Archive for May, 2011

Last I night I posted a miserable blog (See A New Normal)describing my current abatement into poverty and painted a very grim picture to say the least.  This morning I woke up to a message from my new roommate claiming he was coming at 12pm to give me first month’s rent and half the security deposit.  He really did show up.  He is this guy Bryan, works at Starbucks, enjoys fishing, and surfing.  As it turns out he needs a place to live because him and his girlfriend just split up.  Although their situation is a little bit different then my own.  It will be nice to have someone around on the same page as myself.

Then after a somewhat enjoyable Emma Wood session I came home and checked my email and I was offered a month long gig promoting FRS Energy Drinks all over Santa Barbara.  The pay for the job is very good and it seems like it could be a fun time.  This summer was suppose to be all about having fun.  I know there was a ton of concern from many of my readers about my sorry ass situation so I wanted to let everyone know that things are looking up for me once again and not to worry or try and send me money.  Unless of course you want to.  I won’t ever look a gift in the mouth.

By the way, why is it that I just got off a week of crazy adventuring in San Fransisco and had some of the lowest hits in a long time?  I thought those blogs were funny, enjoyable and exciting.  Last night I wrote a macabre blog and my hits were through the roof.  While I was going through my whole ordeal with Adrienne the hits were off the charts as well.  I guess you folks all like drama.  Lets hope for my sake we get a break from it for a little while. Thanks for caring everyone your prayers and good vibes seem to be working for me.

This is me doing a little dance for joy and we all know what an awesome dancer I am!

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I may have had this one as a Groovin’ High entry before.  Truth be told I don’t really know and that page is so hard to open because of content that I don’t really care to look.  Even so it’s not like anyone bothered to ever read that page with exception of Kooky Kyle and maybe Nick the Kook.  Back then when I posted it I think it was probably cause I thought it was a cool song.  Well I still think it is a really cool song.

Ex-factor came up in my shuffle this morning while I was finishing packing up the remainder of my stuff from my old room and moving it across the hall to my new room.  Once again I had never actually listened to the lyrics before.  How powerful and true to my situation they were.  I know I said I would try not to post anymore sad love songs here, but what I have realized in the last six weeks is that the majority of  my Ipod is made up of sad love songs.  I just never really knew what love was or sadness for that matter or heart break.

I always thought them all just cool songs.  Now I hear the words and all the emotion that went along with those words and they really speak to me.  Anyhow I’m not crying anymore.  I am past that stage.  I am not angry, bitter or jealous.  I decided to skip being petty this time around and hopefully from here on in.  I’m regrouping and rebuilding now and at the moment these songs are still the ones that speak from the heart to my heart.  What is the old saying “Better to have loved and lost then to not have loved at all”?

At first that is all I wished for, that everything that was happening was all some terrible nightmare and I would wake up at any moment and Ades would be right there next to me happy.  I never woke up.  You can’t run from reality.  Believe me I have tried, as a matter of fact I have been doing it my entire life and my legs are tired.  For the first time ever I am not running, but facing my future head on no matter what is a front.  That is what a real man does.  He handles his shit.  I can’t see my future and I think it is a good thing that it is a power I do not possess.  Life would not be worth living if we always knew what was in store for us.

Lauryn Hill is one of my favorite female vocalist who does nothing but emit soulful vibes.  Ex-factor is off her debut album back in 1998 entitled The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.  If you have never heard of her before shame on you cause you have been cheated out of a great talent.  I hope you enjoyed the tune and check out more of her stuff.  I can promise it is all solid gold.

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This weeks UCB brings Kooky Kyle back into the victory circle.  Back in September when my life was in order I wrote a UCB entitled the Ten Year Plan where I pretty much wrote both a very real and then a dream plan to be accomplished by the time I was forty.  You can click the link above if you missed it or just plain want to refresh your memory.

Since then things have changed quite a bit and I have found my life in utter shambles.  Adrienne finally moved out this past Saturday.  I would be lying if all of me had not wanted to drop to my knees and pleaded with her to stay.  Of course that was out of the question for both my own personal respect and the sake of her and my mental health.  I don’t really know whether our split is a break or a break up.  All I know is that it was necessary.

I’m pretty torn up over the whole thing and miss her to death.  Looking back now I realize there was just too much drama between us to fix at the moment.  Maybe in time if it was meant to be the two of us will be drawn back in to one another.  That is a long shot and one I need to put out of my head for the moment.

In the movie “Food Inc” there is this lady who has a segment in the film in which she speaks about the loss of her six year old son to ecoli bacteria. She said she had to establish a “new normal” since with out her son alive her life could never be the same again.  My despair of losing a lover absolutely does not even come close to the loss of a child, but that idea of establishing a new normal is exactly what I have to do.

Right now the immediate goal is to force myself to get out of bed every morning and stay out of it till night.  This may seem like an easy task, but when you feel crushed like I do it is very hard.  Alfie gets me up to feed him around 7am every morning but after that it’s back under the covers for me.  I try to pry myself out of bed by 9am and go for surf.  Eat a little breakfast (that’s right I am finally eating again at least) and keep myself occupied for the rest of the day.

Aflie mopes around the apartment all day long making this horrid meow that sounds like a mix between a moan and a screech and when he is not doing that he lays flat on my dresser hanging his head off the edge all pathetic looking.  I guess he is taking it harder then me.   In all actuality I was prepared a bit for what was coming, but poor Alfie knew nothing of it.  One minute Ade’s was here and the next gone for no rhyme nor reason as far as he was concerned.  He barely made it through the loss of Sindia.  Hopefully he will get over Adrienne as he sits on my lap as I write this with the most pathetic look on his face.

Attempting to establish this new normal is a bit hard at the moment considering I am also teetering on the brink of financial ruin.  Adrienne’s departure from my apartment and life came at short notice and a tough renting season up here on the Mesa.  With both City College and UCSB out for the summer there are an abundance of rooms for rent out there and not too many potential renters.  As of June 1st with a few bites but no concrete commitments it looks like I am going to be out a huge chunk of change.

Upon further inspection of the state of my bank account I determined that I spent way too much money in the attempt to woo Ades back.  As it turns out I burned through all my auxiliary funds leaving me with just enough to cover the whole rent on my apartment if (which at this point seems to be the harsh reality) I cannot find a roommate by the first.  If you live in Santa Barbara and happen to know someone looking for a place I have a really nice room in a great apartment available immediately, check it out here: http://santabarbara.craigslist.org/roo/2409336577.html


Currently I am unemployed till September with just a small amount of income being rendered from unemployment.  At the moment I don’t even have enough money to eat.  There is nothing worse then when your cupboards are bare.  Things are beginning to look a bit on the grim side for me at the moment.  At this point I am applying for any position I can find to get my hands on some cash and tomorrow will attempt to sell the majority of my quiver on craigslist.com for a fraction of what its worth.

Just think eight weeks ago I was on top of the world feeling strong with a firm future.  Now I may be homeless in 60 days watching my car get repossessed. Don’t worry this is all worst case scenario stuff.  I am sure some good fortune will come my way.  On the other hand my immediate survival problems trump my emotional turmoil.

If I get all this handled in the next few days then I can go back to establishing my new normal.  As far as a one year plan goes its up in the air right now.  I am going to continue with culinary school and keep working at Westmont.  I want to get back into music.  Ever since all this bull shit started I have been shredding on the saxophones again.

Over the summer I have a few little projects I want to get done.  One in particular is to finish the coffee table (see coffee table link at the top of the blog for more about that).  I want to grow my vegetable garden and work on me as a person.  At the moment I have been pursuing my spiritual side at this church call the Mansion here in Santa Barbara devoted to lost souls finding their way back to God.

So far everyone there has been really wonderful to me and are like a second family.  They all go out of their way to invite me things, make me feel like I belong and help me strive to be the great person I want to be.  Pursuance of my new faith is a serious goal over the upcoming year.  Mainly I need to regroup, rebuild myself and find out who I am again.  When you’re with someone as long as I was with Adrienne that person becomes a part of you and you a part of her.  When that person is taken from your life it is like losing an appendage.  Now I have to be strong and stand on my own two feet again.

This may be my new home very shortly. Alfie is not there because I most likely had to eat him to survive.

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Lombard Street from the bottom. The difficulty level here is no joke folks.

If you’re not familiar with Lombard St it is this crazy windy street in the Russian Hill district of San Francisco completely made of bricks.  The street is a major tourist attraction and a major skate destination for hill bombing enthusiasts alike.  I have seen this street in skate videos, read about it in skate magazines and it was even used in the X-games a few times.  Ever since I was a kid I always thought it would be cool to go and bomb it.

Up until I was about 15 years old I spent the bulk of my time and efforts with skateboarding living about twenty miles in land from the nearest waves.  Once I moved to Manasquan, New Jersey I was only about two miles from the beach and redirected my focus onto surfing.  Leaving most of my skateboard dreams unsatisfied.   I practically gave up the sport till I was 23 and then thanks to a job managing a small surf shop got back into it.  I will save the history of Chris Lisanti skateboarding for another blog.

Due to my circumstance (see blogs, Bowing Out and One Last Perfect Day if your not up to speed) I found myself coming to San Francisco with a bit of a death wish.  No, I’m not suicidal or anything, although I did think of a great way to turn the trunk of my car into a make shift guillotine.  I just kind of showed up with a reckless abandoned not caring if I lived or died.  With this mentality surfing in heavily shark infested waters and bombing streets I would have never dreamed of became a very real possibility.

For that reason I found myself standing at the top of Lombard Street with a skateboard in my hand, fifty tourists pointing and taking pictures and my heart in my mouth (or what was left of my heart for that matter).  The funny thing is I really did not think I was ever going to go through with it.  Especially when I got face to face with the beast.  According to the books Lombard is a 17% grade.

When I had a look down at it I was rather intimidated.  I mean the street was nuts.  I had never seen anything like it before in my life. It was a man eater for sure.  Not to mention the fact that there were easily like 50 tourists all over the street taking pictures and a steady flow of cars driving down it. Lombard not only traversed like a slithering snake but on each side there was nothing but a sheer four foot drop off to a steep flight of steps.  Basically I was looking at getting hit by a car, taking a terrible spill due to lack of control or falling over the side and then tumbling down thirty flights of stairs.  Either way I was going to get very messed up.

John made many rational attempts to keep me from doing it and the bare truth was I really did not believe I had the skill level to complete the task.  Then I got a rush of adrenaline and remember that in order to achieve greatness one must take a leap into the unknown regardless of the consequences.  With that in mind I decided to give the bomb the green light.  I went back to my car and fully padded myself.  I’m talking helmet, elbows, and knees.  I wanted as much protection as I could get.

Mauriello was going to film it so he went half way down to document my death.  I told John he was responsible to tell the world my story if I did not survive.  I really did believe that I might die. Now we had observed the street for about twenty minutes or so and realized that when a sight seeing trolley came by it blocked traffic at the top of the street giving a three-minute window or so to bomb it.

I was standing at the top with my board preparing for the bomb and waiting for the next trolley (apparently they ran every ten minutes) when there was a noticeable break in the traffic.  John signaled me to go and I was pretty antsy to get it over with.  I ran to the middle of the street to the delight of the many tourists, hopped on my board and began to descend into oblivion.  I got about ten feet down the first turn and fell flat on my face in an attempt to power slide it.  I heard ooos, ahhs and laughter from the crowd as I got up and dusted myself off.

Determined to make it down to the bottom at all costs I jumped back on my board and kept moving down hill.  I made it through another three turns or so before falling again, but not as dramatic this time.  The entire run is around 10 switch back turns.  I ended up falling four times.  With a grade that steep you get moving very fast in a very short interval of time.  The only way to really do it is to pull super big power slides.  Most of the slides I was doing slid for twenty feet.

When I got to the bottom there were around another 30 tourist cheering and taking pictures.  I guess I gave all of them a story to tell. I came out of the last turn, did a big power slide in the middle of the cross street and then spiked my skateboard on the ground.  I turned and looked back up at what I had just done and reveled in the feat I had performed.

Then John came running down the steps all stoked as well.  “I think you should do it again,” he said.  I had already decided I was before he even mentioned it.  The second time went a lot better.  As soon as I got to the top a trolley pulled up chuck full of more tourists, who began point and yell as I bomb dropped onto my board right in front of them.  I had my rhythm worlds better this time around and only sort of fell once, although I did not lose my board.  My back foot just came off while recovering from a big power slide.  I bet if I gave it a third run I may have made it down flawlessly.

I did not want to push my luck though.  Also I was not sure my wheels could handle another run.  They had already lost two years worth of life from the previous two runs as it was.  I guess I will have to save it for next time.  I was super pumped just for the fact that I actually did it.

So many people in this life think about doing things like this and then let rationality talk them out of it.  I am not a skater by any means and Lombard St. was with out a doubt way out of my ability range.  I had an opportunity to realize a dream, do something great.  Yeah bombing a crazy hill on a skateboard is not as great as helping starving orphans or something of that aperture, but for me at that moment it was a heck of an accomplishment.  It is another check off the list.

What I am trying to say is that when an opportunity comes your way you should seize it no matter how scary or difficult it may seem.  I have always believed that anyone can do anything if they wanted it bad enough and I meet and see other people all the time who prove this to be true.  Maybe this blog will inspire you to go out and take a chance, do something you always wanted to, but have been hesitant for whatever reason.  Life is short and we are only here for a limited amount of time.  I think we owe it to ourselves to get the most out of it we possibly can.  I have said it once and I will say it again “You miss 100% of the pitches you don’t swing at”.

Stay tuned for a video of my SF skate adventures and more photos from Lombard soon.  They are on John’s Camera and he left it in San Francisco.  Click here for the video of my Lombard Bomb.

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Empty Waves of north county

When I initially decided to travel to San Francisco I had a few must visit items.  Alcatraz was one of them and the giant redwoods was another.  Alcatraz was out because upon research the cheapest tour was $26 and just a tad to pricey for John’s and my budget.  Yesterday the plan was to meet up with my old roommate Brennan and go up to the redwood forest.

Being from Santa Barbara I never even thought to check the weather report before plotting out how I was to spend each day of my trip.  In Santa Barbara 300 days of the year you can count on sunny days where the temperature always gets above 70 degrees F.  In San Francisco however things are well a little bit more fickle.  While on the phone organizing the day’s festivities with Brennan he mentioned I should check how the weather was going to be.  Sure enough rain was forecasted and upon waking up it was raining and miserable out.

“When one is given lemons why not make lemonade”?  It may have been cold and rainy out but the wind was light for north county Santa Cruz and according to the surf report there were waves.  I love surfing north county and driving the PCH south from SF to Santa Cruz is one of the most awe inspiring rides a person can embark on along the California coast line.  The road traverses along steep cliff side banks with the vast expanse of the blue Pacific Ocean to the west and green rolling hills with scattered eucalyptus tree forests about them.

Along the road one also dips down into all these quaint little coves and valleys where a collection of beaches span out offering solidarity and a variety of river mouth, reef and beach breaks usually empty for the taking.  One must be an intrepid soul for although there may not be another human in sight there other creatures who lurk beneath that my not be so kind.  The men in gray suits ask no question and are non-discriminate in who they decide on taking.  I’m talking about sharks folks.  That whole zone is part of the red triangle and a seal rookery.

We started our way south from Ocean Beach down the Great Ocean Hwy and passed a number of almost adequate looking waves.  With 60 miles of road and over 100 surfing possibilities not to mention a guaranteed pay off at Steamer Lane John and I were not about to settle for anything less then great.  In my head I still had a vendetta to settle with a certain river mouth fed beach break called Gazo Creek back when I visited Santa Cruz in the fall of 2009.  Check back to the Myspace.com blogs for that one.  I may post it as a Blast from the Past at some point.

Long story short my boy Mark and I paddled out there just before dark and it was solid 8-12 ft and macking, but near perfect.  The paddle out was a nightmare and when we got out it was way bigger then we thought and both of us were on 5’9’s completely under gunned.  We freaked out, took one wave and came in.  A surf spot had not beaten me like that in years.  Ever since then like Captain Ahab and his whale I have sworn redemption from this wave.

Before getting to Gazo’s we stopped at this tiny road stop Greek pizzeria called Odyssey Café in Moss Beach just about 20 miles south of San Francisco.  I love little hole in the wall mom and pop type places that serve nothing but comfort food.  Some people are all about gourmet and fine dinning.  Sure that has its place in society but for me it’s all about places like this and I spend my time seeking them out where ever I am.

Odyssey did not disappoint and kept the good eating streak alive.  The place had four tables and offered pizza, Greek specialties and sandwiches all at a very affordable price.  I had a gyro and John got a chicken sandwich, both of which were delicious.  Did I mention they had an eight-foot rusted out metal sculpture of Tyrannosaurus Rex out front?  It was a most pleasant dinning experience.  From there we headed to Gazo Creek.

Gazo’s was small and although a few scattered lefts and rights hardly worth the shark risk.  I knew of spot a little farther south just on the other side of Ano Nuevo that I thought could be fun.  It has a name but for this blog’s purposes and the fact that I would love to surf there again with out being pummeled by angry locals I am going to call it The Saw Mill.   Basically the place has some scattered beach break peaks to the north and to the south about four reef breaks with on premiere right and left.  I had surfed the right back in the fall of 2009 and scored it.

On this particular day the left looked very appealing.  It was far from the best wave I had ever seen but no one was out, it was about chest to head high on set and peeling at least fifty yards down the reef.  I had a couple five to seven turn rides.  It was a bit soft, but every now and then there was the occasional double up and it was glassy.  As we got on our suits the sun came out.  The water was colder then yesterday except it was so much fun out there I did not even care.

John and I had a ball surfing for a solid two and half hours the entire time having the break to ourselves.  In all truth it was near perfect for about an hour and then the tide and wind slowly changed breaking up the lines.  It was still fun but not as easy to make all the connections.  It was by far the best surf session and most fun I have had in nearly a month.  My head has been so clouded lately with lamentations of my failed relationship with Ades.  I think she only popped into my head three times the entire session.

Oops I guess I am going to have to get a punch in the arm from John for that.  I have been obsessing over Adrienne for the past six weeks and now that we are done I need to get her out of my head and mouth.  I told John to punch me whenever I bring her up.  I know it’s a bit inappropriate but it has been helping.  Sometimes I mention her with out even knowing it.  Both my arms are getting pretty black and blue.

After the surf we headed back to town.  Brennan was to come up to the city and meet us for a night of more party shenanigans.   John and I had dinner at this random Chinese food restaurant in his neighborhood.  We ordered chicken chow mien, pork fried rice and General Tso’s chicken.  The General Tso’s was delicious the rest was edible.  I always make it a point to eat Chinese food when I’m in San Francisco.

We met up with Brennan and headed downtown.  I was really excited to go downtown since partying in downtown Santa Barbara is fun I could only imagine how crazy it would be in a major city.  I know it was Wednesday night but I’m sure in New York one can find some very happening parties going off.  John’s fifi being a San Francisco native knew the scene well and gave us two places to go.  The first was a club called Infusion.

At the door there was a small line and the bouncers were pulling that ratio bullshit the guys were pulling on Sunday night.  What is with this town?  Are there no females here?  In Santa Barbara the ratio is solid with out any bouncer interference.  The promoter lady tells us the ratio is 1:1 and unless you have a girl with you the chances of getting in are slim.  If I already had girls with me why the fuck would I need to go out anyway (I had a girl and blew it for just that reason, but that is why I am a fool and am suffering).  The three of us are on line when the promoter tells us to leave.  “Get off the line guys cause your not getting in”.  Meanwhile this pimped out escalade full of gangster looking Mexicans pulls up, all dudes and they walk right in.

I thought she was joking, but then she proceeded to get angry and told us to beat it or they were going to have to take adverse measures.  I have never in my life been kicked off the line at a club before.  We were three well dressed good looking guys that any club should have been happy to let into their establishment.  We went on to the next place, but they wanted $15 to get in on a Wednesday night, Brennan tried to talk the bouncer down to $15 for the three of us, but it was to no avail.

Beaten we went to some other place that had about 35 heads in it, 25 dudes and maybe 10 girls out of which maybe six were not taken and out of that there were really only two decent ones who every other guy there had already hit on.  Brennan always told me how much more fun partying in Santa Barbara was and now I believe it.  All I know is that I hate that I have to resort to going back out to meet people.  Being single sucks. I forgot how little fun the game is.

We bounced out of that place and stopped by an Irish pub that was filled with couples and people over 40 before making our way to a 24 hour diner.  Back in New Jersey I always ended my nights in a late night diner.  It was just the place to brighten up the night.  John was bummed out because he felt he let me down and I was bummed out like I am every night.  We were seated by this very attractive foreign waitress.  She was terrible at her job but good to look at.

It was a classic dingy dinner with terrible food and even worse staff.  Just what the doctor ordered for a smile.  Brennan starts running all these “what if” scenarios like he used to do when we lived together that got all three of us laughing and smiling again.  We ended up hanging out there shooting the shit for nearly two hours.  It was great to be out with two of my best friends and just laugh.  My life for the last two years had been adjoined with another’s and maybe somewhere along the way I lost sight of myself absconded in the collective us.

Now I am finding myself again and it should be a very interesting journey that I need to embrace and not cry about anymore.  John may have been bummed about not finding me a woman up here, but that is not why I came to San Francisco in the first place.  I came out here to celebrate his graduation and be among my genuine friends.  Mission accomplished.

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OB blowing it up.

After our shenanigans the previous night we were left to yet another late start.  I woke up and noticed the wind was rather light.  When I got out of bed the first thing John said to me was that we should check the surf.  Off to Ocean Beach we went.

Ocean Beach is this four mile long beach break at the western end of the city.  The place is pretty much a ghost town.  It is really weird to be at the beach looking back at a major metropolis.  Sure enough there were some less then perfect chest to head high waves coming in with rather light winds.  It looked a bit on the mushy side, but I was sort of interested to give it a paddle.

Of course we did about an hours worth of car surfing and another half hour milling around the parking lot before actually hitting the water.  We gave it just enough time for the wind to come up a bit harder making it even less desirable.  This was a relatively small day for OB and let me tell you what a bitch of a paddle out it was.  I could only imagine how much it sucks when it is double or triple overhead.  No thank you, I think I will just stick with Rincon.

Overall it was rather poor quality.  I managed to snag 11 waves, which believe it or not is pretty good for the place.  Most waves were nothing more then a drop and cut back.  I had one or two that offered up a little bit more but overall it was far from killable.  The water was freezing.  I wore a hood and was still cold the entire session.  After an hour or so we were over it and retreated back to the warmth (or lack there of) of the beach.

I was pumped to surf in the heart of the city. For how terrible it was there were easily twenty guys out.  I guess surfers are frothy for garbage everywhere.  Straight from the surf it was grub time.  I noticed this all you can eat Indian lunch buffet not far from John’s pad for $9.95.  There is nothing better then gorging yourself with massive amounts of Indian cuisine after a vigorous surf, or paddle in this case.

John and I are big eaters so you can bet your ass we did some serious damage to the place.  He did three and half heaping plates and I ate four.  We definitely got our moneys worth. The food was rather decent to.  I must say eating wise I am so far very pleased with this trip.

Following all that food John was beat and went into an immediate food comma for two hours while I entertained myself with internet porn (no, I was writing yesterday’s blog).  Around six I woke his ass up cause I was bored and wanted to explore more of the city.  He took me to Golden Gate Park where they have a really cool art museum and a science museum as well.  They were closed but the architecture of the buildings was worth a look in it’s self.

The science museum had a self sustaining roof mad of dirt, grass and solar panels and the art museum was this crazy shape of twisted metal with lots of cool sculptures around its perimeter.  Then there was this cool walk with three complimentary fountains.  It was a chill place to cruise about.

I promised John’s little fifi Elise that I would cook a meal for all of us before I left and last night was the night.  She is a vegetarian (except she eats fish, since when have fish been considered a vegetable.  I mean I know they put halibut genes in strawberries so they can grow in colder climates, but that is a whole other can of worms not be opened in this blog) so I decided to make this new dish I am perfecting (stay tuned for a recipe soon) with the hearts of anise, and a creamy Bechmel sauce over linguine with artichoke hears, fresh basil leaves, mushrooms and tomatoes.  I had to leave out the tomatoes because apparently John doesn’t care for them.

The meal came out superb.  Fifi brought over a nice bottle of resling from Napa and dark chocolate and sugar covered ginger for dessert. All and all I would say it was a most splendid evening.  Since the last two nights had been so out of control we decided to kick it in with an early night.

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This town is freezing.  I was very grateful to have even woken up and not have died of hypothermia in my sleep.  We had a slow start after the previous night’s gallivanting about.  I love nothing better then a good breakfast.  John brought me to this quaint little crepe place in his neighbor hood that was absolutely to die for.  They made like 15 different crepes, and then an assortment of other breakfast items.

I got what they called a California crepe stuffed with egg, avocado, mushrooms, green peppers, tomato and green onions, served over freshly cut home fries and a side salad.  Everything was super fresh.  It tasted amazing.  Then my tea was brewed from the actual leaves, no tea bag and I had to use this tiny strainer to pour it into my glass.  It was a most splendid eating experience.

From there we decided to do a little good old-fashioned hill bombing and street skating.  After all San Francisco is one of the great skate cities in the world.  I personally would put it just second to Barcelona.  “When in Rome…”.  We cruised to Ocean Beach where there is less traffic and an agreeable number of very long hills.  I am talking easily 15-20 city block bombs that took around 5-8 minutes to get to the bottom of.

Before getting into the skate session we took a quick peak at the surf, which courtesy of 40-knot onshore wind was complete trash.  The wind was so strong we could not even stand on the dunes to look at it directly because of the sheer volume of sand blowing around.  Street surfing would have to do.

Now I have not skated since John was living at my place over the summer and I must say I was a bit apprehensive about getting wrecked or run over by a car for that matter.  John had a good handle on the situation.  We took the street trolley up the hill in between each run.  These hills were massive and would have taken way to much time and been too exhausting to walk up.  First bomb I took very conservative just feeling things out.  By the last one I was power sliding all over the place, hitting banks, ollieing gaps and just having a ball.

When all was said and done John had a broken bearing and I had just about completely worn out the bushings on my trucks.  I would say it was a successful day of skating.  Neither of us got hurt nor hit by cars.  John even saved the world from a renegade pink stripped Victoria Secret bag that was blowing all over the street.

After the skate we just sort of kicked it the rest of the afternoon.  Did a little moseying around town.  That night one of John’s friends from school was having a party.  We planned to make an appearance.  When we got there the host had already passed out.  Turns out the event had started at 1pm.  There were still a hand full of good time seeking enthusiast about the place and John’s boy Whiter this crazy dude from New England, whom was drunk as a skunk, just brought three 12 packs.

Phone calls were made and a new venue was quickly acquired.  Whitter shows up out front of the building with this red 80’s ford pick-up truck.  The truck was suppose to usher eight of us to the new spot.  Being the gentlemen we are the girls got to ride in the cab while John, myself and one other dude laid down in the dirty, rusted bed with all the beer.  My first thought was this is a very bad idea then my adventurous spirit kicked in and I jumped in and held on tight.

Now we had no idea where we were going or how far it was.  All I know is we were getting bounced around in the back of the truck being operated by a very inebriated driver for what felt close to ten minutes.  The tuck comes to a stop and we get out in the middle of one of the swankier neighborhoods in the area.  I am talking fancy high rise apartments with door men.

Immediately I am under the idea that there is no way we are going to be let into any of these places.  Sure enough we walked right into the lobby of this gorgeous building that the rent had to be at least $4,000 a month, got in the elevator and went up to the top floor.  The apartment our group ended up at was a luxury one bedroom.  Expensive kitchen appliances, big flat screen TV.  The dude had an electric drum kit, 88 key electric piano, and two really decent guitars in his bedroom.  This kid was loaded.

The party was your standard house party.  Everyone there was super nice and I found it pleasure to make all their acquaintances.  Upon seeing the keyboard this chick visiting from Idaho claims she is a classically trained concert pianist.  Our host put her to task.  “Im a little drunk so don’t expect much” she said.  As soon as she sat down on the keys she started wailing Bach and Mozart.  It was rather impressive to say the least.  After that a group of us had a little jam session that was terrible, but with a few cocktails in us I guess it was an adequate jam.

On the tenth floor of the building was this outside lounge area that gave a 360 degree view of the entire city.  I went out there to check it out and it was exhilarating.  You could see everything.  The tall buildings of downtown, the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean.  Must be nice to have that kind of money.

By about midnight the party was done.  John and I not quite ready to call it a night hailed a cab.  I get in and tell the driver “Take me some place we can meet pretty girls”.  The driver was an Indian guy and did not have the best grasp on English or just misinterpreted what I had in mind. Next thing we know we found ourselves in the middle of the XXX district of San Francisco.  The cabby looks back at me with a shit eating grin and says “There are very many pretty girls here”.

I almost died laughing.  Not wanting to spend any more money on that cab we got out.  At the very least there was probably some rat hole dive bar we could drink a beer.  As John and I are walking around this gaudy neon light driven block he mentions to me that he had never been to a strip club before.  I personally am not a fan of such places, although they can be rather entertaining more for the actual patrons then the girls.

I told him to pick one.  Every man aught to visit a nudie bar at least once in his life.  It is sort of a right of passage.  I always thought it was something everyone did when they turned 18.  We walk into this trashy little place called the I Club.  There was a $15 cover but being it was late and a Monday night the bouncer let us cruise.

Just as I expected it was a sleazy dirty bar with average looking and in some cases over weight strippers.  Luckily for us it was just a topless club or I think it would have traumatized the poor kid.  I went and cashed in $10 for singles and gave John six.  That is how those girls earn their money, ugly or not I was not going to cheat them out of their bread.

We stayed for three acts and then bailed.  I must say although not the hottest strippers I have ever experienced they were some of the best dancers.  The place had an eight foot high pole and two of the girls managed to climb all the way to the top and then slide down it upside down with out breaking their necks.  After 15 minutes we had seen enough and bailed.

John looked at me and said I will never go in one of those places again.  I patted him on the back and said that was a very good idea.  I think that may have been the lowest level of human degradation he had ever been exposed to.  I know I always walk out of such venues with a little less respect for mankind on a whole.  All I can say is I have been in San Francisco for less then 48 hours and already have had a crazy series of adventures.

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Running away from your problems never really solves anything.  Originally when I conceived this trip over a month ago the premise was for me to go celebrate my old surf shop minion turned good friend’s John Mauriello’s recent graduation from design school.  The kid earned BA for industrial design, that shit is pretty hard. I have seen John’s work and its super tight.  I would say the dude is borderline genius.

I’m really proud of him. I wanted to come up for his graduation and subsequent gallery show, but unfortunately it coincided with my final exam schedule at culinary school. The plan was set for me to travel there for a few days after finals and just run wild all over the city.  I had not been up to San Francisco since I was a little kid and my recollection was hazy at best.  I was looking forward to quite an adventure.

Then my relationship with Adrienne fell apart and going to San Francisco took on a whole new meaning for me.  It became an escape even if for a short while.  At the very least I can leave the bulk of my pain behind.  That did not really happen, but its all good cause the adventuring has already started.

The drive up was rather uneventful although breathtaking nonetheless. I always forget how beautiful open space is.  I ended up stopping at some random highway side vineyard in Paso Robles for a tasting.  I tasted about seven wines for free and then bought a 2008 vintage of a so so Cabernet Sauvignon for $5 bucks that I guess they were trying to move.  For the money they bottle was more then worth it.

I got into town around sevenish and completely got off at the wrong exit getting lost in the city.  It was chill though cause I got to take in some of the scenery.  San Francisco is a big city.  The lay out is crazy with really steep hills, electric buses and trolley cars running all over the place. I was full of awe.  Luckily John was able to talk me through the chaos back to his apartment.

I must say the kid lives in a really nice place with a chill ass room.  He was even able to return the kindness I showed him over the summer with my very own ghetto futon couch to sleep on.  He already had the night all planned out.  Apparently there was this club Matrix that goes off on a Sunday.

We cruised down there by bus and besides some slice bread with almond butter and sugar cookies we really had not eaten anything.  Luckily for us the bus dropped us right in front of a KFC.  As we walked in a group walking out said they were closed.  I look at the lady behind the counter and asked if she had any garbage she could feed us.  She ended up filling a bag up with old potato wedges and some popcorn chicken that were definitely time and temperature abused.

When I reached in my pocket to pay for it the lady behind the counter was like no charge.  I threw her a $5 tip for the effort.  I was fucking starving and housed that shit.  From there it was off to the club, but we were coming down from our wine buzz rather quickly. Thank god for a corner liquor store/frozen yogurt place (I know what a ridiculous combination) and mini shots.  I love those tiny airplane bottles they are so much fun.

This particular joint had Patron mini-shots so it was on.  We got to the club and the bouncer forced us to wait outside for like over 30 minutes claiming a bad ratio, meanwhile letting in packs of other guys, whom were not nearly as well dressed and definitely not helping the ratio out at all.  Maybe it was John’s asshole face that kept us from being garnished with immediate entry.

Finally these two random chicks grabbed us off the street and were going to let us walk in with them and yet still the douche bag bouncers would not let us in and made the girls wait with us also.  It was ridiculous and some real heinous political bullshit if you ask me.  That pretty much set a negative tone for the rest of my night.

When I finally got in, the place was a tiny little spot with a 7 guys to one girl ratio and out of that I think there were maybe a dozen unattached.  Of that population maybe four worthwhile of any effort.  Santa Barbara and its high concentration of beautiful women and over abundance of them really skews a person’s out look on things.  Whatever, I got a free drink off some friend of John’s and spent the rest of the night attempting to break it down on the dance floor despite the fact that the DJ was the worst I have ever had the anguish to listen to.

After maybe two hours of that we cruised out of there.  John’s friend gave us a ride home and took us across the Golden Gate Bridge since I had not been across it.  It seemed a lot smaller then I would have expected.  It was still really cool and then when we got to the other side we parked for a minute and got to over look the entire city skyline.  That was in my opinion the best moment of the entire evening.  I have not really seen a city skyline since I went home for Christmas and had forgotten just how extraordinary the accomplishments of man can be.   Moral of the story: if you’re ever in San Francisco don’t waste your time on the club Matrix.

Patron shots at the bus stop.

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For the next few days I will be pimping my shit out with my boys John Mauriello and Brennan here in San Fransisco.  I have not been in this city since I was a kid and just driving into it today I felt all the excitement of a big city.  We are going to be doing some adventuring and some partying.  Keep checking here for updates, stories and pictures.

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This week’s UCB makes a winner of John Mauriello with the topic “Money”.  Although I feel like this is one that has been covered before I have no concrete recollection of it making perfect grounds for a revisit.  He gets one point for his efforts.

I hate money with a passion.  Unfortunately it is one of the necessary evils for survival in this world.  I have seen it cause misery and wreak havoc in my own life and the lives of others.  Growing up I was obsessed with money.   I could not get enough of it.  I would do chores around the house, work all sorts of odd jobs.

Money was a way for me to get things that I wanted.  As a result I never properly learned how to manage my money either.  As a kid I spent it as fast as I had it and when I became an adult the same held true.  Then somewhere along the road I realized the money was just another shackle put on our ankles by society.  I learned how to live on as little as possible and get as much as possible out of it.

Now I look at money purely as a means of survival.  Sure I have dreams about being a baler, wearing expensive cloths, driving luxury cars and having a house on the hill.  I don’t think I know to many people who don’t.  These days my ideas of money have become a bit more realistic and my goals concerning it as well.  Now I only shoot for obtaining as much money as it takes to live comfortably and not have to always worry about getting my bills paid.

I have learned to live within my means to some extent not that it is an easy feat here in Santa Barbara where the cost of living exceeds the mean salary by triple.  I guess that is the price we pay to live in paradise and I would not have it any other way.

My biggest problem with money is how it is used as a method to value people.  Look at minimum wage for example.  Is anyone person really only worth $7.25 an hour?  I sure hope not, but that is what one must degrade himself to in order to survive.  It was not long ago I had an audition for a grill position at a restaurant here in town.  The owner was impressed with my skills and offered me the job but only wanted to pay me $10 for it.

I valued my skills a little higher then that wage and by accepting such degrading of a wage I would have devalued the position and the profession of a cook.  The fact of the matter is it is a skilled job needed to be worked by a skilled individual who should be worth a little more then I got paid to sit on my ass at the gas station doing monkey work.

That is how America and capitalism work.  The person in advantage can take advantage and the person at a disadvantage must accept his fate.  I hate money.  I hate what it does to us.  I hate that it has become the only motivating force in our society.  Instead of an individual striving to the best he or she can possibly accomplish the only concern is how much am I going to get paid for it.

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