Big Fat Queer

August 29, 2010

Surf’s Up!

Montauk Surger Triptych

I went to Montauk yesterday as I mentioned I might in my last post. It was a beautiful day, mid to high 70s, clear sky and I was there at the peak of afternoon surfing. Ditch Plains beach, which is one of the main surf areas of Montauk, was crowded with surfers and sunbathers. I shot video until my battery died. There were a lot of good, long rides and at times the surf was rough. But as far as I could tell nobody got hurt. I only took a few still shots. The the shots in the triptych above were about a second or two apart.

One of the reasons I like to watch surfing, live or on film, is that it is something I cannot do. Similar for dancing. I haven’t been in years, but for about a decade of my life I was at the ballet frequently, often multiple times in a week. I don’t have physical grace or courage, or coordination for that matter. I am a klutz. Often watching entertainment or commentary or such things I think to myself, “I can do that.” While I might admire it, I don’t stand in awe of it. Things like surfing or dancing I do stand (or sit, or fall) in awe of. One great thing about Montauk surfing, and it may be universal for all I know, is that all kinds of people surf. There are young, in-shape guys like the one pictured above. There are also guys my age with beer bellies, and some of them, due to their experience, can out surf the younger dudes. And there are women. There were several women on the waves yesterday and some young girls. It was a great day.

After I finished shooting I decided to walk to the main town area of Montauk, which is only a few blocks of shops and motels. It is about two miles from Ditch Plains beach. It was a cheap day trip and I wanted to keep it that way. I get vouchers called Transit Checks every month. In addition to my monthly Metro Card that gets me around on city buses and subways, I get enough Transit Checks to cover my twice monthly commute to Long Island. These come out of pre-tax income so I save about 40% over retail when you figure the tax savings. However, I don’t always go to LI twice a month so over a period of time I have extra vouchers. So round trip only cost me $3 out of pocket, and I spent about $20 in cab fare round-trip to and from the train station. And one of the secondary points to the trip was to get in some good scenic walking. So off I went.

I have walked most of these beaches before, but never continuously from Ditch Plains to town. About two thirds of the way the beach turns really rocky. For a while there is enough space between the rocks that you can walk on sand, though the steps become somewhat serpentine. Then the rocks become very dense and very challenging. One of my favorite things about Montauk is that much of it is the way nature leaves it, and some of it is not hospitable to human traffic. This stretch of beach is that way, and once I got past the crowds of Ditch Plains, I probably only saw a dozen or so people spread out before I got to the town beach where all the motels are. I could have turned and walked back a mile or so and called a cab, but that would have eaten up time and the chance to have a nice meal before the three and a half hour train ride back.

I wasn’t panicky, but I thought I might have made a mistake. This was obviously going to be a challenge and a bit of a physical obstacle. I usually make sure that I do my walking in areas that, should I have a problem, there are people around who can help or get help quickly. Here, if I fell or injured myself in some way, I might lie there for a while before I could get help. Also going on required a lot of physical effort, more than I usually expend, and for a sustained time. What the hell. I saw that above the rocks just below the bluffs was a sand shelf that I could walk for a while. I climbed up there, which wasn’t easy since the sand kept falling away under my feet, but I got there. I was tired already. As you probably well know, walking barefoot in sand is not as easy as walking on a sidewalk in shoes. After a while I got to a staircase going up the bluffs. I looked up and the top landing was separated from the bluffs by about ten feet from erosion. It might be a nice view, but right now I wasn’t interesed in view. I sat on the lower step and put my shoes on because it was rock for the next 50 yards. Smaller rocks than the ones I had avoided for the last 100 yards or so. I maneuvered gingerly, using my cane and I finally got past the rocky area to sand beach. From there it was about a half mile to my destination, the cheap place to eat. I felt good that I had faced what, for me, was a big physical challenge and got through it. The amount of work spent on that two mile walk probably equaled the equivalent of five miles of city walking. I did wake up in the middle of the night with a cramp in my leg. I applied some heat, took Advil and went back to sleep for eight more hours. Today I am doing as little as possible.

The cheap place to eat is a little stand that sells burgers, dogs and fried seafood. I had the fried seafood dinner, shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder. The flounder was a little sub par, but the shellfish was great. And it was less than $15. In the morning before I left I had steak and eggs and rye toast. On my long walk on the beach, I felt like my blood sugar was lowering, and this was definitely not the place to have a crash, so I ate my emergency Pay Day candy bar. Snickers is not a good idea on a day out in the sun because the chocolate gets runny. There is a nice fudge shop in the town area of Montauk and I brought home a small square of Amaretto Chocolate fudge. I ate that for a midnight snack. This morning my blood sugar was good, so whatever carbs I ate yesterday, I burned. I did not have any insulin all day.

Here are a couple of other shots from yesterday, and no that is not my foot. My foot is stubby and gnarly. This is a perfectly shaped foot with a high arch. The guy is not badly shaped either.


Pink Shorts

July 15, 2010

Long Weekends Rule

I am taking tomorrow off work. Well, off my paying job. I have creative work to do, but that is a vacation as far as I’m concerned.

Yesterday I didn’t blog. I worked in our Long Island office, so I had four hours of commuting. Coming back the train was so crowded I had to stand for half the trip. That’s rare for a reverse commute (heads to the city after work whereas most head out of the city after work). It’s common for the subway. I don’t know where everybody was going. Based on the behavior of the riders I figured there must be some redneck concert at the Garden or something. There were many young people drinking 20 ounce cans of cheap beer and screaming. Joy.

Because of the threat of thunderstorms I didn’t walk over to the nearby building with the good cafeteria for lunch, so I ate at the one in the basement of our building. I had a chef salad, which in this case is iceberg lettuce (the lightest color, no real green) and sliced ham, turkey and Swiss cheese. I like the texture of iceberg lettuce, but it doesn’t have any flavor and very little nutritional value. For dinner I had some peanut butter and banana on Finn Crisps. I had a pear for a snack. I walked about a mile and a half – the thunderstorms never materialized.

Today I had some peanut butter on Finn Crisps (no banana) for lunch with some raw vegetables. I had an apple for a snack in the afternoon. Tonight I had some edamame hummus, chicken wings and chunky tomato soup. I will have some pineapple for a snack. Today I walked a mile.

I found a site today that analyzes a writing sample to tell you who you write like ( I put in the last half dozen or so blog posts and had them analyzed. The most frequent comparison was to David Foster Wallace. I had to look him up, but he apparently was a good writer (he committed suicide two years ago). A couple of times it compared me to Stephen King. Ok, for a mass fiction writer his style is not bad. Once it compared me to Mario Puzo. That I don’t get at all. Anyone reading my blog ever think about the Mafia? And another sample was compared to Dan Brown. That one hurt a little, but I would trade bank accounts with him. As the very erudite Stephen Fry once said of Mr. Brown’s DaVinci Code, “It is complete loose stool-water. It is arse gravy of the worst kind.” Now there’s a recipe.

April 21, 2010

Saving Money by Walking

Every couple of weeks I visit my company’s office in Long Island. Like most Manhattanites, I don’t have a car. We have a mass transit system that takes us anywhere in town at just about any hour, ample taxi cabs and lots of sidewalks. But out in the suburbs here everybody drives. In the past six months or more, when I came out here, I would take a cab to Penn Station, then the Long Island Railroad for about an hour, then a cab from the train station. Same thing going back. My commuting expenses for a day would be between $65 and $70. The last couple of times I made the trip, I walked to the subway station, took two connecting subways to Penn Station and arrived at the destination station in time to take the Long Island Bus to the office. There is about a quarter mile walk from the bus stop to the office. I can use my monthly unlimited Metro card for all of the legs of the trip except the Long Island Railroad, so the only out of pocket expense is $15.50 for the train. Plus I got in about three quarters of a mile of walking in the morning commute.

During lunch I walked the full circumference of the parking lot, which is a little over half a mile. It is a pleasant walk, with trees along the perimeter (pictured above).

For lunch I had a tuna salad sandwich on rye and a tossed salad, about 650 calories.

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