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Naples21416Sabrina-124

Its moments like these that really count. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

It’s still a mystery to me how this life works or even why.  I know the religious cats out there like to leave it up to their god or gods.  The fatalists believe our lives are already predestined according to the rules of fate.  The transcendentalists like to watch how life unfolds in front of them.  As for me I spent most of my time confused and boggled by both my everyday life and the greater scheme there of.  In addition I find myself in a constant state of awe and utter amazement of the world around me.  Most of the time I just plain spend too damn much time attempting to figure out just what is going on instead of just going with the flow, a motto I have very much been carefully learning to adopt.

Maybe If I had been able to “go with the flow” so to speak things would not have gotten as out of hand as they did.  For there has always been a fine line between going with the flow and standing up for what you believe in.  Whats right is right after all.  A friend of mine took note the other day that my blogging seems to revolve around my former relationships to define epochs in my life.  This thought began to marinate in my mind a bit and I thought that maybe my friend was right. My life for at least the last ten years or so has been defined by one woman or another and each one subsequently led to my personal demises.

Once again this little blog saga that I have been dragging out is nothing more then a pathetic epilogue , a sad testament even,  on some level to another failed romance.  If I have learned anything from all of what you have already read and are still to read it’s that women in general are fucking nuts.  Believe me I know crazy.  I’m completely bat shit, certifiably insane. I crossed over that line and never looked back around ten years ago.  Ultimately my thoughts are that I will never understand the female psyche and I suppose I don’t really care to anymore.  I am just going to do my thing and let them do theirs.

Anyhow so last I left off I had been jilted by yet another she devil. I know now she was just a rebound, but at the time it killed me.  I think the hardest thing that anyone has to do is get over a relationship and many of us can’t help but jump right into another one to if even for a brief moment be able to relive the same feeling of love we had with our exes.  This momentary memory becomes pure bliss and we forget our troubles.  What usually happens at least for me and others I have talked to is that I end up putting way too much emphasis and pressure on this new budding relationship causing it to falter before it even got off the ground.  This was exactly the case this time around, though it didn’t help that she had one of the least agreeable dispositions I have ever come across in a relationship.

After the break up that was the pretty much the premise of the “When it rains it” blog I went into my usual downward spiral of drinking, drug abuse and incessant partying.  At the same time I was also losing interest at my job.  I was promised all these so called changes that were going to take place to make my life easier.  Instead they just made my job harder and way more annoying.  Over it and feeling very aggravated with my life in general I began to act out against the management a bit.  I even began to stir up a bit of mutiny among my fellow employees.

The fact that it was an El Nino winter and the WNW swells kept pouring in didn’t help either. In fact I began using my sick and vacation time in pursuit of catching good days out at Naples, El Capitan and other of my favorite waves.  At that point I was over missing decent waves for a job that was going absolutely no where and for a management system that completely didn’t care.  When I think of all the great days of surfing I have missed for that stupid job it makes me sick, including the once in a life time Hurricane Marie swell.  You can click this link for that skinny on that one.

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Saying the winter was solid is almost an understatement.  Photo: Christopher Dunlea

I guess it was late January when everything went down.  The hard part about work place politics and one I have never been all that good about is knowing who’s ass to kiss and who to side with.  My problem always is that I don’t kiss anyone’s ass and just about all the time say exactly what is on my mind good or bad.  I finally had enough of all the new changes going on with out any consultation of my own.  I steadily began making complaints and inquiries into everything that was taking place.  I suppose my bosses and a few other employees who were looking to climb the ladder a bit at my own demise got into cohorts against me and began compiling incriminating evidence, most of which was absolute bull shit, against me.  I was the only one with the integrity and gall to challenge what I felt was unfair policy and as a result like any great martyr I took the fall for it.

Ultimately it all led to my termination for a charge of which I was guilty of just that it had been known that I was an offender of such since I initially began working there six years ago, and was never warned or questioned about.  As a matter of fact my own bosses used to joke with me about it.  I am not going to get into here cause it is a tad embarrassing and could hurt my professional reputation.  The evidence against me was severely lacking and mostly hearsay.  I actually consulted a few lawyers about the possibility of a wrongful termination suit and was advised against it, being told although I had a decent case it was not worth the time, money and effort.  In the end I took what little severance I was offered and moved on with my life.
archesChris

By February and my birthday I found myself totally and completely at a loss.  I had no job, very little money, no prospects and no girl friend.  Some would say my situation seemed rather bleak and if I was a normal person I would have felt the same.  As I dug deep into my inner self and came to grasp with my situation I actually realized that my current state of things though sounding a bit desperate was the best possible scenario one could ask for and one I have found myself in before.  Life had basically in one fell swoop handed me a do-over.

Basically I was involuntarily handed a clean slate to draw up whatever plans or lack thereof I saw fit.  Slowly I began to climb back up to my former self. As of press time after a tough spell I feel greater then ever.  The world is my oyster and I’m hunting for pearls.  The winter was amazing.  I got to do and experience lots of wonderful things that my career had taken from me the past six years.  I finally remembered what it was like to live.  In the end as angry as I was at Sodexo and everyone involved in my unemployment I feel the need to express a great sense of gratitude for setting me free.  I don’t know what’s next for me at the moment, but I am exploring some different avenues all a bit outside of the box. Time will tell my friends, it always does.

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Hoping for a grand future.  Photo: Christopher Dunlea

 

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No blogs, just surf

No blogs, just surf

June came and went with not a piece of writing here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  For that I must say I am sorry.  I thought I would take a moment to explain myself a little bit.  First off things have been a bit on the crazy side.  Alright, when isn’t my life on the crazy or hectic side?  Normally by July I have hit my stride of chilling on Uncle Sam’s nickel.  That was exactly where I saw myself by now.  Unfortunately my superiors at Westmont had other plans for my summer.  While I would usually find myself living on the dole of unemployment with a little hustle and flow on the side I found myself stuck in the kitchen four days a week.

The Westmont Grind

Back in April I had been asked if I wanted to work May term hours.  May term is a one month micro semester Westmont runs for it’s students.  Like any institution of higher learning this means they compress classes into a short time period but still charge students the same amount of money per credit for the normal semester.  The motherfucking business of education.  “Hey come spend all your money and go into debt, then graduate with a useless degree and have to go work for minimum wage for some idiot like me”.  The only difference is I too am a well educated idiot working way outside of my degree or education for way less money then I should.  I think I just summed up every American from 22-35 at the moment.  Ain’t this country grand.  America land of the free only if your rich while the rest of us have become the in debt slave laborer. Sorry for the rant but it has been a while.

I did the math and realized if I worked all of May and saved the bulk of that money I could kick it on unemployment for the remainder of the summer and still have my “extravagant” or lack there of life style with out any change, unlike my usual summers where by August I am eating out of the trash and basically sucking dick for crack.  Well maybe not that last part, but you get what I am saying.   The fuckers stuck me on the morning shift meaning I had to get up at pretty much 5:30 every morning and leaving me forced to surf windy blown out shit in the afternoons.  It was only temporary…or at least that is what I thought.

May term came and went and I began getting even more hours as an influx of camp and convention groups came in.  Apparently Westmont whores out its campus to anyone willing to pay for it all summer long.  This sort of makes me a prostitute for the institute I suppose.  Whatever, dollar bills!   I have been working about 25-40 hours a week, work depending since May.   My schedule changes week to week which is certainly a pain in the ass.  I still manage a surf everyday and am stacking some mean paper while flipping burgers.

Reaping the fruits of my labor.  Your looking at a bacon double cheese burger for yours truly.  You think I would feed the customer this well, as if.  Yes that is a plastic plate on top a 350 degree F flat top grill.  Safety as always is my number one concern.

Reaping the fruits of my labor. Your looking at a bacon double cheese burger for yours truly. You think I would feed the customer this well, as if. Yes that is a plastic plate on top of a 350 degree F flat top grill. Safety as always is my number one concern.

Also it looks like I may actually become the full blown sous chef this fall considering that our old sous chef and my fellow friend in suffering Geoffrey is taking off a few months for hand surgery due to old age.  The guy is like 62 and been a war horse in the kitchen for over 40 years.  I am bummed to see him go as I have been able to learn so much from him and he over the past  six months has become sort of a mentor to me not to mention a great friend.  Honestly I don’t really want his job.  If I get impressed into it I am looking at twice the head ache, three times the responsibility, 100% more bull shit for if I am lucky $2 more an hour.  Whooooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!  I am actually going to have a sit down with my general manager this week to see what is going on with the fall semester.

Catering

This was close to 150 salads for a wedding at some Hollywood directors 30 million dollar estate in Montecito.

This was close to 150 salads for a wedding at some Hollywood directors 30 million dollar estate in Montecito.

Those of you who frequently read the surflog know all about most of everything I have written and will write in this blog.  Basically I may not write blogs everyday or even monthly these days, but I do however write in my surflog, my online journal, daily.  So if you have not discovered it yet give it a peruse every now and again.  My boy Trevor recently became Executive Chef for a local catering company here in Santa Barbara.   I will not disclose the company so as to not cause any problems that this blog so often does in my life when I name, names.

He asked me if I would help a brother out for a bit while he got on his feet there.  At the moment I am currently his sous chef.  I am a double sous.  Always a fucking a bridesmaid and never a bride!  On my days off I am stuck either at an event busting my ass or in his kitchen prepping for an event.  Its a good learning experience and even more paper to stack.  At this point I am doing the best I have monetarily in about eight years or so.  Last night I took Heather out to dinner, where I proceeded to get sloshed and told her “MONEY IS NO OBJECT”.  And you know what?  It wasn’t…

Here we are at the Palace toasting to Trevor's new found success

Here we are at the Palace toasting to Trevor’s new found success

And we cooked up a surf and turf feast for the occasion.  That is grilled tri tip, Grilled fresh local prawns, orzo and roasted vegetables, and goat cheese horse radish bruschetta

And we cooked up a surf and turf feast for the occasion. That is grilled tri tip, Grilled fresh local prawns, orzo and roasted vegetables, and goat cheese horse radish bruschetta

DING REPAIR

Look at the ghetto set up I have going here.  My board is propped up by a cooler in the ally way on the side of my building.  I like to call what I do no guerrilla surf board repair.

Look at the ghetto set up I have going here. My board is propped up by a cooler in the ally on the side of my building. I like to call what I do now guerrilla surf board repair.

It never fucking ends. Just when I think I am out I am always sucked back in.  I don’t even have a space to repair boards.  I literally glass boards in my bathroom and then sand them in the ally next to my building.  Its a fucking pain in the ass and I hate it.  Yet for some reason surf boards keep showing up at my house to be repaired.  It’s true that  I am always breaking my own boards and needing to fix those.  I have four spares meaning I only really need to fix boards a few times a year when I have destroyed all four.  Usually in that time period I end up getting a new one anyhow.  My quiver is in reality a bunch of destroyed boards with one or two good ones.

People still show up at my house with dings.  They hit me up on Facebook.  “Hey so my boy said you fix dings…ummm can you help me out bro?”  My own friends are constantly hitting me up to repair their boards.  “Please Chris, don’t make me go to a surf shop, your the man”.  I am the man who hates fixing surf boards.  I even get phone calls on occasion from people in New Jersey who need a board fixed.  WTF.  It will never end will it?

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating.  That is a surfboard about to be glassed IN MY MOTHER FUCKING BATHROOM!!!!!!

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating. That is a surfboard about to be glassed IN MY MOTHER FUCKING BATHROOM!!!!!!

Surfing

I have actually been surfing up a storm.  Jalama has been the best it has been in ten years.  The kelp is good, the sand is decent and there have been waves thus I have been staying wet.  A normal day for me goes like this.  I wake up a 5:30am, go to work and make food for about eight hours.  Then I get off at around 3 pm, meet whomever hit me up first at my apartment to go up north with me.  I only take one person and its first come first serve, no nepotism.  Read The Rule of Two blog for more on my philosophy on that.
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I change out of my work clothes, load up the car and shove off on the hour or so drive to Jalama.  When we get there its not over, oh no.  There is about another 25 minutes of walking on the beach to get to the spot, maybe further, swell and crowd depending.  Then we surf for two hours, make the walk back, followed by the drive.  If I am with Trevor we always stop at Denny’s in Goleta for a post surf dinner.  If it is a party night then my day is not over.  I come home, take shower, suit up and cruise to the Wild Cat.  As you can see by this account of my day to day there is not very much time for blogging.
SpringSurf14-524I managed a perfect month back in May surfing every single day of the month 31 sessions in 31 days and a few doubles as well.  I don’t think I have accomplished such a feat since I lived in New Zealand.  It was fucking exhausting and I surfed all sorts of garbage in all sorts of dumb crowds.  You can read the May surflog to find out all about that one.  Basically I have found a renewed love for surfing and my performance is off the charts. I may be surfing better right now then I have ever surfed in my life.  Maybe I will write something about the perfect month here if I ever find some time.
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I guess that pretty much should bring everyone up to speed on what has been happening in Lisanti Land.  Heather and I are still together.  Even I don’t understand how or why that is.  At the moment it is actually going along at steady calm.  Whether or not I am doing the right thing for me or her is yet to be seen.  Just as I felt at the beginning I still feel now completely uncertain and confused.  Then again who really gives a fuck anyway cause at least I am surfing every day.

My cooking partner in crime Calvin finally moved back out to Santa Barbara and is currently living on the couch here at the Palace.  Where would I be with out a guy on the couch?  Him and I are in the process of the early stages of planning that Italian restaurant I always talk about opening.  He moved here with the intention of getting this place off the ground with me.   With any luck our goal is the try and open it by July of next year.  Lets keep our fingers crossed.  Expect to hear more on this from time to time as it begins to consume my life.

Here is some homemade potato gnocchi in a meat sauce to get your mouth watering.  This is just a taste of what I will be serving up at my restaurant.

Here is some homemade potato gnocchi in a meat sauce to get your mouth watering. This is just a taste of what I will be serving up at my restaurant.

What can you look forward to here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net?  Kooky actually wrote a Kooky’s Korner for me to publish.  Of course this happened about a month ago or so, but my lazy ass never got around to publish it.  Since I have not heard from him since he may be dead in Tanzania right now, though he will live on here on the blog.  Nick the Kook was nice enough to write some of his recent adventures in Chile.  He wrote these like two months ago and I never posted it.  I am sure at some point I will rant about some bull shit like how I got a pimple on my right ass cheek and now it hurts every time I sit down to take a shit (that has not happened).  There you have it,  the last 45 days or so in my life.  Glad you still decide to read the trash I put out here.  Bye bye for now…

Calvin, Mark and I doing some R & D for the restaurant at the Wild Cat.

Calvin, Mark and I doing some R & D for the restaurant at the Wild Cat.

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I stood on a bench this morning overlooking the break at Mesa Lane.  It was tiny maybe knee to thigh at best.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Fresh off a new hair cut, I took a deep breath of the warm sweet summer sea air.  There is nothing like the feeling after a good hair cut.  You look at yourself in the mirror when all is said and done and there is this sort affirmation “you have arrived”.  Alright maybe that is a little bit of a stretch, but it is what such means to me.

There  were two guys out making the most of the meager offerings, a grom and his mentor.  The kid was struggling to catch a wave, as I stood there watching his agony. The guy out with him pushed the kid into the next wave.  The grommie stood up and cruised across the the wave’s tiny face.  I let out a giant hoot so loud he probably heard it in the water.  At that moment I felt his stoke and reveled in it.  What a day, what a week, what a month, what a year!

I just stood there in utter amazement of how beautiful the world around me was.  The islands were in full view.  A speed boat with boards on top cruised by most likely en route to the ranch.  A pod of dolphins frolicked along the swell lines. There was an old man walking his dog on the beach and some woman a little further watching her three dogs running in a blissful caper through the surf.

A huge smile was on my face.  I could not help but laugh out  loud at both life and myself.  One year ago (I sort of judge my years now from June 1st to June 1st) I wrote this blog: “A New Normal: The One Year Plan“.  Ironically while checking my daily stats I noticed someone read that this morning and it got me thinking.  What a pathetic miserably sad state I was in when I wrote that on June 30th 2011.  Back then if one would have told me that I would be sitting here writing a blog like this I would have strangled them to death after which committed seppuku.

Last night at my weekly family dinner I have now been hosting for five months surrounded by five  of my regulars, who really have in my mind become family and three new comers to the table I raised a class of champagne and toasted to what is looking like a very bright future.  Before  we get there let me take a minute to remember how arduous a road it has been to get thus far in 2012.

There were plenty of proclamations made all of which were pretty much shattered about a day after they were made much like most New Years resolutions.  And yes more drinking ensued, but  it was more fun drinking then depression drinking and slowly but surely everyday I began to feel a little bit better and a little bit stronger.  I did let a few unworthy people into my life whom I carelessly mistook as having potential.  But that passed too.  We renovated the Lisanti Palace so I could wake up everyday to a respectable looking apartment and want to get on par with my new ambient.

March came around and I saw the departure of Kooky Kyle who if not for him I may not have gotten through November to March.  I was sad to see him leave, but happy to relinquish his duties as keeper of the Lisanti Palace.  He went on to conquer his own demons in pursuit of wanderlust.  You can read about his post Lisanti Land adventures in his occasional segment here on SurfingruinedMyLife.net Kooky’s Korner.

After Kooky the keys to the Palace, ha that’s a joke to anyone who has spent time here(or the butter knife we use to open the laundry room) were passed on to this guy Dan.  He showed up on the scene and met all the requirements I have for a roommate. He did not shoot heroin, smoke meth or crack or any other heavy drugs for that matter, had a steady job and kept his mess to his room and was gone more then home.  The guy was some type of ultimate frisbee champion or something.  I though whatever as long as he pays the rent.

Turns out the guy was alright with me and I guess we have become a modern version of the odd couple.   The thing about Dan is he is super positive all the time always building one up.  When he would come home and find me depression drinking by myself in the dark he brought me out and got my head out of my ass.  No matter what the guy always got me looking on that bright side of things.  He helped fill out my dinner parties and as a result they are becoming quite the event.  Last night I made four contrasting styles of pizza and calzones followed by a splendid peach and kiwi French custard dessert.

This kid Sean I have know for years here in Santa Barbara found himself temporarily homeless and I think every reader here should know by now that no friend of mine will go homeless as long I have a couch.  Shit I have three and a leaky blow up mattress.  Sean came to stay for a few weeks before moving back to Bakersfield with his dad.  As it turned out him and I had pretty much went through the same type of shit over the past year.  Empathy can be rapturous at the right time.  Sean did something for me no one had yet out of all the astounding people that came into my life, each whether negative or positive contributing to where I am right now.  Sean allowed me to open my mind to possibilities I had for far too long been too skeptical to believe.

Last night as I raised my glass to make a toast to my new life.  Before doing so I silently thanked everyone who had a hand in the moment who could not be at my table, in time order: Adrienne, Aniaya, Heroin Bryan, Silly Steve, Sleepy Time Nick, Jules, Rye Guy, Kooky Kyle, Sorbo, Calvin, Dave, Vespera, Danny Boy, Sean, Jennifer, Anna and my always everyday people Ryan, Lindsay, Mauriello who put up with my shit on a regular basis.  From all of these aforementioned people I learned a bit more about myself and capabilities.  A king is only as strong as his court.  Thanks to all these people I will never have to worry about walking around naked unless I so choose “The Emperors New Clothes” style.

What the fuck am I rambling about you ask?  I mean seriously right I have been muttering on for over a thousands words now.  Who do I think I am Faulkner or something.  Well, about two weeks I hit a serious cross roads in my life and was walking the fine line between cashing out on my life here in Santa Barbara, hanging my hat where ever the wind decided to blow me or continuing on the path I originally set out on two years ago when I quit the gas station and got back to cooking.  The whole “growing up” thing and creating a “real life”.  Ultimately I chose the the latter.  Its fine time I stop running.  Maybe this past year was my time in the rock quarry like my fictional counter part Howard Roark (The Fountain Head, Ayn Rand).

I began putting out my resume to anyone and everyone, for any job available be it dish washer, prep cook or chef.  Yesterday I got hired as sous chef at a small bistro in Carpinteria.  Now, its only a trial right now and Monday is my first day, but Westmont was only a trial and that seemed to work out.  All I know is I am ready to meet this new challenge and move forward with the rest of my life.  Enough splitting rocks for it is time to fulfill my destiny.  The best part is all of it is for me and no one else, not a woman, not to impress, but just for my own personal quest to cook the most scrumptious food possible while enhancing my own person skill set.  “Please allow me to reintroduce myself”  my name is CHRIS LISANTI and I am not small!!!

Ahhh yes, here is to the Summer of Alf.

Sometimes in life it is the path more traveled upon that is the hardest to follow. I think I have finally chosen the right road.

 

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I think it is classic Lisanti Land time scheme that I am posting October’s Power of Ten list on the first of November.  My excuse: too much party and real lack of motivation in life. Wait is that an excuse or my modus operandi?  Whatever the case its my blog and I do what I want.  I mean c’mon the last blog I wrote was about having assholes for fingers.  Enough said.  Anyway October’s power ten garnishes two UCB points upon my current housemate and Wild Cat partner in crime Kooky Kyle.

1. Bosses – Bosses fucking suck no matter how you try to disguise it.  Fact of the matter is if someone has the power to tell you what to do and your living relays on that it sucks.  Unfortunately that is how the real world works.  I have been a boss and I am sure my employees hated me too.  As far as the slang term “Boss” goes I cant stand it and when I am called such it usually sends me up into a fit of rage.

2. Job Hunting – Pounding the pavement is tough especially in today’s weak ass economy.  Luckily I have a job and whenever I am in need thanks to some of the insanity on craigslist I always seem to find work.  Hey if the job hunt wears you down you can always join the rest of the unemployed losers down on Wall St.

3.  John at New Jetty – New Jetty is this piece of shit wave I frequent in Ventura.  Most times it is no more then a boostable close out.  The place reminds me of New Jersey and usually if I’m not at Rincon then New Jetty is where I can be found.  Every time I surf there with Mauriello he ends up getting all the best waves of the day while I grovel on garbage all session.  It got to the point where I just started burning him on the good ones cause I am an asshole.

4. Gas Prices – Gas prices are a mystery to me.  When I was in High school I used be able to buy gas for .85 cents a gallon.  Now its nearly four bucks a gallon.  I know oil is a limited resource and all, but I do not believe it is that limited.  Also did we not go conquer like half the Middle East after 9/11?  I think gas should be a hell of a lot cheaper.

5.  The Plumbing in Lisanti Land – My apartment has by far the most ass backward plumbing known to man.  Its all old metal piping from the fifties and every time I need any kind of plumbing service I end up with a giant whole in the wall and a bill for over a few hundred dollars and before that happens I always find myself swimming in a giant pool of sewerage.  I am on the first floor and my plumbing is the end of the main line for the entire building.  When there is a clog you do the math on how much waste backs up on my floor.   Hey at least I have an ocean view.

6. Fleas – Fleas suck. I brought home a baby possum two years ago I found in the middle of the street.  Since then I have been plagued with fleas and so has poor Alfie.  They suck and are impossible to get rid of.  Last time I set off eight bombs in my small apartment and nearly killed myself, yet the little fuckers still prevailed.

7. A Love Supreme – In 1965 Coltrane released A Love Supreme.  It was the first time he took a step away from his hard bob roots and began the free jazz career that changed the face of jazz forever.  It is a pretty bad ass album.

8.  West Swells – Ahh west swells, they are the best out here and also elusive as hell.  When its on it makes for the best surfing here in Santa Barbara then anyplace else on the California coast.  Too bad we only see like three a year.

9.  Funny Things Homeless People Say – The homeless are like children.  They say the darnedest things.   The difference is you never know when a bum might shank you.  I guess one must feel the same about children these days as well.

10. “What is the Worst that can Happen” – This is pretty much my official catch phrase that I use to push myself and others over the edge on a questionable decision or situation.  I sort of feel like everyone should subscribe to this mantra.  I think it would make everyone’s lives more interesting.  I mean seriously what is the worst that could happen?

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In 2006 I was living in a beat up run down beach bungalow in Manasquan, NJ with my now ex-wife working a dead end job managing an unsuccessful surf shop that the owner would later screw me royally at for making it successful.  I was going through the blog archives and came across this little gem about a trip to the DMV and a glimpse into just how much yet how little I have changed as an individual.  The last sentence is the real kicker to this Blast From the Past cause it proved I actually did accomplish something for a change. “Yippie Kiy yay Mother Fucker”!!!!!  This blog was originally posted on March 8 2006. Enjoy…

I woke up as usual on my day off eager (Note how my sarcasm is timeless)  and ready to sand and glass battered old surfboards for people who are not worthy of my skill.  As I went to get my sander out I realized that my respirator was shot, clogged with epoxy dust from this M10 I had to do last week (by the way I would rather get hit by a big stick swung by a Ningitsu master then fix epoxy surfboards.  Its just so un holy. They are like the Rose Mary Baby of the surfboard industry…but that is a whole other topic all together.). I still hate to fix epoxy surf boards.

Anyhow so I jump in my car and head over to A’s Home Center on HWY 35 in Wall(not getting paid for this plug either) cause they seem to have the best supplies at a quality price.  On my way back a very diligent officer of the law (oink oink) pulls me over to remind me in the form of a citation that my license had expired like 7 days ago.  Thank God for PBA Cards or I would have been hit with a 140 buck fine.  You know Squan cops hate me..but that too is for another topic.

So I decided to make the trek out to the DMV, which is not unlike one of the great crusades to  the holy land back in the middle ages.  Its a battle you dont want to fight, but the state makes it your duty to go there. Now for those of you who have not been to the DMV cause your too young to drive let me give you a play by play on how this Hell on earth works.  The first topic and the most frustrating is somthing we thank our good friend Osma for.  Its called the 6 points of ID you need to bring with you in order to obtain any kind of official document. In California you need like two.  God bless  the soon to rise again and secede from the union, The Bear Republic.  That is a blog for another day as well.

You need your old license, a Passport, a Marriage license, a Credit Card, School ID and a recent government Statement of Proof of address.  If you don’t have atleast 3 of these documents they are sending you on your way.  I once got shut down at Eaton Town because I was short 1 point of ID and that was on my 3rd check point.  Thats right you have to go through 3 different people to check your shit before you can even get in line.   Each one of these “Document Officials” is about as well trained to spot a forgery as my cat is to use the litter box with out making a mess. After 8-10years (not sure how old he is) Alfie still shits on the floor about 25% of the time.

So I got rejected cause my proof address was 31 days ago, one day past the 30 day cut off point.  Meanwhile Mohammad abdul wearing his turban and consealing his Israeli built hand held Usi had his 9 points of fraudulent ID cliaming he was Joe Smith got his license no problem.  I think they handed him a pilots license too.  I on the other hand was escorted out by security for as they put it “causing a scene”. Can you believe I did not drink back then???

This time however I was crazy prepared. I went to the one in Freehold to beat the crowds, plus was hoping to catch an afternoon session at Jackson. They had this really fun six foot half pipe at the skate park there I used to rock the shit out of.  I brought 12 points of ID and I had ID to back up that ID.  Those bitches did not even know what was coming their  way.  When I got through to the last check point the lady looked at me with eyes of contempt saying “the war is not over just because one battle was won”.  I snatched my license out of her hand grabed my balls Bruce Irons at Teau’poo style and laughed my way out the door all the while hearing complaints from others getting turned away for not being as prepared as me. “See you in 6 years bitches” I muttered undermy breath.  If in 6 years Im still living in this wretched place please come over my house and hit me across the face with the flat end of a 2×4′ cause I deserve a beating.  See I told you the last sentence was a kicker.  Out of one shit hole and into another. Lucky me, but at least I get to surf everyday.

Chris Lisanti Skating the Jackson NJ Skate Park

I really do miss skating that ramp.

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What It All Amounted To.

A little over a week ago I wrote a rather discouraging blog to get out my agony and frustration from my new job entitled, Im F$%king Angry.  Im not going to give a synopsis here click the preceding link if you missed out one of my tantrum like rants.  It had been a long time coming.  I used to write blogs like that every week; as a matter of fact it had its own weekly segment and was called “Rants”.

Since then I did not bother to write a follow up to the whole situation sort of leaving everyone hanging on what became of my current employment station and the goings of my life in general.  Last I left things they were going less then desired.  Well as I predicted I was bounced from cook to the pizza position except instead of just pizzas it turns out Im responsible for roasts, rotisseries, sandwiches and sides at least three times a week.

Turns out the job is basically the same thing as a cook with the difference being you are responsible for your personal section meaning whatever happens its on my back.  On further thought of the job Im happier with it because now I wont be taking orders from like six other bosses leaving me in a “too many chiefs not enough Indians” scenario.   Truth be told I cant tell you how that position is going cause although it was bestowed upon me two weeks ago I have still yet to work it more then twice.

So far I have still been working as cook and getting a ton more proficient at it.  Even my boss who I thought hated me has come around and been encouraging my growth.  My skills with a knife have improved immensely allowing me to cut through 100 pounds of onions in just over 15 minutes.  I still need to shave like 5 minutes or so off that time but Im getting there.

At first I was bummed on the hours being 7am-3: 30pm but on further reckoning I will probably surf more being more apt to go surf sub par conditions in the afternoon to wash the stress of work away.  The experience I am getting here is invaluable.  I am basically getting paid to hone my skills in the kitchen.

Everything done here is in gigantic proportions so the amount of practice I get on one task per sitting is unprecedented.  For example this week On Sunday I cut around 50lbs of squash and zucchini julienne, then on Monday the same vegetables but diced.  I cut around 100lbs of onions every other day both julienne and chunked.  I blanched thirty pounds of carrots, grilled 150lbs of steaks, followed by another 150lbs of chicken, followed by 100lbs of carne asada all within an eight hour shift.

Its exhausting work but this is a field where one must go at painstaking lengths to pay their dues.  In short I decided to stick it out Westmont for better or worse although I think it is for the better.  I still plan on going to school for the spring semester here at City College to study to be a chef so I can expedite the original process addressed in The Apprenticeship blog.   Right now life is mostly hard work with very little play but as my dad once said to me “short term pain for long term pleasure”.

This what an onion cut julienne looks like. Now imagine doing 100 lbs worth!

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The Apprenticeship

Things never get dull in my life.  Just when I feel like I have finally got into a comfortable little groove I decide to go off into left field and change everything.  As human beings we are creatures of habit and I especially find myself constantly getting into a routine.  Once Im in this common set of parameters I begin to go mad, yet the idea of changing it is a horrific thought.

The summer 2010 will go down as one of the flattest in California history leaving periods of time where it was borderline east coast flat.  Im talking 3-5 day flat spells (that’s a bit of a lie cause all I really had to do was drive an hour or so north and could have easily been furnished with chest high waves, but who really wants to go through that much effort for less then average surf?  Not me).  These flat spells got me to thinking about my life and its current direction.  This is never a good thing to do when your already feeling a bit depressed.

As most of you know my sham of a professional surfing career came to a screeching halt when Globe finally dropped the axe upon me this past June.  Don’t cry for me Argentina, I saw the writing on the wall back in February.  I was surprised they kept me that long after I did absolutely nothing the last year or so except hang around Santa Barbara.  With no prospects on the table and nothing really happening for me with the exception of trying to make a promo video, which Im still sort of working on, I was forced to reside in the fact that all I had amounted to in life was a night time gas station employee.

Although it paid the bills (barely) I found myself in front of one of life’s cross roads.  Do I continue cleaning up piss, shit and other bodily excrement off the bathroom floor every night with out gloves because my cheap ass boss stopped buying them pretending that something was “going to happen for me” in surfing or whatever (deep down inside I still really believe someone is going to show up at some point in my life and hand me a brief case full of money).   I knew I needed to do something better with my life.

My friend Ryan would constantly joke about how I was the most intelligent over qualified gas station employee ever.  I had been considering going to culinary school since I was 15 when I used work at the pizzeria, yet was always dissuaded by my mother or school guidance counselors telling me I “had to go to college”.   Fuck high school guidance counselors.  I don’t think those guys ever pointed anyone in the right direction.  They told my buddy Chad Griffin he should go to college and the guy could barely read or write.  The world needs garbage men too.  Enough on how I feel about guidance

counselors cause I could write an entire rant blog on them alone.

I love cooking and have always felt at home working in a kitchen.  Its hard work, but its honest noble work and I happen to be good at it.  I had planned to go to culinary school with in the coming year, but I had been saying that for the past two years as well.  After this summer I was determined to set my life on the right course, tired of starving for an industry that used me up and then threw me away when I was of no more use to them.  I surf for me now and actually have way more fun and get way less hassled in the lineup.  I truly am the definition of hard core, soul surfer, but that is another blog for another day also.

One day in early August I was surfing with the guy who is actually Will Smith’s personal chef.  When I asked him how he got into it and if he went to school, he replied he had just applied for jobs and worked his way up to his current position.  Dude reckoned that was probably better then any education a school could give and you get paid for it instead of paying them.  Heeding his advice I began applying for every kitchen position I could find to no avail, everyone wanting at least three years line cook experienced.

Discouraged after nearly a month of rejections I resolved to wait out the winter and then try and go to culinary school in the spring.  Then about a week ago I got a phone call from this position I applied for, a cooking position at Westmont College.  Excited I went to the job interview and the head chef Jose was super pumped on me even though I was a bit inexperienced and offered me the job. He probably figured he could get me at half the price of a trained chef and train me how he wanted to with no ego problems.

I was offered a full time chef position, $11 hour, and benefits after three months.  The only buzz kill was the hours were 11am-8pm seriously cutting into my surf time forcing me now to have to get up at 6am to go surfing as oppose to my cushy 8am surf check.  I could not make up mind so I did what I always do leave it up to other people.  I told my boss at the gas station if he would give me a dollar an hour raise thus matching the pay of the chef job I would stay.

The owner of the gas station flat out rejected it.  I guess I was not worth the sale of one pack of cigarettes and a candy bar (comes out just under $8).  I was still considering staying, when that night Jose called and convinced me otherwise.  I took the chef job and told the gas station to kiss my white ass.  So now I work 5 days a week nine hours a day killing myself in the kitchen so exhausted when I get home I can barely hold my head up, but I am learning a craft I hope to become very skilled in.

I am currently on a thirty day trial period and at the end if I don’t cut it Im out the door.  Im not going to lie I am definitely a lot more deficient then I had expected to take on a position as such, but Im learning fast and putting in all my efforts.  I will make the cut and in a few years come out of this a skilled chef.  To put things into Star Wars terms I am like padawan learner novice to the ways of the force, but hoping to make full on Jedi.  Only time will tell my friends.  Wish me luck on the new endeavor.

Here is the trailer from 1999 motion picture Simply Irresistable, a movie in which Sara Michelle Gellar gets a cooking position in a fancy restaurant, yet has never cooked before in her life.  Luckily for her a benevolent crab helps her out after she spares his life by not cooking him.  I know its a pretty bizarre movie, I saw it on a plane on the way back from Cali or something.

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