Saturday, February 28, 2009

There must be a tool for that

This afternoon, after my post surf session siesta, I found
myself sitting outside at a friends house with a few others
hanging out, talking about the the nothing in particular.
As is usually the case in situations like these topics came
and went in no particular order, often blending one into 
another in a stream of consciousness manner. 

Elliot had spent part of his day removing grout from tile. 
He was raving about how he'd hit upon a tool and system that
seemed to work really well.  After a few minutes of  us
teasing him as he described how he did it, Scott smiled and 
with a wink announced sheepishly "there is actually a power
tool for that...could have made your job much easier".

Leon talked about a new gadget that he was installing
to boost a mobile phone signal.  It's an essential
tool for him.  He loves to pace when he's on the phone
and lives in a place where when he paces he looses the
signal and call.

I described a problem I was having with a screw that
holds the cross bar in place on my car roof rack.  I've
tried all sorts of tools to hold the thing in place, spent
hours on it before giving up.  My problem became
a group challenge.  After a number of attempts using
surf wax to hold the back of the plate in place, Dave 
hit upon an idea.  We needed something that had a 90
degree bend that, with the help of the surf wax, could
secure the plate in place as the screw was aligned.
He rummaged through the garage and came out with a
saw.  A saw, a punch, a screw driver, some surf wax 2 
men actively working and 3 watching.

My roof rack is fixed!  There must be a tool that 
would have made the job easier but certainly not as
much fun or as memorable.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When the air gets really cold the sand along the 
high tide line freezes.  When that happens there 
are no footprints on the frozen sand.  Sounds rather
obvious but I suspect there are lots of people for whom
 the idea of frozen sand is a novel concept.

As I walked along the beach today, on the hard frozen
sand, I got to thinking  a lot about footprints.  Much is written
these days about all sorts of footprints. Understanding the
"footprint" concept has become an important part of our
environmental awareness.  Do you know your carbon footprint,
your water footprint, the footprints of the clothes you wear or
items you consume? We need to at least understand the
concept and think about these footprints and their impact.

I saw a sign at that read "leave only footprints".  I know that
the sign was intended to urge  us not to leave our trash behind. 
Not a bad idea even in  the most general meaning of the word
trash,  but that sign got me thinking about footprints in yet
another way.  What footprints will you leave behind for your
children, grandchildren? My friend CJ Olivares likes to say he
wants to leave the world better than he found it. He take steps 
to do so, hopes to leave his own footprints.

What footprints are you making as you walk through your
life, what footprints will you be leaving behind? It's kind of
unusual and rare for the sand to be frozen like it was today.
It's really rare that we make no footprints.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shifting Paradigms

I read an interesting piece earlier today.
The author, a dedicated 6'2" thruster devotee, was
commenting how he'd ridden a Campbell Brothers
Bonzer recently, and has become a "convert".  He'd
totally changed his perspective on  surfing, surfboards
and surfboard design.

He's not alone it seems.  After the false apocalypse
that was the death of Clark Foam,  many surfers  and
shapers have changed the way they look at their surfing,
their boards, and their mindsets. 
Some are trying to recreate old shapes out of new
materials, others adapting and improving upon
those old designs, while even others are going way back to
the past and reconnecting with surfing's roots.  Fish, quads,
bonzers, wood boards, epoxy, bamboo boards, a total shift
in wave riding equipment is taking place.

The piece made me think that we, as individuals and as 
a culture, need to change some of our perspectives, shift
our paradigms. Opening to new ways of thinking from the
past as well as looking at the future with an eye towards
how things can be different can help us get out of the
economic, environmental, and psychological state we seem
to be in these days.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some days you're just not supposed to

Some days I guess you are just not supposed to
do certain things.  You can't fight it or get too mad
about it.  About all you can do is go with it, accept
it, not obsess or ruminate, and try to laugh at it.
Today was just one of those days!

Thursday is, for me generally a very busy day.  It is
the one day that I have to leave the house early to
see patients in The Center for Pain Control.  The Center
is about a 30 minute drive.  I see patients there and consult
in the morning and than head to my own office to see
patients in the afternoon into the evening.  I'm a dummy,
Thursday is generally my late night.  Guess I figure if
I've got to be in early I may as well work late.  I know
it makes little sense but...

Strange how many swells we get on Thursday's.  Today was
a perfect example.  Most would agree that the surf has been
really poor here in NJ this winter.  In fact I can't remember
a worse winter.  It's also felt like a cold winter.  Well, this
morning at sunrise it was sunny and unseasonably warm, 
about 44 degrees, not bad for mid February.  The wind was
gentle and offshore and the surf in the chest to shoulder
range.  No surf for me today!  To add insult to injury today
my wife is leaving for 3 weeks in Puerto Rico and the surf
she'll encounter upon her arrival looks really good too.

Oh well, some days you're just not supposed to do certain
things.  Guess I wasn't supposed to surf today.  There will be
other days I'm sure.  No worries, no complaints!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Surf shops

I love the feature on Surfline ( 
about surf shops.  In my view local surf shops are
unique and wonderful places.  That's especially true
I think in colder climates and in places where waves
are less consistent.

Today was a bit chilly and blustery here in NJ. It
wasn't frigid or anything like that but it wasn't the
kind of day you'd want to spend long hours outdoors.
Many of us, by mid February,  have been stuck inside
long enough. To add to the cabin fever feeling, this winter
hasn't had the most frequent or consistent surf. So
where do you go to connect with the surfing culture on
a day like today?  A local surf shop.

You can almost always count on running into someone
at the shop.  They aren't there necessarily to buy anything,
although they usually they end up with something. They
are there more to hang out, talk a bit, watch some of a new 
film, avoid the honey do list, and discuss the world.  Often
they bring their kids.  Today I encountered a 3 year old trying
to get a skateboard moving, arms held out in a classic pose.
Of course the munchkin was dressed like a miniature surf
rat with tiny Uggs, jeans, unkempt hair and all.

What a great way to kill some time.  Can't do that at Walmart
or Costco.  Support your local surf shop.  There are few places
like it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Too much of a good thing

We had a really solid swell today, an offshore 
wind, and fairly mild temperatures.  Offshore
winds are usually a good thing but not when they
blow at about 30 mph sustained with gusts close
to 50 mph.  Too much of a good wind can knock a
swell down in no time.

Today's wind somehow got me to think that we,
as a society, just might be in the straights we are
in because we had too much of a good thing and
we weren't really mindful of the consequences. 
Too much cheap gas, too much plastic, too much
easy credit, too much consumerism, too much overall
gluttony is not a good thing.  As we face the new
challenges of today perhaps it is a good idea to ask
of ourselves just how much do I need?  How much is
enough to make me content?

Strong gusty offshore winds can serve to teach us
many lessons.  Sometimes too much of a good thing
isn't really a good thing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shades of Blue

This morning the sky was a beautiful clear blue.
The ocean, even with it's flatness, was yet another
shade of blue.  Despite the beauty of nature all around
me I was a different shade of blue.  The kind of blue
that comes with a sad reflective feeling.

I'm reading Thomas Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded".
It is a book that we all should be reading.  Unfortunately
the facts of our changed world, it's finite resources, and the
infinite demands of the earth's population as it grows, does
not present a very positive picture.  It doesn't bode well for
my grandkids.

 My mood was also coloredby a talk I watched given by
Charlie Moore of the Agalita Foundation.  Charlie is one of the
foremost authorities on plastics in the marine environment.
You can see that talk on the Jim Moriarty's blog at Please do the planet a favor and take the 
30 minutes to watch it.  One of the things that struck me was
a slide of a WWII victory poster. It's message was simple and 
all too relevant in this time of economic  and environmental crisis.
We'd do well to live by that message
today.  Conserve, walk to work, plant a garden, and don't waste
precious resources.  Our consumer based, afluenza ridden ways
are deadly.

Friedman's book, Charlie's talk, listening to rigid partisan
spokespeople on the Sunday news shows ridicule and criticize
those who don't agree with them is enough to make anyone blue.

As Charlie Moore and others are saying "shift happens".  We need
to learn from the past, change the tired old paradigms we use
to think about and solve problems.  My generation has contributed
to making a total mess out of things.  Let's all take action to change
the shade of blue that leads to despair and degradation.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow on the beach

Snow on the beach are 4 words that just shouldn't
go together.  Not the image most of us like to
hold in our minds eye as a fantasy.  Snow on the
beach is exactly what we got today here in NJ.  Thanks
to a coastal storm we got about 3-4 inches of snow
yesterday.  There was snow up to the high tide line.

If you have never seen snow on the beach you should!
In fact, today convinced me that I need to add photos to
some of these posts.  It's kind of neat to go to the beach
on a crystal clear morning and see snow.  I'll admit that
it's not my favorite beach sight but, what the heck.  As
one of the 40 something surf girls said "isn't it beautiful?"
It was in its' own way.

The beach and ocean offer up many moods and are full of
surprises...just like life.  Many moods and many surprises.
What helps keep us balanced is how we cope with these
moods, these surprises.  It's not the snow on the beach
that presents a problem or creates the mood, it's how
you look at the snow, how you think about it.  How do
you think about your problems - your snow?  How does
your snow impact your mood?

Oh yes, there were waves and a few hearty souls out surfing.
That's another tale for another day.