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Archive for March, 2011

Book X: Lord of the Flies, William Golding, first published in 1954, 202 pages

I know I should have read this book back in like the eighth or ninth grade.  Some how though it slipped by me being it probably was not required reading and at which time I was all about the dime novel series The Hardy Boys.  Lord of the Flies is a work that I have avoided reading for a long time mostly because  I had a pretty good notion of what the plot was about thanks to various TV and movie spin offs of the novel.  Whenever such is the case I am always hesitant to read the book for fear of my imagination being corrupted by one of these aforementioned sources.  Ade’s found a copy being thrown away at the local art museum where she teaches at risk kids art two nights a week.  I figured it was about time to give it a read.  its fairly easy reading similar to our last book Peer Gynt, which I can only hope any one who keeps up with the book club has long since finished.

Summary of Book IX: Peer Gynt

I went into Ibsen’s Peer Gynt not quite knowing what to expect from the renowned Norwegian playwright.  Turns out I found the play to be a great read borderline profound.  The book’s take on the afterlife is very interesting and its guidelines on living as well.  At times a bit tough to follow Peer Gynt keeps you guessing on the outcome all the way till the end where you will never expect what happens.  If you missed it the first time around I strongly recommend picking it up.  Its a 160 page play that is an easy read.  Give it a shot I promise you wont be sorry.

Where is the Lord of theses Flies?

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This will be the second to last UCB of the winter quarter, the final one being this week’s.  The double points blog is still up for grabs since I have yet to see a topic worth while.  That means there are still potentially three points up for grabs making it anyone’s game against the untouchable Kooky Kyle.   Nick the Kook wins this week with a topic he posted about a month or so ago asking what I thought to be the most important items to pack for a surf trip.  This is a question I have been asked by many people on different occasions and that being the case decided it is about time to put it here for all to benefit from.

The most important thing to do before even considering what to bring is doing a bit of research on the place you intend to visit.  Im not just talking internet and surf guides for information. Those are great.  Before I go anywhere I always like to get in touch with someone who has been to the destination before.  There is no advice better then first hand.  In todays global surf world where traversing the world in search of the best waves has become as easy as scratching your ass one does not have to look to far to find someone who has been to a place you want to go.

The facts on a potential surf trip are crucial to packing the correct gear.  Basically its a tool box, like I said a while back in the blog about building the perfect quiver (click here for that gem of knowledge), you put the right tools in to get the job done.  Questions you should ask are

  1. What is the weather/water temp
  2. What is the average surf height for the season I am traveling
  3. How big will I surf it, how hard do I want to charge?
  4. Are surf shops readily available?
  5. What type of accommodations will I be staying in?
  6. What is the airline’s surfboard travel policy?
  7. Does the country Im traveling to tax surfboards?
  8. Is there reef and if so how sharp?
  9. What health issues should I be prepared for?
  10. Is medical help easily found?
  11. How long am I going to be traveling?

These questions are super important to take into consideration.    Depending on the weather that will determine what type and range of clothing to bring.  If you are going to a tropical climate then your looking at a few pairs of baggies and t-shirts.  If your going to Ireland you will probably want to pack your warm clothes.  The same goes with wet suits.   In may opinion if your are going someplace that requires a suit bring two.  Having a dry wettie is invaluable when your contemplating a second or third session and conditions are less then desirable.

Remember you are traveling to surf and that means surfing as much as possible.   It always blows my mind when people go on surf trips and barely put in one session a day.  When I go on a surf trip thats all I do is surf.  As a  matter of fact I think the only time Im not surfing is for meals and traveling from one surf spot to the next.

Questions 2 through 7 are key for determining how many what types of boards you should bring.  Back when I was traveling all the time in most cases you could get away with a coffin filled with 5-6 boards for no more then $100 bucks each way  and that was considered getting raped.  These days if you can get one way with two boards for under $200 your thanking your lucky stars.  That is why picking the right boards is really important.

Thanks to great advances in surf forecasting you can get a rather accurate five day surf report, and a semi accurate 8-10 day report for just about every location in the world.  If your only going to a place for seven days and the forecast is not calling for anything bigger then six foot I would leave the guns at home and maybe bring a fish.  I spent more energy lugging big boards all over the place only to have them in the corner of my hotel room collecting dust.  I had a 6’6 Merrick step up that I think went on about four different trips with me and I only rode the thing once and that was because I broke all my other boards.

These days if I know the place I am going has plenty of surf shops and no shortage of  boards I only bring two or three boards the most.  If I am going to place like California or Australia where there are more surfboards then people I would consider not bringing any boards at all and just buying what I need used there.  With the exuberant board fees right now it costs about the same anyway, but with out the hassle of lugging around a bulky heavy board bag.  Its fun to ride boards shaped for the place your visiting and get a new take on surfboard design.  If your not a charger dont bother bringing a gun, most places in the world have spots that are always fun no matter how big the buoys are reading.

Once again if surf shops are readily available like Oz or Cali I dont bring extra gear.  Why schlep it around when you can just buy a spare leash or bar of wax?  Accommodations are something you must really think about when packing.  If you are going to stay in dormitory/hostel style lodging (the most affordable for the budget surf traveler, which the majority of us are) I would pack as light as possible.  These types of places usually cram as many beds into one room as possible leaving little room for bags.  The ability to lock up valuables is usually rare as well thus you usually have to always take your belongings with you every time you go out for the day.

That being said I am totally a fan of hostel traveling.  There is no better way to meet and experience people from all different cultures then to live in a multi person dorm for a few days or weeks.  I know when I was cruising around New Zealand I met tons of interesting people at the hostels I was passing through.  Its usually a fun time and for the solo traveler (the only way to go if you ask me) nothing makes socializing easier.  If you show up with an open mind there is no telling what might happen.  If your are crashing on couches for friends I would pack light as well.  No one likes when there house guest’s shit is all over their living room.

Medical supplies are always an important concern.  My rule of thumb has always been if there is something I need to have I bring it with me, especially prescription medication.  I dont care where you go if you forget prescription meds that you need to take it is going to be a head ache at best getting more.  I usually pack a small first aid kit with different size band aids, tweezers, scissors, gauze, medical tape, clear packing tape, crazy glue (put it in wounds to close them up), bedodine, neosporene, and lots of Ibuprofen.  If you are traveling third world it is a good idea to get your hands on some generic strong anti biotics like zythromax just in case you start feeling sick.  In these places some type of anti-diarrhetic is probably a good idea as well.  In countries with high risk of malaria, malaria tablets are a must.

The amount of time you plan on traveling must come into play at some point.  If I am traveling for less then two weeks I bring about four sets of clothes.  When I am traveling for months then I take into account the span of seasons and pack double the amount than I would for a short trip.  Finally if you are going to be surfing over shallow, sharp reef packing a set of reef booties may be a smart idea.  It sucks to have to sit out any time of a surf trip courtesy of reef gashes.  In places where surf gear is scarce things like wax, surf stickers, t-shirts, etc.  can be used as currency.  On a trip to Costa Rica a friend of mine traded two Volcom t’s for a kings ransom of free meals from this one restaurant cause the owner loved Volcom clothing and could not buy it there.

I hope some of this information will be useful.  I felt like a bit of a hippocrate writing this blog since the last surf trip I have been on was like two years ago.  These days the only traveling I do is to New Jersey to see my folks and have all sorts of terrible mishaps happen to me.  As Chicken said in “…lost Across America” “I only get to go on the cheap trips like to the liquor store” , a mantra that seems to hold true for me these days.  When I go up to Jalama or Malibu for the day its sort of a mini surf trip.  Dont cry for me though folks I surf amazing waves all the time and stay wet nearly everyday right here in my beloved Santa Barbara.  Maybe Im on a permanent surf trip of sorts?  One more thing dont forget a jumbo roll of duct tape.  The shit has so many versatile uses is crazy.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions....

I bet she would fit in your suit case.

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Yesterday I wrote a blog about the crazy Rincon session I had entitled “Bad Decisions Lead to Good Outcomes“.  It was a fun little surf tale from what may have been one of the best days I have seen at Rincon this season.  There were a few guys shooting on the beach and occasionally some of the pictures get to the internet.  My boy Brennan once again found a few pictures from the session on SantaBarbaraSurfer.com, they must have put them up after I wrote the blog last night because I actually did check around to see if any photos from the session made it to the internet.  As I always say a picture is worth a thousand words and it is always great to have an idea of what I am talking about when I write this stuff.  There are about six photos of me kooking it on the slide show, but a ton of Bobby killing it and a few other guys getting some nasty ones.  Its worth a check if you have a minute http://www.santabarbarasurfer.com/index.php/news/article/under_the_radar_spring_session_rincon/.  Below is a little slide show I put together of the shots of me from the session.  All pictures taken by Steve Bissell.

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Bad habits die hard.  I was suppose to be in wine class this morning, my favorite class and one I really hate missing, but I had to work the Lunch/Dinner shift at work today thus forcing my hand.  I truly thought there was a Friday night section of the class, which I would later find out was on Thursday night.  I really need to pay more attention to the details in life so I stop constantly blowing it.  That being said if I had to do it all over again I would still miss class, even if I went into the session knowing I was to destroy my favorite surfboard ever.

I woke up and checked the buoys.  They were solid and the wind was off shore with an eight am low tide.  All signs pointed to Rincon.  I got there and the lot was barely half full.  I knew judging from Santa Clause that there was a wave so I just suited up with out checking it.  As I came out of the trail I saw a solid eight to ten foot set five waves deep stand up and unload top to bottom through the cove, barrel and spit.

There were only about ten guys on it.  The water turned out to be freezing and after the first half hour the wind went south.  Bobby was killing it as always.  I had a few great ones including a really fun inside double up that I had some words with some dude about claiming that i paddled around him.  I mean come on man its fucking Rincon. That sort of thing happens all the time.  For the record I did not deliberately paddle the guy.  I was paddling further up the point when the wave came and I swung around for it.

I was a solid twenty yards up from him when I took off.  He proceeded to burn me then call me gay as I passed him, floated a fifteen yard section leaving him in the dust.  That turned out to be one of the better waves of the session for me.   Then it happened, I caught the best wave of the winter for me at Rincon.  I was fucking freezing and it was toward the middle of the session.  This bomb set came and caught everyone out of position.  The eighth wave in the set missed the outer break point of high cove and doubled up right where I was sitting.  No one was deeper so I took off.  I got to the bottom of the thing and it was way way way over  my head.  Im going  to have to claim ten feet on this one.   I hit it three times before pulling into a huge gaping tube which I came out of then did another two huge tail free backside hacks.  As I was going up for the third one I blew my tail out way to far and found myself free falling down a good six feet with the lip.  When I looked under me there was this dude right where I was going to land so I ditched.  I ended up getting worked super hard.  I hit the bottom and got pinned there!  When I came up dude and I were tangled while being battered by solid six foot waves.

When we got free I noticed that the tail of my board was destroyed.  Too bad to cause I really like this board and Kooky dinged my other board while he was visiting last week.  Although beat up I deemed my tail still surfable and the waves were way to good to get out considering I still had another half hour of surf time.  Right after that wave the tide and wind got funky and I never saw another really good one.

Then on my last wave to add injury to insult some dude burned me and as I was attempting to pass him he smashed his nose into my rail compressing it a half inch into the board.  I was dumbfounded by the whole thing because it was not even a good wave.  It was an insider I took just because I was out of time and had to go to work.  Basically in summary I missed my favorite class of the week, caught my best personal wave as far as size and quality go at Rincon for the season yet managed to destroy my board on it and some idiot decided that my board was not broken enough and went ahead and helped to finish the job.  For some stupid reason if you asked me if I would do it all over again my reply would be damn straight.

My wonderful board before getting mangled at Rincon.

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A long time ago Mauriello requested this blog and it was a topic that I had a bit to say on, but at the time just could not find the words to voice my opinion.  Before I get into the blog I want to remind everyone that the UCB Winter Quarter is about to come to a close April 1st.  That being the case it is time for the double points blog to make its elusive appearance again.

 

As usual the double points UCB is in addition to the remaining two that are left in the quarter and will only be written if the topic is one I feel is double points worthy.  If you think about it if you were to win the last two blogs and score the UCB double points blog that would be four points and put you clearly in contention for the title.  Just thought I would throw out some food for thought.

 

A bureaucracy is defined as a system of administration based upon organization into small groups or bureaus, division of labor, a hierarchy of authority, etc designed to dispose of a large body of work in a routine manner.

Bureaucracies are pretty much the tiny subdivisions of organization that we have to deal with in our society on an everyday basis be it good or bad.  They are also the reason why certain things like legal proceedings, the DMV, even renting an apartment in some cases take forever and can be frustrating as hell.  Bureaucracies have rules, and lots of them it is the only way to make such as system work with out falling apart.

 

It is a in most cases “too many chiefs and not enough Indians situation”.   You see it all starts with a few little employees such as the DMV for example were there are “x” amount of customer service agents.  Each one of those agents report to a supervisor, who then imparts their findings to his supervisor, who then goes to his higher up and so and and so forth.  This is all fine and dandy for your everyday operations but when something out of the ordinary needs to be done even if it is the simplest of tasks it ends up taking forever.

 

I will use the transferring of my apartment from joint tenant-ship with my last roommate to adding my new roommate to my lease.  This should have been an easy seamless process considering I was still on the original lease but thanks to all of the rules of the bureaucracy of the rental agency became the biggest headache ever.  I had to get the place inspected, fill out new rental applications, pay rental application fees, sign waivers.  It became a mountain out of a mole hill process courtesy of a bureaucracy all because they have a protocol that must be followed for all procedures no mater what the situation.

 

The reason for this is because of the pure stupidity of 90% of the public.  Lets face most people are morons.   I see it everyday and it makes me sad.  For that reason bureaucracies exist.  To firstly keep the hopelessly stupid employed, in many cases all the way up the food chain thus you have the blind leading the blind, and it helps the retarded coup with living.  Basically it is a house of cards built by some very smart people, but run and managed by idiots.   It is for this reason that such institutions drive the intelligent crazy.

 

What shall we do in place of them?  If you take away bureaucracies then you would have complete totalitarianism.  I don’t really know what’s worse, one jack ass calling the shots or a whole collection of them lost in the woods.  For me it comes back to my age old dilemma: do we educate those who are willing to learn and excommunicate those who are unfit to help with the betterment of society or do we keep sailing on the sinking ship we know.  If we did this who would be the judge and what would be the criteria.  Unfortunately I don’t think I would still fit into it.  Face it we are all fucked, but who cares the world is going to end in a year any way.

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mmmm...waffles

mmmmmmm....waffles....Almond Flour Waffles!!!!

I love waffles, I mean who doesnt?  I will tell you who, my old roommate Brennan didn’t.  Apparently he was eating waffles when he found out his grandmother died as a little kid and has not eaten them since.  Talk about bad associations. I feel the same way about pecan pie.  On a family vacation to Virginia Beach on our last night my parents got this pecan pie from Denny’s. Now, I love Denny’s as far as cheap eats go and a nostalgic Jersey dinner feel you cant go wrong.  I dont know what happen with this particular pie, but all I know is the whole drive back to NJ I was vomiting and spitting out my asshole.

I dont know if you can blame the pie since no one else in my family got sick, quite frankly I most likely ate too much of the damn thing.  Anyway enough with bad food experiences and on to good ones.  Isnt this a great way to start out a blog for a recipe to cook?  These Almond Flour Waffles are absolutely scrumptious and they are gluten free.  These days gluten has become the enemy of human existence  even though we have been eating for over 300 years. They are tasty, fun and easy to make.

Total Cost: $9.75
Feeds About three people, two waffles per person

Ingredient List:

  • Almond Flour – 2 cups
  • Eggs – 6
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Vanilla – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

Step 1: Mix IngredientsIn a large bowl whisk together all ingredients.  It helps to do all the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones.  Whisk till you have a nice batter

Ingredients pre-mixing.

Your finished batter

Step 2: Add Batter to Waffle IronPreheat waffle iron till it is hot.  Pour enough batter into iron to make one waffle, I would say fill the tray about 3/4 of the way.  These waffles grow well.

Step 3: Add ToppingsUse syrup, fruit, powdered sugar, butter, chopped almonds or whatever floats your boat and enjoy.

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This week as I mentioned in my previous bullshit blog was Westmont College’s spring break, being my employer I had the week off as well, unpaid of course.  I actually am ahead financially (or was?) and with many backed up errands to run and Kooky Kyle’s adventure tour the time was rather welcomed.  One of those errands I had to handle was car shopping.  I know just the thought of getting rid of Sammy the Saturn and our countless plights together is a somber one.  We ran up and down the east coast dozens of times for multitudinous round one losses and embarrassment at surf contests. Sammy and I survived the arduous task of driving cross country to California, where I slept in the back seat of the car at truck stops and nearly froze to death in Alabama of all places.

I rebuilt the chassis from junk yard parts when I was ran off the 101 by some random idiot and we survived 200,000 miles of insanity together.  Sammy had a great run and as far as cars go all I can say is that an ’02 Saturn despite the gripes of others did me well.  If I put over five grand in repairs on that car over the nearly ten years of ownership it was a lot.  I was sorry Saturn went under or I would have definitely went back for another.  If you mess around on the myspace.com blogs you can find tons of Sammy and Chris adventures.

Lately driving Sammy around has been like riding in a ticking time bomb.  The whole car shakes over 60mph, the driver side mirror was broken and hanging on by epoxy, the passenger side was repaired with bondo, the tires were bald, the brakes were going, it ate two quarts of oil every 200 miles and god only knows what else was about to blow up under the hood.  Sammy needed to retire, especially with all the driving that constantly plagues the Santa Barbara surfer.   Car shopping I went.

I dont know if anyone out there has ever went car shopping before (Im sure you have) but it is exhausting both physically and mentally.  Maybe its fun when you have a decent supply of money to work with,but when your playing with six grand and bad credit it can be a nightmare.  I wanted something that had under 50k on it and preferably a Honda Civic.  I had been looking online and at auto shoppers for sometime, but I know very little about cars and have no friends that are mechanics so buying a used car that way is very risky.  That being the case I resolved to go the dealer route where I could at least get some type of warranty.

Shopping at car dealers is like being a scantly clad, sexy female at the bar, as soon as you step on to the lot you are being lurked by all the salesmen there.  They let you peruse the merchandise for a little while and then they pounce.  Some were intelligent and when they heard my situation pretty much sent me on my way.  Others were a bit hungrier.  I was at a Toyota dealer looking at the selection of pre-owned vehicles. I told the sales man Steve exactly what I was looking for yet he still attempted to sell me a super charged Scion Xb including a high speed test drive where at one point we found ourselves coming up to a 180 degree turn at 75 miles per hour.  My hear was in my mouth for a moment when we practically drifted the turn at  55.

I couldn’t help humoring the guy, I mean he was so excited about the car.  In the end I found myself at a Buick dealer looking at a 2010 silver Honda Civic two door coupe for $16,800, way out of my price range.  As I was about walk off a sales person, Moses was his name, approached me.   I thought his name was a sign and worth hearing what he had to say.  He claimed they had a comparable Civic for 13.5 on their other lot and we would take the Civic I just described to it.  That ended up just being a ploy to get me to test drive the car.  It was a really smooth ride and I was digging on the car but I knew I could not afford it.

I told him as much and then Moses said “If I could make the numbers work would you be interested”.  Now I love to humor delusional people so I agreed.  When you get inside with a car salesman its a ton of fun.  They try all these ploys to get you to pay sticker price and the like.  After about an hour of negotiations I was over it. I got up to split and then his sales manager shows up, which always happens in such a case and offers me $500 for my Saturn.  I laughed and kept on walking.  Then he offered $1000, Then $2000.  At $2000 for a car barely worth $200 how could I not go for it.   Then the idiots were somehow able to get me a loan as well.

I ended up buying the thing locking myself into a five year $219 a month contract.  Now I hate committing myself to one place for that long, but I figured between school and the chef thing and my ultimate ten year New Zealand goal I will pretty much be planted in Santa Barbara for a while anyhow.  Why not spoil myself with something nice to drive for a change?  Im going to be getting a better job really soon and can most likely pay the thing off faster anyhow.  I guess Im growing up a bit and becoming less of a recluse.  I know its a bit sad, but even Moon Doggie in Gidget had to move off the beach and get a real job.  Dont worry kids Im still in the game and as long as I get a session in a day my core can not be questioned.

I own this...sort of.

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