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Posts Tagged ‘California’

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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.
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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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Photo: Christopher Dunlea

When it rains it pours, shit runs down hill and all that jazz.  The last time I wrote something here I was rather optimistic about life and the world; my life specifically.  OPTIMISM!!! What word, what a dangerous mother fucking word.  It implies that with good thoughts, feelings and hopes good things will be brought about.  Maybe this works for some people. No one I know in particular, but some delusional idiot out there lives by this crap.

Even a pessimistic realist like myself falls into these optimistic ideals on occasion.  It always happens to me when my life starts actually turning around.  Then again had life really turned around for me or was I just starting to believe the lies in order to come to grips with the settlement my life had become?  There were the lies I told myself and the ones that the machine of conformity claimed would bring me happiness.  I am one for total honesty when it comes to oneself, but then again there are times when one needs to believe his own lies in order to accomplish certain goals and ultimately in this mess of an oxymoron a new truth may be achieved.

While I am at it let’s briefly touch on how I feel about the idea of happiness.  I have always subscribed to the thoughts of Aldous Huxley “Happiness is never grand…Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt…Happiness is never grand.”  This quotation is basically how my life has played out since birth.  If you have been reading here a while then you know.  If not, feel free to indulge yourself for I am not going to bore myself or my loyal readers with my own redundancy (that’s a fucking joke).  Shit I have not written anything for months so I suppose I need to make it count.

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Ah the sweetness of adversity Photo: Christopher Dunlea

Now that we got all that philosophical crap out of the way lets get into exactly what has happened in my life over the past four months.  Believe me a lot must have been going on if I was left nearly speechless by it all.  Some one who existed briefly, yet had a major impact on my life recently said that she found it rather odd that I only share the good side of things on my social media.  Clearly she never read this blog for I am the anti-hero of my own story, a modern Sydney Carton waiting to give his life for his beloved Lucie Manette.  Fuck how often am I positive about myself here? To be honest the pain, misery and suffering I had been going through had me so mentally crippled I was for once in my life at a loss of words or at the very least decent words to delineate my situation.  I also have to blame El Nino as well cause if you frequently read the surflog or just surf in California you know how good it has been here in the 805.

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Oh it’s been fun! Photo Christoper Dunlea

I guess the best place to begin my tale is in the middle of October.  At this point of my life everything was looking splendid and grand.  Things at work were going well.  I had recently got a solid raise.  My bosses were pumped on me.  I had the respect and esteem of all of my employees.  The food we were producing was in my opinion the best we ever had done in my six year tenure at the college.  I was working with my best friend Bizarro and watching him develop as a cook, which gave me a real sense of kin.  Life was good.

Yet there was something missing I just couldn’t put my finger on. Although production was at an all time high, quality good and waste low I still knew we could do better.  I live by the code of the samurai striving for complete perfection and mastery of whatever I wish to consummate.  “So many aspire to greatness yet so few succeed.”  Maybe I got too full of myself.  My ego can be a bit ridiculous at times.  I might have pushed the kitchen and management too hard.  I don’t really know how it all fell apart, though looking back now I have an idea.  We are not there yet and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  I may not have wrote for a bit, but I think upon the conclusion of this piece you be happy I waited.

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I will stand by my food with my life.

“Hindsight is 20/20” and in life I have always had eagle eyes.  Like I said work was good.  Life was good.  I was surfing a bunch and well. Biz and I were shooting tons of photos.  On the party scene I finally climbed to the top of my circle.  It certainly helped having a bit of disposable income around.  In my personal life I wised up to a certain entity that had been bringing me down for years.  It wasn’t her fault or mine we just kept ignoring the writing on the wall and our own good sense.  Certain instances took place that I am not going to mention, but opened my eyes and saw that as a couple we were never going to go anywhere and although we had found a livable groove that could have went on for another five years, I needed more.
party1I’m a romantic, a Shakespearean, an avid reader of Jane Austin.  For these reasons alone I could no longer exist in a relationship of convenience.   Finally after spending the bulk of September agonizing over what to do I took a deep breath and cut the cord.  I emotionally freed myself from the cage I put myself in two and a half years ago.  Man, it was scary.  As most of you know I am not a person who does well alone.  One thing I have always held true to is that I would much rather be alone for the right reasons then with some one for the wrong reasons.  Loneliness, vulnerability and depravity by themselves are not good enough reasons to pursue a life with another if there is no magic.  Thus I walked away standing tall and proud of the decision I made.

Once again I found myself single.  The dating world had changed quite a bit from when I was in the game.  It is very possible that I had changed a bit too, now in my mid thirties and having very different needs and wants then I ever had before.  For the first time in my life the thought a family crossed my mind when meeting a woman.  I wanted someone I didn’t have to save or constantly help get out of trouble.  I didn’t want to regularly have to turn negative vibes into positive ones.  I really wanted to learn from my past.  Luckily I analyze the shit out of my life and especially my romantic escapades.

I wasn’t perfect either.  In the past I had ruined more then one possible great relationship by being a total ass, selfish, immature or all three.  My temper has always been a problem.  I am Italian after all and we are very passionate people in all aspects of our life.  Temper is definitely a flaw  I am most guilty of.  Over the years I have made great efforts to control such.  There is still a long way to go. We are all works in progress till death comes knocking at that door, probably sooner then later for me.

Ultimately I wanted a relationship with more substance, a person with more substance.  I wanted someone in the industry.  People in my field constantly work crazy hours, nights, weekends, holidays.  This makes having a relationship with someone in the 9-5 world nearly impossible.  When you are off they are working.  When they are off you are working.  When you get off at 10 pm you want to drink a glass of wine, maybe go out, eat a meal. The 9-5’er is already in bed.  On the weekends when they want to rage most likely a member of the hospitality industry isn’t getting off till midnight. It becomes a real strain on both parties.

I thought about other cooks or chefs, but we all have egos and mine is heavier then most.  I knew unless I found the most passive chef  we would kill each other.  I put my sights on the front of the house, waitresses, hostesses, bartenders, managers, etc.  Also let it be said I wanted at least six months to pass before I met anyone else.  Even though my former relationship had been technically dead when we broke off our engagement nearly a year prior we still stayed together for another year of emotional dolor.  By all psychological accounts I needed time to heal.

Day in and day out I went upon my everyday.  As much as I hated the world of internet dating I got back on that horse again to no more avail then I had the first go around.  The difference was I had grown a thicker skin and didn’t really take anything too seriously.  If I met someone cool, awesome and if not at least I got out of the house and made a new possible connection.  One should try to make at least six contacts a day according to many very successful people at life in general.  I had a bit of fun with it all this time around.  Why not have fun? We only get one go around.

My life was good.  That almost brings us up to the fated  blog of optimism I published on November 17th 2015: “A Fresh Start“. Not quite entirely, not even a little bit.  During the aforementioned foray with dating through a digital medium I managed to meet someone whom I began to feel rather smitten for.  I believe she did as well.  The chemistry between us was about the best I have ever felt between a member of the opposite sex and myself.  We had enough in common to be compatible, though not so much as for it to get boring.   There were complimentary strengths and weaknesses existing among us as to be advantageous to both.  The two of us looked good together as a couple both having impeccable fashion sense and good taste (yeah mostly her, my tastes are still very much on the Guido side of things.  You know the saying: “take the kid out of Jersey, but never take the Jersey out of the kid”).

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Like I said “Guido”

We genuinely got along.  With all of these aspects of a budding romance in play I decided to legitimately pursue the relationship breaking my six month rule I had set earlier.  There will always exist a spoiler to such rules in this life.  For that spoiler always has been if I think I met someone who could actually be “the one”.  Cupid doesn’t time when he shoots his arrows and I have let plenty of opportunities for love pass me by cause I  ignored his call in order to sort out a different directive.  The impetuous modern day version of Romeo I can be at times threw all caution to the wind and went for it.  By the time I posted “A Fresh Start” I was very much in love and in the midst of a torrid romance.

For weeks I was in a blissful rouse of jovial spirit.  As a matter of fact I couldn’t remember a time when I was more happy.  Its funny how amazing life is when you feel everything is going your way.  I didn’t have a care in the world.   Nothing lasts forever and as fast as love had come to me that was as fast the pitiful wrath of its ending also abounded.  How it all came crashing down at such a hastened pace was beyond me and the downward spiral it would cause was soon to be realized…

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Photo: Christopher Dunlea

Stay tuned for more of this most recent saga of my life soon….

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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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I know its been awhile and as far as content goes this blog has been a desolate waste land over the past few months.  What can I say for myself except for that fact that I have been rather busy these days.  Apparently trying to make my way in the real world has been a bit harder then I had initially thought.  Anyhow I thought I would take a minute to bring everyone up to speed and reaffirm that this blog is not dead.

As usual I have been rather busy doing nothing of an importance or significance besides keeping my head above water.  I suppose sometimes that is all one must strive for.  At the same time there are a few things in the works at the moment and if anyone or a number of them come to fruition I could be styling on a whole new level.  Since all of this is at the grass roots level there is not much more elaboration I am at liberty to offer up at this time.

Besides that I had a few personal issues go down in my life as a direct result of some of my past writings on here.   I held out and stuck to my originally convictions though ultimately the entire ordeal ended in censorship of my own personal words and even the temporary if not permanent removal of a few of my better posts.  This came as quite a blow to my emotions, artistic integrity and pissed me off creatively forcing a short hiatus from writing anything but the surflog, which regrettably has also been altered to my utter dismay.  Despite all of this bullshit I have managed to keep the regular diligent record of my daily surf sessions.

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This is exactly what censorship boils down to in my opinion…

This was not the first instance where I have had to go back and make some changes due to something I have written that hurt someone I cared about in my life.  All I do is honestly speak my mind about the everyday things that happen in my life.  Of course, since it is my life all of the people in it on occasion find there way into my writing and this would not be a problem other then the fact that what I scribe is available to be read by anyone with an internet connection.  As a blogger for many years being in the eye of the public has been a fact that I was more then willing to except and still am.

At the same time I also have to respect the feelings of those other people in my life and understand their reasons for not wanting to be a part of SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Maybe I have finally grown enough as a person over the past few years to finally respect that.  Whether I have made the right decision or not is still to be determined.  What I can say is that it was the right decision for me.  This has always been a surf blog anyhow and I think moving forward I will spend more time writing about surfing instead of just bitching about the melodrama of my some what semi-charmed life I in southern California.

Lets get back to the roots of this blog...Surfing

Lets get back to the roots of this blog…Surfing

I think less crying and more surfing will suit all of us just fine.  I will of course do a bit of complaining as usual, but we can all agree it is my useless rants that help add a bit of comedy from an other wise boring work.  Expect some new recipes for I am at times cooking again for fun.  As usual there will be new books cause a writer who doesn’t read is like a fish that doesn’t swim.  Hopefully I will have a few other cool things up my sleeve as I search for new inspiration.  I just don’t mean in writing but maybe in life as well.  We all know things here in Santa Barbara have gotten a bit stagnant for me and I feel its time I picked things up.
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I have finally managed to surpass my incessant partying with time in the water.  After nearly five years of self destructive party and ten years of self destructive surfing I believe I  have began to find a balance.  I can attribute a lot of this to the many people who have remained constant in my life and even those who exist in it no longer.  Bizarro has helped me find a new vigor for both my cooking and surfing through his new found interest in both. On the Surfing front we have been shooting up a storm.
11333499_1675042429395234_720614452_nI don’t really know what the future holds and wouldn’t want to know anyway or it would not interesting.  I have bit more free time for the next two months and I am hoping to add more content and have a few adventures along the way.  Finally I thank all of you for reading and sharing my life with me at SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Here is looking forward to a fun summer.

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The North Side of Point Sur.  Notice the sick little left hander in the background.  I will only say this about the photo, it was shot about a mile away.  Translation, that wave is way bigger then it looks! Harder to get too as well.

The North Side of Point Sur. Notice the sick little left hander in the background. I will only say this about the photo, it was shot about a mile away. Translation, that wave is way bigger then it looks! Harder to get too as well.

There is a place just north of San Simeon, and south of Carmel that will change one’s perspectives on life in general. A mere seventy some odd miles of coastline, Big Sur is an expanse of vistas and adventure locked into a desolate speck of California that is awe inspiring.  I am a person who has traversed a large part of the coastal world, seen and experienced many amazing things in my life time.  What I came across on my recent trip into Big Sur left my mind blown and my heart longing for a simpler life.  My inner yearning for an existence beyond the reaches of man was once again rekindled.  An answer was posed to the question: “There must be a better way?”.
Big Sur, Northern CoastFor over ten years I have been avoiding this seemingly daunting stretch of coastline.  “Don’t waste your time with Big Sur if you want to surf” said one surf guide.  “The only true locals are the sharks and their brand of localism will kill you” said another.  I even found a statistic claiming the only killer Whale attack in North America ever recorded on a human happened in Big Sur to a knee boarder.  Throw in gnarly erratic weather, frigid water and heavy fog and lets just say I was always far from eager to make my way through.  The only time I travel up the coast is to get waves and rather then waste it and swell on a shot in the dark I have always focused my energy between Monterey and San Mateo Counties where the options and score probability are way better.

The last time I actually did drive the PCH down Big Sur was with my parents.  It was night time, the fog was so thick I could barely see five feet in front of me.  Both my Mom and Dad were passed out, while I clung to the edge of my seat, my ass so tight it could turn coal into diamonds, traversing this crazy windy road with sheer death at times on either side if I was to make a wrong move and go off the road.  When we finally got to San Simeon, our projected destination it was two and a half hours later to go eighty miles and I was so wound up I needed a fucking drink.  Of course the liquor store was closed and the bull shit motel had no mini bar.  I found myself frantically knocking at the night manager’s office to see if he had a nip.  Lucky for me most night auditors are drunks and the guy was stoked to share a flask of whisky with me.

Bixby Creek Bridge, pretty in the day light, but at night with intense fog an easy way to die.

Bixby Creek Bridge, pretty in the day light, but at night with intense fog an easy way to die.

Fast forward back to recently, Heather and I had been talking about doing one of those cliche romantic couple get-a-away type trips for sometime.  Truth be told I had never really been on such a trip before and thought maybe I have been cheating myself all these years.  Also I never have dated the type of woman who would have been interested in such.  Lets face it most of my romantic dealings with women are lucky to last past dropping her off in the morning. This whole serious relationship thing has been completely new ground for me with a harsh fucking learning curve.  Fuck I thought getting proficient at surfing was tough.  It’s a cake walk compared to this.

We decided that we would get a little place somewhere in the woods for a few days in February as sort of a birthday gift/engagement gift.  I wanted to go someplace beyond the reaches of both cell phones and internet.  I really was interested to get away and have some quality one on one time with my lady sans interruptions from the rest of the world.  Whatever the needs of the real world wanted it would have to wait a few days.  Originally the plan was to go find some snow and get a little cabin up in the mountains somewhere.  Then Heather mentioned Big Sur and around that same time a friend of mine from back east had just recently spent some time there and had a rather good time with his girl.

I wanted to try and leave surfing out of the equation as best as possible.  Those of you who are or know die hard surfers know that if you put a surfer near the coast with a chance of scoring waves it will consume him no matter what  the initial objective of the trip was.  As I stated earlier I had not ever really considered Big Sur for a surfing destination thus leaving it in the scope of a potential destination.  We managed to find a cute little cabin in the woods just as we had hoped.  I decided to pack a step up and a 5’10 just in case.  The idea of surfing Big Sur was more of a novelty then anything else to me.

An unexpected yet exactly what I expected of the Big Sur surfing experience.  Big, windy, scary conditions with no one out but me.

An unexpected yet exactly what I expected of the Big Sur surfing experience. Big, windy, scary conditions with no one out but me.

Just like that the trip was set for February 12-14th.  Believe me going away for Valentine’s Day was not part of my plan and only painstakingly added to the utter cliche of the whole endeavor.  Trust me I cringe at the thought of Valentines Day.  Fuck I wrote a great little piece on the whole fake Holiday: “#@%% Valentine’s Day“.  You can click the link to visit that blog for some fun Lisanti anger blindly targeted at yet another bull shit day.  I must say I was rather looking forward to the trip all things considered.  I never get to do anything different these days being I am so locked into the monotony of my daily routine. Heather and I rarely get any real quality alone time together either, considering our very contrasting schedules and lives.

The Journey North
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The plan was to leave early in the morning Wednesday the 12th and slowly work our way up Pacific Coast Highway taking in whatever sights came our way.  I hate rushing anywhere when I am on vacation.  Half the fun of taking a road trip some place is the act of getting there.  I have been on some trips where the actual process of getting there turned out to be more fun then the actual objective. Of course thanks impart to an impromptu dinner engagement the previous evening and bit too much wine those great laid plans of an early departure were all but forgotten.  

Instead I decided to go surf New Jetty considering that Heather was still fast asleep, not packed or ready to embark upon an early north mission.  When God closes a door he opens a window after all and in this case it was meager but rip-able new Jetty where I managed to get into an altercation with some stupid kid.  So maybe it wasn’t such a great window after all.  Still I got a few.  I you feel so inclined you can read about that bull shit session in the February SurfLog, the 2-12 entry.

New Jetty 2514

New Jetty living it up in the worlds best average wave and winner of the “better then nothing” category.

In classic Lisanti fashion we did not get on the road till around 2 pm.  Not that it was a really big deal or anything.  At that point I had come to the terms with the fact that it was going to be long past dark before we made it to Big Sur.  My only worry was the difficulty of finding the cabin considering the remoteness of it’s location.  Then again I figured we could cross that bridge when we came to it and it would only add to the adventure. The only positive thing about the late start was not having to worry about traffic since it’s pretty desolate up north and we were timed perfect to just miss the start of rush hour in Santa Maria and the end of it in San Luis Obispo.  The trip was smooth sailing all the up.

When we got into SLO I headed for the coast.  The wind appeared to be on it, but I had that st small hope of being able to find something to surf for feeding hour.  Morro Bay was all blown out.  One guy was paddling the State Beach there, but conditions were far from inviting.  Rather then waste time getting all cold and frustrated attempting to surf trash  I decided to keep cruising while day light was available.  Plus I was hoping to get up to this beach just north of Hearst Castle that is one of the largest elephant seal rookeries along the central coast.  I had missed it on my last trip.

The iconic Morro Rock, Morro Bay

The iconic Morro Rock, Morro Bay

We weaved our way up the coast in the waning light in all its golden red splendor.  The ocean was on one side and the vast coastal hills to the other.  Everything had all the makings of a perfect sunset and I hate wasting one.  I found a chill little spot to pull over just under Point Piedras Blancas.  There we watched the sun slowly sink beyond the horizon into the ocean.  Behind us was the silhouette of Hearst Castle sitting on its hill top perch.  Every time I see that impressive structure I cannot help but imagine what it must have been like to watch a sunset from one of the many verandas there.   Nothing puts a day in perspective for me better then a good sunset.

Hearst Castle, a must visit if one finds himself on the Central Coast.

Hearst Castle, a must visit if one finds himself on the Central Coast.

Luckily for us the beach with all of the seals was only a few miles away and we got there with just enough twilight left to see the scene.  As soon as I stepped out of the car I was greeted with the craziest seal sounds I had ever heard.  There was barking, screaming, cooing, snickering, snorting and howling.  It was almost comical.  Then I got to the bluff and the entire beach was littered with seals.  It was rather entertaining and if not for the darkness and intense cold I think I could have stayed there for hours. The show had to go on and we were still a good few hours from our targeted destination.

For awhile there was nothingness as far as the eye could see.  At most times I was the only car on the road in the darkness.  After a good forty minutes of driving we entered the southern most part of Big Sur, Ragged Point. There was a small little resort area there called, you guessed it, “Ragged Point”.  Thinking it might be our last look at civilization for God knows how long I decided we should stop and see about getting dinner.  I also would like to mention that I forgot to grab my Central California Tour Guide book, only grabbing my surf guide and the weakest on of the three I had at that.  Figuratively and literally in the dark we decided a bird in the hand was better then two in the bush.

The restaurant there was certainly bit on the fancy and pricier side than I was hoping for. Beggars can’t be choosers and in the rush of our late departure I also failed to pack adequate groceries for a journey into the uncivilized unknown.  I pride myself on my ability to understand the terrain I am entering on any trip I decide to take on.  I was this time around distracted by other stupidity going on in my life prior to departure and therefore found myself completely unprepared and thus had to wing it.  Alone I don’t really have a problem with that, but with Heather in tow I felt a bit more uptight and nervous of our situation.

My expectations for this place was that I was going to shell out a lot of money for a less then stellar meal.  Believe it or not I was rather shocked at the quality and portion size of our food.  Heather ordered a very tasty sauteed jumbo scallop dish and I had a Lobster Pot Pie that easily had  six ounces of lobster in it and was so tasty I considered stopping in on my way home.  Whatever the case if your ever in Big Sur I highly recommend stopping for at least one meal at the Ragged Point Dinning Room.

After a our splendid meal it was back on the road for us.  We were graced with a full moon and a very clear night making  driving conditions as good as could be asked for in Big Sur.  Seriously the moon was so bright I could nearly seemas good as if it were day. We drove the windy road in and out of the craggy coast line.  About thirty minutes in I decided to pull over and have a look at my surroundings. Heather was sound asleep in the passenger seat as I stepped out onto the seaside cliff and looked out.  Everything looked amazing in the silvery moon light.  I had not seen so many stars since my tenure in New Zealand. The ocean was shimmering as the waves crashed in and out of the cliffs below.  There was some type of rock formation out in the ocean as well that was just getting pounded by the force of the waves.   It was a surreal moment and reminded me just how lucky it was to be alive to experience such an amazing moment of solitude.

Our Cabin was about another half hour or so in the actual town of Big Sur.  When we got there it was after ten and everything was closed and not a person was stirring.  The cabin was off the Highway 1 down a non-nondescript dirt road.  Basically what this came down to is that the road was near impossible to find.  I was given the most vague directions possible: “look for a big tree with a group of mail boxes near it.  Road is passable by all vehicles but may be  seem intimidating if your not used to country roads.”  This is all I had to go by.

After almost thirty minutes of driving around in circles I finally came to what I thought to be the road up to the cabin.  “Accessible by all Vehicles”, well I guess that is a different understanding for different people.  In my little Civic coupe that is very low to the ground this muddy, rocky, root filled, pot hole ridden excuse for a road seemed like it was going to be near impossible.  Coming into to it we passed a rusted out tow truck and a beat up atv.  We figured that must be the Calvary to help get guest out who get stuck.

Our cute little cabin in the woods.

Our cute little cabin in the woods.

This creepy ass road through the woods in the dark with no one in sight just had a very “Deliverance” sort of feel to it.  Then to make matters worse the road began to climb at like an 18% grade.  How my car made it was beyond me.   Sure she bottomed out a few times, but came through no worse for the wiser.  We finally got in front of this cabin and it is full on looking a bit like “The Evil Dead”.  I was waiting for Bruce Campbell to show up with a chainsaw attached to his arm and start hacking away at the rape tree.  Actually it was a cute little cabin and I think both of us were very happy to get inside.  As soon as we were settled I built us a warm fire, which we wasted no time in snuggling down in front of.

Nothing rewards a long journeys end like a warm fire.

Nothing rewards a long journeys end like a warm fire.

From there it was into bed for us with excitement for what adventures tomorrow would hold.  I was hoping to find some waves.  Both of us were interested to see all the sights that we missed arriving in the dark.  Among all things it was nice to leave all of our troubles of the real world behind and fins a little time in seclusion with just us and nature.  In my opinion you cant ask for much more out of life then that.

For more Big Sur Adventuring check out Part II!!!!!!!
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Jalama122213

12-22

Crowds everywhere!  What the FUCK!  These days California has been no bargain if your an avid surfer.  I have to say 2013 will likely go down as one of the worst years for surfing on record for the entire state.  Besides a moderate spring season, which would have not even been worth mentioning if winter was not so bad, its been one let down after another.  Summer started with some fun, yet far from epic south swells, followed by an unprecedented six week  flat spell.  Then the lot of us thought that maybe fall would be our redemption.  Fall came and went with no combo action and nothing more then a few weak NW swells.  The last hope, our saving grace up here in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area was winter.

Unfortunately as we watched Hawaii get amazing swell after amazing swell (usually a very good indicator that we are about to score), that same swell got to the California coast and sucked.  Glad the boys at Pipe are scoring. Now already in peak season everyone is super hungry for whatever little bump mother nature decides to grace us with.  What does all this mean to me?  Exuberant crowds at all of the well known surf spots, my beloved Rincon being one of them.  If you follow the surf log you may remember a session I had at Rincon not to long ago where the party was steadily ruined by a crowd of about 250 people.  If your not following the surf log  you should because that is where the meat of this blog is these days.

All of the overflow spots where I will usually trade quality for crowd compliance have also been stupid packed.  Even the bad days where few would even think about paddling have become out of hand.  By this past swell I had it up to my head with people.  Luckily I was off from work till the 4th of January and had the ability to do some searching.  Sunday the 22nd of December saw the beginnings of a new long period WNW swell.  Since it was a weekend and a holiday weekend to-boot I was not at all eager to go surf anywhere.  My boy Pat had called me the night before and put the idea in my head to go up to Jalama.
Jalama122313_3I checked the buoys, and the conditions.  Sure enough it had all the makings of a good Jalama day.  My only concern was that if the swell moved in too fast it would be too big to surf.  My boy Mike ended up crashing at my house after a night at the Wild Cat in Fancytown and was keen for a surf.  As soon as I told him my idea he was up for it.  I called Pat to see if he wanted in considering it was his idea.  He bailed, leaving Mike and I on a mission.  That was fine cause three has always seemed like a crowd to me.

We struck out later then I normally would have liked for a Jalama mission. These days I’m always later then I would like when it comes to surfing anyway. The winds looked good all day and the only alternative was to sit in an obnoxious crowd for very average waves down south. Worse case scenario we had a nice drive, surfed a few waves and hung out. Jalama is always a good idea in my book.
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We got there and it was solid. Tarantella’s was way overhead and crowded. I could tell from the bluff it may have been a bit more then I had a board for. I figured I could try my luck with Cracks or maybe even venture further south into the ranch and try some of the reefs I had scoped out a few years ago with Kooky Kyle while he was living at the Palace. I knew of one reef in particular I was interested to surf.

When we got in front of Tarantella’s it was packed, at least thirty heads. The waves were solid double overhead and bigger on sets. I could have pushed the envelope on my meager 5’10 but it would have been a slaughter. When I looked south toward the reef I had in mind,  I noticed there was a wave coming in. Mike was keen and we set off.  Keep in mind this reef is around 500 yards or so from T’s so I was going on speculation at best.  There is nothing better then to walk that far down the beach only to realize it was a flash in the pan and have to walk back. That is the risk one must take to score.

Tarantella's doing its thing.  Believe me it is a much bigger then it looks.

Tarantella’s doing its thing. Believe me it is a much bigger then it looks.

As we approached the reef I noticed a few guys out. I guess we were not the only ones hoping to score a few waves off the beaten path. The left itself was a nice little slab. It came out of deep water and slammed into this little finger reef about fifty yards or so in front of a rock outcrop. The wave had a barrel off the drop on the double ups opening up to a turn section or two on the inside before closing out on the beach break shore dump.

That inside was heavy.  I thought I was going to break my board or neck more then once. It appeared that the crew that was out there were together and at the end of they’re session. We chilled on the beach and assessed the situation. The last thing I wanted to do was crowd four guys who had also went out of their way to avoid such. Plus I wanted get the lay of the land so to speak.
Jalama

To tell you truth I was glad there were guys out. It gave me a chance to learn the wave. With in fifteen minutes of getting there one by one the line up cleared. Mike and I suited up and paddled.  It was solid overhead on sets. I had no idea where to line up or how deep it was. I have this thing when I go to a new spot where I have to pop the cherry. I caught the first wave which jacked up way harder the I had expected. Luckily the reef was rather conform and about four feet deep the entire way.

Mike and I made the most of this fun wave just enjoying the beautiful surroundings and laughing how lucky we were to experience such a thing on one of the most crowded days of the year. We decided to call the wave (although I am sure it already has a name) Pats Remorse since he blew it and stayed home.  It wasn’t the best wave I have ever surfed and certainly far from the perfection of Tarantella’s, but considering the fact we had it all to ourselves it was just what the doctor ordered.

12-23
Jalama122613-014

I woke up feeling rather sore from the previous day’s mission.  The new swell had filled in according to the buoys.  All reports came back that it was too walled for the beaches and too small and inconsistent at most of the points to make it worth a paddle.  I took my time and waited as all my contacts kept me informed on their hunt.  Finally Pat called and said he was coming up my way, the plan being to go try and get some waves in Isla Vista.  All the college kids were home for the Holiday making the place and line ups a ghost town.  There was plenty of west in the swell that at the very least Devereux and Sands would have something.

Devereux was tiny and kooked out with long boards and SUP’s.  Sands had waves, but it was about chest to head and pretty walled with the occasional corner.  Not too frothy we decided to take a minute and watch two goats head butt the shit out of each other.  At the moment we decided that may have been the highlight of our day.  I must say it was rather entertaining.  One goat was twice the size of the other and they just kept smashing skulls.  Every time we thought the little one was throwing in the towel it would back off just enough to get a solid lunge at the other.

At that point we did not know what to do.  It was a good thing we didn’t just suit and boot the Sands.  As we got back to the lot a fucking UCSB campus police officer was ticketing cars.  The dude was chill and let us bail with out a fine.  There were a dozen or so other surfers’ cars that were not so lucky.  Between that and the goat fight I figured we were already ahead of the game.

While driving off the deliberation began.  Then Pat said what we were both thinking, “What do you think about making another trek to Jalama.  At that point I figured we had nothing left to loose and off we went on a very late day excursion retard mission. We got there and Tarantella’s was fucking huge.  I am talking easily triple over head to twenty feet.  Guys were getting tubes you could drive a car through.  With a pair of 5’10’s between us Pat and I wanted nothing to do with that.

Bombing Jalama beach break

Bombing Jalama beach break

Up on the bluff just before the entrance to the park there is a little pull off where you can check the surf to see if it is worth the $10 parking fee.  From there I looked north onto Vandenberg AFB.  Through my binoculars I saw a few reef breaks that showed possible potential and looked like a not so far walk.  A little further, a distance I really could not gauge from that vantage, could  have been fifty yards or a half mile I noticed a really good right or at least what appeared to be.

Necessity it the mother of invention or in this case exploration.  Pat and I loaded up our gear and started the long march to the unknown.   Seriously we had no idea how far we needed to walk or if what we saw was even ride-able.  We went on blind faith in the hope that our commitment would pay off.  About a half mile in we got to the reefs we had seen from the bluff.  They were do-able, but more closed out on the sets and unpredictable then one would have liked.  From there we could see the mysto right hander better.  It still looked pretty good.  Unfortunately its distance still near impossible to tell.

Our right reef in the distance.

Our right reef in the distance.

I had learned from countless missions abroad that the best way to gauge how far a spot is that you are walking to is to consider how much more visible it gets as you keep walking toward it.  If that spot never seems any closer odds are it’s way too far to walk.  When I walked to the Kumara Patch in Taranaki, NZ for example I could barely make out the wave from the parking lot, which was around 2 miles away.  The spot did not look any closer till I got with in 3/4 of a mile from it.  This wave was definitely looking closer every step.

In the distance just before access to the wave was a cliff head land.  From our position we had no idea if there was going to be a trail around it or not.  We did not even know if there was a beach beyond.  As far as I could tell we were either going to have to climb down a cliff into the surf traversing boulders when we hit the water or paddle from the foot of the cliff.  Either option  seemed to suck to me.  We had already come so far.  Also the closer we got we noticed a column of white water that seemed to make the second section possibly impassable.

We kept on with high spirits.  When we got to the cliff area there was a small goat trail around.  Although an awkward grade to walk with a surfboard and gear it was far better then other trails I have had to traverse in my day.  Sure enough the path emptied onto a big open deserted beach.  The whole scene was surreal. Just Pat and I in the middle of nowhere staring into a right we had not known existed until that day.  The only discouragement was that it appeared to look much smaller then we thought from the beach.

See any signs of human life?

See any signs of human life?

We cautiously waded out into the water.  Remember we had no way of telling how deep the reef was, or how sharp or what creatures may dwell beneath.  It was all a mystery.  Upon paddling closer to the wave we could tell right away it was much bigger then it looked from the beach.  Almost to the take off zone, which was about forty yards in front of this rock out crop I decided to swing around on one of the insiders.  Like I said I love to be the first to test the waters.  What I thought was a smaller one ended up sucking up to head high and reeled down the reef.  It had a nice bowly wall the entire way in.

The reef was rather conform, about five to three feet deep all the way to the inside shallows where it eventually went dry.  On the way back out a set came and cleaned us both up.  It was solid ten foot and bigger.  The sets were make-able if you were in the right spot.  I seemed to always get into them a little too late and got owned by the next section.  The real gems were the in between ones that just hugged the reef all the way to the inside.  There was a little wind on it, but we could tell that if it were glassy or offshore the place would barrel if not just at the first slab section, but the inside slab too.  The place had real potential.
Jalama122313_1

For over two hours Pat and I traded off right for right, pushing the limits of the spot each time.  As the tide got lower a few rocks began to pop up in the take off zone that were a bit problematic.  The wind picked up a bit out of the NW as well adding a debilitating chop to the face.  Considering these new extraneous factors both of us decided to call it a day before any inopportune instances occurred.  Over a mile from the parking lot and over 20 miles from decent medical help and no cell phone reception, an injury would be very inconvenient.

Pat said if he got attacked by a shark to just drag him into the beach, hand him his pack of cigarettes and let him smoke away till he bled out.  There was this big sand drift at the head of the beach so I figured once he died I would just drag him over to the foot of that and push the sand down over him and call it a day.  I could think of a lot worse ways to go and places to be left to rest. Considering the distance for help that seemed to be the most logical plan for any serious injury. I decided to tentatively call this right hand reef, Pat’s Redemption.  T’was another good yet very unexpected day of surfing!

12-26-13
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The day after Christmas Heather and I got a late start.  It was nice to spend the morning together with out any obligations or a care in the world.  Word was things down south were far from good and rather crowded.  Heather had never been up to Jalama and conditions looked right.  Figuring I could find a wave some where up there we set off.  Like I said Jalama is never a bad idea.

We got up there around 2 pm way later then I ever make such a trip.  As soon as I got out of the car I could tell it was bombing just by sound of the waves breaking.  When I came over the dunes it was macking.  I guess the new swell had already begun to fill in.  Thinking things were a bit too big for Cracks and Tarantella’s considering all I had was my 5’10 again (you think by now I would start bringing my bigger board), the call was to go north.  It was still smaller then when Pat and I came a few days prior.  I knew of at least one left hand reef slab I wanted to check out.

We made the walk and sure enough the spot I was thinking of looked really fun.  It was a short little left that offered a quick tube off the drop followed by a hit section, ending with a boostable close out.  Basically it was a goofy foot playground.  There was even a crazy right too, although its pace and steepness made it pretty tough to make.  I did manage one sick one on the right.
Jalama122613-003Heather tried her luck with my DSLR and managed to score some pretty decent photos.  Its been a long time since I got a few shots of me surfing.  She was pumped on the whole experience.  Most people are when they make it up there.  Here we were basically with an entire beach to ourselves.  I must say the only down side was I felt a bit like fish food out there all by myself.  There is some solace to be found in the buddy system.
Jalama122613-198Besides the solitary factor that at times I actually do find most refreshing I have to say it was one of the best surfs I have had in weeks.  As far as the day went I could not ask for a better one.  The weather was great.  I was at one of my favorite places in the whole world and I got to share it with the woman I love.   Who could ask for anything more.  Its the simple things in life that matter the most.

After a year of frustrating surfs, obnoxious crowds and all the other day in and day out bull shit one has to deal with its amazing to know all it takes is an open mind and thirst for adventure to take back your soul.  Some people travel all over the world to find new spots.  I found three in less then a week in my own backyard.

***This blog was suppose to post on 12-23, I wrote it on my cell phone and messed up posting it and somehow lost the whole blog.  Thus it had to be rewritten.  With the holiday it has been sometime since that initial lost posting that was regrettably promoted.  I think this is a way better version any way.  Sorry for the confusion.***

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Forestiere Gardens

Family is one of those things that one has to deal with from time to time.  I don’t know why we as human beings feel this unnatural need to stay in contact with someone just because they raised us.  As far as secondary family ties, well lets not get me started on that.  Maybe it stems back to tribal days or early times when family meant survival.

As cold as I try and come off I too unfortunately fall subject to the archaic sentiments of the heart.  Once a year I make an effort to see my folks.  Last year I made two, a trip to Portland Oregon (read my Portland Blogs here follow the breadcrumbs to read the rest of the adventure) and a trip back home to New Jersey for my sister’s wedding.  I absolutely hate going to New Jersey.   It was bad enough I lived there for over 10 years.   After all of that I was spent on family for quite some time.

My parents had not come out to visit me here in Santa Barbara in six years and the last time they were here I did not make nearly the impression a person of my stature should.  At the time I was living in a rundown tenement with 12 other guys smoking blunts all day and getting into all sorts of trouble.  Long story short they were far from impressed and I have always felt whenever my mother and I talk on the phone or she thinks about me living in California she still sees me living that old life, when in actuality I am doing alright these days.

This year while discussing our annual visit my parents decided to come out and visit me.  Since they had already seen Santa Barbara and I live there we decided to go on a tour of Yosemite, Tahoe, San Francisco and Hearst Castle.   It was to be a California adventure.  The tour started out in Fresno.  FRESNO!  I know that is what I thought too.  Turns out there are these underground gardens in the heart of the city that some crazy Sicilian guy, Baldassare Forestiere built between 1900 to the late 1940’s.   As three crazy Italians ourselves we just had to check it out.    My friends if you ever find yourselves in Fresno I would say it is a must see.

The entrance to this wondrous subterranean place.

The entrance to this wondrous subterranean place.

The story goes Italian immigrant and master citrus grower Baldassare Forestiere bought a large plot of land in San Joaquin Valley where Fresno stands today in 1906.  After realizing that there was too much of a concentration of hard pan on his land to grow a citrus orchard he had the crazy idea to tunnel underneath the hard pan and grow fruit essentially underground.  What he ended up with was a forty year tunneling project that produced a 10 ache system of tunnels connecting, bedrooms, patios, living spaces, planters, citrus trees, grape vines, a ball room, and an underground aquarium.  All this he did alone with his own two hands.

One of the many maze like tunnels.

One of the many maze like tunnels.  With one of the worst flat spells I can remember going on this is as close to the tube I am going to come for a bit.

I have to admit I was not a believer until I pulled up in front of the grounds and saw the tops of large citrus trees and grape vines coming out of the ground.  I knew right then I was in for an extraordinary afternoon.  When I walked down the steps in the first tunnel I came face to face with the trunk of a 100 year old orange tree still healthy and producing fruit, UNDERGROUND!  Citrus trees are lucky to produce fruit for over twenty years let alone 100.  Forestiere must have really known his shit.

This tree is about ten feet underground

This tree is about ten feet underground

Tree top growing out of a cut out in one of the tunnels.

Tree top growing out of a cut out in one of the tunnels.

There is nothing like a good Italian when he gives into his own insanity and gets on a tear.  We will cut off our own nose to spite our face.  Forestiere couldn’t grow his orchard.  Instead of packing it up and moving someplace else he did his own thing and build an amazing architectural anomaly.   It reminded me of the old Roman caves in Italy that are used to cure meats, cheeses and age wines.  When you climb down into Forestiere’s submerged dwelling it is like you are entering into the man’s soul.  I am not going to say any more about this enchanting place that maybe you have to have some Italian blood to truly love.  Here are some of my photos of the place.

The Kitchen with a cat iron stove and oven.

The Kitchen with a cat iron stove and oven.

One of the bed quarters

One of the bed quarters

The bath tub

The bath tub

It is amazing what the human spirit is capable of when he puts his mind to it.  Forestiere’s underground gardens are a testament to such.  These days I am rather jaded so for something to grab my attention it must be a sight to be seen.  I don’t know if it is the Italian in me that loved this place so much or the eccentric or both, but I would certainly recommend a visit. The again I did also spend the majority of my adolescence hanging out in my parents basement.

Forestiere loved to make and enjoy his wine.  A man after my own heart.

Forestiere loved to make and enjoy his wine. A man after my own heart.

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