September 27, 2009

You Say Pelicant, I Say Pelican

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 10:08 pm

Good morning and greetings, autumn fans. Yes, just a week ago, we experienced the change of seasons. What this means is that summer, like my 40′s, is now pretty much history. We are talking solstice city. In New England, the leaves are turning red and orange, in Colorado, the aspen trees are painted gold, while in California, my once brownish-blondish hair continues to evolve into various shades of silver.

Somehow, somewhere, in last week’s post I failed to acknowledge the passing of my favorite season. Actually, I’m very much into the Four Seasons as grew up listening to Frankie Valli. I’ll always cherish those words, “Dawn, go away I’m no good for you” yet my path still led to Sunrise Santa Cruz. Who knew besides Sherry baby and I wonder, will we ever really know if she came out tonight?

So let’s reflect back for a moment on summer, 2009, a time of love, peace and happiness, or at least that’s how the Chambers Brothers might have described it. In our own bankrupt Golden State, raging fires burned out of control, scorching everything in their path. In Washington, the Republicans felt the love and got behind President Obama and his national health care plan by shouted, “You lie!” And most importantly, in Hollywood, fireman Tommy Gavin was shot in the shoulder by his crazed Uncle Teddy in the season ending episode of “Rescue Me,” thus leaving us to wonder, will he survive this carnage and if he does, will he be covered by his health insurance? Once again, I try leaving no rock unturned in my continuing quest to probe the important issues of our day.

For this week’s photosynthesis we are looking at three days of pelican action along West Cliff Drive. The first two shots are from a feeding frenzy that was an all-day affair. The birds were going wild for some kind of baitfish that was running-I hadn’t seen a feeding frenzy like that since back in the 80′s when we used to hit the Ming Dynasty in Aptos for their Friday all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. We’re used devour those crispy eggs rolls, tangy cashew chicken and outrageously delicious garlic shrimp like they were anchovies in black bean sauce. It was pure mu shu madness.

The only thing missing from these these pelicans on parade are sounds of the screaming gulls and some sweet and sour sauce. The beautiful thing is the next morning I came back to shoot the sunrise and there wasn’t a pelican or fried won ton in sight. I later learned they had gathered at the Dream Inn to eat breakfast-turns out they’re big fans of the Ahi Benedict and the stuffed french toast.

Moving along, in the words of the Allman Brothers Dickie Betts, “You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day,” is where we find our next squadron of pelicans cruising the cliff before heading off into yonder. We commence today’s aviary activity with a backdrop of the clouds that have convened upon the Monterey Bay skies. The fall is always prime time on the central coast for these prehistoric-looking birds so I’m trying to be seaonally correct. I heard the other night that pelicans can actually be found in Montana, which I found rather interesting as much like myself, I thought they were only a coastal bird. Well, you know what they say, live and burn. Disco inferno.

On to the late night hilarity. “Speaking of President Bush, did you see him last night at the big football game? It was the Giants and Cowboys down there in Texas. And President Bush did the coin toss at the start of the game. Now here’s a bit of trivia. The coin that they used to start the game was the same coin that the Supreme Court tossed that won Bush the election. You know the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin? She’s traveling all over the world now, speaking gigs. And she went to Hong Kong and gave a speech. They paid her $300,000 for the speech, the Chinese, $300,000 for the speech. I guess she apparently could see the cash from her house.” –David Letterman “Today’s the first day of autumn, although Sarah Palin said today the dying leaves are because of Obama’s health-care plan.” –Jay Leno

“Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to New York to address the United Nations, but many restaurants say they won’t serve him. You can tell which ones because their signs read, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no Holocaust, no service.’ Today’s a big day. The MacArthur Foundation gave out its annual genius awards. This year’s awards went to a journalist, a mental health scientist, and a couple who sold their house three years ago. The Senate just passed a bill allowing Amtrak passengers to carry guns in their checked luggage. However, folks, Greyhound passengers are still not allowed to carry deodorant.” –Conan O’Brien

“You know who was here last night? President Barack Obama was here last night. Politics notwithstanding, what a graceful guy. I mean, after the show, he was nice enough to autograph my swine-flu mask.” –David Letterman “The U.S. government is giving American Indian tribes $224 million of stimulus money to help fight crime on reservations. The tribes say that they’re grateful for the money and plan to bet it all on black.” –Jimmy Fallon “Well, according to the Los Angeles Times, the immigrant population in California actually declined last year. When asked if they had noticed, 80 percent of the people in California said, ‘Si.’” –Jay Leno

So that’s our show for the week. Congratulations go out to the New York Yankees for sweeping the Red Sox over the weekend and clinching the American League East title. And further congrats to the Giants and the Jets, who were both NFL winners yesterday and now stand at 3-0. And if you’re a 49er fan, that was a devastating loss yesterday on a last second TD pass by 80-year-old Brett Favre. NFL action-its fantastic.

So thanks for tuning in and I hope to see this weekend at the Open Studios Art Tour 2009. I’ll be the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. We’ll catch you in the deep center. Aloha, mahalo and later, C.C. Sabathia fans.

September 20, 2009

Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. Well, it’s been two weeks since I last addressed my cyber constituents and I’m relaxed, rejuvenated and as excited as Sarah Palin at a Gucci outlet store. During my time away, I was able to cleanse my mind of any impurities and once again focus on the important things in life, like return of the “Sons of Anarchy” on FX, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO and most importantly, New York Giant’s football. Or simply put, in the words of the Emmy award winning Seinfeld episode, I am “Master of My Domain.”

As I mentioned in my email blast, we’ve got lots of new folks checking out this important parcel post for the first time. I thought then it was only appropriate that we start the photo parade with a sunrise that was of the mind-blowing variety. This is the type of morning sky that makes me want to jump out of my bunk bed, rip of my Serena Williams pajamas, grab my skateboard and head down to Its Beach. No matter that the water is colder than the trail of Osama Bin Laden-this is the early morning experience that yours truly, the creator and fashion consultant to Sunrise Santa Cruz lives for. As you know, I don’t ask for much in life, maybe a just little dial tone in the morning. It’s like the old Rodney Dangerfield joke. “I woke up, my button fell off my shirt. I grabbed my briefcase, the handle fell off. I was afraid to go to the bathroom.”

So I would put this sunrise in the world-class category. What made this dawn explosion of clouds, sky and reflection was the happenings the day before, when a huge swell hit the central coast that left a large pool (or was it a pond?) of water at the bottom of the steps at Its Beach. So I was able to catch the reflection of the clouds and lighthouse (photo #3) in a spot that 363 days of the year would have been as dry as Kansas at low tide. And if this shot looks familiar, perhaps you saw it in this year’s Open Studios Art Tour calendar. That’s right, sports fans, another year of Open Studios is on the horizon. More on that later.

Moving along, in photo #5, we are now looking west as the sky is streaming with ribbons of pink. Never have a seen so much color in the western sky at this early hour. It’s moments like this of extreme color and light that make me proud to be an American and an American League fan. I was then carried by a group of Tahitian dancers over to Steamer Lane to shoot the sun rising up over the mountains of Monterey. All in all, quite a memorable morning on the cliff. As they say in commercials for the NBA, “Santa Cruz, where amazing happens.”

Now that my camera is finally fixed and I’m back in men’s clothes, I’m once again ready to pull the trigger on the colors and sights along the westside, bringing you the best of what I see and experience in my first lifetime here on one of my favorite planets in our solar system. And big surprise, what I’m looking for is the spectacular. I’ll settle for very good, but what I’d like is the incredible. And if I can’t get that, I’ll settle for the Yankees winning a least one playoff series, although the World Series would be a nice gift for October. Along with a new 72″ HD TV.

On to our late night political humor. “President Obama made his big healthcare address to a joint session of Congress last night. It went pretty well, except for one weird part in the middle of it, when a congressman from South Carolina suddenly yelled out, ‘You lie!’ It’s amazing this guy was able to sit through seven years of President Bush telling him everything in Iraq is fine without a peep, but last night, he yells out, ‘You lie!’” –Jimmy Kimmel “Barack Obama, of course, is not the first president to have ‘you lie’ yelled at him. Bill Clinton got that all the time, but only from Hillary. And that was only after he came home and told her he lost his pants in a tornado. Back when George Bush was president, Democrats in Congress, to be fair, would occasionally go ‘Boooo!’ But President Bush never took it personally, he just thought Congress was haunted.” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama is giving a lot of very important speeches. He gave a speech about healthcare tonight, and yesterday he gave a pep talk to students. He told them that in order to succeed they need to work hard and study hard. Then today, former President George W. Bush presented the rebuttal. The president keeping busy. Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama welcomed the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Yeah, when asked if he likes hockey, Obama said, ‘What black man from Hawaii doesn’t?’” –Conan O’Brien “It was big night on television tonight. And instead of showing President Obama’s healthcare speech that was on tonight, Fox aired its season premiere of ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ I guess they wanted to give viewers a choice between hearing what’s wrong with our country and watching what’s wrong with our country.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Here’s kind of an interesting deal. You go onto the eBay, and you can bid on having dinner. You fly to Alaska and have dinner with the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. And the bidding starts at $25,000. I know a lot of people think that’s a pretty steep price to pay but you get an appetizer, you get entrĂ©e, and ammo. And for an extra $1,000, she’ll treat you like John McCain and cut up your meat. And they say now, unofficially, that for extra thousand dollars, she’ll actually shoot the main course. Dick Cheney is talking about maybe running for president in 2012. He’s got a great campaign slogan. It says, ‘Are you better off now than you were four heart attacks ago?’” –David Letterman “The University of Wyoming will open the new Dick Cheney Center for International Students. “The Dick Cheney Center for International Students. It’s just two buildings over from the George W. Bush Institute for Pretzel Safety.” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s ends our regularly scheduled broadcast. Yesterday’s NFL Sunday was a rare double dip as in the words of my son, Jason, “How often do the Giants and Raiders win on the same day?” And congratulations go out to my old pal, Peter Vecsey, who last week was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. In his honor, I give you this quote. “If you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit right here by me”-Alice Roosevelt Longsworth. So enjoy the day and be grateful for what you have, like family, friends and TiVo. We’ll catch in the batter’s box. Aloha, mahalo and later, Eli Manning fans.

September 6, 2009

It’s A Labor Day Of Love

Good morning and greetings, college football fans. Well, it’s Labor Day, the national holiday that traditionally signals the end of the summer for most of the nation. But that is not true for the residents of the central coast, for this day, which serves as a salute to women getting ready to deliver, brings on the start of our Indian Summer, which is not to be confused with my golden retriever Summer, Donna Summer or Johnny Winter.

Temperature and personality wise, September is our warmest month of the year here in Santa Cruz. So far this month, the days and nights have been extremely pleasant with the evening sky highlighted by the full moon that rose on Friday night. As per my recent streak of photo luck, my camera is still in the shop and it’s just not the same etch-a-sketching the rising harvest moon. But I was mistaken last week when I mentioned that my Canon replacement part was coming via rowboat. Actually, I had a choice of stage coach, covered wagon, horse and buggy or pony express. I checked the last box thinking it said Fed express, thus I’m still playing the waiting game. But as the adage says, good things and tips come to those who are waiters.

So for today’s photo fantasy tour, I thought I would share some of the wildlife I viewed this summer when I was still in possession of a working Digital Rebel. We start out with a sea lion that was lounging on the rocks in front of my old house on West Cliff Drive. The reason I’m alluding to this location is because I lived here for 14 years (1975-1989, better known as the wonder years) and never once in my lifeguarding, frisbee-throwing, cave-exploring days did I see a sea lion venture to this beach. And since my return from the southland there were no sightings until a couple of months ago, when this lovely marine mammal had its back arched up in the air like it was posing for the cover of Vogue.

Of course, being the intrepid photographer that I am, I don’t carry my SLR on these coastal walks so I scurried home like Katie Couric, grabbed my camera and Usain Bolted back to this spot. This lion of the sea was no longer in an Annie Liebowitz pose, but was snoozing on the rocks (photo #1.) I approached and asked a few questions, and as you can see from the second photo his tiny ear perked up as he was fascinated by my Bob Woodward, Deep-Throat type of reporting.

We then move over to the pond at Natural Bridges State Beach where I shot this snowy egret (photo #4) reflecting on what’s important in a bird’s life. I actually shot this a couple of years ago but it just went along too well with the previous shot, which is in a little water hole just north of Natural Bridges. I happened upon this great blue heron as he edged out from the reeds and caught him in the silver ripples. This is one of my favorite new shots that will be available for purchase at the Capitola Art & Wine Festival. And good news is, I’m right next to the Bonny Doon Vineyards so if my photos don’t work for you I’m sure the alcohol will.

We close aloha-style with a pair of North Shore geckos that were running amok on the deck and lawn of our beachfront cottage. The vibrant green fellow was climbing up and down the bamboo trees and resting in some exotically-colored plants which made for some great photo ops. The final shot depicts a brown gecko I believe I caught in the mating throws. It is giving out one of its three courtships signs with its thrush. This orange means caution, red means stop and green means go. And of course, always come to a full stop when you approach an intersection and yield to some pedestrians in a crosswalk.

On to the late night jokes. And there were plenty to choose from this week. “Former VP Dick Cheney says President Obama is setting a ‘terrible precedent,’ not to be confused with George W. Bush, who was a terrible president. That’s a different deal. In 2012, the Republicans are now talking about the presidential ticket, Dick Cheney and running as vice president Sarah Palin. Talk about your dream ticket. Oh buddy, the comedy recession is over. I mean, come on, talk about your shotgun marriage. An article in Vanity Fair claims that Sarah Palin really couldn’t see Russia from her house. The article also says that Sarah Palin was not much of a hunter. And I was thinking, I don’t know, she killed John McCain’s chances.” –David Letterman

“Summer vacation’s sadly coming to an end. Not for the Obama family. They just got back from Martha’s Vineyard. And now they’re going on another vacation to Camp David. Joe Biden is really excited for the car trip. He loves sticking his head out the window.” –Jimmy Fallon “Of course, the healthcare debate is raging. And yesterday, John McCain spoke to nearly 100 doctors and nurses. It wasn’t a political meeting. It was McCain’s annual checkup.” –Conan O’Brien “McCain at one point had to have a crazy woman removed by security at one of these town hall meetings. And I’m thinking, jeez, he should have done that a year ago.” –David Letterman

“Big election scandal in Afghanistan. The loser of the Afghanistan presidential election, a man named Abdullah Abdullah, is claiming that the winner, Hamid Karzai, artificially inflated his number of votes. In response, Karzai is claiming that Abdullah Abdullah artificially inflated his number of Abdullahs. Abdullah Abdullah says he deserves to be president and, ‘They’re going to hear from my lawyer, Shapiro Shapiro. State Department’s conducting a big investigation into a wild party thrown at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. Of course, in Afghanistan, a wild party is any event where a girl takes her socks off.” –Conan O’Brien

“It looks like they’re starting to get the wildfires under control. Firefighters in the LA area have been working nonstop all week long. And this morning, as a reward, Governor Schwarzenegger personally served them breakfast. Unfortunately, due to the California’s budget crisis, he was forced to charge them $12.99 each. As of today, same-sex couples may now legally get married in Vermont. So finally, finally, after years of waiting, we’ll get to hear these words out of Vermont: ‘I now pronounce you Ben and Jerry.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our first post for September, 2009. And I’ve got some breaking news. No, I’m not talking soaring unemployment numbers, national health care reform or the ongong debate about the senseless war in Afghanistan. No, this week, my now 5’10″ son Jason dunked a baseball and nerf ball for the first time on a 10 foot hoop. He said he could have done it a couple of months ago but didn’t want to take the spotlight away from my summer three-point shooting clinic. You know, I love the straight A’s and the academic awards, but it’s sports and particularly basketball that coarses thru my veins. He’s getting closer to the Gilbert Family’s Mount Everest so I’ll keep you updated as he nears that Pat summit.

No blog next week as I’ll be in deep meditation at the Capitola Art & Wine Festival. Stop by and say hello, I love to see my cyber peeps. So enjoy the start of the NFL season and we’ll catch you warming up in the bullpen. And try not to sweat the small stuff. Aloha, mahalo and later, Paul O’Neill fans.

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