Friday, October 30, 2009

Surfing In The Arctic



Just when I thought the water temperature was dropping here in Southern California I see this video. Yes, there is a breed of adventurer that will travel all over the globe to surf in remote places. If only that was my job. Well, except I am not sure I could surf in Norway. My blood is far too thin to handle that. My dream job would be somewhere much warmer.

At any rate, wish me luck tomorrow in my Halloween surfing contest! I will have pictures and a recap as well as the winner of my costume suggestion contest next week.

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And The Whining Commences



Okay, you can say there is no crying in baseball but I don't see Tom Hanks or a movie set anywhere so whine away I will.

This McCourt divorce thing has gone from annoying to absurd! Apparently the Mrs. traveled around Europe on "team business" with a subordinate and had an affair. Okay, as a fan that has been screaming for some real money to be put into the team I have to call BS. What the heck sort of team business is in Italy? It's great to know where my ticket money is going.

These owners disgusted me some time ago and this is the very first year that I can remember where I didn't buy any new Dodgers merchandise. Thank goodness! They don't freaking need any more of my money. In fact, since they are worth over a billion dollars, they don't need anyone's money.

They raised the price of parking to allegedly make it easier to leave the stadium. That didn't happen. They claimed that they were going to build neighborhood baseball fields instead of paying superstars. That didn't happen. Next, the big idea was to make a mall next to Chavez Ravine. Good thing that didn't happen - that was obviously a ploy to line their pockets more.

Now Jamie vows to get the funds to buy the team and Frank claims he's gonna keep the Dodgers. Great. These jerks are going to use a well-established, well-loved team as a negotiating chip in their freaking personal issues.

I understand that owning a team is a business and there are money-making decisions that have to be made that come with building the franchise. However, it has been abundantly clear from the start that the McCourts cared NOTHING about building anything but their bank account. They could have kept star players that they traded away or spent more on bringing some big bats. Instead, we get has-beens at the twilight of their careers. They took for granted that Chavez Ravine sells out game after game. If I was a conspiracy-theorist type I would ask if they are bitter since they failed to buy their hometown team in Boston.

I've asked before and I'll ask again - please just sell the team to new owners. Please get the heck out of my hometown - make that my entire home state and take your bickering back to the East Coast. Californians are sick of big-money, spoiled jackasses using our icons to satisfy their own selfish needs.

And yeah, that is how I really feel. Deal with it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - October 28, 2009




Surfing Reef
: In college I was involved in fish counts for artificial reefs. We went out to the locations that the material was dropped, put on scuba gear, and surveyed the biological diversity with the primary researcher. Many times the reefs were designed with the purpose of bringing back diversity to the marine ecosystem and then are a haven for fishing and scuba diving enthusiasts. In Bournemouth there is a new reef designed to make better waves for surfing. The Boscombe Surf Reef is not a beginner spot and has drawn mixed reactions. Only time will tell if this is a success but I wonder about how it will change the natural patterns of wildlife and beach erosion and what the long-term effects are. Here is a tourist video of the reef at low tide:



Every Surfer's Nightmare: Last week a 40-year surfing veteran was swept out by the current and lived to tell about it. John Baker of Texas survived 14 hours at sea by finding his way to an oil rig after dark.

We've got some pretty good winds in California today so I just thought I'd post this to remind all of my surfing buds to be careful. It's always good to know your limitations, surf near a lifeguard or at least let someone know where you are, and come in when you're good and beaten up.

Today's Info Came From: These tidbits came from the Surfrider newsletter SOUP. Sign up for this email newsletter on the Surfrider website and get stories like this and more.

Today In Sports History

1952 - Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins LPGA Women's Texas Golf Open

1997 - NBA announces hiring of Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer as first women to officiate a major-league all-male sports league

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Now What?



I got my "thank you fans" email from the Dodgers email list bot the other day. Yay. It had this link to "celebrate" the great season. Wow, great. Sure thing.

I am completely over celebrating NL West or division titles. Big whoop!

The owners are getting a divorce. I vote they sell the team and move back to the East Coast. I vote that Los Angeles natives with not only good business sense but an actual love for the team buy them. Here's your chance George Lopez.

Please, do something good Dodgers. Please stop me from writing another post that is whining or ranting about you.

Thanks!

Monday, October 26, 2009

5 Questions With Photo Ball Marker



PhotoBallMarker.com is owned by B&B Software, Inc., a small private corporation located in Eugene, Oregon. Through Cascade Technologies (ctsoft.com), B&B Software, Inc. provides contractual computer programming and consulting services to local companies in the area. Though domain names like PhotoBallMarker.com, the company provides their own web services and products. Ken and Charlotte Barley are the sole stock holders of the company. Ken was kind enough to take a moment and be a guest for 5 questions.

1. How did Photo Ball Marker get started? What was it that you initially set out to do and how has that changed (if it has)?

Like many avid golfers in Eugene, Oregon we spend a lot of time wandering and shopping at Fiddler's Green, a famous golf shop just outside of town.

During one of our visits in June 2008, Charlotte and I were making our latest and greatest golf purchases, when I pointed to the display of ball markers and mentioned that it would be cool to have photo ball markers. Char normally shakes off my ideas for products I think are cool but this time she surprised me with her response. She thought it would be a very good product for golfers and make for a wonderful golfing gift.

We checked on the internet and found a few sites offering photo ball markers but not the type of product or website experience we envisioned. We strive to create a quality and long lasting ball marker and combine it with a nice website experience.

We worked hard over the summer perfecting our photo ball markers and building a website that is easy and fun to use.

We set out to create a cool niche golf product. Something unique, fun and simple. That's why the Three Photo Marker Set was the only option for most of the first year. It's very easy and quick for anybody to build a Set of Photo Ball Markers using this option. We envision PhotoBallMarker.com as being our retirement project, something we do in the mornings and then go golfing in the afternoon and watch the sunset, or if it's winter here, listen to the rain in the evenings. The direction we are going is seriously suggesting it will turn into something bigger than that, and that is fine also.

Our original vision for Photo Ball Markers hasn't changed but it is evolving. We've added the Build Your Own Set, which allows our users to build larger custom orders for Photo Ball Markers. Last Spring, Char made a customized team set of Photo Ball Markers for the Springfield Miller's Boys Golf Team (she is the head coach). Each Photo Ball Marker was customized with the player's name on it. The response from the players was amazing. We also, did a team set for Thurston High School. We have now have added this option to PhotoBallMarker.com and will start promoting the new team option after Christmas. We also are looking to do the same with group and business sets. We've done some logos and they have turned out very nice. Small businesses, golf groups, and tournaments will really like these.

2. Are you guys big golfers? How often do you get out and how's your game? You must have about 600 of your own markers or so?

Charlotte does have a significant set of Photo Ball Markers. She put a magnetic strip down the side of our refrigerator door, and has her personal collection of Photo Ball Markers hanging on the magnetic strip. But, she is third on the list of Most Photo Ball Markers. Two people in our family of users have more Photo Ball Markers than she does. That's cool...

Were avid golfers not big golfers (smile). I'm more of a wide golfer rather than a big golfer, but my kids would agree with the big part. But, I have been jogging and counting calories so I am trying to get less wide. It's working, I'm slowly getting less wide. Charlotte is a tall golfer, not a big golfer at all. She is in very good shape and is a very good athlete. Golfing is our major recreational activity. Were members at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Oregon and that's where you can find us when were not at home. Charlotte is a past president and is serving again on the Board of Directors.

My handicap hangs around 12-13, like to get it under 10, just like everybody else in that handicap range. Our boys, not boys anymore, two in college Kelly and Kyle (University of Oregon) and one graduated, Chris (living in Las Vegas), are all very good players. They are 2-5 handicappers but claim they are better than that. We have pictures of them on the PhotoBallMarker.com site.

But Char is the best player. She carries a handicap that ranges between 7-10. Two years ago she missed going to the U.S. Open Women's Senior Amateur by one stroke. It's a goal of hers to play in that tournament, and she has come very close to accomplishing it the last two years. We go on a vacation every year to have her play in a qualifier, it's great fun. Been to northern California and Colorado. Looking to visit southern California or maybe Arizona next year. A little serious golf and a whole lot of less serious running around and enjoying the sites.

3. Who are your favorite golfers to watch in the PGA and LPGA? Which events do you enjoy the most in pro (or amateur) golf?

Tiger Woods is amazing to watch. But, not when he plays good, it's when he struggles he is the most fun to watch. When he is on he just blows the field away and it gets boring. But, when he is off a little and really having to compete he is at his best. His ability to just will his way into contention is amazing. Phil Mickelson is Char's favorite. He tries so hard to reach Tiger's level but Tiger's level remains just out of reach. The LPGA seems so lost without Annika Sorestam, they have a lot of terrific young players but without Annika the young players are missing that legend to beat. So they just beat each other and nobody really becomes the next super star. Annika needs to come out of retirement, if not for herself, for the LPGA. In Oregon, we don't get any PGA events and only one Senior and one LPGA event. We've gone to a few of the events live, but we rather play than watch. Like everybody, we like the major championships and the Ryder Cup and President's Cup. The Solheim Cup was also very fun to watch this year, Michelle Wie and Juli Inkster made it interesting.

4. Will you be expanding the Photo Ball Marker technology to other accessories? What about those little numbers on head covers or something like that?

We've been thinking about larger poker size Photo Ball Markers. That's something we will probably add in the future. Your head cover idea would be cool. We could have headcovers with magnets in them and then a big Photo Ball Marker on top of each head cover. You get the head covers and we'll create the Photo Ball Markers. Speaking of head covers, Charlotte made a really cool Photo Ball Marker for one of her head covers.

She has this Odie Head Cover and so she takes a picture of her head cover and makes a Photo Ball Marker out of it. She then puts a hat clip on Odie's floppy ear and puts Odie's Photo Ball Marker on his hat clip. So, Odie has his own Photo Ball Marker. It's so cool. Char uses that one when she needs to mark another players ball.

5. What else can we expect from PBM in the future?

Were just going to keep having fun doing this. "The Twitter Girls of Photo Ball Marker" is one example. It's just a fun way to promote Photo Ball Markers and some terrific Golf Blogs, like yours. The people we meet have been amazing. We enjoy seeing and working with their special photos. We also enjoy the stories behind some of the Photo Ball Markers. Our Comments Page is amazing. It's filled with a wide range of comments and stories. I think our Comment Page does a terrific job of saying what Photo Ball Marker is all about and what we want to be. I talk about that page on Twitter all the time, because those comments are who we are and who we want to be.

Photo Ball Marker is a special product for this reason. Our users create their set of Photo Ball Markers and have an expectation as to how they are going to look. With each order we send a confirmation showing exactly what they are going to look like. But, when their order arrives in the mail and they open it up for the very first time and see their Photo Ball Markers they are amazed and a little surprise. They turn out better than they imagined. I call that the "Charlotte Magic" and I don't know how she does it either. This is a very special thing about Photo Ball Markers and the opposite of how most things work in this world! It's what makes our product very special, and we are very very proud of that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Surfing Cracks Me Up



I was talking about surfing with a friend of mine yesterday (actually, I use that term "friend" loosely). This person has lived here about two years and is one of those that thinks they are telling me new, exciting things to do in my hometown all the time. They never stop to think that I probably already have done it or know about since I grew up here and all. Anyhow, that is a different rant.

So back on track - this person made me realize how much surfing really cracks me up.

When I was a kid the "locals only" theme was quite prevalent. I mean bad. I watched people do some really stupid things over the years. I'll spare you the gory details.

Lately, it seems like worrying about what everyone else thinks is the really big deal. Some are quite concerned with using the correct lingo and others are freaked out about having the right brand of wetsuit. The person that I was referring to earlier is one of these that worry about both and much more. They try very hard to look the part, say the right thing, surf the right break, etc.

Other sports are no different. For example, golf is notoriously "clicky" and affected as well. Don't scowl, you know it is. You surfers know that surfing is too. Go ahead - flame, hate, whatever. You know I'm right.

What's the point today? I guess I don't really have one. I was simply observing how, if you let it, attitudes of those that participate in your favorite activities can bring you down. Down let them.

It's all pretty funny to me. On the course or in the water - I really don't give a rat's rear what you think of me or how I look. I've never needed to make sure I have all the right equipment or gear to fit in.

Relax, surfing is supposed to be fun. So is golf.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Major Rant Here - Just A Small One



Congratulations Phillies fans!
Off to the World Series again!

I could rant and rave and answer all of that crap I've heard all night about Los Angeles. You know, all that stereotype garbage that transplants and baseball fans in other cities like to spout off? I'm not going to do that.

It occurred to me - why bother? You've made up your mind. You should just go with it!

I mean seriously, there is a completely different world when you are born and raised here. First off, 85% of the people surrounding you are too.

We aren't star gazing, trying to be discovered, getting surgery, spending our last dollar on a knock-off Prada bag, being seen where there is a scene, or trying to "dress the part".

If I know you I just might take you to that surfing or hiking spot that you would only know about if you grew up here. One day I just might share the route I take to Chavez Ravine or Staples that makes it easier.

Then again I might not.

I'll only offer this grouchy statement - if you hate us, please leave. I won't come live in your hometown and complain about how awful it is and how mine is better. I know mine is better for me.

That's why I'll never leave.

I love LA!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - October 21, 2009



Another Contest, Just From Somewhere Else: I was sent the link to today's video with a website and some information about a new contest. The whole thing is promoting LASIK for those of us who participate in water sports. Watch the video and go to the website to learn how you can win prizes valued up to $5,000.

Here's some copy from the source:

It’s no secret that many of our beaches/lakes/rivers are polluted. What many people don’t know is that soft contact lenses absorb this polluted water. As if that weren’t enough to make you think about getting your eyes fixed, did you know that using contact lenses in water causes them to stick to an eye’s cornea for up to 30 minutes and if someone tries to remove them before they loosen up, damage or infection could occur.

Out in the woods, whether hiking, biking or camping, we all know that the trails are far from a sterile environment. That being said, if you do wear contacts, you need to be extra careful to keep make sure your hands a clean before you touch your lenses, especially on overnight trips. Bringing solution or spare glasses can add unwanted bulk, but that’s better than getting an infection or not being able to see because your primary set of glasses broke while mountain biking!

A big misconception with LASIK is that there's a ton of downtime and the procedure hurts. In reality, LASIK is virtually pain free and uses lasers, not blades, to help correct your vision. Downtime is only about one to three days, depending on what it is you want to do.


Visit This Press Release: Click here to read about the Southern California Breakers tryout dates. Spread the link around to your friends and ask them to click it as well. The more clicks, the more chance the information gets picked up by larger news sources.

Don't Forget My Contest:
Remember to enter my silly contest. You have until this Friday, October 23.


Today In Sports History

1979 - Ozzie Newsome begins NFL streak of 150 consecutive game receptions.

Happy Birthday
to Willis McGahee and Whitey Ford

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Tuesday Blogspotting



Today's video is from an upcoming surf flick that looks ultra cool. Why do I have to go in to the office today...I need to retire so I can just surf and golf. Oh and look at how cool this surfboard is that I saw the other day. Nice.

Speaking of cool, check out these irons. If only Fourteen had readily available lefty clubs. Speaking of cool clubs, I REALLY WANT this putter (in lefty, of course). Yes, I have an addiction to collecting golf clubs and surfboards. It could be worse.

Oh yeah, just what is up with Tiger Woods and appearance money?

Hockey season is upon us and our pal Casey is about the Penguins for KDKA, the Pittsburgh CW affiliate. Cool!

Oh and back to the water - have you ever surfed at night? I found an interesting story about such an adventure.

Don't forget to enter the latest WLS contest here: I'm having a contest to help me with a contest. Just click this link and leave me a comment about what costume you think I should wear for the Halloween surfing contest that I'm entering.

Monday, October 19, 2009

5 Questions Football Reruns



It is getting to be that time where IWFL and WFA teams are starting up team tryouts for the next season. The Southern California Breakers recently announced their tryout schedule as have many others around the country.

An excellent source for information about women's football is the Women's Football Talk website and radio show.

For those of you that aren't new around here you know that I have covered the Southern California Breakers for the last two seasons. Here's a rerun of some of the interviews I've done with the team:

5 More Questions About The Southern California Breakers

5 Questions With A Professional Football Lineman

5 Questions With A Kicker

5 Questions With Ocho Cinco

5 Questions With A Running Back

If you've never been to an IWFL or WFA game you really should go. Tickets are very affordable and you get to watch elite athletes playing full-contact, NFL-style football. The games are a family affair and there are usually young boys and girls throwing a ball around outside of the field to emulate the teams. The players are more accessible and very appreciative of all of the fans. Here in SoCal there are raffles, giveaways, and other outside events with the teams.

Check the IWFL and WFA websites for a team near you and get out to support your local athletes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ski Resorts Open This Weekend



I heard a rumor that Mammoth Mountain opens this weekend, one of the earliest open dates in quite some time. Everyone is dusting off their snowboards and getting ready to head up tomorrow.

As for me, I'll still be surfing so that I am in top form for the "competition" that I'm entering at the end of the month.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Dribbling The Squid - A Contest To Help Me With A Contest



No Dribbling The Squid is a new book by Michael J. Rosen with Ben Kassoy that covers a wide variety sports. Not everyday sports like football and baseball, but more fun stuff like shin kicking, swamp soccer, and underwater football. Oh yeah, and don't forget "The Devil's Jump" - basically baby jumping. Have you ever wondered what some of the most eccentric sports around the world are? Wonder no more. You'll be at least curious to turn the page to see what you never imagined being called a sport. Seriously, cheese rolling? I had a blast reading through this and reading about all 70 of these interesting pastimes.

This 240 page book is packed with plenty of full color pictures for your viewing pleasure. Pick it up at Amazon or become a fan on Facebook.

How would you like to win your own copy of the book? All you have to do is help me with a contest I'm entering.

On Halloween, I'm entering a costumed surfing contest. Yeah, we surf in costume. I have a lot of ideas but I am looking for that one idea that will knock the judges' socks off. What should I wear? Keep this in mind:

1. It has to fit over my wetsuit
2. I have to be able to move around - paddle, dive, surf, etc.
3. It can't have pieces of it falling off into the ocean
4. Makeup or dyed things won't work
5. Although it would be fun to be a golfer or something, additional things that I have to carry are probably not going to work
6. Please keep it reasonably clean, sillies

Just leave me a comment and tell me what you think I should be. It has to fit in the guidelines above. The best idea (whether I actually wear it or not) wins a copy of No Dribbling The Squid.

Disclaimer: Yes, the publisher sent me two copies of this book at no charge. One is for me and the other to give away to the winner of this contest. I do, however, have to pony up the cost of shipping the book to the winner so I will limit the geography to the continental US. The contest ends on Friday, October 23 2009 and the winner will be notified by email.



Okay, what should I wear to the Halloween surfing contest?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - October 14, 2009



Yes, It Does:
For those of you in parts of the world that have inclement weather you'll be happy to know that we are right there with you. I know misery loves company so I figured I would share. Although it is still over sixty degrees here and I'm sure we'll be back to the 70s and sunny in the next week or so.

Help An Athlete Out: Women's football camps are starting up and I came across an athlete yesterday that needs a hand to participate. Check out Wendi's blog and her quest for donations to attend camp and take her game to the next level. If you are able, why not shoot her a donation?

Remember, women's football is one of those sports that the athletes must pay to play. This is the case for many professional minor league sports. Those of us who shell out money for our favorite pastimes can relate.

SO EXCITED:
Seriously, I can hardly contain myself about the NLCS. The Dodgers are on fire and I am cautiously optimistic. Heck, after what I saw in game two I am nearly convinced. Who wouldn't be after seeing their team come back in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs? I'm still buzzing about it!

Oh, and let me just take a moment to be nasty and spiteful about one thing - all of you Philly transplants that so conveniently "scored tickets" to MY hometown team stadium to root for your team can bite me. You're the posers that wear Dodgers jerseys during the regular season and come late, leave early, and call that the Los Angeles culture. *clueless*

Whew, that was nasty...now back to a less sarcastic, gentler me...

Today In Sports History

1979 - NHL's greatest scorer Wayne Gretzky scores his first NHL goal

1986 - IOC decides to stagger Winter and Summer Olympic schedule

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Housekeeping



*CONTEST UPDATE* Yes, the HEAD contest is over. Yes, there are three winners. I am figuring out the details and will contact you soon if you have won. I promise.

It's That Time Again:
Tryouts for the Southern California Breakers IWFL team start this weekend. If you want more information visit the Breakers website or email them at info(at)socalbreakersfootball(dot)com.

Walk Around The World: Fitness Magazine wants to see if we can walk around the world:

"The idea is for participants to log every mile he or she walks, record the number on the Fitness.com website, and hopefully, all participants’ cumulative miles will reach the target of 24,901 (the circumference of the earth) within 31 days."

Are you in?

*Fitness Magazine sent me this information to post but did not pay me to do so. They did say they would link to my site, an arrangement we've had for other posts in the past.*

Get Crackin': I received word of another interesting campaign and contest that I thought I'd pass along to you. This information landed in my inbox and I have not been paid anything to post it. It came to me from the new Get Crackin' pistachio campaign:

“Get Crackin,’” the first-ever TV campaign for pistachios, features eight celebrities demonstrating how they crack open a pistachio, each in their own humorous, unique way.

Featured celebrities include Miss South Carolina beauty pageant contestant and YouTube sensation Lauren Caitlin Upton; America’s Next Top Model beauty Adrianne Curry and Brady Bunch alum husband Christopher Knight; Jackass prankster Wee-Man; The Sopranos gangster Vincent Pastore; the Denny quintuplets; a real-life dominatrix; father of Sarah Palin’s grandchild, Levi Johnston; and Olympic swimmer and record-setting medalist Dara Torres.

The campaign supports a YouTube video contest challenging aspiring film makers to create a video showing how they “Get Crackin.’” The winner’s ad will air on national TV and also earn them $25K – a pretty wonderful deal.

We hope you’ll check out the new ads and contest online.

Monday, October 12, 2009

5 Questions About Surfing With Sharks



Have you ever been surfing? Guess what - there have been sharks near you. I had some interesting experiences with fellow water lovers over the weekend and was inspired to write this interview with the surfer/diver that I know the best. Me.

1. Really, there are sharks in the water where people surf?


Um, yeah…people surf in the ocean. Sharks live there. It is their “house” or “neighborhood” if you will. I’ve seen them myself many times over the years in various sizes and types. In fact, if you spend enough time in the water you will likely see one or more just as you will see seabirds, fish, seals, and dolphin.

Oh, and just because seals and dolphins are cute they’ll still bite you. Seriously. Don’t be an idiot and try to swim with wild animals. If a pod of dolphin swim by and you jump in and there just so happens to be a juvenile with them – guess who just might get attacked? As a human, you would protect your children from unfamiliar creatures, wouldn’t you? So do dolphin mothers. Oh, and those stories about dolphin protecting people from sharks…sure, people claim the stories true and you’ll even find them in the news but I wouldn’t bet on it if I were you. What interest does the dolphin have in you? Use your head. Also, seals are nasty little buggers that will bite your hands and feet. Stay away from them.

2. You mean you’ve seen big sharks in the water?

Yeah, and more than once and in every body of water I have ever been near. I’ve seen hammerheads, nurse sharks, and a variety of others in Florida. I’ve seen white, sand, and thresher sharks here in California to name a few. I’m not sure if the hammerhead or the white shark I saw was bigger. I didn’t try to get too close to either to see just exactly how big they were. Trust me; they were big enough (and quite breathtakingly beautiful).

3. Don’t sharks attack people in the water?

Jaws did a great job of scaring everyone back in the 70s and the legacy lives today. First off, many of surf spots in SoCal that I frequent are not deep enough to have a big shark come in where the surfers are. A really big shark can’t really move around in less than 10-15 feet of water and that is even a stretch more times than not. They don’t like their fins or tails sticking out of the water for the most part in spite of what you see in the movies.

Where the breaching shark was spotted at Sunset last week was much farther out than where surfers generally are and about 30 or so feet deep. Many of the sightings of bigger animals are on the other sides of the buoys from surfers, where this was.

Oh, and if there are seals, you can bet the sharks want to eat them and not you. That is their “regular” diet. When I see a few seals around I always wonder if I will see a shark. I’m a bit superstitious about surfing during what I call “feeding time” also – you won’t find me in the water at dawn or dusk.

4. How come there is so much media coverage about sharks in the water?


It gets viewers.

5. What if I go surfing and the guys in the water tell me they saw a shark?

Well, they’re still in the water, aren’t they? Usually it is just some jerk’s ploy to try to get you to leave so they have more waves for themselves. For example, here is a conversation I had in the water this weekend just after I paddled out:

Dude: I don’t want to scare you but we think we saw a shark breach where that guy is snorkeling by the buoy out there about an hour ago.

Me: Interesting, I guess it didn’t want to eat the snorkeler and he would be such an easy target.

Dude: It looked pretty big

Me: So did it jump out at an angle like on its side? (I asked this since dolphins and sharks have very distinct swimming and breaching patterns and it is unmistakable which is which by these behaviors and by the shape of the fin.)

Dude: Um, yeah it was a shark.

Me: (lying) I saw a couple of smaller sharks right here where we are last week.

Dude: Some guys in Malibu were pulling up little sand sharks.

Me: That is probably what I saw. I saw a really big shark up at Zuma a few weeks ago but I couldn’t tell what it was (lying again).

Dude: Yeah, they’re out there.

Me: The thing is…I don’t have to out swim the shark…I just have to out swim you and make it to shore first.

Dude: … (paddling away from the girl that isn’t afraid of shark talk)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thank You Dodgers - Now Finish 'Em



Dear Los Angeles Dodgers,

Thank you so much for the epic win yesterday. As I stood there in the Loge level in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs I thought it was over. I had been there so many times before. Sure enough, a pop fly was headed right over to Matt Holliday. Ugh. He was the one who scored the first run for the Cards. Darn it.

But wait! HE DROPPED IT! Are you kidding? He freaking dropped it!

The rest is a blur. I'm on my feet with several thousand of my fellow Dodgers fans. We are freaking out. My hands are starting to sting from clapping so much.

Next thing I know the score is tied, wait...the bases are loaded...oh WOW...what the...

DODGERS WIN!!

I'm high-fiving and hugging complete strangers. The roar is deafening. I can hardly breathe but it is a good thing. Finally, we hear Randy Newman...

I walk to the exit and the high-fives, hugs, and camaraderie continue all the way to the car.

I live for moments like this.

Thank you.

Now let's close it out. I'm starting to believe the team can take it all the way!

GO BLUE!

Sincerely,
A Less Cynical, Lifelong Fan

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dear Los Angeles Dodgers...



Dear Los Angeles Dodgers,

I am writing to you today to ask...no...beg and plead with you. Los Angeles needs a World Series win. We've had the "Dodger Blues" for so long that that we are numb to the years that pass by in disappointment. Please end our misery.

As a Los Angeles native, some of my happiest childhood memories are listening to Vin Scully call the games. Somewhere there would be a television on and you would hear that distinct voice giving odd anecdotes about each player as he went to bat. Players stayed with teams longer then and you'd become so familiar with them it would be as if they were your family members. It was like Uncle Vin, Uncle Tommy, and the boys. If you couldn't go see them at the Ravine they were in your living room.

It's very nice to have Vin and Tommy hanging around today. I know they aren't getting any younger though and shudder to think of a Dodgers organization without their presence.

These gems won't be around forever so I implore you - win this year. Win for Vin & Tommy, for Los Angeles, and for ME DARN IT. Well, by ME I mean the fans. All of us. We deserve it. I wanna go to the parade downtown.

Sincerely,
A Lifelong Fan

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - October 7, 2009



In Case You Didn't Know: The FTC is cracking down on bloggers and others that receive promotional items. Bloggers, like magazine journalists and others, receive items from companies to review at no charge from time to time. A new (or even existing) product/book/etc. will come out and send review items to various sources to generate buzz. Just because someone sends something out, it does not guarantee a good review. The FTC wants everyone to be clear that they received said item for review at no charge. So there is no confusion - many of the products and books that I review have been sent to me free of charge. I've been sent books, movies, golf accessories, shirts, key chains, and probably a few other items that I can't think of right now. My reviews are always straight up and I don't think I needlessly fawn all over anything. Every so often I mention products, services, stores, courses, and others that I paid for myself. Just to keep everyone happy and in the know, I'll make sure that I clearly distinguish between these things in future posts. In addition, I will author some blanket fine print that will appear on this front page.

Almost Over:
You only have until Friday to enter the Andy Murray contest. Since it takes a minute to generate your entry I haven't received as many as I normally do so your chances of winning are very good! You could win a cool new racket, bag, or wristbands. Enter now!

Oh, and in the interest of clarity - the company has not sent me any merchandise nor have they paid me to run this contest. They will also be sending the prizes directly to the winners.

Today In Sports History

1988 - Lou Piniella is fired as manager of Yankees for second time

1992 - Tampa Bay Lightning become first NHL expansion team to win opener (7-2)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Andy Murray's Head Radical Messenger Contest



Hey all - don't forget to enter to win some tennis prizes from HEAD and Andy Murray. I first posted about this last week and you've all been slow to respond. It is a bit different since you have to go put your email information in another site but it is simple:

All you have to do to enter go to this website, follow the on screen instructions and ’shoot a message’ to my email address:

sportswriterchick(at)gmail(dot)com

with the answer to the following question..

What is Andy Murray’s current world ranking?

Three correct entries drawn out at random will win either a Microgel Raptor OS Racquet, a HEAD Radical backpack, or a HEAD limited edition wrist band.

You do need to be patient and wait for the animation to guide you through. It only takes about a minute. Send a message to yourself or someone else to see how it works. When done right, there is a link to open with a virtual screen that has a virtual tennis ball smash it with the message.

Hurry - you only have until Friday, October 9.



P.S. The company has not sent me any of the merchandise nor have they paid me anything for this contest. I will send the information of the three winners to them and the prizes are shipping directly from Germany.

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 Questions With A Surf Forecaster



Today's guest is someone I follow rather closely as he directly impacts much of my weekend morning planning. As a total ocean sciences geek myself I'm quite fond of how much detail I can get from him. Well, here - I'll let him introduce himself and answer the questions:

Adam Wright – Professional Surf Forecaster

I have been a professional meteorologist and surf forecaster since 1999 and have worked for many of the popular surf sites over the course of my career. Currently I am forecasting for my own website, Socalsurf.com, which is focused on providing easy-to-understand, and hopefully entertaining, surf forecasts for the Southern California region.

On the personal side I grew up in Orange County, went to school in Northern California (Humboldt State) for a number of years, and now I am back in Huntington Beach with my wife, 2 boys, and our bullmastiff puppy (which is sort of like having another kid who listens better, well sometimes listens better).

1. How did you first get involved in surf forecasting? What was it that interested you in doing this?


When you boil it down…and this might sound a bit cheesy…but what really got me interested in forecasting was that I just wanted to find good waves.

I lived just far enough from the coast that it took me about the same amount of driving time to hit 3 or 4 different Orange County surf areas...all of which had different swell windows and could handle the wind in different ways. My house was also just far enough that it was pretty frustrating to get all the way to the beach and find it flat or blown out…and then hear later from a buddy that it was firing somewhere else. (No one had cell phones when I was first driving…they did exist though…I am not that old…but you couldn’t get a text-message from your friend telling you that it was going off, you always heard it after the fact.). So I started listening to the lifeguard phone reports, watching the weather segments on the news, calling the surf shops and hassling them for updates. I just started to soak it up…picking up the basic theories of weather and how it created surf along the way.

I loved surfing and the ocean so much that I wanted to keep learning about it…eventually taking a lot of oceanography, meteorology, physical geography classes in college…and graduating with a degree in Geography. Along the way I managed to get an internship with Surfer Magazine helping with their Surf Report maps…(the ones that detailed the surf spots all over the world)…and like most internships it opened some doors and helped me to get my first job as a professional surf-reporter and forecaster, and I have been doing it almost non-stop ever since.

2. Can you explain a bit about the process in general - i.e. disciplines involved like geometry, trig, oceanography, meteorology, gut feelings, voodoo, etc.


Haha…there is definitely some voodoo involved…I have a globe at home that I stick full of pins, particularly when I have a surf trip lined up.

I actually use all of those disciplines you mention and a few more…Marine/Surf Forecasting is all about how the atmosphere, the ocean, and the land interact with each other. You need to have the basic concepts of how/why certain processes occur and their effects on conditions. Learning how to use remote sensing (things like buoys, satellites, weather stations, and ship-reports) is also a pretty part of it.

As for the forecasting process…in the simplest terms…surf forecasting is basically watching how the wind is blowing over the ocean. Wind generates all of our surfable waves…the more wind, going the right direction, the bigger the swell will be. The wind also effects how the surf conditions will be when the swell arrives so you have to watch it on both ends…globally as well as locally.

Since storms (low-pressure centers sometimes called just lows or troughs) are generally the strongest sources of wind, I spend a lot of time tracking them, watching their behavior, and trying to fill in the gaps in the data that I am getting from all of the various sources.

Fortunately over the last few years the NOAA swell model and satellite systems have gotten considerably better than when I first started forecasting…and so they can take a lot of the tedious legwork out of forecasting…it doesn’t get rid of the need for a human (so I get to keep my job) but it can help tremendously.

If any of you are interested in diving a little deeper into how our waves are made I have a good article on my site…it doesn’t go crazy into the science…but it really helps lay out the process, and who knows it might help you get a few waves down the road.

3. What is the most difficult part about forecasting surf? What is the easiest? What is your accuracy rate and how do you improve accuracy?

I think that communicating the forecast “details” can be the most difficult part…you have to constantly keep in mind that your audience all have different perceptions and concepts to what constitutes good surf...waist high mushers might be right in one person’s fun-zone, while double-overhead and hollow is what another guy is looking for. It doesn’t help that Southern California has a pretty dynamic swell window…and some swells will only hit a handful of spots…so sometimes you will call a swell correctly but a surfer may not have picked an exposed break and now in his mind you blew the forecast.

I think the easiest thing for me is to get fired up on the weather and storms…I love seeing mother nature tear it up, particularly when it way out in the ocean and not hurting anyone…I geek out on the stuff sometimes.

I would say that I have a pretty high accuracy rate…when I am off it is usually because I have a tendency to stay conservative, and will call a swell a bit smaller than it actually comes through. Now days it is hard to completely miss a swell…but they do occasionally slip through…mostly because of bad or missing data in the weather models (the computers have their weaknesses too).

As to improving the forecasts…I think there are a couple of things I could work on…trying to continue to improve the way the forecast is communicated is a big one, adding more detail for each of our little sub-regions would be a great way to do that. I think that seeing more improvements in the computer models and more advanced sensors for measuring the weather/wind over the empty stretches of ocean will be another way for everyone’s forecasting to improve.

4. I know there is an El Nino forecast for this winter, what can we expect the surf to be like in SoCal this season? Does the El Nino make your job easier or more difficult?

El Nino doesn’t really make the job more difficult…just a bit more interesting for SoCal. El Nino is just a condition of the ocean that shifts around some of the energy and causes the “normal” weather patterns to change…but it doesn’t change the way that our waves are generated, just where.

During El Nino years we usually see the storm track drop lower in latitude, which lets winter storms get closer and maintain more intensity while they are in our swell-window. It doesn’t guarantee good waves but it does increase the chances…on the flip side it also sort of strips out the high-pressure that deflects a lot of the wet weather during the winter…so we could see a much wetter winter/spring season than normal. Again if you guys want to get a little deeper into the details I have seasonal outlook for this years El Nino on my site.

5. Are you much of a surfer? If so, how often do you get out? If not, why not!?

I try and surf a lot…if the surf is good I will try and get out every day. I’m probably a pretty average surfer…so on the right days I can throw a little spray or find a little barrel section…nothing special, but I do have plenty of fun.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another Tales From The Inbox - October 2, 2009



Today's Tales From The Inbox come from our friend Katharine in the U.K. She sent me a story some time ago about the Baseball World Cup and noticed that it wasn't a big deal here in the States. I agreed and noted that it was because we are so preoccupied with who will make it in the post-season for the MLB. She sent over these two pieces from the NY Times:

US Beats Cuba 10-5 to Win Baseball World Cup: The United States defended its baseball World Cup title on Sunday with a 10-5 victory over Cuba that was powered by four RBIs from Lucas May, including a three-run home run.

After Olympic Shutout, Baseball World Cup Is a Success: International baseball officials are starting to get over the shock of being shut out of the Olympics, and the recently concluded World Cup was hailed as a success in spreading the sport's reach in Europe. The United States beat Cuba 10-5 in Sunday's final to cap a 22-team tournament spread over seven countries, several of which were almost completely new to baseball.

You can read more about the Baseball World Cup from the official website here

In addition to baseball, she sent over this story from the world of Rugby:

Jonny Wilkinson: 'I still feel internally obliged to hit everything spot on': It's definitely coming back," Jonny Wilkinson says quietly of the form and assurance that once helped him win a World Cup at the death. That same deadly conviction was evident earlier this month when Wilkinson scored all of his new team's 18 points and steered Toulon to a memorable victory over their illustrious opponents, Toulouse, before a crowd of 60,000.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tales From The Inbox - October 1, 2009



On Surfari: Shayne and Shannon McIntyre will be on the road again and filming another episode. Their email newsletter hit my inbox this week with this message:

"On Surfari's next stop is Liberia, West Africa and we need your help. Shannon and I are going to be working with two amazing organizations in Liberia: Trinity Dental, a dental clinic changing and sometimes even saving lives, and the StrongHeart House, an orphanage/entrepreneurial school dedicated to the traumatized youth.

On Surfari is going to be visiting both these non-profit organizations, bring some raised funds, and partake in some of their projects. And this is where you can be involved. Both of these organizations are small scale and trying their best to survive in this economic climate - their hearts and minds set firmly about helping the people of Liberia.

If you feel it in your heart to help you can visit these organizations by clicking on the links below. No amount donated is too small, and On Surfari is not receiving any portion of donated funds.

The best part: when the On Surfari Liberia episode airs- you can see where your money went- and see the lives you've helped change."

Trinity Dental's website can be found here and StrongHeart House can be found here.