Thursday, March 27, 2014

Downwind Paddle

Mike Randolph and I did our "Mom to Mom" paddle in 15 knots of wind and 2-3 foot choppy conditions.  Perfect for a downwinder.  Mom to Mom means we start at his mom's house on Miramar and finish at my mom's house on Padaro.  How disgustingly awesome is that?!  I brought my Go Pro to get a few shots.

The conditions were epic.  5.5 miles in an hour.  It rained at the end as we got blasted in the surf hitting the beach.  We jumped into my parents hot tub to warm up.  It's always a great experience hanging with the original "Phun Hog".

Monday, March 24, 2014


After taking the old Isuzu auxiliary engine out, after reducing the fuel capacity 200 gals, after taking all the oil soaked wood out, after removing old pipes and gallons of sludge, the boat is sitting high in the water.  Bruce Brammel gave me 1500 lbs. of lead.

I met him at his house and loaded it all into my truck.  I then trucked it by dolly to the slip where I scrubbed it clean.  I then shuttled it into the cabin and finally down into the bilge.  Alone.

Eighteen 75 lb. bars,  seven 50 lb. squares and one 95 lb. bar.  I basically had to put each one on my lap, scoot along the bilge and around pipes and pumps, and set them home where they will be for the rest of the boats history.

Luckily, I pre-medicated with Aleve before the back breaking work.  After, I soaked in the hot tub and took more Aleve.  That night I slept on my back with a pillow behind my knees.  I didn't need traction or a hospital, in fact, my back was better than most mornings.

I still need another ton of lead but it's better than it was.  Thanks Bruce!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crazy Idea

I had a crazy idea.  I acted on it.  Usually you need accomplices.  I got two right away.  It's on!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Unselfish Selfishness

Why have your kid participate in club sports?  Why put yourself through the worst financial and time drain you can put yourself through?  To have a son or daughter play in club sports is one of the most unselfish parenting choices you can make.

The slow slip into club volleyball is amazingly benign.  Emily was 9 or 10 and she had tried different sports or activities trying to find a passion.  She played soccer and was very good.  She danced and tried tennis.  Meanwhile, Taylor was in soccer and dance but found karate was a fit.  She took it all the way to black belt, 3 1/2 years of rigorous training schedules and bills.  All told it was over $7K.  It was worth every penny for 3 years of it.  The sensei's realized four cute 10 year olds were about to get their black belts and turned up the heat.  The dojo went from cute to intense overnight.  It broke her confidence a little at the end, but, she can now look back and see the accomplishment and take pride in it.  That's where it paid off.

Meanwhile, Emily started Blenders.  Blenders is a cute way to start the club scene painlessly and relatively cheap.  She was good and "coachable" so when she turned 11 it was time to think about the travel team.

Her 12 and under team had a rough start.  The head coaches father passed away and she left the city a month into the season.  The assistant coach tried to take the wheel but clearly didn't have a clue, which is why she was assistant coach.  The girls from Santa Barbara tried their best but healthy eating, 80 pound, 11 year old white girls can't compete with 175 lb. samoan girls past their puberty, in size 10 shoes.

The real sacrifice is laid squarely on the parents.  Winning and losing doesn't matter at this stage.  Like those crazy word math questions we all hated so much, it comes down to time, velocity and distance.  If Sally Parent leaves home at 4:20 in the afternoon, squarely enters rush hour traffic heading through Santa Barbara towards UCSB's Robertson Gym, pays the $4 parking fee and watches her daughter get horrible coaching twice a week, how pissed is she?!
(Answer:  Not very because she doesn't have a clue what good coaching is, yet.)

50 Minutes driving added to a 2 hour practice on a school night makes little Sally a tired student.  And here is the other sacrifice, hounding the poor kid to get homework done after school and before the "fun" of practice.  And I haven't even dropped the Anaheim bomb.  For travel volleyball you volunteer to spend a day every two weeks in an ear busting gym with thousands of like-minded lemmings.

At the end of the season you may be spending your vacation days and last pennies in 120 degree heat in Phoenix.  Yet another 4 days of the glory that is club volleyball.  All for what?  What does all this do for the betterment of you, your child or your family?

I say everything.  Let's look at your daughter.  She will meet other girls from different schools, girls just like herself and begin to see a bigger world than her little world.  She will learn sacrifice.  Sacrifice of time and energy and eventually her hip pointers.  She will learn what the word team means by playing a role towards a goal.  Volleyball is just the game where a lifestyle starts.  The beach enters the picture.  Summers are spent in the sand learning beach ball and competing in the sun.  That could be a life right there, and a good life.

The parents sacrifice money and time but gain a different avenue for communicating with their teen.  Hours in traffic will do that.  Kids also learn a little where you came from, like, "hey, I played college water polo, I know what it means to get yelled at by a coach".  You also get to watch your daughter struggle, sit on the bench, excel, win and lose.  Parents are front and center to their little world as they develop into young adults differently than if they just went to school, made funny vines and texted little nothings to the kids they just saw at school.

Only a few will win it all.  Only a few will go to the Olympics and win gold or even play on the world stage.  It truly is the journey in this endeavor that is the pay off.  I look at the parents in the bleachers ringing their hands hoping for a win, for another success and I smile.  I see a parent that is involved in their daughters passion and maturing.  I see utter caring for their little player to taste success.  All the 5am drives to Anaheim, all the evening practices and late dinners and early homework sessions are the journey for this little warrior person they are raising.  And those sacrifices give her the chance to gain in life.  They gain confidence to play hurt, get yelled at or score the winning point.

All the families locked into the lifestyle know.  Water polo, soccer, tennis, dance and even parents of fencers know.  The payoff isn't immediately obvious but I look for stories of other parents on the other side.  "Yeah, my daughter is going to her last swim meet this weekend.  The PAC-12 Championships then her college career will be over.  She is going to get her teaching credential, teach science and coach high school swimming in a year and a half".  Insane!

Their daughter started swimming at 10 and exited with a job, a career in swimming.  No, it's not brain surgery but I bet she could have done that, too, with all she learned about herself swimming all those yards, winning and losing and maturing with confidence.  That is the payoff for her parents, all those 5am practices before school, meets in Bakersfield and Las Vegas and now they see their daughter with a career choice.  They avoided drugs and pregnancy!  Success!

I have learned there are multitudes of ways to raise kids.  I like the pathway of team, sweat and healthy activities that lead to a healthy life.  If that means unselfishly driving for hours and paying for the privilege, OK, I'm in.  I am selfish in wanting that for my girls.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Delphinus delphis

1)  Emily has the stomach flu.
2)  Taylor had the pins removed from her fractured finger on friday and she has been sitting around the house for 2 days "recovering".
3)  We got the pleasure of having Devan over for the day while her family is busy doing other things.

 I took advantage of this scenario to get out of the house and took Taylor and Devan out on the extremely placid ocean for some Go Pro fun with the numerous common dolphin in our channel. Here are the results: (Click on them to see larger)


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Puzzle Pieces

My garage is like a puzzle. If you find the right pieces at the right time, add it to all the plywood I have sitting around in the carport, throw in the fuel tanks rotting in the yard, you could make an old boat. Junk yards are the same but for cars. Put all the right puzzle pieces together and you have a vintage car! Add a few 20 year olds with teen angst and instruments and you have a great song. Here is another great paddle song:

Monday, January 13, 2014