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Nine Years!!!

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I checked my inbox here on word press and as it turns out today is the nine year anniversary of SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Yeah; I haven’t wrote a piece in quite a while mainly due being pressed for time and a lack of reason to write.  Ever since the Surflog took over as my day to day life happenings I have not really seen the need to write about it here.  For my regular readers I feel it would just be a horrid redundancy.  Maybe if something really special happens, but even then it for the most part it gets covered daily in the surf log.

After nine years I figured I may as well write about a few revelations I have had in both my life, surfing and blogging.  At the very least it may shed some light on why I have been rather quite as of late.  Why not get back up to speed on thing.  The last time I wrote was New Years day of last year.  I’d say its about time to sound off.

A Brief History

 

Bear with all the photos, these are my 63 favorite posted on here over the last nine years.  Its been a pretty wild ride to say the least and if you had told me I would still be alive and writing in 2019 I would have said you were crazy.  In all my stupidity and gnarly endeavors some how I didn’t die.  Lets grab a quick history on how this blog came about.

It all started back in 1991 at age ten when I stood up on my boogie board and began surfing, had that never happened there would be no SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  From there the obsession progressed from a fun childhood activity, to amateur competition, to the professional stage and then life after professional surfing and coping with such.  The written word began when I was in fifth grade and was forced to keep a daily journal by my English teacher Mr. Gestry.  There were a couple of adolescent journals (one I still have on my book shelf) before then, but nothing of any concrete literacy.  I liked the idea of writing and continued to fill volumes of black and white note books for years after.  All of which were destroyed when the crawlspace of my parents beach house flooded in 2014.

In 2002 while rehabbing a knee injury a buddy of mine and I launched a surf and music website called Hard Core Surf Productions.  It was basically a surf and music blog before blogging was really a thing.  That lasted around two years,  halted because I forgot to renew the URL and we lost it.  Right around that time I started surfing for Globe Shoes and it was also the height of MySpace.  Part of my rider obligation was to keep a blog on Myspace of my surfing escapades.  It would later lead to a weekly segment on Globe’s website. During this time period I penned a number of mixed surf media pieces that got published.  2008 was a black year for everyone in America as the housing market crashed along with countless banks.  So did the surf industry.  All of a sudden every average pro surfer got cut from payroll and smaller companies didn’t even survive.

I was one of those pros getting paid to pretty much do nothing but fuck off and party, thus pulling the plug on me was not a hard decision.  As a matter of fact Globe just about pulled out of surfing in America all together.  Devastated I ended up taking a job at a gas station as the night manager (of course the only person I managed was myself).  I had lots of time on my hands at work and continued blogging on Myspace.  My readership was steadily falling off as Facebook was taking over and Myspace began to be the home of sexual predators.

My good friend Nick Kiefer suggested I create my own website blog and call it “Surfing Ruined My Life” after a short autobiographical sketch I did called “How Surfing Ruined My Life” and that is how this blog was born in 2009.  At that point I was a literary ronin.  This left me total freedom to write about and sound off on anything I felt like and when the satirical and comedic ranting and complaining took over the blog.  As a result it was as the about section claims more gibberish then surfing.

Soon sub sections were added like the surflog, recipes etc.  The only thing that really remains updating today is the surflog.  My life kind of began to fall apart on me in my early thirties.  Feeling a bit like a rebel with out a cause I went a course of  downward spiral of heavy drinking and partying.  That lasted till around 2015 or so when I slowly began pulling my life out of the gutter.  The process of which left me very little time or even patience for blogging.  Maybe it was even a reminder of all the years I pissed away.  The hardest part has been figuring out how to define myself or this period of life without using the millennial word (which I hate) ADULTING.

I suppose that brings us to now, August twenty first two thousand and nineteen, the ninth year commemoration that you are now reading.  The first thing I have written besides the surflog since January 2018.  Let me say with out spoiling the rest of this blog that I have for the first time in almost twenty years found a balance in my life allowing for a healthy homeostasis that includes all of my favorite activities.  Things are good or as good as they can ever be, cause we all know how I feel about declaring that one’s life is good.  It is a cop out to stop trying to improve. We were always meant to improve ourselves.  Here are a few brief Surfingruinedmylife.net topics I want to touch on.

The Surf log

 

 

Actually let me take a moment to reiterate a few things about the surflog since I have fielded some questions about how it works and the like.  In all fairness it has evolved quite a bit over the years.  Basically I am like Rain Man when it comes to stats.  I love them.  When I was a kid Nick Carroll wrote an editorial in the now defunct Surfing Magazine about how many waves he surfed and a lamentation for not being able to remember.  This sparked the beginning of the surf log.  When I was a kid I would write down the surf conditions, who I surfed with, and any notables from the surf every day.

I gave it up as a adult, which is a shame cause I wish I had some data from all of the surf trips and amazing days I scored during that epoch of my life.  When I started this blog I decided, why not have a surflog section.  At first it was just where I surfed, the conditions and session notables.  Then I started keeping track of the number of waves I surfed and how log I was out there for.  A few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my friends who was eluding to how many miles I drove a week to surf.  From that meeting I began diligently keeping track of the round trip mileage from my apartment to my surf destination, including any surf checks that are out of the way.  At this point I can say with proof that I drive upward of 350 miles a week on average to surf.

When I don’t surf I still make an entry usually, about my life and why I didn’t surf.  The conditions report is from the Surfline.com afternoon C-Street Ventura report.  If I am out of town land locked this is the conditions report I use.  If I am someplace that is surf-able but its flat or I don’t get in the water I use the report for that area or my own eyes.  This also goes for days I drive around looking for surf and find nothing.  Plenty of times Surfline is calling it 2-3+ ft and its barely knee high.

There have been some altercations and incidents as a result of the surflog.  Some people happily use it as tool to find good waves to surf and get a better understanding of surfing in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area.  To those guys I am stoked to help you score.  When I first moved here I was clueless and had to learn from other kind surfers.  All I ask is that when you show up to the break be respectful, follow the rules of the line up and don’t bring too many people at one time.

Then there are the antagonists.  There are surfers out there who blame me for blowing up spots. For the most part every wave I write about here is on surfline anyway.  I am not giving away any secrets.  Still I will run into some ass in the water who will burn me and be a dick because of my writings.  Sorry bud, but California is overcrowded as is the surfing experience here.  Its not my fault. I am just a minute part of the problem.

Sometimes I fall a little behind.  This is for three reasons.  Either the surf is so good that I am exhausted when I get home and just pass out, My work schedule is insane on top of my surf schedule leaving me no time to update or I don’t want to give away a sand bar or spot that has just started popping off, thus I will wait two or three days till either the swell wanes or the crowd finds its way with out my help.  Its usually the later.

2019

Its been a decent though hectic year for me.  I am still doing freelance chef work in Santa Barbara and beyond and extensively building my resume and experience as a chef allowing me to get to a level I never saw myself excelling to. Sometimes cooking all the time can be a real drag.  It does leave me with a flexible schedule to surf.  I have always enjoyed feeding and making people happy with my craft.

 

I am still with my current girl friend now three and half years in.  We got a cute Snow Shoe Siamese Cat named Charles who is now one year old.  The relationship is going great and maybe the most positive one I have been part of.  Alfie is still alive.  That is probably the hardest thing to believe.  He is sixteen and half years old and besides having some arthritis, and being near sighted he gets on just fine.  Bizarro still lives with me and is still an avid partner in crime when it permits.

 

My surf board business Clarks Surfboards is in its fourth year and we are starting to almost make a small profit I think?  Its been hard, but tons of fun too.  I am just a proud parent of how the whole operation is shaping up, no pun intended.  The boards ride and look great and are priced starting at $450.  If you want one hit me up.  Mention you read it here I’ll give you $25 off.

 

Other then that I still manage to make it to the Wild Cat on occasion, though rarely (for me).  I got a few big things cooking (also no pun intended) for the future that I don’t want to go into here.  As usual I just “keep on keeping on” cause that’s all any of us can do.  Happy Anniversary everyone.  If you feel so inclined leave something in the comments on your feelings, a memory, a suggestion, a photo or anything else that came to your mind while reading this post.  Thank you all for reading…..Chris

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What I learned in 2017

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Another year has come and gone.  I am not really one for resolutions, since I have yet to keep more then a handful of them over the years.  2017 was a bit of a hectic year for me.  One could argue that about any year in my life.  It wouldn’t be Lisanti Land with out a certain level of drama, action, adventure and stupidity we have all come to know and love.  I thought being a New Year I would sit down and attempt to write something, especially since 2017 was devoid of any new pieces.  I would like to say that 2018 would be better, but that would be a resolution…and I have already explained about that.

I Don’t Really Need Gainful Employment

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Its about time I came to this reckoning.   2017 saw yet another year of getting my hopes up at another potential “career” only to find my walking papers steadily handed to me before I even got my foot in the door.  In their words “You are just not a good fit for our company”.  If I had a dollar every time I have heard that line, well I wouldn’t be rich, but I would definitely have enough to buy a bottle of Remey Martin V.S.O.P. to help ease the pain.

I will give all of my former employers this, each one gave me a few more skills and knowledge then I had previously and that is invaluable in this life.  Truth be told I have always been an odd job type of guy, “A Renaissance Man” as I have been affectionately called.  At the heart of the matter I was born an artist and therefore can and should not be expected to fit into the mold of the common world.  Some how I am shocked each time I get fired, when really I must realize that I am not a good fit for any organized establishment.

At the moment I have been doing freelance Chef work, chef for hire as I like to call it.  I have been more fulfilled occupationally then I have felt in ten years. Though the pay not handsome it allows me ample free time and flexibility.  A feat that regular corporations have never been to able to afford me and subsequently frustration and anger have always been the result.   Somehow I always manage to get by one way or another.  I choose time over money, which easily segues us into my next lesson.

Free Time is an invaluable Commodity

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Photo: A. Lua

I feel like everyone should live their lives in the guise of this mantra.  Now I understand that the responsibilities of life get in the way most often , but one should never forget that he cannot put a price on leisure.  If he does then let that price reflect the amount of opportunity that sum will bring for future enjoyment.   I am the exception and not the rule, but think about how great, amazing and happy the world we be if this was the rule.

Imagine if we had shorter work weeks and less of a need for money.  If everyone worked less then there would also be more jobs.  That is an entirely different subject that I am not about to get into.  I have basically structured my life to allow for the maximum amount of free time to work time.  This doesn’t come with out sacrifice.  I know I will never own anything, and must make sure no other person financially depends on me. One would say this outlook is rather narcissistic and I would agree, but I have never claimed to be a martyr.  I suppose I didn’t really learn this in 2017, but remembered it to be fact.

I’m a Relationship Guy

This may completely contradict everything that has transpired thus far and even impossible.  One would say if she is the right woman for me then points one and two should not be a problem.  I have always operated more efficient, healthy and logical when I have a girl friend in the picture.  Left to my own devices I tend to make many questionable decisions.

A girl friend has always helped filter out some of those interesting and questionable decisions I have become infamous for (fuck if I didn’t make some interesting decisions reading my stuff would get pretty stale).   She is also that conscience I seem to lack or am reprehensible to.  A relationship is sort of like a business if one doesn’t hire help then he is doing everything himself and when busy how can one change and grow?  Sort of like all of the jobs I have lost, each woman teaches me a bit more about myself.

In 2017 my current girl friend of two years now moved in with me.  I don’t know if I highly recommend this step or not, but it does greatly help with points one and two of this blog; for a decrease in rent allows for both free time and freedom from gainful employment.  All jokes aside I do find that moving in with a significant other puts the relationship in a pressure cooker.   A couple either evolves for the better or dies.  Its pure relationship Darwinism when one thinks of it.  My current girl friend has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  The only reason I do not talk more about her or our relationship here is that I have learned over the years to respect the privacy of others especially when it comes to romantic involvement.

I Am Absolutely Ridiculous

Negative or positive you can be judge.  Very little I do, say or write can be taken all that seriously.  For the most part I just try and enjoy and live my life to the fullest ever day.  Whatever that entails for me you may agree or disagree with.  I am tired of all the hate mail on all of my social media, this blog included.  Don’t the haters out there have something better they could do with their time then composing barely articulate and sometimes illiterate responses to my actions.  If you are going to spend the time to be negative at least do it in an educated manner.  

Really, try and understand that I am not a normal person.  I suffer from the social mental disability, Asperger Syndrome (something I may actually explore a bit on this blog in 2018)  and though I find your disgruntled comments mildly amusing I would much rather you take point number two and better utilize your free time.  Like I said earlier I am not a good fit for this humanity company, but since I have yet to be fired do your best to put up with at least some of my bull shit.  Of course I don’t want to be naked like in the story of The Emperors New Cloths.  Constructive criticism is always welcome.

So Happy New Year to everyone out there.  I hope 2018 brings, health prosperity and happiness to all of you.  Those who enjoy my stuff thanks for reading.  It is always pleasure to meet any of you in the water, checking the surf, at the Wild Cat or anyplace else I get approached.  I know I say this every year, I thing nothing but greatness is utterly inevitable in 2018.  If we don’t start the new year off that way then what is the point anyway.
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I checked my mail when I got home tonight after yet another obnoxiously intense day at work courtesy of incompetence of extreme proportions.  Most of which were not of my own causing.  I hate checking the mail and it is a task I seldom get around to accomplishing.  Usually I let if fester in the box till it is so full the mail lady will actually bring it to my door step and leave it there in a rubber banded ball of postal fury.

The reason I made the great effort to walk the extra 41 steps from my couch to my mail box this evening was in the hopes my new debit card would be waiting despite the asinine 7-10 day period the very charming call center operator said it would take. What happened to my old one you might wonder? It was lost in the rapture of a Wild Cat party.  Yep no real surprise there.

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When you live the high life the occasional lost card is a consequence one must accept. 

I had actually managed to hold on to said card for nearly two years.  That’s a long time.  Though it is an even longer degree of time when one is the age of two for it is that person’s entire life time.  As we grow older this seemingly long interval of time to us as a child is now no longer then a snap of a finger.  What is two years, or five, or even ten for that matter when your head is buried down to the grind stone?  Its nothing unless one stops for a moment to reflect on all that passed in that period.

For myself the past two years have been a whirl wind both personally and professionally.  If you read here regularly then I don’t have to elaborate cause you already know.  If not feel free to peruse some of the posts on here from the epoch in question.  I can assure it won’t take long for creatively I was a bit spent as a result of the constant emotional bombardment I took on a regular basis. Thus that brings us to the point of my imbecilic ramblings.

Recently  just up until I lost that card a few major changes in my life have taken place or at the very least seeds for some serious change in the near future.  I don’t know how much of this I really want to get into at the moment or even at all with some of it.  As much as this blog has been a vehicle for relief, reflection and accountability for my life and my own actions at times I wonder if my writings here had about as much control over the outcome of my life as I did.  Certainly some of what I wrote altered the course of the world around me.

I still want to write here and I think my silence for the past two months beside of course the surflog has been the fact that I didn’t really know what direction I wanted this blog to go in.  I am going to try something new here.  I want to tell some of my old surf tales from back in the day.  Write more surf related articles.  Maybe try and write something with a bit more substance then some of the crap I used write.

Things are changing and I think, really believe that the tide is finally turning for me in this life.  That’s all I have for now.  I know this is a bit of a cryptic post.  For now it’s all you’re going to get.  Kind of a dick move on my part considering the lack of posts lately.  I blame WordPress.com for making me feel guilty about not writing anything in two months. Hope this made up for it. Oh and its Rincon season again!
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ONE MOTHER FUCKING BLOG IN THE ENTIRE MONTHS OF BOTH FEBRUARY AND MARCH!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK!!!

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How fucking lazy is this guy?  I guess you would all be correct in these accusations.   I really had no good reason not to write other then the fact that I just couldn’t come up with anything worth while to write about.  I thought just as I have the past two months I would bring everyone up to speed on just exactly what has been going on here in Lisanti Land.  So here goes.

Chefing it Up

Or a lack there of.  Well last month I had this bull shit going on with Sodexo where they were actually robbing me of over $250 a pay check.  After nearly three weeks of phone calls, fights, death threats on  my end I was finally cut a check of over a thousand dollars.  After taxes that amounted to just around $800.  Thank you Uncle Sam for taking my hard earned money and doing nothing with it (who am I kidding I don’t work very hard for my money at all.).  Thank you Sodexo for lumping it into one big check so that I could get twice the amount of taxes on it.  Isn’t America a great country?

As of press time Sodexo still owes me $254.14 of which I am just too damn lazy to go after at the moment.  The rest of my job well lets just say it is the same bull shit it has been for the last 4 years.  Then again how can one really complain about a position where he pretty much gets paid to hang out all day and cook the occasional piece of food.  I just about found the food service equivalent of the gas station.

The Ladies Man

I don’t know if one could truly call me this, but I guess I do get around a bit.  I mentioned at the end of last month’s update that I had rekindled a lost romance from a few years ago.  A month later I must admit that maybe there is a reason things went south the first time around.  Mainly because things never “went south” if you catch my drift.  Yeah I know I’m insatiable.  In all seriousness she was a fine girl and all, but just not the one for me.

Things were actually going well for a couple of weeks.  Then courtesy of an illness on her part I had not heard from her for about eight days and deemed her dead.  When I finally did hear from her I ended up seeing her once, got stuck walking her shitty fucking dogs (we all know what a fan I am of doggies) and being scolded for not having any ambition in life.  I have to say I was rather fed up and disgusted by the whole ordeal.  Then we played phone tag for about a week or longer at which point I just decided to let it burn.

In the interim during that eight day period when I thought the above mentioned party had died I met another member of the female persuasion.  Where did I meet this one you ask?  At the Wild Cat of course.  I actually owe the whole thing to Bizarro.  We were suppose to meet at the Kitty a few Saturdays ago.  Bizarro got too drunk and never made it. No big surprise there.  I was flying solo thus more inclined to go and meet new people.  I have been seeing this new girl ever since.  Things are running alright so far.  I suppose time will tell.

Dirty Laundry
Dirty Laundry

I sort of feel like I have been spending the bulk of my spare time doing laundry, thinking about doing laundry, hustling quarters in order to run the washer and dryer, folding laundry, going to the dry cleaners, mending damaged laundry, at the moment I am waiting for my laundry to finish while I write this.  It never ends.  Then I turn around and my hamper is full again.  If I don’t have laundry to do Bizarro is over here doing his laundry since the machines in his building sucks ass or my girl is here mooching my change to do her own laundry being that she does not have a laundry room where she lives.  At this rate I should just move into a god damn laundromat.

Doing laundry is always a battle here in my complex since there is only one washer and dryer.  Each is a buck twenty five meaning a $2.50 round trip.  I always assumed laundry room etiquette to be like bar etiquette with a pool table.  If there are quarters on the table then you have fives on it.  The other day someone was using the washing machine but I really had to do a wash of my work clothes.  Since I was doing nothing but watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies in sequence I figured I would wait it out. I decided that I would put my quarters in the slots of the machine thus indicating that I had the next load.  Thirty minutes passed and I still heard the washer going and now the dryer too.

Mind you I live directly in front of the laundry room and can hear everything when I open my front door.  I ran over to the washer and sure enough some infidel stole my change and used my wash.  I wen back into my house and pulled a full half gallon of cranberry juice out of the fridge and dumped it into their wash.  It was a load of whites.  Don’t fuck with laundry room etiquette or Lisanti justice will bite you in the ass.

Surfing

My whole entire winter season came down to a total of 45 minutes at Pitas on March 7th, my sister’s birthday as a matter of fact.  It was about as good as Pitas gets and I must say if the wind had held out I totally would have called in sick to work.  Alas it did not.  I will take those few amazing rides to the bank, especially in this winter of let down and heart break.  You can read the March ’13 edition of the Surflog for more on that. Besides that session March was another blow out.

Sleepy Time Nick Died

Remember my old roommate Sleepy Time Nick from the fall of ’11?  It’s ok if you don’t he was easily around 4 roommates ago.  They do pass through the Palace fast now don’t they. Anyhow Nick lived here for about four months of pure insanity.  During his tenure Lisanti Land was in a bit of disarray.  Anyway Nick was a sweet kid who got mixed up in some rough drug problems.   Ultimately we had to oust him from the apartment as a result of such.  He ended up moving to England with his dad and getting clean for nearly 18 months.  He faltered and died in March of a Heroin overdose.  Although Nick and I had our problems I can’t help but be saddened by his untimely death.

If there is one thing I have realized is that we all walk a very fine line between sanity and insanity, life and death.  Some of us are more precariously perched then others in this life.  My life has always teetered on the bring of destruction  yet stayed on the line.  At the moment I cannot help but feel a strong sense of tedium with my current direction.  Then again I really have not had a direction to move in over the past five years or so.  I find myself at a loss of whether it is a good tedium or bad.  To me the word tedium by itself just seems negative.  Tedium may just be the theme of 2013….

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Book XVIII is Tuesdays with Murray, by  Mitch Albom, 1997: 192 pages

“Once you learn how to die you learn how to live”.  Like I said I have been blowing through books lately and at times have not even had chance to write about what I am reading when I am reading it.  Tuesdays with Murray is not a book I would normally pick up.  For one thing it is late 20th century American Literature where I am more of a fan of 17th-19th classics  and mainly British Literature.  An anonymous person, maybe a guardian angel even,  had sent it to me in the mail.  As I said in an earlier blog if someone is going to go through all the trouble to send me a book and even fold pages in it they thought were important for me to grasp, finally inscribing the cover, well then I certainly will not ignore.  To my mysterious benefactor I thank you for your kindness.  I found the text to be very heart warming and I think I am pretty sure I get the point you were trying to make.  Its nice to know that someone out there cares enough about me to take an interest in helping me get back on track with my life.

Since reading this book I am making a serious effort to control my excessive drinking habits. I am far from there yet but you know what I am taking baby steps towards something.  I am really trying to love myself.  A good friend told me after Adrienne and I split up “how could you have ever expected to love anyone when you don’t even know how to love yourself”.  This is a really hard one for me.  I have spent the better portion of my life thriving in self loathing.  I know that seems like an oxymoron cause my ego and arrogance are so prevalent.  I assume I use them as an easy defense mechanism to hide my rampant low self esteem, awkwardness and insecurities.

Albom wrote this thing about self pity “I thought of all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves.  How useful it would have been to put a daily limit on self-pity.  Just a few tearful minutes and on with the day”.  Honestly I really try and do this.  I only give myself very short windows of self-pity when it comes on then I shake it off and get “on with my day”, my life for that matter.  I am still pretty lost in life at the moment, but at least I know where I have been, where I don’t want to be and where I do not want to return.

This book is about a beautiful man on his last months of life and his seemingly simple yet ingenious realizations that I feel many of us forsake never to realize the errors of our ways till it is too late.  One thing I really have to give Tuesdays with Murray credit for is that I was about to take this Sous Chef job at a new restaurant downtown.  They had offered me a substantial raise, and a chance to really spread my wings as a chef.  The hours and hardships were to be long and hard.  At the moment I really love my job and everyone I work with.  Next to surfing it is the second happiest place I spend my time at.  Sure I am not making very much money, but if I made more I would just spend more and my situation would still be same.  One thing I can say with the utmost certainty all the wonderful people in my life love me for me and not my money and that my friends is priceless.

Tuesdays with Murray is good beach reading.  It’s written at a very philistine level.  At first I was put off by such.  Being a Literature snob and all I like to be challenged with my reading.   Maybe Albom wrote it that way so it could be enjoyed and learned from by the masses.  Its with out a doubt worth picking up.

Book IXX: The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1905: 176 pages

“Mercy didn’t exist in the primordial life, It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death.  Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate down out of the depths of time he obeyed”. What a book my friends.  I was at the Ventura swap last fall with Kooky Kyle looking through a pile of junk marked “Everything $1” for something hideous to buy Mauriello for his Birthday when I came across this book.  Kooky found some piece of trash he wanted so we bargained with the guy to get the whole lot for a buck.  Since he was some toothless meth head who probably found all that stuff in the trash anyway he complied.

I finally got a chance to sit down and read it, a book that supposedly people have read by 8th grade.  I am glad I didn’t cause I would have missed so much.  In 8th grade I would have thought it nothing more then a story about a dog instead of a struggle for survival and acceptance.  Basic plot is a Southern Californian pet dog circa late 1890’s is kidnapped and sent up to Alaska to be used as a sled dog for gold rushers.  The book outlines his trials and tribulations with such.  After reading the previous book it was very refreshing to read really good writing. I laughed, I cried and in the end held my head up high.  Read it I promise it is better then anything on the boob tube.

I read the signet edition which also included short stories Diable-A Dog; An Odyssey of the North; To the Man on Trail; To Build a Fire; Love of Life; all of which I also found riveting. London has found his way into my heart and favorite authors.  I think I am going to move to Alaska, get a sled team and train for the Iditarod.  I already started training by spending more and more time each day in the walk-in freezer at work.  Oh and I forgot to mention Alfie is going to be lead cat…

For our next book lets read some Voltaire and enjoy Zadig for book XX.  Happy reading.

This is going to be me and my dogs some day!!!

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I thought I might write something worthwhile tonight then I opened a nice bottle of Chianti and half a bottle later don’t feel like it.  Instead here is how the Summer Quarter of the UCB contest went down.  First off there was plenty of laziness on my part some laziness on your part, but hook or by crook some writing was done.  As I said in an earlier blog, there may have been less material but I for one thought what got written was of some better quality.  Here are your UCB Winners.

1st: John Mauriello – 3 points
2nd: Kooky Kyle – 2.5 points
3rd: Kiefer – 2 points

Now going into the winter quarter we have two wins for Kooky and one win for John.  Lets see where things end up this time.  Will Kooky be champion for his third straight year in a row or will John be able to unseat the champ????  You cant win if you don’t play.  Of course no one can win unless I get off my lazy ass and write.   If your completely lost I believe there is a little tab at the header of this page that says “UCB”. If you click on said tab it will fill you in on the stupidity that this is all about.

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The Columbia River from the Washington side looking up stream.

I awoke face to face with nothing but scenic vistas in all directions and gigantic evergreens in my vantage.  The air sort of had this extra freshness to it as I stepped out on the balcony of the house I a was staying at and gazed out over the river.  Im not used to looking at a body of water that ends so abruptly.   Still though the veiw there was rather breathtaking.  If  you were to throw in a point break I would be set.  I can’t remember if ever, the last time I saw so many trees.

The baller house I have been staying in. Nothing but the lap of luxury in Lisanti Land folks even on the road.  Lets just call this Lisanti Pacific Northwest HQ for this series.

To think less then ten hours ago I was in Santa Barbara who beautiful in her own right is like a completely different world.  Its been a long time since I had to do the whole travel thing, at least a year.  Besides the usual hassle of travel I also had the headache of a new roommate moving in while I’m out of town, a transition I would have really liked to have been there for.  I had family business in the form of my cousin’s wedding and since he did come to my now defunct marriage I figured I owed him the same favor.  No; I did not sleep with the bride. (everyone I told I was coming up for this wedding had warned me about such including my own mother.  Even I’m not that encouragable.)

I arrived super late with no major travel problems besides some over booked seating problems in San Francisco that caused a minor ten minute delay.  My new roommate dropped me off at the airport. I gave her a hug handed her the keys, told her please don’t wreck my car, kill my cat or burn down my apartment.  If I return and she has managed all three of these feats, completely destroying everything I have worked so hard to accomplish in the last few years I think then I am just going to cash out and get on a plane with nothing more then the clothes on my back and start a new.  The irony in that the remainder of my life I secured on my own to be completely destroyed by a woman is priceless in a literary sense.

One thing I must commend having short hair on is the ease through airport security.  What used to be a real nuisance of double security and full body checks now is a smile and “have a nice flight”.  Not traveling with a coffin chuck full of surfboards makes life much easier as well.  Having no checked luggage for that matter. I had the last fight out of the night and got into Portland after midnight.

My mother and I stayed up late catching up on things.  It was really nice to see my parents after the long time apart.  Next morning I cooked up a nice breakfast of omelets, toast, home fries and sausage. From there we decided to explore the bit of the up river portion of the Columbia River on the Washington side.  The goal was to work our way to the Bonneville dam to see the fish ladders.

This little guy only had about twenty more steps to go!

The Pacific Northwest and the Columbia River is riddled with dams.  In this area Salmon need to swim up stream in order to spawn.  These dams make getting to their breeding grounds near impossible.  In order to save the species and thank god by the way cause those guys are tasty mother fuckers all of the dams in the the area are build with a intricate system of steps and switch back so these fish can get past the dam.  I have always read and seen pictures of the system but now with it right in striking distance I had to go.

The fish ladders on the Bonneville Dam. They have to climb 75 of these against the current. If I had to do that just to get laid I think I would not even bother.

On the way to the dam we past this giant wood carving of Sasquatch that I made my dad  stop for a picture.  I mean how could I let that not happen? It turns out this was the entrance to the actual town of North Bonneville.  I would later find out as a result of an expansion project on the dam the town was moved about ten miles or so down river cause its original location was right on the plain that needed to be flooded.  Isn’t progress grand.  The poor fish have to bust their ass climbing countless steps against the current and an entire town had to pick up and move.  God bless America! Hey everyone gets cheap electricity. This town had this cute little park with all of these life sized wooden carvings of Sasquatch and I must say I got a kick and a half out of it.  Which meant lots of stupid pictures.

This is my Dad and I. He was not about the showing his sasquatch claws.

After losing an hour playing around with the wooden sasquatch we continued on to the dam.  Although it was far from the biggest dam I have ever seen the spill ways were going, which I have never seen before.  There was tons of water shooting all over the place.  I was sort of enticed on the notion of getting in a little boat and paddling around but none were to be found.  Turns out the dam was open for tours.  I could not turn down such an offer.  I had a choice of the turbine room or the fish ladders.

The Bonneville Dam spill ways in action!

Being my dad used to build power plants for a living I had a very good idea how turbines worked but have never seen fish swimming up stairs.  Inside the dam they have built these windows where visitors can actually view the fish swimming up the stairs.  It was pretty entertaining and then I found another job I need to work before I die.  In the fish room there was a lady hired whose sole job was to count the fish as they went through the dam.  Her job title: fish counter.  New life goal, become a fish counter.

We horsed around the dam, my dad got cut by some of the dam barbed wire (sorry couldn’t help myself) before we were thrown out at 5pm for closing time.  All that fish watching made me hungry for some salmon.  Before getting some fish we decided to visit a lake in the town of Camas.  Being from the ocean we find all these rivers and lakes rather novel.  It was nothing really to write home about, just your basic lake.   From there we procured some salmon and went back to Lisanti Pacific Northwest HQ.  I cooked up a nice grilled salmon dinner over risotto with roasted corn on the cob.  I don’t think one could ask for a more full day. Click here for part II.

Here is a slide show with some of the other photos I took from Day 1:

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