Dressclown's Blog


Aint No Challah Back Girl… June 9, 2010

Filed under: Gear,Life — dressclown @ 12:21 am

Oh, the simple pleasures of summertime.

In 1999, when my husband (let’s call him Mr. E) first moved from the UK  to Sunny SoCal, people were forever asking him what his favorite part of living here was. The answer was always the same: Brunch.

My favorite part of the weekend is still just that. A long, late n’ lazy meal by the beach or on a patio is an ideal way for me to get the weekend started. And so much the better in summertime.

After a few nice sets (early!) Saturday morning at Rincon, we went to our favorite spot in Santa Barbara, Jeannine’s Bakery (uptown location, people, please…no idea why it’s better. It just is.) The parking is always a nightmare at this location. The lot literally has room for one row of cars and goes both ways so it’s a bit of a struggle even on a good day. But we found a spot and E drove like a madman to get into it. The space was teeny and I thought I’d never manage to get out of the car, but once that hurdle was crossed, snagging a table outside was next.  I saw one table for two open and quite literally pushed E inside to order as I raced for the seats. A woman in her early 50s saw the table at the same time as me and we had what can only be described as an Old West style stare-down before I managed to get there first. I felt the urge to make guns with my thumb and forefinger, blow off imaginary smoke and holster them in my jeans, but I resisted.

Then, my phone rang. It was Mr. E asking what I wanted to order. That gave me a good laugh, for two reasons. 1) He was the last person I expected to be calling me especially since I was looking right at him through the window and it hadn’t dawned on me he was on his phone and 2) because for the past TEN YEARS I’ve ordered the exact same thing every time we’ve eaten breakfast there. In fact, what I order isn’t still on the menu but I order it anyway. So I told him, “The usual please.” The usual is an egg white omelette with onions, cheese, tomatoes and avocado.

Now, I’m certainly not ascribing genius, detailed memory skills to, of all people, a MAN. But I admit that part of me did expect him to remember what I get every time.

When he finally came to the table with our huge, decadent lattes (and by decadent, I mean Peet’s in a really large, really heavy porcelain mug) he looked worried.

“I forgot what you usually get. I went blank. Panicked. I just ordered you MY usual……”

Was I mad? God, no. Let me preface Mr.E’s usual by saying that for ten years I’ve sat across the table from him, looking longingly at his breakfast and wondering why I didn’t just order THAT instead of mine. I’ve tasted it twice.  And it was so good I still remember those two times explicitly, though both were probably in 2003.

What we’re talking about here is french toast. Made from home-baked Challah bread. Of course, it comes with sausages, which along with being not too Challah-ish were kindly consumed by Mr. E.  But my point is that it’s something I would have NEVER ordered for myself and it was SOOOO freakishly good.

So I guess, contrary to the entry’s title, I AM a Challah Back Girl. Very, very much so…..

In other news, this weekend marks the fourth time I’ve taken my new Matuse suit out for a spin. I can honestly say that it’s the best suit I’ve ever owned and if you’re in the market for a new one, try them out.

Matuse makes rubber suits from (of all things!) limestone. The result is the lightest, most hydrophobic suit you’ve ever seen/felt/worn in your life. It felt like a second skin and there was absolutely no drag whatsoever. They claim the rubber is something like 400x more flexible than human skin. I believe it. What’s more, I was super warm and there was no clinging at all.  Excellent. The suits do require a bit of extra care. They are thinner and more delicate, so you have to be careful how you handle them (no ragged nails!) and I would NOT take this suit to a place with coral reefs.

My only gripe with them is that they have very limited womens’ suits, in both sizes and styles. They only have full suits for women right now and there’s a wait time on them. Looks like the soonest you can get one shipped is September, but again, well worth the wait.


It’s A Man’s World May 25, 2010

Filed under: Girl Surfers — dressclown @ 11:44 pm

Well, not really. But when you surf and you’re a girl, it sure feels that way at times. Even though there are more female surfers than ever before, it seems like some men still aren’t happy about sharing the water with women. Besides being totally beyond me, I find it abhorrent that a person could honestly believe that any part of the great outdoors is off limits to anyone, particularly just because of gender.

But sadly, some men still make it difficult for women to share the water. My personal experience with SGD (Surfer Girl Discrimination) ranges from funny to downright enraging. And even if you don’t get harassed, some men seem to think you’re out there for their own recreational activity; there’s more than one type of shark in the water, if you catch my drift.



Big Slick May 24, 2010

Filed under: Environmental Stuff — dressclown @ 11:10 pm

It’s only funny if you think it’s not going to happen here. But it will if Venoco has it’s way, it will.

Venoco is a local Carpinteria based oil company that has long perpetrated the lie it’s a friendly, local entity. So friendly that it tricked locals into signing a petition against their proposed Paredon drilling project. Locals signed this petition thinking it was a campaign against a giant 175 foot oil drilling rig on the coastline near Rincon Point in Carpinteria.  Instead, the fine print which was never shown to locals, was a pure bait and switch and they used the signatures to get the proposal on the June 9th ballot.  They did this because they knew the city council would never approve such an ill-conceived and potentially disastrous drilling rig in such a pristine and highly populated area. Their only chance was to count on the fact that voter turnout on ballot initiatives is low. When they were caught doing this, they got a slap on the wrist and turned around and made up completely fabricated references for their company’s other projects. They literally made up people and quotes to put in their cover letter for their Environmental Impact Report.

Those for the drilling ignorantly believe that this will somehow mitigate our local dependence on foreign oil. In fact, EPA standards in California are such that we are not actually even allowed to sell Middle Eastern-origin oil. Instead, our cleaner oil comes from the very foreign country of…..Alaska? Yep. Alaskan oil is what we fill up with at the tank here.

So, let’s assume this proposal goes through. Let’s assume the drilling monolith is up, visible from all areas of Carpinteria. Before drilling has even begun, property values will have plummeted. Who wants to live near a loud, toxic monster clearly visible from your living room window when it was the pristine Pacific Ocean view before?  Tourism will suffer, if not be killed. Nobody will want to camp near that thing. Yet proponents say the project will bring us lots of revenue for our small city. If you consider $3 million over a three year period adequate compensation for about $15 million in lost tourism.  And this is only IF they hit oil. Because, believe it or not, they’re not even SURE IF THERE IS OIL DOWN THERE.  Now, we could assume that would be a win-win situation, that the oil isn’t there and they stop the project. Except that their proposal does not require them to remove the rig. It will remain, without maintenance or supervision, rusting away. Did I mention it’s 175 feet tall?

Venoco’s flawed and incomplete Environmental Impact Report also fails to address the protected Seal Rookery a mere 25 yards from the drill site. Currently, we cannot WALK on the beach within 25 yards of the seals. The pups rely on the protection of their mothers and the shelter from the beach coves. I can’t imagine how they can even begin to say that mere construction on the rig wouldn’t endanger the lives of the pups by scaring the mothers into the ocean.  Imagine the disaster if there were an actual leak. I doubt very much the liars at Venoco could be trusted to report a leak, let alone deal with it more efficiently than the leak that is going on in Louisiana.

It’s bad enough that we have to endure the almost monthly closure of some beaches in our area due to sewage contamination. Now we have this to contend with. None of us will be able to go out in the water again without the fear of toxic sediment and oil and if there is a spill, our beaches will be ruined not for a week or two, but for the length of most of our lives. The last oil spill in the early 1960s was off the coast of Summerland and started the modern anti-drilling movement. There is still tar washing up onshore from that spill.

If you live in Carpinteria, please vote against Measure J. And if you live outside of Carpinteria, please write to Venoco and tell them how unhappy you are that they are trying to push this unsafe project through in such an unethical manner.


6267 Carpinteria Avenue

Carpinteria, California 93013

Or go to Surfrider Foundation and let them know you think that opposing the Paredon Project is something they should take on as an official campaign.

Let’s not let what is happening in the gulf happen here. There are far higher costs than oil.