Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I still surf.

I had two, count em two(Utah...get me two!)sessions over the weekend up at The Local with various iterations of the crew, including a guest appearance from a dude named Matt, who I just bought a boardbag off of. Matt was riding a new Jim Phillips hp longboard that he picked up because, you need a log of some sort in New England.

Saturday I rode the pig. I love that board. Granted, I'm still knocking some rust off but I had a great time. Ride of the day was a right that I caught from way the hell out there and milked all the way to the inside. Tony asked me if I scraped my fin on the bottom. A little bully stance, some cut backs, a head dip. Good day.

Hot Generation on Sunday! Crew was in full force, minus Josh(who was out on Saturday). This was my second outing on the HG. Observations? It's fast. Take offs from behind the peak? Sure. All the board does is beat sections. It's smooth as hell. It glides into trim like a hot knife cutting through butter. It paddles well. Feet close together amidships, climbing and dropping on a right was my favorite wave of the day(carves, man). Stability is good. I passed it off to both Ed and Jay and I kind of had to crowbar it back from Jay. He was having fun.

The problem I have now, and it's not a bad one, is deciding which board to take out on a given day. When I get my Sam, I'm going to have real problems.

In other news, we are almost at 50 degree water, although sadly, I need a new 4/3. Still, I scaled down to 3 mil gloves and 5 mil boots and peeled my hood back. After a lot of shitty, cold weather. Things are turning around.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Like any good album, there has to be highs and lows, correct? The previous entry was a bit somber so it’s time to bring things up a bit.

In the vein of my previous ruminations concerning posting anything too personal, I have also refrained from letting anyone get a clear look at me, image-wise. There are, I believe, only four pictures of me lurking on these pages and none of them are all that revealing. I kind of like the anonymity. I will however, step out from the shadows a bit for the purpose of this tale.

This blog is mostly about my passions and up until now, I left one out. Baseball. I have been a fan of the Boston Red Sox since I was a kid. It started with my grandfather, who gifted each male grandchild with a mitt, ball and bat at birth, even if it would be some time before they got to use the gifts.

The connection to the sport(and the team) was further strengthened by the fact that Grandpa(a Parnell) traced and claimed kinship(distant cousins) with the last Red Sox left hander to throw a no hitter until John Lester threw his in 2008, Mel Parnell(who also embraced my Grandpa as a cousin). In fact, my mother tells stories of having met Mel and how he was extremely gracious to them whenever they went to Fenway, signing autographs, etc. The cap that I wear is a nod to this connection as it is a replica of the ones worn by the team from ’46-’51. Cousin Mel would’ve sported one like it during his tenure with the Sox.

I made my true bones in ’86 at age 15 as I watched “that play” go down while at a CYO banquet, clustered around a tv with a bunch of others. You could hear this collective gasp like we had all taken a punch to the gut. Naively at the time, I swore to myself that they would win Game 7. We know how that turned out.

I first stepped foot in Fenway at age 17 as I was going to college in Boston and would routinely walk down with friends and buy bleacher seat tickets for $8 bucks. Yes…$8 bucks.

I took a sabbatical from baseball when the strike in ‘94/’95 happened. I was so pissed off that my interest remained casual at best until my ire had subsided a bit, which was only around 2000/2001.

I put in an appearance in “Still We Believe. The Boston Red Sox Movie” as the bar we frequented in LA, Sonny McLean’s was a haven for all of the New England expats and featured in the movie. The film focuses on 2003 and when Aaron “bleepin’” Boone hits that dinger, I can be seen with my head on the bar.

Still and all, there was 2004, followed by 2007 and my passion for the game remains as strong as always, if not stronger, as I have become increasingly geeky about following our minor league prospects and getting all stoked when they make their first appearance in The Show.

My tale notwithstanding, Thing 1 has watched games with me on tv since he was a baby and even has his favorite players. He is not happy that “Gonzo” is no longer with the team and goes into apoplexies when Jacoby Ellsbury is batting. So when I got a phone call from a friend of ours that she had two extra tickets to the Sunday afternoon game of a double header, I jumped at the chance to take Thing 1 to his first game at Fenway. He had a great time, eating hot dogs and peanuts and gleefully following my heckling advice(the folks around us were pretty amused at his, “Take a seat!” whenever an opposing player struck out). A true trooper and possible future fanatic, he lasted all 9 innings with only a minor amount of grousing.

I hope he never forgets the experience because I know I never will. Much in the way that I was thrilled to give him his first wave riding experience on the front of my board last summer, I was beside myself getting to share my love of the game with him and I look forward to Thing 2’s first game as well.

The photographic evidence and me stepping from behind the curtain a bit, submitted for your approval.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Letting Go

It’s been a weird few months. I could trot out some excuse about my usual procrastination issues but the bottom line is, I know what I’ve wanted to write about but just kept putting it off because I was having a hard time quantifying what I wanted to say.

I mentioned in the post about my wife that I tend to avoid posting anything too personal in this online missive. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps in this world we live in, where you can go onto Facebook and “tmi” is oozing off of every update that you scroll through I figured that there were some things that are better left unsaid. In the end however, there is catharsis is putting oneself out there on occasion, isn’t there?

I lost my Dad last month. That in itself is surreal. It’s strange that I have his number in my phone and feel that I need to call him to check in or to see if he can give me a hand with a project around my house, but I can’t. I have known for over two years, since his diagnosis, that there would come a time for that inevitable moment, however, I wasn't ready and I don't think you can ever prep yourself to lose someone you love.

He had a Stage 4 Glioblastoma. That’s the name they have for an inoperable brain tumor. Essentially, if you have this thing, there is no cure. You manage it, you buy time but you don’t beat it. There are some outliers. One that I know of has lived for 15 years with his. Dad was given 15 months and they expected him to live half of that. He made it for over two years.

I could talk, I suppose, about what the man meant to me and how he impacted me but if it’s all the same to you, I want to hold on to that stuff. It’s mine. I have been carrying something, however, that I want to put out there, that I need to put out there.

During his illness, I did a fair share of research into just what it was he was walking around with and in doing so, came across support sites for those who had loved ones that were wrestling with this insidious disease. I lurked for a time but couldn’t ever bring myself to post our story. A lot of those people were discussing the various treatments their parent/aunt/uncle/child, etc were going through and I was watching my Dad go through the same shit. I knew all about the radiation, the Temodar, followed by more radiation, followed by Evastin and the constant battery of pills that he had to take day in and day out. Postings were followed by messages, pledges of support, rife with platitudes to “keep fighting” and “don’t give up hope”. I wasn’t sure how I felt about those.

When Dad was first diagnosed, I was beyond happy that he had decided to go with the radiation and Temodar treatments and to stay with us as long as he could. I wanted him to meet Thing 2, who had yet to be born. I was thrilled that he saw me get my house, which he wanted for me.

As an aside, he was going through treatment and showed up every day to help me when I was getting the house ready for us to move in. It was a Herculean effort for the shape he was in and yet, it was where he wanted to be because that was the person that he was. As is usual, I digress.

I wasn’t sure about those messages of hope and fighting the good fight because as the tumor spread and the treatments started to have little effect, I knew that he had done all he could do. He wasn’t even 70 years old and the entire process had aged him. He could barely communicate, mobility was an issue…I don’t think I have to continue to paint the portrait. I wanted my father here to see his grandsons grow and to be in our lives. End of story. However, it was easy for me to want that. I wasn’t sleeping for entire days or forgetting what I read after I closed a book or dealing with a variety of side effects of medication. Dad couldn't ride his motorcycle anymore, couldn't drive, couldn't disassemble small engines or work on his house. He couldn't do the things he was happiest doing. He wanted to go.

That’s why I had/have a problem with the “keep hope alive” stuff because in the end, telling a person to soldier on is selfish. You want them to stay because you love them and you can't conceive of them not being there but it’s selfish. I sure as hell didn't have that thing in my head and in the end, when he wanted to stop fighting, I told him it was alright. What about that message? What about the preservation of a person's dignity by throwing in the towel on the good fight and letting go? Bottom line, consider what "quality of life" really means, because to me, it isn't suffering through another round of treatments because people want you to. In the end, that person you care about so much deserves to rest. You soldier on and live your life secure in what your parent/sibling/aunt/uncle/child, meant to you and eased by the thought that no matter what, they will always be with you.

I love and miss you Dad. Watch yer topknot.