Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stand.

I love everything about surfing. The lifestyle. The serenity. The laid-back vibe and culture. The unique relationship with nature. The danger. Even the fashion (there may be nothing more comfortable than board shorts). But since I suck at surfing, all of this has escaped me. Except for the board shorts.

With surfing you're engaged with nature in a manner like nothing else. I've been camping a thousand times. I've woken up in a tent in the middle of a Colorado winter where it's so cold that the milk inside the cooler is frozen. I've hiked into the Grand Canyon and spent a week in its unforgiving basin. I've skied in gorgeous Tahoe and Vail. And while the environment in all these places is peaceful and beautiful, there is still the feeling that the relationship is platonic. We merely touch.

But with surfing, you're literally immersed. Sitting on a foam board in the ocean leaves little doubt to who is in control. And it's a unique perspective: just floating in place, watching the land sit in the distance.

The first time I went surfing was in Santa Cruz six years ago. In order to get to the good waves you had to paddle about a third of the way between Monterey Bay and Hawaii. The cold water required a thick and restrictive wetsuit. Returning to the beach, I can't ever remember being so exhausted. To add insult to injury, I had rented a huge and heavy practice board and had to return it to the rental shop located a half-mile away.

In anticipation of making surfing a hobby, over the last six years I have accumulated wetsuits and surfboards. But previous to this weekend I had only been three times, and had never stood up.

This past Saturday I went surfing with Amber. I'm a beginner, so for me, a good day surfing is measured by two things: 1.) I don't drown and 2.) I'm not attacked by a giant squid.

Because giant squid are quite scary, you know. They have all of those arms.

Plus, I've eaten a lot of calamari so revenge could be a factor.

The steps to surfing are this:
· Sit on your board and wait for a tasty wave
· Paddle like hell
· Pop up on your board
· Pick up girls
· Start a bonfire
· Smoke a bowl

I got out into the ocean. I saw a wave approach and paddled, only to see it roll by underneath me.

Crap.

It happened again and again. I just couldn't catch one. Frustration entered and in my head I'm starting to think that maybe this just isn't my thing. This thought made me sad. Doubt is a difficult emotion to fight.

I asked Amber what I was doing wrong. "You stop too soon," she said. "You need to paddle hard and then after you think you've paddled enough, keep on paddling like hell."

And that made all the difference.

I followed her advice. With the next approaching wave I paddled, and when I was tempted to stop I continued. I paddled so hard that I had closed my eyes – like a singer trying to hit a high note. And when I opened my eyes I realized I was riding the wave.

And that's all it took to turn it all around. A small victory.

A few waves later and I found myself standing up on the board. I was officially a surfer.

One of the coolest things about surfing is returning to the beach with the board under your arm. The surfboard becomes a billboard advertising how cool you are. With it in hand, no one knows if I'm an amateur or pro. No one knows if I rode a monster or had to be rescued by a pod of benevolent dolphins.

I walked back to the beach and a bikini clad woman asked if I had caught any good waves.

"I caught some good ones. I may have grabbed a bigger one if I wasn't so busy fighting off that giant squid."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Rock Poster.

I've been a member of the San Diego Museum of Art since I first moved here five years ago. It's obvious, but when you're a member, you're at the visual whims of whatever exhibit the museum displays during that season. It's often hit or miss. You either relish it or tolerate it for those four months.

I had received the museum's quarterly newsletter in the mail and saw that the upcoming exhibit was High Societies: Psychedelic Rock Posters of Haight-Ashbury. Ugh. I wasn't looking forward to it and considered it to be a four month dead zone. Now I absolutely love San Francisco. It's in my top four cities in the world (along with Florence, Prague, and my beloved Boulder), but I don't have any particular attachment to the 60's, tie-dye graphics, or the idea of a printmaking exhibit.

But I went and found myself absolutely riveted. I saw the images and was hit by a visual resonance -- the posters were a perfect balance between art, design, graphics, and line.

Aside #1: I love the word resonance. It's a powerful force when it occurs in my life and I don't take it lightly, whether it's generated from environment, sight, smell, sound, or person.

Aside #2: I would be at odds to describe my artistic style. I'm not trying to be evasive or aloof like most artists are when asked this question (they loathe being typecast or categorized). I just simply don't know. Perhaps I'm too close to it. Maybe it's because I paint nothing like those artists that I admire (Klimt, Schiele, Mucha, Freud...). Maybe I'm too early in my artistic development to even have a style. But if pressed, I think that there is a certain aesthetic to my artwork. I like things to look beautiful and I enjoy a strong use of line. I found this same quality in these art posters. They were designed to look attractive.

I looked at the rock posters and thought that it would be something I'd be good at. It's a symbiotic relationship between art and design, and visually conducive to my own style.

Since that exhibit, I have bought a few rock posters at shows, but secretly I always wanted to design one on my own.

Well, I finally have. I created one for my friends' band, Secret Apollo. Welcome to my first rock poster.



I painted the image in oil on canvas board (14x18"). I then photographed it and added the text in PhotoShop.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Thyme for Ladybugs.

I saw a stray ladybug appear on the outside of my window today. Okay, now the cavalry shows up.

...

The summer sunlight has caused dramatic growth in my plants, but they still remain temperamental. Moody. Random. It's like we're dating.

...

A few weeks ago I flew to Houston to meet-up with my two best friends since junior high. One lived there and the other was visiting on business. We went out for breakfast and all ordered this French style meal. It consisted of eggs, a croissant, and a fancy type of hash browns. I love hash browns to begin with, but these were amazing. The best I have ever had. My two friends concurred. The restaurant dubbed them, potatoes galette. When I returned home, I did some online searches and while some recipes alluded to potatoes galette, they all seemed to be tangentially related. I ended up collecting the main attributes from the various recipes and Frankenstein'ed my own. I whipped them up and they tasted fantastic. Not only did they turn out well, but they tasted just like those at the Houston restaurant. The ingredient that gave them their distinctive taste was simply thyme, an herb that grew frantically in my mini-garden.

If you're curious, my recipe is as follows.... Shred potatoes and Monterey Jack cheese. Throw them into a bowl along with the aforementioned thyme (a lot), chopped green onions, and some fresh garlic (a little). Mix it all together with your hands. Press them into patties and throw them into the skillet. Then wait twelve hours for the potatoes to cook. Why does it take so long?

Bon App├ętit.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The O.C.

I drove up to The O.C. today to visit a friend. While there, I picked up a drug habit, slept with a model, and then cheated on her after being seduced by her mom. Although it is quite possible that I've been watching too much TV.

...

I picked up my guitar this evening and started playing Led Zepplin's, Going to California. It had been a while since I had last played it, and I was surprised by how much I remembered and how familiar the notes felt below my fingers. I absolutely love that song. I was a few weeks away from college graduation when I received the job offer in California, and I must have listened to that song three dozen times. My college roommates can attest to this. A month later I would be driving across the Sierra Nevadas.

...

And I'm still looking for the girl with the flowers in her hair.

...

On Saturday, I bought a membership to the neighborhood gym. In a few weeks I'm going to be frickin' huge. Oh wait -- damn it -- I should have checked my "buy in the O.C." list. I forgot steroids.

...

I tend to be slightly latent in making my music selections. If a band's peak of popularity is at the half way point, I tend to buy their album at the 2/5 or 4/5 mark. I'm not at the very beginning, nor the very end, and never at the peak.

But this time I was way ahead of the curve. In my last journal entry I recommended Band of Horses. I watched TV last night and on our local music show (FoxRox), that was their pick of the week. I'm a trendsetter.

This entry probably made no sense to those bad at math and fractions. I'll consider it a filter.

...

The fog the past few nights has been its own entity. You can watch it physically move as it glides across the landscape. Last night it had completely enveloped the watertower, making it disappear. What made the fog more mysterious was that despite bringing the chilly ocean moisture with it, my condo was still a billion degrees. I had to tape baggies of ice to my body.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Art: Lisa.

Lisa Sitting on Stool (pencil on paper, 5 x 8").



Lisa Laying Down (pencil on paper, 7 x 3").