The box-office wipe out of 'Chasing Mavericks' was only one of the surfing-related stories to make our look back at 2012.


SANTA CRUZ LOSES KING OF THE TROLLS; ORCS UNAFFECTED: Santa Cruz lost a truly legendary figure—and procedural nightmare—when City-Council-meeting regular Mike Tomasi passed away. He often began his public comments by saying “My name is Mike Tomasi, King of the Trolls of A Battery, sixth battalion, fourteenth artillery, a walking, talking miracle from Vietnam, the greatest war observer in the history of the United States, and a real live hero.” Tomasi, who liked to speak on everysingle item, sometimes signed off with “I love ya, but I sure as hell don’t respect ya.” No matter what you thought of this beloved character, council meetings are now about ten minutes shorter.

BID TO SAVE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY LEADS TO CLOSURE OF REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY: In what can only be described as a textbook case of shooting oneself in the foot, a lawsuit filed by the League of California Cities in an attempt to stop 400 of California’s Redevelopment Agencies (including Santa Cruz’s) from losing their funds backfired when judges said the RDAs (including Santa Cruz’s) must instead close. Whoops, didn’t see that one coming!


BOOGIE BOARDER TRAPPED IN COVE RUINS IT FOR EVERYONE: An Arizona man led unfortunate credence to the “locals only” mantra of Santa Cruz’s tough-nosed, territorial surfers. State Parks lifeguards were called to rescue the 40-something boogie boarder, who had drifted into a cove near 19th Avenue and started crying out—thereby reinforcing an unflattering stereotype that will take out-of-town water lovers years to wash off.

INCREASED MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTINGS PROVIDE EXCUSE FOR LOCAL WOMAN TO TALK ABOUT CAT: With upwards of three reports a week around UCSC’s wooded upper campus, the lions threatened to inch out meth as the Santa Cruz Mountains’ top export. At a panel on the topic led by UCSC professor Chris Wilmers, a local woman said: “Will you look at the glare on that mountain lion’s face? My Siamese gives me that same glare all the time. And she only weighs seven pounds!”

TWO DRUNK DUDES TRY TO ROB CREMATORIUM:A Scotts Valley man and his friend were arrested on attempted robbery and intoxication charges after attempting to break into Santa Cruz Memorial Park and steal back the body of a deceased friend. They wouldn’t say why. Theories that it had something to do with recreating Weekend at Bernie’s were rejected after it was revealed the crime was committed on a Monday.

SANTA CRUZ RANKED GREAT SINGLES SPOT BY MAGAZINE DEFINITELY NOT FROM AROUND HERE:Washington, D.C.-based Kiplinger’s Magazine ranked Santa Cruz the third-best city in the country for singles, proving only that visitors from the East Coast don’t go to Brady’s Yacht Club while they’re in town. Just in case anyone thought this would push Santa Cruz into the stratosphere of iconic cosmopolitan cities, number one and two (respectively) were Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Bloomington, Illinois. Just saying.


KITTEN STOWS AWAY ON TRIP FROM MILL VALLEY TO SANTA CRUZ, AVOIDS $6 GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE FEE: A road-tripper from Marin County stopped for gas in Santa Cruz and heard a strange noise from under his hood. The good news: His engine was fine. The bad better news: There was a lil’ kitty in there! A Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter spokesman said the 8-month-old female feline was “probably just looking for a warm place to sleep.” Kitty, what were you thinking? Engines aren’t for sleeping! Oh, we can’t stay mad at you.

CRAZY-ASS ‘THRIVE’ MOVIE COMES TO SANTA CRUZ: According to locally financed film, the U.S. government is suppressing free energy provided to us by aliens, an elite Jewish family runs all the world’s major institutions, and President Obama is a reptile from outer space, like on that show V. Who knew? Some local progressives were lured in by the film’s promise to explain how an impossible “perpetual motion machine” is actually possible. Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

BALD EAGLES REAPPEAR AT PINTO LAKE: Hard work by Glenn R. Stewart and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group seems to have paid off. But a bunch of hair pieces from the trailer park suddenly went missing.


MAN ATTACKS POLICE OFFICERS WITH TREE BRANCH: Capitola officers were talking to a 45-year-old man when he fled toward a condominium complex. There he attacked a cop with a piece of a tree and began threatening others with a ladder. The cops hit him three times with a stun gun and arrested him. In court, the man complained to the judge that the cops were “using holograms in public to harass regular people.” If you missed the foliage-shaker’s escapades, look for the scene on the director’s cut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

ONLOOKERS TO WHALES: ‘YOU STINK’:Some of the words used by whale watchers to describe the humpbacks that returned to local coasts this spring included “majestic,” “breathtaking,” and “breathtaking, not in a good way.” In fact, one of the whales was reportedly known as “Stinky” by local tour operators, which actually seems a bit on the generous side once you see their bad-breath problem compared to “a cross between rotting Brussels sprouts and week-old anchovies.”

SERIOUSLY BOOGIE BOARDERS, THIS HAS TO STOP:Just a day after receiving the Mavericks Legend Award for his big-wave genius, Darryl Virostko—better known to surfing fans as Flea—had to cover for a 65-year-old boogie boarder showing decidedly less brilliance by jumping into the biggest waves of the year off Mitchell’s Cove Beach. Complicating Virostko’s heroic act even further was the fact that he was still recovering from a surfing injury sustained less than a week before, in which his board pierced his hip. Nevertheless, after seeing her from West Cliff Drive, he hurried down the rocks and pulled her out of the 20-foot swell, to waiting rescue crews.


BASS ATTACK MEETS BUREAUCRATIC ATTACK:City officials decided Bassnectar’s dubstep concert, which had been scheduled for six months at the city-owned Civic Auditorium, would violate Santa Cruz’s noise ordinance. Either that, or they suddenly remembered they hate anything fun. After blasting the city on his Facebook page, the UCSC grad (real name: Lorin Ashton) eventually moved his show to a two-night stint at the Catalyst and had a whomping good time.

UCSC STUDENT GETS LOST, FAILS TO HAVE COOL ADVENTURE: Hewalked away from his Yosemite backpacking group, only to be found five miles away after a frantic, much-publicized helicopter search. No details released about why he left or how he enjoyed his Alexander Supertramp, Into the Wild-esqe fifteen minutes of fame.

TWO-WAY PACIFIC AVENUE APPROVED, JUST FOR THE LULZ:What’s slower than a traffic jam downtown? Santa Cruz’s political system, of course. After the Downtown Commission supported the two-way plan, the big push to modify main street suddenly did a disappearing act. The Downtown Association, which raised the issue in 2011, is currently talking about talking about it.


PICKLEBALL TURNS OUT TO BE LESS OBSCENE THAN IT SOUNDS:The Santa Cruz Recreation Department began encouraging seniors to pick up the game of pickleball, similar to tennis, at Laurel Park. The oddly named sport isn’t the only way for retired people to knock balls around, burn calories and get their blood flowing. But it sure is cheaper than Viagra.

KRUK AND KUIP GIVE SHOUT-OUT TO SAMMY THE SLUG: San Francisco Giants TV announcers Kruk and Kuip said they wanted to see more Giants fans wear banana slugs on their heads. UCSC’s own Sammy the Slug, being the relentless self-promoter he is, then mailed Kruk and Kuip a signed letter with two slug hats for them to try on. Before San Francisco finished off the Arizona Cardinals 7-5, Kuip remarked, “If the Giants win today, we’ll wear it everyday.” Responded Sammy: “How about if the Giants win two games in a row, I can get a beer for less than nine bucks?”

SANTA CRUZ GRAD GETS RAVE REVIEWS FOR HER BROADWAY PLAY ‘ZOLOFT AND CHIMICHANGAS’: Is there any doubt she learned about both while she lived here?


UCSC GETS RANKED ON BEST-OF LIST THAT’S ACTUALLY KIND OF WEIRD, BUT WE’LL TAKE IT: Times Higher Education compiled the “Top 100 under 50” list, referring to universities around the world founded 50 or fewer years ago. UC Santa Cruz (#7) and UC Irvine (#4) were the only U.S. schools in the top ten. Intending to showcase “rising stars which show great potential” rather than institutions with prestigious reputations built over decades, the list is basically Toddlers & Tiaras for colleges.

POLICE LAUNCH RAIDS ON HOMELESS CAMPS, FAIL TO FIND STAFF OF RA: Resident complaints of trash and decreased safety, plus an April fire in Pogonip traced to transients, lead to a several-weeks-long sweep of homeless camps. Police kicked out homeless campers and unearthed stolen bikes, drug syringes and piles of used toilet paper—none of which, it turns out, open the Ark of the Covenant.

SPIKE LEE HIRES GEEKY-LOOKING WHITE GUY FOR ONE-MAN MIKE TYSON SHOW: Okay, it’s not really as ridiculous as it sounds, since Santa Cruz film grad Erik Pearson was hired on as an assistant, rather than the title role, for the making of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. No word yet on how this will affect Santa Cruz’s pigeon problem.


TEENS GIRLS SHOW UP HOURS EARLY TO THE OPENING OF FOREVER 21 ON PACIFIC U GUYZ: FASHION ALERT!!! Fashionfashionfashion!!! But for realz, the addition of this “anchor store” is a noteworthy move towards a more commercialized Pacific Ave., okaaay? Wait, does that mean they have sailor-inspired “anchor” jewelry? THAT WOULD BE 2 CUTE.

HOTEL PARADOX OPENS:Everyone agrees that having one more hotel on Ocean Street where guest room doors open out to a carpeted hallway rather than a parking lot littered with broken glass and Jack in the Box wrappers is probably not the worst thing that’s ever happened.


UCSC RESEARCHERS USE HUBBLE TO PEER 13.2 BILLION YEARS BACK INTO UNIVERSE:That’s 13.2 billion years out of its total 13.7 billion years of existence. For comparison’s sake, if the universe were a 40-year-old woman, these would be pictures from roughly the time she learned to talk. While flipping through a scrapbook they made from their research, scientists cooed “Who’s the cutesty-wootsiest universe? Is it you? Oh yes it is!”

APTOS DAD PUTS TRAIN INTO SPACE:So you saw the space shuttle Endeavour fly over. Big whoop. That same month, Aptos’ Ron Fugelseth actually sent a train 18 miles above the Earth. Okay, it was his four-year-old son’s toy train, and he basically stuck it on a weather balloon, but still. Observing the time-honored tradition of #picsoritdidnthappen, Fugelsmith uploaded a video of the toy in the strastosphere, taken by an attached flip phone. It got a fair number of views, but sooner or later he’ll realize he would have done even better floating a kitten up there.


‘CHASING MAVERICKS’ IS A BOX-OFFICE FLOP:Not cool, brah! However, the movie played here for like 300 months, and Frosty’s book event packed the Capitola Book Café, proving once and for all that ain’t nobody love Santa Cruz like Santa Cruz love Santa Cruz. The rest of the country was busy watching something called Honey Boo Booduring this time. Is that a cartoon? No wait—that’s the same thing as “honey badger?” Right? What?

GOV. JERRY BROWN BEGS STUDENTS FOR VOTES:He showed up at UCSC the week before the election, and against all odds (and polls), Prop. 30 won. So he must have said something good.

SANTA CRUZ-BASED NATIONAL LITERARY MAGAZINE LAUNCHES: Catamaran, a quarterly publication of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and art aims to focus on the themes of innovation, the environment, freedom and being sooooo ~*~faaaaancy~*~.


STORY OF ERIC HAMMER ALMOST MAKES IT INTO THE BIBLE:  Eric Hammer, Parks Department darling and owner of a local construction company, ran against former California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson for Fifth District Supervisor. Despite raising just half the money of his uber-qualified opponent, Hammer campaigns and campaigns, gets endorsements, walks precincts, comes so close—this is classic David and Goliath! By golly, he’s gonna do it! He’s gonna—nope, just kidding, Goliath wins.

PLEASURE POINT SURFER FINDS FOSSILS OF PREHISTORIC WHALE: During an extremely low tide, surfer and user “Donkahones” noticed a giant, fossilized vertebrae protruding up from some rocks. He took a pic and posted it online with the caption, “So I went surfing and saw a dinosaur.” Tweeted the whale: “So I lie down for like five minutes and oversleep by 3 million years. LOLZ #powernap Anyhoo, brunch anyone?”

HOMELESS ADVOCATE ROBERT NORSE LOSES COURT CASE AFTER 10 YEARS: The city put $150,000 which could have gone to various Robert Norse causes to much better use defending a lawsuit from Robert Norse. Moral of the story: it’s OK to throw Norse out of a courtroom for issuing a “disruptive” Nazi salute, but he doesn’t get any quieter once he leaves the council chambers.


HUNDREDS OF HUMBOLDT SQUID WASH ASHORE IN APTOS: Calamari, anyone? Bring your own forks.

UC INTRODUCES HIDEOUS NEW LOGO:You know the old saying: “out with the old, in with the ugly.” The previous logo had a fancy book and the motto “Let There Be Light.” The new design has some blue and something that looks sorta like the letter “c.” Suddenly student fees, which have almost tripled in the past decade, seem even less justified.

ONCE AGAIN, WORLD REFUSES TO END:In the latest setback for doomsayers, civilization failed to come crashing down on December 21. For centuries, that date has represented the end of the thirteenth b’ak’tun of the Mayan “fourth world,” which was 5,125 years long—yet it wasn’t until the 1960s that any of this was connected to the idea of Armageddon. That should have been a clue. Another was that the Mayans themselves predicted many b’ak’tuns to come. It’s true that it’s the end of an era. But for a Mayan, that’s just an excuse to go out and buy a new 5,125-page daily kitten calendar.