionaries she was conversing with in the dinning room. This lit a fire under the African lady whom was by now sitting on the arm of my chair playing with my hair. She knew she couldn’t deal with the competition, thus made sure I had her 3 phone numbers, Skype and email. Soon the British girls came into the lounge. The friend was a gregarious homely girl. Both had clearly been on the road for days and my conversation with them soon confirmed this.
catpic
My food came out shortly after their arrival the departure of the Africans. I ordered grilled cheese. I know, I hate Americans who go abroad and eat something they could get back home. I live in a small local village and have been eating local food almost exclusively, so the rare treat of something from back home is a thing I relish (check out my Kooky’s Korner entry “Grubbing Down in Tanzania” to understand what the local cuisine here is all about) . The girls were captivated.   “What is that? We should have checked the menu before ordering”.  Their plates of chicken and rice came out and we talked over dinner.

The friend, Elise,had backpacked through Africa last year and this year she was returning to visit the friends she had made here. On this trip her friend, Hannah (the hot one) decided to join her. As soon as their plates were cleared the homely friend pardoned herself saying she was exhausted and needed to retire for the evening. Hannah on the other hand was still full of energy, one of the perks of being able to fall asleep on African buses.

Hannah and I chilled and we clicked. Both of us are young and adventurous, neither of us were materialistic, anit-pop culture and not to mention we are both beautiful examples of the human body (sounds like a fucking match made in heaven, and then she died of an extreme case of instant EBOLA!). Everything was in my favor, a empty hotel room yards away, no friend cock blocking, a young beautiful lady  who was as interested in me as I was her. One thing led to another, and to make a long story short, always carry a condom. So kids the moral of the story is when travelling, cash, passport, condom because  blue balls suck.  Shit Kooky she was white and probably didn’t have AIDS .  Next time be a man, suck it up and raw dog her.  Oh wait, maybe that is more of questionable advice from the wrong side of the tracks courtesy of Chris Lisanti!
PizzaCatGoat

 

Jalama10814_1

Sometimes solitary confinement isn’t a bad thing. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

My cell phone has this handy compass app that always allows me to find north and ultimately the direction I am walking in.  Before that I made sure to have a regular compass with in use so I would always find my way.  A compass is with all best intentions a rather fool proof device.  Through the years I always felt that my internal compass seemed to work rather successfully as well.  At the moment when I look back over the course of the last ten years, even the last twenty maybe I was wrong.  I think I may have been walking around in circles for my entire life.

The more I meditate on this matter the more disturbing it all becomes.   Take this instance right now while I am sitting here writing these very words.  I am sitting in the same apartment  (relatively) I have lived in for the past 6 years or so.  I am in the same town, working the same job, patronizing the same watering whole, surfing the same breaks.  Despite all of this inherent familiarity I feel more lost, alienated and confused then ever before.  If my entire life had not been with in this theme such could have been quite the alarming realization.
PlasticBacChris

If your wondering what gibberish I am getting at here I cant really say.  I am trying to convey a loose reason for why I have felt less then creative and thus been less then productive here at SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  I sort of feel like the past 8 years of my life have went by as if part of a lucid dream of sorts.  When I look back on all of the stupidity, misadventures, the pain, the heart ache, it all just doesn’t see real.  Finally all of that has come to a head of sorts and left me  here in front of this computer screen typing this hardly coherent piece.

Winningmoney

“A life with out purpose is a purposeless life”.  I read that somewhere once and it always kind of pissed me off.  What if you just don’t have a purpose.  Shit, can everyone really have a purpose?  I feel like then there would be way too many people out there for so many purposes.  What about those of us who just sort of want to float.  Is there anything wrong with that?  I don’t think there is.  I have spent the past three years or so trying to loosely fit into the society that I am “suppose to”.  It hasn’t worked and now I am over it.

The relentless circle I have been walking in for the past twenty years needs to come to an end.  I wish to begin walking forward again.  I don’t have answers yet and truth be told have barely even formulated a plan.  I can tell you this I have some bold thoughts and notions running around in my head at the moment.  In the mean time I am as usual going to “keep keeping on” cause that truly is the only way to survive in this life.

Please forgive me for the lack of words published this or last month.  I will try and make a greater effort to write something at least once a week for my own personal sanity.  Kooky has finally send in a correspondence for Africa which will be shared as a Kooky Korner .  I have only briefly perused it but from what I read I must say it is one of his better works. I have a new book club entry as well to publish.  Look for a blog on my most recent Big Sur adventure and of course other little tid bits from the Lisanti everyday as usual published daily in the surflog.  I promised as soon as I figure my shit out and what is next for Chris Lisanti you folks will be the first to know.

LittleConSunSet

One thing we can always count on in life is that there will always be moments of beauty even in the most insipid of scenarios. Photo Christopher Dunlea

 

Optimistic-Chris

Getting excited for the Swell of the Century!!!!!

Well that’s what everyone is calling it.  Most likely unless the Earth as we know it is completely fucked and global warning has finally taken its toll I suppose none of us will ever see waves like what graced the coast of California on Wednesday August 27 2014 for at least another 30 years.  As for myself I know I for one will never see a south east tropical swell like such while still in my prime.  I would love to say that I scored like the mother fucker in the above video at Sand Spit, literally a quarter of a mile from my apartment.  My friends I did not!

Nope, no sir.  I FUCKEN BLEW IT!!!!! Have I surfed good Sand Bar in my tenure here in Santa Barbara?  I certainly have.  I have gotten some of the best rides of my life out there.  Wednesday was not to be for me.  I was caught in what was once foretold to me as “adult” responsibility.  Up until Wednesday I had no idea exactly what that phrase meant or why it could cause anyone so much pain.  We all knew Marie was coming and that it was predicted to be BIG.  Of course whenever a tropical swell is in question here on the west coast one always cannot be sure how good it will really be.  No doubt the trump card spots like Trestles, The Wedge and New Port will be solid, but the rest of the coast is usually a crap shoot.

Up here in the 805, well its more like a sadistic game of pin the tail on the donkey.  I have literally spent an entire day driving over 100 miles from Jalama to Ventura to Malibu only to surf absolute crap cause I missed what never really was anywhere.  When I first saw all the models I was a bit of a skeptic (what me? NEVER! Call me captain optimistic).  Although I must say it has been one of the better tropical seasons up in these parts that I have seen in about five years.  Monday night I went up to Jalama with Mike after I got off from work and was figuring it would be fun background swell from the south at best.

Jalama82514

Jalama feeling the preamble to the big south with nice long period lines.

Sure enough the “J” was solid (you can read the August 14 Surf Log for the details) at which point I began to get excited for the new swell.  From the lines I witnessed I for sure thought Tuesday morning (8/26) was going to be on.  Pumped I went to bed early in anticipation.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the best of things early, but figured I would at least get decent enough Santa Clara River Mouth.  My buddy Adam from back in NJ was around and met me up early.  When we began the trek south to Ventura everything was small, barely chest high and poor quality.  We ended up surfing Solimar which was super tiny when we first paddled.  By the end of an hour session already there were new long period lines similar to what I had witnessed at Jalama the previous night coming in.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

I went to work and through out the day I was constantly getting texts from friends letting me know how the swell was filling in.  I guess right at dark most spots began to turn on pretty solid.  I got home around nine and I could hear surf in front of my apartment.  I only live up the cliff from Lead Better beach so this is a common occurrence, especially in the winter.   This was more like fire works going off and the roaring of a great lion then the usual mellow relaxing white noise of tiny wind swell rolling up the beach.  I began to get excited so much so that sleeping became nearly impossible.  I woke up every hour, as most of us do when a special swell event is running, hoping it was light.

Awake at 6 am I found myself pacing around my apartment waiting for my boy Adam to show up.  It was his last day in town and what a last day to have.  He is actually the second person from New Jersey to show up to SB for a rarity of a swell.  The last time it was friends of Cory and I, Alex and Carleigh back in 2007.  That was a macker of a WNW swell, the biggest Santa Barbara I have ever seen or surfed.  It was also on a Wednesday.  Maybe I will write a throw back blog about that swell at some point.

This swell was way more rare then that one.  Santa Barbara gets WNW swells in the winter.  We don’t get south swells in the summer and we especially don’t get ESE swells basically ever.  On top of that most spots saw at least head high waves and then some.  My boy should have bought a lottery ticket cause his lucky stars were counted and lined up.  We had a look directly in front of my place at Lead Better and it was solid 8-10 ft, though rather crowded and average shape at best, classic Lead Better.  I thought about having a look at Sand Spit, but decided the swell was most likely too east for it and the summer sand would be no good.  Instead I went for Sharks Cove, which is always my go to spot for when town has waves.

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

I did the drive by from the 101 twice to get a handle on the place.  From what I could see there were only about five guys on it and was at least head high.  Hammonds looked huge.  We parked and made the run to the point.  To our surprise and utter dismay about twenty more guys had already beat us there and another ten were behind us effectively clogging the point.  On top of that it was not coming in very good at all.  If only five guys were out I would have paddled anyway, but I was not about to fight a crowd. We looked west toward Hammonds and Mira Mar and it looked nuts.

Hammonds looked like some crazy tropical reef pass and from our vantage,  just way over head freight training rights.  At Mira Mar we saw some guy drop into a wave that was at least three feet over head and it looked like he was skirting the barrel.  Out of time that was the call and up to Hammonds we ran.  As luck would have it when we got in front of spot and the right was way too fast and walled.  The left looked good, though some what crowded.  The wave also ended on complete dry reef.  I have broke two boards and lost countless fins/plugs to that left on average days.  I could not imagine what would have happened if I paddled it.  Most people out there were just getting destroyed on the left any how.

The drift was heading east to Mira Mar anyway so Adam and I jumped in at Hammonds and drifted our way down.  Pretty much all the way through Mira Mar it was still very very fast.  I was pumping with all my might and speed to get two or three fast turns in.  What we thought were guys getting tubed from a far were just people being forced to straighten off.  Then Adam managed to luck into an overhead peeler that he ripped the fuck out of all the way to the bottom of the point.  Right behind him I snagged the next one and got four solid back side hits on it.  From that point we had it wired till the end of our session when it go clogged with a bunch of kook ass long boarders and old guys, who’s modus operandi was to burn us on everything despite the fact we were making all of our waves.  Whatever we got a few and were stoked.

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning.  Photo: Mike Astede

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning. Photo: Mike Astede

Deep down inside I knew I had blown it and was blowing it by going into work.  What was I going to do?  My hands were tied.  It was the first legit day of the Westmont student meal plans.  I am the sous chef.  It would have set a terrible example if I called out.  The fucking swell was all over the news for days.  My bosses and everyone I work with would have put the facts together and knew I was not sick.  With my luck I would have gotten a clip on the news or in the paper.  My boss would see it while watching t.v. that night and I would be busted.

On a side note back in 2003 I was attending Monmouth University in New Jersey.  A sick hurricane swell was coming up the coast.  I called my professor and told him I was having a stomach bug and would not be able to attend class.  Meanwhile I was getting some amazing waves at my home break.  There were a bunch of photographers shooting.  Most were the usual surf paparazzi and I thought nothing of it hoping to get a shot so I would get paid.  One of the guys shooting I had never seen before and he came up to me and said he got some good ones and wanted my info, which I gave.  Next time I went to that class I bailed on the professor said that he hoped that I was feeling better then through a copy of the previous day’s newspaper on my desk.  I was on the cover six feet in the air on a sickie.  BUSTED!!!!

I did the responsible thing this time around and went into work where I slaved like a dog for nine hours.  Ryan scored Hobsons, one of my go to over flow spots when the points get to crowded and said it was like an Indo left.  I heard Father Johns went off as well.  Pat said Mondos looked over head and kill-able.  That wave is the biggest kook loving mush burger 365 days a year.  As we all know from the opening video to this piece Sand Spit was epic.  Trevor got some bombs at Rincon up at Indicator, which I heard was intense from a lot of people.  I also heard that Devereux had a left breaking to sands that was crazy.  My friend Trey went to El Cap at first light and said the point was about chest to head and fun. Basically it was a magically swell that made all sorts of epic little nooks and crannies go off.

 

GoldCoast82814

Gold Coast the day after the swell.

Thursday (8/28) there was still plenty of swell lingering.  I got up good and early to have a look around.  Unfortunately new wind swell had filled in over night and tore up the channel turning the groomed hurricane lines into absolute mess.  I drove around for over an hour before desperation paddling the Gold Coast near the entrance to Emma Wood.  For whatever reason Jordy Smith had decided to paddle and was absolutely destroying the choppy crossed up offerings.  I had a barrel or two,  but it was stoked to surf with him.  I guess it was a minor redemption to a major insult of blowing the  swell of the century.  If I were a Japanese samurai I think I would have had to commit seppuku.  As a surfing guru I almost felt inclined to anyway.  On further analysis though I realized that I have scored epic waves all over the globe and have many good years of surfing ahead of me.  Sure it will suck to talk about how I blew it every time the big south of August 2014 comes up, which it will for the next thirty years.  I did get to surf and that always beats not surfing and winter is coming….RINCON.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

 

 

Summer Reading & Beyond

Bookclub1

I have recently gotten a few messages/comments about what happened to the book club.  Some even asked if maybe I have killed so many brain cells from all the drinking and black outs that I might not even have the capacity to read anymore.  Never fear my friends I have not turned into a blabbering idiot just yet.  (hmm…do I even read most of what I write here cause all this site is composed of is the rants of a blabbering idiot).  Anyhow for those who have been wondering what literary works have recently tickled my brain here is what I have read over the past few months since the last time I decided to write a book club entry. In chronicle order from when I read it.

Book XXVI: The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain 1882, Bantam Classic Edition, October 1982, 219 pages.

What can I say I love satire, fuck my life is one.  Mark Twain has never failed to write a satire I have not enjoyed.  His wit in my opinion is surpassed by few.  In this classic he takes on the absurdity of the English monarchy and rule in the mind 1500’s in a story of a case of mistaken identity.  The Prince of Whales inadvertently switches place with a common London impoverished youth whom he looked similar to.  The novels plays out the misadventures of both as they become accustomed to their new lives.  I wouldn’t call this the best Twain novel I have ever read, but it is a short andan enjoyable read.  Certainly good beach reading.  Ironically I pretty much finished this waiting for the tide at Emma Wood.

Book XXVII: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin, 1956, 224 pages

“People who believe that they are strong willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialist in self deception.”  This was actually a Heather pick.  I make very few forays into modern literature on my own accord.  If someone in my life gives me something to read that was import to him/her then I make it the next book on my list.  I have found you can learn a lot about a person by what he reads or doesn’t for that matter.  Don’t ask me what I learned about Heather from this one cause I still can’t put my finger on it.  Giovanni’s Room takes place in 1950’s France and is the story of a bisexual early twenties male’s struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality, which eventually becomes him and his lovers undoing.  Baldwin does a masterful job of writing about the some what unpleasant and unsettling subject of homosexuality as it pertains to Americans in the 1950’s yet I would say still to an extent holds true today.   As for me the book reminded me of one two many nights at the Wild Cat.

B00k XXVIII: Persuasion, Jane Austen 1818, Signet Classic Edition, 1996, 285 pages

“She Learned Romance as she grew older-the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.”  Austen’s portrayal of 18oo’s England and its upper class is always so remarkably splendid.  I love the manners and the courtships.  All the little acts of politeness that has all but been forgotten in today’s crude society.   I can escape to Austen’s world any time I like just by picking up one of her books.  I am pretty sure at the time I read this I needed such.   Persuasion  was her last novel and was not published till after her death.  Anne the middle daughter of three from a falling yet good standing family is forced at an early age to break a love engagement with a Naval officer as he is not considered an appropriate candidate for a women of her rank.  Years later he is thrown back into her life except this time as a man who has made his fortune.  At the same time another suitor, a family relation who would make the perfect societal match also steps into the game.  Anne is torn between her childhood love and saving her family’s good name.  Like I stated earlier Austen is always a good read and I enjoyed Persuasion as much as any.  Totally worth a read if you feel in the mood for that romance thing.

Book XXVIII: As You Like It, William Shakespeare 1599-1600, Signet Classic Edition, 1998, 227

“With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study, and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury.  These time ambles withal…With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.”  So do you notice the pattern here.  I got lost in Austen and then subsequently lost in my own turbulent love life (see “I Still Wear My Heart on My Sleeve” blogs, PART I, PART II, PART III).   Shit maybe I should have read Dostoevsky instead and my current state of things would be a bit more palatable.  Anyway with the state of things at this time in Lisanti Land Shakespeare made sense.  I chose As You Like It to get lost in the “Forest of Arden” for a while.   Orlando’s quest to find and win Rosalind’s heart seemed a perfect fit since I was sort of in the same parallel.  Actually a funny thing happened to me about two days after I finished the play.  I was playing my Saxophone down at Leadbetter Beach in front of my house, a common occurrence for me whenever I find myself in hard times of introspection, depression, or just plain boredom.  Those of you who complain I don’t perform enough find your way down to Leads after dark and you just may her me blaring hip jazz into the darkness of the night.  I had finished blowing and was walking back to my apartment when I was stopped by a woman who had been listening to me play for a bit.  We got to talking and turns out As You Like It is one of her favorite Shakespeare play of all time.  We ended up talking till nearly 5am.  She moved to Oregon or something like that directly after our conversation and is now engaged and doing well.  Crazy right?  The power of Shakespeare.  Anyway I know most people get down on him because of the language, but it really is beautiful and once you get used to reading it you find yourself engrossed in his amazing stories.

Book XXIX: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Emmuska Orczy 1905, Pocket Books Enriched Classic Edition, 2004, 356 pages.

“Strange extremes meet in love’s pathway”.  My life ended up leveling out into a sort of crazy semblance of its former self only completely different as I embarked on yet another very serious relationship and all the stupidity, anger and frustration that goes with such. Oh yeah and I suppose there were some good moments too, though I stress the word moments.  Wait, I am still stuck in it at press time.  “Stupid is as stupid does” classic Forrest Gump.  Who know we could learn so much from a retard.  The Scarlet Pimpernel is a swatch buckling good time (ok, it said that on the cover).  In all seriousness it is a really cool historical fiction work about a league of English gentleman who took it upon themselves to save French aristocrats who were destined for guillotine during the French Reign of Terror.  Its a roller coaster ride of narrow escapes and near encounters with death.  Throw in a little love story for good measure and you have a winner in my reckoning.  Definitely worth a read and is a very high paced novel that can easily be read in a few short sittings.

Book XXX: Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. 1840, Signet Classic Edition, 2000, 391 pages.

I am not really a non-fiction reader though at the moment it seems that has been the bulk of my reading, soon to change.  This novel is basically Dana’s first hand account of his own personal sea going voyage as a common sailor after he had dropped out of Harvard due to health related issues.  His journey took him around Cape Horn to trade for cow hides in California during the 1830’s.  As a new Californian myself I found his descriptions and commentary on California coast rather intriguing.   It is also a perfect historically accurate look at what a sea fares’ life during that time period was like.  Dana spares no detail in his descriptions and insights making the book a bit of a slow read though very interesting.   Eventually the book was responsible for the early US settlement of the state.  Its not the most thrilling read but if you ever wondered about California or sailing during this time period you will be hard pressed to find a more thorough account then Two Years Before the Mast.

Well there you go, every book I have read over the last six months or so.  Normally I would have read double that amount, but I have been crazy busy and my life super hectic.  Currently I am reading Fates worse then Death, by Kurt Vonnegut.   Wow this was exhausting.  I need to try and stay on top of this blog more.  Thanks to John Mauriello who on my recent San Francisco trip mentioned that I had not wrote about what I had been reading in quite some time.

bookclub2

Yes I have become one of those crazy book people. At my current rate I will be dead before I get to read all of these novels.

Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach

***Initially this trip took place in February, my lazy and busy ass never got around to finishing the saga.  I have a moment right now and am about to do such.  I am going to attempt to write it as things were experienced and feelings that were felt then, despite my attitudes on certain issues are at press time.  If you are a surflog reader keep that in mind if you feel my mood inconsistent with such.  If you have just stumbled upon this piece and want to be brought up to speed before continuing on or need to refresh your memory on where we left off check out Part 1: Big Sur, A Land of Endless Possibility , Part 2: Blind Exploration , Part 3: Testing the Waters.  Its old and dated, but worth the read so enjoy.***

Ahh the beauty of the wilderness.

Ahh the beauty of the wilderness.

My final day up in Big Sur country I was besides myself on what to do and how to make the most of it.  It’s true that few people, with the exception of my father can pack as much activities in a trip as I can or a day for that matter.  Don’t get me wrong, few can be as lazy as me either.  I can spend three hours sitting on the couch staring into space.   It just depends on the particular day, week or year.  At the moment I have been in high out put mode leaving little time for nothing days.

In all truth I wanted to run around looking for more surf.  Isn’t that always the agenda when surfing is involved?  One of the surfing’s rule book main rules is “never bring your girl friend on a surf trip if you really want to score”.  I have never really toted around a non-surfing girl friend before and had no experience with such.  Normally if she doesn’t surf then we always travel separately.  It sounds a bit selfish, I know, but as I wrote in the very first installment of this Big Sur saga I have a surfing problem.  Surfing always comes first, always.  No point in me ruining her trip or  her ruining mine.

Thus far this trip had been the same thing.  What I had initially wanted to be a semi-romantic weekend and a way for us to try and do some relationship damage control after the incident on my birthday (see the February2014, the 2-2 and 2-3 entries) began with me dragging Heather all over the coast trying to find some kill-able surf.  In her defense she was a good sport about the whole thing.  Feeling a bit guilty I decided that we could drive into Carmel on our last day.  She mentioned multiple times (woman have a way of doing this) that she would like to go there.  Besides I figured that there was beach there too and where there is a beach there are probably some surf-able waves.

Making the most of the meager offerings at Carmel Beach

Making the most of the meager offerings at Carmel Beach

I also had not realized that the drive up to Carmel was only about thirty minutes or so making it very do-able.  After two days of being in the woods I was about ready for some civilization anyway.  We got there uneventfully, though scenically whimsical.  Being the asshole I am I managed to get us right to the beach.  Coastal access signs might as well be like a dog whistle for a surfer.  We pulled up to this really grand beach.   It was as gorgeous as a beach could be.  The sand was bleached white, the ocean was a coral blue, to the north was nothing but the green of a golf course and all around were these lavish estates.  It looked like a scene out of “Life styles of the Rich and Famous”.

People say Santa Barbara is Beautiful and it certainly is, but I think Carmel has us beat.  Really, what I think it is, is the fact that it rains there so everything is green all your round, while here in SB we go through long periods of brown.  This particular beach also had a wave that was not bad.  The wind was sort of side shore/off shore and surf was about cheat high plus with A-Frames.  There were a handful of people scattered up and down the beach.  I was on it.

One of the many section floaters I did to get me to more close out.

One of the many section floaters I did to get me to more close out.

As I was stretching on the beach some “local” tried to give me some shit about going back to Santa Barbara (J7 is a Santa Barbara brand).  He yelled some hardly audible bull shit at me.  I looked at him, waved and smiled and then paddle out about a 100 yards down the beach from him and his buddies.  Like I said there were peaks up and down the beach all rather similar looking.  I saw no point in causing a raucous.   I got a few, but it was a little more walled then I would have liked it to be and all the sets were closed out with few corners.  I did a quickie as to not piss off Heather too much.  I was also interested in seeing  a bit of the town.

The main drag, Carmel.

The main drag, Carmel.

I was really impressed by the town of Carmel.  Cleanliness wise it was so much nicer then Santa Barbara.  I saw very few homeless.  The place just felt a bit more classy to me all around.  I think it is because Santa Barbara is really broken into three shopping sections, Downtown, Montecito and  Upper State, while in Carmel they just have a few block radius.  I am not being a hater on SB, it is my home after all, I just think if we could clean up some of the bums and panhandling on State Street it might class the town up a bit.

Carmel

Carmel

We meandered about the town for a bit taking in all the sights there were to see.  It was mostly just strolling along window shopping considering the fact that we could not afford to eat or buy anything due to the upscale nature of the town.  It was nice to take in some of the architecture and enjoy all the little parks through out the town.  I would call it time well spent.

Large fig tree in Carmel.

Large fig tree in Carmel.

Cool Charlie Chaplin painting we came across on our walk about.

Cool Charlie Chaplin painting we came across on our walk about.

It was getting late.  I wanted to check out the Mission, but we also had a long drive back to Santa Barbara ahead of us.  It would have to wait for another trip. I am always fine with leaving something more to do.  The plan was to stop at the local grocer in town and pick up supplies to do a little beach front BBQ on this chill little spot I found along the PCH the previous night.  It seemed a great spot for a sunset BBQ.  I noticed there was also the possibility of some surf potential too.  Always the ulterior surfing motive.

The problem with doing a BBQ when you have nothing is the fact that you need to get everything or get innovative.  The food was the easy part.  I bought a pair of cheap tongs and found some plastic silverware.  I still need a cutting device.  I bought a pack of razor blade edges for a buck.  It would do.  I got some veggies,  two nice steaks,  some mesquite and strawberries for dessert.  It was on.
MillCreek21414We got to my little spot and sure enough not only was it the pristine picnic spot I had thought, but it was all I had hoped in a surf spot and more.  I had stumbled upon the wave completely by accident the previous day when Heather had to use the restroom.  I had found a Big Sur Emma Wood.  From the actual picnic area the surf spot is invisible.  If you follow a little dirt path, cross a small creek, you will come around a head land into a small cove about 400 yards wide.  The cove had cliffs on both sides and some boulders on the outside to the south.  The entire cove was protected from the wind.

I am sure in a rainier season this creek runs a bit faster. On this day it was easy crossing.

I am sure in a rainier season this creek runs a bit faster. On this day it was easy crossing.

At the southern corner of the bay there was a left coming in that looked more then kill-able.  It would feather off the outside boulders before standing up on the inside sand bar creating an end section that is a high performance surfer’s dream.  Airs, hits, reverses, anything was possible and the best part was the landing was in sand.  There was even a right that the left would reform into on the other side of the peak.  I stuck mainly to the left.  I had a fucking ball.  It was not bigger then head high, but super fun.  I bet with the right wind it would barrel.
MilCreekSeq1I had an hour of light left and the cove was situated perfectly for evening light too.  Heather pulled out the telephoto and ran off a few shots while I went to town.  Sure it was a little on the crazy side to go surf some off the beaten path spot in the middle of shark land during peak feeding hour, but how could I not go slay some peaks.  It ended up being the best surf of my trip so I am glad I did.
BigSurFeb14_2-332After the surf I lit up the grill and cooked a fine meal of roasted vegetables and steak.  We even indulged in a nice bottle of syrah though I was only able to take one glass off of it since I had to drive us home.  It was a great ending to an interesting and fun trip.  While most couples were spending Valentines Day at some restaurant that was over crowded and staff over worked spinning their wheels for an oblivious clientele who were duped in going out as a result of a made up holiday, my chick and I spent it eating in the sunset and drinking under the stars.  I even  bought her a rose while she was waiting in line at the butcher counter and surprised her with it at the table.  Sometimes even a scoundrel like myself can be romantic.
BigSurFeb14_2-526On a final note I would like to say that I was very taken with Big Sur and will certainly be looking to spend some more time there in the near future.  The surf potential is really endless.  All your ability to score is dependent on is your commitment, dedication, time and level of crazy.  I for one plan on making many more surf excursions to this special piece of the California Coast.

 

*For those of you who don’t know of Kooky’s latest adventure in Tanzania check out “He’s alive” and “Good Bye Kooky“.  They should bring you up to speed.*

How is the food in Tanzania? It is dumbfounding to me that it hasn’t conquered the world like italian or chinese food. One word comes to mind, amazing.   The best part about Tanzanian cuisine is you can loose weight if you stick to the diet, even if you eat all you can. I have lost between five and ten pounds. Please note that this only applies to men and all the weight lost will be muscle, not fat.

The base of the food is ugali which is boiled corn flour. It has the consistency of play dough and tastes like what you would imagine. It is served for most meals aside from breakfast. To eat ugali you break a ball off with your RIGHT HAND.  This is very important cause your left is the hand you wipe your butt with, also they don’t use toilet paper and normally no soap… You then take this ball of vaguely corn flavored dough and  try to pick up beans and greens that have been cooked until they loose their ability to be solid. You might get lucky and have some additional protein for dinner which could be one of a few things:

I did a google image search for Ugali and every picture pretty much looked like this.  Looks like a giant ball of masa.  YUM!

I did a google image search for Ugali and every picture pretty much looked like this. Looks like a giant ball of masa. YUM!

First we have daga which are little dried fish that are salted. They are about the length of your pinky.  If you walk within 40 ft of a pile of daga at the market you will know recognize it quite steadily. Daga, as I have seen it are usually served in a tomato based sauce.  You could have fried fish. These aren’t battered and fried pieces of cod or other nice white fish, it is river fish that have been fried whole until the  thing is crispy, even the meat. Tanzanians eat the whole thing, scales, bones, fins, guts and all.

A pile of Daga at a Tanzania market.

A pile of Daga at a Tanzania market.

In the world of poultry we have the ever present chicken. It is as fresh as you can get it right out of the back yard. these are gnarly chickens they are not the fat happy ones you might see over the fence of your neighborhood hipster. These chickens are fighting each while sifting through cow shit in search of worms or running like hell to not get raped by a rooster. They are also fried until thoroughly crisped. The head and liver are usually reserved for guest.

Next we have red meat. I have had beef for the first time in my life over here and those of you who say I don’t know what I am missing, now I know, and I don’t regret not eating it for 25 years. Goat is delicious. Half the joy I get out of watching baby goats romp and play is knowing they are going to be dinner one day and it will be amazing. The cuts of meat Tanzanians like are the gristly ones. The other day I got the sirloin of a cow and the butcher looked at me like I was crazy. Ribs, joints, and gristle are the prime cuts over here. Karibu is choice meat. Goat and beef are usually stewed in a garlic and tomato broth and it is quite tasty, if not reminiscent of chewing on a tire with bits of bone it.

Breakfast usually is either vitambu which is rice cooked down until a paste and then fried. The other option is mandazi, which are like over cooked triangular doughnuts.   These are not really drained out of the fat very well and are very greasy. They are typically served with delicious piping hot tea that has enough sugar in it to make a donkey walk out of it’s hooves.

Mandazi

Mandazi

They also love soda. America might be the second fattest nation, (thanks mexico for taking that torch) but Tanzanians diets are about on par with an American fast food diet nutritionally speaking.

If you wish to try a delicacy from the Tanga region where I was living, I am giving you the recipe for tambi, their version of pasta.

you will need:
1 package spaghetti
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup sugar.

boil the pasta until it is just past al dente.
then add the oil and sugar.

bon appetite

Tambi

Tambi

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 473 other followers