Tuesday, October 31

Barely Real

A few years ago, I bought a secondhand copy of the Barely Real EP by Codeine at Other Music in NYC (great EP by the way). As he was ringing it up, the record store clerk claimed to have played drums with Codeine 'for a couple of months'.

Anyway, this video was so funny I nearly choked:

Other Music NYC

Sunday, October 29

Bonnie in Big Sur

Drove down to Big Sur yesterday to catch Bonnie 'Prince' Billy at the Henry Miller Memorial Library. My new housemate Julien and I stopped on the way at Pfeiffer Beach and lucked out with some incredible waves. It's a tight spot with powerful lefts and rights wedging off large rocks.

Pfeiffer Beach

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (a.k.a. Will Oldham) was phenomenal. Definitely the best of the three times I've seen him play. He reveled in the space - outdoors among the pine trees - and played a bunch of great songs - John The Baptist, I See A Darkness, O Let It Be.

Friday, October 13

Between Freedom and Fear

I'm in New York for an ACLU new staff orientation at their big downtown office. If I look left out of my hotel room window I can see the Statue of Liberty. If I look right I can see Ground Zero.

UPDATE: Training in New York was followed by the ACLU Membership Conference in DC. Phillip Glass, Deborah Harry and Maxi Priest performed at the conference dinner. I ended up discussing drug policy with Maxi Priest after the show (seriously).

In my office of twelve, there are three Daniels. As you can see from the picture below, we are difficult to tell apart so I have become known as D3 at work. Here we are working hard at the conference:

Sunday, October 1

The Man In The Grey Suit

People (such as me) will often say that your chance of being killed by a shark is very low (lower than the odds of getting killed by bees, for example). However, as my housemate Jay pointed out to me, most people don't make a habit of night surfing alone in the so-called Red Triangle - a zone centered around the Farallon Islands where about half of the world's great white shark attacks have occurred.

Although it can be spooky, the night sufing doesn't worry me so much. Great whites hunt by day using vision (they look for seal shaped silhouettes on the surface - which is somewhat unfortunate because, from below, surfboards can resemble seals). Apart the opening scene from Jaws, there is one recorded night-time great white attack. (Of course, that is largely explained by the lack of humans in the water at night - but I'm sticking with my day time feeding theory.)

Rather than night surfing, it is surfing at Waddell Creek that I find scary. Waddell Creek is right by the Ano Nuevo seal colony and has had a handful of attacks over the years. I surfed there last Saturday. I was surfing about 50 yards north of the parking lot, sitting in a crowd of about 8 surfers when three large seals suddenly leapt out of the water directly in front of us. I was thinking to myself: 'Is that ordinary seal behavior?' The next Tuesday, the following report was filed on Surfline:

Shark Alert: On September 26, 2006 ‘Doc’ Rivera was filming his friend, ‘Beak’ and another unidentified surfer on a longboard, from the beach at Waddell Creek about 50 yards north of ‘The Warden’ sign at the North end of the parking lot. It was 11:30 AM and ‘Beak’ had been in the water about one hour. There was an overcast sky and a brisk wind. Air and water temperatures were in the low 60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean floor was primarily sand and 3 – 5 feet deep with a 3 – 5 foot shore break. . . . . Rivera recalled; “’Beak’ had just taken a wave on a larger set, the ocean/waves had just gone slack, when the back of a large White Shark appeared at the surface chasing a seal. The shark’s tail sprayed and splashed water as it chased the seal through the shallows. Its dorsal fin was 16 – 20 inches high with the shark a dark grey and 13 – 14 feet in length. I was amazed at the amount of water the shark displaced while chasing the seal. This lasted about 10 – 15 seconds. ‘Beak’ got out of the water and 20 – 30 seconds later a second seal, larger than the first, hurled itself through the air near the longboarder. The seal surfaced next to the longboarder as if it was huddling up next to him half in and out of the water. The longboarder was outside in the flatspell post the set. The longboarder then promptly left the water on the next wave set. His words upon leaving the water were; ‘That was @#$&ING Scary!!!!!!’ ‘Beak’ and I returned about 2 hours later to see another seal around county line swimming and jumping erratically toward the beach (very odd behavior) this went on for about a minute then the seal was gone. The birds were outside feasting on an obvious oily slick that was not a bait ball.”

So, that was the exact same spot three days later. I probably won't be surfing Waddell Creek very often; as Surfline explains, it's an "Industrial Strength" surfspot and I got totally hammered there. I'll head back if it it's nearly flat here in Santa Cruz though. It's a beautiful beach.