829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Thursday, March 31, 2011


It was a gorgeous day 18 years ago; sunny,
mild, and a long long day in the hospital.  Like
so many monumental events, I remember it like
it was yesterday.  Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
Now I need to find a restaurant that serves duck.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's getting closer!

Sailing with the McG's last August.  Braveheart at
the helm. I love it when someone else drives!  We
were on our way to Tice's Shoal and a Five O'Clock
somewhere session.  A bottle of red wine was 
spilled in the cockpit and it looked like a crime
scene.  Only crime was that wine was spilled!
Our guests reacted quickly and a fresh bottle was
uncorked and poured  in no time.  Life is good.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cheap is good

This wine practically jumped from its bin into my shopping cart.
These days, how can you pass up a wine that calls itself Premium
California Table Wine?  At $6.49 a bottle, I had to try it.

Well, it was okay.  I was really trying to find a redeeming quality
about it, but it was just okay.  Sure, the closer you got to the
bottom, the better it tasted.  But in the long run, if a friend shows
up at your door with one or two better bottles, the Cheap Red
Wine is gonna be poured into the pot behind it to make sauce.

One of the reasons I shop with frugality is the need
to be able to swing the Yacht Club fees for the
upcoming season.  According to Tillerman, "My kind
of club! Club membership at $40 a year is exactly the
kind of solution that we need to encourage more people
 to get involved in sailing."  I would pay forty bucks just
to say that I'm friends with these people.  They enjoy the
act of simply being with other people who like sailing as
they themselves do.  Everything else is gravy.  I can't
frickin wait until the first race.  And the party afterward.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random house photos

Winter of 1942.  I always thought it was cool
to go to the shore in the winter.  It was so quiet,
so desolate, so hard to imagine running out on the
dock with a crabnet in bare feet.  Summer always
came though, and it felt like it never had left.

Summer of 1946.  Norman Rockwell anyone?  That was Dad,
pre-Mom.  Snappers (baby bluefish) were and still are so
easy to catch.   Long bamboo pole, line, hook, bobber, and
spearing for bait.  Throw it in and pull them out.

Dad's dog, but nobody wrote the year on the
back of the photo.  I also don't recall his name,
but it may have well been Lucky, since not every
dog had a shore house.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Soup Sunday

We had chicken soup for dinner tonight.  Friday, after
getting back from the shore, I threw a chicken in the
oven, dreaming about the meal we were going to have.
It was delicious, but that wasn't the meal I had in mind.
Yesterday I made soup from the leftover carcass, which
included most of the legs, wings, and one full breast.
After letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I scooped
out about a quart and a half of the soup into a saucepan,
an ethereal mix of vegetables, chicken, egg noodles,
and savory, super gelatinous chicken broth. 
No fuss tonight, just heat and serve. 

Earlier, my wife made Irish brown bread to dunk in
the soup.  Dense as the day is long, it's a great
accompaniment and easy as hell to make from a mix.

There was Murphy's left from Thursday, and it went
perfectly with dinner.  Soup and bread.  And we
still didn't end up sitting down until well after seven.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday with Russ

Picture perfect day at Beaton's on Friday, but a bit too
windy for Sjogin.  It's okay, we made the best of it.

The view forward.  It seemed to have gotten smaller
down below since the last time I was there.  Or,
 I may have gotten larger.  The smell is the same.
Salt, cedar, varnish, smoke.  All the good things.

And lunch of course, toasting on the Sardine stove.
Borderline not necessary on a warm day like today.
Okay, definitely not necessary for warmth anyway. 
But how would one obtain the slightly crunchy texture
on the outside of the bun otherwise? 

Russ checking his iPhone.  I think he was actually kind
of working the whole time.  I gotta get me one of them
kinda jobs.  The sun was streaming in, and the warm
southwesterly wind was at least keeping the cabin
 air circulating. I'm starving.  

I stopped and picked up a six-pack on the way.  It
had to do with sailing somehow, I mean come on.
I decided on Full Sail IPA, brewed in Oregon.  I
bought it in honor of Doryman.  Michael, do you like
Full Sail?  We did very much.  With a slightly elevated
alcohol content, it provided us with a good appetite.

The foil finally came off and the aroma wafted toward
my face.  Russ said, jokingly, "you didn't give up
pastrami for lent, did you?"  I would never lend my
pastrami to anyone. Especially with arugula, stagianato,
and whole grain mustard on Miami onion bread.

All of the A Cats get their brightwork freshened every
off-season.  This picture does it no justice.  It really is a
rich man's game.  I think it's in the class rules that an
owner must spend a certain amount of money on his
or her boat every season just to qualify.

I tried to tag Ghost with a little dust graffiti.  Only the
keenest of eyes will be able to make this out. 

The cockpit of Lightning.  I'd almost be afraid
to sit in it.  I guess no-one wears cut-off Levis with
copper rivets while sailing any more, like I used to.

Was the shape of this plaque intentional?

After they hired their second employee, they opened
the doors for visitors too!

Undoubtedly, Russ and I share a deep love and
respect for this part of the shore.  We traded stories
of when we were young, exploring up and down
the ditches, canals, and lagoons that cut through the
marshes that line the bay and rivers. How the shore
was so less developed back in the sixties, and even
in the seventies to a degree.  We talked about how so
many old bungalows and shore houses were being
razed to make room for bigger, more ostentatious
weekend getaways.  At one point, he threatened to 
knock down his own house and build a smaller one.  
I laughed out loud.  That was a keeper.  After visiting his
perfect little cottage in Manasquan, I hope he reconsiders. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Postcards from the US Open

The 22 foot-deep superpipe at this year's Burton U.S.
Snowboarding Open at Stratton, Vermont.

Mardi Bras.  And this doesn't just happen the week
of fat Tuesday.  Nor does it just happen at Stratton.


Kazu Kokubo won the men's halfpipe for the second
year in a row.  One very small bright spot for Japan.

Whether dancing with the stars or pulling off a 
front-side fakie McTwist, Louie Vito is a crowd
pleaser.  He asked my daughter to pose with him.
She said fine, but make it quick! 

It's hard to resist, even at $4.50 a pop.

We moved the clocks ahead an hour the night before,
so by looking at this picture can you tell me what time
it is?

#49264 patiently waiting for summer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Big One

Little did I know that the girl of my dreams summered
a half mile upbay and around the point from 829 South
 Drive. Geez, we practically peed in the same bay water.
Now, if that isn't romantic, I don't know what is.

We met when we were nineteen, and the rest is history.

My better half, my best friend.  You're as stunning
as ever.  Happy 50th Baby, you're the greatest!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Birds of a Feather

Tony Bourdain.  One of my heroes.  Jersey
guy, went to the CIA.  Even had some chef-instructors
that I would have 4 years later. I found that out 
when I read his book, "Kitchen Confidential".
We would eventually have the opportunity to
rehash those memories several years later at the 
home of his publisher.  He is, I think, the original
American Bad Boy chef.  Punk rock loving, pot-
smoking, hard-drinking............... Anyway, I read 
his book and immediately felt a connection to him
like anyone else who has worked in the restaurant 
business.  He told it like it is, for the most part (I've
never caught my chef having his way with a new bride
over the dumpster behind the restaurant during her 
reception).  But you get my drift, right?

In our heyday in the kitchen, we all felt the same kind of
bravado and invincibility that Bourdain wrote of.  We were
the Kings of the castle, the rulers of our domain, and to
hell with anyone who thought otherwise. We held the knives,
we cooked the food, we controlled the pace at which our 
customers dined. And sometimes when we were in the shit,
we found a way to blame it on the servers.  In no way did
we originate that.  I can assure you.  

Bourdain's menu at the home of his publisher, whose
name and number are upside-down on the bottom.  I
trust none of you would be weird enough to call him?
By far, my absolute favorite item on the menu was the
marrow pipes.  Marrow slathered on croutons with grey
sea salt sprinkled on top is my most coveted of treats.
The cheeks were okay, but I quickly concluded that
ours at the restaurant were better.  I helped carry out
the clafoutis to the table and proceeded to bump into
someone on the way, dropping one on what I imagine
was a very expensive rug.  Cherries don't stain, do they?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

American Idols

I've been watching American Idol with my wife and daughters
and I can honestly say that after 10 years, I'm actually making
it a point to sit down and watch the entire show this time. They
make fun of me for getting weepy when they run the hard-luck
stories of some of the contestants. I'm a sap. With the final 24
chosen, I've already come up with my 2 best guys.  The girls
I'm not as sure about.  But I'm really enjoying the process.

Simon and Garfunkel were and still are my American Idols.
From a very young age, I heard their music in the background
of our house during the day while my Dad was at work.  That
was probably the only time when Mom felt comfortable playing
them. I always thought it was funny that "The Graduate" stole
Mrs. Robinson from them.  Put it in her pantry with her cupcakes.

For reasons known only to me, I cried kind of hard at times
on and off while viewing this clip, while wondering whether
this was the take I wanted to post.  It most definitely was.
This clip is dedicated to a dear blogger to whom this music,
as I found out, means alot.  BTW, was that Carole King?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken Soup

It's always good for the soul to visit Beaton's in the winter.  You
immediately don't feel so alone when lamenting about how much
longer it's gonna be until the boat goes in the water.  Everyone's
in the same spot.  It's funny; I look at the names on these boat-
covers and I know about half of them.  As much as things change,
they stay exactly the same, year after year.

This place is like the unspoken choice for winter storage among
the "haves" around these parts.  There's almost a feeling of a
God-given right to rest your catboat on the sacred cinder blocks
of David Beaton and Sons' boatyard.  Besides the Bay itself, I
may like to have some of my ashes accidently dropped along
the lanes of this venerable display of forgotten and not-so-much
forgotten vessels.  When you look at some of these boats and
see that the registration stickers are from last summer, you wonder
how the hell they were able to float!  Testament to the spirit of
the boats themselves, and the determination of the skippers too.  

Bat has been here on the hard for the last two years.  One of the
original A-Cats, every additional year she sits here signals to me
the end of her illustrious racing and,  frankly, sailing career.  The 
only way for her life to be re-kindled would be for someone with
deep pockets to take interest in her and again refurbish her to
her former status as one of the grand ladies of the Bay.  But no-
one around here has any money.

I always wonder who owned or owns this Finn.  It was never a
big class on the bay, but always a world class boat.  Could it have
been sailed by Carl Van Duyne?  Peter Commette? Muzzy Barton?
John Bertrand?  Paul Elvstrom?  This boat would be perfect for
my sized body.  Well at least more buoyant than the Laser. 

Beaton's garvey.  The on-water lifeblood of the boatyard.
First in the water in spring and the last out, probably in December.

I respect this boat so much, I needed to post two pictures of her.

The on-land version of the garvey, this Ford tractor moves boats
of all shapes and sizes, and has done so for untold decades.

The A-Cat "Ghost"'s freshly varnished mast.  You know it's starting
to get nice out when shit like this is lying around on sawhorses.
It looked so wet when I approached it.  How they avoid the
brushmarks is what I'd like to know.

Waterfront view of Beaton's and all 8 channels on TV!

One of the main reasons I come here these days: 
Russ Manheimer's "Sjogin".  He's sometimes hard
to meet up with;  he lives about 15 or 20 minutes away
and comes and goes like the wind itself.

Lines so nice, I had to show her twice.

Vast array of masts and a lot of frigging rigging.

The buoys would like a side of mushrooms.

An old surf boat, presumably from the Lavalette Beach Patrol.