/*23 Breaths: 2011*/

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012


The old calendar 
fills me with gratitude

Friday, December 30, 2011

Go Outside

Surfing the net?
Look out the window
(you know the glass things kids hit balls thru)
Found the window? Good!

Is it still light outside?
Good! Go outside find something to do.
Play! You remember how don't you?
If it's dark than bring a light
If it's cold then wear a coat.

Trust me when I tell you
that no good stories start with
"So I'm just sitting there on my arse, surfing the net when suddenly..."
Not one

Besides,
there will come a time
when going outside
won't be an option

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rollerman

So what do you get when you mix a matter and a transformer?



Rollerman!

from Lloyd's Blog

If you just aren't going fast enough on your mat and
you like the additional danger of possibly going off
the road (and a cliff) at 100 mph.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No guessing where the road goes




It seems that it is time to do an end of the year review

But to be honest

I can’t remember last week

Let alone the whole year

Every morning I get up early

Brew some tea and surf the net

I read a little bit

Then I write a little bit

Only a few words

Just arrangements of the same ole 26

Oh then I steal some photos

Same as the day before

Some people like them

Some may not

I don’t read them much so

I don’t really have an opinion

They remind me of the plants that grow in the garden

Some are flowers

Some are weeds

I can’t really tell the difference

I do know where this road goes

But how it gets there

Is anyone’s guess

Besides the view along the way

That’s the thing

No guessing where the road goes


PS

We lost a water brother just the other day
Some may say that his business contributed to the overcrowding in the waves
Others might say that he just organized a great deal of data that few took the time to understand
I think of his efforts as that of a scientist who studied the wind and the water for a few good waves
Best to think of his work as a form of subtle and beneficial magic and ride a wave in his honor

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The easy way is hard enough



The dead of winter finds me enjoying 70 plus degree afternoons after 40 something degree nights.  A whole year’s wardrobe worn in just 24 hours.  Down fill for the pre dawn chill, Polar Tec for the mornings, and cotton for the warmth of the afternoon then as the sun begins it’s downward arc the whole thing reverses. In Southern California you never get to put everything away.

I’m basking like a lizard on a rock in the warmth of the early sun enjoying the last cup of the sunrise pot of tea. The morning’s chores completed and the afternoons not as yet quite defined.

I know I really should bathe the dog but she knows this and always outsmarts me by looking like she is so enjoying her mid day nap, knowing full well that I am a sucker for a good nap and will let her sleep.

This time of the year, north of the equator we should all intentionally take a moment, even if it’s only one breath and appreciate that we are likely to make it.  I have mindfully listened to the old stories and I’ve come to appreciate that it was not always so. Children coming back to school after the winter recess often meant that school chums, often whole family units had succumbed to the diseases we now regularly dismiss with a dose of aspirin or antibiotics.

It’s a deeply ingrained appreciation and respect for the challenges of another winter. Not that we would be able to take advantage of the after Christmas sales or even the next good spring swells. But every creature’s deepest desire lay down and for the most part silently locked away in their DNA is to make just one more trip around the sun. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Merry


The day after the night before

Up early

new surf craft to load

gingerly in the car

Careful careful

put a towel under it

I hope the surf is a little bigger than the buoys say

glassy or maybe a little off shore

first wax or first breath

pulling on a new wetsuit

it goes on so smooth

it's so stretchy!

so warm

Enjoy!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

no post! Elfing

I'm going to be busy today Elfing

Elfing def - to make preparations for Christmas
also see House Elf  def - unpaid over worked house slaves 

anyway enjoy the day and go out and surf!



Friday, December 23, 2011

pre holiday musings

I get up early (sometimes)

this morning it's 41 degrees

so stoked I'm not living on the streets

there is a great many things to be grateful for

If you are a fan of this blog

you have spare time(perhaps too much), access to a computer and an internet connection

even it's at work, school or the local library

You may spend a fair bit of the time riding waves and the local beaches on an inflatable nylon bag created expressly for that purpose by a master craftsman with years of experience in the design and fabrication of these surf craft.

At this point, if you surf on a pillowcase filled with air you swiped from a siblings bed this morning feel free to allow yourself a smug smile.

The rest are just a bunch of lucky ducks

Enjoy the holidays!

PS

My proofreader, editor / script consultant is at home today "waiting for an important package" so all errors, spelling issues, grammatical infractions etc are entirely my own and shouldn't reflect, from that standpoint, on the whole 23B organization. 


PPS - If things come together surf and weather wise next week there might still be a mat meet. In the mean time so surf.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here Ye Here Ye -

by the decree of the sun gods and the universe in general
it has been decided to
tilt the earth back the other way!



the days are going to start getting longer in the norther hemisphere
and shorter in the southern hemisphere starting today

Nothing to get worried about
in OZ and locals of a southerly persuasion you still have summer
I hope it's a good one!

Up here we are just starting winter
and perhaps a little more NW swell
so we have a ways to go
before things are noticeably warmer

But change,
being the only consistent thing in this life
has begun

Might I suggest a good book to pass the time?

If you haven't read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings
you need to get down to the library and get started
It's a bit of a read
perfect to read during a long winters night
(although I had brought along the Hobbit on a trip to Bali in 74 and things worked out)

I understand the books were so good they are going to film the whole thing




one more thing

Here's just a hint, an inkling, a smidgen of what we can expect to see from the folks at Misfit Pictures at the upcoming San Diego Surf Film Festival or SDSFF if you prefer


San Diego Surf Film Festival from Gage Hingeley on Vimeo.

coming to a Bird's Surf Shed near you May 11-13, 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the annual Xmas gift post

just in time for the holidays 

The top 10 gifts to get a surfer are...

(drum roll please)

Well to begin with you don't need ten new things
(maybe knowing that is the biggest gift in itself)

Surfing is an experience maybe a lifestyle but not a product

(you can't buy a set wave from The Queen)


I suppose there is some stuff required



(I ALWAYS get email from naked body surfers who will argue the point and then send pictures)

but we tend to get more and more and more stuff, 

(especially here in the land of plenty)

some of the stuff never get used, a waste of the materials and energy that went into the manufacturing process and  lots of this stuff ends up in a landfill. 

(I'm not  buying that's a thoughtful gift for your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren who might be cultural anthropologists)

So what do you need?

(do peaks come in a ten pack with a side of off shore winds?)



More importantly during the gift giving season, what do you need that someone can buy you?

Grandma is more likely to pick up the pop out from the offshore sweatshop than the custom board from your local shaper.


(It had all those pretty plastic flowers and it came with matching shirt and trunks dearie)

(If grandma is jiggy with it and knows your local shaper (happy birthday wishes go out to Gary Hanel BTW) then goody for you and your obviously outstanding genetic lineage. Grandma may have even gotten handplanes for all the grand kids this year.)


Ok so where does that leave us?

Wax

(wax on wax off)

I had a standing order for surf wax for all gift giving occasions for years

(If you see me at the beach, ask me, I have some)

(hopefully the humor of a mat rider with a huge stash of wax is not lost on you)

There are some even neat wax scrapers available



(beats using a credit card, oh you cut those up? good!)

So where are we now?

more is out

less is in

waves come in sets
But don't come in a store.

The truth is no thing you can buy will make you feel like this

"Family treasures can't come thru the front gate"

So ask for a new beach towel.

That one in the car trunk stinks!

If it's a magic towel so much the better

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's time



As I wonder thru the internets this morning

I detect a note of enough-ness

enough of the politics

enough of the fighting

enough of the "news" packaged with video
designed to inform you without telling you the real story

As we approach the high holiday of Christmas

which has sadly been usurped from a religious holiday

into the most important buying season of the year

without which the economic wheels could not turn

the selling of something unneeded to be gifted and re-gifted

in an endless looped designed to comfort us

I'm tired of the race for this years golden ring

The waves were good 
I got my share
but the wind has come up 
and it's time
to paddle in


Monday, December 19, 2011

Whiskey, Honey and Lemon


The whole house is sick and so this home remedy for cough syrup is the call

A few sprigs of Thyme from the garden as a cup of tea works well too

For those of you who don't like to start the day with whiskey

Everyone should be done with their colds and so they can play with their presents on Christmas

I'm still hoping to be well and for the swell to pick up a bit after the holiday for a mat meet



LAST DAY TO ORDER FROM 23BREATHS TO GUARANTEE DELIVERY BY CHRISTMAS!

Oh hey I don't have anything for sale here so never mind

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This just in "all matters must be from the UK"

An anon commenter just yesterday said that judging from my blog all matters must be from the UK.

OK so that secret is out of the bag.

For anyone whose mental, physical, financial or spiritual well being has been harmed by this disclosure

I am truly sorry.

Since this blog often looks like something devoted to backyard gardening I'm kinda stoked, spilling the EU mat secret brings me right up to the tip top of the inflatable water craft secret dissemination pyramid. Watch out Wiki Leaks!

A mat rider somewhere in the UK

In US Socal weather news

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

DEPARTING UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE WILL BEING SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS
FOR THE MOUNTAINS ABOVE 4500 FEET THROUGH EARLY AFTERNOON WITH
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE COASTAL WATERS THROUGH EARLY THIS
MORNING.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.

FOR LATE MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT...A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM FROM
THE NORTH IS EXPECTED TO BRING GUSTY NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS TO
INLAND AREAS WITH A CHANCE FOR SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MOUNTAINS ABOVE
5000 TO 5500 FEET.

FOR WEDNESDAY INTO THE WEEKEND...PERIODS OF GUSTY NORTH TO NORTHEAST
WINDS ARE POSSIBLE FOR INLAND AREAS.

  So water your garden and if you are traveling to the EU in general I understand that surf mats travel well.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

All about mats

Greyman and his merry band of matter over at the Uk Matt Surfers org

Have put together a list of articles for the mat curious.


Check it out All about Mats


Friday, December 16, 2011

the official mat meet waiting period

Photo by Jason at Daily Bread

After a brief respite I am back in charge of my own destiny
the captain of my own soul
the master of my fate...

awfully spry for so early in the am
the meds must be kicking in

good

With my universe tipping back to the normal tilt

I'm thinking fondly of some of the Christmas traditions
we hold so dear around the 23B hearth

first and foremost

"if it's not done by now
it's not happening"

lay that burden down
and try to easy into the holidays
with some shred of vitality and good cheer
before it is torn away like the last good Christmas cookie

And since I have mentioned the shred
I am declaring the period between the 25th and the 31th
the official mat meet waiting period

Hard to tell what we might find
yesterday started clear and turned to rain, thunder and lightning by early evening
this morning it's cold, clear and the forecast calls for warm off shore winds

Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunshine Superman

Sideslip inside Sunset switchfoot

I've always been a huge fan of Jock Sutherland so I was stoked to see this video from the Lost and Found


Lost & Found/ JOCK SUTHERLAND from Corduroy Films on Vimeo.

Oh and by the way

A COLD STORM SYSTEM MOVING INTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILL BRING PERIODS OF SHOWERS AND MOUNTAIN SNOW ALONG WITH STRONG AND GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The wild glint in your eye and John Severson



I not a big fan of most of the hundreds and hundreds of surf publications out there these days

Partly because I'm long past the target demographic they shoot for.

And of course there is that "only once in a blue moon" shot of a mat, a hand plane or just someone body surfing photo policy. (if you don't advertise here we don't run your picture) I understand the approach from a business point of view but as a stoked surfer it makes no sense at all and quite literally leaves me wanting more. Thank goodness for the Surfers Journal and the thousands of bloggers out there that keep the stoke alive.

Another reason the current Action Sport Retailer cataloges are basically unreadable is that I grew up reading SURFER.

I had an older brother that took up the sport not long after our family moved to Huntington Beach in 1960. A big part of being in the tribe at the time was reading SURFER, along with Levi's, a white t-shirt, huaraches and a Pendlelton. I'll leave out the weird hair requirement because one it was weird and two I have never fully understood it.  Although it would be a few years before I got my own board we were in the water whenever we could.  Funny thing everyone used to body surf. If you were captured by the allure of the ocean then the next step was renting a mat from one of the stands during the summer. !! After the stands closed you used a crudely shaped piece of plywood as a Paipo / body board while you saved you paper route money for a surfboard.  I still have splinters from being almost cut in half by those suckers, but I digress.

SURFER magazine and by that I mean John Severson and his band of editors, photographers, artists, writers and well surfers keep the stoke torch burning all those times we couldn't get a ride to the beach, in school or the surf was just plain old flat as a pancake.

Not only did he keep the stoke alive but during the late sixties he and his magazine took a very anti Vietnam war stance. This no doubt cost him thousands in advertising and cancelled subscriptions. The magazine continued to be a good read, was full of stoke and had a social conscience for many years.

Thank you Mr. Severson
  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No Vocals

I mentioned that another trick to quieting down the holidays is to switch to acoustic music without vocals.

Your brain is built to listen to language it's not easy to stop that process besides the acoustic sounds go well with the rain.

I came across Tony Kaltenberg in this Bali clip



I liked the music so much I went out and bought the album



Two things.

Yes I still call them albums.

Second if I hear Dean Martin refer to Rudolf the Red Nosed Rain Deer as Rudy I going to snap.

Happy Holidays


Monday, December 12, 2011

286

That's more or less how many emails load up in my main email box in a week.

I know because I haven't looked at them for seven days (still haven't actually).

This of course doesn't count Facebook, Twitter, general web browsing, and everything at work.

This time of year can be overwhelming so I am cutting  back on the stimulation where I can.

I still have a job (thankfully) where I stare at the screen for 8-10 hours a day and try to make sense of what I am seeing.  They would be very upset if I neglected the email accounts there so I am still getting my daily quota.

But something had to be done.

The Holiday Roar of  TV, newspapers, the internet not to mention the people in the stores who I'm sure, would happily pummel you for that "Tickle me Emo"  you're carrying.

It was truly "harshing my mellow"

and I hate when that happens.

So I am limiting my stimulation for a while, where I can.

I have answered a few emails and will continue to post on 23B.

But I need some rest if I am going to make it through the holidays and into the new year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The best things in life

aren't things
may not even be the best
but are definitely part of life

Image snaged from LSoRO

... COLD STORM FROM THE NORTHWEST FOR MONDAY AND TUESDAY...
A COLD STORM SYSTEM FROM THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED TO MOVE SOUTHWARD JUST OFF THE WEST COAST... REACHING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LATE TONIGHT OR EARLY MONDAY. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO MOVE SLOWLY INLAND ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND NORTHERN BAJA MONDAY AND TUESDAY BRINGING SHOWERS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. SNOW LEVELS WILL LOWER TO AROUND 4000 FEET. ALONG AND WEST OF THE MOUNTAINS... RAINFALL AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM ONE HALF TO ONE INCH WITH AMOUNTS OF ONE QUARTER INCH OR LESS IN THE DESERTS. SNOWFALL OF SEVERAL INCHES IS POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAINS ABOVE 6000 FEET WITH LESSER AMOUNTS DOWN TO AROUND 4000 FEET.

So as the planet
Breathes in the cold dry air
breathes out the warm moist air

Enjoy the rain

Friday, December 9, 2011

This just in



















From the National Weather Service


... WET AND WINTRY WEATHER TO RETURN NEXT WEEK... .

A PATTERN CHANGE WILL TAKE PLACE LATER THIS WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK... SUCH THAT A COUPLE OF COLD PACIFIC STORMS MAY TAKE AIM AT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOR LATE SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY AND THEN AGAIN ON WEDNESDAY. THIS MEANS THAT THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR WET AND WINTRY WEATHER TO RETURN TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AS EARLY AS SUNDAY NIGHT.

As much as I like the offshore winds

The rest of the it
the dryness
the cold nights
and the out of control wild fires

are less to my liking

not that nature cares in the least

So as the pattern changes
as well approaching the
Winter Solstice
or the Summer Solstice
depending

let's take a moment
to appreciate
that things change

That the energy of the universe

waves



and feel free to wave back

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The corporate life

After two days of working part time at home
and battling hammer and tong with the first cold
I've had in quite a while

I have decided to take
my show on the road
and go into the office

Hopefully I won't be
spreading
the virus
around much

And since I can grunt
between hacking coughs
I can communicate
at the corporate level
quite nicely

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dude that's so sick!

I can't really say that I get that usage.
But the language is a living thing
maybe more like a process
for better communication
and people add to it as needed.

But I still don't get it.

The elixir in situ

Soon I'll be adding these beauties to the anti-viral arsenal


No persimmons on our tree this year but the colors on the leaves are spectacular 


Mustard greens (above) and Swiss Chard (below) don't seem to mind the cold temperatures we have had lately
Not a huge winter garden but enough
To see a really well done garden setup check out Ramsnakes raised beds!

This pumpkin vine volunteered at the wrong time of the year

Salvia Clevelandii or as I call it "the one by the garage"
Who doesn't love a salvia?
 California natives sages do their best this time of year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

There is no app for this

Nice looking single fin this guy has but when there are BIG chucks of ice on the beach I would have to pass
Came down with a cold overnight.

My wife promised me her chicken noodle soup for dinner which has never failed to fix me up.

Not a hard recipe and one you can eat for a lifetime.

If you want go vegetarian just skip the chicken and add some firm Tofu.

If pressed I could probably make it myself although I always defer to my wife's superior cooking skills.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds 
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 
  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 2 quarts chicken broth or canned low-sodium broth 
  • 1 quart cold water, 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 cups egg noodles 
  • Ginger 
  • Mustard Greens 

Preparation: Heat the oil in a brothpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken to the pot and pour in the broth. Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add back to the pot.
Add the noodles and let them cook until soft.
Grate the ginger into your bowl (about a half teaspoon per bowl)
Chop the raw mustard greens and add them to the bowl (as much as you want)
Scoop the soup in to the bowl.
Give thanks for the chicken who gave his or her all for this soup as well as expressing gratitude for the rest of the ingredients.
 
The soup will cook the greens which add a lovely peppery taste to the soup
The ginger works as an antiviral agent and is tasty too!

(G-Man, no word on how this works on the back, but it can't hurt)

Monday, December 5, 2011

SUM - Stand Up Matting


I've seen the best minds of my generation

confused on the concept

but it was too much fun to watch

so I didn't point out the error

in their ways



* With apologies to Allan Ginsberg

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Backwash


Heading off to steep beach this morning



maybe better to wait for the tide to drop

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That time of year again


This was last years tree but its time to throw on the roof racks and get a tree.

In other news there are rumblings over on FB in the super secret group "In George We Trust" that a mat meet is in the works.

More news as it, like some waves, break

Friday, December 2, 2011

Great new mat spot!




You could make it on the mat!



Love the song and I greatly admire the sound he is getting out of the cigar box Uke!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

High Wind Alert

This is all part of the glorious weather that we get here

Last weekend was warm with very little wind

Yesterday, today and tomorrow there are strong wind advisories

Here is a clip of the smoke from a fire a while back in San Diego county.



Bad poetry fragment written a few years ago.

My car is covered

with the ashes

of my neighbor's hopes and dreams


Please be careful as any small fire can suddenly become way out of control.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grimmies


As I mentioned in a previous post I was able to get into the water last weekend.

It had been a while and I was happy to enjoy the warm air and glassy surf conditions.

I paddled out along the state beach in a place with a small peak and a relativity small crowd of three.

I had gotten a couple when we were joined by a couple of grimmies.

Grimmies being a historical term now.  Having been replaced by the term grommets in general usage.

(although Kook is making a comeback and has some slightly different connotations)

These two young surfers had all the signs of just starting out.

Boogie boards (yes I still call them that) ill fitting wetsuits and one pair of fins shared between the two.

New to the sport

That said, they seemed to be having as much fun as anyone out.

Maybe more.

It made me ponder

I know that I,
arguably
surf better
now that way back then

But do I have more fun?

Has the overcrowding
and the competition for dwindling resources
so evident on land
spread to the sea
and robbed us
of that most cherished dream

“seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

News - North East West South


surfing alpaca

From the National Weather Service for Southern California

...STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM TO BRING VERY STRONG WINDS...COLDER
WEATHER AND POSSIBLE SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY...

A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL INTENSIFY AS IT MOVES SOUTH ACROSS THE
GREAT BASIN TO THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY WEDNESDAY INTO
THURSDAY. THIS WILL BRING A SHARP CHANGE IN THE WEATHER TO EXTREME
SOUTHWESTERN CALIFORNIA...WITH VERY STRONG NORTHEASTERLY
WINDS...COLDER WEATHER AND A SMALL CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.

Gardening note --

In addition to the implications to the local surf conditions I would suggest that you make arrangement's to protect any winter crops you may be growing.  The strong Santa Ana's, sometimes called "the devil winds" can be hard on any new growth. A good watering would be in order and if your plants are exposed then some wind protection might be advisable too.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter or Spring

Jelly Fish or Kitchen Scrubber?


Saturday and Sunday were beach days
out of necessity
Winter is here which means
Spring like temperatures.
Hot and Dry
With a side order of off-shore winds
Standard Thankgiving Feast 

The flag doesn't lie. No wind here.

By Sunday the swell had dropped but the weather was so nice you had to get in the water
just because.

I rode the Fatty today. 
A great day for it.
Just perfect.
Thanks Paul!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I believe in the healing power of salt water



I slept on the beach hoping it would clear my head
but my dreams were filled with images
that would have given Hieronymus Bosch pause


garden of earthly delight

I awoke to find a decent swell and a outgoing tide


I had no choice but to paddle out
and hope that 
the surf
would clear my mind


I paddled outside
and was suddenly swept out to sea
among humongous waves



My only chance was to catch a wave and try to make it back to land
fortunately I was on a mat!

snagged  one of the larger ones and surfed for hours continuously sliding toward what I hoped would be the shore and safety.

When I finally reached shore I found myself, suprisingly enough,back home in SoCal.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Something strange

Something strange on this trip
or normal really
things are looking far too regular
could it be?
am I really here?

Let me sleep on it

Meanwhile check out the UK Mat Surfers blog while I compose myself