Showing posts with label Santa Cruz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Santa Cruz. Show all posts

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tis Eventide

I've decided that I don't get sick nearly enough. I mean, I've never even had any surgery or broken any bones. Last week I decided to get really sick, and have spent many days in bed laying around doing nothing but hurting, and enjoying a few fun-filled fever dreams. One of the side effects of the two powerful antibiotics I am taking is astounding clarity of memory. I've been remembering things that happened forty years ago like they're on a 3D screen right in front of me. Kind of creepy in a way, but I have been enjoying my unexpected stroll down rememory lane, (or is my life passing before my eyes?) I've even solved puzzles that have been tucked away in the back of my mind for years. This trippy, pharmaceutical induced 3D thinking has led me into pursuing a new hobby, stereoscopic photography. More on that on a future post though.

I've been feeling like a caged monkey, or lab rat... lab monkey. Reading hasn't been nearly as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be, sitting at the computer is way too uncomfortable to accomplish much. I don't know how much more Sabrina the Teenage Witch I can't take either. Fortunately, there are only two more discs to go on the seventh and final season, then I will be rid of Salem's fur-ball enhanced shenanigans forever. Whihoo!

The cabin fever was getting too much, so last night I forced myself to get out of the house. I can't even remember the last time I walked out to the new lighthouse, so that is where I went as the sun was setting behind Santa Cruz.
Opalescent water shimmered as I strolled down the sandy walkway toward California's newest lighthouse.
Santa Cruz' main lighthouse was clearly visible across the water from Jax, (named for the concrete barriers that resemble the popular childhood game).
I had the opportunity to go the the top of this lighthouse once upon a midnight dreary.

A patient Pelican waits for returning whalers while he listens to the blasting dance music coming from nearby Crow's Nest Restaurant/beach party place.
Across the harbour, the fueling station waits calmly for returning and departing clientèle.

It was one of the most lovely nights in Santa Cruz I can remember. Glad I'm here, and not sweating to death in the desert somewhere.

Twas good to get out and breathe that cool fresh Santa Cruz air. I should do this more often.

Monday, July 5, 2010

HOMELAND of the Brave New World

The 4th of July is always a fun holiday for most of America, and especially in our family because Mighty Mo celebrates her birthday on the 4th. This year (her 44th) - our agenda was fourfold, 1) To photograph California Central Coast lighthouses; 2) To provide a field test for Mighty Mo's new Canon PowerShot SD 1400 IS - that some really nice guy gave her for her birthday - and compare it to our older model camera, the Canon PowerShot A710 IS; 3) Visit some California State Beaches for the first time, and use some of the passes we purchased to support the financially crippled California State Parks; 4)And maybe most importantly : ) to review Laurie Anderson's latest and timely release, appropriately called HOMELAND. What a perfect theme for our West Coast tour, and the lighthouses that stand as the sentinels to our homeland.

The Lighthouses

Lighthouses are kind of mysterious... almost magical.
Their never-ceasing watchfulness always peering through the darkness and fog directing the mariners upon the black deep.

When I was in sixth grade, our teacher selected a handful of kids in the class to take turns reciting the same poem about a lighthouse. I nervously waited as the other kids presented the poem as best they could. I had to go last, and felt a little self conscious about reading aloud.
I was, however, a confident and talented singer. Therefore, rather than suffering humiliation in front of class, I hid behind my strength, and sang a rousing version (to the tune of the Beatles', "Don't Pass Me By"). When I was done, the class erupted with hoots, hollers and applause. The teacher liked it too, and even called for an encore. The entire class joined in the singing of the lighthouse song. It's been a million years, but even now, whenever I see a lighthouse, I think about that day in sixth grade.

I'd like to be a lighthouse

All scrubbed and painted white
I'd like to be a lighthouse
And stay awake all night

To keep my eye on everything
That sails my patch of sea
Oh, I'd like to be a lighthouse
With the ships all watching me
(author unknown)

First, we stopped at California's newest lighthouse, right here in Santa Cruz. We have a cool hyperbolic million photos of this lighthouse, but not many from this perspective taken from across the mouth of the harbor with the new Canon PowerShot SD 1400 IS.

This photo of the familiar Santa Cruz Lighthouse was taken with the new Canon PowerShot SD 1400 IS, and features the old building in a rarely-photographed perspective.
We then headed north, and inserted the new Laurie Anderson CD. The fog wisped and flowed like smoke as we traveled north. Fields alive with colour surrounded us. Before long, we had arrived at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, a most impressive, and picturesque structure located near the quaint little town of Pescadero, where we had lunch. The Pigeon Point photo was taken with the older camera, the Canon PowerShot A710 IS.

We almost missed this cute little lighthouse at Point Montara. We actually did pass it and had to turn around. I'm glad that we did because it was well worth seeing, and we had the entire place basically to ourselves. I took the photo with the old Canon PowerShot A710 IS.

I spotted this pseudo lighthouse in San Francisco. It looks pretty good considering I got the shot through the dirty windshield while sitting at a red traffic light, and with plenty of overhead power lines in the way.

On HOMELAND's first track, Transitory Life, Ms. Anderson masterfully and tenderly blends the netherworldly sound of Tuvan throat singers with her own unique style to create a surrealistic soundscape that seemed perfectly suited for our beautiful drive along California's spectacular coastline. "It takes a long time for a mouse to realize it's in a trap," says Ms. Anderson. It seems strange to be able to relate to that enlightened mouse. Such awareness seems to make the colours, hues and highlights of the nature all around me even more vibrant, impressive and appreciated. A wonderful distraction from the maze. A beautiful theme for a HOMELAND drive.

I've always thought of Laurie Anderson as being covertly humorous, even subtly hilarious at times. She never fails to make me smile in an "I get it" kind of way. Sometimes, Ms. Anderson's poignancy reminds me of those amusing apocalyptic musings of Isaiah, (another funny guy), whose literary message is layered with meaning. Ms. Anderson is no shallow gal. Her clever choice of words always seem to resonate on many levels, too. Her
words are carefully crafted, with content, timing and inflection... and no one can tell a story like Laurie Anderson.

Track five - Only and Expert, is a snappy and catchy little ditty about how Americans have become addicted to experts and how the experts use their authoritative expertise to fleece the actively complying public. In the second to last verse, Ms. Anderson seems to take a shaky expert-trusting stance when she says, "But when an expert says it's a problem, and makes a movie about the problem, and gets the Nobel Prize about the problem, then all the other experts have to agree, it is most... likely... a problem." (No doubt a reference to Al Gore and the so called, global warming problem.) Unfortunately the experts who make the official global warming claims have been exposed for committing fraud for discouraging and disallowing any scientific data that hasn't complied with their "sky is falling" agenda. They've threatened and even destroyed the careers of experts who present alternatives. I'm no expert, but I'm amazed that people are still trusting global warming models based on incomplete and hand-picked data... but it seems there's nothing I can do from inside this maze anyway, especially when everyone believes that 2+2=5. Amazing! Masterful marketing though.

Many years ago, Ms. Anderson created a character through whom she could view the world differently. A clone of herself... a stature-challenged, chain-smoking male clone. Lou Reed, (Ms. Anderson's hubby of nearly two decades), recently gave the clone a name, Fenway Bergamot. Today, Fenway has grown older and wiser and shares some of his perspectives on HOMELAND. One of Bergamot's observations concerns his admiration of the stars in the sky. He said that what he loves most about the stars, is that we can't hurt them. Their distance ensures that we'll never damage them.
His attitude is a bit reminescent of the wide-eyed naive nature of Don Van Vliet, a boy who never had to grow up. I'm curious about Bergamot's query about his mother and father, "Are those people over there really my parents?" he asks. An interesting question for a clone to ask.

HOMELAND is Ms. Anderson's first studio recording to be released in a decade. It was a blast to listen to over and over again as we toured this region of California. HOMELAND sounds like a Laurie Anderson album. There are no big surprises, or new revelations here. It's kind of like "fun meets melancholy" and have a great time hanging out together for an afternoon at Rocket Park. At the end of the day, they part, knowing that they may never enjoy another such occasion. I give HOMELAND ***** five stars, and will probably listen to it a hundred more times before 2012.

I hope there will be many more Laurie Anderson performances and new music. She's done so much already, we may never see all of it. Bravo

We stopped at Ano Nuevo State Park to hang out with the Elephant Seals who live there. The cute little guys are good eatin' too.
This one looked just like Scratch!
A Bumble Bee carrying a huge bulky payload of collected pollen bounces from flower to flower in search of more pollen at Pigeon Point. I shot this photo with my Canon PowerShot A710 IS.

Pillar Point Radar Station near Half Moon bay was difficult to photograph because I was in motion and had to hold the Canon SD1400 IS out the window.
The fog was nearly as thick as the traffic when we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge. I took this photo through the dirty front windshield with the Canon SD1400 IS. We spent the afternoon at China Camp State Park, where there was no traffic. We had a wonderful time driving around the peninsula. Passing the Stanford Satellite Dish means that we'll be home within the hour. Also, as we passed the Lark Avenue Exit on Highway 17, we heard Laurie Anderson's Story of the Lark again (for the seventh time).

Twas a fun trip. The new camera fared rather well. The old camera has a view finder, is easy to hold, manage and operate with one hand, and takes rechargeable AA batteries. The batteries make the old Canon a bit heavier and larger than the new SD1400 IS. The rechargeable battery on the new
SD1400 IS makes the new camera much lighter and smaller, but limits the time it can spend in operation. We'll have to get a spare battery to have on hand. I purchased two nickel cadmium AA batteries with a charger for the old Canon for $12, but will likely pay more for an extra rechargeable for the new camera. The mount on the new camera is more centrally positioned which means that it will work better on my bicycle attachment. . . but just pry it from Heidi Mighty Mo's hands. : )

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FatherZ Day 2010

I started out by wearing one of my favorite t-shirts that features a photo of my long-lost friend Solon. I often wonder what happened to him.

Shrouded in greenery, Cafe Brasil is one of our family favorites...

Mighty Mo took me there for breakfast this morning. I had a yummy Eggs Florentine... poached eggs atop baguettes with spinach and fresh avocado with a generous helping of
Hollandaise sauce. Mighty Mo got the Orfeu Negro... two poached eggs on sliced baguette and topped with melted, stringy mozzrella cheese and stewed black beans with fresh scallions and exotic Brazilian spices. Yum!.

A sculpted face on the facade of a Santa Cruz West Side home.

Lighthouse, natural arch and Cypress Tree ornament the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Birds on a rock watch the fishermen in awe.

I like to walk through the arch at low tide.

The refurbished whale at the Natural History Museum looks great. I was sad when vandals smashed him up last year, but now he looks better than ever.

For a late lunch, the whole family travelled to Sunnyvale to have lunch at Gobi Mongolian BBQ. I love Mongolian BBQ, and rarely have the opportunity to enjoy it.

It looks so good, I wish I had seconds.
The Cats at Los Gatos are a major landmark.
I've always wanted to get pictures of these majestic looking and very large kitties who guard the entrance of someones property just outside of Los Gatos, CA Meow!
Looks just like Scratch
Watched the sunset from my favorite vantage point on Third Street, and bid farewell to Spring. I had a wonderful Fathers Day, and I hope that you did too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fashion Post Friday - Disc Golf's Dark Side

When I attended the prestigious Steady Ed Memorial Masters Cup disc golf tournament in May, I couldn't help noticing that many of the fellas there were wearing shorts with dark-socks. Apparently, disc golfers tend to dress alike. As an avid disc golfer myself, I've been aware of the phenomenon for years, but this event was the largest dark-sock gathering I have attended. I lost interest in the tournament and began snapping photos of the attendees in garb and got some fine examples. One of my favorites depicts four men wearing shorts... three of them sporting their snazzy black-socks.

Serious snappy dressers and fanatic-fascionistas tend to turn their noses up at men who wear dark-socks with shorts. Wearer beware.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May daZe

May, 2010 has been a good example of why living in Santa Cruz is so awesome. I'm not just talking about the nice weather, but rather, the events that take place here, on our world stage.

May started out with a roar when during a May Day march, a clan of darkly dressed, masked and hooded hoodlums smashed out many shop windows on Pacific Avenue. Some conservatives blamed rioting Latinos for the damage that was estimated to be over one million dollars. The local media pointed fingers at a group of anarchists, while others have suggested that the riot was masterminded by the budget-cut suffering police department in an attempt to save their jobs. Some have even speculated that the Santa Cruz Down Town Association created the event to draw attention to problems there, and establish a greater police presence. One of the biggest issues is that we don't know who orchestrated the May Daze event. But, officials have decided that there will be no law enforcement layoffs, and a greater police presence down town. Yay!


The Santa Cruz Film Festival is always fun, and there are always lots of wonderful films to watch. I attended 8: the Mormon Proposition, a rather mean-spirited propaganda piece that blames the Latter-day Saints for everything from fixing California elections to teenage suicides. The film made it seem as though Mormons are completely brainwashed robots who carry out the will of a dark overlord.* I wish the film had been more honest and truthful, but it's difficult to remain objective and emotional at the same time. It was sad to see how LDS Church leaders were unfairly portrayed in the film. It wasn't necessary to distort their faces as they spoke. Good spin effect though. They seemed so spooky. Imagine the outcry if the foe were on the other shoot.


Amgen came to Santa Cruz on Tuesday, May 18, and turned the town into a bustling bike party.

Dark clouds in the distance appeared threatening, but a sunny sky prevailed all day.
Soon, thousands of people were lined up to witness the finish of round three of America's favorite cycle race.
A Lance Armstrong fan waved her little sign in support of her hero.


On Friday, May 21, I went to see a Flock of Seagulls play live at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
I love seeing punks on beaches. I photographed these two enjoying the 21st century version of new wave. Does that make it old wave now? Or old-school, new wave? Or...?

An actual large flock of seagulls flew overhead as A Flock of Seagulls played their first number. I saw this band at the Us Festival way back in 1983. I shant say more.


The Steady Ed Memorial Masters Cup Tournament came to the De Laveaga Disc Golf Course last weekend, (May 21-23).
The worlds greatest disc golfers battled it out for three days.

This was the best drive I have ever witnessed on #7. The disc came to rest directly under the basket. Nice chuck!
Putting for birdie.


On May 23, I attended Cabrillo Chorale at Cabrillo College. I was impressed with the lovely new addition to the music department. The musical performance and the new building were equally beautiful. Bravo!
I call this My Imaginary Friends Ensemble


Mountain Animal Hospital
, one of my favorite local bands, played at the Crepe Place on Thursday, May 27. This show celebrated the release of their second CD, called Better Children.

The new music sounded great. The instruments were crystal clear, and the vocal harmonies were inspiring.

Most folks say that Mountain Animal Hospital's genre falls somewhere between progressive and indie. The name of the band suggests a poke at indie band names that so often possess an animal theme, like Vox Jaguars, Deer Tick and Giraffes? Giraffes!. Perhaps Mountain Animal Hospital can provide relief to some sufferers of contemporary musical maladies.


Thousands of folks from every land came to Santa Cruz this weekend to enjoy some perfect weather, gnarly surf, fine food and some laid back locals for the Memorial Day weekend. Everyone wants to be in Santa Cruz. Got Cruz?

* I spent much of my childhood in Utah, and in my experience, the church isn't nearly as influential as folks would like to believe. As I recall, the number one, most important thing to most Utahn's, is sports. Yes, the inflated ball reigns supreme in the Beehive State. The second most important thing to Utahns is prescription drugs and doctors. Athletes are gods, and doctors are elevated to a position higher than high priests. Utahns also like sweets and snacks, and consume more sugar than any other state, so naturally, the children (and of course, there are a lot of 'em) are a bit hyperactive. But rather than removing the sugar from the child's diet, to deal with the hyperactivity, lots of Utahns tend to medicate them with drugs for ADD and ADHD, etc. beginning a life-long attitude toward acceptance of medication. When these sugar-charged medicated kids get older, they end up on psychosis-inducing psychotropic drugs that too often lead to suicide. Don't blame it on the LDS Church leaders though. Put the blame where it squarely rests, on the doctors and pharmaceutical industry.