Monday, November 8, 2010

The danger of group think

"You want to be the trend, don't follow the trend."
-Matt Riley

Jack Nicholson once said that sports fascinated him because it allows us to indulge in our own private theories about competition and mankind. Public opinions and marketing ideas are formed based on the collective interest and collusion of the owners, the leagues top executive and the handpicked media stars. Often times the public forms an opinion on a certain player or an owner just because they have heard it repeated so many times that they accept what they hear as a fact. (ex. Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever) (Mark Cuban is a wild eyed maniac) The sports world is full of media shills who consistently laud a few handpicked players or praise certain franchises knowing they will be rewarded and given further access and thus profitability in their careers. So what happens when a visionary owner takes on an entire league and engages in a blood feud with the commissioner of the NFL? You have a sustained ongoing retaliation campaign that has smeared a brilliant man, Al Davis.

Al Davis is a gangster. Al Davis is a genius. Al Davis is a winner. Al Davis is a visionary.

It has become laughable at how many people simply parrot the conventional wisdom that the Raiders will never win unless Al Davis dies. ( I guess they forgot the three Super Bowls he won) When I was a youngster roaming the Coliseum you would hear Raider fans moan after every loss about how terrible Al Davis is and they would blame the recent loss on the owner. I was always confused about why some Raider fans, and non-Raider fans everywhere, would express some much vitriol against a teams owner. Why do so many people seem to dismiss a brilliant, tough, open-minded winner? Because they are all victims of an affliction called group think.

Let us look at the facts:
The Raiders have an all time winning percentage of 0.599. By comparison, the Yankees have an all time winning percentage of 0.566 and are considered the golden standard of all sports teams. Al Davis is a brilliant and groundbreaking figure in the NFL and is the reason the game has evolved into what we have today. It was his innovative, pass first, throw it deep style that has resulted in the "vertical" game. He adopted the swaggering style of marauders and actively courted an outlaw image. Only a true gangster could bring together the diverse cultures of Oakland and seamlessly mesh the black panthers with the Hells Angels. Both groups could be seen roaming the sidelines during Raider games in the 70's. He coined the phrase "just win baby" and "speed kills." Al has served as a head coach, general manager, league commissioner, and owner. He served as the youngest head coach in league history in 1963, and was named AFL coach of the year. He was named commissioner of the AFL in 1966 and began to recruit top talent away from the NFL. This made the AFL highly competitive and forced a merger with the NFL. (kinda of like what happened to the Detroit Tropics in Semi-pro) Al Davis was the first ever to draft a black QB in the first round, the first to hire a black head coach (Art Shell) and the first to hire a Latino head coach (Tom Flores). He also employes the highest ranking female executive (Amy Trask) in the NFL who now serves as the CEO of the Raiders. But Al will never get credit for his groundbreaking stance on civil rights because it does not fit with the popular narrative of our time.

Every team in sports goes through highs and lows. You just hope that you can extend your time and the top and only spend a few years at the bottom. So last look at the last seven years, following the AFC championship season and see what Al Davis did to right the ship:

The Raiders made it to the Super Bowl in 2002 due to the veteran leadership of Rich Gannon (the years MVP) and were the oldest team in the league in terms of average player age. Thus, the inevitable decline due to age as Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, Romo, Lincoln Kennedy etc all retired or moved on. The Raiders attempted to rebuild by drafting JaMarcus with the first pick in a move that at the time was seen as a brilliant pick. I challenge you to find any one public comment that predicted the utter disaster of JaFat. During the JaFat years Al Davis drafted Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Ford, McClain etc. From 2007 to today the Raiders have drafted 13 starters out of their 22 picks in the first three rounds. This is the highest success ratio of any team in the league. The Raiders are on the rise and the silver and black will regain prominence in the NFL.

If you only listen to the soundbites or see just a glimpse of Al Davis on televison with his projector at a press conference you can be made to believe that he is an unhinged lunatic who behaves like a modern day Godzilla breathing fire and destroying the city of Oakland. But if you take the time to watch the entire press conference (as I did on youtube) or listen to him speak in an extended interview you come to see a man that has always had the courage to do it his way. You begin to admire a man that shaped events around him and has always done it his way. Al Davis is a maverick who has built a team his way, sued the NFL multiple times and won, hoisted up the Super Bowl trophy three times, and (dare I say it after the McCourt disaster) is a misunderstood genius. Long live Al Davis!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A nation is on the rise......

"It is here, in this organization, that the will to win burns brighter." "We will get it back."
Al Davis- speaking about hiring Tom Cable

After seven years in the football wilderness a fearsome band of warriors have emerged to strike fear in the hearts of the AFC West. The Raiders sacked Mrs Elizabeth Hasselback eight times yesterday and I was left wondering when Pete Carroll would just give up and put in Whoopi Goldberg at left guard. I guess its too hard for "uncle" pete to "always compete" when he can't gain an unfair advantage in the NFL by buying his players houses and cars. The most overrated coach in history was shown what a fraud he has always been by "coaching" an offense that was only able to generate three points against the Raiders. I guess Pete was too busy counting the millions that he conned the Seahawks into giving him. The Raiders are a team on the rise and after putting together two impressive victories the nation will host the Chiefs this Sunday. If Oakland can beat KC, (dare I say it) we have a realistic shot at going to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. This is why you stay loyal, this is why you NEVER bandwagon (cough, cough, not seeing a lot of SC gear these days) this is why win, lose or tie, I am a Raider fan till I die. On a side note, after the beating the Raiders gave Denver last week I was wearing my Raider hat and some clown said, "oh did you just dust that off because they won?" Before I had a chance to answer this guy Kensey said, "no he wears it every Sunday, no matter what." Thats the kind of girl that I like, one who understands loyalty. In the words of the great Al Davis, "thats what I'm telling ya."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mucho take it easy

"Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."
-Alfred Adler

El Salvador is like a beautiful but crazy girl that you just keep thinking about. You know how messed up she is but you overlook all of that because she is just so damn exciting. That is how surfers view El Salvador: As a dangerous country but one that entices you because t is full of empty waves. So, you buy the ticket and take the ride.

As I waved goodbye to my Dad at LAX and lugged my boardbag (with my 6.4 and 6.6) I was greeted by an AA agent who said, "you are going surfing in El Salvador? Boy, are you brave." I just smiled and moved on. I was flying on the red eye out of L.A. and was the only white guy on the flight to San Salvador. The stew came up to me and said, "surfer?" I said yep and she said that the only Americans who came down to El Salvador were surfers. I landed at about 5:30 am in San Salvador and got a text from Adam saying that his flight on TACA ( Take a chance airlines) was delayed until 4:00 that afternoon. The plan was for me to wait about an hour at the airport for these guys to arrive since I was the only one flying on American. So here I was, all alone, getting swarmed by people outside of the San Salvador airport. I had to use my boardbag as a buffer to keep taxi drivers etc away from me and tried to call the hotel for the pick-up. But this is central America and things don't really work like they do in the U.S. Nobody was picking up, I called my travel agent and got no answer. Ladies of the night were coming up to me and asking if I wanted a girlfriend for the week, people were trying to sell me all kinds of crap and I kept on reading the travel advisory printed out in big bold letters:
Do Not Get In A Cab Alone!
Finally a guy pulled up in a van and said he was from Las Flores and he would drive me on the two hour plus trip to the hotel. I said a silent pray and got in the bus with him and was able to converse in a Spanish/English hybird. We talked about the waves (olas) and I asked him if he was in the civil war. He showed me a picture of himself in full uniform holding a machine gun. The drive was insane as we passed all sorts of pigs, chickens, cows and goats just running free all over the road. I was able to see miles of just empty beachbreak with decent waves that reminded me of El Porto back home.

I got to the hotel, took a deep breath, and sat down on the deck overlooking a right pointbreak. It had a little bit of morning wind on it but it looked like a fun head high wave. Las Flores is really a surfers dream with a wave out front and boats that leave four times a day to take you to punta mango or to the other beachbreaks. Life quickly gets very simple. You wake up early, surf, have breakfast, surf, nap, have lunch, get an afternoon surf, grab a beer, surf the evening glass, have dinner, watch the sunset and go to bed early. It is incredible to be consumed by the swell, tide and wind for days on end. You really have nothing else to worry about other than trying to decide where you want to go surfing.

All of the other surfers staying at the hotel were from SB, Newport, the South Bay or San Diego. All of the guys got along and took turns in the lineup and just really seemed to enjoy being away from the crowds of Southern California. The best session that we had was an evening surf on the second to last day at punta mango. The boat pulls up and the lineup is empty. I am surfing with only three other people as we watch the sun set from the water. The shoreline of punta mango is undeveloped and you a single horse was grazing on the land. The green mountains were shrowded in mist, the right was overhead and pumping, the water was 74 degrees and I was in heaven. Thank God I am a surfer!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A couple of boys going to the Kings game

One of the reasons that I love living in the city of angels is the constant variety of options that are presented to you on any given night. Last night, I left the beach and drove 23 miles to celebrate Big Goot's birthday with a steak dinner and a hockey game. I had a hour free before I met with Garrett so I visited the Bradberry building and the new Catholic church in downtown L.A. Garrett and I had dinner at Flemings steak house and than watched the Kings defeat Carolina 4-3. I have started to really enjoy Kings hockey and even purchased my first Kings hat since 1993 (the year they went to the finals). Go Kings!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Would you buy real estate from this man?

The scene:
Opening Day Dodger Stadium 2008

A young man runs out of Dodger stadium and begins a furious late afternoon drive to UCLA to attend a real estate principles class. His real estate career at UCLA is just starting. He is still teaching at Torrance High School. Over the next two and a half years he returns to Westwood, sometimes making the 1.5 hour commute twice a week, to pursue his real estate dreams and acquire a brokers license. Fast forward to late summer 2010. He has completed all of his course work, he has studied hard, he owns his own company. This same young man now sits in his office, hands nervously logging in to look at his name and see the magic words next to it: Passed

I am a real estate broker!

So, who wants to buy some real estate?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The duality of man

"What I admire is a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity and the appetite for adventure over the love of ease."
-Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy

Some people look upon Mt. Whitney and see:

sleep deprivation, altitude sickness, a 50% failure rate, nausea, defecating in a bag and carrying it out with you, 22 trail miles of an aching back and sore knees, three miles of brutal switchbacks, gasping for breath, a massive headache, bone-chilling wind, and a day full of pain and boredom.

Other people look upon Mt. Whitney and see:

Boundless beauty, a test of will, sweeping vistas, an adventure, "a day they will never forget," abundant wildlife, roaring rivers, peaceful meadows, crystal blue lakes, God's country, lush streams, 50% success rate, camaraderie, a fun all day hike, a chance to eat gummy snakes, blue skies, pride in standing on top the highest peak in the lower 48.

On August 3, I stood with five other people who decided to look at things from the second point of view. This was my third trip up Mt. Whitney and I enjoyed myself in experiencing all that the mountain has to offer. This time our group had perfect weather, not a cloud in the sky, and temperatures that allowed me to nap on top of the mountain in my boardshorts. We spent a few days getting acclimated in Mammoth and took a nice day hike down in Red's meadow to look at Devils post pile and Rainbow Falls. The following is a brief recap of my fellow hikers.

1) Tasha aka "sweaty" aka "jabbermouth"
This trail veteran was the only one who seemed immune to the lack of oxygen and just kept on climbing. I would stop to take a breather and Tasha would just calmly wait as Mark and I caught our breath and took a rest. Once again Tasha brought the candy, never complained, always had a smile, and just serenely moved along and seemed to be in her element at all times. A trusted companion on the trail and always up to buy me a sandwich but not down to buy me a McFlurry. (also can throw a wicked snowball at you when you least expect it)

2) Tina aka "blackbear"
I was able to get to know Tina a lot better on this trip as we had more time to spend together in Mammoth and on the trail. She dedicated this hike to her Grandmother and carried a picture of her up to the top of Whitney. Tina is a very strong hiker who showed true grit and determination to reach the summit.

3) Mark aka "lucky bear"
Mark did a fantastic job on this hike and was a constant source of positive energy. He would stop frequently to take pictures, marvel at the scenery and was in awe at the beauty of the hike. I really hope that lucky bear comes with us next year because he brought the perfect weather and sunshine with him.

4) Laurent aka Frenchy
We did not see much of Laurent on this trip as he went ahead and hiked with his faster buddy up the trail. We would see him at trail camp and the summit and he experienced some altitude sickness but was overall in good spirits and was a great addition to the group.

Another summer, another summit in the books and I look forward to next year with the Nespors and the crazed red billy goat joining us in 2011!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Epic of Half Dome

"There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
-Bruce Lee

After my Dad and I said goodbye to the Mammoth fishing crew we got ready for the next part of our vacation: Climbing Half Dome!

Monday: We slept in a little bit, grabbed coffe at the Looney Bean, and took the beautiful drive up the 395 and turned west onto the Tioga Pass Road. We made our first stop of the day at the Whoa Nelly Deli and had breakfast overlooking Mono Lake. I decided to have smoked trout for breakfast because I got skunked on the fishing trip. We drove on up and over the pass, into Tuolumne meadows and finally down into Yosemite Valley. We checked in at our tent cabin at Curry Village and spent the day looking at waterfalls, meadows, deer and riding the free shuttle bus around the valley. We had dinner at the Camp Curry buffet and turned in early in anticipation of climbing half dome.

I was up at 4:00 am and eager to begin our climb. I waited until 5:00 am to get my Dad up and we began our hike at 5:30 am by walking out of camp curry and adding an extra mile to get to the Happy Isles trailhead. As we began our walk we noticed that many other hikers of all ages and sizes were up with us and on the way to hike half dome. It is interesting that people complain about "crowds" on the trail when in reality it is an amazing thing that so many people are up early pushing their bodies to the limit. The hike goes along a paved road for about one mile until you reach a spectacular view of the falls and than we veered off on to the John Muir trail for another 1.5 miles. We reached the top of the trail and saw our Aussie friend form the night before, Shane. He was doing the hike solo and in true Aussie fashion he was in excellent spirits. Along we walked through little Yosemite valley, up the swithcbacks and than on to the subdome. After a brief rest we were ready to tackle the cables and this is where Bob used his patented death grip himself to the top. We enjoyed our time up on top of the world, took a rest, and than began our descent back down. The return trip is always long and hard as you have used up so much energy to get to the top of the dome. We took our time and stopped along the river to rest and get water. Our day ended at 7:30 pm when we got off the trail and were able to get the shuttle bus (thank God) back to camp curry. I got my Dad a couple of gatorades, some ice-cream and got myself some beer. It was an epic day that we will never forget! My Dad has set the bar very high for me by summiting half dome at 62!

After a great night of sleep we woke up and headed over to the Ahwahnee hotel for breakfast. We drove up to glacier point to look at the spectacular view of the valley and than drove on home. It was a fantastic trip!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fishing Trip

We had a great trip up to Mammoth for the first "guy's fishing trip." I can't tell you that we caught a lot of fish but we sure had a lot of laughs. The crew was Jeff, Mike, Dennis, Joe, Kevin, Zach, Bob, Garrett and Matt. All of us stayed in the Riley house so it made things real cozy. Kevin really enjoyed his time fishing and learning all about the bait and how to cast. A couple of highlights from the trip:

1) If you are eager or in a hurry to go fishing, stop by Brocks in Bishop. They are world famous for their speedy service.

2) Dennis and Mike going off-trail to summit Mammoth rock and look at the old mine.

3) Fishing at Lake Mary on Saturday in a beautiful alpine setting.

4) Walking a mile to the gorge in what has been described as a "post nuclear" setting.

5) Telling Kevin and Zach that I am the King of the Raft.

6) Playing Mike's new favorite Sinatra tune, Chicago.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A moment of Zen

"The hardest thing to do in life is to simplify, it is so easy to make things complex."
-yvon chouinard

photo: Mattsel Adams

Monday, May 24, 2010

The best chicken tacos this side of the border

This post is dedicated to the captain and cook of the S.S. Serenity Now:

A few weeks ago I planted a cilantro plant on my patio and it has grown to be a giant. (picture 1) So, this past weekend I wanted to use my fresh herbs and my b.b.q. to make dinner for a nice young lady. I went to whole foods, got two chicken breasts and marinated them overnight. (picture 2) As you can see (picture 3) my b.b.q. skills are second only to the captain. After getting the bird off the grill I chopped up the chicken for fresh chicken soft tacos. I put the chicken in jalapeno flavored tortillas, added shredded cheese, salsa, diced onions, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, guacamole and bango: you got yourself the best chicken soft tacos this side of the border. After dinner we took a sunset stroll along the beach. Life is good.......
This meal just might outrank the "deluxe" on the b.b.q. scale.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Math with Tasha: 6=15

I had a great time hiking the ENTIRE Zuma Ridge Trailhead with Tasha, Susan and Laurent. Just like Gilligan I set out for a three hour tour of thinking we were going to do an easy six mile hike. But no, Tasha had other plans as she relentlessly marched us up the ridge, down the hill, up the hill, back down and back up again. I am kidding but we did end up hiking almost 15 miles in over six hours. It was a much longer day than I anticipated but I learned a few things along the way:

1) Trail Names- You don't pick your trail name your trail name picks you
Susan aka "Thrifty"
Dennis aka "Elmer Fudd" aka "Rattler"

2) If you go hike with Tasha bring enough food, water, clothes and shelter to feed a small Ethiopian village. As a rule of thumb, whatever mileage she tells you that you will hike, just triple it and than add a few more miles.

3) Laurent will be a great addition to the hike. He is a very cool native of France and he has really got me re-thinking my position on "Freedom Fries."

4) Susan is tan, rested and ready for Mt. Whitney. She did an excellent job today on Tasha's death march and will have no problem on Whitney.

5) I like to look at Snakes ( saw 3 today and got a good photo)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The man in the gray flannel suit

Lately I have been reading an eclectic mix of books on business, religion, politics, sports and the Hell's Angeles. I have drifted away from reading the "serious" literature that I have studied and taught in school for so many years. So, it was with great pleasure that I started reading The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. This novel was so good that it made me nostalgic for my days as an English major at UCSB. I had a palpable desire to discuss and debate this book with any willing participant. During this mornings surf session with John I was actively encouraging him to read this novel and see it as an extension of his own interior monologue. So many of our talks in the water focus on the unspoken fears we all have. Sloan Wilson is a gifted writer how put those fears on paper.
What makes this novel so interesting is that the main character, Tom Rath, is a decent and likable man. His motto is, "go along to get along." He simultaneously finds comfort in conformity and loathes what his life has become. He is married with three children, but finds himself stuck on the treadmill of consumerism. He has spent his life "making love without passion" and going through life "without any real emotion except worry." He is the embodiment of what Thoreau said when he stated, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation."
But Tom Rath is not written as a stock character. He is not presented to the audience as a bland symbol of conformity or a vision of meek existence. No, Sloan Wilson has written something far more sinister. He has held a mirror up to society to reveal that we are all the man in the gray flannel suit: hurrying to make a buck, trying not to offend anyone, eager to please and blend in and praying that we do not loose our jobs, our home, or our life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One More Season in the Sun

There is joy today in Dodgerland, as the mighty Manny did not strike out. The score was tied at one to one when a dreadlocked slugger began his duel in the sun. For Dodger stadium stood hushed and still as the mighty Manny stared down the pitcher with intent to kill. Oh, somewhere in chavez ravine the sun is shining bright, somewhere in Echo Park a band is playing till the morning light.
Manny dug in and took his practice at bats, while men clutched their hearts and kept a firm grip upon their Dodger blue hats.
A lumbering swing was meant with strike one, could the great Manny really be done?
Despair filled the crowd as the umpire shouted out, strike two! But the faithful remained and the small grin revealed what they knew.
For Manny is at his best when his back is to the wall, one only has to remember how he preformed at Fenway in the Fall.
As the count drew full and the crowd rose to it's feet, the crisp white uniform bearing 99 shimmered in the heat
With one giant swing the mighty Manny did go deep, creating memories for me and my father to keep.
The crowd rose in unison to chant and cheer and Manny tipped his hat and raised an ovation for all to hear.
As children danced and strangers slapped fives, I took a moment to be thankful for this blessing in our lives.
To be a season ticket holder and share a season in the sun with my brother, a truly sublime dream has come true that is unlike any other.
For there is joy tonight in Dodgertown for those of us who bleed Dodger blue, we could of told you all along that the great Manny is not through.
So tonight say your prayers to the great Dodger in the sky, for the season is just beginning and Manny will make that ball fly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Legions of the Unjazzed

"And every day we surf, good or bad, there is the magic time. We sit on the beach, still warm from the day's sun and lean our backs against Wayne's sea wall, and look at the ocean. We dig our bare feet into the sand and we look into the Pacific and the Pacific looks into us.
We are stoked. Six, eight, nine, ten people lined up against a wall, all jazzed by the water we have just conquered. There is a feeling of vast accomplishment.
There is nothing mystical about this. There is a need in all of us for controlled danger; that is, a need for an activity that puts us however briefly on the edge of life. Civilization is breeding it out of us, or breeding it down in us, this go-to-hell trait. Gradually, the day-to-day people, the hackers, are taking over. There are, as you read this, uncounted millions of people who now go through life without any sort of real, vibrant kick. The legions of the unjazzed.
But surfers have found one way. God knows, there are other ways. Each to his special danger. Skiing is not enough. Sailing is near. Ski jumping is almost. Bullfighting makes you dead. The answer is surfing."

-Phil Edwards

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Matt talks live music

Last week I went to see Paul McCartney play at the Hollywood bowl and it was an incredible concert. I have really got back into seeing live music due to Saint Rocke (a music club by my house), I tunes (the best thing on the internet) and having enough dough to buy tickets for all the bands that play in L.A. So, today I was thinking about all the concerts that I have seen over the years and I came up with a few new categories and some great memories. I would be curious to hear about your experiences:

1) 1st concert ever:

The Beach Boys after the USC game when I was in 6th grade. This was a classic concert as Kokomo had just been released and the Beach Boys were enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Extra bonus: John Stamos was on drums! :)

2) 1st concert where someone offered me weed

The smell of marijuana is a staple at just about every concert that I have ever been too. (except the Grateful Dead--ironically) The first time I was offered the hippie lettuce was by an oldster at Tom Petty when I was in the 8th grade. (This oldster was a 17 year-old hottie)

3) 1st concert I was at where someone I came with puked during the show from drinking

This would be Keith Black at the U2 concert my sophomore year of high school. He tried to blame it on the Carls Jr burger but we knew better.

4) Hottest Chicks

This is an easy one, Jack Johnson at the Santa Barbarra Bowl in 2002. Good Lord in Heaven!

5) Best Concert

This is a tough one: I am going to go with Pink Floyd at the Rose Bowl in 1994. It was the end of my senior year, I was with all my friends, we had a limo, and the entire world was in front of us!

6) Honorable Mention for Best Concert

U2 at the Rose Bowl, The Police at Dodger Stadium, The Rolling Stones at the Coliseum, The Grateful Dead with Dave Matthews opening in Las Vegas, Jack Johnson in SB, Eric Clapton at the Fourm, Sting at the Greek, too many to name........

7) Best Upgrade at a concert

My last year of college Amina and I went to see Tom Petty at the Hollywood Bowl (we had crappy seats) and they put us in the front row because they were filming that night.

8) Best Festival

The Horde Tour at CSUDH:
I saw the Black Crowes, Blues Traveler and Ziggy Marley

9) Best concert on Foreign Soil

Red Hot Chili Peppers in Sydney, Australia

10) Biggest Surprise

I went to go see Steely Dan at the Nokia and I was blown away at how great Donald Fagen was. I called up Big Goot to tell him I was now a Steely Fan.

11) Best Reggae Show:

Reggae is another vibe and "live" music is more like lets just play a little beat and see what happens here. You don't get fireworks and gizmos but Pato Banton at St. Rocke blew doors.

12) Coolest Music Club on Earth

Mattys Lounge in SB
It was one brief shining moment of pure soul

13) Concert I wish I could see by a dead group/man

This is a really hard one, but I would have to go with Frank at the Sands in Vegas. I think you know why.

14) Concert I wish I could see by a living man/ group

Bob Dylan
I say Dylan play for a few songs with Petty a long time ago and I can't wait to see him.

This was fun and feel free to contribute with new categories!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"The easy life, eh boys?"

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
"See, when you get to be my age, you are lucky if you have one thing you really love."
-Hurt Locker
Today Stilts and I went down to the P.V. Cove after work to enjoy a little bit of the evening glass. It was a perfect evening, no wind, chest-high swell coming out of the west, a few surf-babes on the beach and a mellow crowd. We surfed for a few hours and seemed to be paddling and riding waves the entire time. I surfed with an old friend from Torrance High and had to smile to myself as I listened to the current horror stories of teaching high school. Life is indeed good in the city of Angels. The past four days have been really beautiful and I am so thankful to live by the ocean. After a few hours Stilts and I got out to chill and watch the sunset. As we were sitting on the rocks enjoying the view a real old-timer passed us and said, "the easy life, eh boys."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

El Salvador Bound!

A wise man once said, "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." Last week I was in my old office at Terraden when Adam, a friend of mine, stopped in to say hello before a business appointment he had in Torrance. We went over to Coffee Bean to talk for a bit and he told me about an El Salvador surf trip he was going to go on in August. The trip sounded like another mythical dream of perfect waves, warm water and a solid crew of guys getting barreled out of their head for a week straight. I asked him the one true question, "do you guys have spots open on this trip?" Without missing a beat, Adam said yes and he was able to e-mail me the itinerary from his Iphone. I told him instantly that I was in and just like that the seeds of another adventure had taken root in my brain. As I looked over the itinerary I noticed that we had to pay for our airfare but we could fly direct from L.A. to El Salvador via American Airlines. I have been banking my air miles with the passion of a tea party activist looking for a new home in Sandpoint, Idaho. So today I was able to book my flight using my Alaska Airlines miles (which partners with A.A.) and I will be going to El Salvador on a surf trip in August! I am so excited to travel to central America and to surf in the warm, tropical water. I will be staying at the Las Flores surf resort that sits directly in front of a peeling right point. They have boats to take you at fishing or to take you out to the different breaks along the coast. So here is where it gets nuts: I met Adam through my friend Brett Dedeaux (whom I met in Fiji) when we were surfing in Malibu. Adam is working in the real estate industry so we have stayed in touch and surfed together a few times. Last Friday I went to work with no plans for a trip and by Thursday my flight is booked for El Salvador! I cashed in my miles for my free flight and I got the upgrade to first class! All of those trips with Erin have paid off in more ways than one, or they just heard that I am the President of a major company. I love American Airlines! (now if I could just get into the VIP lounge......)

Friday, February 12, 2010

E-media fast

I am currently reading a book called, Amusing ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman. His central thesis is that all forms of public discourse (politics, religion, education) have become a form of show business. At the start of the book he has his students go on a 24 hour electronic fast and write about their experience. So, for a 24 hour period I will take no calls, no computer, no car, no radio or television, no movies, no Internet etc. I will not use anything that has an electronic outlet and I will walk or ride my skateboard. The great news is that I can still surf and read! Isn't it ironic that I am blogging about an e-fast? So the fast will start this Saturday morning, February 12 and I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friends, Trojans, Countrymen, lend me your ears"

"Friends, Trojans, Countrymen, lend me your ears
For I come hear to praise Pete Carroll, not bury him
For Pete was an honorable man, so are they all, honorable men
The evil that men do lives on in Troy after them
But Pete was an honorable man, so is Mike Garrett
They are all honorable men
Pete did not know about Joe McKnights $50,000 car
He had no knowledge of Reggie Bush driving a cadillac escalade
He never saw the magazine with Reggie and his car on the cover
For Pete is an honorable man
He did not know about Reggie's parents living in a mansion
He did not know about Mark Sanchez's sexual assault case
He did not know about his players living illegally in $4,000 a month apartments
For Pete is an honorable man, so are they all, honorable men
Pete strode across Troy like a giant
And for this you call him ambitious
Pete never cut corners, never encouraged a culture of corruption
Pete never ran up the score, taunted coaches, slept with coeds
For Pete is an honorable man
When the poor have cried, Pete hath wept
When the NCAA called, he stonewalled
When sanctions are imminent and SC will be banned from television
Pete hath run to Seattle
Leaving behind the carcass of a smoldering program that is a dying form within
Pete migrates north, for he doth knows which way the wind blows
For Pete is an honorable man

Friday, January 1, 2010

And we all Fly On....

I just got back from a great week in Mammoth. Mike and I left the day after Christmas and we were joined by my Dad and Denise. We were able to get a lot of snowboarding in but the most fun that Mike and I had was when we decided to make our own snowboard jump. We spent an entire day out in the snow going on multiple runs and going off the jump. As we drove away today Mike and I both said how the most fun we had was the day spent making jumps. And as Mike said, it was all free....... watch the video above to see Mike soar........