Tag Archives: Surfing

The Surfer’s Dilemma

Unwanted Attention

I was walking down the street the other day when something really strange happened to me. Something completely out of the blue that I would never have guessed in a million years. That seems to be happening to me a lot lately, strange things. I’m not sure if these kinds of things have always been happening, and I’m only now noticing because I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for various reasons, or maybe there has been some kind of shift in the way I project my reality out there, I’m not sure.

Nevertheless, I seem to be finding myself in more and more weird situations lately. I don’t know if this has ever happened to you. Sometimes you are on the other side of the glass, watching all this interesting stuff happen to other people, and you wonder, why doesn’t that happen to me? And the more you think that way the more you seem to notice it happening to everybody but you. But as soon as you forget about paying attention to what is going on with other people, and just kind of relax and go with the flow, suddenly you find yourself in a sea of weirdness that the most psychotic dream couldn’t produce.

Like once I was at the beach, and we were wondering if it was worth going through the trouble of putting on our wetsuits and getting into the water. It was one of those blown out days where you may get a couple of decent sets, but then again you may sit out there for a couple hours freezing to death. Then this guy goes running out into the water with his board, and no wetsuit. We are all little surprised because the water was no more than 63 degrees, and nobody can really last that long at that temperature without a wetsuit. So he goes plunging in, and as soon got out past the junk this awesome set came in. He took the second wave, and started off like a pro, and then just completely and utterly wiped out.

He was underwater for a long time, and few guys were making moves to jump in and pull him out. We didn’t know of any rocks or coral or anything, but you never now. You could see his board, and it seemed like his leash was still attached. Finally after what seemed like much to long a time to hold our breath, he stood up, completely wrapped in seaweed. Not just wrapped, but it looked some undersea creatures had taken the time to do some really intricate rope work on him. The way he was wrapped up in seaweed, there was no way he could have just crashed into it and ended up like that. When he first came out of the water, he was kind of bent over with his arms closely at his sides and his fists clenched. He was barely out of the water, and it didn’t look like he could draw a breath with all that seaweed wrapped around him.

Finally, with an obviously huge effort, he stood and raises his arms up, breaking the seaweed, and screaming at the top of his lungs for what seemed like a long time, but in likelihood was only a few seconds. He reached down, grabbed his leash and pulled his board in.

Then the spooky part happened. As he walked back up to the beach, he kept asking people “Did you see them? Did you see them? Longer than you think man, longer than you think,” with this really fearful look on his face. We could tell that he kept wanting to look back towards the water, but was afraid to. Every time he would begin to turn his face towards the ocean, his eyes would get really big, and then he’d look directly down at the sand in front of him, before continuing on to the parking.

The next morning, seven bodies washed up on the beach. They were people that had been on the missing persons list or months, even years. And none of them showed any sign of decomposition whatsoever. Like they all died of shock, and had been dropped off into the water right after death just off shore, at the precise timing so that they would immediatley wash up. All of their eyes were open, in what was anonymously reported in the paper as “The most fearful look I’ve ever seen.”

So as I was walking down the street, waiting for the next weird thing to happen to me, I checked my watch. It had stopped about an hour previous, or so I thought. I asked around what time it was, and everybody gave me a completely different time. I mean like hours apart completely different. I would ask one guy, and he would say it was 3:30, which didn’t make sense, since it felt like I had just left my apartment an hour ago, at 10:30 am. I was only about a ten-minute walk from the station, and I knew I had taken the 10:45 train. The next person I asked said it was 8 am. They must have realized I didn’t believe them, because they showed me their watch. The person after that told me it was six thirty, again, showing me their watch. Nobody was exchanging any glances, like they were in on some practical joke. I would just ask them the time like normal, they’d quickly answer without a second thought, and then go back to their business.

Then I felt a really strange sensation, like I was being watched. I turned around, and that same surfer guy that was caught in the seaweed was staring at me from across the square. He had the same frightful look on his face.

I walked, not sure why, not sure what I was going to say. He started speaking before I could think of a question.

“They’re still out there, you know,” he said, his eyes darting around.

“That was only the beginning.” He added. I had no idea how to even begin to respond, so I turned to walk away. And just then the huge clock tower, which I had never noticed before, struck twelve noon. And as it did, everybody froze in their tracks and turned to stare at me.

How To Build A Successful Business

The other day I was driving down the freeway, listening to the radio. Suddenly a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a long, one that reminded me of my university days. My friend that was riding with me was eating some bread that he had just picked up from a new bakery that was down the street from his apartment. It was one of those places that is trying really hard to establish itself, giving out free samples, trying to get as many customers as possible. He hadn’t planned on buying the bread, but couldn’t help it when he was drawn in by the aroma as he walked past.

The lady that runs the shop is particularly interesting. I think this was her fourth or fifth business that she has set up. All of her previous businesses were very profitable. What she does is she has an interesting way of identifying food-based niches in small neighborhoods. She figures out what kind of restaurant or food shop would likely be successful based on what other shops are already in the neighborhood, and have already been successful. Then she sets up a shop, generates a lot of loyal customers, and the turns the shop over to one of her assistants in kind of a franchise deal. Her assistant makes half the profits, and she takes half the profits.

She then goes to another neighborhood, and does the same thing. Other that go around and set up businesses based on what they like don’t do as well. For example if somebody only wanted to open up a hamburger shop, sometimes they’d be successful, other times they wouldn’t. Some neighborhoods have a real need for a hamburger shop, while others don’t. Because she is very flexible in her approach, and provides what the market demands, she always seems to make a lot of money.

I remember when I first moved into the dorms in college. We had a party, and snuck a keg of beer into the room. While we were drinking, a friend of mine started telling me about his philosophy professor. He was saying that those that are the most successful in life are the ones that figure out what they want, and then figure out how to mold reality around t heir desires. He said the most important thing is to look underneath want you want to find the underlying desires. Most things that people think they want are really based on an underlying desire, which can be applied to most anything. The mistake many make is trying to fit their surface wants into society, without focusing on their underlying desire.

If you can figure out what your base desire is, you’ll be surprised when you find that almost anything can satisfy it. Which is why we had the party in the first place. And as it turned out, my friend actually did have some left over bread that he could share with me, until we finally go to our destination.

I even remembered what that song was, so I could down load it from iTunes when I got home. I like it when stuff like that happens, don’t you?

The Hills Are Alive with Wave Energy

When I was a kid there was a new family that moved in. They had two young boys that were about the same age as me. Of course, being boys, the first thing we did when we saw each other was to start throwing rocks at each other. We didn’t actually hit each other, but it took a while for us to get over our imagined differences that you sometimes see when are doing things like this. After we started to play together, without wanting to kill each other, we started going to a park that was behind our neighborhood. It was an old park, I don’t if they city had given up on it, but they kind of let it get overgrown and stuff. It wasn’t really dangerous, there weren’t any poisonous snakes or patches of quicksand or anything like that, and it was just an old park that had a bunch of overgrown trees and stuff. It had large hill in the middle of it, but the hill was heavily populated with trees, so you couldn’t really ride your bike down the hill or anything, because you might crash into a bunch of trees if you weren’t careful.

I remember watching a surfing competition once, and there was a big pier in the middle of the contest. While it certainly wasn’t required, for insurance and legal purposes, to “shoot the pier,” that is to catch a wave on one side of the pier and ride it through the pier, without crashing into the pier itself, surfers who would venture through this would ooh and ahh the crowd. Of course, the judges weren’t’ allowed to give any extra points for this, because they might be held liable for any body that injured themselves. Sometimes it’s important to make sure the recognition you want to receive from something is the kind of recognition that wants you. It’s important to balance the recognition that pays your rent, and bread and butter that inspires you to greater things.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been surfing, but it’s an interesting study in how to harness a naturally occurring phenomenon. Waves have been around long before mankind ever showed up on earth, and will likely be around long after mankind has left. The waves don’t care if you are in a good mood, or if you just got fired from your job. They just keep coming in regardless, based solely on a few basic laws of physics and gravity.

It’s interesting the different ways that humans have used to harness naturally occurring phenomenon. Wind energy, solar energy, and recently ocean currents have been, and continue to be a valuable source for electricity. And no matter how many billions of people live on Earth, the wind and solar and ocean currents will remain unchanged. It’s amazing the things that have been around for millions of years, before humans were a gleam in a single cell bacteria’s eye, and will likely be here long after out demise, will continue to consistently behave in a predictable way. And when you consider how ancient people used these same resources, compared to how we use them today, you can only imagine the creative ways humans will be using them a few thousand years from now.

After the new kids and I went to the park a few times, we realized that the densely wooded hill would be a perfect place for playing wargames, like capture the flag, and laser tag, and paintball. Before, I had never considered doing something like that. Maybe it was because our first instinct was to throw rocks at each other, but using that area for much different kind of games proved to be a great way to create lasting friendships, and build teamwork skills. We spent many summers trying to think of creative ways to run around those woods trying to pretend to kill and sneak attack each other. It’s really amazing what you can do when you figure out how to use the resources that have been around you since before you took the time to notice them, now.

The Girl and the Physics Experiment

So I was at the beach last week with a friend of mine.  It was a beach with a strange wave phenomenom. The waves come in at an angle, and then they bounce off the jetty, and then remerge with themselves. Its kind of like an interference pattern in physics.  The cool part is that the beach comes up really fast under the water, and when the waves rejoin themselves, they double in size, and at the same time, they come up on a beach that gets really shallow, really quickly, so the waves are able to transform their energy to produce this instantly huge and rideable wave.  Most people there don’t surf with boards, rather, they body surf. Because the waves come up and crash onto sand so quickly, it’s too hard to bail out if you have too much junk tied around your ankle. And we were watching this one guy, bobbing around in the water, and it didn’t really look like he knew what he was doing. Suddenly a wave pulled him up, and it looked like he was going to be pitched onto the sand. I looked around to see if there were any ambulances on hand, as people have been known to break their necks here.

Then my friend starts telling about this guy that he knows. It seems he really likes this girl, but he just can’t get up the nerve to go and talk to her.  He said that whenever he sees her, he can think of good things that he wants to say, but when he gets close, he starts to imagine all the bad things that might happen, and those overpower the good things. In his mind, at least. So I say, “Well, next time you see this guy, why don’t you..” and then my friend interrupts me, and says that he hasn’t seen this guy in like two months. And I say “Oh, so he’s one of THOSE kinds of friends.” And my friend nods and says “Yea. Low maintenance.”

Like the kind of person that you can go for three or four years with out seeing this person, and then next time you happen to bump into them, you are able to instantly remember good times, like you just got off the phone, chatting and talking about remembering good experiences. And then when you see them, you can just pick up where you left off, and everything is cool. And my friend said, “yea, just like that.”  So I asked him if he knew or had met the girl, and he said he did, and I said “so is she cool?” And he said “Yea, she’s totally cool.” “So it’s all in his head?” “Yea, it’s all in his head.” And I suggested that maybe he should just relax. Because I’m sure you know that good things happen when you stay out of your own way.

So anyways, the guy takes off on the wave, and it instantly becomes clear that not only does the guy know what he’s doing, because he expertly barrel rolled himself out just at the right moment, but it turned out he was the guy we’d been talking about. And right after a great ride, he came up to his spot on the beach where his girlfriend, apparantly, was waiting. “Is that her?” “Wow, yea it is,” he said with a chuckle. He waved, she waved, then I waved. Then we went and got some tacos, which is another story.