Saturday, February 20, 2010

Surfing the Curves of Change

LEFT: Surfer Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, about whose surfing adventures her father Frederick Kohner wrote the 1957 novella Gidget

(Fun fact: This cute Californian Jewish teenager grew up and married a Yiddish scholar from New York. Worlds collide.)

I was so excited last night to read in the novel Venus Plus X thoughts about changing technology--about facing the future--from within the era whose design I've been looking at (the pre-Star Trek mid-twentieth century).

With a few changes of names, the author's psychology of change--his advice to lean into the future like a surfer--still holds, fifty-some years later:

From Venus Plus X (1960), by Theodore Sturgeon:

"He remembered reading an ad in a magazine listing ten quite common items on a shopping list,
aluminum foil, an anti-biotic cream, milk in cartons, and the like,
and pointing out that not a single one of these things could be had twenty years ago.
If you lived in a technology like that of the mid-twentieth century,
you were there to see the vacuum tube displaced by the transistor and that by the tunnel diode,
while in one ten-year period the artificial satellite moved from the area of laughable fantasy to a hunk of hardware broadcasting signals from the other side of the sun.
"There were a lot of people living in his time who never did latch on to the idea that the curve of technological progress was not a flat slanting line like a diving board,
but a geometrical curve like a ski-jump.
"Unable to get the big picture, they welcomed the conveniences,
the miniaturization of this and the speed of that,
and then they were angrily surprised when their support of these things
changed their world.
Well he... seemed always to have been aware that progress is a dynamic thing,
and you had to ride it leaning forward a little, like on a surfboard
because if you stood there flat-footed
you'd get drowned."


ArtSparker said...

Apparently we are connected this A.M. Will send you the link.

Fresca said...

Thanks, ARTS:
From the e-mail I wrote you in resposne:
I also think about how unhelpful rigid-certainty can be.
I've long believed that life is like the moving ocean--a series of waves, and long flat sections where nothing happens...
Seems a good idea to learn how to ride those waves and to wait out the doldrums.

I always liked my sign, Pisces, as it's two fish traveling together in opposite directions--in water, we can exist on different planes at the same time.

yvette said...

Fresca, thanks vor visiting my blog so I can take a peek in your world . I spent some time here and love your 365 selfportait project.
I've seen 3 dogs here..airdale, steffordshire and tibetan????
Am I right?
Like you I surrender to the waves of the sea.
thanks Susan!
see you Fresca!

Fresca said...

Hi, Yvette:

Nice to "meet" you--I love your felt work!

You are absolutely spot on with the hardest breed: a Staffordshire.

You are close with the other two:
What looks like an airedale is a wire-haired fox terrier (similar to but smaller than an airedale).

The Tibetan is actually a Chinese Shih Tzu---but I looked it up, and guess what?
They may originally come from Tibet.

Best to you,

Davis Miller said...

I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a "real surfer bar" in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don't want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It's nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect "escape" from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn't on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o' shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song "Brandy"? It goes, "Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea." I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that's a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.