Japan

February 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Japan is amazing.  It’s probably the best trip I’ve ever been on.  Everything is so different, yet not so different to be totally overwhelming.  It’s like I’ve gone to another planet where they have everything we do, except it’s all done differently.  For example, they have amazing public restroom facilities all over.  However, most of the toilets have heated seats and a small electronic control panel that allows you to use a bidet (in a couple different forms apparently) and also an electronic “flushing noise” which is just a recording of a flushing sound.  I don’t know WHY they have that…I guess they have shy bladders or something.  It’s just so strange.

Another difference is of course the language.  I don’t know a lick of Japanese…aside from a few words such as “arrigato” which means thank you.  The Japanese people have completely blown me away…they are the most POLITE people I’ve ever encountered.  When you walk into a hotel they are falling over themselves to take your bags.  A bellhop will show you to your room.  They make sure they tell you EVERYTHING about the hotel and the surroundings.  Basically they make Americans look like rude pigs.

Everyone wears awesome uniforms – from the hotel staff to the people cleaning the restrooms.

They LOVE their cellphones…I’ve nearly been run over by people who are charging along staring down at their cellphone.

They also love beer – it’s cheaper than buying a Coke at a restaurant, and you can buy beer from vending machines.

The public transportation is amazing – punctual to the second and affordable and clean.  Oh yeah – did I mention – everything is super clean here.

I have so much more to write about, but I have to end it here for now.  But I will definitely post more about my trip.

 

 

Malibu

May 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Two weeks ago I did a mini California road trip to Santa Barbara with Lori and Val.  There was no surf in Santa Barbara (at the iconic Rincon) because the predominant swell in the water was from the south.  Santa Barbara is blocked from receiving south swells due to the shadowing of the Channel Islands.  However, we stopped at Uppers on the way there, and on the way back surfed Malibu.  I took my 9′ Takayama Model T to get the full effect.  It was really windy but the lines remained relatively clean.  I really want to go back there on a warmer day with a little less wind.

malibu lines

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hipster boardbag

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dora's wall

Puerto Rico Adventures

May 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Check out this video I made of our crew hitting Rincon Puerto Rico for a week of fun in the sun and surf.  We weren’t greeted by roping 6ft walls of perfect swell, but we made the most of what we had.

This is my first venture filmmaking with the Canon T2i, and I had a lot of fun using it.

Adventures In Puerto Rico from Hayley Gordon on Vimeo.

Well, I WAS gonna go to Japan…

March 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I was scheduled to travel to Japan this Sunday for 10 days.  Now that an 8.9 earthquake has hit the country, however, those plans are off.  I was going to go with Alicia who is being sent there for work to use the wind tunnel.  I am disappointed, of course, but I feel more bad for the people caught in that frightening situation in and around Sendai.  The news footage of that wave of water rolling through the countryside and towns is frightening, like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie.  I’m glad I was not in Tokyo at the time.  Sure it would have been exciting, but it would have been a major pain in the butt.  The hotels don’t have power, the transportation systems are closed, and it’s pretty chaotic.

Thankfully Alicia is getting sent to Japan again in October.  So I will move my ticket to then.  I’m disappointed that I’m not going now, but looking at the positives I think it might even be better to go in October.  I might even be able to go surfing since it will still be warm!

I hope that Japan can bounce back from this event.  I’m sure they will.  My desire to travel there has grown even greater since watching the footage on the news.

Sorry I haven’t been posting on this blog recently, but I’ve been incredibly busy with work and actually preparing for this trip.  More posts to come!

An L.A. Weekend

June 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Sorry for the lack of updates!  I’ve been sooo busy!  Let me just give a rundown of this past weekend, and I’ll be back to write more details about the other stuff I’ve been up to.

I just spent a very long weekend in L.A. driving all over the place and checking out a lot of very cool events.  I drove up with Val and Joanne to attend Billabong’s Design For Humanity event, which was a huge concert and party that took place in the NYC backlot set at the Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood.  We had an absolute blast – there were 3 concerts, food trucks, and drinks.

We crashed at Stef’s place in Downtown L.A. and woke up the next morning to get Val to a meeting with the marketing director of the Roxy theater in West Hollywood.  While she had her meeting I was able to just chill and check out Sunset Blvd., grab coffee and check my email.  It was nice to just take in the area for a little bit.  After that we drove out to Malibu, but the waves were too small to surf.

Then we drove back to Santa Monica where we stopped by at one of Val’s friends places to shower.  We then went out with a bunch of her friends to a dinner place called Pink Taco and then on to the Viceroy in Santa Monica for drinks.  Then we drove all the way to Redondo Beach at 3am to crash at her friend’s place.   The next morning we grabbed breakfast and then drove back to Malibu and tried to meet up with my friend Nancy Mack who I know from Montauk.  She tried to let us use the key to Little Dume, a private beach.  Unfortunately we were apprehended by some sniveling rule follower guard who confiscated our key and told us that the homeowner would have to come back with a photo ID in order to get the key back.  What a pain!

Then we went to Santa Monica to go shopping on the 3rd st. Promenade and had lunch there.  Then we drove to Arcadia to meet up with Val’s Aunt and brother’s girlfriend where we had Thai food.  After that we drove back to WeHo (West Hollywood) and went to a concert at the Roxy, which was free thanks to that meeting with that marketing director that Val had on Friday.  Then we had 1am food at Mel’s Drive In on Sunset Blvd.  Then we drove all the way back to Arcadia to crash out.  I was SO tired.  Then we woke up and had the BEST lunch sandwich crepe EVER in this little Japanese crepe place in Arcadia.  Finally, we drove back, chilled for a few hours, and then went surfing.

As you can see it was an incredibly eventful weekend!  Hey, you only live once right ;)

I’ll post more pictures later!

Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

Shirock @ The Roxy

Shirock @ The Roxy

Sorry For The Absence

April 15th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Sorry it’s been so long since my last update!  I felt like so much had happened and I was just overwhelmed at the thought of writing about all of it.  Let’s just sum it up in a nutshell:  I went to visit my friend Alicia in Seattle and had a blast.  I got some great sunny weather and got to see Seattle at its finest.  Then I went on a roadtrip to Santa Barbara with my friends Suzanne, Val, and Lori.  That was another extremely fun trip where we surfed the iconic surf break of Rincon.  You can read more about that trip in the article I wrote up for my other website, The Surfing Handbook.  Click here – Santa Barbara Road Trip.

Pikes Place Market - Seattle

Pikes Place Market - Seattle

Alicia And I - Steven's Pass, Washington

Alicia And I - Steven's Pass, Washington

Greenlake Park, Seattle

Greenlake Park, Seattle

Seattle View

Seattle View

Between those adventures I have been doing a lot of surfing right here in my own backyard.  It’s so amazing to be able to just walk to Grandview.  Every day I do it I appreciate where I am and how blessed I am to be able to say “I live in California and I can walk to my surf spot and surf with my friends.”  Like, this morning I did an early AM session with Val and Joanne.  The waves weren’t that great but the sun was out, the water was glassy, and there were dolphins and pelicans sharing the waves with us.  Sheesh.  So gooey it almost makes your teeth hurt.

I was given the OK today by my cardiologist that my heart is totally fine, my bloodwork is 100% normal, and the skipped beats I was having were just a function of adrenaline and other factors.  In other words I’m NOT going to drop dead if they happen.  Which is reassuring, because last year I had about 5 minutes of continual skipped beats and it was literally the most scared I’ve ever been in my life.  That had never happened to me before and I really thought I was going to keel over right then and there.  Ever since it has been weighing very heavily on my mind, so I’m glad I got everything checked out once and for all.  The good part about it all is that the skipped beats are happening much less frequently now that I’m not so worried about them.  Interesting how that works.

I found this amazing short film on Vimeo tonight, and if you want to see an example of something that I’d love to create myself, then check this out.  The music and cinematography were just breathtaking.  The script was good but not great in my opinion, but the film as a whole is head and shoulders above anything I’ve seen come out of Hollywood recently.

APRICOT – Short Film by Ben Briand (sponsored by his incredible actors and crew) from Moonwalk Films on Vimeo.

Mammoth Mountain

February 9th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

This past weekend I went up to Mammoth Mountain, CA with Suzanne and Val.  It was an amazing trip – we got an insane amount of good snow to play around in.

Basically Mammoth is a bit of a drive…it takes about 7 hours to get there.  Since Suzanne had class until around 6:45 we couldn’t leave until later in the evening.  By the time everyone was at my apartment and we had the car packed it was 8:00pm.  That is a bit late to start.  On the way there we missed the turnoff to 395 and ended up staying on the 15 towards Las Vegas.  Luckily we caught ourselves in time and were able to cut back on the 58, but it still cost us almost 40 minutes!  It was kind of a bummer.  We were joking that we might have kept driving till we saw the lights of Las Vegas.  That would have been interesting.

Towards the end of the drive we hit some snow and the road was completely covered.  Add that to the fact that it was pitch black and the light reflecting off the falling snowflakes reduced visibility to about 30 ft.  We were exhausted, and I drove the last leg since it was my car and I was most familiar with driving it in bad conditions.  We had to put chains on the tires so we stopped in front of a few other cars and used the light from their headlights to help us see.  We finally rolled into the driveway of the Sierra Lodge at 5 in the morning.  Yes.  5:00 am.  It was pretty brutal.

We woke up at around 11am and snowboarded for half a day.  By then it had snowed almost a foot of fresh snow, and the conditions were amazing.  Even though we were really, really tired we were invigorated by the sheer joy of sliding down pillowy runs of fresh powder.

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The next day we headed over to Chair 25 where there were lots of intermediate difficulty tree runs.  Snowboarding through the trees when there is fresh snow is such an amazing experience.  The trees force you to pick a path and dodge branches and trunks, which adds an exhilarating challenge.  The fresh powder adds a feeling of weightlessness, and you dodge and swerve the trees, sometimes ducking through a narrow keyhole of branches.

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It snowed all day, and by the end there was even more snow.  Val’s friend lent her a tiny handheld video camera device.  We took some first person video of ourselves riding around, and I had a super fun time following Val and Suzanne through the trees with it.  I’ll post video when we get it all edited.

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Overall this was probably the best snowboarding trip I’ve been on in terms of quality snow.  Also, we had a pretty awesome time together too – lots of funny one liners and silly moments causing uncontrollable laughter.  Looking forward to doing this again soon!

Photos From Last Weekend

February 2nd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

So I said I’d post photos from last weekend, and I’m finally getting around to it.  I wrote  a few new posts below, so be sure to check them out too!

Val and I In A Blizzard Of Epic Proportions - Mt. Baldy, CA

Val and I In A Blizzard Of Epic Proportions - Mt. Baldy, CA. This is 30 minutes outside LA. Seriously.

So last weekend Val and I went up to Mt. Baldy.  It is just north of Los Angeles, and when we got up there it was a WHITEOUT.  I mean, we couldn’t see where we were snowboarding!  Having never been there before it was even scarier because we had no idea what the surroundings were like, where the trails led, what obstacles there were, etc.  We could have snowboarded off a cliff and nobody would have known.  Actually, that’s pretty unlikely because we stayed on the marked trails, but it was still a bit sketchy.  We didn’t end up boarding for very long because I felt pretty uneasy about the situation…I think Val did too.  Plus the chair lifts kept breaking down and it was almost closing time anyway by the time we made our way up to the mountain.

Amazing Sunset Leaving Mt. Baldy

Amazing Sunset Leaving Mt. Baldy

When we were leaving Mt. Baldy we witnessed the MOST beautiful sunset I’ve EVER seen.  This photo does not do it justice at all. There were so many layers of color, and the depth to the different folds of clouds is just not transmitted through this digital picture.  We rounded the corner coming down the mountain and I pretty much started screaming unintelligible words while pointing at the sky.  It was incredible.

In Line - Mt. High

In Line - Mt. High.

On Sunday we went to Mt. High…along with everyone else in the entire Southern California area.  Basically it took us 2 hours to drive 130 miles there…and then 4 hours to drive the remaining 5 miles because, well, it was the first good snowfall for this season and the best snow the local mountains have seen in a long time.  So, everyone had the same idea.  But we persevered, and after 6 hours in the car we arrived.  We had a blast actually.

View from Mt. High Looking West

View from Mt. High Looking West

Mt. High Sunset - Lights Came On For Night Skiing

Mt. High Sunset - Lights Came On For Night Skiing

We had another amazing sunset that night, and left after it got dark.

This weekend we’re going up north to Mammoth Mountain here in CA, which is  about a 7 hour drive.  They have the biggest snow base in the nation, and it’s forecast to snow about 30″ while we’re there.  I’m very excited!

Whistler Canada, Eh!

January 15th, 2010 § 8 comments § permalink

Well, I really should be doing work, but I’m having a severe crisis of concentration.  So, I guess I’ll post a little update here since I’ve been meaning to anyway.

I just got back from an amazing snowboarding trip to Whistler, Canada.  Whistler is actually technically Whistler Blackcomb.  It’s a ski resort with two mountains (both huge).  Whistler is a mountain, and Blackcomb is a glacier.  Both have incredible terrain and ski runs.  If you started at the top, I believe it would take you about a half hour – 40 minutes to make it all the way to the bottom.  I guess if you were really fast you could do it in less time, but for normal people it takes a LONG time to get all the way down!  Usually you don’t do that though, you just go to one section of the mountain and stay there for a bit.

I went with my friends Val and Lori, and we stayed at Barb’s apartment.  Barb is our friend who moved from San Diego to Whistler this past summer.  She let us stay at her apartment for free, which was awesome!  It was close quarters but we had fun cooking dinners and breakfasts, and having chocolate fondue.

We went for New Year’s, and on New Year’s day we got a foot of fresh powder.  It was snowing nonstop for three days!

My favorite session on the mountain was when Barb took us to the alpine area called 7th Heaven.  It starts above the treeline and then opens up into a sloping meadow of open runs and copses of trees.   We went through a few stands of trees which was challenging.  Tree riding means trying to find a path between the trunks and navigating the powder in between.  Often there are already gouges in the snow from others going through the trees, so that adds to the difficulty.  We went through a few narrow keyholes where it was basically only as wide as my board and tree trunks were whizzing by inches from my head.  (Yes, I do wear a helmet)

At The Entrance To The Whistler Olympic Park

At The Entrance To The Whistler Olympic Park (L to R: Myself, Barb, Lori, and Val)

The Winter Olympics are going to take place in Vancouver and Whistler this year, so we got to take in all the improvements and construction going in to the preparation for the games.  Unfortunately we couldn’t really see the Whistler Olympic park because they had shut it down for security measures.  It’s kind of sad that the world is like that now, but such is life I guess.

Val, Lori and myself riding the lift

L to R, Me, Lori, Val - Riding the lift

Winter Wonderland on Blackcomb

Winter Wonderland on Blackcomb

I can’t wait to go back!  I had a great time.

The only problem I had during the trip is that Lori unfortunately got a cold the night before we left, and both Barb and I caught it.  So I’m sick yet again!!  Fortunately it wasn’t bad enough to stop me from snowboarding.  It was just annoying that my nose was running all the time.

Actually, I felt *great* when I was on the hill, in terms of my body.  I didn’t even get that sore!  Last year when I went to Whistler I got so incredibly sore that I couldn’t move.  I don’t know if it’s because we were doing shorter days or what, but my legs felt pretty strong the whole time.  Maybe my snowboarding technique is just better so that I put less strain on my muscles.  Who knows!

Hopefully we’ll take a few more boarding trips this Winter.  Val is talking about going to Mammoth, and it sounds really fun.  It’s about 6-7 hours north of San Diego, so it’s a bit of a drive, but I was looking at their website and the mountain looks huge.

I was telling my friends that after officially learning the basics of how to snowboard over the course of 3 trips to Vermont during High School, I pretty much perfected my snowboarding technique on the most dinky little hills in Michigan.  Mt. Brighton was only about 20 minutes away from the U of M, so it was a great place to go just to work on technique and get my kicks for an afternoon.  The only thing is – Mt. Brighton is a converted landfill (aka garbage dump).  It is TINY.  The hill itself is only like 230ft. high!  Let’s just say that it has made me truly appreciate going to a real mountain :)  I mean, Whistler makes Brighton look like a speck of dust.

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Tiny Mt. Brighton

Delta Sucks!!! & Whistler

December 30th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Well, Christmas has come and gone, and I can’t believe it went so fast.  It seems like yesterday that I was having Thanksgiving dinner!

I spent Christmas in Michigan with the family, and it was great.  Getting there and back, however, was a different story.  Delta lost my luggage on the way there, and then rescheduled my returning flight for the next day at 6am.  I officially hate Delta!

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It was ridiculous.  When contacting the Delta/Northwest baggage hotline they said they could send an email to the Detroit Metro baggage office to see about the status of my bag.  They said, quote, “we can’t actually call them because we don’t have their phone number.”

Wait, what?  The baggage hotline for  a major airline can’t look up the number for an airport’s baggage office?  Are you kidding me?

Adding insult to injury, they are now charging $20 to check a bag.  Thanks, I just gave you $20 to lose my bag.

Then on the way back it was quite an adventure.  First, the nosecone of the plane was scratched and they had to replace it.  Then, taxiing to the runway we hit a pothole.  The captain got on the intercom and basically told us “That pothole you felt back there was nothing, everything is fine.”

But it wasn’t.  Apparently as we were taxiing around some passengers heard a strange vibration noise from the right engine.  Then the stewardess heard it.  So they stopped the plane and had to get everything looked at.  When we taxied back to the gate and the pilot and mechanics came to the cabin to investigate I kind of knew we weren’t taking off that night.  I didn’t want to fly on that plane anyway – as all this was going down one of the flight attendants said to the other attendant that she would “rather just get off this plane.”  When the FLIGHT ATTENDANT says that, you know you have a bit to worry about.

So we had to go back to the airport, wait on line for an hour, get a hotel voucher for $13 (which was useless because everything was closed), board a shuttle for the hotel, and get 3 hours of sleep before waking up at 3am to make the shuttle for the newly rescheduled 6am flight.  PLUS, adding even more insult to injury, they didn’t let us have access to our checked baggage.  ANOTHER night without any clothes and toiletries.  After we boarded our rescheduled flight we had to wait 2 hours on the runway because they forgot to stock our plane with any beverages or food.  Didn’t much matter to me because they only give any worthwhile food to first class anyway.

In sum:  I hate Delta.  They gave us a $100 voucher for future use with their airline.  Thanks but no thanks.  In another few months all that $100 is going to be good for is checking a bag.

Well, enough about that.

I’m currently up in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, for a weeklong snowboarding trip with my friends Lori, Barb, and Val.  We are staying at Barb’s fantastic apartment for free.  New powder is expected for New Year’s Day.  I’m so excited!

I will update hopefully with some more news about the trip.

I’ve gotta say, even though it’s nice to travel, I will be so happy to finally get home after this trip and get back into a regular routine and schedule.  I just want to relax, and for me it’s hard to do that when I’m traveling – especially sports traveling like surf trips and snowboard trips, where people want to make the most of their time and you can’t always make your own schedule.

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