Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Force Awakens


The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens Ticket with the Dark Side in the background!

On Christmas day I went and saw The Force Awakens with family. While some families have made a Christmas movie day a tradition, I had never done that.  It was kind of cool to be honest and I enjoyed it.  The new Star Wars movie was a tough sell for me. My younger days were built around Yoda, Ben Kenobe, Leia, Han Solo, Chewy, Luke and Darth Vader.  That cast of characters made special the trilogy that included Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  The first Star Wars in the late 1970’s was and remains one of the best movies I have ever seen.  The filming and special effects in that first Star Wars were innovative and ground breaking as far as I am concerned, and it is hard to imagine recapturing that magic after a gap in the continuance of the story from the three films I grew up with.  Call me old, nostalgic, or whatever you like, the Star Wars of my childhood was pure magic, and not to stand up and look back and say that things were best in my childhood, but,I am saying that Star Wars was better during that time.  Yes, apparently I am one of those guys!  It is always better in the past while the present and future don’t measure up or are falling apart. I am definitely not that curmudgeon so relax. Being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s was special and Star Wars was without question a part of those cherished memories.

I have no attachment to attacking clones, a phantoming menace or a returning sith, and I question the strategy of going backward before going forward. I realize that George Lucas started with the fourth movie in the story, and perhaps it was inevitable that the story went backwards in number before going forwards.  The only problem with that is the aging of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamil and Chewy!  Let’s be real though, Chewy doesn’t look a day older than he was in Return of the Jedi.  They are lucky that the three stars are still alive and kicking after years between the number 6 story and the Force Awakens.  Harrison Ford once again rolled the dice while crashing a plane that he was piloting.  Had he been unlucky, what do you do with the Force Awakens Story?  Will they make the next movie in time to take advantage of these character actors in the realm of the living?  They need to if for no other reason than to keep us 70’s Star Wars fanatics into this story.  I had no attachment or interest in Attack of the Clones, Return of the Sith or the Phantom of the Menace. I may go back and pick those up just so I feel like I didn’t miss anything, but let’s just say I am not chomping at the bit.

The Force Awakens was entertaining and worth venturing out for on a Christmas Day Celebration.   For you 70’s babies like me that were old enough to process and understand the first Star Wars Movie, the new movie in the series might fall a little short. I would even go as far as saying I will eagerly anticipate the next film whenever that may be.  Just like I want to make sure the old characters are alive for the next movie, so too would I like to be in the living when it comes out.  Yo Disney, are you reading this?  Please do not create these long gaps between movies.

There will be no spoilers here.  I can tell you that we were introduced to 4 or 5 new characters 3 of which I am imagining will have larger roles in the story told moving forward.  2 characters on the good side were fabulous in the movie and very likable as characters.  It gives the Star Wars franchise characters to move forward with as their aging predecessors continue to grow long in the tooth.  Based on their central roles in this episode and the fact that this old fart thinks it was crucial for Disney to find actors to carry this story forward, they did a good job.  While the Force Awakens is smashing box office records, I am saying they did a good enough job to pull even us nostalgic folks out of the wood work to continue watching the battle between the Force and the Dark Side.




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Music and Art


Music and art go so nicely together, but how do you bring the two perfectly together? Photographer and artist Scotty Carter, has lent his amazing water sculptures to the idea of bringing art and music together and the result is mind blowing.  Utilizing space down at his showroom at the new Laguna Foundation for the Arts Gallery, a 60 x 40 inch water sculpture displayed on canvas and mounted with speakers found the wall for the very first time. When the product was delivered, foundation partner Tony Cox, was playing his music on the speaker as it sat propped up against a wall and on a drop cloth.  I had no idea that it would sound that good and that the speaker art would become a viable product.  The art work plays at the command of a smart phone utilizing downloaded music from Itunes and Pandora and the sound is crisp and clean.  The unit comes with a charger to re-energize the speakers after several months of battery power are depleted.  Needless to say, the placement on the wall of this music and art canvas and the sound living up to the manufacturer’s praises were a part of a very exciting new day in the art world.

After the speaker manufacturer printed and delivered the unit to the gallery, it was clear that we had something, and the sound company that produces them wholeheartedly agreed.  So intrigued by the opportunity to have their speaker units on true art gallery walls, the sound company sent a television crew down to interview Scotty and our printer Sean Mac.  Tony also recognized the potential for cross-promotion and marketing with the unveiling of this new product and had a skilled construction guy there to finish a gallery wall specifically for the shoot.  The construction guy happens also to be a prestigious and well-known sculptor who has been commissioned by presidents for work.  Nick Hernandez Sr., a long time Laguna Beach local, is truly amazing.  He finished the wall and hung Scotty’s work.  I have never seen anyone hang a showroom or museum of art more precisely than this man.  It was an absolute pleasure to watch and we learned a thing or two from him.  We are incredibly grateful for your help Nick!  By the time he was done with his work, that part of the gallery was world class.  It was hung perfectly!

Scotty and our printer Sean MacDonald of Marco Fine Arts were interviewed in a piece that is headed for television.  I am told there is about a week of editing time on the spot but everything went tremendously.  I don’t think I have ever seen Scotty happier about the printing and display of his work.  He is very particular about that, and the way it was displayed in the gallery with Nick leading the effort, was incredible.  The speaker is a cool and modern way to offer Scotty’s work.  Tony, who has a long and notable career in music promotion, also sees huge, huge opportunities that we have agreed to explore together. What a tremendous gift it is to be a part of the Laguna Foundation For the Arts Gallery with a dedicated showroom displaying Scotty’s work. This new offering that allows music and art to display and play together is really magical and we are so excited to be a part of it.

When the commercial is out, I will provide more details.  If you get the itch to go down and see it, the address of the gallery is 1963 South Coast Highway in Laguna, California.  You will be surprised by the sound quality and appreciate this new way of combining music and art.  The applications for this in residential and commercial situations are really limitless.  Exciting times indeed!


Posted in Art Events, Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , , |



I don’t know a human being that doesn’t understand the meaning of the word exhausted and I am quite sure that everyone can apply that to times in their own lives.  I am unashamed to admit that I am exhausted and it certainly has affected the consistency of new content reaching the Aliso Beach website. I don’t enjoy the writing and projects any less.  I don’t love Aliso Beach and covering it through the website any less.  I don’t love the wave riders, beach enthusiasts and friends that frequent the beach any less.  My enthusiasm for the unpaid work I do as an advocate for Aliso Beach has not waned so it is hard to imagine, even for myself, why I have detached from the website a little bit.

Today, I finally decided that I am exhausted.  Ideas for writing aren’t flowing freely and a combination of work, artist representation and becoming a part of a new South Laguna Art Gallery, I find myself swallowed up and spit out.  Not to worry though, I am pretty tough and rebound pretty quickly.  I found myself inspired today when my Laguna friend Grace Wellsfry posted a photo of a pelagic red tuna crab that washed up among many others today in Laguna Beach.  I am inspired by the natural landscape that is unmistakably Laguna Beach so I always appreciate a heads up when something cool happens even when life and business circumstances do not allow me to be there.

Recharging my batteries is a necessity that I am working on with a momentary pause in activity.  Sometimes you just can’t keep a good pace without slowing the mind down, relaxing and gaining back the energy required to do a good job with whatever you are doing and those things that are important to you.  From now until the New Year, I may decide to recognize being tired and committing to a rejuvenation entering 2016.  I have stories that I have been working on that a busy work situation has torn me from and while for the moment I am putting them aside, I am getting back to them as soon as I feel the time is right.  In my effort to find ways not to spread myself too thin, I will be seeking people to help me with the Aliso Beach website project.  Those looking to work towards something that gives back to the marine environment at Aliso Beach and the greater Laguna coastline will be pleased with the opportunity.

I am exhausted today but tomorrow begins anew.  Keeping the pace I was on was highly unlikely chasing a bar and standard that I set that I probably had know business trying to meet.  It’s okay though.  Winding it down for 2015 will give me a chance to evaluate the purpose of the website and assess whether or not I have been true to that. My belief is that I am going to fall a little short when I take stock of the purpose of the website and how far it has come since the Fall of 2013.  Disappointing is one word that comes to mind when I think about this, but feedback I get from people related to the site and blog is tremendously inspiring. I will always enjoy the writing but it is gratifying to know that others enjoy it.  As you can tell, there is more than enough left in the tank to move the website project onward and upward with much left to do.

In early 2016, I will have select 2-4 photographers and artists to feature on the website with profits of sales benefiting a Laguna Beach Charity that works benefiting Aliso and South Laguna Beach.  This was always my intention but I have fallen a little bit behind.  It’s okay though.  I have to allow myself to get tired and to rest without thinking I have to power through no matter what. That is not a healthy or intelligent way of putting together the most informative website on Aliso Beach that features work that simultaneously benefits artists and charity.

2016 will be a big year for the Aliso Beach website.  I may be exhausted now, but I will find a groove that let’s me get back after it with the energy and enthusiasm that once was.  And so it begins January 1, 2016.  Merry Christmas everyone and I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!

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No Doubt


red pelagic crab, red tuna crab, laguna beach

Red Pelagic Crab Laguna Beach

There is no doubt as it relates to the presence of an El Nino affecting Southern California ocean waters.  Two years of ocean temperatures warm enough to wear trunks and a rash guard into December, two venomous yellow bellied sea snakes washed up on Southern California Beaches, increased shark activity along the shore including incidents with Hammerhead and Great White Sharks, incredible fishing, rare whale sightings and the the second coming of red pelagic crabs in Laguna Beach are all evidence of warm waters driven by El Nino.

We have had a lot of weather so far this year.  According to Irvine rain totals as of 2:00 pm 2015 rainfall totals measured in Irvine, California are at 6.49 inches and climbing as a slow and steady storm blankets Southern California with rain.  We have already surpassed rain totals from 2014 in Irvine, and with 4.79 inches of rain falling in 2015 for Laguna there is no doubt that we have blown by last year’s totals on what should be a wetter than normal year.  While we can expect Laguna Beach to have more rain than last year, El Nino’s wettest months tend to be January and February.  This means that while we will surpass 2014’s rainfall totals but won’t power past the 14.39 inch average annual rainfall for Laguna Beach in the calendar year.  Expect 2016 rainfall totals to be a higher than average rain year and to reflect the El Nino everyone now seems to agree is happening.

Powerful storms have also slammed the coast with dangerous waves and tidal surges causing flooding events.  The Ventura pier took a beating with 20 foot waves that took several bites out of it and causing it’s closure.  Some of the images that have come from that wave event show large waves swallowing a decent portion of the pier.  They will keep the pier closed at least through winter to assess the damage and make plans for putting it back together.  I have been predicting that this would be a year that piers would come down with the projected El Nino and the waves that typically come with the storms associated with this weather condition.  Let’s all hope that Huntington Beach, San Clemente and the piers of San Diego don’t endure a similar fate.  If this early season is any indication of what to come, they could be in trouble.  OC Beach Park maintenance workers have momentarily won the battle with tides and waves pushing sand into the parking lot.  This could be a year where waves are consistently in the parking lot which does put accessibility for beach visitors in question as Aliso Beach suffers from the determination of Mother Ocean when she is stirred up by El Nino driven storms.

My Laguna friend Gracie Wellsfry sent me a photo of a Red Pelagic Tuna Crab which normally lives at sea and calls tropical waters south of us home.  You may recall that shores along Balboa in Newport Beach were covered in a half foot of crabs earlier this year in a rare event along the Southern California Coast.  As far as I can remember, this is only the second red pelagic crab event that I have seen with the last one occurring in the 1990’s while body boarding at Manhattan Beach.  2 incidents in one calendar year is both unexpected and something I can’t recall ever happening.  You will enjoy the picture Gracie took from Laguna Beach and a red pelagic crab comfortably resting in a muscle shell.


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Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas, Christmas lights, Aliso Beach

Traditional Christmas lights at Aliso Beach

Merry Christmas!  There I said it heartfelt and unapologetic. I say it without the need to condemn people of other faiths or to make others feel I am above them on the basis of my own beliefs.  In saying Merry Christmas, I am genuinely wishing you and family a wonderful holiday season.  What you believe or what your faith is when I wish you a Merry Christmas is irrelevant to my desire to let you know I care and wish happiness and health to you, family and friends.

I think with all that is going on the world today people find it easy to disconnect from one another on the basis of faith and it works both ways.  I do not wish Merry Christmas to you to infringe upon your beliefs or to try and convert you to my own. I am simply extending my best wishes to you and family on a faith based holiday I know I observe but that not all Americans do.  It is a warm gesture and a sentiment that values people in an effort to find more reasons for togetherness and less reasons for divisiveness.  At the end of the day, we are all people experiencing life’s struggles on this  planet that rotates around the sun and spins around in a galaxy that is far too vast to believe we are all alone.  While Christmas has its roots in Christianity, wishing someone a Merry Christmas is an act of kindness.  It is an expression of love for people regardless of their faith.  All religions teach human compassion, kindness, understanding and love.  The gesture of wishing someone a Merry Christmas is a way for Christians to extend that compassion and love to others regardless of their faiths or religions.  There is no reason it can’t be viewed as an act of friendship and human compassion and yet it often feels like Christianity is on a hot seat.

One of the greatest freedoms we have in this country is freedom of religion.  People have escaped violence, torture and persecution to get to this country where they may practice their faith without the atrocities committed against people like we see in the news.  I take no issue with that and celebrate the diversity, but I do not want the act of wishing someone a Merry Christmas to come with the expectation that I apologize because we don’t share faiths.  I don’t utter those words with the expectation that you join my religion and in fact, my heartfelt wishes for you this holiday season come unencumbered.  There is no pressure to do anything when I extend those wishes to you.  Hopefully, when you hear Merry Christmas, you smile and accept that as a sincere wish for you during a holiday season celebrated or not, to enjoy good health, family, friends, peace and happiness.  That is all it needs to be, nothing more, and nothing less.  I get the feeling that in today’s world, this nauseating expectation of political correctness is starting to suffocate good people of all faiths.   I will not let this reality or perceived reality, to drown out my holiday spirit.  Merry Christmas from the team at Aliso Beach, where a diverse group of beach enthusiasts, wave riders and visitors all come to enjoy good surf, fire pits, drum circles, warm sand, sunsets, tranquil blue water and moments of peace in a chaos-filled world.  It doesn’t matter where you are from or the faith you practice at Aliso Beach.  If Aliso Beach brings you peace and happiness, we say welcome and enjoy!

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Happy Birthday Ron Pringle


Happy Birthday Ron Pringle.  Laguna native Ron Pringle is someone I have had the chance to get to know a little bit over the years.  51 years young today, I imagine he is out looking for a few waves to celebrate another day of life. If you read what he writes on social media and you truly hear what he says, you know he sees life as a gift. A talented musician, body surfer, all around waterman and smart dude, I have always enjoyed talking with him.  He has always said hello and stopped to talk with me when we cross paths and I have always really appreciated that. I would say that Ron understands people and that he genuinely takes interest in others.  He is the kind of guy that anyone would be glad to call their friend and he makes others feel like they matter.

Happy Birthday Ron Pringle.  Hope your special day brings you together with family, good friends and plenty of waves.  See you soon!

ron pringle, laguna beach, south laguna, aliso beach

Ron Pringle doing what he loves!


Posted in Aliso Beach Tagged , , , |

Foam Top Board Carnage


With a high surf advisory in effect, there were a lot of eyes on south orange county beaches looking for good waves.  Predictably, Aliso Beach had heavy shore break waves that were good enough for wave riders to tame a few beasts.  The first thing I noticed when I crossed the sidewalk to the sand from the parking lot was a foam top surf board in two pieces leaning against a trash can.  It took less than 5 minutes of watching a 5 pack of two body boarders and 3 foam top board surfers to see a young dude get swallowed up by a good size barrel and crack his foam top board in two.  When the surf gets that big, and knowing how coming out of a barrel at Aliso Beach is rare, it is not difficult to wrap the mind around foam top board carnage. Yesterday’s conditions were a perfect recipe for leaving the beach with a foam top in two pieces. The resulting foam top board carnage should be surprising to no one.

In between the fellas trying not to crack their foam tops in half, local Wedge rider Whale was gliding into some big rights with impressive style.  His effortless drop knee take offs and barrel travel time were incredible to watch.  Having been a friend of Henry Long for decades, I really appreciate the way Whale attacks rights in a drop knee stance.  Every time I looked back out at the lineup while talking to a friend on the sand there Whale was picking off some of the best waves I saw that afternoon.  I would say he concluded his surf session very happy.  The guy was absolutely ripping!

I don’t know what the return policy is on these foam top boards but it has to be a pain in the you know what to be constantly breaking them.  With a high surf advisory expected to last until 6:00 pm this evening, I would be shocked if there weren’t the remains of additional form boards today.  Hopefully, I can get out of work in time to go get a few myself this afternoon.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Surf, Aliso Beach Waves, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach Tagged , , , , , |

No Wet Suit December


Well I have finally made it and can say I have trunked it from April to December.  8 months of no neoprene or smoothie with warm water extending into a no wet suit December. When I got out of the car yesterday at Aliso Beach, the offshore wind was howling through the canyon with a bone shivering cool that pierced my new Left Coast hoodie. I had my doubts about wearing trunks.  After getting a cup of coffee in Dana Point and having a brief conversation with the inspirational American Wayfarers, I got to Salt Creek and almost talked my self out of this quest to trunk it until December.

I told my friend and fellow body boarder that I was going to roll down the street and get a wet suit.  He told me that he would head back home to study for a professional exam that was coming up because he didn’t want to paddle out into the 4-8 foot surf alone and without the benefit of a second set of eyes watching over him. So, I gave in and decided that I would deal with the cold water no matter what.  Patrick volunteered to wear his spring suit so that I didn’t feel like an ice cube all alone.

trunks in december

Body Board Gear for December 2015.

When we got down to the sand, I noticed the cold in the grains of sand as I walked towards the water.  I put my fins on and stood at the water’s edge testing the cold and watching big sets stack up on the outside. The water wasn’t so bad and I felt based on my ankle to knee deep experiment that the ocean temp was tolerable enough to green light this no wet suit December. I got to waist deep and a little bit of a chill hit me.  I used my Cartel Board to shield some of the white water rushing towards me in the shore break so that I didn’t have to process the cold all at once.  As I got deeper and my reaction to the water hadn’t changed for the alarming, I plunked down on the board and stroked for the line up.  I quickly had to duck my first wave and it was on!  The waves were a little bit wonky and warbly but their were some good sets with some liquid real estate to play on.

I don’t know why I am so fascinated by trunking it this far into the season. Everyone else is in full wet suits so I might be a little crazy.  Last year my run of trunks ended at the end of November, although I must admit that I sat at the water’s edge last year talking to Ron Pringle who was in trunks at Aliso in December on an 80 degree day.  I could have trunked it last December but chose not to paddle out that day.  The waves just weren’t that good.  It is remarkable to get waves in a no wet suit December.  I don’t know how far this will go but the water still seems to be around 65 degrees despite reports giving a range of 62-64.  I am happy that I am still wearing trunks, and while I know the days of this are numbered, will continue to wear them.

I ran into Stan Moniz in Northern Laguna, and he also was in trunks photographing the shore break.  I have way more insulation than he has if you know what I mean. I was shocked, if not a little bummed, to see someone else in trunks yesterday.  My trunks deep into fall experiment was a lunacy I had hoped to reserve for myself.  It would not surprise me to run into Pringle in trunks so it is impossible to claim the no wet suit December for myself.  I can say, however, that this is the deepest I have been in the Fall Season wearing trunks and I am both proud of that and stoked!  I prefer not wearing a wet suit and El Nino certainly has delivered unseasonably warm water to South Orange County and Southern California.  When the weather reverses and we experience a La Nina, I am expecting colder water to be more prevalent and extend further into the spring and earlier into the fall. We will see!  As for today, it will be one more in the no wet suit December!



Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Stories, Salt Creek Tagged , , , |

Spearfishing Pitfalls


Spearfishing is not something you will catch me doing these days with the regular Great White Shark encounters wave riders and kayakers are experiencing along the Southern California coastline. From Surfside Beach to San Clemente, there is a growing presence of Great White Sharks, sightings and encounters.  Whether these occurrences are El Nino driven with warm water or simply a matter of Federal Protections for Seals and Great White Sharks helping populations coming back to healthy levels, the fact is that we are seeing more and more activity off our beaches.

I am aware that people love spearfishing.  If I were going out regularly to spear fish, I would be concerned with the attention a struggling and bleeding fish would create.  Great White Sharks can smell blood from miles away and they do appreciate free meals. There have been a number of sightings in San Clemente and it is generally known that juvenile great white sharks congregate off of San Onofre a short distance to the south.  We know they are in the area.  For a lucky young man spearfishing with his dad and brother, he was able to fend off an aggressive Great White Shark.  Said to be around 9 feet long, the teen had to repel several attack runs by the agitated shark.  The Patch reported that San Clemente High School Student Kainoa poked the attacking shark in the nose in a battle to get to shore safely.  I am happy to mention that he is just fine and has an amazing story to tell.

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to be sitting in a boat large enough to dwarf a large Great White Shark in the current environment of shark encounters and sightings from in and out of the water. Spearfishing, while I am sure is fun, is just not worth attracting attention from one of the deadliest creatures in the sea.

Posted in Aliso Beach Stories Tagged , , , |

Art Walk Laguna


Do not miss Art Walk Laguna this Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at Laguna Foundation For The Arts gallery !  Water Sculptures from Scotty Carter will have a half room dedicated to the celebration of water in a portrayal of waves that is extraordinary and beautiful.  No two water sculptures are alike with mind bending intricacies, color and detail.  It may be said that this is the best exhibit yet in the notable career of Scotty Carter as an artist and fine art photographer.  For this gallery and Laguna Beach Art Walk, some of his best work has been curated and displayed as finished products.  You will find that most of the pieces are framed, and the purchaser needs to do nothing but hang it in their desired spot.  There will be a couple of acrylic display pieces that while unframed, are finished and ready for display.  I feel like this is Scotty’s most ambitious, complete showing and that it will be enjoyed and talked about for some time.

In preparation for the December Art Walk Laguna, Tony and Stan are making things happen.  The room Scotty will be exhibited in is close to being finished.  The hanging party will be held tomorrow night or Thursday morning.  There is still much to do but everyone involved is super excited. The floor is being finished and sealed as well as track lighting being installed in the room which will show the art the way it should be.  It is going to be awesome!

Come join us at Art Walk Laguna on Thursday.  Scotty Carter art is a must see and don’t forget, purchases made through Laguna Foundation For the Arts include a 30% tax deductible donation credit. The foundation is a 5013c charitable organization making possible the a valuable tax deduction.

We hope to see you there!

Posted in South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , |