Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm a player

I've been tagged by the Sweetheart of Sacramento, Miss Dolce Chic! Candi is a new friend via blogland and I like her so much. I've never been tagged before, so I've decided to play along.

The goal of this one was to identify 6 quirky items about myself and hope you find it interesting. If not, I don't blame you.

I love making homemade whipped cream.

There, I've said it. Do you know how easy it is to impress your family and friends by simply bringing over homemade whipped cream so that everyone can slather it on their pumpkin pie, or put a dollop in their hot cocoa or in the summer, spoon it into a bowl full of berries?

All you need is one of these easy hand blenders, one pint of heavy whipping cream and a 1/3 cup full of sugar and blend until it gets stiff - about 5 minutes. It refrigerates well for a couple of days.

I used to sing and play guitar in coffee houses.

Here I am with Lisa Dewey. Lisa is a talented singer/songwriter with her own record label. We had a lot of fun singing together and this picture is from 1993. We were at an open-mic night in Santa Cruz, except it was for women only, and they called it, "Open Michelle". I didn't make that up. Fashion note - let's not talk about that.

When I learned how to play the guitar, I happened to have a small obsession with Sinéad O'Connor, so the first song I learned was Black Boys on Mopeds. I tried playing it last night and I can still do it. D, A, G is all it takes. Oh, and I came this close to shaving my head and piercing my nose.

I worked in a bar with my Mom and my brother.

One summer I worked in a bar called the Alpine Inn, a place that attracts cyclists and bikers alike - and my Mom and brother worked there, too. My Mom is a teacher, my brother is a musician and I was about to embark on a road trip so we all wanted some extra cash. We had a really good time and my Mom showed me the ropes as she had worked there the summer prior. Yes, my Mom showed me how to properly pour a draft beer. She called us "The Dream Team" on the days the three of us got to work together (which embarrassed my brother a little bit).

In case you ever happen to be in Portola Valley (on the west side of Palo Alto) and need a cold beer and a decent burger or linguica sandwich, I heartily recommend this place with the carved out picnic tables, peanut shells on the floor and large, outdoor seating area near the creek.

I traveled around the U.S. in a VW van.

I (along with an ex) traveled around eastern Canada and the United States in a 1969 Volkswagen Bus. There were bets - 'they won't last 6 months', but I was determined and lasted one and a half years. In order to last that long I got waitressing jobs in Naples, FL and then Block Island, R.I. It was a great adventure, though being on the road is more tiring than one might expect.

This photo is of me and my friend Nikki, whom I met in Block Island. We were going to the Lollapalooza show at Great Woods near Boston where we saw Jesus Lizard, Cypress Hill, Hole & Sonic Youth. Sinéad was supposed to sing but to my great disappointment, it was hot and she was pregnant and not feeling well. Summer of 1995.

I had a 1954 Chevy.

When I was 27 years old, I wanted to buy an old car. I've always been a car enthusiast and this felt like my time to do something different, more different than the variety of old VW's I'd had up to this point. Here she is - my 1954 Chevy 150 2-door sedan with powerglide. While not the Bel-Air, the 150 was most popular in its day with police, state governments, small businesses, economy minded consumers and hot rodders.

She was robin's egg blue and I used her as my daily driver to Oracle each day. Once after work, I left the Oracle parking lot and was at a stop-light. I noticed that I was behind Larry Ellison and his $100k Mercedes coupe. Wait, why was he getting out of his vehicle? To face me and yell, "NICE CAR"!

I traded my TV & DVD player for a surfboard.

When I was about 30, I lived on my own in Palo Alto in a nice apartment which I had just furnished with my first leather couch, a room just for my printing press, and a new TV and DVD player. The appliances didn't get much use, so when a buddy of mine offered to bring me a new surfboard from the central coast, we worked out a deal. I would trade him my TV & DVD and the new, 8' surfboard would be mine.

It's the only surfboard I've had. I'd like to get a 9'2.


Please share your quirks, Ana, Clare & Jess!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Surf Fridays!

I'd like to share some of the awesome birthday gifts I received this week, parts of which will no doubt make their way into future Surf Fridays...

I can't wait to read this one. It's supposed to be a great book, with important messages about our environment. Reviews here.

Fantastic photos and graphics in this one -
I heart Taschen books and surprisingly did not know this one existed!

My Mom found this early 1970's book at her local library sale.
It's got tons of beautiful and very 'real' images.

And last but definitely not least, is the gift that made me start talking really fast and animated - because this is the beginning of one of my life collect old surf movie posters! And it's signed by John Severson! (Surfer, filmmaker, artist, photographer and he founded Surfer Magazine in 1960). Apparently Mr. Severson purchased a few items from my step-dad's eBay shop, the two got to talking...and this is the result.

Drew Kampion wrote, "Before John Severson, there was really no surf art, no surf magazines, no real surf films, no surfwear industry, no pro surfing, no Surfrider Foundation, no surf culture as we know it. In a very large sense, he made it all happen by synthesizing the sport of surfing into various expressions of his art."

Here's a short clip from Severson's 1969 film, Pacific Vibrations. John Severson wanted to make a statement with his last film, which he calls his swan song - by bringing the viewer's attention to our ocean and our environment.

Some of the surfers featured in this film are Mickey Dora, Bill Hamilton, Jock Sutherland and Spyder Wills. A few of the locales include Huntington Beach, Rincon and Maui and it has a super groovy soundtrack.

For a longer clip of this film, including interviews with John Severson, go here. I hope your weekend is full of good vibrations!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From a secret admirer

So last night we go to a great dinner with terrific company and 5 of us squished into my Mom's car to head to Nolas. As usual, there's nowhere to park in Palo Alto - but we manage to find and fit into a spot (labeled small car) in an underground parking garage. My Mom has an older Nissan Pathfinder - not a 4x4, but not tiny, that's for sure. After our meal we walked back to the garage to find this note on the windshield:

Gave us a good laugh. Maybe I'll submit it to Found.

Fantasy 1 & 2

Would you like to relax and bliss out? Try a listen to Debussy's Clair de lune (French for 'moonlight') and watch a deleted scene from Fantasia. It's working for me.

Or maybe you have some energy but still want to chill. This song is perfect.

Thank you for my sweet birthday messages. xoxo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm glad to be here

Once upon a time, I was born on this day and I said, hello world. What do you got? Yeah? That's pretty f*$%ing amazing. I like it. I'd like to give some things in return. I've got some stuff I'm working on, so be patient. Thanks world, for all the goofy stuff to make me laugh. Why is a poodle walking down a street so awesome? Thanks world, for giving me such an amazing family and husband and friends...and new people to meet. Thanks for giving me choices and my body and a home and a heart. Colors and rain and snorkeling masks to see all those fish! Thanks for paint and surfboards, sand and soil and romance and so many good songs, how do our brains not explode!? Life just gets better and better each year. It's so true. Thank you for being here, too.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Beach time

this blurry surfer reminds me of a seamouse drawing

This is Linda Mar, Pacifica, my homebreak. It's the closest surf spot to me, about a 40 min. drive. This is pretty much where I learned to surf. I thought I didn't like it there anymore, because a lot of the time it's foggy and damp and the waves made me feel like I was in a washing machine. But Jay and I came here yesterday, and I am so glad we did.

There weren't a lot of waves to be found, but it felt so good to be in the water, cold as it was. Skies were sunny and the air was warm and when there were no sets coming, I paddled for fitness. Then there was this sunset to look at. Afterwards we went to the Half Moon Bay Brewery to eat calamari, have a beer, see my brother's band play and my Mom was there. Gosh it was a great day.

When I woke up that morning, I felt like I was happy and that nothing could take that feeling away the whole entire day! At the end of the day, it felt like one of the best days of my entire life. That was a neat feeling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Surf Fridays!

Hi there! Well first, to those friends who live in LA, Jay and I decided not to come down this weekend for the TOMS Sole Surfing art show. Oh how we wanted to! It's a bit close to the holidays and we are thinking of our budgets. I thank those of you whom I was hoping to meet there and buy you a beer - one day it will happen, for sure! And man, I hope everyone near Santa Barbara is doing OK with those fires.

So to make up for the fact that we aren't heading down south, we are going to be with you in spirit by going to a rad show called LA Paints at the Oakland Museum. I want to see the work of The Date Farmers up close and personal. They are the two lads responsible for this awesome piece of work (which I first noticed on Quality Peoples).

Also, we are going to surf a fun spot in Santa Cruz (I haven't been in the water for too long). I hope I can still paddle. By the way, I should get this off my chest. You know I write about surfing all the time and it appears in my artwork - I feel it is in the core of my being, the passion I have for everything about it is so strong. But, I'm not very good at it. I also don't feel like I'm a natural, which makes it a little worse. However, it is one of my life goals to be good at it one day, with grace and tricks and toes on the nose (all 10). I want to feel on the surfboard the way I do when I paint. I know that as with many things in life, it is mainly a matter of simply carving out the time and doing it.

Last night, I watched a movie on PBS. It's called Of Wind and Waves: The Life of Woody Brown. Have you seen it? It made me laugh and cry and I watched in amazement as I learned all kinds of things about this man that I never knew before! For example, I never knew that he built the first modern catamaran to take tourists on rides off of Waikiki Beach or that he was one of the first five or six people on the planet to surf Hawaii's big waves.

In the documentary, Woody talked about surfing Oahu's North Shore: "I always wanted to challenge death. I loved to get just as close to death as I possibly could and then dodge it. That was my thrill in life." He followed that statement by a hearty laugh.

Woody is featured in one of my favorite films, Surfing for Life - where one of the interviewees says, "I don't think you can ever be too old to be stoked". Woody passed away in April this year at the age of 96, and surfed until he was 90.

This brings me to cool Aussie Mick, of Safe to Sea - who reports that his award-winning film Musica Surfica is finally available for us on DVD! You can order it here.

Have a good weekend everyone. Remember, you're never too old to be stoked! Check it out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SK8 ninja

This young fellow gives tricks a whole new meaning - wait'll you see the last one. Via Tmoe.

Morro Rock

Morro Rock or The Rock, as locals call it - is also a volcanic plug. The town of Morro Bay is sleepy and pretty but has a bit of a spooky feeling to me, like it would be a good setting for an emotionally scary movie directed by Eastwood in the 70s.

I have to tell you that the best Thai food I've ever had is in a tiny, hidden place on the water, very close to Morro Bay - Noi's Little Thai Takeout. If you are driving through the central coast of Cali, it's worth an adventurous stop.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Surf Fridays!

Happy Friday! Many of you have no doubt already seen this spankin' new awesome blog, Grass is Greener.

I am in love with this new gem and their rootsy intentions of 'gettin' back to basics'. They list some of their interests as 'mother earth and mother ocean'. They really are after my own heart. Check out their profile today of lo-fi stylin' surf photographer, Kate Czuczman. Gorgeous!

You know, being that it's Friday and the end of a whirlwind week, it would be nice to have a drink. What is the best tiki bar you have been to? My very favorite one is Forbidden Island in Alameda, which is a cool island just east of San Francisco bay.

Interior of Forbidden Island with dollar bills on the ceiling
Photo credit: John Lee

Their drinks are made with fresh citrus juices that they squeeze themselves - and all natural ingredients. Even their maraschino cherries are naturally colored and flavored. They offer 55 different rums and have invented seven drinks.

Their namesake drink is Martin Cate and his wife are the only ones in the world who know the recipe. Mr. Cate makes the mix alone so when the bartenders get to work, they just grab the pre-made mix and the alcohol. The Forbidden Island is a hearty grog, filled with lime, pineapple and our secret mixture of rare spices and liqueurs. I had one of these and I can attest that it is worth getting.

One of my favorite things about tropical drinks in a tiki bar, are the names (and how they make you feel all good inside). To mention a few, how do you like the sounds of Suffering Bastard; Painkiller; Fog Cutter; Sidewinder's Fang and Missionary's Downfall.

Forbidden Island bar
photo credit: John Lee

Martin also has an off-the-menu drink called Dead Reckoning. If you want to try mixing it yourself, here's his recipe:
  • 2 ounces Cockspur 12-year rum
  • 1/2 ounce Navan Vanilla Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce tawny Port
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • Mint sprig
  • Lemon zest spiral
Here is a tiki drink recipe site where you can browse by the highest-rated drinks. Also, this recipe book, Beachbum Berry's Sippin Safari would make a good gift. Now all you need is a tiki mug - incidentally, they originated in mid-century American tiki bars.

Not sure where the nearest tiki bar is to you? Check out Critiki where you can search by location, all around the world. Would you believe there is record of 551 tiki locations in the U.S.? 2 in Cuba, 6 in Mexico, 10 in Australia and 32 in Canada...

Happy Surfing and Happy Cocktails! And here's to your hearty spirit and health!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sneak Peek

Tonight is the opening night and reception for the TOMS Sole Surfing art show in Venice. I wish I could be there tonight to meet everyone and see all the art and hear the music...Tell me how it was and how much fun you had!

Although we can't go tonight, Jay and I will be going on Saturday, November 15th. I'll give more details soon in hopes that we are able to meet anyone there that evening.

Here is a sneak peek of something I sent to Venice. No time to scan or photograph the work properly, so I hope you'll forgive the glare.

My awesome father in law told me he was thirsty for a cold glass of Taco Beer.

Love to everyone, jw xo