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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
That 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!