Pismo Beach vacation, a time for reflection and dreaming

This weOceano-1ek we’re enjoying the sand and sun at Oceano, just south of Pismo Beach California. This place is infused with so many memories. My wife Teresa has vacationed here with her family since she was young. I grew to love this area as they included me in their time here. It’s a (mostly) laid back place with a mix of locals and vacationers, surfers, ATV’ers, fishermen and regular old beachcombers. Everyone seems to get along and respect the pursuit of the others. I would say that the only real bummer is the constant flow of cars and RVs on the beach. Yes, this is one of the few stretches of sand on the coast of California where you can drive on the beach. And pic4drive they do, day and night. You eventually get used to it, and I suppose it becomes part of the unique fabric of the place, but I really wish the cars would go away. Of course, we’ve brought our own cars down to the beach from time to time, so maybe I’m being just a tiny bit hypocritical. We have some cool shots of the classic bug convertible we used to own on the sand as the sun was starting to set. And there’s that time when we took a Hummer out into the surf, got swamped by a wave and the horn went off and wouldn’t stop honking. Very embarrassing.

It has been a very special place for Teresa and I over the years. It started just a few months after we met. I saw my wife-to-be in a bathing suit for the first time and basically proposed on the spot. We both sort of laughed it off, but in my heart I was really serious, and proved it by walking down the aisle with her just seven months later. We had our honeymoon in a little shack on the this familiar beach, owned by a dear friend of the family. This “shack” grew over the years through remodel and expansion. Oceano-51As the years peeled off and our marriage ebbed and flowed, we would return time after time. Driving up from the crowds of Orange County, escaping the heat and humidity of Texas, driving down from the Bay Area, always returning to this place on the coast. Almost perfectly positioned between the two major population centers of California, somewhat saved from the crush of the cities, a throwback to simpler times.

No matter how much this place grows or changes, the ocean is that element that continues to draw us back. The cool breeze off the water. That constant white noise from the surf. The calm blue water stretching out past the horizon. And the perfect place Oceano-14-2for those glorious sunsets to come to rest. It became our refuge. A place of joy and sorrow. Watching our children grow into adults. Wrestling with a difficult marriage. Dreaming of a future, maybe living at the beach. Constantly prowling the coastline, searching for that perfect little house, under valued and affordable, just big enough for our family at the time, a place for our dreams to Oceano-2live. We came close a few times but timing, finances and circumstances never aligned. They feel like missed opportunities, but it is hard to know how life may have turned out if we had managed to buy a place here. It is a very real possibility that finances might have forced us to sell, which would have made the pain much more palpable than what we feel with our “near misses”. At this point it is hard to imagine that we will ever buy here, but who knows we might be able to live here for a season, but probably not put down roots. It remains this almost mythical place to return to for a time, think of things past and dream about the future, wherever that might be.

“If you want to be the noun, first do the verb”

This “newspaper blackout” poem by Austin Kleon really struck me when I saw it this morning.


Austin Kleon is a creative soul that currently hails from Austin Texas. He originally burst on the scene with his unique method of leveraging the reservoir of words available in the newspaper, with the crude editing capability of a sharpie marker. The results can be very insightful, and sometimes convicting. I, at least to a certain degree, consider myself a “photographer”. But if I want to “be the noun”, I also need to be willing to “do the verb”. Doing the verb includes not only shooting the photos, but editing, organizing, publishing and other activities, all of which can amount to real work. As I write this, there is a pro beach volleyball event within sight of my apartment. This is a great opportunity to get some close up shots and add some unique images to my portfolio. If I want to be a photographer, I need to go shoot some photos.

And, while I don’t necessarily consider myself a writer, If I aspire to that (and I guess I do), I have to write. Maybe more on that later.


How to “Fascinate”


James Altucher’s podcast interview with Sally Hogshead “How to Fascinate”

James Altucher is another podcast host that interviews a wide variety of interesting people. This episode featured Sally Hogshead who has a unique view on personal branding and considers personality from the perspective of how others perceive us and the implications of that. If you find yourself resonating with her approach, take 10 minutes or so to take her online personality test at howtofascinate.com. The code for a free evaluation is “james”.

James Altucher’s website

I took the test, here’s my report

Kevin Kelly, co-Founder of WIRED Magazine – Fascinating


I’m been listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast during my commute. While I’ve jumped headlong into podcasts, Tim’s has emerged as one of my favorites. He interviews some really interesting people, and his articulate, engaging interview style makes for entertaining and informative episodes. I’ve been jumping around between his most recent shows and some of his “classics”. The description of Kevin Kelly’s interview caught my eye so I listened to it recently. He really is one of the most interesting people I’ve heard lately. His background is fascinating and he has a real gift for drawing you in and connecting you to his story. I found myself relating to many of his experiences, both in my own history as well as views and perspectives I’ve developed more recently.

I would encourage you to listen to Tim’s three part podcast which you can find here:


I was also surprised to hear that Kevin Kelly was featured on the very first episode of “This American Life” (even before it was called This American Life). You can find that episode here: