Sidenote at the Art Exhibition

My brother-in-law, Jerome Lynch, texted this to me. My youngest sister, of four, Melissa, died two years ago.  She was an artist with skills I seem to be able to only aspire to achieve.  She could do portraits, live, a sketch in her mind a finished piece of art in anyone else’s.  If a rendering can capture a soul or a spirit, she was the eye and hand and heart and mind capable of accomplishing that deed.  That feat.  That goal.

Magic.

When I told Melissa that, with my limited time for things artistic, I could either turn out some quick drawings, or considerably fewer quality works.  “Oh, go for the quality,” she said, “Definitely.”  Jerome told me Melissa would go back into works he thought were perfect, editing, fussing, making subtle changes.  Jerome knew his wife couldn’t be satisfied with something that didn’t live up to the vision in her mind.

He knew, as I know, as Melissa knew the fear of touching a work that you’re pretty happy with, knowing you are as apt to make a mistake that will ruin it as you are to add something that will make it… better.

Better.  We always want our little stop-motion illustrations, our attempts at capturing a specific moment or mood or memory, or magic, a bit better.

“Oh,” Jerome said, “she’d put more time into piece, and then I’d have to go, ‘oh, so that’s what she was going for.'”  Yes. Always.

JEROME sent me a text saying some of Melissa’s art works were part of an exhibition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Their son, Fergus, had written this note to go along with his mother’s paintings:

                                                MELISSA LYNCH

 I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MY MOM’S CREATIVE JOURNEY AS I SAW IT.                                                           She had begun a new chapter and desired to diverge from the business of perfecting the craft,               Of honing technical skills.                                                                                                                                         She was striving to communicate, not only in a visual medium,                                                                             But in a more fundamental language.                                                                                                                    She was seeking to speak in a way only truthful art can.                                                                                   Her struggles with mortality cleared a passageway for this expression                                                         And freed a voice within which spoke of wounds, fear, anxiety,                                                                      But, also, of the glory of our imperfect lives.

 In some of these works you can find tool marks,                                                                                              Damage control,                                                                                                                                                             And the tragic scars borne from deep wounds stitched together in an unsterilized environment.     Melissa sought to free her expression through honesty and vulnerability.                                                   This work helped her to experience true healing;                                                                                                 To rise out of the existential fear                                                                                                                                 And into the light of peaceful acceptance                                                                                                           And the joys of creation.                                                                                                                                               Her trials have ended                                                                                                                                                     But the experience is human                                                                                                                                      And one we all should be lucky to share.

by Fergus Lynch 

TEXT-Thanks. Great words from Fergus. I try very hard to channel Melissa in my work.

TEXT- Yeah, there was some poetry in the exhibition and I thought this artist statement outdid the other work. 

Indeed. 

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by way of explanation: TOP- Melissa did the drawing, one of her friends supplied the horses (I started out drawing surfing, Melissa horses). Composite: Top left- Melissa and me at Seaside; top right- Jerome and Fergus taking photos where locals don’t like photos taken (unless they’re ripping, and then not for circulation); Three portions of larger illustration (when I was showing a client some of my works, she zoned in on this drawing); Lower right- A drawing Melissa did for a short story I wrote.  I told her the skeleton might be a bit of overkill.  In retrospect… I have to think about it.  Check out the skilled rendering of the feet and hands, the perspective, the… magic.

MEANWHILE- It’s stormy, doesn’t necessarily translate to awesome surf.

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Logo me This

This is partially for Tyler Meeks, owner/operator of DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.  We’re teaming up on some t-shirts; and have been working on the logo design for a while.  We have some accumulated shirts, mostly dark, in a variety of colors and sizes, plus black.

I have some dark and black shirts ready for my next LIMITED EDITION of custom ORIGINAL ERWIN shirts, and a new design (again, based on one of my favorite illustrations), but wanted to rework my logo.

SO, here’s the Disco Bay Logo (and I’ll probably redo the lettering) necessary for printing white on darker shirts:  And here’s my current logo and my next graphic, logo on the front, image on the back:

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It is a bit of a brain tease, but you/we/I have to imagine everything that is black on the illustration being white on the t-shirt.  Hoping to go to the screenprinters tomorrow.  Shirts available soon.  Gotta go.

Original Erwins in the Works

AFTER a lot of discussion, TYLER MEEKS, owner of the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, and I are finally almost ready to combo up on some new t shirts.  ALMOST.

TYLER’S SHOP is conveniently located on Surf Route 101 in Discovery Bay.  Selling new and consignment and used equipment and gear (assuming these might be different things) for hikers and bikers and kayakers and climbers-and-droppers, surfers (includes novices, kooks, aficionados/enthusiasts, dominators, rippers, Hobuckers, Hodads, surf power couples, real-and/or in-denial Hipsters, possibly a few posers) make up about 20-25% of Disco Bay’s customer base, and, accordingly, Tyler and I are working on some shirts that might appeal to a wider cast of characters.

DISCOVERY BAY is really close to the crossroad with Highway 20 (leading to and from Port Townsend, and, with ferry service, Whidbey Island and environs north and east), and Highway 104 (to and from the Hood Canal Bridge, and through ferries and bridges, Seattle/Tacoma/Fremont/Fife/Chicago).

SURF ROUTE 101, I should add, connects the NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA with areas to the south.  It’s not uncommon to see surfers from, say, WESTPORT or SEASIDE or, I’ve heard, California, heading north hoping for a swell direction they think might be favorable to waves on the STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA.  As such, they are, no doubt, passing surfers from here headed south.

ANYWAY, we’re actually planning on getting some shirts to the silkscreeners with the Disco Bay logo on the front, medium-sized (if that makes some sense), and some others with the logo smaller, to one side (over the heart is the norm), and an ORIGINAL ERWIN illustration on the back.

 

The image on the right was used for a limited run (and they are all, and will be, limited runs) of shirts a while back.  I sold some to friends, Tyler sold some.  They’re all gone. GONE.  If you have one, you might not want to screw it up as I have with several of the shirts I saved for myself.

ANYWAY, here’s, reworked from one of my favorites of my illustrations (and I’m getting more and more critical of my own work- almost as critical as I am of other people’s) a design for the back of some upcoming shirts:

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Here is the based-on illustration and my own logo (still working on tightening it up):

 

When drawing something for t-shirts, the finer lines might not show up. I’m not fond of big areas of color/ink- they feel weird on the back, and, no, not going for that.  AND, adding color costs more to produce, adding to the ask from the customer.  AS DOES, of course, having a logo on the front and art on the back.  STILL, going for it.  SOON.

MEANWHILE, I do want to write something about the difference between dominating and ripping.  I’ll be thinking about it while I’m driving, out on SURF ROUTE 101.

Time- Warped, Wasted, Spent

To quote; or, possibly, mis-quote Miki Dora; “Life’s pretty much a waste of time. Surfing’s as good as any way to waste it.”  I’d spend some time trying to look it up if I felt like I had the time.

TIME.  So, recently, headed back along the Strait of Juan de Fuca (SoJdF) and into the zone between the Northwest’s Pacific Coast where cell phone reception becomes merely spotty (Joyce for most of us), I gave Adam Wipeout a call (one of the few surfers on my short list of people- and I’ve explained this to death already- I share session reports with).  WHAT? It turns out he had tried to sneak in an (another) stealth surf at an undisclosed location and was forced to now make up for all the things he was supposed to do.

“I feel like I was in some sort of time warp,” he said.  “I can’t believe it’s one o’clock.”

“Well, it is.”  It was, and it wasn’t even raining.  I should have been painting.  Adam should have been… something, something with his family or for HAMAHAMA SEAFOOD; something else; not sliding and barrel-dodging and getting praised by onlookers for better-than-proficient rides.  That was Adam’s recap. He hadn’t invited me, probably wouldn’t have told me about this until days later.

AND, I was elsewhere, allegedly (someone willing to pay roaming rates called someone he knows, he called another surfer from my short list, and that guy called me and left a voice mail I couldn’t listen to until I reached Joyce, and, as happens, restarted my phone) catching more (somewhere between slightly and considerably more) than my allotment of waves.

Well.  I hate to waste time.  Not an excuse.

OKAY; that’s out of the way. I’ve been working on a series of NORTHWEST SPIRIT ANIMALS. My latest was the eagle.  Now, the national bird has been done from so many angles.  I wanted to go for a new one.  I spent some time on the first version of this; but it just didn’t work.  I must have some fear of using large patches of black, but… not an excuse.

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Rather than tear up the whole thing, I doubled-down (I know, you’re thinking Trump backing up ridiculous claims with more ridiculousness) and added the checkerboard stuff.  Ewww. Well, maybe, in color…

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Not thrilled.  Not my favorite.  Next time…

MEANWHILE; and for quite a while, TYLER MEEKS, the owner, and I have been discussing using the logo I came up with for the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE on t-shirts.  There are some very small decals available, but the problem is, and has been, that the design isn’t ‘tight’ enough to be instantly recognizable from a distance.  And I agree.

SO, I spent some time drawing, and several trips to various printers, trying to get it tight enough to print as white-on-colored (or black) t-shirts, possibly with ORIGINAL ERWIN designs on the back.

NOW this presents an additional problem/mind game, at least for me.  The design was drawn to be black on white (or light), and too much thinking is required to make the switch.  OKAY, here’s how it goes:

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This is the black-on version.  The black outside the drawing (including the points of light) would be cut out.  White mountains and clouds.

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Here’s the white-on version (there are some outside-the-image things to be eliminated). SO, everything black on this would become white on the shirts Tyler and I have gathered (various colors and sizes), but I have some amount of trouble making the switch from what I see (black clouds and mountains) to what will show up.

ANYWAY, the plan is to have some shirts available soon at a reasonable price.  I’ll let you know.  OR, maybe one of your friends will call someone else with the news; something like, “Got skunked, but, whoa; they have some awesomely cool new t-shirts at Disco Bay, Bro.” Then that person might call you.

Meanwhile; I have been working on my novel, “Swamis,” making it te-ight!

 

 

Came from Surf City, 1951…

…oh, yeah; I try to deny it, but that’s where I’m from.

To the tune of, of course, the Beach Boys song about, evidently, going to the southern coast of North Carolina.

NOW, I do not deny that I was born (in a car, during a hurricane) in Surf City, and that my father, in the Marines and stationed at Camp LeJuene, actually owned a house on the beach.  ALL this adds to my credentials (more in my mind than in reality).

BUT, raised in Southern California, I bought into and probably went along with the prevalent (“Surfer” magazine wasn’t really helpful- a few tidbits here and there), if, perhaps, imagined prejudice toward the east coast surf scene.  ADD in the fact that North Carolina is actually in the south and…

…yeah, prejudice.  Sorry.  I’ve changed.

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Not so much, perhaps. That’s me on the left of the photo, with my cousins John and Ronald, and my sister, Suellen.  “Same stomach,” Trish said, after finding the photo on Suellen’s Facebook page; add a mustache; it’s you. Yeah, same attitude, too; more hair.

I discussed the East Coast/West Coast thing with hydrosexual (loves all things water/snow connected) and non-kook Stephen Davis, born in Seattle, raised in Colorado (which I always, he says, pronounce with a valley-girl accent).  It seems we know quite a number of transplants from that side of the country.

We didn’t discuss the south-to-north transplants.  Refugees.  Yeah, those folks.  Please, try to keep an open mind.

Y’all.

Trust and Sarcasm and Irony and Such

With Whom do You (Dare to) Share… stories of surf trips, where you went and when you started (better trips start pre-dawn, the best end well after sunset), who you went with, why you went (forecasts, buoy reports, some vague longing), road conditions (traffic holdups, police pull-overs, pit stops), perfect (or not) conditions, perfect (or not) waves; waves ridden (estimated number and exaggerated size), selected awesome rides, memorable wipeouts; interesting (or irritating) people encountered, car problems (or not); where you stopped (coming and going), what you ate; and, most importantly, where you’d rank this trip in the banked memories of however trips you’ve taken?

I have actually been thinking about this a while.  For most of us, who we share our adventures with (and don’t even claim to have never even wanted to share something about that surprise barrel you got on an inside section of what you had thought was going to be a closeout), comes down to who you trust not to share this exciting info with someone who will blab it around, or worse, someone undeserving.

If you’ve learned, over years of skunkings and scorings, under which conditions this spot or that spot has worked in the past; accumulated anecdotal information, what you have is, actually, data.  DATA. 

BLABBERS and the UNDESERVING: Why the fuck would you want to give this DATA to some person who hasn’t put in the miles and the hours in the search?  Why would you tell someone you’ve just met at some beach where the waves aren’t happening that they just might be breaking at…?

Because surfers ask.  Because they want to know.  The same surfers who ask what you know might just show up at the beach you mentioned, paddle up just inside of you in the lineup, and say, “MY WAVE!”

That’s the fear.  It has happened. 

swamis

“Erwin…waikiki-crowds told me it’d be good.” “Yeah, that’s where I heard it.”  “My wave!”

SO, HERE I AM, with my (desperately) tiny little website, started as a platform on which to write about surf adventures years and miles away (before I became aware that I have another surf life here and now), and I’m restricted from recounting all the shit from the first paragraph because of the then-listed reasons.  Mistrust and a certain desire to not add to the folks in the lineup the next time I go.

SO (I’m trying to go through this with some sort or sense of logic), my not blabbing is the result of PEER PRESSURE and a certain amount of GREEDINESS. 

BUT, I sort of learned what not to say, what not to show, over time.  Yeah, at first, I did write about where I went, what I found.  I named spots and conditions.  NO. NOPE.  In fact, I wrote, years ago, about my first session at a very fickle spot.  It was published in the local newspaper.  Every surfer who was out that day, and many who weren’t had something to say next time we met up (at another beach or, yes, at a grocery store or pumping gas).  Mostly it was, “You can’t put that out there,” and, “Hey, did you see that one ride?”

NOW, MAYBE, it’s clear that I’m not going to even say there are even (ever) waves on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (from hereon referred to as SoJdF, you’ll see why), I suddenly have been made aware (suddenly because, evidently, despite having a mouth for sarcasm, I don’t have an ear for it) that, maybe it’s not okay to mention that there are ever, EVER, any good waves at (in this case) WESTPORT and/or (by extension) SEASIDE, and/or (by further extension) ANYWHERE.  NO WAVES.  NOWHERE.  NOHOW. 

Oh, maybe somewhere over the rainbow.  OZ.  No, not that OZ.  No waves. Never.  And, I hear, it’s always crowded.

HERE’S THE COMMENT I misinterpreted, from PWA (not his or her real name, I am assuming) in response to my piece, “Sometimes Westport is an Option”: “I was wondering if you had any pictures you could share of those epic empty spots that line Washington’s northern coast. Just asking.”

I wrote back: “Wait.  Checking.  Checking.”

Then, after I’d posted “Cougar- Northwest Spirit Animal, plus…”, PWA wrote, and this is his punctuation: “Be honest im sure you had plenty time to consider the personal ramifications of publishing photos of the epic surf spots of lining SOJDF (see, told you, SoJdF is how I’ll now, forever, present it).  That was a very nice day at WP and you know the internet these days.  So put 2 and 2 together and just because its not your locale try keep on things the DL (Trish told me this means ‘downlow’) a little more thats all I ask.”

SO PWA, OKAY.  AND, UM, THANKS.  I guess I thought Westport wasn’t a secret spot; that it was fair game for mentioning by name.  AND, in my defense, I thought I suggested, at least, that it’s usually not anywhere near epic.  I hope no one went to Westport with unrealistic expectations because of something I wrote.  Sidenote: I get Stats from WordPress; and, to date, nothing on realsurfers.net has ever gone viral.  Oh, there was a cough, once, but it may have been a mistake.

MEANWHILE, up until 1979, and a few times after, there were waves at places like Swamis, Sunset Cliffs, P.B. Point, Crystal Pier, Windansea, Pipes, Grandview, Ocean Beach, Oceanside (pier and harbor, and in-between), Swamis (upper, lower, middles, church), San Onofre, Cardiff Reef, Blacks…

ALSO, I do have a story I’m dying to tell, conflict and conquest and waves and all.  I’ve already passed it on to a few of the people I trust.  Good story.  OKAY, the takeaway is this: None of us own waves; we’re blessed to ride a few.  OH, and don’t ever call my friend (name withheld) a kook.  KOOK.

IN CONCLUSION: Surfers love to tell stories. If you meet me at some beach or grocery store or gas station, and you convince me you can be trusted, I might tell you about that super secret spot that doesn’t ever, EVER have waves.  IF you believe you can trust me, tell me about any spot I’ll never even attempt to go to, and… no, no reason to trust me.  Or, maybe I’ll tell you about the last time I checked out Westport.

It was crowded AND shitty.     

Sometimes Westport is an Option

I try not to go to Westport.  It’s a ways down surf route 101, with a shortcut here and Aberdeen there, and it can be crowded, super crowded, blown out, with an attitude from depression-central to carnival-like.  Sometimes, and maybe it was because Stephen Davis made his first trip there, it can be…

…good.

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If you check the photo, there’s someone bobbing around inside, and someone on the wave in the middle, soup well over his head.  Uh, yeah; this is when the crowd thins out.

The Groins are sometimes (hope this isn’t a secret) an option.  Though it certainly looks rideable, Steve, after getting a few bombs at the jetty, turned it down.

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I might have selected this, but, again, I didn’t go. To round out Steve’s Westport escapade, he made the required pilgrimage to Al Perlee’s SURF SHOP, got some of Al’s cheery/gruff repartee.  “Oh,” I asked, “he wasn’t really nice?” “Not really.” “Well, Steve; all I can say is (channeling “Chinatown”), forget about it; it’s Westport.

ART ROUNDUP- Occasionally I have to put some of my stuff on display; partially because I’m always begging my clients (and non-clients, pretty much everyone I speak with) to check out this site.  I do get more selective each time.

 

 

Black Bear and Coyote Spirit Animal Illustration

Because I worry about ruining a drawing that is going well as much as I’m thrilled that it is going well; I stopped the Coyote illustration without a background.  This is the same reason I added the lettering on the Raven after I’d done the drawing, had copies made; and colored some in. So,

But, because I was stuck at the Les Schwab in Port Townsend getting my ball joints replaced (hey, at a certain age…) for pretty much a whole day, I actually started AND finished the drawing and lettering on the Black Bear.

BUT, I didn’t color it in until I had copies made.  SO, here’s where we are right now:

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MEANWHILE (no, it’s more like a ‘So…’) if you noticed that there’s no color on the coyote itself, and not too much on the raven; it’s that Trish seems to believe that the drawings are, um, better.  We’ll see. I’m planning on doing some others.  We just had a big ass owl show up on our ring doorbell/camera.  I know owls are spirit animals in the northwest, but not sure about some of the other animals that show up; raccoons, possums, squirrels, various other birds, cats… haven’t had a cougar yet, but they are known to frequent our area.

SO (more like ‘Oh’), I am planning on doing some more illustrations.  Stay tuned.

Northwest Spirit Animals

I am planning on doing a series of animals that have a history and a spiritual connection to the Northwest.  Of course, I want to tie it in to the waters, the ocean that spreads its fingers into the land.

The illustration of the raven is the first of these.  I can’t seem to quit on any drawing until it’s pretty much over-done, can’t seem to keep it simple.  So, here’s the latest addition to the raven:

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When I’m pretty happy with the progress of a particular drawing, it becomes a worry that anything additional I do may not improve, and might possibly ruin the whole thing. This is the case with the Coyote illustration.  I got the coyote done, maybe, and then worried about where to place it.  I added the butterfly, and then the lettering, and then got copies of that so that, if I ruin one, I can try again.

Here’s where we are:

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There’s one spot under the front feet that is on the original.  Any other random, out of place spots are from the scanner.  I didn’t want to white it out because there may be some added value in having the original.  For example, Trish wants the original of the raven drawing.  It may be too late.  I did the drawing, 11 by 17, got copies; colored in several, got copies and reductions; added the lettering to one of those.  There is, then, the original without the lettering, and the… yeah, confusing.

I am, however, bravely or foolishly, currently adding background to the original coyote drawing.  Water, waves, driftwood.  Sort of scary.

If we compare it to surfing, the best I can come up with is: If you get one of the best rides of a session, one you probably won’t top, do you come in?  What if the first wave, as is sometimes the case, is the best?

WAIT, here’s another question: When you know one is not supposed to share too much information with too many people on where waves are breaking, or that waves are breaking, particularly in real time (and particularly around the Strait of Juan de Fuca); is there (or can there be) a select group of surfers you CAN share the info with?

I sort of think there is.  YES, it does suggest one can have FRIENDS; which then suggests there might be some sort of community of surfers.  Community.  Hmmm.

I have phone numbers for, probably (only) six or seven surfers. I share info with three regularly, a couple more sometimes, and others rarely.  Mostly I get “You would have loved it” text messages, after the fact.  Sometimes there might be some “What do you think” strike/skunk probability discussions/planning sessions.

It kind of comes down to TRUST, and, YEAH, the fallback position is that there are NEVER waves around these parts, but there are ALWAYS waves in… oh; gotta go.

Burning Scott Sullivan (Parts Two and One)

                                                A Second- 2nd Scott Sullivan Encounter/Incident

-PART TWO-

IT WAS JUST A SECOND, really; two Costco shoppers passing in the dairy/coffee aisle in the Sequim warehouse/store.

You don’t recognize people you don’t really know instantly; it takes a second.  We were both in a hurry; he with one of the big orange carts, me with the regular one (slightly larger, you might have noticed, than one at a regular supermarket- or, even, WalMart).

I think it was his mustache.  Yeah, one of those with the ends twisted and skinny, and pretty much brown.

SCOTT SULLIVAN.

I thought, or, possibly, imagined, that we made eye contact. Split the above second. Maybe he thought he recognized me. Maybe.

Not that he might instantly remember where and when we met previously; the first Scott Sullivan Encounter

NOW, I was wearing an ORIGINAL ERWIN t shirt, the baby poop yellow one with the lacy white wave. YEAH, that one (the baby poop thing is from Trish, I call the color ‘golden haze’); and, hey, I do have a possibly-recognizable mustache/soul patch combo of my own, white, with, quite often, coffee-stain brown at the scraggly bottom edges.

I didn’t just do an over-the-shoulder lookback, I DID A PIVOT/HALF TURN, right between the doors for the sour cream/cottage cheese and the one percent milk.

YES, Scott Sullivan; had to be, pushing toward the final goal, checkout, with a cart full of dairy products, flour, other fixins for making PIZZA.

HAD TO BE.

MY FIRST THOUGHT, with both of us, obviously, having gone, as the place is designed, clockwise from the entrance, past the clothing and lighting and pressure washers and furniture and fruit and meat, was how, suddenly, what I wanted most to do, was to CUT SCOTT SULLIVAN OFF! Exclamation point; BURN HIM at the checkout counter, last second, that split second when one must decide which open register would provide the fastest avenue to the next-but-last Costco line, the one at the exit.

“You think it’s yours, Scott Sullivan? NO! DENIED! Hahaha… ha!

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IT ISN’T like I have any animosity toward Scott Sullivan, but it is that…

…COSTCO BREEDS COMPETITION.  That’s been my opinion for quite some time.  It’s a constant jockeying for position.  Picture the gas lines.  If only you could fill from the right side.  Durn.  Oh, you have a regular membership card?  I have a Corporate card.  You go for the optimum parking spot; close enough to either the entrance or one of the cart returns in the lot (in Australia, it’s probably the car park). NO, FIRST, you time your visit to when you believe it’ll be the most efficient.

IF YOU GET THERE at opening; sure, you can power through, fill your cart, cross out the items on your list; only to get to the front with fifty or so other dawn patrollers (if dawn is at 10 am), and one register open.  SIMILARLY, if you go late you will miss the free food samples (hummus or guacamole on various crispy items, soup, trail mix, skanky cheese, whatever; always worth a taste) that advanced Costco shoppers (many way more adept than you could be at the gather, half-stepping as another tray is put forth, swoop necessary to hit every sample offered; aka lunch) will elbow-smack you for. THEN AGAIN, lights dimming, everyone else is at the front, two cashiers (and, really, though it seems like a better idea than having the folks at the food court throw out the leftover item, as required, at closing, a slice of 8:29 Costco pizza is not good pizza), and the people at the register you chose need extra assistance in ringing-up that really big TV, the one you can actually watch from your position three back in the line (elsewhere called the queue, which we, in A-merica, don’t really use because we don’t know how to spell it).

STRAIT SLICE PIZZA, 121 1ST STEEET (that’s 101, really, the one-way going in-to-town), PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON; SCOTT SULLIVAN, OWNER.

Unsolicited advertising, Scott Sullivan.

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-PART ONE-

I DID WRITE about my first encounter with the well-known Port Angeles restauranteur, surfer, and, evidently, photographer/skier (or snowboarder, or both- don’t really know) on this very site. AND, WHEN I FOUND OUT HIS NAME, I DID NAME NAMES.  Scott Sullivan.

BUT, at the request of a friend I should probably not name, but will (ADAM WIPEOUT JAMES), I deleted the name; Adam’s main argument being that Scott Sullivan is popular with the P.A. surf crowd; and Erwin Dence is, perhaps, not.  FINE. I also did not, and won’t here, reveal the not-really-secret surf spot where I, allegedly, BURNED SCOTT SULLIVAN.  Feel free to guess.

BRIEF RECAP: I was there with MIKEL (SQUINTZ, still the best nickname I didn’t give someone) COMISKEY; and was, actually, one of the first people out.  It got, over the next two hours, crowded. I was, allegedly, catching more than my fair share of waves.  ALLEGEDLY. Squintz had been surfing a different peak, and had been in and out of the water (some of this due to his refusal to wear booties).  I got out of the water about the time Scott Sullivan came powering down to this peak, took off on a wave, and, moving up to a forward trim position, caught an outside edge on the inside; his leashless board nearly hitting a young woman.

That’s not really relevant. BUT, surfers do seem to kind of brag about how they’re leash-free, as if it equates to confidence or ability (and it may), while giving little to no beach cred to folks (me, for example) who surfed, pre-leash, ankle-naked, for seven or eight years before giving in to the swim- (and, often, swimmer) saving kook cord.

SO, now Squintz is trying to convince me, with the wind coming up, that, now that he’s at this peak, more waves will be coming.  OKAY, I paddle back out. AND, A FEW MINUTES LATER, there is, indeed, an outside set. I paddle over the first one, then the second, paddle toward the peak. I turn, start paddling for it.  I AM COMMITTED. That commitment is the key to my defense, your honor(s). 

BUT, SUDDENLY, Scott Sullivan maneuvers closer to the peak, turns, and takes off.

SO, by the rules handed down, unofficial but not unknown (passed through constant lectures and occasional ass-whippings), Scott Sullivan had priority.  PRIORITY. It was Scott Sullivan’s wave.

AGAIN, I was committed, couldn’t really bail at that moment.  WELL, if I did just dismount, the way one would (and I have) if there’s a danger of imminent contact with some kook who decided to paddle out rather than around, this might not be the story of how I BURNED SCOTT SULLIVAN.  I didn’t.  I was COMMITTED.

WHOA!   Okay, I did do what I believe to be the right thing; the thing I would want someone to do if they inadvertently took off in front of me.  I powered down the line, pulled over the top.  NOW, I still believe I heard something behind me, something like grumbling (or yelling- I do wear protective earplugs). 

FORTUNATELY, there was a fourth wave.  I took it.  I rode as far as I could.  PADDLING back (around the break), I observed big, angry arm movements from Scott Sullivan, directed, in my absence, at Mikel Squintz.  When I got back to the lineup, Scott Sullivan was gone, having moved to a position farther up the point.  “Um, uh; guess he’s kind of mad,” I said.  “Yeah.” “I was committed.” “Sure.” “Who is that guy?” “That’s what he asked about you.” “Oh?” “Yeah, he said that you’re not even from around here, and I said, ‘wait a minute, you’re from _________ (my memory isn’t clear on which upper east coast state Scott Sullivan came here from),’ and he just left.  You could apologize.”  “Apologize?” “Maybe.” “Sure.”

Mikel did mention that, even with the increased crowd, Scott Sullivan and I did seem to be getting most of the waves ridden. “And?” “Just saying.”

I did, incidentally, move to the OLYMPIC PENINSULA in 1978, first surfed this very (unnamed here) spot in January of 1979.  With useless California wax, an insufficient wetsuit, and, yes, a leash. 

SO, since I was well past ready to get out of the water, I paddled up toward Scott Sullivan.  “If I, um… if you thought I…” “I go surfing to get away from that kind of shit,” Scott Sullivan said.  “We all do,” I said, and paddled on. 

I’m sure I stopped at Costco on the way home.  I usually do.  Here’s a shot of me, in the ORIGINAL ERWIN shirt I was wearing, just in case,. So non-threatening. 

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WAIT. ABOUT THE  BURNING from Part Two.  Didn’t happen. I had to stop to get peanuts for our yardbirds.  Scott Sullivan was long gone.  He, obviously, picked the right line.  ABOUT THE PIZZA.  I haven’t tried a Strait Slice slice; assume they’re great; I do know where some of the makins come from.