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.