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Two Hundred Miles Downwind

Morro Bay Amel Ketch

Tranquility as harbor

Coffee, always hot black coffee. No cream and no sugar, no thank you. Still even with a cup of fresh brew the skipper and crew were both bone tired. Anchor was hoisted at the top of the day. Deeper water was found as we dodged the kelp taking a course south and west . The jib was unfurled . We set course for Morro Bay twenty miles south.

Here would be our first chance to set foot back on land for more than just fuel. The harbor in Morro Bay would be the boat’s keeper. Her now worn crew needed to stand down. After two days we needed to tie the boat to a dock and once relieved of duty not consider for one second about the change of weather or state of the ocean’s surface. Shore side leave was the order of the day.

We docked at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. I dropped the radar reflector and hoisted the burgee of the Emeryville Yacht Club. Sweet Seas and crew were welcomed guests. We showered and shaved. Down the Embarcadero along the waterfront we took a stool at Windows on the Water. I drank one martini before and a glass of red wine with my fresh shucked oysters, garden salad and chunks of sliced bread. I was back aboard on my bunk and asleep before ten bells had sounded.

Richard Santos Best

Richard Santos- Longtime friend and crew

In the morning the ketch rigged vessel Spirit came alongside the pier. Her captain Tom Valery hailing from Ventura had come from a mooring ball to the dock to spend the day cleaning his 50’ Gulf Star. The one time Newport, Oregon native and musician now attended to an evolving set of new careers. The witty eyed sailor had plotted a post high pressure-high stakes musical career for the chance to go drifting from port to port in pursuit of his own next chapter.

There was a weekly Wednesday night barbecue at the club. Beef, turkey, salmon and veggie burgers were on offer. Six bucks got you all the fixings plus homemade side dishes whipped up by the clubs talented cooks. Conversation ran the gamut from dragging anchor to near misses in dense fog. The sailors with real sea time logged could not be worried about the inherent risks that come with going to sea.

vest

Skin in the Game

Seafarers understand the compact they’ve entered into. There is not much else to say. What choice does a mariner have? By my reckoning there are some risks in life that are best categorized as necessary. You stick your neck out because you’ll never live with yourself if you don’t. Rough weather is not much worse than a bad marriage, traffic citation or a beat up pickup truck with a broken starter. They’ll all make you cuss, drink whiskey and pile on more regret to the pile of mistakes you’ve already been carrying to this fated point in your life.

A yacht club is a collection of stalwart women and men who have some notion that a boat affords them a chance to take a chose shave with their life. There are all sorts of distracting dreams and destinations in the mix, but regardless of the aim or final port there remains the matter of surviving the getting there, even relishing that passage, making the voyage with skill and grace no matter the circumstances. Somewhere in the thing we know as sailing is a soul who needs to see an end to putting off the unavoidable.

gulls and seals

Time spent ocean sailing over the course of my thirty-eight years has been low. Most of my sailing has been in protected waters. I’ve done enough time offshore to have seen plenty. This stint is my longest yet. We’ve arrived in Morro Bay having now logged two hundred miles. Now we are just more than halfway. By my count I’ll have near nine hundred sea miles under my sailboats keel by the time I arrive back at my home port. By that time I’ll have a more intimate view of what my boat and what parts of my insides I’ve not flushed out into the open prior to this challenge. Sailing the coast of California turns out to be both a beautiful and hard won task.

More…  Edited Red Star

April 19,’18 Gridlocked in Tsunami Zone

Bio-Debatable Bat-Poop-Crazy 

Rattan Bike

Not the Destination? It’s the Journey? Are You Sure Sherlock?

We’ll say a quick hello… Thursday here in LA with Emeryville on our evenings itinerary. Got that? We’re aboard the vessel Sweet Seas.

Yesterday foolishly believing I could do better than be held hostage to the tyranny of Los Angeles traffic I took it to Malibu. There amidst the splendor the the brilliant and beautiful I walked along the shore briefly imagining I would speak with Dylan who wasn’t home and Cindy Crawford’s doorman who informed me that she couldn’t see me right now.

So instead I took a table at Gladstones where I’ve carved out heaps of almost free time- if you don’t count the $10 it costs to have valet parking hold your keys and car hostage until finished with that portion of the other part of the self indulgence you have so fruitfully come wallow in.

Highway One was bounded in traffic congested fender bending behaviors while I was completing the pleasant part of the adventure. Next came the extract the American from the inundation zone. Gladstones parking lot spit me out onto Sunset Boulevard and there snug and tightly fitted between others who had also taken to their automobiles I rotted away growing way too old way too soon on an otherwise lovely afternoon. A mere two hours and twenty-five minutes later I limped into my parking place in downtown some twenty plus miles away.

Let me leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite bachelors from one of my characters in Hot Spring Honeymoon.

Warm tubs

“You’re coming out for ‘naked night?’” Keefe asked.

“We’re going to have strong feelings for one of the guests.”

“What are you going to do with those pictures?” Keefe had a sly look on his face.

Glenna resolved. “Change how a person thinks…”

“Help him see the error of his ways?” Keefe asked.

“Finding a way to changing a man’s mind isn’t necessarily done by playing around with what he has between his ears,” Glenna said.

“A lot of men do their most penetrating thinking by way of another part of themselves altogether,” Keefe said.

“I’d say that holds true for near all the men I’ve ever known,” Glenna said.

Edited Red Star

April 15, ’18 Star Date

where are the cars

Over Under Sideways Down

A full week ahead. Saturday at Harvey Milk’s Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco. More LA in the mix.

A big shout out to the heroic work underway on our behalf and for the sake of this experiment in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You don’t want Sally Yates or Stormy Daniels feeling like you aren’t leveling with them. You cross them at your own peril and it seems that one rather prominent man in a position to know better has done just that.

My life aboard in Emeryville where we keep our sailboat is filled with some of the bravest, toughest, smartest, nicest beautiful inside and out women I have ever had the pleasure to know. They possess uncommon courage, wit and emotional insight. The women of Emery Cove are a gallant lot whether with a cocktail in their hand or a power tool. Look out, they are not to be underestimated. Ever

Edited Red Star

April 8, ’18 On Any Given Sunday

Buy a Book- Book a Show

You can click on my menu and look around. If you want to message me… our password protected smorgasbord of telecommunication options is open. Wonder what is happening today? Read on…

Vichy Catalan

For the Love of Life

Sky is clear and wind is calm. Spotted an osprey on wing over our boat. An auspicious sighting of a fishing bird destination unknown. Common terns are busy too. Oyster catchers paired and mated chase each other from the breakwater to the shoreline and back. Everything alive must have got the same memo that it’s Sunday.

My triple threat for the day is to continue reading Mailer’s Armies in the Night, go for a brisk long hike and not eat too much or the wrong things.

Last night we joined friends dining out on Fourth Street in Berkeley. Success is to not distract by discussions of what  we will and won’t eat. When dining out the cooks are using more salt, sugar and fat. Restaurants do not use less. That’s the state of play here in the Golden State. We have a life to live and they have a business to run. Compromise is required while we all learn to take better care of ourselves and each other. Eating mostly but not always vegan isn’t about beating up everyone out there who isn’t on the same page with all of us loitering here in the institute for nutritional virtue. I can’t say I blame them.

The challenge is much the same as a Sunday. Grace is a healing salve to bestow upon the day. My new diet isn’t so high-minded. I’m eating with care because I need to make better choices about what I put in my mouth. I’m well past the point where I can eat whatever I want. There are days the project is tiresome, dull and frustrating. A substantial portion of the whole of my diet has turned into a grand adventure.

Have compassion for your own life without losing sight of the lives of others. Be a good and happy example and don’t be a wet blanket. I’m not a proud vegan. I’m not a vegan. I eat as I can to what would be called a vegan diet without having my Sunday’s, humor or perspective self-delusionally swept out from beneath the skillful path I seek to set my best foot forward upon.

nantucket

Opportunity Before Me

Edited Red Star

April 4th,’18 Anasazi Beans and Sonoran Mesquite Flour Feast for Fools

Welcome… if you click around you’ll find information about my shows and books. Buy a book, book a show. Be sure to surf my digital frontier and message me. The switchboards are open.

Wheat-Barley-Rye-Buckwheat-Mesquite Flour 

Food of the Desert Dwellers

Mesquite Pancakes
Mesquite (Sweet and Spiceful) Pancakes

Beginning last August my wife and I embarked upon a gastronomic revolution. The idea was to tip the sacred cows over and leap into the culinary inconvenient truth of our eating too few and too familiar foods. We wanted to stretch our boundaries and we also wanted to rid our diet of empty calories and replace them with foods rich in healthful micronutrients that would fight off free radicals and enhance our cardiovascular well-being.

First off you’ll need to break the fever. In this case I mean habits. Old habits always die hard. With support from each other we began preparing nothing but whole foods plant based meals. At the start of our journey the first thing needing fixing was our taste buds. We tossed out the salt, sugar and booze. In two weeks time we could taste and identify flavors that had simply gone lost hidden beneath these too dominant other food and beverages.

Tucson Mesquite Flour
Sonoran Desert Mesquite Flour  has a Distinct Flavor all its Own

Otherwise things proceeded at an alarmingly positive pace. Once we slowed down and ate our meals with greater care we’d arrive at the end our much lighter meals feeling full. Feeling contentment after eating lighter, less oil based, more leafy-greens, less starchy, no meat meals takes a couple of skills. You need to chew your food slowly. You need to taste the flavorful meal. You need to be sure to use spices. Become friends with garlics, onions and curries. Shallots, cilantro, fresh made horseradish are flavor boosting helpers.

Downer side problems abound but not insurmountably so. We have issues. Won’t drill down but they exist and you’ll have to trust me when I say these are good problems to have.

 

Wagon Wheel Saloon
Patagonia’s Strictly for Medicinal Purposes Human Oil and Lubrication Joint

Our instrument is essentially the body and mind. Taking better care isn’t just about trudging at a low dull level. Eating with inspiration is a means of being good to yourself and when you are treating your life with kindness you are on the right track even if it takes a little more doing, time and care. Let’s get going peeps we have a world to save and fun to have.

Edited Red Star

April 3rd, ’18

In transit from Patagonia, Arizona today. Destination San Francisco Bay Area, think Emeryville via downtown Los Angeles. As ever buy a book, book a show and if you are so inclined surf around this site and find out more. More is good.

Oak Bar Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

In terms of restoration of the mental and spiritual faculties I spent the last few days hiking trails where I might take measure of where I find the state of my inner ship.

This is the game of eat a little-hike alot. Stomach, feet, hips, eyes and open the mind. Most of the ruts I found were more to do with the interior landscape than those I found at my boot.

Transformation Abounding

Taking in the lonely outpost of Santa Cruz County’s one and truly only … Patagonia is tonic and elixir. You put the time in and you get the less tangled up mind out.

I continue to put more time into the Desert Harvester’s organization based in Tucson and dedicated to eating all things Sonoran Desert. This entire idea of making available the micronutrients of an ecosystem by ingestion makes all kinds of common Sense. That’s a rut I want to climb out of. I’d like a broader understanding of what we can find right here unpackaged, unprocessed and fresh and edible. I know little and would like to understand more. Cornflakes are nice enough but what about all these other wonders of the natural world?

April Fool’s Day

A Cup of Black Mud
April Fool’s Day and you ended up here? You can buy a book, book a show, click around and find information about my work as a performer and writer. But, wait there’s more…

In Tucson this weekend hiking on Mount Lemon. Big Bug Trail didn’t disappoint. After horizontal respite plunged into quest for eating or drinking something regional, something from the Dessert Harvesters, something indigenous. How about a prickly pear-jalapeno margarita!!!! Sure. With salt or no salt? I asked that my rim come salted so that I might extract the maximum of things I normally would not do. I avoid salt like the plague and tequila like the pretty little thing that fakes twisting her ankle so that the gentleman may come to her aid.

Rock-Trail-Tree-Bush is Medicinal

Today I’ll head further south of Tucson to the Mexican borderlands near Patagonia, Arizona and hike along Soniota Creek with my binoculars to peek and be peeked back at by the avian special effects show. Sonoita Creeks too-tall cottonwoods make the entire project sketchy at best, but every so often I get lucky when a bird makes a mistake and we scare the devil out of one another before each bolting off in opposite directions. Needless frustrations are quelled by taking the hiking more serious than the actual seeing and identifying of the life we share this fragile world with.

I’ll remain nearby Patagonia at the Oak Bar Ranch. One of my kind, the busking-circus veteran kind is running the ranch. He’s boss to one wife who won’t be bossed, and a fair enough number of barnyard animals that don’t take no guff. This is as nature intended for a self made hard working show business type. You put your back into some tens of thousands of performances only to be ignored, disobeyed, and to your bitter disappointment utterly beloved for the human being you have turned out to be. Our standing up in front of all of you and scratching out a better than fair wage for doing so for what turns out to be most if not all our life scars our hearts up until the bile is near all gone and nothing remains but our having good things to say about the nature and generosity of the human spirit. That holds until it doesn’t and then we relapse like the rest of you into worrying about the entire project and humanity’s ultimate fate.

Birdwatching is today’s medicine.