Sunday, February 20, 2005

10 Things I Hate About HB

The rain is back.

Rain sucks.

Guess that means it's time to flip the coin and see what's on the other side of HB. So without further ado about nothing, here are 10 things I hate about Huntington Beach...

10. Cheesy bars. Don't get me wrong, I love a great bar. Every beach town should have one good Irish pub, one seedy dive with cheap, stiff drinks and dirty pool tables, and at least one cool surf-themed bar with non-stop surf videos and tank-topped chicks with bolt-ons pulling 24 oz. drafts. But HB is simply crammed with shitty, cheesy, smelly, bars - each one more packed with underage kooks, jail bait, and dirtbag bouncers than the next.

9. Paintball. The people who run "Surf City" are confused. On one hand, they're trying to upmarket a once run-down, blue collar beach town with nice hotels, boutiques, and family friendly events like the Woody Wagon car shows, the Kite takeover at 6th St., and the farmer's markets. But they're also willing to sellout the beach to anyone and any event with a checkbook. The annual paintball war at the pier is simply the worst thing on the beach I've ever seen. Hordes of rednecks from Riverside, driving out every local in the vicinity for 3 days straight, and then leaving the beach COVERED with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of paintballs for weeks and weeks. Hideous. The council members who approved this should be tied up and shot with all the leftovers.

8. Food...Or Lack Of. We've got some of the worst restaurants in Orange County...and that's saying a LOT. Duke's is fun and tasty, and so is Chimayo, but both still reek of franchise. The Red Pearl Kitchen would be a 3rd tier nosh in LA or SF, but here it's our "hip", "stylish", top-ranked spot for overrated Asian fusion. Here's an idea...let's close half the bars on Main, and lure some good chefs away from LA and Laguna with discounted, prime locations.

7. That Damn Tree. I'm not sure what they're called. They might be Cork Oaks. They might be Flaxleaf Paperbarks. All I know is that there's one in front of my house and it's ugly as hell and rains down tiny, needle-sharp leaves all year long. I lost track of how many I pulled out of my son's feet last summer. I'm not the biggest fan of palm trees, but I'll take one any day over these filthy, scraggly, ouchy, glorified scrub brushes.

6. The Apartments. HB is a strange town in that there's virtually no beachfront property - every home is on the other side of PCH. Every home, that is, except for one old development of condominiums, right on the sand, lovingly referred to as, "The Apartments." Overpriced, run-down, rust-streaked white condos accented by dirty blue trim (and matching stained awnings), and completely encircled by disintegrating wrought iron bars (curved and spiked like a medieval prison), The Apartments actually make Main St. look semi-charming.

5. Helicopters. What the hell is it about HB and helicopters? 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it's like a scene from Blue-fucking-Thunder. If it's not some jackass flyboy cop buzzing the pier every hour, it's his buddy with the spotlight hovering over every house downtown, looking for a party to bust. I don't even want to know how much of our tax dollars goes to maintaining and operating these overpriced toys.

4. Contests. Hey, I love a good surf contest now and then. Almost 20 years ago I stood at the water's edge at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and watched Mike Cruikshank charge 12 foot spitting barrels at the 1986 PSAA Vuarnet Pro-Am. It was a watershed moment in my surfing life. And I dig the US Open - an iconic event with an amazing history. But do we really need to have a contest...or two...or three...every damn weekend??? From Magnolia to Bolsa Chica, and everywhere in between, this place is like a Little League surf arena complex. Could they at least sell dogs and beer?

3. Onshore Wind. I never realized how good we had it down in San Diego or up in Santa Cruz. While we do get the occasional evening glassoff in HB, it's afternoon, onshore slop 80% of the time. And for us non-morning people, that's just straight-up cruel.

2. Sidewalks...Or Lack Of. I love old neighborhoods without sidewalks. Carmel By The Sea and Del Mar are just two of my favorites...a throwback to the days of rural beach life. But Downtown HB ain't exactly a sleepy little town, and pushing your kid's stroller or walking your dog on the side of the street while some 16 year-old retard in a raised Toyota Tacoma goes racing past you at 50 MPH, is enough to make you go gray. Indianapolis St....aptly named...might be the worst offender.

1. Skinheads. I don't know when or how it happened, but at some point, long ago, HB became a haven for skinheads, racists, and white supremacists. Back in the 80's it became enough of a problem that the Huntington Beach Police Department created an Anti-Skinhead Task Force. In the past few years, especially as the housing prices have gone through the roof and things have gone "upmarket", the Skinheads have become less and less prominent. But they ain't gone. Just last week I took my son to Lake Park over off Main St...a weekday congregation point for toddlers and stay-at-home-moms. There, my son played with another 2 year-old boy, whose father sat nearby. I'd seen him before - skinny guy with a buzz (so what? I've got a buzz, too). But this time he had on a wife-beater tee and, in addition to a tapestry of typical tattoos covering his arms and shoulders, was displaying a lovely softball sized Swastika on his arm. And as if that wasn't bad enough, my son, who's very fair and very blonde, ran past him. The guy's girlfriend, who was sitting next to him, remarked, "Boy, they don't get any blonder than that." He replied, "That's pure Norwegian gold, baby."

Huh? How about pure Polish Jew?

Fucking scumbag.

Well, there you have it. I live here and, believe it or not, I love it here. My last few posts are a testament to that. But, like I said, it's raining, and rain means no surf in HB. And no surf, well...you know what that means.

The Colonel says, "Here comes the sun."