Monday, July 27, 2009
TUES. JULY 28, WEST COAST, VICTORIA – 33 year old Airey's Inlet surfer Jason Bridgeford has been found safe and well, miraculously stepping back out of a mysterious other-world to rejoin the land of the living, his dog told all within earshot on the beach yesterday.
'Nugget', a four-year-old Border Collie Kelpie Cross – who had all but given up hope of seeing his master alive again greeted Bridgeford at the water's edge, breathlessly and loudly exclaiming “you're back you're back you're back oh my god I can't believe it's really you don't you ever leave me like that but I can't be angry at you oh god I love you so much I thought I'd never see you again” and wagging his tail vigorously.
The ordeal began mid-morning after a wetsuit-clad Bridgeford and Nugget descended the muddy track down to the beach at semi-secret point break Sunnymead.
Nugget's hopes for a companionable romp on the foreshore – perhaps an endless fetch-and-throw exchange involving a manky tennis ball – were dashed as they reached the sand and Bridgeford issued stern instructions to “Stay here and mind the towel.”
According to onlookers, Nugget initially disobeyed the wishes of his master and accompanied him to the water's edge, imploring him not to leave.
“As a canine, specific short-term-recall isn't exactly my forté, but there was definitely a weird sense of deja vu about this whole scenario,” says Nugget.
“And I didn't like it one bit. No sir.
“You have to understand, this man's a God to me – my one and only source of food, of joy, tummy scratches and ball throwing – and here he was, wading out into this mysterious and threatening other-world that I could not follow him into.
“I did my best to stay with him. God knows I tried. But the further I ventured the more my paws lost traction. Like I was running in outer space or something. It was weird, cold and freaky. I had to turn back, and pray to the Lord above that my Beloved Commandant would do likewise.”
Witnesses report an increasingly agitated Nugget pacing the water's edge, calling out in vain to the fast-vanishing Deity, before returning to the towel.
“Worst thing is any scent trail allowing you to to keep tabs of your One-And-Only just vanishes at the edge between the two worlds.” recalls Nugget.
“It's a nightmare. Words can't describe the shock, the confusion, the abandonment.”
Thus began Nugget's torturous 40 minute vigil – an interminable five hours in dog time – where the bereft hound's mood swung from stoic optimism, to a brooding floppy-eared melancholy that not even the intriguing allure of a passing-by Labrador could soothe.
“Sure, I checked that Labrador's anus out – I felt that Beloved Light-Of-My-Life would want me to get on with things as best I could – but I was just going through the motions as I jammed my nose into that Lab's arse.”
“When you lose interest in these things, you know you're not doing well, but you have to keep going.”
To get through the anxious uncertainty of waiting, Nugget called on all his strength to maintain a routine of sorts: primarily scratching behind his ears and licking his balls.
But in the cruellest of developments, Nugget fell victim to several allegedly heartless pranks as other figures approximating Bridgeford's form emerged from the blue beyond, only revealing themselves to be lesser humans on closer inspection.
“Bastard bastard bastard bastard bastard” Nugget was heard to exclaim to every perpetrator of these false alarms.
Indeed, witnesses report that it was with cautious suspicion that a heartbroken and wary Nugget approached the emerging figure of Bridgeford – who after getting a nice little barrel decided it was probably time to come in.
“I thought, here we go again, another prick pretending to be my Personal Jesus and break my heart into a million pieces... but as he got closer and called out 'ya crazy boofhead mongrel' I knew that life was once again worth living, The Chosen One was safe and I was the happiest dog in the fricken universe.”
With emotion running high, a brief bout of recrimination and sulking ensued when Nugget refused to get in the car, and had to be lifted up into the back seat.
“I just wanted to be held” he would later confess.
Bridgeford and Nugget returned to their Airey's Inlet home by lunch, to be greeted by Mrs Bridgeford's Burmese cat, who reportedly yawned “Oh dear, I was rather hoping you two dickheads had drowned.”
As we go to press, Nugget is anxiously watching his master make some toast and hoping with all his heart and soul for some benevolent crusts, as he's pretty sure he can't make it through to dinner time.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
By Guest Goldminer Nick Carroll
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – Surfers at Guaruja, one of Brazil's most popular surfing areas, today expressed their annoyance and irritation at what they claim is offensive surfing behaviour by packs of travelling Australians.
"It's just too much," said local identity Luiz Resende. "They come over here with their attitudes, paddle out in groups of up to four or five at a time, and start catching waves like they own the joint."
Additionally, according to Resende, the Australians "keep yelling out to each other in their coarse, barely understandable English - something we, as native Portuguese speakers, find almost unbearably irritating."
Australians have become known among surfers worldwide for their constant travelling, often booking out entire boats in the Mentawai Islands in Sumatra and showing up as groups at well-known surf locations.
Surfers from other nations have often complained about the so-called "Aussies" and their apparently obnoxious behaviour, sometimes seemingly fuelled by excessive drugs and alcohol.
But, says Resende, the latest incursions at the renowned Guaruja beachbreaks - where top Brazilian surfers have been born and bred for generations - are beyond the pale. "Aussies just have no respect for our surfing culture, which has been built up for decades," he declared, while colleagues nodded in agreement.
"They think it's OK just to paddle out and start taking off on any wave they want. Then when we call 'em out, they pretend not to understand what we're saying to 'em."
The locals also said they were increasingly annoyed by Australians who used visa loopholes to extend their stays in Guaruja and other popular surfing areas, working in restaurants and bars and starting up businesses. "They think we want to eat at their 'barbecues' and attend lessons in how to play Rugby League football! Well, this is the land of grilled meats and World Cup soccer championships. I'm sorry, but there's nothing they can show us that we aren't already magnificent at.
"Of course, there is one thing we don't mind - they can bring their women over here any time they like. We hear those Aussie chicks will do anything."
Some Brazilian surfers said they had even been threatened with violence by Australians, who, they said, claimed to be experts in the feared Australian martial art, "biffo".
"We understand why Australians would want to leave their country - especially if it's full of other Australians," said Resende. "And we understand why they would want to come here, to God's country, where everything is pretty much perfect.
"All we're saying is - shut the fuck up, stop catching waves, and learn to speak Portuguese before you come here, or we will direct relentless amounts of covert hostility at you."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday 16th July, Oceanic Survey Institute, Berkley California – Scientists and Ecologists are proposing a radical solution to the 100 million tons of plastic waste circulating in what's known as the North Pacific Gyre.
“It's estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic, most no bigger than a penny, floating on every square mile of the North Pacific, which is devastating marine life.” says the Institute's head of research Sylvia Watson.
“We intend to deploy squadrons of Sweepers – otherwise known as Stand Up Paddlers – to clean this up, square metre by square metre...”
The controversial proposal comes on the back of the institute's annual blue-sky-ideas summit at the OCI, where left-field thinking is encouraged.
“It's refreshing to run unconventional concepts up the flagpole and not have them immediately torn down by economists, analysts and bureaucrats” says Dr Ken Yager, who has been modelling the Pacific Solution concept in his backyard pool in Ventura County.
Dr Yager, himself an enthusiast of the conventional 'short' surfboard, says the idea came to him one morning as he arrived at his local break to find 'an army' of stand up paddlers edging towards the surf zone.
“My first reaction was that these people belonged elsewhere – perhaps far out to sea where they could do no harm – so as not to blight the inshore seascape.
“It didn't take long to reconcile their inane – some say janitorial – paddling motion with the environmental crisis that's looming over the literal and metaphorical horizon.”
According to Dr Yager's scenario, up to 50, 000 stand up paddlers would be dispatched from numerous motherships in two classic 'vee' formations, one sweeping west to east, the other east-west, and meeting mid-ocean in a classic pincer movement to create a 'small island' of plastic for removal.
Though critics of the plan are sceptical that 50,000 Stand Up Paddle volunteers could be found and mobilised, Dr Yager is confident of attaining volunteer numbers for the programme, suggesting that Stand Up Paddlers would respond well if the request was framed in an appealing context.
“Basically, call for help with a vital environmental programme and they'd run a mile, but tell 'em it's a chance to join the 'Vanguard of A Waterman Eco-Warrior Collective' and they'll fall over themselves in the rush to sign up.
“As empty a catch-cry as it is laughable, the sheer word 'Waterman' is catnip for these people.”
The scientific community remains divided over phase two of Yager's Pacific Solution, which involves vaporising both the collected rubbish and 50,000 sweepers with a single nuclear blast.
“Ah yes, the nuclear option, I was waiting for that line of enquiry” chuckled Dr Yager. “But let's keep things in context – this was a blue-sky ideas summit where radical ideas were there to be heard.
“It's unlikely a mid-ocean thermo-nuclear blast would be accepted by the international community. Though an irradiated ocean might be a fair price to pay for the final eradication of such annoying and useless detritus, it would be a shame to lose all that potentially recyclable plastic.”
When asked about the fate of the 50,000 Stand Up Paddlers in such a scenario, Dr Yager smiled and repeated slowly “what part of 'annoying ... and ... useless ... detritus' don't you understand?"
Sunday, July 5, 2009
July 4, SYDNEY AUSTRALIA: – A whopping eight percent of all recreational jet ski riders are pleasant enough people, with respect for the ocean and its inhabitants, a nationwide study has found.
Findings of the two-year research project led by Professor Steven Harland, head of Human Behaviour Studies at Wentworth University, challenges the widely-held assumption that all jet ski enthusiasts are clueless buffoons with an infantile-at-best appreciation of the environmental and spiritual reality of the world around them.
“If there's one key finding out of this survey, it's that we write off ALL recreational jet ski riders as noisy, polluting, ignorant pricks at our own peril” says Professor Harland.
“While the vast majority of recreational jet ski riders are, indeed distinctly challenged in key areas of intelligence and simple awareness, we have found that there does exist a small minority of recreational jet ski riders who are completely decent human beings, capable of empathy, respect, of love and being loved.”
Though the survey offers some hope for the humanity of jet ski enthusiasts, much of the research findings were predictably condemnatory.
“Sadly, the overall picture this survey paints isn't pretty,” says Harland. “The majority of recreational jet ski users seem to be an unfortunate bunch of dullards who haven't outgrown the pubescent urges of noisy self importance, the puerile thrill of going 'wheeeeeeee', and hoping onlookers might be really, really impressed by the whole Waterworld jumping-over-a-wave-thing.
“The fact that they're witless enough to spend $20,000 on such a daft toy – the thrill of which diminishes by half with every Sunday morning outing on the broadwater – is a testament to their sheer dumb-as-fuck status.”
Professor Harland is quick to qualify his findings. “It's best to be clear here, jet skis that are used to tow boardriders into seriously un-paddleable waves in remote locations do not fall into this recreational jet ski user category.
“In these cases, the jet ski user is more often than not an accomplished ocean-goer himself, someone who has spent enough time immersed in the surf under their own manual power, to develop an understanding of the ocean as an ecological and spiritual sanctuary, one that deserves better than squadrons of dimwits roaring across her once-pristine expanses.
“So it's fair to say that any accomplished tow-in surfer has nothing but love and respect for the ocean, and treads as lightly as possible whenever he or she can.”
But as for those enthusiasts who regularly employ jet skis to tow in surf situations where paddling is still a functional option, the survey data is particularly damning.
“These quasi-watermen tow in types unerringly fall into the category of chumps, cretins and asswipes” – the report's author states. “A moneyed-up recreational jet ski bogan endlessly spinning his wheels in the broadwater is bad enough, but the pretendy yellowbelly 'oooh-it's-overhead-let's-form-a-tow-team-I'll-be-Maverick-and-you-can-be-Goose' bozo is a far lower creature – a nuisance, a danger and a pest.”
Other findings showed that – apart from the eight percent of recreational jet ski enthusiasts who were not utterly repellent – recreational jet ski users were overwhelmingly: poor listeners; suffering short attention spans; unable to reflect and learn from experience, and generally 'emotionally retarded'.
“It would seem these people cannot be silently with themselves for more than a minute.” concludes Harland. “These braying donkeys seem incapable of actually sitting out in the ocean for a quiet moment, with no fumes or roaring motor. Perhaps if they did, they'd realise what an infernal contraption they were astride, and what a pitiful creature they were for engaging in its most tawdry and inane of thrills.
“Given the grave nature of what such introspection would reveal, it's understandable they would wish to keep the motor running – and delay the realisation that they are a complete twat – for as long as possible.”