Overview of the Past Few Weeks

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My wife and I have been going through the very challenging process of obtaining her Permanent Resident Visa for a very long time. Due to some speed bumps on the road of life, it put the breaks on the process and at times things crawled along like a sick turtle. But over the course of the past year, we have seen things move forward in a very unexpected speed. So imagine our surprise when we received notice that within slightly over a month we were to have our final interview in Rio de Janeiro!

It is hard to plan a vacation months out so imagine telling your employer that you were taking off for several weeks and then you had to find tickets and a place to stay as you prepared for one of the most vital weeks of your relationship. And I forgot the other exams that had to be done and scheduled before the final interview. Not to much pressure!!

Need More Stress?

Why not!

So within a few days of landing, I discovered 2 things that added more problems. The first was that due to some instability in Rio, that at times I could only withdraw up to $500 reais from the ATM a day. The second thing was my bank was overzealous with security and at times was declining the odd requests for money even after I had told them that I was traveling to Rio! So getting by at times was not fun and resulted in a few meals of Ramen Noodles while I called my bank to straighten out the issues!

The Huge Day!

The process was rather odd and was done a lot faster than what we imagined. After answering a few basic questions, our long struggle was finished. Then just like that, the tone of the trip turned from jumping hurdles to enjoying our time together. The bank got their act together and I could get my money and we began to explore places in Rio that I have never seen in all of the times that I have been there.

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We visited some historic churches and museums and took in the sights at Arpoador and the other beaches. We also went to Corcovado as well and I marveled at the view while combating my fear of heights. Believe me…it is high!!!

Now I am back at home and we are waiting for some final things which will help us map out our next step.

Things are moving forward!

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How to End Kookdom

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Hello Kook!

As a surf coach and a former contest guy, I had the joys of analyzing a lot of surfers. The good ones had a solid base so it was matter of making tiny changes. For surfers on the opposite end of the spectrum, the changes are easier to find and to work on because the problems are obvious.

But let us say that you came to me and you are fairly new to surfing or just not doing as great as what you would want. For me, I would just head straight to ground zero and fix the problem that pretty much either makes you the good guy at your beach or a surfer stuck in a stink bug stance that people are shaking their fists at because you blew a good wave. And the answer lies in the last sentence.

YOUR STANCE!!!

Analyzing my Photo

In this photo, I am doing a slide off the top so at this point I am not trying to involve the rails. For our purposes, it is great because it illustrates what beginners can not do.

So looking from my waist to my ankles, you can see that my front leg and back leg are doing two completely different things. My back leg to my back knee are cocked forward while my front knee is more stable. They are unequal. If they were both in the same balanced stance, I would not be able to turn very well at all.

There is where most surf school instructors doom their students to a life of stink bug mayhem. They fail to enforce it in new students to ride with their weight on one leg or the other and the majority of the time it should be your back foot.

In fact, if you are having issues and you have just read my post, go out for a surf and catch some waves. Once you stand up, keep bending your back knee and putting weight on your back foot and lighten up on your front leg and see what happens.

And the final analysis of my photo is my upper body. You should be upright and not folding forward at your waist. This does nothing for your ability to turn because if you want to surf well, you need to turn to the opposite direction as well and that requires you to roll your board onto the outside rail.

So work on this and see if your surfing improves.

And I will gladly answer any questions related to improving performance issues!

Talofa!

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The Bridge

Anderson Street

 

The SideWedge has a few people that comment regularly but mainly most of it now seems to be on Instagram. However, this site will always be my first-born baby for so many reasons. Mainly because it serves as my bridge. And I hate typing real stories out on a phone. It seems unnatural!!!

Regarding the statement about the bridge; our past is a fickle thing. Most of us look back and see the best times. We see our youth and our adventures. And I have loads of adventures to write about! But the past is gone and you can not drive a car peering into the rearview mirror. You have to look through the giant windshield and see what is coming up.

As for my site, it serves as both to me. It is my bridge. I can see my past accomplishments which motivates me to do better. The blog also makes me think of ways to be more positive and to post things that serve some kind of purpose instead of being negative. I experience things and then process the impact it has upon me and then I have to make some decisions. I have to decide if what I write will anchor me in the past or move me forward.  As you can tell by my poor output level of posts, most of what I experience I tend to toss in the garbage.

To go on further, I have read all of the tricks to the trade of getting viewership. Tell a great story! Post on a regular schedule. Offer something. But on my long trek over the past 6 years, I decided to just post when I had something good to say. The other days, I made the choice to just sit alone and map out a way to improve my life without taking the low road in dealing with some issues.

My Late Night Stroll

The other night, it was raining and I was needing to get out of the office so I took a walk down the site of our newer performing arts center and I looked at the long center island that was now in bloom with flowers. It was once a concrete median and now it is a flower bed that compliments the area. It was created by my team and they struggled with it for the short time that I have been at my new job. But now it has paid off!

When you let people do their jobs, you would be amazed at what can happen.

I endured a long time of the opposite. Stories that could have been hundreds of sensational posts about the worst behaviors of managers. But I did not do this. I knew I was better. I knew that I could find something better and I have.

Now only a few months into the job, I am helping my new employer make changes and they welcome it.

As I have posted before, the tides will always change. The winds shift.

You have to be prepared to ensure you are ready to move on across the bridge.

 

 

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Full Speed Ahead!

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My New Work View

 

 

Wow!

That is about all I can say.

When you are in dire straits, broke, and things are not going your way; it seems your life comes to a stand still. You sit at home. Things break and you do not fix it. You fall into a monotonous trap. You are stuck but the world moves on.

These few months that does not seem to be the case. As for me, I want to write about things but a few days later something else pops up. So for now, I will just write a few short blurbs on what is going on with me.

Surfing – The only low in my life but with sunny days seemingly not far off.

When I was dead broke, I had to make some decisions. One was my board. My shaper seemingly had bailed on me and my board was falling apart. So I had to get something to get me through as they say. I chose a board that experimental and a Firewire. Firewire boards are as tough as nails. I just do not like them. So I began to ride it and it was never a good fit. As for quickly replacing it?? Never happened and I was stuck with a dud.

So one day as I was leaving the water, I spotted an old pro surfing friend who shapes boards. He basically told me why I hated my board and spelled out what he believed would be good for me. We shook hands and I drove home thinking about what he told me. By the next day we had made a deal and today he texted me that my board is almost completed. So happy times are once again on the horizon for good old Steve.

When the board is done, I asked him to do something different with the art work on the board. I will post a picture of it. It is for an interesting reason.

Work – Parts of my new job are not easy but it is different. You can handle some adversity when you feel like someone is appreciating what you are doing. This was absent in my last job. I also am working on projects that have real meaning to the community. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed going to work and this has been a breath of fresh air.

My Poor, Poor Wife – For years with the problems at hand, our life has been a roller coaster ride. Most of the time, the roller coaster was broken down and we were sitting in the car waiting for repairs. Now, suddenly it has shifted gears and it seems every few weeks something positive happens. This morning I checked my email and we seem to be scheduled for an interview in Rio de Janiero in a few months. So finally it seems we are on the track to being like every normal couple and we can throw things at each other in person!

So that is that!

I hope to write some more soon!

 

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Personal Freedom or Neglect?

City Camping

Just enjoying my choice of being a full time camper.

 

 

Frequently, I have written about focus, and about self-improvement. Useful topics that can help with surfing and also can be used in life in general. Todays post is a bit different than most but it ties in with choices and living our one given life to the fullest.

From experience, I have first hand knowledge of subjects that are not so cheery. Sandwiched in between wonderful days of traveling and friendship has come some dreary times…especially considering some events happened when I was a teen. Drug use, incarceration, suicide, and mental illness are a few subjects that I know to well. Do not fret, some of these were obviously done on behalf of my group of friends. Also, as an adult, for 3 years I worked once a week as a staff assistant at a food bank/re-employment center. Now I am actively dealing with a problem that covers the United States and that is the homeless crisis.

Now before moving on, we need to understand a few facts.

The sidewalk area falls in the public right of way. In this zone, you can meander, sit around, and do what you want within the laws. Once you break a law such as assault or public urination then you now become a criminal suspect and can be arrested. As long as you are not bothering anyone, you have the right to sit at a bus stop and not catch the bus for example.

To further the problem, lawmakers have chosen to carry out their agenda by framing this situation in a way that only a person far removed from reality of daily living would ever dream up.

Hijacking the concept of personal freedom and responsibility, lawmakers began a campaign to cast the poor as people deserving of bad outcomes. Worse, former President Reagan help to spearhead a dismantling of the countries mental health hospitals. The narrative is that the homeless have chosen not to work hard and some even are just choosing to spend their days out doors. A modern Box Car Willy…enjoying a life of riding the rails for fun and adventure. This cartoonish outlook sweeps under the rug the fact that many have chemical dependency issues and mental illness. But to me, knowing a person has only one life, how neglectful is it to not work towards giving someone treatment and to allow them to spend their precious life sleeping on plastic bags in a planter of a local business?

So now for how this affects you besides dealing with being accosted for spare change while you try to take care of daily routines.

We all pay taxes. Taxes are used by a city to build a park. Operate business offices. Cut trees along the road. Pave your local streets and a whole lot more.

When referendums come up for a tax increase, most people will vote no. So the city has to balance priorities. Should we hire more law enforcement officers? Pave the bad road with pot holes. Build a bike trail to the new school so kids do not have to ride in the street?

The homeless tax that system even further. Most cities do not have the extra money to build 24 hour public restrooms so past the closing time of the local park; the homeless begin to use closed off areas as public restrooms. The city pays someone to clean the area and to remove the dirty clothes that are abandoned because the homeless do not have access to washing machines. If they do not, the waste can become a health issue. Further down the line, the situation taxes the local police force who have to deal with the criminal activity and they are forced to play mental counselor.

So at the moment, most urban areas are taking part in a game. The game is called shuffle the problem. An area becomes a hot spot due to it being out of the public eye. An old run down parcel of land, an overpass, a corner of a park. Then comes the permits or a new development close by and the complaints start. The homeless are sent packing to some other location. This game is doable in some areas and some are taxed beyond their limits. All it takes for the areas holding steady is a drop in the economy and the problem balloons to a point that it becomes intolerable.

The Camp Out

A few times a week I take a sidewalk that once led to an office area of a local business but now falls into a highway project area. I pass people of all ages and race on this sidewalk to nowhere. I walk past blankets, bicycles tied to trees, tents, and plastic black garbage bags filled with belongings. Every week I stand in about the same spot. I stand next to one of the constants. A long blue blanket nestled next to a concrete wall. A few feet away on the other side of the wall, thousands of residents zip by in their cars on a local street on their way to work. An unseen existence for a blue blanket that is as anonymous as the human wrapped inside of it. I often wonder who is under the blanket.

One day my team was visiting the area and the noise made the blue blanket move around. Then out popped the groggy face of a woman. Grey hair adorned her head. She appeared to be in her 60s. She looked over to me and I gave her a thumbs up and she pulled the blanket back over her.

This could be Aunt Sue or Grandma Patty to someone.

The faces cover the gamut. Old, young, Hispanic, Caucasian, and African-American.

Wrapping it all up.

If you were to ask most people, they would feel that they do things at work that takes some effort. Addressing this situation will not be easy for the congressmen. Instead they choose to focus on nonsense because nonsense can get people emotional. Listen to the news…Our borders are under attack while data shows the actual amount of crossings are dropping. It is a lot easier to make a person believe that a poor terrorist in Douma, Syria, is currently on Priceline negotiating to take a flight to the U.S. minus a visa then it is to do actual work such as taking care of people with nothing.

A solution…Write someone who wants to have an easier day at work than what you experience.

Drop an email to your Senator and Congressman and feel free to ask about this issue as well as anything else that is bothering you.

Make Them Work for You Again! And make them work on behalf of the people in their districts who they also work for…the people they forget about who have no way to contact them and remain hidden under a blue blanket behind a highway divider.

 

 

 

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Pivoting

So the past few weeks have been somewhat interesting. We were hit with a large swell and as my luck has been lately, I could only surf when the swell was far from good. I managed to find myself out of the water when it was great and in the water when it was less than perfect.

For the first day of the best swell, I arrived to find some difficult conditions. Strong winds, a disorganized and building swell, and a lot of current. This caused me to lose focus long before I paddled out. I frantically paddled around seeking a good, rideable section.

On the drive home, it started to dawn on me that although I was the top guy in the water; I had strayed far from a good session. Sure I went fast and I also had very long rides as well. However, my inability to keep myself focused caused me to race the waves far more than what I needed to do in order to pull off any quality turns.

Later that night, as luck would have it, I fell ill and spent the next two weeks barely able to make it to work. It was not a fun time. But it was a time to reflect on what I did wrong.

This past Sunday, I drove to the beach just as the last swell way dying out. I expected far greater conditions to be honest but I was not going to let an opportunity slip on by me. I checked a few spots and I just was not feeling it so I took a drive down to Sebastian Inlet.

Upon arriving, I saw it was not so hot here either but I ran back to my car and grabbed my equipment and headed down the path to the beach. Then I stopped and made my plan. I went over a few key points and hit the water with far better results.

What Makes a Pro?

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Waiting for the correct moment to present itself!

 

Take any activity.

Singing. Golfing. Football. Surfing. Auto Racing.

Imagine a pro golfer hitting every shot as hard as they possibly could. A singer screaming as intensely as they can for every note of every song. A boxer wildly swinging. One can easily see that someone who did this would either not have a long career or would hardly win.

A pro tennis player knows that they can do a hard return or they could fool someone with a low energy drop shot. A boxer knows to strike when there is an opening. And surfing is the same way. You have to keep yourself in the zone and strike when there is an opening…or wait for an opportunity.

By keeping myself focused and on plan, I was able to make the most out of conditions that the other surfers struggled to deal with. My goal was to stay light on my feet and to keep focused on finding the power pockets to snap off of.

Give it a shot. If you are blindly paddling around and surfing (or doing any other activity) without a plan and not setting markers then how do you know if you are improving or meeting your expectations?

It can be something as advanced as repeating certain maneuvers over and over or just remembering to stand up taller and opening up your shoulders when you are riding down the line.

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Welcome Back

 

 

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I am back!

I read posts from another blogger I know who was lamenting about the battle to write when you are down. I knew that I had to stop and write. Write something!

So today I came home and opened up my box of Shoes for Crews shoes. The past few months I have noticed that my shoes were getting very bad. Bad like before bad. I stopped myself and told myself that I needed to snap out of it and buy shoes. Having good shoes is important. A long while back, it was far more different. I was so moved at the sight of new shoes that I made throwing out the old ones a long ceremony. I even wrote a post and never sent it out. I realized that writing a post regarding throwing out a pair of 50 dollar shoes was pretty sad. As sad as wearing the same shoes for way over a year.

People thankfully fail to look down. I was a manager. Dressed in decent clothes. Wearing shoes that barely had cushion. Driving further than I should have been driving. Taking toll roads to make it to work on time. A severed vein spitting out money from my account. Working with a team that cared less about me or my future success. And being hired with a goal in mind and then ignored when I tried to offer solutions to the problems that they hired me to solve. A demoralizing existence.

So today was odd. I needed something and I went online and ordered it and it arrived today. I did not have to plan out every penny in my account and plan out every expense. And double check to ensure the numbers added up.

A lot has changed for me in a very short amount of time. After 5 years of constant turmoil, I feel it almost impossible to accept where I am. It is like when Tom Hanks is rescued in Castaway and he sleeps on the floor instead of the bed. Having something normal does not feel normal.

But finally as I wrote for years, the tide has changed.

I am working with a team. I am speaking and participating and my ideas are being heard.

Sure I am not on the beach. But why be close to the beach when you can only stand on a balcony and watch the rest of the world enjoying it while you are miserable?

So today I am writing my post rooted in now and it is time for some honesty. For the past few years it was more of a charade. I realized that my posts about change and working hard to solve your problems were not ever written for any of you to be motivated. They were aimed at myself. I was coaching myself to get back up on my feet and not to give up. The old surfing photos were put up to show myself who I once was and what I was capable of doing.

Welcome Back Steve.

 

 

 

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