Arrrrrr- It’s a New COmputer and…wherrrr…

…I haven’t quite figured out the thing. It’s super confusing but claims it isn’t.

I did have my portion of our computer pretty much dialed-in. And then… it melted/failed/broke/blew up. And then, getting familiar with the Amazon Fire tablet while waiting for the new computer, I’m now wondering how long it will take to figure this thing out.

I did figure out how to work on my novel, “Swamis,” so, that’s good. Did I mention I just got the new unit today? Well, in the time I was waiting, I did go to the version I printed out, 60-some pages, scribbling changes all over each page. So now I’ve been adding those changes to the thumb drive-saved version.

This is a lot like work. Shit. Work. Complicating this, this morning, waiting for the local Post Office to get organized, going over a few more pages, I discovered that, for the sake of continuity, and for the story to make sense, I will have to move major chapters around. Again, this is kind of like work. Who knew?

Meanwhile, I did manage, after driving out and back and out again, at one point (point break, not breaking) being very close to a major arrest scene (pretty much every police officer in Clallam County) in a triple murder, and enduring a double skunking on one trip (though, if I had gone back to my last resort spot, I might have found surfable waves), find some waves at the just-mentioned but unnamed location.

So, fun.

Here’s something: If you hoot on good rides by surfers you don’t actually know, though I would never recommend hooting anything but a good ride, you might make a new friend. Or, maybe that person might forgive you when you steal a wave or two.

Not that I recommend theft.

I do recommend calling out waves. If you say, say “Number three,” it automatically means waves one, two, four, five, etc. are up for grabs. Seems kind of democratic. Friendly.

Okay, let’s see if I can get this thing onto the world wide web.


If You Wait, On the Strait…

…AND you know the proper trail to take; well, maybe you might not get skunked.

I would like to take some ownership of the phrase, “Lucky or Local.”  I’ve been both in the, wait, doing the math, um, carry the three, uh, 54 years since I started board surfing; and, while being a local isn’t as wonderful as it seems to someone stuck inland- I’m lying; it’s great- catching those little pockets of time and space and place non-locals miss- great.

It’s not like being a local isn’t without it’s  own frustrations; working at a house on the bluff above Stone Steps on a slippery-glass afternoon, knowing school is about to let out and the crowd will then include hyper-charged teens, seeing a car empty out four surfers who wouldn’t have gone to this particular peak if you weren’t on it.

It’s the Dawn Patrol syndrome. If you get somewhere first, say, and it’s good; it somehow seems more frustrating every time some new surfer or surfers paddle out. In the Last Light version, surfers are leaving, others hanging in until every little chop seems like a fin, another entity sharking the lineup.

The bigger frustration is, if you are a local, and you just can’t surf (the list of reasons is long- sickness, injury, work, work, work), you know exactly what you’re missing.


And, I should mention that, when I was a local in Pacific Beach, I wasn’t a local in Mission Beach, or Ocean Beach, or Sunset Cliffs, or Windansea; the status is pretty much non-transferable.

I started writing this to, I must confess, complain about my latest skunking, in which the buoy readings at 5:30 were good enough to make a trip not seem utterly foolish, but deteriorated as I got closer. Result; I’m waiting in an empty pullout, with the weakest version of waves sort of wandering toward shore, shapelessly, aimlessly. “Maybe… after the tide bottoms out.” “Maybe the angle will improve.”

Or maybe not.

Anecdotally, I could have, using what I know of the fickle nature of the Strait and of the times I have found rideable waves on similar tide/angle/period/wind situations; scored.  That would have been great. Score.  I didn’t. I did do some waiting, then went to the time-honored surf routine of checking other spots.

Nope. I did see a group of women preparing to launch a large kayak, I did see pretty much every cop in Clallam County at a scene (pretty close to a sometimes-surf spot) where they arrested a suspect in a triple homicide, did check out another spot with Chimacum Tim (the only other surfer I saw on the Strait, other than a couple who left ten seconds after reaching a place on the trail where they could see there were no waves at a spot Tim and I were checking from the actual beach), who, trying to get some waves in on his soon-to-end vacation, insisted he was almost-sore from surfing the previous day.

“Yeah; should have been here…” Yesterday.

So, in one of the few zones where cell reception is possible, I rechecked the buoys. It was a definite ‘probably not,’ but the next buoy south… the angle… the tide would be better.

Double Skunk.

Rationalize. “It’s better than working.” “Next time… for sure.”

For sure. Next time.

Connecting With A Keyboard… Yea!

Hey, I’m just testing this out. Trish bought a bluetooth keyboard to go with my (supposedly mine) tablet, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

Until I had to. It’s a little small for my fingers, but way faster than one finger hunt-and-pecking my way through.

If I could figure out how to get to Microsoft Word, how and where to save what I write, I might be able to do some more work on “Swamis,” the novel. I’m dying to, but right now, I have to get ready, just in case.

Just in case…

Space Awareness

I guy I was painting with, and this was a few years ago, a possibly typical, happy hour loving (definitely appreciating) individual (meaning he started and left the job way earlier than I did), told me, enjoying reduced-price beverages at a lounge in Port Angeles, that two surfers were (annoyingly, he pointed out, to fellow lounger, him) talking surfing.

“Nonstop. And, two hours later (post happy hour)?”

” Um, uh, surfing? ”


So it was, and so it is that yesterday, checking the buoy readings the average, 8 or 15 times per day, and, because I was working very close to a vantage point on the fickle Strait of Juan de Fuca, looking (in, as usual, vain) for any sign of waves three times, but then forced, because that job was finished, to drive 50 miles away to another job, I probably spent, between illegally talking on the cellphone-while -driving, legally talking on the cellphone while hanging out in a parking lot with a view of ripples going the wrong direction, and actually talking, in person to another frustrated  surfer – um, like, two hours.

So, like… Like happy hour. And I had my own coffee (black, no, you know, painterly extras). I would add more, about what I talked with Chimacum Timacum about (Seaside locals – hint) surfer stuff, like the last times there were waves, when the next time might be, but my fingers are getting numb from typing on this tablet, and, besides, it’s time to check the buoy readings

Tim took this photo of a fiercely –  defended  spot. We talked about it.


Screaming and Yelling

My laptop… Actually Trisha’s laptop… Whichever, it’s, evidently, no, almost certainly dead. I’m writing this on my Amazon Fire tablet, and the fact that I’m hunting and pecking, when I can type about 50 words a minute only adds to the frustration.

But, though I really have no clue as to what we’ve lost, I may have saved the thirty thousand plus words I have written for my novel, “Swamis”.

This was with the phone help of our daughter, Drucilla, with 3% life left on the only one of three batteries that would allow the laptop to start up at all (and after the repair program evidently erased Microsoft Word from the computer), and with Dru’s usually cool under pressure dad (at least I claim to be) freaking the duck out (hey, that was supposed to be ‘the fuck ‘ out, auto-correcting overlords), and unable to perform what she insisted is a basic and simple task of moving a file to a thumb drive…

And the battery life draining, draining, draining.

So, thanks, Dru.

Now. Now I don’t know, don’t know when we’ll get another laptop, not sure if the version saved us compatible with… I am just imagining breaking out an abandoned P.C. and… or taking my thumbdrive to the library or the community center… or… I just don’t know.

But I am not, currently, screaming and yelling and cursing and… not panicking.

Maybe later. What I do know is the novel is pretty important to me.

One other thing. Most of the artwork I have scanned appears somewhere in realsurfers, and… let’s check that out.

Image (92)

On Not Being Ernest

I’ll get to the circumstances in a moment, but the part that’s critical to this story is that, yesterday morning I told a former Hollywood producer (he’s legit) that I’ve used the three weeks-plus Trish and I have suffered (her more than me) without internet access, and without a land line, to work on my novel, “Swamis.”

“Four hours a day the past two days,” I said.

“Hemingway worked seven,” he said, “And standing up.”

“Oh,” I said, noticing that Bob was, himself, standing, scanning multiple images from the weekend’s football games on two computer screens (yeah, the internet worked at the Quilcene Community Center where he’s served- and I’ve never quite figured out why- as director for quite a few years); “Hemingway probably didn’t have a… regular job.”


OKAY. I’m not Hemingway.

And, just in passing; I’m not standing up to write this.

NOW, the reason I was, on this Monday morning, patrolling Surf Route 101 from my house to downtown Quilcene, checking out the Century Link switching station (no one there), and then cruising farther south to the Community Center, is that, on the previous Friday, doing the same thing, hoping to see some line truck (none), to give myself (and Trish, forced to do Facebook on her phone- Frustrating- tiny type) some hope that the major corporation hadn’t just decided to write off our rural outpost; and, since I was cruising town (which includes going to the Post Office, going to the ATM at the only bank in town to see if we still have money in our accounts, something, along with buoy readings and surf forecast and tide charts, I check several times a day, if we had internet access); I decided to stop in, say ‘Happy New Year’ to Bob, tell him about my novel (“Swamis”); and, to convince Bob that, if he has one last big play to make in Hollywood, it should be to get the story (“Swamis”) produced as, at least, a Netflix, no, Amazon limited-series.

So, yeah, some hope.

SOMETHING ELSE I’ve been unable to do is post on this site ( Yes, I did, one time, with about ten minutes to do it in, at our son’s house; but waves have been ridden, sessions have been missed, surfers on too-small-for-the-conditions boards have been frustrated by old guys on big (enough) boards. After one session, I ran into a writer, and, more importantly, a professional editor, whose house (former house, with former wife) I painted a few years ago.

Mark, in exchange for some extra painting, edited an overlong piece I was planning on reading (and did) at the FIRST SURF CULTURE ON THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND SALISH SEA event.  His editing was totally great.  There were parts where I ignored his advice, and read them as originally written. Mistake.

It turned out that two of my surfing friends (they may deny the friends part), Derrick and Stephen, were working on Mark’s new house, with his new wife.  When I told Mark I was writing a novel, and asked if he could, maybe, please, just read a bit of it, he said he would… BUT it would be better if it was complete.

“I just want to have someone tell me… the style, that’s what I’m…”

“Just let me know… when it’s complete. First draft.”

OH. GREAT. WAIT; WHAT? I’d already googled to discover a novel runs about 60,000 to 90,000 words. WHOA! Moby f’ing Dick! That’s a lot of words.

“It’s not like I’m writing it start-to-finish, then self-editing. I keep going back and…”

“No. I get it. When it’s done… call me.”

Well, winter; long nights (missed sessions), the fact that I can use the laptop as a word processor even without the internet; I’m up to thirty-two thousand words, plus; and I’m thinking about it constantly, getting close to figuring out who did it in my own mystery/surf novel.


ONE: I also ran into Clayton last Friday. Clayton lives between our house and town, has a sort of Christmas tree farm, and, through Trish and Facebook, I knew his internet was, also, out. He was at the Community Center last Friday, using their computers. SO, I found out the outage had been on his property, with an electric line, during one of our more-than-usual number of windstorms, fell onto the phone/DSL lines, frying it, melting all the little lines that go to, well, us and some unknown (and, despite daily long calls to Century Link, they wouldn’t tell me) number of customers.

Still ONE: I was kind of hoping Clayton might be hanging out at the Center. Monday’s Century Link representative de jour (and they’re all over the country- I ask) told me the outage was fixed, and everyone was back on line; but, since our modem was still solid red on the DSL light, I did not believe her. Clayton wasn’t there, but Bob was, in his office.

TWO: I have worked with Bob in the past. In fact, he drafted me to write a column for the Center’s monthly newsletter. “Quite popular” he tells me. I met Bob, as I meet most people, by painting for him when he first retired to the area.  I was still writing a column for the “Port Townsend Leader” at the time, showed him the a copy of the manuscript of my second (the first was never quite finished, this one, “At That Moment” written on computer, word processor, long hand, the first 70 or so pages way more, um, edited than the last 70- or so) novel; and, some months later, I was writing, and he was changing, my first screenplay, “Near-Life.”

Still TWO: It’s a play on ‘near-death,’ and I had one vision; Bob another. He tried to shop it around Hollywood, and we came ‘this close’ to it being purchased by an outfit headed by John Travolta. Almost. Bob was waiting for a phone call. I was waiting (while working) for his phone call after that phone call. It was pretty exciting.  “Almost,” Bob said.

There is a huge difference between ‘almost’ and success.

The story of surf on the Strait is a story of ‘almost.’ Or, maybe it’s a story of ‘sometimes.’

I’m not Ernest Hemingway. Never claimed to be. I looked him up, last night, after I passed two line trucks on their way to Quilcene around eleven; I on my way to Bremerton to work; after I got home around 8pm, and Trish, not nearly caught up on emails and Facebook, let me use the laptop. Hemingway, successful writer, wasn’t writing seven hours a day at 67, standing up. He shot himself at the age of 61.

I wanted to text Bob, mention that to him; but Trish told me (info from Facebook) that yesterday was Bob’s birthday; 82, same age as Jack Nicholson (I got that from Bob).

So, happy birthday, Bob.

I’ve pretty much used up my writing time for this morning. At least it wasn’t used hanging on the automated phone-chase or chasing up and down Surf Route 101. I checked our bank account balances; I can check the buoy readings on my phone.