Monday, December 15, 2014

End Of Days... Last Wave, Last Ride, notes from the Rogue

"Colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold." -Charles Dickens    47F and no hood. 47th-48th Street. 12/14/2014
   Two of us. That's all there was occupying our lineup that extended about two blocks. Mid morning surf featuring knee to thigh high sets that occurred about once every ten minutes or so. Plenty of flatlines and drabs in between. Seemed like we kept a watch on each other to see who would say "f*#k this!" first. It's the middle of December and the end of a northeast blow that kept the central Right Coast agitated and unclean over the paste couple of weekends. A northwest offshore cleaned up the past week and yesterday morning was my first and last chance of the season. Found myself getting frustrated tryin' to ride somethin' outta nuthin.' Not a lot of power with high tide moving in. But once I settled in, and my hands numbed up, I was able to reel in a couple of decent backsides. Damn, it was cold. All I could do to focus on the horizon. Sitting for a bit through another flat spell I eyed a slow lurching swell; what was to be the last wave of the morning... soon to be the end of my surf days. Dropped down the short thigh high left break towards the jetty swinging the nose away from the jetty's piling at the last moment, my left side skeg gracing the underlying floor as I carved into a shallow bottom turn to finish, the sand robbing momentum. Last ride.
   Wrapping the leash around the board's tail, I was looking forward to that post session cup of joe. No hot anticipation of the cold rinsing to come. As I exited the surf I could not help but gaze back at the next set coming in. Seemingly getting bigger. Like a Siren; calling me back in. For the briefest moment I entertained the idea of paddling back out with the leash left coiled. Brit cold water surfer Gabe Davies got it right, "once you start surfing, you'll be lost forever." Still lost I suppose.
Bayside no more inviting.

Much needed D&D Joe...right now, the best season's greeting.

  Anchor Brewing of San Francisco puts out a yearly Christmas beer called Our Special Ale. Spiced and brewed differently every year, the 40th Anniversary edition was our offering last night. Pours a clear mahogany with a finger and half tan head. Slight lacing. Roughly 11 IBUs it is lightly hopped for a bitter, dry finish with a malt stringer filled with notes of ginger, cinnamon, tea, and plum. Flavors of toasted caramel, light bready coffee, and a hint of brown sugar. Yet the entire experience comes off light to medium bodied at 5.5% ABV. Two or three of these go down pretty easy. Easy drinking. A decent winter warmer. I rated this a B-.
The Giant Sequoia. Keeps it's youth far longer than
any of it's neighbors. Juvenile in every feature at
the age of old pines, "The Big Tree" is Nature's
forest masterpiece.                           -John Muir

"Surfers are generally a fearless lot, but when it comes to surfing with sharks,
a sighting can put fear into even the toughest surfer."    -Surfing With Sharks
Merry Christmas from "the Man in the Grey Suit."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Overcoming The Dark Days, notes from the Rogue.

In need of the Maytag repairman.  Castles at 37th. 12/7/2014

Feeling the season.  Castle in the Sand.

   It is the season of darkness.  The sun is gone by 5. Days maniacally shortened. Not enough sunlight to go around, especially considering the clouds and rain lately. Temps have been chilled, but not freezing. Water hanging in the low 50's. I was looking towards this past weekend anticipating my last "get wet" day of the year. So a Nor'easter blew into town pretty much stirring the Atlantic up into a churning mess. Not to be. Dark days to be sure. In church this weekend the sermon was about surviving the dark days of the season. The stress, the doubt, the money, the depression, the lack of surf. I suppose it gets to a lot of people. Myself, I feel the stress of needing to get shit done. The shopping, the decorating. Short work month, but the same sales and shipping requirements. I have a family genetic problem that plaques me... procrastination. And as I watch my kids grow and mature I have seen that same defect has been passed along. I'm attracted to it. Even my woman has it. Pile on the stress baby! But, the treatment is simple. And this treatment doesn't just help me to survive, it helps me to overcome. Friends. Family. Simple. This is a photo blog of Thanksgiving. Christmas should be a blast!


The Star...The Bro...The Bird
Thanksgiving Day, Smyrna, DE. 11/27/2014
Evo's Secret Spot, an Altbier perfect 
for the colder seasons' celebrations.
6.3% keeps the consumption down,
40IBUs makes for a crisp finish.

Zu Zu's petals, what's all the hub-bub Bub.

Yeah right, red suit, white beard...
Down the chimney? With Presents?

Not football, Foosball.

Proud uncle


OCMD Inlet, 11/28/014

Hibernation Ale.  Great Divide's take on
an English style Old Ale.  A rich malty 
warmer for the coldest days, and nights.
And the 8.7%ABV helps. A nice balance
of hops at 37 IBUs.

Brothers Watt

Gotta Love Thrashers Fries!

Family.  Boardwalk & Inlet. Ocean City, MD 11/28/2014

Mother's Birthday...80 years strong!
Adriana's Winterfest of Lights...
Northside Park,  OCMD 11/30/2014

A child's wonder.
Family overcomes...always!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kibbles 'n Bits, notes from the Rogue.

Assawoman Glass, 11/23/2014

   Every time I hit the beach now, the pictures reveal what my mind already knows. My season is coming to an end. Until next spring, and Spring is a ways away. Water is in the low fifties. I could feel it. Over last week, I could feel it. A few degrees difference makes all the difference.

"One, keep paddling. Second, don't see it as a sport. See it more like learning a martial art. It is holistic in its scope and effects, and it is a lifelong pursuit."    -Alex Dick-Read                47th-48th Street Jetty, 11/23/2014.

Another fairly windless eve. Good thing. Lessens the chill. Waves? If last week's were morsels, this week's were kibbles and bits. The knees highs were the larger sets. Not much to write home about, but as this was potentially the last surf I'd get in a while, I graciously rode every opportunity. More squeeze than carve considering the size. And my beach town itself? Pretty quiet, empty road night. The OC is in full off season, and decked out in Christmas. Lights, garland, ornaments. Enjoy it while I can. Hear tell it's gonna be a cold winter. Just as well... another front approaching.

   Two brews to take the chill off tonight, boys 'n girls. Local Burley Oak's Funkus Saisonus, a Wild Ale with low IBUs (19) and a mid level alcohol content (5.4%), but in a 750 ml. bottle. Nice. Aged in French Oak. Formulated with sour cherries and lemon verbena. A very refreshing post surf beer. Pours a hazy gold with little head. Aromas of cherries and lemon with a tart finish. Takes some getting used to. B rating.

    Next the thermogenic to ease the tingling in the fingers and toes. Global Warmer from the Brooklyn "Beer Beasts" themselves, Sixpoint Brewing. Outrageous hop character at 70 IBUs and the 7% ABV does the antifreeze work. An Imperial Red Ale (love those Imperials!), that pours a reddish amber with a solid off-white two finger head.  Plenty of lacing.  Citrus-Pine notes with tastes of mango and grapefruit. Rated an A-.
"Some say the world will end in fire, 
some say in ice. From what I've tasted of
desire I hold with those who favor fire."
                                     -Six P.
"Signs, signs everywhere signs." Ya can't escape it. Tis the season...

Route 50 Entrance, OCMD 11/23/2014

Boardwalk Tram Station, 11/23.

Division Street, 11/23.

OC Downtown, 11/23/2014.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chilled But Tasty, notes from the Rogue

Tasty morsels on a chilled evening.  47th Street, 11/16/2014

   I sat on my board taking in the quiet of the evening. The soft spray from the crash of mostly knee-high waves behind me filled the surrounding air with the scent of the Atlantic's salt. I was comfortable in my full suit. The boots kept my feet warm.  My hands, in gloves, were fine until the near end of the session when my fingertips started to tingle. I deal this time of year. Don't like the rubber, but I took three Ibupro's beforehand and that seemed to take care of any discomfort. Small, but calm night. Relaxing. Clean conditions. 58F in the water, 55F air temps. Caught a number of short rides, mostly fronts. Couple backs. Wiped on a few. Face-planted one. Swung into a couple near waist highs morsels that I could squeeze more than a few drops out of. Nice chunks of time that took the stress out of a long week. Bit of a clouded twilight. Watched a front moving in, the menacing dark blue-black skyline moving in from the north; a sharp contrast to the brighter grayish-white cloud cover to the south. Sign of the sub-freezing nights coming later this week. The water temps start to deteriorate snappy fast with colder nights. Holiday's are coming. Family's coming. My sessions are numbered. Next weekend? We'll see.
   The beer review is one from a couple of weeks ago.  A Chicago based brewery, Pig Minds Brewing in Machesney Park. A rather bold coffee based Imperial Stout. Joe Daddy. 100 lbs. brown sugar, 2 gallons of molasses, 5 lbs. Guatemalan joe. A real kick in the ass this one is.  The coffee hits you square, both in the nose and the mouth. Then you get roasty malts, subtle tastes of cocoa, and creamy texture.  Pours black...very opaque black, with a thick brown two finger head.  Heavy equally brown lacing clung to the sides of the glass. Not super sweet. Can taste and feeeeeel the 8.2% alcohol content. A warmer for sure. Enough hops at 25 IBUs to crisp up the finish. Lots going on... especially coffee. Just a little sticky. Rated an A-.
"I've only been in love with a beer bottle and a
mirror."                -Sid Vicious