Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Academy Awards, surfing and wind.

As the Academy Awards are blaring in the background I am editing some pictures I took at Belmont today. I heard on the news last night there might be some big surf but I had no idea there could be big surf here, knowing that there is a sea wall that normally holds back the waves. When I got to the beach there were two surfers out, sharing the water with a couple of kiter's. Who unfortunately could not get out because there wasn't enough wind.

There was probably some huge surf down at Huntington or up at El Porto, but here in Belmont? I really enjoyed watching the surfers...right here. No wonder there are many that want to remove sections of the breakwater in order to bring surf action back and hopefully keep
our beaches cleaner than they currently are.

Regarding the Academy Awards, there were a few of my picks that won, such as Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor in "There Will Be Blood", Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor in "No Country for Old Men" and "Ratatouille" for Best Animated Feature. I was surprised that
"No Country for Old Men" won for Best Picture and Best Direction. I had "Juno" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Another surprise was that "The Bourne Ultimatum" won for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Oh well there's next soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wind on Wednesday and Friday, come on Saturday

Hi gang,

Get your gear ready because tomorrow could be fantastic. This is what went on the past few days.

On Wednesday I was fighting the cold bug. Throwing down Airborne, Zicam and vitamin C ... all at the same time to beat the germs. Actually I'm not over it, but it's close enough.

When I saw the wind starting to blow late Wednesday I thought I'd better grab my camera and walk down to the beach. I knew I couldn't go out yet but I may as well catch some kite action. You can see the wind was really blowing.

It think it might have been between 18 to 20 mph, and a great direction too. Temperature, not too bad. I think in the 60's. By the time I got there Kyle was on the water. He makes kiting look so easy. There were only two maybe three kites out.

What's funny is I had to hide behind the lifeguard tower to keep the sand off the camera. But I still haven't found how to use the multi-shot function, so I was lucky to catch this jump of Kyle's. There were a lot more shots, but these tell the story of Wednesday.

Thursday it rained on and off so I went to the gym for a little while and then drove up to Marina del Rey for a PCG meeting. When I got home I chamoised the rain on the CR-V. Don't want water spots on the new finish and put it in the garage.

Friday brought a beautiful morning. Klaus called and asked how the wind was. I told him there wasn't much to report so I went to the gym for a couple of hours. When I walked home I noticed a couple of kites out and one was Rijk's. By the time I got down to Clarmount Rijk was wrapping up his gear and going home. He said he got in a great hour. Just then Kyle came running up the beach and I caught him just before he launched his kite, plus another jump.

I knew I didn't have much time to shoot many pictures because Ruth wanted to go to Ralph's and pick up groceries for dinner.

Just about the time I was ready to fire up Ruth's Corvette I decided to catch a few sunset shots. It is just fantastic what nature presents to the camera. After all you are just mixing some clouds, with the end of the day light and add the sun going down, MAGIC. Come on, how can you beat it?

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but I did check the weather on and listened to Jackie Johnson. She delivered great news, there's going to be gusty wind tomorrow. Just look out for the rain. No lightning is forecast. So far Rijk, Luca, Klaus and I are going to be at the trash can. Come on down.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter repeat. Did someone say GREAT day!

Yes, it's February 18th and I know it's supposed to be winter, but no worries because it blew today. That's two days in a row, but who's counting?

Early in the day I met up with Rijk at Aroma de Roma on Second Street and I said I would call him after I checked out the beach. It was about that time that Klaus dropped by the house. So he and I went out on the Claremont launch ramp and there was already a guy going out on a blue kite. That was about 2 o'clock. So I called Rijk, Klaus drove his Harley home, and about that time Bobby and Deon arrived on the scene. I can't believe how fast Deon rigs that foil and is ready to go. He was out, then Bobby was next. Rijk helped me launch and then Klaus and Rijk followed in short order.

Before long there were over a dozen, maybe 14 kites at Belmont and another 6 at Seal. Kyle at some point appeared on the scene, pulling off his usual very cool moves. At one point Rijk and I were pretty close and he went air borne. A great jump and down with a big splash at the end. Hey that's OK, this was his first time on the water since he broke his leg playing soccer a few months ago. Klaus said he had a good time too, but got caught in the "Black Hole" down by the junior lifeguard shack. Mean time Deon and I pulled off two "High Fives." Kiting is so much fun.

All in all it was a great day. We were on the water until about 4:30, that's about the time I tried my down winder. My last run turned out to be a walk up the beach. My feet are still "winterized" so they felt all the rocks and shells. To add insult to injury I went to my car and grabbed my camera to take a shot of the gang at the trash can; Klaus, Rijk, (Bobby & Kyle were showering and Deon had taken off). And my camera batteries were dead. Crap!! So after we changed Rijk and I drove back to the beach and I took "End of The Day" shots. I think I've learned my lesson to always bring my back-up batteries.

Don't know about tomorrow, they say there's a chance it might rain. Then again there's a chance there's going to be a three-peat. See you on the beach.

By the way, did anyone catch the Tour of California? I think it is so cool that California has it's own bicycle race.
It's like the Tour de France in our back yard, catch it on Versus. Fabian Cancellara has a 2 second lead on the others. Last year it finished in Long Beach, this year it's Pasadena.

Oops, one bit omitted,

Feb. 14, Valentines Day.

Sorry honey I forgot to mention about "Our Night" in the blog. About a week prior Valentines Day Ruth "kidnapped" me after going to the gym and took me to Bono's for martini night. It was such a delight I called the next day for reservations for that special DATE NIGHT the following week.

We got all dressed up and were given a great window seat and proceeded to have a wonderful evening together. The menu was delightful; three pieces of seared tuna on some sort of greens as an appetizer, a wonderful salad, a large steak with all the trimmings, and a bottle of red wine. We topped that off with a small desert and some bubbly. Ok, ok now we'll have to do an extra half hour on the machines to work it off.

But the fun for me came when I gave Ruth a little Valentines gift. It was like those nesting dolls, a gift in a gift. in a gift. The outside bag did not give anything away, it was just a nice big heart decorated bag. Inside that was another bag folded up and hidden with tissue paper. When opened it revealed a big brown paper bag with a huge heart and "Won't you be my Valentine." Inside that bag was another bag with hearts and this one had a wrapped caramel apple. For desert later...naturally. Then there was the mushy "Love" card that always makes a guy points. It was truly a great evening for a couple that has been doing this kind of thing for 35 years. Just trying to keep the flame glowing bright.

P.S. In the top shot, the envelope on the lower left has D.G. + K.B. Those are our beach names, Dolphin Girl and Kite Boy. You've got to have fun at the beach.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Thursday 2/14/08

I got an email today that the wind was up. Al Navas got out for an hour plus. Good for Al,
I wish I had gone out. A few days before Belmont was marginal. I've inserted two shots, one of Deon Aumair (riding his HUGE foil) and "The Sleeping Kiter" both enjoying the day. Sorry Al, I'll get a shot of you one of these days. By the way "A Special Thanks" goes out to Al for loaning me his Trikke for a few weeks. They are a great workout device....try one, you may like it.

Friday 2/15/08

For me it was up to Hollywood to help a friend finish a "Behind The Scenes" video for Disney. If you remember I mix the post sound. It was a 12 minute montage of old Jim Henson footage from the "Muppet's Show." Jim Henson was a puppet genius. I didn't realize it was going to be visiting day at our house in Belmont. Luca and Lorenzo came over, so did Rijk and Maureen. Then Klaus and Todd. Everybody came to visit and I was in Hollywood. What a bummer.

After dropping off the audio files in Santa Monica, Ruth and I met up on Century Blvd. to go to Sara's graduation ceremony that was held at the Airport Weston Hotel. She has been in the Landmark Leadership Program for two years and she has completed all of her courses. Congratulations, Sara a job well done!!!!! Next step, find a job.

Saturday 2/16/08

Ruth and I attended the 44th Annual Cinema Audio Society Awards at the world famous Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. It was truly a fun evening rubbing elbows with the best sound mixers in Hollywood. The film that won best sound mixing for a feature was "No Country for Old Men."

In the top picture, which is the current Board members and a few Past Presidents (including me). Can you can find me? In the back row, fourth from the left. I'm on my tippy toes trying to get my mug in the picture for the official fotog lady. Then Ruth and I grabbed a shot in front of the screen. The event was a blast.

Sunday 2/17/08

Ruth and I were a little tired after the pre-academy party last night. At 11 A.M. this morning it was coffee and the newspaper in bed trying to pry our eyes open. We were talking about the party when she said "Let's do a quick trip to the farmers market." Naturally I said "Sure." What was I going to say "NO!!!"

After the market it was a "quick trip" to PetCo and then home. When we drove down Ocean I noticed a few kiter's arriving so it was time to kick into gear. I drove home, dropped off Ruth and the groceries, then get my kite stuff. Once out on the launch ramp I noticed Al Navas pumped and ready to go. He had rigged his new RRD-15 kite and was holding his new pride and joy that he bought on his visit to La Ventana. It's a "Fat lightwind Skywalker" board. I think he said it was 138 cm. long. But it was the width that looked awesome, like a foot and a half wide. Unfortunately you can't tell from the picture. I can't wait to borrow it during the summer.

After I got my "stuff" together and rigged I was ready to go. Even though the wind was marginal, who cares, here we are in late February and we got out for over an hour. Sure there was a little bit of walking, sure at one point I was doing down-winders and sure it was a little chilly, but who cares because it felt great. At the end of the day the only thing that was really cold was my head and ears.

There were about a dozen kiter's at Belmont and another 5 or 6 down at Seal. At one point Luca arrived just in time to launch me and he also come to my rescue me when my kite snagged the water and went in. The wind being so light it didn't launch until I was almost to the shore. Thanks Luca for being there. Then Bobby showed up and rigged. If you remember at the end of last season he had hurt his knees kiting down south. I asked him how he felt and he said, "I'm about 80%." Which is great to hear. We should be seeing more of him at the beach this summer. Another kiter on the water was Henry riding his Naish Blue and White. About the time the wind died Rijk came down to say hello and help me de-rig. Thanks to all for a great day.

It's Presidents Day tomorrow.
According to the weather report there's a storm approaching on Tuesday, so who knows what tomorrow will bring. Let's hope there's some wind.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The passing of a friend, Harry Pinchot.

Over the years I have only attended a few funerals. One for each for my parents, my older sister Julia, an old high school friend Freddy Harris, my karate instructor Ed Parker, a few co-workers, and there have been some Aunts and Uncles, as well as parents of friends. Not too many.

This past week a man that was a teacher, a mentor, a guide, a motivator and a fellow Prostate Cancer fighter lost his battle. His name is Harry Pinchot. It’s possible you have not heard of him but he is a hero. His life revolved around getting attention for PC and giving advice to many of us that are battling it.

About 2 years ago my dentist suggested I meet one of her patients. She felt that since we both had PC, a Prostatectomy and were about the same age that we had a lot in common. His name is Bob and he suggested we meet at a Prostate Cancer Group meeting held in Marina del Rey. That’s when I was introduced to Harry Pinchot. He ran the PCG meetings with a lot of command. Each meeting was similar in that we would spent about two hours going around a large square table, getting to know the guests and talking with the regulars. Harry would freely give advice about who a member had to see for treatments, or who to contact for a particular specialty. He was a walking, talking Encyclopedia. We also had guest speakers during the last half.

A few months back, at one of the meetings, Harry mentioned he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments and shared with us what he was going through. Fortunately he was able to get through the meetings but you could tell he was in pain and not doing well. Then one of the member stepped in for a few meetings and shared how Harry was doing. Then the news came that Harry had passed. I was in shock. How could Harry not be able to beat his cancer? He knows everybody. He knows everything. NO WAY!!!

Harry, our leader is gone and so is his pain and suffering. You can read his tribute at, and then click on “See Tribute to Harry”. I was reminded while reading it that there were many things that we learned from him. Too many for this blog, but there are a few worth repeating. Be PRO-ACTIVE. You control your own destiny; you make the decisions, not your doctor, not your wife. Another was to stay as healthy as you can. So control your weight, exercise, keep fit and watch what you eat. He basically professed a vegetarian diet.

Harry was always trying to get attention for prostate cancer. He said women get attention for breast cancer and AIDS patients get attention for their cause but men are not very vocal about this disease and that’s why there isn’t a lot of money being thrown at it to find a cure. He also said men should find a good Urologist that they can trust. It’s the same as our wife having an OBGYN to assist them in their decisions. Both are equally valuable to our longevity.

His Memorial services are scheduled for 10:30 A.M. on Friday 23rd. I plan to attend and give thanks to a friend that lost his fight against PC.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Climb back on the horse, the wind is back!!!

Feb. 5, 2008

First things first, I hope everyone had a chance to vote today. We will all read the results in the paper in the morning. When Ruth and I got back, she and Sara decided to make a delicious omelet for lunch. Somewhere around 1 o'clock I felt the wind coming up, so I threw my gear in my car and drove down to the Claremont launch ramp. I saw one kiter out on a white surf board so I figured there might be enough for me too.

I rigged my Rhino 16 because I knew I needed all the kite I could get. I also decided to use my Litewave 69 because it felt a little light. By the time I got my kite in the air I noticed there were 5 kiter's down at Seal, all beyond the pier. The wind was up and things were looking good. I also saw Todd (the big jumper who rides a Naish) was out by the marina entrance. There was wind out there. Let's go baby!!!!

The wind only lasted a little over an hour, but it was fun being back on the "horse." Just in case you come down tomorrow, be ready for the air temp being a little nippy, water temp is cool, and there's a little bit of junk floating on the water. It may take a few days for it to wash down stream.

I took a couple of shots after I changed. See you on the water if you come down tomorrow.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Shop Till You Drop and my favorite Sunsets

Feb. 1, 2008

Today was the first day for Dive and Surf's annual tent sale. This was my first, but my son Dan has been telling me about them for years. My wife and I went there knowing I needed a new wet suit and then would look around to see what else was on sale. They give you a plastic bag when you walk in and you immediately think "I'm not going to fill up this gunny sack of a bag." Well WE did and then some.

It took some doing but I found a 3-2 wet suit that fit me. I was
originally trying on 4-3's but for some reason they were big enough in the legs, but it was tough getting them over my shoulders. Too small. They must have short body patterns in China. That's when I said the 3-2 was fine. Hey, hey don't throw any stones about body weight here because I can't wait to hear stories about what you bought.

The next couple of hours was walking up and down grabbing this and trying that on. I now have three new beach shorts, flip-flops, sand walkers (Crocks), sweat shirts.....what else Santa? Oh yeah, a back pack, an equipment bag, and rash guard. Ruth found a lot of treasures on sale also. At one point Dan joined us, but he was still working and couldn't keep his mind into the shopping thing.

We're back home now and I can't wait to get my kite stuff in order. With the possibility of a rainy Super Bowl weekend it's going to be fun getting everything ready for the next storm front or clearing winds.

The music that's playing on XM as I type is Michael Buble. I love his voice and songs, but more than that I really love the musical arrangements and mixes of his CD's. I also like Michael McDonald. I think he uses his voice like an instrument (maybe a jazz trumpet) because you don't always understand what he's saying, but mixed with the other instruments it just sounds cool to listen to.

In closing, sunsets have become a passion of mine. For some mysterious reason since we moved to Belmont Shore I have really been attracted to taking digital shots of sunsets. Recently I culled through quite a few that I've taken and decided to share my top eight. It would thrill me if you liked one shot over another and could let me know why. By this time I hope you realize that when you double click on a picture is gets larger. To get back you use the back arrow on the top upper left.

Sunsets, I have a feeling I'll be taking quite a few more while we are here. Enjoy, Jim