Illustrations for “Swamis,” the Novel

The manuscript for “Swamis” is up to somewhere over one hundred thousand words.  It’s a lot of words considering that, when I was told a novel should be over sixty thousand, I didn’t think I could get there.

Not that I did anything that I would call padding, I am now at the exciting conclusion, and need another five thousand or so to wrap it all up.

I had been considering the last line possibilities for quite some time.  Originally it was going to be, “They say I might be getting out of here sometime soon.”  Then it was… well, I think it will still be a different line, but, now, I’m thinking about adding one more line.  Here it is: “I didn’t ask if he was killed with a twenty-two or a forty-five.”

Yeah.  There must be lots of exciting stuff going on before this.

Since “Swamis” is, supposedly, a memoir written by Joseph DeFreines, Junior, and, just to make sure no one confuses him with me, I have put Erwin, someone of about the same age; another surfing inland cowboy from Fallbrook, North San Diego County, in the book as a character.

That Erwin is doing some illustrations for the eventual book.  Here are three drawings toward that goal:  One references a character very early on, Sid, whose last name neither I or my character can remember.  Sid was a team rider for Surfboards Hawaii at the time the story takes place, 1969, was featured hanging ten in an earlier black and white ad in “Surfer” magazine, and, as revealed by in the used board room at the Surfboards Hawaii shop in Encinitas, he was known to thrash his boards.

The second illustration is meant to represent the portion of the old stairs at Swamis, about two thirds of the way up, where a bigger deck offered a perfect view of the waves. This is where I was, on one of those days that starts out mediocre and becomes great, and from where I witnessed, in 1968 or so, a flawless cutback-to off-the-foam to bottom-turn to top-turn by Billy Hamilton.  This is where “Old men stop here” was dug into the railing, and it is where Gingerbread Fred’s body ends up.  In the novel.

The third illustration became, because of the way it turned out (compared to how it was intended) as a representation of one of the main characters, Chulo; whose death by immolation (love that word) next to the Self Realization Fellowship wall is critical to the story.  Chulo is described as looking like a limping (he has an actual limp) Jesus.  I scanned the drawing before adding a beard.  Just in case.

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I have put some of the early “Swamis” chapters on this site, but, one, you’d have to scroll a long ways down to find them, and, two, my propensity for changing and editing makes them different.  At least.  I’m not saying it all might be different in the future.  It might.

I’m just hoping Joseph DeFreines, Junior doesn’t fire me as illustrator.

On Edge

I’m not sure if I should credit the reference photos for my drawings.  They aren’t tracings or blowups from the originals, but attempts to catch the feel and the flow.  If I did try, and, oh, I do, to render… wait, let me look that up.  Does one render?  There’s ‘Render unto Caesar,’ often misinterpreted, according to the various references on my search engine, as some justification for following ridiculous leaders.  Then there’s…

Oh.  Yes, there’s render as extracting by a melting-down process, as in rendering metals or, um, fat; and, in the surprisingly varied definitions of the word, there is also ‘rendition,’ as in ‘extraordinary rendition,’ a phrase created and designed to, if not outright justify it, make sending some prisoner to some harsh place to be ‘interrogated’ seem kind of all right and/or legal.

There’s also a noun, render being the first coat of plaster applied to a brick or stone surface.  I hadn’t heard this, and, so, looked it up.  Scratch coat,  brown coat, white (or finish) coat, according (giving references) to Bob Vila.com.

So, apologizing for taking this side road; but, all right; referencing a photograph of Jock Sutherland cranking one off the bottom switch-foot at Sunset Beach (or is he switch-foot at Pipeline), here is my, hmm, hmm, rendering; scratched on a piece of paper.  Card stock to be more precise.

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I have done a color version, way too much color, but have to get it reduced to fit on my scanner.  Rendered scanner-ready, perhaps.  I won’t get into it.

Meanwhile, hope you’re getting some mountain snow activity in.  Evidently there are few if any secret established ski spots in the Cascades, and one must purchase a lift ticket well before arriving.  Too many skiers and snowboarders.  Evidently.

Meanwhile, before I get back to trying to finish (as in get to ‘the end’) of “Swamis,” the novel, I should mention some of my illustrations that Oceanna and Stephen have been so kind to allow me to display (hopefully sell) at THE CELLAR DOOR, downtown Port Townsend:

 

The Cellar Door Mystery/Investigation

Here’s a bad scan of the illustration recently stolen from the Cellar Door in Port Townsend.  Bad because, even on the third attempt to properly crop and square the drawing on my printer/scanner, I couldn’t get it quite right.

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AND YET, another copy of the original, a gift to Cellar Door owners, Stephen and Oceanna (last names on next post down), was deemed worthy of theft.

ALTHOUGH I told Steve I could get them another copy, he told me that Oceanna is very  determined to get that one, with date, authentication signature, and some sort of personalized ‘good luck’ message on the back, back.

SO, when Trish told me I’m sort of a sensation on Facebook, I was surprised that people are liking and commenting and doing whatever it is when one person spreads it to other groups- not quite viral, and not actually tracking all the subsequent hits back to realsurfers.net, but it is impressive that Oceanna is so concerned.

I decided to look through some of my scans, just to see if I had any other pieces that might fit in the underground location, theft-worthy or not.

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Excuse me; but is this the window to the CELLAR DOOR? So tantalizing and intriguing!

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Door frame, again, not crooked in the original.

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Meanwhile, here’s an update I did on the “Keep on Trucking” drawing, submitted to and rejected by the “New Yorker,” used with permission (and so stoked about that) of R. Crumb; who wrote that the “New Yorker” wouldn’t use it.  You might notice there’s some client’s phone number or something at the top.  Cropping.

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Since every drawing comes with a story; here’s the story on this one: Also not scanned until today; and then I had to up the resolution or whatever to 300 and use the ‘grayscale’ feature.  It was drawn as a submission to the “New Yorker” (or is it “The New Yorker”?). I spilled something on it (not unusual, my originals often have coffee cup rings, little dots of coffee shot from my mustache in bouts of mouth breathing, and such things- look closely).  My late sister, Melissa Lynch, way more talented an artist than I even dream of being, loved it.  I didn’t like the roughness/incompleteness of the door, and redrew it.  “No,” she said, “I want the other one’ the good one.”  The original caption was: “It was the suit, wasn’t it?”  It could just as well be, “This is the Cellar Door, I presume.”

Here’s three more of mine, just to be a little naughty.  They are from silkscreens done in the 1980s, found in my attic.  They do include windows if not doors.  The Cellar Door is more a nightclub than a restaurant, and has already featured live bands, karaoke nights, private functions, and Vaudeville (not sure what all that includes, but it sounds just a little naughty).

I should include a couple of paintings by Stephen R. Davis himself.  If the Cellar Door is going to be known as a place to see and/or steal artsy stuff, Steve’s stuff should be included.  They have their own stories.  If Oceanna gets the Cellar Door drawing back; yeah, another story; and a mystery, possibly, solved.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery- Theft

Someone stole my illustration for the Cellar Door from the Cellar Door.  It’s officially gone, stolen, no longer where it is legally supposed to be.  So, first; WHAT?  Second; Well, it was a copy of the original, which I still have, and hey; doesn’t this kind of mean someone thought it was worthy of stealing, like; there wasn’t an original Picasso or Manet or Monet, so why not grab an Original Erwin?

Okay, while I’m considering the ranks of artists I’m suddenly a part of… wait; I did have one of my Original Erwin t-shirts taken, on trust and a promise, and not only not paid for (only instance of this- all others were eventually paid for), but the person who picked it up denied having possession of it (hope it is being enjoyed)… first let me make sure I have a copy of the purloined illustration.

Oops; never scanned it.  Give me a second.  No; I’m a little depressed at the SEAHAWKS losing, at my missing some epic surf somewhere, that it’s supposed to snow and freeze in the immediate future (like the next week), and that a copy of the drawing I don’t want to scan right now was stolen; I’ll scan it in the morning, post something with just it.

The story of the artwork is as follows: When my friend, radical pig-dogger and/or casual surfboard slider (sometimes both on the same wave) Stephen R. Davis (R for Rad), told me he and girlfriend Oceanna Van Lelyveld, were opening a restaurant under the streets of Port Townsend, I instantly started on a drawing.

Oops, it’s not the UNDERGROUND?  So what do I do with the lettering I did for the UNDERGROUND?  Change it, add something.  Okay.

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Oh, it’s The Cellar Door? I started on a new illustration, suitable for advertising or menus or, evidently, stealing.

As far as waves go; I have been working or desperately trying to winterize (ie; get generator started, cover some exposed waterlines, but I did hear stories.  As local surfer/boat designer and legend Tim Nolan told me about the big ass North Pacific storm before the more current big a as North Pacific storm; “The waves have to hit somewhere.”

Indeed.  Next time.

Maybe in the morning.  The scan; talking about the scan.

Black and White and Psychedelic, Plus Polar Bear Wetsuits Flyer

Though I’m quite focused on finishing my novel, “SWAMIS,” surviving Winter and its lack of real revenue, and keeping my heart healthy enough to survive at least one more SEAHAWKS game; I have taken a little time to work on artsy stuff.

AND, partially due to a recent event in which I selfishly burned (as in took off on a wave next to but down the line from) a well known local surfer… Here’s the rule on that: Burn someone who is equally aggressive (and transgressive, etiquette-wise), or burn someone who is a relatively close friend; and you might be forgiven (plus, you have given that surfer the right to burn you on one [only] equally or better wave); but take off on someone who seems to follow all the rules (that is, is patient, passes up incredibly seductive set waves without whining, as in saying ‘wave of the day’ in the most sarcastic way, or splashing water); and, even if this surfer doesn’t instantly (and rightly) call you out for the callous, childish, greedy wave hog that you are; anyone else who witnesses your selfish move (and there’s always a witness) will; and if you cemented your own reputation for ruthless surf crimes, years ago, for burning, among others, this very same individual (even though you apologized and he said, “It’s all good.”  It’s never all good.  No one ever means this); and, even though you did, indeed, apologize for your most recent lineup infraction (this time he said, “You don’t really mean it,” and you- I mean me, of course- kind of lost the first person/second person narrative for a second- said, “No, I do,” and you meant that- mostly due to now realizing you’ve sentenced yourself to another seven years or so of bad karma and mandatory niceness/deference toward that individual any time you/I and he are in the same lineup); and partially due to my telling another local surfer (and witness) about how Trish, not surprised at my criminal behavior, would call this incident ‘just another greedy fat boy trick;’ and then I had to explain the history of that phrase; and partially due to Trish getting all excited (not about the incident) and suggesting I might write a series, possibly for future publication, entitled, “Erwin and His Greedy Fat Boy Tricks;” because of all this; I’m thinking about it.

It being my recalcitrant behavior, and, just to throw in another word I looked up just to make sure I spelled it correctly, yes, I must be, might just be, despite repeated claims to be changing my ways, a recidivist wave hog.

Again, trying to change.

The first and defining ‘greedy fat boy’ story would be this: Second eldest of seven children, with both parents working, I, partially because I seemed to be the one who got up earliest, made sack lunches for the nine of us from the age of twelve or so, about the time, coincidentally, that I started board surfing. Sandwiches.  Lots of peanut butter and jelly or lunchmeat, about a loaf a day.  My parents would bring home a bag of cookies each night, and it was my job to dispense them.  Evenly.  “Okay, eight cookies each.”  Crunch, crunch.  “Seven each.”  More crunching. I once did get down to three and a half each, but it might have been a smaller bag.

Greedy fat boy.

Other stories would have to include my insistence that I developed my bad (O could say unpopular but effective) surf techniques and (oh, I want to say skills- that would be wrong) skills, my ‘ghetto mentality,’ surfing in crowded city lineups.

“But you’re not in the city now,” you might counter. Hmmm.

“And then,” Trish said, “You can go with the greedy fat man.”  “Hey.” “It’d be all right; you’re only being self-deprecating.”  “Oh; okay then.”

Still love cookies.  Too many fucking cookies.

Okay, so here’s my latest illustration.  Yes, it’s all out black and white psychedelia.  Yes, I have told those who I’ve shown it to that, yes, I want people to wonder what kind of drugs the person who drew this is on.

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Here’s my fake flyer for fake wetsuit company, Polar Bear Wetsuits.  “Maximum stretch, minimum shrink.”

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MEANWHILE… Good etiquette has its rewards (or so they tell me).

Honoring A (Another) Classic Waterman

As surfers, we have what should be a requirement, definitely an obligation, to honor those who went before us.  The real surfers of the generation slightly before mine were surfing when that meant no or inadequate wetsuits, heavy and ungainly boards; and one could not even qualify to be counted as anything close to a real surfer if not skilled in body surfing, long distance paddling, and diving.  Fishing skills were also appreciated.  Many surfers increased their time in the lineup (imagine Windansea with three friends out) by fishing and diving for abalone and ‘bugs’ (lobster).

Yes, these things were legal in California until some time in the 60s, and aren’t now.  I have run into other surfers from that era; one who became a builder; another who opened a car dealership.  They had stories.  Stories.  We all have stories, stories with surfing as a recurring theme, hopefully; or, for those who no longer get in the water, a collection of wistful, romantic (in its way) memories.  Some of our best moments are spent in and around the water.

Here, with some minor editing, is what my friend Keith wrote about his father’s passing:

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Douglas Darrock, 1938-2019, passed away on the Winter Solstice near Port Townsend, Washington.  He was 81.  Doug grew up in La Jolla in the 40s and 50s, graduating from La Jolla High in 1956.

He was a waterman in the truest sense.

As a young man, he built his own paddleboards and spearguns to dive the kelp beds and reefs off La Jolla.  He surfed and bodysurfed often.  He later worked as a commercial abalone diver around La Jolla and as a research diver in the Sea of Cortez.

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After serving in the military, he moved north, to Oregon, in the 1960s.  He owned a bar and fished commercially for salmon out of Astoria.  It was there that he met his partner of 45 years, Lorraine Limardi.  They lived for a time in Cannon Beach and Manzanita, and, later, south in Yachats and Tenmile Creek.  It was along this coast that Doug and Lorraine raised their family and made many friends.

Doug loved the adventure of travel.  He took his family on long road trips; south to Baja California, Mainland Mexico, and Central America, escaping the long, wet Oregon winters; camping on the beach, exploring while living in a VW bus.

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The family spent a year sailing to Baja and into the Sea of Cortez aboard ‘Cecilia’, a thirty-four foot Benford Cutter until the money ran out and they were forced to sell the boat and limp back to the Oregon Coast in an old Volvo.

Doug and his family spent many years around Port Townsend, Marrowstone Island and the San Juan Islands.  He loved to sail these waters.  Never a career man, Doug, instead, made money as a farmer and renovating old houses, taking odd jobs when necessary.  His first and last jobs were as a lifeguard in La Jolla as a young man, and as a lifeguard in Port Townsend at the public pool in his 70s.

Life was never dull with Doug.  He is survived by his wife, Lorraine, son Keith Darrock (local librarian and extremely avid surfer), daughters Laura DuPont and Jessica Syska; along with many grandchildren.

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I don’t think I ever met Douglas Darrock.  He was part of the La Jolla crowd that included surfboard makers Gordon and Smith; some famous surfers, including Butch Van Artsdalen; and a non-famous surfer, Bill Irwin; who also lived a surfer/sailor life, and died about a year ago.

I never met the father, but I see him in the son.  Keith (that’s him on the back of his dad’s bike) makes adjustments to his life to include surfing.  I watched Keith recently, having arrived too late to get into my wetsuit and go out before the tight window would close.  He was (his word) gorging on the waves on offer.  When I talked to him on the beach I said the if he (rail thin and determined to stay that way) loved food as much as he loves waves, he’d be soooooooo fat.  Yes, I told him it’d show up here.

Stories.  Peace.

Surf/Write/Draw, other obsessions and addictions, and Multiple Distractions

I have written somewhere over 90,000 words, so far, for (or is it ‘in’ or ‘of’ or some other word?) my surf/romance/detective/coming-of-age inter-genre novel/fake memoir, “SWAMIS;” and it’s so close to being completed; so perilously, dangerously, frighteningly close; and yet… not not not not done.

Completing “Swamis” is my latest compulsion.  If, as I say, writing is mostly thinking, then typing, scribbling, word processing, long-handing; whichever (I love the backspace feature; so much cleaner than crossing-out and writing in the margins and adding carrots and lines and arrows; and so much easier to read than my handwriting) process gets the thoughts onto the page, new thoughts filling-in gaps in reasoning, backspace taking out the occasional fuckup.  Oh, and there’s reviewing, and, perhaps, reading out loud (best way to find flow impediments and, if you’re reading to someone, the best way to get some sort of reaction as to whether you’re just fucking wasting your own and possibly their precious time, possibly to definitely on that scale); and there’s the opportunity to go back, change, edit, add something earlier that makes things later make more sense.

So, okay; let’s just ask this question: Is one crazy for thinking, when all of us are supposed to have some skill at writing, that one is a writer?  And/or (jeez; I could have put a semi-colon there and extended the run-on; do love a semi-colon) does writing turn one crazy?

So glad I put the and/or in there.  The answer, I believe, is both.

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Here’s exactly where I am: It’s 1969.  Jesus Freak Chulo is burned up on the Swamis parking lot side of the Self Realization Fellowship compound in Encinitas.  Thousands of words later I’ve had my mind changed on who killed Chulo, and why; and what form of violence is going to be necessary to take care of the killer or killers?  I didn’t know who killed him myself, going in; and, in the tradition (I didn’t say ‘best’ tradition- just ‘the’) of detective novels, it’s not who the reader thought it was.  It’s not who I thought it was.

Work and other distractions are things I’ve rationalized (this is like; yeah, I know I missed some classic waves the other day, but mowing my lawn was just so, so… it’s lying to yourself) into a positive is this: (I hope you notice the full on colon usage) The time away from writing gives me new eyes, a fresher and more objective view of the drivel and crap and genius level verbiage I have previously written.  Sure.

NOTE- I just back-spaced a whole paragraph.  Painful?  Not too.

Oh, just thought of this: (colon): I’ve had some people who have been gracious and patient enough to listen to me try to tell them something about the plot and characters and time and place setting and underlying truths in “Swamis.”  I do appreciate this.  My daughter, Dru, is one of these.  “Sounds kind of dark, Dad.”  “What? No. It’s not. It’s…” “How many people are killed?” “So far? Chulo, Gingerbread Fred, there’s stuff about Vietnam, um, people I probably have to kill off.  Yeah; maybe it’s a little dark.  There is some humor.”  “Okay then.”

I am tempted to go into this sub-topic: Is writing (or surfing, or drawing, or mountain climbing, a huge list of activities, including, because it’s critical to the plot, meditation) self-edifying, self-aggrandizing, in some way masturbatory?  Okay; I’ll avoid that subject.  Answer- probably all of the above; depending.

Depending.  I am both stubborn and self-critical.  I realize “Swamis” is dialogue-heavy; I feel that my style might have changed from the first page to whatever page I’m on; I’m not entirely sure my style is… good.  It might be; and I’m self-critical/stubborn/conceited/delusional/insane enough to stick with it.  So far.

So far.

So far.  Part of the problem is, or might be, that I started to think of the story, and to break it down into a succession of scenes, like movie scenes.  I do have some history as a failed (I prefer almost successful) writer of screenplays, the difference being I’m still painting houses. I do seem to think of and remember things in two ways:  Visually and verbally.

A screenplay is a quite specific discipline/format/tradition.  It seems to be this: (man, these colons)  Setting, dialogue, action. Where something is happening, what is said, and what is done.  What we as viewers don’t realize because of the visual, is that most movies have very little dialogue.  Without that, with only words, what you have is someone trying to guide/push/force a reader into creating the visual.

Or this could be bullshit. I do have several people who have agreed, in theory, to read “Swamis”, once it is completed.  Yes, I did ask each one to read earlier chapters, just to get their feedback, their take on the style.  Nope.  It has to be done.  Or at least, a draft of the manuscript with ‘the end’ at the end.  The thing is, in the hour here, hour there I’ve had to work on this; I usually spent the time editing the living shit out of what was already on the thumbdrive. Now, this close, I know most of what I have to go back and change or modify.  Most or some.  And, I’ve surprised myself at how something early on can fit into the story as it has developed.

What to do with “Swamis” once it’s at ‘the end,’ there’s a question.  I can’t help but imagine different scenarios.  Frightening.

I have to go, finish an interior in Port Ludlow (hint; means that if there is surf around these parts, I won’t be snaking your waves).  I’ll try to think about the ending and how, if I choose this, I’ll have to change that, that kind of shit.  It’s fine; it’s an empty house and I don’t have a radio that still works.

 

Greetings From Thailand, Vortex

People frequently ask me about Archie Endo, world traveler, salmon roe expert, former fixture on the surf scene (such as it is) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Archie was working (I think tuna, the processing and distribution of, was the fish he was connected with) in Thailand when he suffered a stroke.  This was about two years ago, and his recovery has been slow.

I did, however, just get a reassuring email from him.  He’d gone to a couple of spots in Thailand, and actually got in the water.  He said he needs a lot more physical therapy before he’ll be back to reasonable form.  “More water time seems best,” I wrote.

Here’s a shot he sent of a crappy beachbreak with some Thailandian version of a Hawaiian kickout.  I think.  Maybe.  And a shot of a reef break that Archie discovered.  If you’ve ever surfed Crescent (not a secret spot and please forgive me for naming it here), the takeoff zone inside the boil adjacent to the island is called by me, and should be by you, Archie’s Reef.  He was a master of zig-zagging from there into the creek.  When he gets back into form, he will, no doubt, master Archie’s Reef Thailand.

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Archie did go with me a couple of times when he was back in the Northwest. He wanted to go, and seemed relatively content to watch from the beach, talking with some of the other regulars, offering me advice when I came in.  Example: “The waves are long enough.  You could, I think, stand up.”  “Yeah.”

A few great things about going surfing with Archie: One, Trish really likes him; and it’s always all right to go if he’s going.  Two, despite the fact (pointed out to me numerous times) that Archie is incredibly courteous and well behaved in the lineup and I’m not, that he’s quiet and reserved and I don’t even try to be; Archie seems to enjoy surfing with me.  Three, Archie is a musician and there might be some singing and harmonica playing on the road there and back (if I was driving), or taped surf music from an incredible variety of world locations (and some singing and harmonica playing) if he drove.

OH, and, four, he doesn’t at all mind if I have to stop in Sequim to hit Costco and/or WalMart, maybe a couple of other stops on the way home.  Shopping there is part of my justification for surfing; Trish, on the other end of the cellular device, seems to appreciate this, though she always has at least one (very specific) item I can’t find.  Otherwise, date night for Trish and me is a SequimTrip, or worse, Silverdale/Poulsbo.

Yes, I do imagine it seems a bit weird, perhaps, to see Archie and me cruising the aisles, him pushing the cart, me elbowing my way to collect a double dose of food samples.  Odd couple.

I should add that Stephen Davis has also done the Sequim Stop a few times, without complaint; added stops, probably, at Michael’s, where he has a great discount, and Office Depot if I happen to have some art piece ready for printing.  Soul Rebel/librarian Keith (different than Cougar Keith, who will appear shortly) went with me several times, got a ticket for no seatbelt in the backseat on one adventure.  Keith did the Sequimstop maybe twice; took the car over to get gas while I (short list) Costco-ed.  We met up in Sequim the next time, rode with him, and he just had to tell everyone that I spilled pretty much a whole cup of coffee into his glovebox (“Hey, I thought it was, like, a fold down tray”) somewhere on Surf Route 101.

“I don’t want to get caught in that vortex,” Aaron (formerly ‘shortboard Aaron,’ now, maybe ‘omni-board Aaron’) told me in declining my invitation to ride together when it appeared we were headed to pretty much the same spot.  Oh, sure; it was fine for Cougar Keith to meet with Aaron at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE and ride with him.

In the end, of course, Aaron was right.  Vortex.  On the way home I stopped at the Lower Elwha gas station, had to go inside with a line of folks buying ‘half a rack’ because the card reader wasn’t reading (at least not my card); ran into the Office Depot (without any current artwork) to buy envelopes for our (yeah, it’s late) Christmas cards; into PetSmart for two replacement blankets for the cat in our mudroom (I fixed the leak that soaked the others), hit Costco (spending way too much time looking for gloves- managed to buy the wrong ones), then WalMart (always a joy, always overdressed), then, because neither of those places had the proper Christmas ham, Safeway, (where the fucking russet potatoes not in bags were fucking not in the produce section but at the fucking front of the fucking store).  Then Burger King; no pickles no mayonnaise for Trish. All the while, because the proper shopping pair of glasses had a broken earpiece, and the glasses I grabbed on the way out (for drawing) were waaay too strong for shopping (or walking, or reading a menu board at Burger King); the experience was, yes, Aaron, a fucking Vortex.

My older son, James, still uses Sequim as a verb (sequimed) and as an adjective (sequiming), and as a noun (sequimers) when Jason Finley referred to Sequim as “the pullout capital of the world,” adding, “those old people just don’t care.”  Before the highway bypassed downtown, I said “it takes as long to get through Sequim as it takes to get to Sequim.”  This was years ago now, I qualify, almost (always someone older), as one of those old people.  Still; VORTEX.

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Okay; I’m calm now.  As it says in our (modified, late) Christmas cards, “If you can’t hibernate peacefully, Holiday Joyously!

Somewhere on the (Surf) Sliding Scale

Let’s discuss the FROTH SCALE, the STOKE SPECTRUM; the level to which your adrenalin spikes and your heartbeat soars in a direct relationship (or proportion if your mind is more math-ish) to rumors, predictions, short term forecasts of waves; and, more specifically, how you react to those soothsaid prophecies (as in, “Did you see the forecast for next Wednesday [only an example]?  Sooooo sickkkkkk.  Dude.”); adding in how you *spontaneously, viscerally respond to the anticipation factor, the increased possibility of real-life, rideable, possibly-rippable, possibly-uncrowded, possibly-perfect waves as you approach a beach; and then, we’ll add in how you react when the actual waves and the actual conditions, skunk-to-score, shit-to-all-time classic ultimate; this reaction, the **intensity of this reaction shows where you are on THE SCALE.

So, yeah; pretty much just standard surf talk.

EXAMPLE ONE- You’re probably, statistically, way more likely to get a speeding ticket heading for waves than going from waves.

EXAMPLE TWO- Access to beaches, including possible surf spots, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca often requires a hike.  Often, the waves cannot be seen until one is close.  There’s faith and hope but no guarantee.  If you have hiked a mile, half of which is steeply downhill on a muddy, slippery path, and you, on first hearing waves, even before trying to discern the relative strength of the waves or an interval; break into a run… that’s probably three-quarters of the way up the scale.

*The actions our bodies take without our minds playing a major role (breathing, breathing, digestion, for example) are generally categorized as part of the bodies’ autonomic system.  Yeah, yeah; we’re talking about how we react in the moment, without allowing our trained, worn-down and cynical brains to lessen the impact.

**Flight or fight; fear or some sense of invincibility; depression or elation.  The worst and lowest place on the scale is ***NO REACTION.

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FORGET THAT; we’ll start with WETSUIT WORTHY.  It seems fitting to have Jack O’Neill, pretty much the soul daddy of cold water surfing hypothermia prevention garb, trying to decide if the waves are worth turning a not-quite-dry wetsuit back to right-side-out.

You, no doubt, have stories of times you went out when the surf was marginal, only to discover it turned into something epic.  Place that story on the scale.  Sure, you can embellish it a bit, after the fact.  This is where our brains add the color.

There is, of course, GIGGLE WORTHY, HOOT WORTHY, WET YOUR WETSUIT BEFORE IT’S ON WORTHY.  There is, or shouldn’t be a CALL YOUR FRIENDS WORTHY.  Maybe way after the fact.  At the top of the scale, just after HYPERVENTILATION WORTHY is HEART ATTACK WORTHY.

It doesn’t mean you are required to have one.

***I didn’t mean to go to three asterisks, but, if you see pretty darn good surf conditions and have no reaction, QUIT SURFING.  NOW.

If You Can’t Hibernate Peacefully…

…HOLIDAY JOYFULLY!

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It might be considered ironic, to some, that I’m up early, working on a post that includes a drawing of a bear in a barn; an illustration that will, most probably, be our holiday card for this year; completed (as in color added) only last night; only to wake up this morning, and, in searching for the cell phone (and it’s still dark) I would swear I brought inside last night (but hadn’t), discovering an actual bear had decided to rip off and/or break boards on one wall (more like a fence) of the trash can enclosure I had built to keep him out; and had helped himself to whatever goodies (cat food containers that hadn’t been licked clean, for example) he found in the trash cans kept within the obviously-not bear proof yard.

And it’s not like bears clean up after themselves.

Bears don’t pack out what they… wait a second.  Rethink.  I’m kind of stuck on how much I will hate picking up scattered trash that had been neatly bagged, reinforcing the enclosure, hoping it’s enough.    Bears are… well, they are the true locals out here in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula, out on Surf Route 101; sure, but this local (and he is well known, showing up on the “I’ve heard of Quilcene” Facebook page as he cruises up and down the various streams in a fairly wide area he, no doubt, considers his domain), but, really, he doesn’t have to get so, so surly.

I mean; really; can’t we just get along?

And besides; shouldn’t any self-respecting, non trash-can-raiding bear, at this time of year, be hibernating?

Shouldn’t we?  That or looking for winter surf.  If I don’t get this card printed and sent to you, do HOLIDAY JOYFULLY!