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?

SZ27

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

 

 

Dark

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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Pro Surfing Newsletters

 

Country Feeling

Old ASP (Pre-WSL) Newsletter

Aloha!

While doing some digging, I came across some old Association of Surfing Professionals newsletters. Back in the dinosaur days, email and other fanciness was out of the picture so it was up to fine people such as Nancy to write out newsletters and mail them out to keep people informed.

Also, it really drives home the point of how many events they once had. Now there are two tours in pro surfing. A qualifying tour and the championship tour. Back in the earlier days, the athletes were traveling all over the globe and you never knew who you would surf against. So you could have a few Australians champions showing up in New Jersey to get points.

Tropix

Interesting times and an interesting find in my house/museum!

Largest Surf

 

 

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Filler

So much is going on in the world and within my life these past few months that I could churn out 10,000 posts. The problem for me becomes what is really important. And what is important as far as investing my energy is concerned.

This is a time of change for me. The onboarding process for my new job has been very slow. I attended a memorial service for my the father of one of my friends and once again seeing people at the service had a profound effect on me. Dolores O Riordan passed away. The president is not making me happy. This alone could be countless posts!

But really, what is worth my time and energy?

Then I saw this written by Harley Flanagan who is the lead singer of the hardcore band, The Cro-Mags.

Wishing death on someone, even someone you hate is not only bad for you spiritually and mentally, but pointless. Their death is inevitable, and so is yours. Instead wish that they somehow will become a better person. We all die, we don’t all become better people.

– Harley Flanagan

Sadly, we do not all become better people. Some simply do not want to improve. Some will not stand up when they see injustices taking place. So the amount of effort one puts towards changing or enlightening others should be minimal if you can see they are not receptive or do not want to listen to your offerings.

Sometimes you have to put more effort into improving yourself and being more positive to others with your increased energy.

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New Day Rising

NDaRizing

As a young lad, my wonderful mum (not a person cut out for the internet) told me that I should not bore people with my problems. Unfortunately, this has stuck with me and I am far from an attention seeker. Positive or negative.

The Post Fishworld Years

Years ago, I was working for a large company and things were going swimmingly. Then a lot of things went sour. The company was bought out and parts of it were sold off. A co-worker would pass away and the event would become a highly controversial film (which I can tell you is mainly incorrect). The company struggled and the new owners did what they do best and they laid off some of the staff. I was the first person in the history of my company to get the boot. Lucky me!

This was during the end of the financial debacle and I struggled to find employment.

Then a friend cheerily called me. What she said was not very positive. Basically she told me that the place she was working at is looking for a member of management because our other friend couldn’t stand it and left which leaves a position open. It is terrible but it is a paycheck.

Sign me up!

So my journey began. Always a disaster and a promise of something improving that never came. What happened was something out of a tragic novel; but sadly, it was my life!

I lost a lot of time. My car repeatedly broke down. I lost some people who I viewed as friends.

Then during one of the major plot twists of the tale, I just pulled myself way back and did some deep introspection. I had to just work on Steve. If people wanted to work against me then I would let them do that because their poor choices were for them to own. I am an expert in my field so my work will trump their actions.

Christmas Gift

After the change in my strategy, things just fell into place. I left the company and landed a local government position.

The other day I was checking my voicemail and heard a message I missed from my new employer. Basically, my new boss worked out a pay rate at the higher end of the scale. He said he wanted to show that they were committed to keeping me around. What a change in my life!

So to anyone reading this who is going through hard times, I fully understand what it is like.

I understand going without.

I understand watching other peoples lives moving along while you can only just plant yourself and try to get by.

When one issue pushes you miles backwards and you know that you are going to have to push on yet another time.

But there is more out there. You just have to figure out what you have to do to get there.

When things were falling apart at my old job, they would ask me if I could take on one more task. I did. I did because although it would not help me there; it could help me someplace else.

So 2018 is on the horizon and for me it will be the end of a long, hard time and the beginning of a better journey. And a lot more surf adventures.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Words From Our CEO

Fancypantsme

Hello Wedgies! Or Wedganoids, or whatever else you are interested in being addressed as…

First off, as asked by my buddy Mulletkiller…What is going on with your site? No activity!

Well, I must report that I am alive and this is an excellent thing because the opposite would be non-productive to my site.

As evidenced by the two pictures below, I have been surfing but not as often as I would like.

 

So, now the business.

I will begin to post new content soon. I actually also now own a GoPro camera so who knows what kind of nonsense I can whip up with that. I can assure you it will not be anything filmed from the nose looking back at me jerking around like a convulsing mental patient.

On a personal note, I have a few domestic issues to take care of. I have a normal career and have been employed in the Hospitality Industry for a long time now. It would be nice to make a living off working in the surfing industry but that is not on the immediate horizon at this point in my life.

So hang tight. I will be writing my heart out soon enough!

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