Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Midwesterner Surfs, Sort Of

I've been fascinated with surfing since I was a kid. Not sure what triggered the desire when I was growing up in Illinois, probably something to do with 1) being a waterbug since day one, 2) seeing images of surfers riding the tube and 3) having an appreciation for vintage surf music.
photo from

I'm still in awe watching the many North County surfers maneuver their boards in the surf on any given day. Living so close to such a great surf area has really intensified my desire to get in the water.

Last year I took the first steps and bought a wetsuit and fins. Swimming in the surf was a great way to get more familiar with the water and to learn how the waves come in sets. Next up was a bodyboard, again to help familiarize myself with the sport. Finally a cheapo Costco Wavestorm board was borrowed from a neighbor late last summer. Wavestorms are easy enough to surf that even a hack like me was able to get up on the very first wave.

But with any new hobby or past time that I jump in to (such as kayaks or coffee), I try to learn as much as I can and buy good gear to play with. And a good surfboard will be coming my way in about six weeks. Since Celeste goes to the "hippie/surfer school" down in Encinitas, I recently became friends with another dad from the school. Craig Hollingsworth has been shaping surfboards since 1973 and has been helping me immensely as I learn about the sport and the types of boards that best suit a newbie like me.
His personal longboard is in my garage this weekend to try out.
A nine-footer, branded as a Hansen, it's pretty similar to what he's going to shape for me. However, since I'm still green, my board will be a little bit thicker to offer more buoyancy.
Now I just need to decide what color I want. I do know that the classic Hansen logo will be presented in the red as pictured. How'd it ride?
Well, being an absolute beginner going out on a day with a very small swell and continually being in the wrong place meant that I *barely* got up a couple of times this afternoon. To be honest, last summer's day-with-the-Wavestorm was more productive. However, I wasn't the only guy striking out as the other surfers were spending more time bobbing in the cool water than they were catching waves. But that's fine by me, any time in the water is time well spent. Now I need to go and get a Wavestorm to use while I wait for the Hollingsworth-made board to be completed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goodness Via The USPS

A couple of long-awaited purchases hit the mailbox today. Bike Snob NYC's new book and a fantastic three-CD reissue of The Cure's nearly perfect Disintegration (1989). I can't believe that the last time I saw The Cure live, they were touring for that album way back on August 31st, 1989 at the Rosemont (IL) Horizon. Quite the set list too, see it here.

I'm very anxious to delve into both, but feel that I must honor the late Dennis Hopper this evening with a viewing of Blue Velvet where he played the memorable Frank Booth.

Frank Booth: Hey you wanna go for a ride?

Jeffery Beaumont: No thanks.

Frank Booth: No thanks? What does that mean?

Jeffery Beaumont: I don't wanna go.

Frank Booth: Go where?

Jeffery Beaumont: For a ride.

Frank Booth: A ride! Now that's a good idea! Let's hit the fuckin' road!

R.I.P. Mr. Hopper.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Take Your Brat To Work Day

Hoping my Madison-area friends have a good time riding to and from Brat Fest today. That was definitely one of the best times of the year to work at my old employer. Bikes, beer and brats (wimpy vegetarian Boca Brats for me), on a nice late spring afternoon.

No brats for me today, Allie and I are taking Celeste out for sushi for lunch to celebrate the end of the school year. Yep, we're now the parents of a fifth grader. Scary, exciting and fun, all at the same time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mmm... Skycake

NSFW language, don your headphones. Those of you who work from home, turn it up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Down on the Street - Neighborhood Edition

Walking Juno yesterday I was finally able to snag a few shots of one of the neighborhood's more interesting cars.
I've spotted this diminutive Nash Metropolitan Series III cruise past the house a few times, but it sits safely in a garage 99% of the time. Maybe it was a garage clean-out day for the owner. Whatever the case, it was sitting pretty on the street and I was able to snag a few shots with my phone.
Metros were built in England for Nash between 1953-61 and were marketed as a commuter/shopping car. It also happens to be one of Allie's favorite classic cars, especially in convertible form.

And what 1950s car isn't complete with a "continental" tire kit?
It's truly needed in this case, as the car has no opening trunk lid.
Instead, access is provided by flipping the rear seat down. Not very handy if you're stowing a week's worth of groceries.

My favorite design detail is the dimpled door section as seen below.
Looks like a good place to rest your left arm when putting around Carlsbad.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vintage Green Lake Postcards

While doing some spring cleaning in our garage attic over the weekend, I unearthed a box containing a few more framed vintage postcards. So without further adieu, here are a couple more from Green Lake's Northern Baptist Assembly (now known as the Green Lake Conference Center).

Like about half of my postcards, these were never sent - so no potentially interesting back story.
The pool pictured above has been filled in as long as I have been on the planet. It's now a garden with a perfectly-rectangular concrete border. The last time I walked the perimeter, faint "NO RUNNING" painted signs were still visible - barely. I could also find the anchor bolts for the diving boards and egress ladders. I have a series of three very cool real photo black and white postcards with various views of the pool, but they're all secured in one frame that I don't want to dismantle for scanning.

Postcard number two depicts a classic scene at the center.
Somewhere in my parent's photo albums, there's a picture of me, at about three years old, running here with my maternal grandmother watching over. At least I think such photo exists.

Both postcards have the same printing on the back:
The Northern Baptist Assembly
A 1000 acre estate of unsurpassed loveliness with a 2 1/2 mile frontage on beautiful Green Lake. It includes a modern 81 room Inn and forty other buildings. It is no an Assembly-Conference grounds acquired by the Northern Baptists for purposes of Leadership Training, Spiritual Inspiration, and Christian Fellowship.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Down on the Street - Oceanside Harbor Edition

Riding with my buddy Graham the other week, we came across this little frog sitting in the parking lot at the Oceanside harbor.
Why it's a Citroën 2CV (aka "deux chevaux"). France's post-war economy car. It makes a VW Type 1 Beetle seem like a luxury car in comparison. Check out some of the details:

Bolt-on lighting:
3-lug wheels (appropriately wrapped with dry-rotted Michelins):
Fold-down windows:
also note the metal frame seats with rudimentary padding

Riveted-on roof panel:
A two spoke wheel that looks like it was taken off a tractor:
that's still one more spoke than you'll find on a DS steering wheel

It appears that this little Franco import has spend considerable years in the salty air. Just check out what remains of the circa-1963 front plate:
The tinworm has been chewing away at the fenders too:
Hey, it's for sale!
Not that I have any desire to own this, unless the owner is realistic about it's value (I'd pay $200, tops, for this little rustbucket deathtrap). I greatly prefer the DS, one of my all-time favorite cars.

But it's still interesting to see it out in the wild.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Field Trips - San Diego Tour Guide Weekend

We had a super-busy weekend, showing old friends (not literally old - well, ®ob is over 40 though...) around the San Diego area. We had previously visited the three places we took them to on Saturday and Sunday - Maritime Museum, Cabrillo National Monument tidepools and lighthouse and hiking at Torrey Pines State Park. Since I've already written about most of these, and also because my normal clunky copy isn't spilling out of me, this will be even more of a pictorial than the normal post.

Maritime Museum of San Diego:
Ferry Berkely and submarine Dolphin
one of many very cool miniature models, this of the USS Oregon (1893)

Meals on Wheels:
We took another tour of San Diego Bay on the harbor pilot boat (1914), the additonal $3 fee is so very worth it for the ≈45 minute tour of the bay.
From the Pilot, we viewed the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), along with the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76 - not pictured):
All three supercarriers are stationed at NAS North Island.

A few sea lions napping on a navigation buoy:
The Stars & Stripes (ex-America's Cup contender) coming back into port
And the museum's own Star of India, which we'd briefly explore later in the day:

ahoy from the Pilot

Back on shore I discovered a very cool small sailboat that I never knew existed:
A 1930s-era Mini Star. I've always loved the clean, classic lines of a Star-class sailboat. This 100 year-old class has been raced in the Olympics since the 1930s. The mini star sitting on the dock is about 2/3 the size (16' vs 22.5') and was a popular boat for junior sailing programs in the 1930s-60s. This particular boat, Rascal, is the last surviving Starlet.

Lots of photos of cool gauges, Cyrillic typography and the like were snapped aboard the Soviet B-30 sub.
And, very quickly, through the Star of India:
Off to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument.
push harder, Celeste!
grandmas will NOT approve of this pic

historic Point Loma lighthouse (1855)

When we were done exploring on Saturday, a quick trip to Wahoo's was made in order to fill up on some great burritos.
Sunday was overcast with a stiff breeze out of the south. But no matter, the trails and vistas at Torrey Pines State Park are beautiful any time. Plus, after a day in the sun, the clouds were good for our fair-skinned friends.
Celeste took many photos of one of her Webkinzzz:
She's doing a great job with photography and understands that sometimes you just have to get dirty in order to get the shot. And dirty she certainly gets:
We're so fortunate to have a girl that enjoys exploring nature.
®ob and Peg left Monday morning, impressed with what the area had to offer and promising to return soon. They're headed north up Hwy 1 along the coast to SF and then the redwoods. I hope ®ob's new 16GB memory card will hold the thousands of pix he's going to take...