Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Big Bastard

That there are cursed objects in this world is an undeniable fact. How else to explain the mummified corpse of Tutankhamun, terrorizing all that cross its path? Or the Hope Diamond, leaving a swath of suffering and misery in its wake after being thefted from a Hindu goddess in the 17th century? Or the tiki idol unfettering its chaotic influence on the Brady clan in the “Hawaiian” episode?
Or James Dean’s Car, Little Bastard, which took his life in 1955, then went on a mad spree of unprecedented injurious behaviors never before seen in the vehicular world.

After Dean’s death, Little Bastard was purchased by a mechanic, besotted with the notion of restoring the cursed auto. Not so fast, Rolf Wutherich! While unloading Little Bastard into his shop, the inauspicious German-American had his legs crushed when LB burst from its constraints and rolled onto his person.
Incensed, Wutherich sold Little Bastard off for parts.

The engine and transmission were purchased by to two racing-enthusiast doctors. They installed them into their cars, met out on the Pomona Fairground racetrack in 1956, peeled out of the starting blocks, then smashed into each other. One of the physicians suffered major bodily harm. He was the luckier of the two.
The tires went to a hapless young chap who bolted them on, fired up his ride, then smashed into a tree when the front two wheels, in his words, ‘sort of exploded.’
Other accidents followed: the kid who tried to steal the steering column (occult memento-seekers are always punished) gashed his arm and had to spend the night in the hospital. One feckless young lady, seeking only a photograph of her deceased heartthrob’s Porsche Spyder, stumbled unexpectedly, hit her head against Little Bastard’s hind quarters, and knocked herself unconscious.
Enough was enough. The cursed devil mobile was impounded by the fuzz, never to harm anyone again.
Until a few months into 1957, when it was reassembled in a Prometheusian grasp for fame by an imprudent auto show promoter.
But the show never happened. Wanna know why? A fire broke out in the car storage building, destroying every car but Little Bastard, who got nary a scratch.
Little Bastard, curse intact, was loaded onto a truck-with-trailer bound for Salinas, CA. Guess what? The truck hit a funky spot, the driver was thrown from the truck, and Little Bastard rolled off the trailer and crushed the dude to death.
I shit you not.
The ‘police’ impounded Little Bastard, and she hasn’t been seen since.
A cursed object, this time in the form of a humungous StandUp Paddleboard blank, made its way into my shop this week.

How do I know it was cursed? Read on, then decide for yourself.
First, the blank barely fit into my minivan. It’s possible that I got a bruise on my arm trying to load it.
Then, while driving, my visibility and comfort were compromised due to the sheer bulk of the thing. I couldn’t reach my beverage holder or iPod. I blame Big Bastard for my having to endure seven Counting Crows tunes in a row, which my wife must have uploaded when I wasn’t looking. During this time, I was also quite thirsty.
Unloading the devil-blank into my shop and onto the racks was no picnic for my ailing rotator cuff. I had about a foot of space on either side of the racks (nose and tail), and found it easier to duck underneath it while shaping, rather than walk all the way around it. This was not good for my back. Once, I hit my head.
Skinning Big Bastard took a long time. It clogged my vacuum system. I had to change garbage bags, an activity I don’t like, and I got very dusty. Curses!
Day two started off fine. I was lulled into security early on as foiling and truing the planshape went well. Then, in an unexpected frenzy, my brand-spankin’ new planer decided that it wanted nothing to do with the Big Bastard, skittered off the blank, hit the floor, and made a funny noise. I rushed to its aid. It seems fine now, but it could just be sucking it up.

I decided to get to some other orders and let the Big Bastard hang out for a while in my stairwell, the only place in the house where it would fit.
However, here it continued its carnage unabated. First, the stairwell began to accumulate stuff that needed to go upstairs. A box of new-baby clothes. Some books. Surfboards. It became unsightly, and I think my lovely wife, usually tolerant of my sloth, was displeased.
Then, my almost-two-year-old daughter stumbled on the stairs while playing hide-and-seek. On top of this, she ended up beating me at this game (she’s crafty!). Two things I again attribute to Big Bastard’s curse.
Finally, I fortified myself and committed to a final shaping session. I took a few Ibuprofen, steadied my nerves with a lukewarm Tecate, then had at it.

No problems, which I’m thinking is part of Big Bastard’s overall plan—lull me into submission, then strike when I’m not expecting it.
I will be watching.
Oh yes, I will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The 6'10 Chronicles, and Literary Nerd Contest!

I love 6'10 rounded pintail season!

I also love weekends like these--'unseasonably' warm temps, a good swell in the water, and my lovely wife's experiments with Brussels sprouts and the perfect warm winter salad. Doesn't get much better unless, of course, you can factor in a lovely Fatty Fiberglass job.

Leslie couldn't resist putting her stamp on this one--a retro style Hastings blue tint, wrap, and deep red pinline on a thoroughly contemporary step-up shortboard. Local he-ripper Mr. M will be stoked.

Something old made new again, or maybe something new made old again.
ANNOUNCEMENT! I hereby declare the First Whenever-I-Feel-Like-It HeadHighGlassy Literary Nerd Contest. The first LitNerd who can tell me the name of the Junot Diaz short story where the line "something old made new again" is used to menacing effect wins a free Jamie Murray Custom Surfboards t-shirt (American Apparel, so you know it's schweet!).
Hint: the line is delivered by a man appropriately named Barbaro.

What's that? Are those 101 Fin Co. bamboo thrusters?
Another Announcement! 101 Fin Co. bamboo fins+ the Lokbox removable/adjustable fin system=insane.
Last Announcement! Come on out to the Toad in the Hole Pub in downtown Santa Rosa's Railroad Square (116 5th street) this Thursday night (Jan 15th) for their first monthly Surf Movie Night. This month features live music from the local surfabilly rockers Mr. December--upright bass and ukulele. I promised not to divulge the movie, but it's a good one, and, as always, the Guinness will be poured by an actual Irishman. Come on out!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Involuntary Vacation

Was it FDR who said, "there are no problems, only solutions"?
Mussolini? Confucius?
Whoever it was, I salute and curse you.
I salute you for your optimism. My favorite planer sputtered out of existence this week during an inopportune moment. I heeded your words and cannibalized the backup for parts. My heart sang, my breast swelled with pride and giddy anticipation.
I curse you, as this 'solution' created more problems, dashed whatever self-confidence I had managed to preserve during these last two years of child-rearing, and sent a sliver of metal deep into my right thumb.

Ended up forking out for a new tool, which stung until she arrived, shiny, willing, guiltless. We went right to work on a trusty quad fish design.

Red cedar stringer for snap and raditude.

Pulled-in nose for NorthCoast pounders.

Four fins of fun.
What did I learn from this experience? First, get the cell number of your repair person--shop voicemail just doesn't cut it during the holidays. Second, an American (non-metric) tool saves at least three trips to the local hardware. Finally, a good local port in the late-night hours always takes the sting out of a new purchase.