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Archive for August, 2014

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.

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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.

 

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