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March 15, 2009

Please bear with me here guys. The NEW IMPROVED Ralph's Pic Of The Week is still in the improving stages. It's what I said it was last week, "a work in progress." I know a few of you have been waiting for the Ralph's Rules and Tips page and a few others, are salivating over the Dropping In On Ralph Page as well (Now why ya gotta be so hurtful?). All in due time my friends, all in due time. Meanwhile, I'm still working out the newly designed pages, and trying to get them to load quicker and more efficient. Of course, these midweek swells, are stopping all production, and causing me to both shoot and surf. Remember, I'm still trying to figure out my new NIKON D-90. There's just not enough time in the day.

Having said all that, I've been getting lots of emails from you guys. 99% positive. I guess having thumbnails is better for most of you. And those who liked the old way, are getting used to the thumbnails. And having the sponsors on the page, has been met with great appreciation. Don't forget, all the sponsors, are Surfers. Gotta keep it clean and fresh, by having those who think like us, advertise with us. I do appreciate your feedback, and I've been trying to answer you all, when time permits. And honestly, I can't thank you enough, for all the great motivation you have instilled in me.

I'll do my best, to keep the heart and soul of the site up front and fresh. Just like I have for the last 6 years. Wow 6 years? That's 624 consecutive weeks worth. What the..? Man...I can't believe that one myself. It's all there in the archives pages, for those who might want to brush up on my past weekly musings.

You may not agree with everything I say, but at least you know, that what I do say, is coming from the depths of my soul. Plus you can always revert right to the photos. What's the old saying? "A Picture's worth a thousand words." Well I posted 171 photos last week. That's a lot of unused words. Although, I do write all the captions. So I guess, that old adage falls somewhat short.

OK, I saw something this past week, that I don't believe I have seen in quite sometime. What's that you ask? After the snow storm we had Sunday night and Monday. And what was that, storm number 104? By the way, can someone find out how many snow falls we've had this winter? I'm sure you can google the question, and it will pop up. Better yet, I don't want to know. So what did I see? It's more a matter, of what I didn't see. And what I didn't see, was this...

...People shoveling their driveways.

Where was everyone? Well, I guess the good folks in sleepy ole Hampton collectively said..."We've had enough!" So, they let the snow lie. It was like, this movement had overcome everyone. I kept checking, to see if my neighbors were out blowing their driveways, or shoveling the walk ways. And no one was doing anything. This last storm, was the storm, that broke these, hearty New Englander's strong will. They cracked. They gave up. And truth be told, I might of joined them, but I'm trying to stay in some kind of shape. So while I did not blow the driveways, I did shovel. Albeit it was a messier job than what I usually do. Some of my close friends will chuckle at that. Cuz they know, how crazy I get, when I'm doing the driveways. I like nice even cut lines. Hey I'm an artist. I like to see things a certain way. And my driveways are no exception. Nice clean lines. Like the ocean.

Speaking of the ocean, I noticed something the other day, while flipping through a magazine, that had nothing to do with surfing. But in this one particular photo, was this made up, model type, looking family. I'm not sure what the product was they were selling, but that's not important. What was important, was the ocean in the background. It was messy and onshore. Then I got to thinking, at how many TV spots we've seen, with the ocean being used as a backdrop. And more times than not, the ocean is a messy, sloppy, onshore junk. Clearly the director, and or photographer's, are not surfers.

So my guess is, the TV spots that do have clean surf, in the background, must of had a surfer as part of their creative team. Because, no real surfer, would allow junk surf in his commercial. No matter what they are selling. Surfer's,would never sell their soul to junk surf. Case in point. If one of RPOTW sponsors came to me with an ad, that had junky surf, I'd have to send it back. We have to draw the line somewhere. I mean, if you have junky, onshore sloppy looking surf in your ad, what does that say about your business? Unless it's a Bargain store, or thrift shop, you need to set a tone. Clean surf says you care. Perfect surf, says you have quality and integrity.

Junky, onshore crap, is unacceptable here. (Unless it's contest surf pics). What?

Speaking of clean and junky surf. The surf on Wednesday and Thursday was both. Wednesday had size, but the conditions were somewhat sloppy. While Thursday had the clean lines, but lost the size and power. And both days were cold. Not as cold as it has been in the past. But pretty freaking cold. I shot a sunset and a sunrise. It's been a while since I shot a sunrise. There's a whole gang of pre-work, or preschool surfers, who get their wave quota in before work. They show up at zero-dark-thirty. It was kind of neat watching them. Especially in light of the fact, that the surf was really not that good. Or, it seemed that way at first. It ended up being better than I originally had thought. And that, was in due part, to the genuine stoke, of the handful of surfers out there. I knew two of them. Bryon Rivers and Chris Duarte. They were stoked.

And I was stoked, to shoot a couple of their waves.

But honestly, I was more stoked at shooting the rising sun. There was a longboarder who I did not know, who was sitting on his board, watching the sun rise, and I was trying to imagine what he was thinking about. It's those moments in surfing, when you can really put things in your life, into perspective. I stood there, freezing on the icy film on the sand, snapping away. And wondering about my own life situations, while wondering what this guy was thinking. And it occurred to me (again), about my own tagline of "Surfing heals all wounds". I was secretly hoping, that his life was free of worry and pain. And that he would leave this session, just feeling good about life.

Because we all know, that life is not a bowl of cherries.

Or in our case, a clean offshore head high swell. There are times when your life is like an onshore, cloudy, drizzly small, junky surf day. And like all bumps in the road, it is all in your attitude, as to how you get through it. How do you approach these days? Can you see through the junky surf? Do you know, and believe, that there are better days ahead? I know of many individuals who have positive outlooks on life. There are many in our lives. And there are just as many, who do not. Some who seem happy on the outside, but inside, they are tormented and full of loneliness and despair. I truly hope, those individuals eventually come around. And to those who feel that way, who are surfers, need to get out into the ocean, and cleanse your souls. Do it. Paddle out and let the healing power, of Mother Ocean, clean you, of all that is troubling you.

There are two people, who I write about frequently, who are full of optimism and whom you are all aware of. First is Buck Rowlee. Buck and his beautiful wife Meg and their two small children Molly and Kieran have had a slightly onshore storm sweep into their lives as of late. Their daughter, Lil Miss Molly had been diagnosed with Lymphoma. I saw Buck at the Fitness Revolution on Lafayette Road (Rte 1),
North Hampton, NH
. March 8th during the "A Day for Molly". As in true Buck fashion, he was stoked. (See pics below) Look, the Rowlees know what they are facing. But they also know, the power of positive thinking.

Miss Molly has a treatable and curable cancer. And I believe she will be cured by the wonderful care of doctors and nurses, but more importantly, she will be cured by the power of prayer and positive thinking.

The overwhelming surge of friends, neighbors, surfers and non surfers, family and relatives has been such a positive movement that it's hard not to get caught up into it. And leading that charge is Buck himself. There's still plenty of things going on for Lil Miss Molly and you can find out most of it on the Ralph's Community Page.

REMEMBER All the shops are STILL collecting cards, gifts, and other provisions for the Rowlee family. PIONEERS , CINNAMON RAINBOWS, BRICKHOUSE, ZAPSTIX and many more shops are drop off points of interest for Miss Molly. Skip Brunette has opened a Little Miss Molly account at the SEACOAST CREDIT
UNION on 887 Lafayette Rd, Hampton NH
. (see poster below for info). There are several more fund raisers in the making as well.

This is the info for the ONLINE Auction.
Little Miss Molly Fund Auction

The other individual I often speak about is Brian Nevins. Brian is currently back in Nicaragua at LaChureca where the children of the Dump live. Surely, you have seen the photos over the last few months that Brian has taken. This is I believe, is his 3rd or 4th trip down there. This time, he is joined by his beautiful girlfriend Samantha. I spoke briefly with the two of them, before they left. Sam was a bit apprehensive as you can very well imagine. But, she was full of conviction, to help join Brian and educate both the families of Nicaragua, and the world, of this plight, concerning these lost, forgotten souls. I have often said, That we will all be judged by what we did here on earth. Did you stop and help someone along the way? Did you make someone else's life better? Did you make someone smile today? Did you sacrifice a part of you to help someone else in need?

I think we can all agree, that Brian and now Sam, have met some of those.

Now for some of my weekly observances:

I've had a second thought about Jimmy Fallon. As you know he took over for Conan O'Brien's Late Nite talk show. This week he had me laughing. I guess having the entire audience dress up in those ridiculous Snuggies did it for me. It was so absurd looking, it was funny. Jimmy, his guests, and the band, along with every audience member, were dressed in Snuggies. The world has gone Snuggie Crazy. So I'm giving Jimmy Fallon another week, before I cast my vote. Although, I still
think our own Jimmy Dunn would of been a better choice. Besides, you could still keep the Red headed promos going with Jimmy Dunn.

So, did anyone see the story in the Boston Globe about the Chimpanzee in Stockholm? Apparently this crazed Chimp named "Santino" had secretly stashed a bunch of rocks in his enclosure, before the park was open, he waited until midday, when the zoo was crowded, and then hurled these large rocks at zoo visitors, in fits of rage. This according to Zoo officials and researchers, has confirmed, that Apes can plan ahead, just like humans. No kidding. Hell, I could of told you all that. Like I said a few weeks ago, Apes and Monkeys are dangerous and unpredictable. I didn't trust em then, and I don't trust em now. Can you imagine a 31yr old Chimpanzee who weighs around 200lbs throwing rocks at you? I don't think so.

Yet another reason why, we should not have apes in our home. That Chimp "Santino" must of had at least a 100mph fastball. On second thought, maybe the Sox could use him as a closer. Why the hell not? Hey, if a fight breaks out, that Chimp would kick some serious ass.

I have more Patriots news. Larry Izzo longtime Special teams Captain, has left the team and gone over to the dark side. Yes, he's now a NY JET. How does shit like this happen? How do you let a player like Izzo go to our arch rivals? Izzo was there for all three Superbowl wins. Now he's with Darth Vader and company. I know, I know, "In Bill We Trust". I get it. We'll see though. Losing Vrabel, Cassel, and now Izzo in less than a month's time. I guess we all wait and see.

Celtics have become the Walking Wounded as of late. And the B's barely beat the Islanders 2-1 yesterday. And the Sox...beat the Yankees in a preseason shellacking.Mike Lowell looked great as did Ortiz. And Springtime is coming quicker every week. NBA and NHL play-offs are right around the corner.

Hold onto your seats, I have a couple of passing's to report. First, is Jimmy Boyd. Jimmy passed away at the age of 70 this past week. Who the hell is Jimmy Boyd you ask? Well, all you Christians might remember him as, the little boy voice on the Christmas classic tune "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Rest in Peace Jimmy. The second is, Alan Livingston. Alan was 91 and he passed away yesterday. Again, who the hell is Alan Livingston? Alan was the creator of BOZO the Clown. If you don't know who Bozo is well...nevermind. Rest in Peace Alan.

Check out the shout out in the NEW ESM magazine about my two latest releases. "GREETING SEASONS" and "Groovemasters" both are in the shops!

Happy Saint Patty's Day to All My Irish Friends and family! (My wife and kids are part Irish) . ..." Erin Go Bragh"

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week.

Remember my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Little Miss Molly Fund Auction

Yesterday- 1979 Hand Salute! Two NH Boys in the Tropics
(Below) My good friend Jeff Chamberlain took this photo of JT and myself 30 years ago. I remember this day. We were into our second week of great surf in the tropics. This is the trip, where we met Jeff and Sam George and made lifelong friendships, that only surfers can do, when going on successful surf trips. I still hear from Jeff almost every week. Not so with JT. Although, I still run into him every now and then. JT still surfs as well. The only problem I have with this photo? JT is saluting with the wrong hand. It bothered me then, and now 30 years later, it still bothers me. Always salute with your right hand, even if you do it mockingly.
Photo by Jeff Chamberlain

Today- 2009 This week in Surf and Other Memorable Moments in our lives. March 11-14th, 2009.
All photos by RALPH

Today- 2009 Last Saturday Surf and Other Images
All photos by Lenny Nichols



(Above) Sam Hammer at The Wall on March 3rd, 2009
Video Frame Grab by Ralph
Today- 2009 Lil Miss Molly Fund Raiser
All photos by Danielle and Ralph

Today- 2009 Brian Nevins back in Nica
All photos by Brian Nevins


Today- 2009 NE Boys In The Tropics
All photos by Ross Kunkel



Today 2009 PARTING SHOT- "Thar She Blows!"
The Great White Board Spotted Off 10th Street

(Above) Hard to tell what is happening here. No doubt, this guy didn't spot the wave behind him, otherwise why would be put himself in this precarious position?
Photo by RALPH






























































































































































































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