December 28, 2008

December The Alamo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:21 pm

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Good morning and greetings, vacation fans. I normally spend the first part of the winter break meditating along the lovely fairways of the Palm Valley Country Club in Palm Desert , but due to programming changes we decided to stay here at home on the central coast. I miss the desert experience-nothing like cascading waterfalls, palm trees swaying in the wind and orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees in full bloom in late December. Throw in the San Jacinto mountains changing color as often as Henry Paulson changes his plans for use of the bailout money and you can imagine what Moses saw when he first ventured to the desert on a horse with no name. It must have felt good to get out of the rain.

Anyway, it’s been clear and cold here in Santa Cruz as the rest of the nation has been bombarded by snow, ice and blizzard conditions. It’s been particularly frigid in New York. How cold has it been? It was so cold in New York City last week that Bernard Madoff asked if he could actually go to hell early to warm up. And it was so cold that the Statue of Liberty was actually holding her torch under her dress. Thank you, Jay Leno and his staff writers.

Staying in the area has allowed me to catch some coastal highlights that I normally miss at this time of year. Our photo funhouse today features moments from our twelvest of months. We begin and end with sunrise splendor from Lighthouse Point. The rainbow hails from Christmas Eve. The skies had been gray all day but just before sunset the sun dropped thru and horizon was suddenly flooded with bright yellow light streaming from the north. At the same time, a vivid double rainbow appeared in the east which I shot over the trees at Natural Bridges State Park. I hit the coast as the colors of this beauty were fading but seeing the rainbow flowing into the ocean with the plethora of white water was just an amazing sight. It would have even been more amazing if I had recorded it digitally rather than in my offshore memory banks.

2008 has been an challenging year, with the mortgage crisis, the stock market crashing and the Yankees not making the playoffs. And according to Conan O’Brien, “The White House staff has been briefing Barack Obama’s team on a series of worst-case scenarios that could face the country after President Bush leaves office. Apparently, the absolute worst case scenario is that Bush doesn’t leave office. On the positive side, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, the Giants won the Super Bowl and the Giants won the Super Bowl. I’m really hoping for good things in 2009, like the Giants repeating as Super Bowl champs but I’m not holding my Eli Manning breath on that one. But fortunately, Ford Motors is working on a brand new car called the Fusion. It’s a hybrid that runs on a combination of gas and bailout money-Jay Leno.

Now here’s some more good humor, these jokes courtesy of my weight-training (he says it will make him quicker) son, Jason. A man walks into a psychiatrist’s office with a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. He says, “What’s the matter with me?” The psychiatrist says, “You’re not eating properly.” And a woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: “That’s the ugliest baby that I’ve ever seen. Ugh!” The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me!” The man says: “You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

So that’s our last blog for 2008. I hope you’ve enjoyed these stream of unconciousness postings as they have been picked up by my medulla oblongata for the 2009 season. Yesterday (Sunday) was this year’s daily double as I shot both a gorgeous sunrise and a dazzling sunset. Combine that with ten hours of NFL football and some Kobe Bryant NBA action and I’m a happy camper. So bring on the NFL playoffs and congratulations to the Golden State Warriors for knocking off the world champion Boston Celtics last week. Now go back to Maui, Don Nelson. So enjoy the final days of 2008, have a fantabulous New Year and we’ll catch you in 2009. Aloha, mahalo, peace and later, Sunrise Santa Cruz fans.

December 21, 2008

On Your Mark, Get Set, Snow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:02 pm

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Good morning and greetings, winter solstice fans. Yesterday, December 21 was the Martin shortest day of the year. I haven’t seen it get dark that early since my parents shipped me off to summer camp right outside the Arctic Circle. Who knew penguins had feelings? I love the Johnny winter sky but I prefer the longer days of Donna summer.

The weather has been wet and wild here on the central coast. Across the midwest and eastern seaboard it’s been pouring snow and colder than a Elliot Spitzer holiday party. How cold has it been? In Chicago, Governor Blagojevich was trying to sell Senate seat warmers-Jay Leno. On Tuesday we had the white stuff come down in the Santa Cruz mountains. Not your Rocky Mountain blizzard or the New Jersey snowstorm where you go to sleep and you wake up and everything is Betty white. But it’s always unusual to see the powder along the central coast as I can remember one snowfall at the beach. That was back in 1976 and unfortunately I didn’t record the momentous occasion as was too busy concentrating on building the perfect snowwoman.

The first shot is the snow-dusted mountains above the wharf and the boardwalk. I then moved over to Lighthouse Point to show the storm clouds to the Oliver north. As the sky turned blue the clouds became more exotic so I returned to West Cliff in the afternoon and shot the cotton candy over Steamer Lane. For fans of the south side of the bay I included a photo of the snow in the mountains above Monterey before finishing off with a sunset shot that night from Stockton Avenue. All in all, a wild day on the cliff but as they say, there’s no business like snow business.

I couldn’t let the Bush shoe throwing incident go by without a few jokes from the late nite boys. Here are my favorites. The first three are courtesy of Jay Leno. As you know, yesterday in Iraq, President Bush was attacked by a ‘shoe-icide’ bomber. You see what he did to keep from being hit? Something he’s never done before. Lean to the left.” “Well, looks like we finally found something President Bush is good at. Dodgeball!” And “It’s not just President Bush, today somebody threw a pair of shoes at Sarah Palin. And she was very upset. She said, ‘Do you have these in black?’ and threw them back.”

These next three are from David Letterman. “You’ve got to give Bush credit. I mean, the guy moved pretty quickly. Too bad he didn’t react that way with Bin Laden, the mortgage crisis or Lehman Brothers.” “I don’t think Bush really has dodged anything like that, well, since the Vietnam War.” And “I’ve got to give President Bush credit for this, because he’s taking it all pretty well. He says that he’s actually happy about the shoe-throwing episode, because he says it proves finally that Iraq does, in fact, possess foot wear of mass destruction.”

And finally, this from Conan O’Brien. “The man who threw his shoes at President Bush is being hailed as a hero in Iraq. In fact, when he dies, he’ll be greeted in heaven by 72 podiatrists.”

Since we’re in the holiday spirit here are a few more, courtesy of Jay Leno. “President Bush, looking back on his terms in office, says he didn’t strive to be popular. So to use his own words, ‘Mission Accomplished.’” “He also made a surprise visit to Detroit today. I don’t want to say the people in Detroit are upset with him, but I understand auto workers threw brake shoes at him.” And finally, “An Arkansas woman has given birth to her 18th child. Pretty amazing. Today her husband announced they will stop homeschooling their kids due to classroom overcrowding.”

That’s the end of our regularly scheduled program. Birthday wishes go out to my old New Jersey pal Steve Margolin, who I have known for close to 50 years. We go so far back I actually pitched against him in a minor league championship game. I don’t want to say who won but you never get tired of being carried off the field on your teammate’s shoulders. And congratulations to the New York Giants, who secured home field advantage in the NFL playoffs last night with an overtime win over Carolina. That’s what I call a sweet Hanukah gift. So stay dry, enjoy the clouds and we’ll catch you in the open field. Aloha and later, Derrick Ward fans.

December 16, 2008

Love Thy Anenome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:38 pm

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Good morning, late fall weather fans. On Tuesday the Santa Cruz Sentinel featured a three shot photo spread under the caption “Chasing Rainbows.” Unfortunately, I have been on a different journey that could be called “Missing Rainbows,” or simply put, “What Is Happening With My Photo Karma?” Actually, that’s not altogether true as on Saturday I saw three and photographed one but the gold medal shot eluded me as I was in my car and want to shoot these multicolored moments of brilliance over the ocean, not along Soquel Drive.

As I was shooting the sunrise on Sunday morning a rainbow appeared to the north but it wasn’t bright enough to alert the National Guard or forwards. Then on Monday, the calls starting coming in faster than Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich put out bids for Barack Obama’s Senate seat. Reports and sightings of double rainbows were everywhere, but by the time I hit the streets they were gone or in the federal weather protection program. A West Cliff DRive walking friend said she saw a rainbow that was reaching into a beautiful white cloud before touching the moon. I thought to myself, “Cloud, moon, rainbow, nah, I didn’t miss much. I’ll just catch that in another century.”

Which brings us to today’s photo series. After missing a sunset last Thursday night that was a cross between spectacular and Michelle Obama, I decided to head down to Its Beach on Friday to take in the extreme low tide experience. Although the skies were Linda gray, the low tide exposed my favorite little cove inside the arch and my daughter and I were able to photograph some friends and anenomes.

Photo credits of the crab go to my daughter Aimee who has her father’s eye and her mother’s internal organs. The final photo of the birthday greeting was created by the renowned sand artist Paul House. You can see his work quite often on low tide days at Its Beach. He creates his sand magic with his hands and a stick-it’s amazing work and was quite the treat on anniversary of the day I stopped playing Michael Phelps in the amniotic fluid and entered the world of New York Yankee baseball.

Here are some fun facts I’ve written before about sea anenomes but I thought were worth repeating. Yes, I’m actually quoting myself. Sea anemones are polyps that looks like a plant but, much like friends from Greenpeace, are really voracious meat eating animals. In order for them to dine they cannot order out-they must wait for their food to swim by and when the prey touches one of their tentacles, it mechanically triggers a cell explosion that fires a harpoon-like structure which attaches to the organism that triggered it and injects a dose of poison in the flesh of the prey. Ironically, this is the same way I met my wife. This gives the anemone its characteristic sticky feeling while at the same time paralyzes the prey which is then moved by the tentacles to the mouth for that day’s entree. And of course, all entrees come with your choice of soup or salad, rice or potatoes and ice cream for dessert.

That brings us to our the comedy review, this segment courtesy of the NBC’s new 10 o’clock man, Jay Leno. “Insiders say that President Bush and his wife have already bought a home in Dallas to move into after the leave the White House. If this turns out to be true, this is the first time in his Presidency he’s actually had an exit strategy. Barack Obama says he is promising not to smoke cigarettes while in the White House. I don’t know, is that a big issue for the American people? Let me tell you something, if he can fix the American economy, he can smoke a bong in the White House.” And finally, “A 70 year old woman in India gave birth to a baby. The amazing part is she went into labor, delivered the baby and never missed one tech support call.”

That’s our midweek show. I shot a sunrise, sunset experience over the weekend along with some snow on the mountains and lots of wild-looking clouds on Tuesday. We’ll be seeing those down the road. And belated birthday greetings go out to my basketball playing buddy Jim Berry, who I believe taught Kareem Abdul Jabbar the fine art of the sky hook. So enjoy the anenomes and be thankful for the simple things in life, like TiVo and the NBA League Pass, which brings me every NBA game on the satellite. NBA action, it really still is fantastic. Aloha and later, Rajon Rondo fans.

December 11, 2008

Birth, Wind & Fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:13 pm

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Good morning and greetings, music lovers. Today (December 12th) is my birthday. It is also the birthday of my longtime friend and former radio partner, Jerry Hoffman, as we both share the 12/12 experience with Frank Sinatra, Bob Barker and the Allman Brothers’ Dickey Betts. ” Lord, I was born a rambling man.” I’m not going to share with you how old I am but put it this way-I would kill to be 26, 36 or 46. Or as I recently told a reporter from Sports Illustrated for Kids about my basketball playing, “I’ve got a great future behind me.”

They say it is better to give than receive (except in football, where it is better to receive than to kickoff.) Thus, being such a giver, on this day where I popped out of my mother’s womb backwards I thought I would give to the cyber audience a look at my favorite December sunrise. Thoughts of my early childhood harken me back to an old Rodney Dangerfield line, “My mother never breast fed me. She said she liked me as a friend.”

This Lighthouse Point experience took place back on December 8, 2006. What made it so interesting was that there had been a big swell the day before which created a rather large pool of water by the steps at Its Beach. So in shot number two which shows the reflection of the lighthouse, 362 days of the year this sand would be as dry as my midday martini. But the pool created some tremendous reflection action that you rarely see. The fifth shot is looking west at sunrise so as the sky is exploding with clouds to the east it is going pink to the west. In all my sunrise adventures I’ve never seen a brighter sky to the west. I hadn’t seen that much pink since I went to Mervyns and became lost and disoriented in the young girl’s clothing department.

For today’s final photo I moved on to Steamer Lane to shoot the sun coming up over Monterey Bay. All in all, a tremendously inspiring morning on the photographic front. “World class” sunrises like this really showcase the magnificence and spectacular beauty of Santa Cruz.

On to the joke of the week, this courtesy of my son Jason and the late, great Milton Berle. . A rabbi and a priest were at a picnic. As they rode in one of the boats on the lake, the rabbi stood up, stepped out of the boat and walked over the water to the nearest stretch of land. Astonished, the priest decided to see if he could duplicate this miraculous feat. He stepped out of the boat and immediately sank but luckily managed to swim to shore. As he dried off, the rabbi walked over and said, “If you’re a nice guy, next time I’ll show you where the rocks are.”

And in honor of the birthday here’s one more from Uncle Miltie. To improve his virility, an older man went to Europe and had an implant of monkey glands. In time and after many attempts, his wife became pregnant and ultimately went into labor. After an endless wait in the reception room, the father was thrilled to see the doctor appear. “Congratulations,” the doctor said. “You’re the father of a fine baby.” “Is it a boy or a girl?” “We don’t know yet. It won’t climb down from the chandelier!”

That’s our show for the week. I would write more but I have to go strangle the guy who coined the phrase, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” I also want to send birthday wishes out to my good friend Carol Conta, who celebrates her special day tomorrow. Rumor has it last night’s sunset was phenomenal-unfortunately, yours truly was at a basketball tournament  in Los Gatos.  So enjoy the sky, have a fabulous sports weekend and we’ll catch you at midfield. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dwyane Wade fans.

December 7, 2008

Arch You Glad I Didn’t Say Bananas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:11 pm

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Good morning, December fans and welcome to my 150th post, or blog for you sports fans. A beautiful sunset graced the skies above Monterey Bay on Saturday night (a friend described it as “endless”) but unfortunately yours truly missed it as I was vacationing in lovely Pescadero at the time. I was going to go with an array of sea anenomes for today’s photo display but decided that it has been too long since we’ve seen any arch action from Its Beach. But don’t despair friends and anenomes fans, they are on the way.

I love Its Beach. Before it was closed off to Swedish tourists and dogs, (much to the dismay of my golden retriever Summer) I would visit this spot eight days a week. I love shooting around the arch if for no other reason than, much like my outside shot, it will not be around forever. The constant wind and waves bring on the erosion that is always changing the look of the coast. Just like Natural Bridges once had three arches there is now one. And as Three Dog Night says, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” I always feel that when I’m shooting at Its I’m not just capturing the moment but also documenting history.

The first shot is the initial photo I took at low tide with the view of the lighthouse through the arch. This was taken at around 10:30 in the morning. The next shot was taken on a late fall afternoon at the golden hour. Shot #3 was taken from the other side of the arch looking west. I caught a perfect reflection as the water was as still as the brain waves patterns coming from the oval office. The next shot features the beautiful aqua color in the pool of water beneath the arch. I have hundreds of shots of this arch as the rock and water change color with the sky, clouds and price of oil.

The arch is covered with all types of sea life that we’ll check out later in the month. While shooting the fifth shot I was waist deep in water which was helpful since my wallet and cell phone were still in my pocket. But I loved the look of the white water, the clouds and the fog so I didn’t mind getting a little moist. If you look really closely you can see a chain of pelicans and a UFO flying by in the far right hand corner. The final shot shows the contrast between a blue and gray sky day. And you know what they say, “Gray skies are gonna to clear up. Put on a happy face.”

On to some comedy. Today’s segment once again courtesy of Jay Leno. And this joke I can really relate to. “The economy is bad these days. How bad is it? The airlines are now charging $15 bucks for each of the bags under your eyes.” Now readers of this blog know that I’m a New York Giants fan, despite yesterday’s pathetic performance in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “As you know, Giant’s superstar receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested last week after his unlicensed firearm went off in his pants at a nightclub. Mayor Bloomberg wants to throw the book at him. Today he was given a choice. Either 3 years in prison or he has to play for the Detroit Lions.” And finally, “Hookers in New York are getting very creative with the economic crisis. They are now offering the Plaxico Burress special. For $100 bucks, they’ll make the gun go off in your pants.”

That’s the Monday experience. Coming up on our next blog I’ll be showcasing a sunrise that you’ll want to tell your friends, neighbors and pet sitters about. The reason I missed Saturday’s spectacular sunset was because I was attending my freshman son’s basketball tournament in Pescadero (who even knew that had a high school?) Jason’s varsity PCS team took third place as my point-guard playing son had 12 points, 9 assists, 9 steals and 3 blocked shots in the final game to earn all-tournament honors. It just goes to show that if you nurture your child, build their self-esteem and feed them the right combination of chewable steroids that the triple-double sky is the limit. So enjoy the arch and Veronica and we’ll catch on the goal line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derrick Rose fans.


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