Category Archives: Surf Report

Surf Report 2014.05.24 —

This week I’m trying something new by taking a page from Juls the Indecisive Eejit and writing a newsletter-style format. If it works out, I may make it a weekly feature using material that I aggregate throughout the week – effortless sharing at its best. If you want to be part of the process, feel free to drop some feedback in the comment stream so I know . . . you know – whether you care, what works, what doesn’t, etc.


The Week in Review
     Current Conditions
     Favorited Tweets of the Week
     The Week in Pins
     Featured Blog
     Song of the Week
     Video of the Week
End Message & Exit Poll

The Week in Review

(Photo credit: Renato Ganoza)

You may remember that I took Tuesday off to interview for a job; it was for a position as a railroad carman for BNSF railroad, who runs all the rails in the United States west of the Mississippi. In fact, I felt like I bombed that interview and I must have been on to something, because the very next day I received an email saying that I was not selected to go forward with the hiring process.

I always felt that it was cold and impersonal to replace a face-to-face interview with the personality tests that you see a lot of employers using nowadays; the moment they started doing this (I remember as far back as the late 90’s, when Blockbuster video started using computer kiosks for hiring,) the chance that I would be able to choose my employer began to slide downward. They emphasize teamwork and minimize risk, which sounds like a good thing on the face of it; but they also shut out introverts and individualistic workers who are able to work on their own at a faster pace than in a team, where they tend to get a lot less done and must rely on others for success. I’m pretty flexible, though, and I’ve learned how to answer these tests. In fact, I just laid out the secret for you.

How much colder is it, then, to have prospective employees sit in front of three people; two of them asking the very same questions that were already answered on the test I took online, while the third one typed away at a laptop. The pace was fairly easy, but my mind was blank. It may be the first time I’ve ever suffered from test anxiety. They asked me the same questions I had already answered, and I experienced the most epic fail.

So say goodbye to face-to-face interviews! Because where I thought I was being given a chance to talk about my experiences at my current job and my expectations for the job for which I was applying, all I got was an online test streamed directly through analog devices; and in the face of this ironic and anachronistic melding of paradigms old and new, I floundered for purchase and was washed out to sea.

Oh wellz.

For a moment I felt like I was being rained on. Again. I felt like my whole life was this same story of rejection. (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.21)

I realized that these hiring practices, and this specific incident, were closing doors to me forever. (See Oh, The Places I’d Go!)

we help people find their way... MajorPlayers @ UK
(Photo credit: “guerrilla” strategy)

Then I realized the next day that a great weight had lifted; this was one less complication in my life, one less thing to manage – one loose end tied up for good. Not having any tension between the job I held and the job I desired, I was free to realize that in spite of the few (albeit strong) reservations I have about remaining at my current place of employment I am rather quite happy (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.22) and now my most immediate concern is something quite exciting indeed: Clan Ross’ Summer Surf Adventure. Two weeks driving to the Pacific coast. Seattle. Portland. Surfing in Seaside, Oregon!

I’ll gladly take my time doing that, and then I’ll find my footing and forge a new path forward. (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.23)


Current Conditions –>

(Photo credit: emanuelazibordi)

You may have noticed that I’ve switched from haiku to tanka for my daily “status update”. I indicated earlier that I burned out on haiku, and I think it’s because I can’t force myself to write in so short a form without inspiration – that “haiku moment”. When the right image comes along, that helps; and when something just strikes you, that’s perfect; but the tiniest inspirations are like motes of dust and can be a little tough to catch on a daily basis, so the tanka format gives me a little more room to breathe, and presents a new challenge: the turning phrase of the third line, much as the human body’s core muscles links the upper and lower body, serves as a link between the upper lines and lower lines, creating two complementary yet contrasting poetic statements that when worked correctly will provide a clever sort of juxtaposition. In fact, the original creation of haiku was an exercise that focused on the first portion of tanka, the kaminoku. If you’re interested, you can read more about Tanka on Wikipedia or take a look at A Quick Start Guide to Writing Tanka @ Tanka Online.

Recently the site has taken on a new theme and a new look, and I’m still trying to find time to get all the little knobs and dials set right. Since I’m no longer using the ubiquitous Twenty Fourteen theme, the featured image barely comes into play, and it’s possible that those are generated for the thumbnails from images in the respective posts. If this bears out then I might stop using single images to serve as a visual cue to what type of post I’m writing. As always, if you experience any thoughts or feelings about the site’s look, feel, and utility, you are more than welcome to chime in; I will take all input into consideration – I create the site, but you actually use it!

Also, I’m planning to change up the surfboard social media icons as soon as I have a chance; While the Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest ones work for me, I have to wonder whether Spotify is a good choice for the fourth. I’m going to take that one out for the time being because I haven’t been able to figure out if people can access a playlist without an account, let alone single tracks; plus there’s some controversy surrounding Spotify and I haven’t been curating much content through Spotify. In fact, I just got around to pinning more stuff in the past week. I’m seriously considering doing a Youtube surfboard and making some playlists of different surf videos and muppet videos; just some different stuff to build a presence and start curating interesting content in that area. For the moment, I think that might be a little more useful. In terms of music, I think Soundcloud might be a better option.

What do you think, would you consider Soundcloud as a viable option for curating audio content? Is there something better that doesn’t cost money? Something that’s more accessible? Can you think of any other services that might be of interest to us? Let us know about that in the comments.

Forecast –>

I’m looking forward to reviewing a CD of surf music that was recently recorded by a local garage band in Spokane, Washington. When I get my hands on the tunes I’m going to give it a listen (or ten) and then do a full write-up, so stay tuned for that – I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome!


Favorited Tweets of the Week –>

I’m not knocking anyone who favorites all the retweets they get, but I tend to reserve my own retweets for things that I find really interesting for one reason or another, and I do that for one reason: you can list it. On Twitter, we have this link on our profile page that shows how many tweets we have favorited all time; the @robssurfreport count currently stands at 101. I have a few from the recent past, and this goes back more than a week, but moving forward I’ll find more favorites to share. At any rate, most of these tweets speak for themselves, so I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum:

Click through the Instagram link to see a cool Star Wars surfing photo!
(The Empire has a trooper for everything, don’t they?)

The Week in Pins –>

Like I said, I’ve started curating content on Pinterest in a fandangled process the kids are calling “pinning”. I’ve started doing this in fits and bursts, and I really need to clean up my pinboard selection. A lot of my recent pins have been in the category of fitness because of my drive to be as fit as possible for surfing, but here’s an overall selection of recent pins. If you’re doing the Pinterest, follow my boards to get my pins in your feed!

For the fitness-conscious: I found the site a while back with this Jedi workout, but upon further exploration it turns out that there are tons of unique workouts there that can be filtered by workout type and body area focus; as well as challenges, programs, tips, recipes, and more.

Great commentary on personal motivation in the form of an Oatmeal comic (once you click through, beware the F-word.)

I’ve been experimenting with chia pudding recently; I’ve figured out a thicker, custardy consistency can be obtained by increasing the chia to 1/3 cup.

If you’re out there pinning, in addition to following Rob’s Surf Report (hint hint) make sure you send us any cool pins we might want to pin to our own boards. 🙂

Featured Blog –>

This week’s featured blog is a new addition to my must-read list. TK from Chapter TK was the guest on the premier episode of The Kenny & Kylie Show podcast, and so I jaunted over to check it out. She writes mostly long-form posts about “the ins and outs of society”. According to TK’s About page:

Society is always evolving and we can choose to help guide it or just roll with the punches. No good change just happens. It requires the thought and action of the masses. TK aims to foster healthy, civil discussion on some of today’s most controversial topics as well as issues that people rarely consider.

The most striking thing about Chapter TK, in contrast to many blogs that I follow, is that her posts tend to inspire me to write inordinately long comments that could probably stand as posts of their own; this is a testament to the thought-provoking power of TK’s musings. This blog is most definitely an enriching addition to anyone’s reader feed; this blog comes highly recommended.

For a truly informative post on introverts and the unfair way that society treats them, check out TK’s post The Plight of Introverts in an Extroverted World.


Song of the Week –>

This week’s song was one I discovered on this post @ The Indecisive Eejit. Fireflies by Owl City is a really pleasant song that speaks of me the magic of nature at night. I’d never heard of either group or song before, but my wife has; “It’s a little poppy,” Mme. Ross says, uncritically; to which I respond, “well isn’t everything nowadays?” There’s nothing wrong with pop in general, especially since there’s no accounting for taste in music and oh yeah — pop is the new rock. Any way you look at it, you’re still picking your battles. This is a great song.

The video, however, is the cake; or maybe I just say that because I am such a visual person. Standing here, watching it again while dancing with my daughter, I note that the imagery consists largely of Toys of Great Distinction — oldies but goodies, that multiple generations can appreciate as toys from their own youth. There’s tube televisions, a globe of the Earth, and he’s even playing the song on an older electric organ. It’s a throwback to days of our youth, when everything seemed so magical and life moved at a snail’s pace.

I’d like to make myself believe
that Planet Earth turns slowly

As we get older and the world develops apace, that pace seems to get faster and faster. A year goes by in a heartbeat, it would seem, and the things that were of great importance to us lie in the dust of memory, a thing we find remarkable when we notice it.

Put together, the song and video are a brilliant fusion of contrasted yet complementary ideas; so full of brilliance and motion, yet imparting a sense of peace and thoughtfulness. Together, they are haiku.

There, I said it; now watch:

Video of the Week –>

Last night while Mme. Ross was at some sort of high-falutin’ jewelry party, Little Miss and I were sitting at the dinner table enjoying a wonderful repast of cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, summer sausage, lunch meat, quinoa, and the not-to-be-missed Daily Show with John Stewart. We watch it on Hulu Plus, so we are always a day behind, and this was Thursday’s episode. What really blew me away is the history behind the government’s treatment of miltary veterans, which has — as you will learn — not always to the benefit of those who gave up much to serve our country, leaving us with this very appropriate quote:

“On this Memorial Day weekend eve, we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by f***ing them over once they give their guns back”

I can’t embed this video, so click the link below to watch it:—terrible-memory-lane

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this Surf Report as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I hope also that you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, with barbecues and family fun or just rest — you deserve it. May you find peace in your life as well as your own path forward. If you would kindly help me out by answering the poll below, that would be awesome.

Thanks for reading — now go live your adventure!


Enhanced by Zemanta

Surf Report: surf tweets of the week

I thought I would try something new. I figured out how to insert tweets directly into a post using the “Add Media” button, and so I thought I would share some of the amazing tweets I have seen this week with you. Let me know what you think – I might mix it in with future surf reports or make it a regular feature.

Surfing = the sport of kings?

Here’s something I didn’t know existed:

This was so cool I had to make it the wallpaper on my phone:

Surf Report: Counting Calories, loving stress, and enjoying popcorn

I thought that it might be nice to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

First in the roundup today is an article I just finished reading about why counting Calories may be an inaccurate gauge of nutritional content and intake. I thought it was interesting because I am myself on a restricted-Calorie diet, and some of the science behind this new thought on Calories may explain why that works for me.

Why We Can’t Rely On Counting Calories

Next we have this TED video – I told myself I wasn’t going to do this to you, but it’s a fifteen-minute video about stress and how the idea that it’s bad for us is a bunch of baloney that’s conditioning us to kill ourselves physiologically when we are under stress. I think everyone should watch this, it really speaks to the reach of the positive attitude’s power on ourselves.

Finally, if you’d like a light snack, try making popcorn with the Swedish Chef:

Stay out of trouble!


Surf Report: Dragon bones and 4D printing

I thought that it might be nice to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

1: Huge dragon skull found on a beach in England

Their words, not mine! Boy, I’d love to get my hands on one of these – I thought my mom was weird when she started collecting skulls and bones from possums and muskrats, and displaying them like they’re curios or something; but this would be different, right?


2: If You Think 3D Printing is Disruptive, Wait for 4D


Now that 3D printing is busting out all over the place and both Staples and the UPS store are beginning to offer 3D printing services to consumers, we can rest easy and wait out the next ten years while the world changes around us, bringing us the next big thing, right?

Wrong. They’re already planning what’s next. The big idea guys in science are in such a rush to make sure the future is now that they’re devising the advent of 4D printing, which still sounds like a bit of a misnomer to me; they’re talking about printing self-assembling materials, materials that respond to their environment, materials that work automagically. Want to cut down your water bill? Let’s print you some water pipes that pump the water themselves, the same way intestines move waste. Okay, that’s a neat idea. Self-assembling housing structures for colonizing outer space? Great.

Then they start talking about hacking nature to print things for us – not with plastic or what not, but with regular molecules. I kind of get where that could be called 4D printing, but now I need a disambiguation check, Wikipedia-style because smarter materials and hacking nature are two different things – or maybe one is the end and the other is the means.

The images in this post were each sourced from their respective articles.

Surf report: building (and destroying) brains, printing houses, and getting to know your introvert

I thought that it might be nice to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

I found this article via Digg. It’s a long one, but the upshot is this: Harry Markram thinks that within ten years, he can deliver a holographic simulation of a fully-functional human brain on a supercomputer. In fact, he made this claim four years ago at a TED Talk, which means that his timeline is only six years out. His research has gotten him serious attention and respect in the neuroscience community, having worked out a portion of a rat’s brain and applying it to some of the rat’s functions, as well as other areas. But if you build it, will it think?

That’s the big question, and Markram feels the only way to find out is to try and see – that’s a scientist for you. The European Commission has given him a billion Euro (yeah, that’s billion with a “B”) because they believe in his work. Oh, they’ll be able to use that to attack brain disorders and diseases. Count on a definitive answer to the cause of Alzheimer’s within twenty years. My idea is that there is no reason a single brain could be replicated, its entire network of connections mapped and catalogued. But can looking at that tell anyone who we are or why? And if you simulate that in a computer, would the model act anything like the data source, the brain that was mapped – physiologically, yeah, but like the person? Now that would be something.

The entire article is fascinating, with information on how some of the brain’s basic components interact and how little we actually know about it, but I understand if you don’t have time to read the whole thing; it’s tempting not to scan through it and move on.

So did you know that you can print yourself a house in less time than it takes to sign a mortgage? Professor Behrock Khoshnevis wants to use 3D printing technology to rebuild third-world slums and ultimately make housing more affordable, a dream that I wholeheartedly applaud. Best of all, the projected cost is 37.5% lower than traditional between materials and labor, it takes about 20 hours to build a house from start to finish, and now you can finally get that donut-shaped house Eddie Murphy was talking about in Beverly Hills Cop II without the Beverly Hills budget.

NASA wants to use this technology to build a moon colony; if you ask me, that’s smart because there’s no atmosphere to spread those nasty ultra fine particles around, so that’s not even an issue. Just build it with a Roomba.

I found this blog on Tumblr, where this fellow makes animated GIFs of beer bottles. He talks about some of his favorite craft beers, and happens to be a fan of IPAs, which puts him in a class above your average beer drinker. Cheers!

Finally, my wife shared this on Facebook yesterday, and I found it to be incredibly thoughtful. I know what I am, and so I have no illusions about what it’s like for those of the social persuasion to have to deal with me. I thought I would share this with all of you so you might understand how it works – in case you don’t – or maybe you’ll pass it on to someone who doesn’t get you, I don’t know. But things like this just beg to be shared, because I’m sorry to inform you that Andrew Carnegie was a douchebag and ruined life for a lot of individualistic people with his ideas and support of group work. Pardon my French.

Image credit: SchroJones @ DeviantArt

Morning Surf Report: Two techs in the wind and some juice

I thought that it might be a good thing to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

I found this article yesterday on a new technology that’s being developed by a DARPA-funded team at UC Berkeley that they are calling “e-skin”. It’s presented mainly as something you can wrap onto a robot and when you touch it, it . . . lights up? I don’t know. That sounded pretty weak to me, and I was like, I guess. Then they go on to say this:

“the engineers believe the new e-skin technology could also be used to create things like wallpapers that double as touchscreen displays and dashboard laminates that allow drivers to adjust electronic controls with the wave of a hand.”

Oh, okay. And here I thought you were just bragging about roboskin. This stuff charges me up. Wouldn’t it be cool to have touchscreen wallpaper? Imagine you decide to rearrange the living room and you don’t really need to worry about where to put the television, because you don’t have one. No, you just go to your wallpaper’s settings app and touch the wall where you want the video screen to activate; then you set the size, and you drag a box to fine-tune the location. Bang, a user-configurable vidscreen and it’s built right in. And cheap, too – they say it’s easy and inexpensive to make, mostly because they can use already existing semiconductor manufacturing technology and processes to make it.

I found this article two days ago about Apple’s plan to make an iWatch (but maybe they’ll call it that, I think – we’ll see.) They’re talking late 2014 when we see these hit the market, and it will be joining a cadre of wearable computing devices that are beginning to emerge. Now, we’re practically wearing them all the time already, so why a watch, especially when a lot of people have stopped wearing them? For one, they look more natural and they’re less intrusive and disruptive. If you look at the concept design, the iWatch doesn’t just look like a watch, but it looks like a very dignified watch that you have to look at more than once to realize, this thing is a digital touchscreen device. You see the speakers nestled on the lower bezel and you realize, this thing has sound, too. Nice. And chances are, they’ll come in fun colors, as well. I’m personally considering a red one. They’ll probably have more of a built-in role as an activity/fitness/sports sensor than other products because they’ll be placed in the right spot for it. And this, my friends, is definitely a cool thing. As long as it’s not staggeringly expensive, like the iPhone, the adoption of such devices may trend us toward a more fit future simply because the functionality is there – after all, we tend to be a species that does things simply because we can.

Finally, I will leave you with an infographic that I found on fellow blog Fit For A Year. Even though the infographic isn’t theirs, I have to give them credit for posting it first, but I’m a fitness and diet enthusiast and so I share these things with you, my lovely readers. It’s about juicing.

I grew up watching that scary old guy Jack LaLanne sell his juicers on TV, with that glowy light in his eyes, talking about how he does nothing but drink juice all day – that could never be me. I couldn’t be a juicer because I’m sure my wife would have me committed if I tried. But the infographic puts forward some good points on why cold-press juice is superior to centrifugally- and blade-extracted juice, and the infographic comes from the product website of the Nutripro Juicer. Big surprise, you say? Well, you gotta sell it if you want it to sell, but they’re right about all that stuff – it’s why homemade juice is a big deal in dietary circles. What’s really nice to see is that the Nutripro Juicer costs only $250 – although you might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.

image credit:
image credit:

Morning Surf Report: a board review, running reasons, etc

I thought that it might be a good thing to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

Yesterday morning I got a surfboard review in my YouTube email and I decided to watch it. Now, I don’t really know Thing1 about surfboards except that they’re boards you surf on, but after this video I realized that:

    1. I now know a thing or two about surfboards
    2. There’s a whole bunch of lingo attached to surfboards that I don’t know
    3. There’s all kinds of parts to the surfboard

If you’re interested in learning a little bit about them then watch this:

Last night I read my email newsletter from the Oatmeal, a comic blogger that you may or may not have heard of (it’s likely you have seen some of his stuff around, if nothing else). It was just one epic comic in six parts about why he runs so much. I swear this comic is all about me in someone else’s hilarious words; please enjoy it and check out all six parts by using the next button at the bottom of each part or the supplied navigational index.

image credit:
image credit:

Here’s a fond hello back to the good-ol’ days:

Well, it might be a little easier to get some readers now! But from the analog evolution to the digital revolution did we lose something else, like all the time we spend distracted, watching videos, answering emails, listening to the new Vampire Weekend album on Spotify? Possible. Quite possible.

Finally, I would feel remiss if I didn’t at least show these off:

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award
July 4, 2013
One Lovely Blog award
July 18, 2013

I want to thank my friend Rachel Folk over at All Night Knits for giving me these blog awards, and for being such a wonderful reader. Readers really are the best award a blogger and writer can collect, and I hope to be able to increase my readership as time goes by; to this end I will do my best to bring something interesting to the table every day.