Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yeah, I "drink the Kool-Aid." Why? Don't you?





Don't believe Bill O'Reilly; Kool-Aid is not bad.

I have been very disturbed by the recent, unfounded, press my childhood beverage of choice has been receiving from the Right.  Earlier this week I was moved to action in response to a statement made to me by my 15 year old cousin.   He said, "you know what state i hate even more. california. full of those crazy kool-aid drinking liberals."  This statement by our youth made me raise an eyebrow.

I had heard other statements about Kool-Aid from online commentators, and read about people being accused of "drinking the Kool-Aid."  The last straw for me came when another dear cousin of mine (who will remain nameless because of a recent loss of his sense of humor, possibly caused by Kool-Aid withdrawal) made the accusation against me of being a "Kool-Aid" drinker.  While I have not drank Kool-Aid for years (nothing against the stuff, I do not drink soda either) I was the most hurt by this particular statement because, as a child, my cousin and I had enjoyed literally hundreds of gallons of the stuff together.  In fact, this particular cousin drank so much of the stuff when we were growing up he sported a permanent Kool-Aid mustachio between the years of 1988 and 1992. 

)To refresh your memory, A "Kool-Aide mustache," is the name given to the stain that appears on the upper lip of those who drink so much Kool-Aid it actually dyes their upper lip.  Below is a picture for reference.  Note:  The HUGE smile on this kids face.)



So where did this back-lash against the delicious beverage of my childhood originate. At one point, drinking Kool-Aid was considered patriotic.  I mean, check out this ad for the stuff from the 1950's.



While the whistling in the beginning is a bit creepy- these people all seem like good, wholesome, God fearing, Americans.  So what happened?  I decided to do some research, and this is what I found:

The backlash against Kool-Aid almost certainly came due to its perceived role in the 1978 cult suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.  It was alleged that during this event members committed mass suicide through the ingestion of Kool-Aid.

Wow.  So Kool-Aid can kill you?  Then yeah, I would argue, don't "drink the Kool-Aid."  A little further research though and I discovered it was not the Kool-Aid which had killed the members, but the potassium cyanide they had chosen to mix with it.  As you can see in the below directions, from the back of a Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi pack of Kool-Aid, potassium cyanide is not even listed as part of the mixture:

Directions: Empty contents into large plastic or glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of sugar or 1 cup of SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated( more or less to taste). Add cold water and ice to make 2 quarts; stir to dissolve. Do not stir in metal container.
  • 1 month ago

Source(s):

Slammin Strawberry Kiwi pack of Kool_Aid

Perhaps they misread "SPLENDA" as "potassium cyanide?"

During my research into the Jonestown suicides I found out something even more disturbing.  Those people did not even drink Kool-Aid, they drank "Flavor Aid," a lesser known, and inferior form of the delicious beverage we know and love.  The commercial above specifically warns people in lyric to "be sure that the envelope says Kool-Aid!"  According to Wikipedia:

"Jim Jones, the leader of the Peoples Temple, persuaded his followers to move to Jonestown. Late in the year he ordered his followers to commit suicide by drinking grape-flavored Flavor Aid laced with potassium cyanide... (The discrepancy between the idiom and the actual occurrence is likely due to Flavor Aid's relative obscurity,compared to the easily recognizable Kool-Aid.)"

So essentially, people started saying they killed themselves using Kool-Aid because it was more a more popular and easily recognizable brand than Flavor Aid.  In the marketing world, this is known as "genericide."  Other brands which have experienced it include: Kleenex, Xerox, and Coke- not bad company to be in.

Interestingly, many people (including my misinformed younger cousin) attribute "drinking the "Kool-Aid" to the cult suicide of the Heaven's Gate members in San Diego, California (hence the "Kool-Aid drinking Californian" statement.)  Guess what- wrong again.  In fact, this is directly from the Heaven's Gate Continues' (the remaining members) website:

"Some Web groups, through misinformation and ignorance to the Next Level, call us the "infamous kool aid cult resurfaced". Shows us how much they know. It was the Jim Jones "Peoples Temple" religion that was called "the kool aid cult". People of Heaven's Gate used specified drugs, alcohol and pudding/ applesauce to drop off their vehicles*- not cyanide laced kool aid. Please get your facts straight or don't get your facts at all."

*the term "vehicle" is what members of the cult call their earthly bodies

They used "pudding and applesauce!"  So get off the Kool-Aid guy's back.  Go pick on Bill Cosby or Johnny Appleseed and leave Mr. Kool alone!  If anything, you could blame Nike- as all members had on the same Nike Sneakers.  Heaven's Gate is the "Just Do it Cult."  So take that, Ann Coulter!
In conclusion, I call upon all Americans to speak up against this unjustified hatred of the Kool-Aide beverage.  The next time a Fox News, Bill O'Reilly fanatic accuses you of "drinking the Kool-Aide" do not hide your head in shame.  Instead, take another sip of your Pink Simmango or Purplesauras Rex and proclaim,  "Yes, I drink Kool-Aide, but are those Nike's you're wearing?!?"

I leave you with a pic of me and boys enjoying some Kickin' Kiwi Lime Kool-Aid on the town.








Monday, October 20, 2008

Let me tell you about a guy named Rody

I had just finished a 20 hours of flying when I met Rody.  My flight began in San Diego the previous night.  A red eye landed me in New York, followed by a short flight down to the Caribbean and I now found myself standing outside Aguidilla's airport awaiting my ride to Rincon.

The ride had been arranged by the woman whose house I would be staying.  A few days earlier she had been giving me instructions on how to direct a cab driver to her house (it did not have an address) when a friend overheard her, and offered to give me a ride.  The friend, Rody, was going up surfing near the city the day I was arriving.  He offered to pick me up for an amount less than cab was going to cost and this would eliminate the need for me to direct a cabbie to a destination 40 miles away without an address, and in a foreign tongue.

"Perfecto," I thought to myself.

I had spoken with Rody briefly the day before to confirm the ride.  Upon arrival I was to call his cellphone.  My first attempt went directly to voicemail.

"Hola, no puedo...Rody...Ciao."

Although my Spanish skills could be considered conversational, I did not know the intricacies of how to leave a message saying, "It's Mark, I just landed at the airport, come on by and pick me up." (Actually, now that I think about it, I do know how to say that, but was not at the comfort level of having my sub-par Spanish on tape.  It's one thing to say something once, and quite another when you know the person will have the ability to play it back.)

So there I stood outside the airport with no way to get in touch with my ride.  Ten minutes turned to twenty, which turned to an hour.

Just as I was about to give up hope and take an offer from one of the ten cabbies who had been hovering around, watching my deteriorating confidence that ride I had told them was coming would actually show-up, a green, mid-90's Chevy mini-van- the kind I used to get rides to grade school basketball games- pulled up to the curb.

Using the hand crank, the driver rolled down the window.  

"You Mark?  Sorry man, my phone died."

Allow me to attempt to deliver a visual description of Rody- the first Puerto Rican actually living in Puerto Rico I had met, the Ambassador of the Bolinquen nation, sent to fetch me from the airport.  

In his mid-thirties, Rody stood about 5'10, and was just slightly overweight  He was overweight in a "I'm in my mid thirties" type of way (not that everyone in their mid-thirties is overweight) or "I really like pizza" way- nothing a few weeks of better eating and exercise would not fix.  His hair was shaggy and uncombed- some of it hanging down over his eyes.  He had on his face what I would guess to be a three to four day growth and looked like he had just rolled out of bed (sorry to wake you up, bud.)  His clothing consisted of a pair of Billabong shorts, a tank top, and a pair of sandals.  Actually, he pretty much looked like plenty of guys I see walking around Mission Beach on any given weekday afternoon (hey, sometimes I go in late!)

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he really struck me as more SoCal "surfer bra" than Puerto Rican. He spoke with a heavy accent, but his English was pretty good; although, not in the "Shakespearean" sense of the word.  By that I mean, I had absolutely no problem understanding him, but his tenth grade English teacher may have been Spicoli. 

"No problem," I said- throwing my board and bag in the back, I hopped into the passenger seat.  I attempted to strike up a conversation with my Puerto Rican chauffeur, and lucky for me, Rody was more than willing to chat.  In fact, Rody loved to talk.  All I had to do was name the conversation and he would take it from there.  We talked about a bunch of stuff.  Everything from politics, to the economy, to the war in Iraq, to the local breaks we would pass on the way to Rincon.  Our forty minute ride was truly a pleasure, and I learned a great deal during the trip.

Now, I'm sure/hoping some of you are saying "I wish I was there."  Well, do I have a treat for you!  It just so happened that just two months earlier I had invested $130 in a little something I like to call The Flip- a super low end camcorder.

Now, you are probably saying, "You started video taping a guy you just met, in a foreign country, minutes after you had landed?"  I could give you a long and drawn explanation, but the answer is "sure did."  

"How did you get his permission," you ask?  That answer is, "I didn't."  There was no time to request permission as he was already deep in soliloquy and I did not want to break up the moment.

Note:  To be fair, Rody was a fairly intelligent guy, and I caught him relatively early, and given his morning activities (alluded to in the video) this may not be the most accurate representation of the young Bolinquen.  As far as the subject matter, I believe it came up because we were talking about crime in the country and that turned to the topics discussed during the video.  I left out all the economic/political stuff because, frankly, I did not think you would find it nearly as entertaining.

So without further ado, ladies and Gentleman, I introduce to you Rody, the first true Puerto Rican I ever met....




Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Costa Rican River Driving

In July me and my buddy Dave took a surf trip to Costa Rica.  July is the rainy season making many of the roads impassable.  On the Nicoyan Penninusla, the roads literally disappear into huge rivers- imagine what will do to your morning commute.  When we rented our cars it was specifically written into the contract that you would not "attempt to drive accross any rivers.  When we first read this we found it hilarious.  Who would actually attempt to cross a river in a rental car?  Two days later, we found out- us.


Scenario Number 1:  El Rio Mas Pequeno

This was the first of two rivers Dave and I came to while driving.  Dave and I had driven for four hours when we got to this river.  We were about to turn around when two things happened:
  1. We saw a kid take a scooter accross it (although it was slightly up stream.)
  2. A French guy, and his rather attractive girlfriend drove accross it after some debate.
Dave and I were not about to be shown up by a guy on a vespa and a couple of Frenchies!

The deal was this:  Dave would drive and I would ford the river.  Now, walking into this knee deep water may not seem like much, but I took this picturte three hours earlier.  
Thinking back, I think I may have been on the losing end of this deal.


Scenario Number 2:  El Rio Mas Grande

Our first river crossing being so successful, Dave and I decided to up the ante.  This rio was doozie compared to the first one.  It is amazing how much more confident one gets after getting away with doing something relatively stupid once.  "We climbed Mt. Palomar, you want to do Everest next week?"

 A day earlier we stood on the bank of "El Rio Mas Pequeno" for a good thirty minutes before crossing (and it took a guy on a scooter and French couple to prove to us it was possible.)  That river was about 20 yards across and we could easily walk accross (assumming we were not eaten by a large reptile.)  This river was triple its size, much deeper, and with a fast current.  Although we were both too scared to ford it on foot first, we decided to put the Citroen (or whatever it was) in 4 wheel and charge.  "Ahhhhhhh goulet."  I could actually feel the current pushing the car down the river as I crossed.  If you look closely, you can see it too.  Awesome.




Scenario Number 3:  Heading Back to El Rio Mas Grande

About five minutes after our previous crossing we came to another river.  This one was impassable (given the size of our testicles.)  Unable to bring myself to do it, I decided if a few Imperials would do the trick; however, no matter how many beers I drank, the damn thing refused to shrink.  Dave did not drink- and remained the voice of reason.  Apparently our stupiditiy had a limit, and we had reached it.  Having not yet come down off my adrenaline high from the previous crossing I let Dave take the wheel for the second crossing.  I had tested my luck once with El Rio Mas Grande and I was not going to do it again.  Here is a clip of the chat we had on the way back to El Rio Mas Grande:



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

C-Walk, Fool

Sunday I got thinking about C-Walkin’- and once I get something on my mind…

What is C-Walkin’ you ask?

C-walk was originally short for Crip Walk (think Bloods/Crips.)

Wikipedia:

"Largely composed of nimble movements with the feet, the Crip Walk had a variety of purposes including recognition, showing love and loyalty to fellow Crip members, and making a loud statement to others that the walker is a member of the Crips. Another purpose of the walk was to insult rivals (most specifically the Bloods), in which they would spell out the name of their rivals and then cross it out."

They would walk out their rivals name’s and then cross it out?!?  That’s awesome.  I don’t know what I would do if someone spelled out my name with their feet, then crossed it out.  I might try to get their autograph or have them come to my birthday party and perform, but apparently, that would get me shot.

In any case, somewhere along the way the Crip Walk became known as the Clown Walk (much to the chagrin of the local Crips I am sure.)  Now, how a dance by a bunch of gun toting G's went from Crip Walk to Clown Walk has to be a story in itself.  My guess is it goes something like this:

A Crip member was moonlighting as a clown (hey, even a full time G has bills to pay.)  One night after a long gig at a Hollywood Bar Mitzvah, he stumbled upon members of a rival gang.  Forgetting he had white face paint, a blue afro wig, and a red horn nose- he began throwin’ his gang signs up and C-walkin' up and down the street- spelling out the rival gang members names, their momma’s names, their mamma’s mamma’s names, and their mamma’s mamma’s mamma’s names- and then crossing them all out.  All told, there were generations of mother’s names completely erased in one single walk.

It was a fine display of Crip Walkin’ indeed; however, all anyone noticed was thered horn nose, size 36 shoes, and the white mumu.  It was indeed a clown performing this momentous feat-  and from that point on the Crip Walk would forever be known as the Clown Walk (which must have really pissed Tookie off.)

Last Sunday I decided I wanted to see some C-Walkin’.   Not knowing any Crips, or clowns, I turned to YouTube.  Here is a little of what I saw during my four hours of intense research on the art form known as the C-Walk:

Viet Jr. Is the Most Unbelievable C-Walker (I think he is also a middle school Asian kid)

  

As my research continued, I noticed people use C-Walkin to express emotions- sometimes conflicting.

 I Love You C-Walk (don't be afraid to turn off after 30 seconds- this gets a bit much, plus we gotta keep it moving.)

 

 

You Broke My Heart and I hate you C-Walk (suspciously similar “I love you C-walk”- I think he just wanted to show Jenny what she was missing (and an excuse to C-Walk of course))

 

Pitching Products C-Walk (you should watch this one all the way through- sick- not sure about the two color shoes.)

 

 In the last vid you should have noticed the perfectly timed "dust-off"- a clutch move of any C-Walk.

 Dog Lover C-Walk (I just like the music)

 

 What did I learn from all this?  

Not much; however, as much walking as I do maybe I could use a little C-Walkin in my own life.  In fact, maybe we all could.  

So the next time you see me in the board room or strolling down Mission Blvd to get a four dollar lowfat latte don’t be surprised if you see me throw in the occasional heel/toe, v-transition, shuffle, gangsta hop, wiggle walk, or knee drop. 

 And you know I’ll be dustin’ them off…

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Testing My Cinematic Skills


Pardon the foul language. You gotta watch it all the way through.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mexico Drive

video

Driving South


The Mexican border is a short thirty minute drive my home, but by taking that 25 mile ride you can find yourself in a land as foreign as any.  To experience such a cultural change in other parts of the country requires an expensive plane ticket and countless hours of flights.  Here, a half tank of gas , and enough pocket money to bribe Federales, should the need arise, will suffice.

Driving south , one first hits the metropolis of San Diego: tall condos with windows which refelct the surrounding city; the bay in the distance spotted is with it's large navy ships- aircraft carriers primarily; planes flying low over the breathtaking skyline will touch down at Lindbergh Field moments later.  The weather is perfect and the sky is cloudless 99% of the time.   Windows are down and wind slaps the side of your head and neck.  Perfection.

Continuing south one can make out the magnificent Spanish architecture of Balboa Park to the west.  Stunning white stucco buildings housing expensive art and various museums.  

In less than two minutes downtown San Diego lays behind.  The view on both sides of the highway becomes more mundane.  The glamour and decadence of the areas further north disappears.  As the cars odometer reading increases the affluence of the surrounding land can be seen to decline.  Small white houses dot the land for as far as the eye can see.  Mexican markets can be seen from the highway.

The road continues.

A sign for outlet malls- The Gap, Nike, Brooks Brothers- then, the border.

There is little fanfare going through.  The 6 lane highway narrows to 4 lanes.  Suddenly a large concrete lane dividers funnel cars through a sort of checkpoint.  This structure is similiar in structure to a US tollbooth; however, it appears it was constructed with the leftover items from a Cold War Era construction project- function trumps form.  There are no stop signs.  No red lights.  This is Mexico.  The check point is always unmanned.  The Mexican's are not afaid of what Americans will bring into their country; the illegal trade, and therefore the paranoia, flows in the opposite dirction.  The only thing entering this country is American dollars.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dawn

Dawn

A single ray of light crests the distant mountain peaks.  The birds of the sea begin to sing and take flight in anticipation.  Somewhere near camp an animal stirs in the sand.  Second by second, minute by minute the warm rays of the sun permeate the land, ushering away the cold which had moved in during her absence.  The sky becomes an artist’s canvas with brush strokes of yellow, red, orange and blue dancing across it.  The sea below does its best to mirror the choreographed display above.   Animals, which had lay dormant through night, begin a parade of life.

As the cold retreats from the land, the warmth brings with it new life and hope; the dawn of a new day; a new adventure.  What secrets does this day hold?  What dreams will be realized?  What lovers found, and lost?   The dawn has unquestionable innocence and unlimited potential.  Like uncorrupted youth- there is the potential to do anything and go anywhere.  Today we will hit it big.  Today we will conquer our fears.  Today we will solve the problems of yesterday.    We will smile and laugh and be merry.  The slate is clean.  Our chance to realize our dreams is at hand.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Taking a stab at fiction.... kind of

“Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for arrival.”

The announcement woke Kaleb from his sleep.  It wasn’t hard to rouse him, he could rarely catch much sleep on flights.  He had dozed off somewhere after his departure from JFK.  It had been a long night. 

Fourteen hours earlier he had caught a redeye from San Diego to New York.  A brief stop in JFK afforded him enough time to grab a donut before hopping on his connection to the Caribbean.  It was an odd route to take, but the flight was free- well, to an extent.  It had been earned through a combination of about $10,000 in credit card purchases, and another $1,000 in airline tickets.  Nothing in life is free, but this was as close as one could get.

Raising the shade of his window seat the tropical sun pierced his dilated pupils.  Squinting through one eye all he saw was blue.    Various hues of the color could be seen all around-a combination of the cloudless sky meeting the unwavering dark blue of the sea.

As the plane descended further, this image remained the same.  The only noticeable difference was the addition of a few fishing boats which began to dot the horizon.  At about one thousand feet he began to wonder if they were going to land on an island, or the pilot had made a navigational mistake and was going to plunge the jet into the sea. 

As this thought entered his mind the sea below began to change.  The deep blue gradually gave way a light turquoise- indicative of shallower seas.  Even from a thousand feet up the water looked much more inviting than the water back home.  California’s coastal waters travel are born in the Arctic Circle, then travel South, before finally circling up from the Equator.  This water began its journey from the opposite direction- warmed from the equator before making its way North- and the difference in the disposition of these e two waters was recognizable even from his current altitude.

With this change in color came other noticeable differences in the sea.  First more fishing boats smattered the surface of the sea, then waves began to crest as the seafloor below rose from the depths.   Surfers could be seen paddling out to what in his mind could only be a perfect tropical point break.  and then- land.

The coastline was more jagged, and cliff lined than he had anticipated- but the familiar sight of palm trees and the lush green that pervades the tropics dominated the landscape.  Passing over the coast at only 500 feet, the plane would be landing within a minute.  The scene framed by his window was now changing at a rapid rate, as the plane hurtled over the land at just a few hundred feet.

 The ruralness of the area struck him. Vast expanses of open fields sprawled across the landscape.  Occasionally, a cow could be seen grazing.  At two hundred feet houses began to have a more prominent presence; however, this was no city.

 One hundred feet. Fifty.  Finally, touchdown.

“Ladies and gentleman welcome to San Juan, Puerto Rico.”  The announcement sends a round of applause up from the passengers- an occurrence that Kaleb had not recalled happening on any flight he had yet been.  He was unsure if everyone was cheering because they were thankful to have survived the flight, or because they were excited to be home.  He imagined it was a bit of both.  Kaleb too felt a desire to cheer.  He had arrived, and a small smile crept across his face.

 

From the time Kaleb first seriously thought of going to Puerto Rico, to the time he purchased the ticket was only forty eight hours.  While he was known for making spontaneous decisions, this one was stretch even for Kaleb.

“Well gentleman, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.  I hope that this presentation was informative and gave you a better idea of what our system can offer you.  We would love to get a test going of one of our applications to show you the many benefits it will offer.  Shall I follow up with you next week?”

Alone in his office, Kaleb was putting the finishing touches on what had been an hour long webinar, led by him, and attended by  higher ups  from various locations around the country.  He had given the pitch 1,000 times, and by this time he could recite it in his sleep- backwards.  He knew there would be promises to follow up, and everyone said how great the product was, and how excited they were about it.  There was a time too, when Kaleb too would become excited by this positive feedback; however, by this time it had lost its effect on him.  It was a routine, and the routine was stifling him.

As the call came to an end, and promises were made for future action, a small window popped up near above his icon tray; a notification of a new email to his personal account.  Typically Kaleb had made it a point to deactivate the feature during his conference calls, as his screen was viewable to those around the country to whom he presented and on more than one occasion he had been slightly embarrassed by the subject lines of emails sent from his college buddies, who for some reason always seemed to choose a lewd subject line.

A sense of relief swept over him when he realized this was not such an email.  The details given in the notification were minimal.  It read:

“From: awards@jetblue.com

Congratulations on from JetBlue on earning your recent award flight”

­­­­­After claiming his bags and ensuring his boards had safely made the treacherous journey through baggage handlers at three airports, Kaleb grabbed a coffee and went outside to await his ride.  He would be staying in Rincon, an area about 40 minutes away from the airport.  He had traveled 4,000 miles already, yet he knew the last 50 would be most trying.   Although a territory of the US, in his mind, Puerto Rico was as foreign to him as any place.  He had a firm enough grasp of Spanish to get around; however, attempting to find a taxi to take you forty minutes from the airport with two surfboards and luggage would be a struggle even back home. 

Kaleb had contacted the owner of the house he was staying, Koty, a few days prior to departure.  He was calling to inquire as to what the best way to get there was, and to find out the address for the cab driver.

 “We don’t have a street address.  A lot of places here don’t have addresses,” she had said simply.

Great.

Koty had said the 45 minute cab ride would cost about $45- the last 50 miles would also cost more than flying from 4,000 miles away.  With no address, she gave turn by turn directions from the airport, which Kaleb frantically jotted down in his notepad.  The idea of trying to relay this information to a cab driver in a non native tongue seemed daunting.

“Perdon me, senor.  You necesito ir a Rincon.  No se la dirrecion, pero es cerca de la panateria.”

“Pardon me, sir.  I need to go to Rincon.  I don’t know the address, but it is near the bakery.”

Thankfully, minutes after the call had ended, Koty called back.  A friend of hers had overheard the conversation.

“If you want, my friend Rody said he will pick you up from the airport for $30.”

Done and done.

And so Kaleb sat waiting for someone he never met to pick him up in another country.  Rody was apparently going to be in the area to surf that morning, and for that reason had offered to pick him up.  Kaleb was to call him the minute he landed- and Rody would then cruise over to the airport to grab him.  Things don’t always go as planned.

Leaning against the airport wall, with his board bag as a backrest, he finally began to soak it all in. He had made it.  What had started with an email for a free flight had turned into this:  thousands of miles from home, alone in a tropical land, with a week to relax, surf, snorkel and have an adventure- something that had been missing from his life for a time.  The trip would be rejuvenation for Koty.

“This is what it is all about,” he thought, “these are the moments that I live for.”

 It was a beautiful day.  The temperature was just about perfect in the shade where he sat.  It was not nearly as warm as he had anticipated, and he was grateful for that.  The weather reminded him a bit that of back home; however, there was slightly more humidity in the air.  He took this as a reassurance that he had arrived at his tropical destination.  A light breeze kept the humidity at bay.  Perfection.

 A sense of pride overtook him.  He had made it happen.  He was there.  The fact that Rody’s phone had gone directly to voicemail when he called did not even bother him.

“It will work out.  Don’t worry about it.  You’re here.”

Sitting alone with his thoughts, he decided to give Rody another call.  Again- directly to voicemail.

“Rody, it’s Kaleb, I just landed.  Give me a call when you get this at 540-232-0444.”

Five minutes turned to twenty which turned to forty.  Kaleb began to have his doubts of his ride.

“Oh, well,” he thought to himself.  “Guess I will just have to catch a cab.”

The cabbies standing outside the airport had badgered him when he first landed; however, Kaleb had told him that he had someone picking him up.  Since then they had stayed at bay, smoking their cigarettes, and drinking their coffee; talking about whatever the gossip of the day was. 

As if sensing Kaleb’s building doubt, one asked, in perfect English, “Are you sure you don’t need a ride?”

“No, I am okay thanks.”  But he knew within minutes he would likely be packing his stuff into the back of one of their vans and attempting to strap the surfboards to the roof- what’s more he feared that they would sense his desperation and $50 cab ride would turn into a $100 one.

Then, up pulled a green van.  The window rolled down, and a scruffy looking, thirty something Puerto Rican stuck his head out of the window.

“Are you Kaleb?”

“Sure am.  You must be Rody.”

“Yeah, bro.  Sorry I am late, my phone died.  Hop in.”

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Strange Picture



If a normal picture is worth a thousand words, this one must be worth ten thousand.

The picture was posted on nytimes.com.  Supposedly taken during during a clash of current Prime Minister supporters, and those demanding his resignation, I think it looks more like the scene from a Broadway musical. Are we looking at the Thai version of the Westside Story?  Are these the Jet's or the Sharks?  If we can agree that that is what we are looking at, then my next question is, where is Maria, or would it be Mae-Pia in this case?

Lastly, why does the gentleman in the foreground appear to have whiskers painted on his face?  "Cats: Thai Revolution" anyone?

I think the cocked spear in the background adds a nice touch in any case.

Slingshot- check
Spear- check
Bandannas- check
Crossbow- ohh don't tell me you guys forgot the crossbow!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why I surf


What is it about wave riding that attracts us to it and causes us to spend countless hours in the water? What draws us from our beds those winter mornings, wiping the sleep from our eyes, hours before others will be awake, minutes before the sun has risen, to brave the morning cold, and plunge ourselves into the ocean's frigid waters with the hope of catching just a few waves before we must take on our daily responsibilities? Why is it not possible to explain to someone who has never experienced the sudden feeling of exhilaration felt when the wave first takes you?

Surfing is a time to reflect and be alone with our thoughts. Even when the line-up is crowded, we can get a sense of being alone out there; paddling out puts everything else in our lives on hold. Cell phones do not work. There is no email that can be answered. In our modern world have placed ourselves at the mercy of technology, being forever available-- and being unavailable, straddling our board a hundred yards off the shore is one of the most relaxing feelings in the world. It is a sanctuary from the world which we, ironically, have created.

The rhythm of the ocean is used to recalibrate our internal clock, which is so often thrown off by the neon signs, television, and advertisements that overwhelm us on land. What really matters? Out there, those things that confuse on land do not have an effect. The rhythm of the ocean is incorruptible.

Man's relationship with the ocean spans more years than that with the land. Our ancestors crawled out of the sea millions of years ago, and for that reason, every time I return to the water, I feel as if I am returning home.