Ocean

Beowulf and the Ever Growing Resume Hoard

I’ve been reading Beowulf. Correction: I am taking a class on Beowulf. That’s right. One whole semester on an English story written about a Swede who goes to Denmark to fight a monster.

We’ve bounced in and out of various translations: Liuzza, Heaney, Tolkien.

There’s this part where, when Beowulf is first introduced, he goes to speak for the first time, and the author says that Beowulf opens his “word-hoard.”

The eldest one answered him,

leader of the troop, unlocked his word-hoard (Liuzza, 258-59).

Old English is a fascinating study. It forces the reader to consider where words come from and what exactly they mean, and how these words have evolved through translation overtime.

Apparently, word-hoard is the forerunner to “vocabulary.”

Tolkien, in his Beowulf translation, says “store of words.” The idea is the same.

Old English was very object-oriented. People didn’t just have a vocabulary, because to them that wouldn’t make sense. They would need a physical place, or structure, to store the words. It’s interesting because, now, we don’t even consider what we mean when we say “vocabulary.” We just know that somewhere in our brains we’ve hidden all the words we know.

Personally, I’m going to say “word-hoard” from now on.

Segue Hoard

This is probably the worst segue of all time, but I checked my resume folder in Google Drive the other day, and I found about twenty resumes, all made within the last three months.

“Resume-hoard,” I said in an Old English accent.

The accent was more Scottish, but I do a terrible Scottish accent, so let’s just call it Hackney.

The point is this: I’m graduating in May. Since the start of the year, I’ve already applied to over thirty jobs. I feel like I should have some serious leads but I don’t. My wife and I are hoping for either Seattle or San Francisco. Only God knows. It could be Lithuania, really. (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: New Hampshire & Maine

Originally, we had decided to cancel this road trip. See, we’ve been traveling like bandits this summer, and though a budget has kept us in line, we still couldn’t justify another weekend getaway on our current funds.

But then an unknown monster broke into our apartment, and we said, “Hey, now’s as good a time as any to get out of town.” Sometimes you just need to leave.

There was no way we could swing Boston, the original destination, on our budget. So we had to think of somewhere new and cheaper. Megan was craving the ocean, and I didn’t blame her. Neither of us had ever seen an Atlantic beach town before. Ocean towns are generally cheap, since beaches are free (usually). We also decided to save on hotels and sleep in the car, i.e., the Walmart Parking Lot Express.

New Hampshire and Maine were both on my East Coast bucket-list, Maine especially (Stephen King fan, ova heer!). New Hampshire was intriguing because their state motto is “Live Free or Die,” so… As it turned out, New Hampshire has a small sliver of ocean-front property, just below Maine. Perfect.

Massachusetts

While we didn’t necessarily “do” anything in Massachusetts, we did drive through the entire the state. This was exciting for me because I have fantasized about visiting Boston for years. My California friends and I used to host “Boston Night” every Tuesday at my old apartment; we would watch a Boston based movie, eat Boston Baked Beans, and swear a lot. Just being in the state was enthralling. My big purchase? A slice of pizza and soda at a rest-stop. Go Sox!

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New Hampshire

Besides the motto, we didn’t know anything about the state. We Googled “Walmarts near coastal New Hampshire” and the results returned a town named Portsmouth. (more…)

Short Story: Jake’s Jacket

The water’s just too damn cold.

Jake stood on the shore of California’s blue expanse, examining its horizon, noting the abnormalities under it. The ocean seemed empty to Jake. Sure, there was life teeming underneath, but nothing above he could see. The waves tumbled; the sea foam, in clockwork, came and went—hugging Jakes’s ankles, offering shallow solace.

Born on a farm in Pennsylvania, standing now, ankle deep, at the edge of existence. How did I—

“Why don’t you come back in?” Michael’s voice stole Jake away from his thoughts. He reached out his hand, “Let’s talk.” Michael’s body, not yet in the water but just out of grasp of the ocean’s reaching, rippling fingers, awaited response.

A black dot broke the surface in the closest series of waves.

“There!” pointed Jake, his arm outstretched, “Do you see it?” He laughed. A black seal broke the surface twenty yards or so from where they stood. “He’s come to watch me die,” Jake turned around and met Michael’s stare, offering a deflated grin,  “and you too?”

“Come on out.”

“DON’T!” Jake yelled, closing his eyes and breathing heavily. “NO!” He began to scream. Michael shot his hands in the air.

“Nothing in my hands.” Michael signaled, “Nothing in my hands.”

– – –

Inching slowly, ever so slowly, Michael approached Jake. Cold seeped in through Michael’s shoes and bit his skin. Jake had since opened his eyes and was reexamining the water. Finally, the two stood side-by-side; Jakes’s explosive vest was visible to Michael for the first time.

“Every inch you move is another towards death, my friend.”

“There’s no gun…”

“… so its been since birth.”

Michael closed his eyes in defeat.

The seal again broke the surface and Jake smiled. “I’m glad you’re here.”

picstitch

A short story exercise, 300 words or less. My first in a while. Thoughts?

That Dam Lopez Lake or: (How I Learned to Drive a Boat)

I’ve been boogie boarding quite a bit lately. Getting back into the water has been an enthralling adventure—even despite the Pacific Ocean’s three constants: it’s always cold, it’s always windy, and it’s always cold.

Sometimes, a feller just needs a warm lake and a boat.

Megan and I moved from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to San Luis Obispo, California this year. North Idaho has no ocean (which I hope you know), but does have close to three-billion lakes in it’s vicinity (mildly exaggerating). Needless to say, visiting lakes was not a priority for us.

A friend of mine recently purchased the Lopez Lake Marina, and I’ve been desperate to see what he’s done with the place. So we went to a lake.

Orcutt Road

Our day started with a beautiful drive on the backroads of San Luis Obispo. There’s a great little curvy road which takes you straight (well, curvy) towards the lake. We call it old Orcutt road.

Wineries have blossomed on just about every hillside. My friend Aaron put it this way, “at least they’re covering hills with grapes and not with houses and Costcos.” It’s true. Despite my reservations regarding these fast-expanding wineries, the beauty of these old SLO roads are protected. (more…)

Beach Body: The Boogie Back-Break Blues

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The Pismo Beach Pier

Some of my favorite memories revolve around the ocean.

In high school days, my friend Tim would come over and wake me up at 6am or so. He’d pull me out of bed and we’d drive to Pismo Beach and hit the cold ocean waves.

I was a boogie boarder; surfing was too much of a commitment.

When Megan and I moved back to the area, I knew sooner or later I’d have to face Poseidon.

Beach Body

There are many beaches in San Luis Obispo County. Pismo is famous; Avila is second best and pretty good for boogie boarders. Grover has a lot of people, and Shell is just too rocky. There’s Oceano, but it’s choppy and nobody goes to Oceano.

The less people to embarrass myself in front of the better; I went to Oceano.

First, there is the issue of the wetsuit. If you’ve never put one on before, let me explain. It is the single most difficult thing you will ever do in your life. It’s like putting on someone’s skin who is two sizes smaller than you.

For shy kids like me, Oceano has bathroom stalls to change in. They’re tiny, lightless, and the locks are all broken. The door may or may not have swung wide open with the wetsuit stuck around my ankles.

Boogie Time

531646_309924065803806_274447830_nAfter taming the wetsuit for what seemed like an hour (think Tommy Boy in the airplane bathroom), I met my wife back at the car. “How’d it go?” she asked.

“I think hurt my back.” She laughed. “No seriously,” starting to stretch, “I think pulled a muscle.” She laughed louder. Somehow, yes, I managed to hurt my back while pulling on a wetsuit. A new low. I don’t want to talk about it.

“Well don’t go in the water,” she warned. “It’ll make it worse!” I looked over at the choppy blue surf. She had a point, but I was already here, and my wetsuit was on. It’s not like I’m getting it off anytime soon. If I didn’t do it now, I never would.

So I ran towards the shore. And I ran. With each step, the sand felt colder and the air tasted sweeter. I reached the waters; my feet burned from the cold, and seized my thoughts. Soon my waist was covered, then higher.

So cold. So cold. Don’t think about it.

I cursed myself, the waters that now held my life, Obama, anything I could think of. The first three minutes dragged; I needed to go numb.

Soon, my thoughts became verbal. I started yelling phrases that didn’t make sense. Fart Cough, poop magnet. Cold help Siren Tonk! AHHHHHHH!

A wave slapped my face, and a rush of memories came over my eyes.

Kevin Glasses

the post beach, triumphant Kevin

I saw Tim; we laughed over waves and cursed the cold water together. I watched the sky, from years ago, turn to day as seals broke the surface of the water, right next to me. For an instant, I saw who I was five years ago.

I saw what was important, and what wasn’t.

Reality returned, and happiness came with it. For the first time in my life I was proud of where I came from. More importantly, I was happy with who I became. I was happy with what I’ve chosen to love.

My wife, our future, God’s plan, the ocean.

I caught my first wave. As it did so many years ago, everything made sense.