December 19, 2010

Are You Swedish? No, I’m Finished.

Good morning and greetings, Johnny Winter fans. We’re winding down the year here at Sunrise Santa Cruz as the end of 2010 rapidly approaches. But before we do, I want to mention a couple of celestial events coming up on the calendar as a free service to my non-paying subscribers.

Early on Tuesday morning, the full moon will pass through the shadow of the earth, producing one of the most beautiful shows the skies this side of “My Fair Lady,” a total eclipse of the moon. This is not to be confused with a total eclipse of the heart or when I blew off Carly Simon to fly up to Nova Scotia to see a total eclipse of the sun. Okay, so maybe I was a little vain.

Then 16 hours later at 6:38 EST, after a marvelous night for a moon dance, the sun will reach a point where it will appear to shine farthest to the south of the equator, which will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn and just south of the island of Tongatapu, where I normally do most of my holiday shopping for mumus. This will mark the moment of solstice, when winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere and I celebrate by ironing my warmer shorts.

It was Randy Newman who said “short people have no reason to live,” but they can rejoice on Tuesday as it will be the shortest day of the year. And it was Dr. Phil who said it is always darkest before dawn, and beginning on Wednesday, the days grow longer and the nights grow stronger than moonshine. I learned that as I traveled down the Ventura Highway in the sunshine with the free wind blowin’ thru my hair. God bless America.

So with the days and my attention span winding down, what have I learned this year? My first thought is very little, as it’s possible I’ve forgotten more than has entered my medulla oblongata. They say you’re not getting older, you’re getting wiser. Take my word for it, I’m just getting older.

Alright, maybe I’ve learned a few things. Actually, it’s not that I’ve gained any new insights, it’s just that what’s important has edged closer to the forefront of my mind. I’ll go with my top three, because any more than that and I’ll start channeling Oprah.

Number one on my hit list of importance is health. You can have all the money in the world, and if you do, please contact me. My wife had some major health issues last year, and a day doesn’t go by that when I wake up I’m not grateful that she’s healthy. Well, that and the fact the she doesn’t kick me anymore when I snore. For a while, I felt like a pinata on that mattress, and I would have told her to stop but wanted the candy.

Number two is family. I’ve got an entourage of parents, brothers, half-brothers, sister-in-laws, step-sisters, cousins and an aunt, uncle and Johnny Drama. Many have known me pretty much from the start as a young boy growing up in Appalachia, and there’s something special about someone who knows where you’ve been and is alway going to know where you’re going.

Number three is friends, and I’m not talking about Courtney Cox or the lovely Jennifer Aniston. Friends may come and go, but the great ones stick around. They’re different from family because there is no blood obligation. Of course, some come with baggage, but since I’m not a sky cap, I don’t deal with that. Friends melt in your heart, not in your hands.

So for our final photo expedition of 2010, we journey back to a gentler, simpler time, back before we all got so caught up in our daily lives that we sometimes forget what’s really important. I’m talking December 7th of this month. The sky was lining up to put on a better show than Janet Jackson at halftime of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, and I was not upset when the heavens didn’t malfunction.

The canvas of colors started slowly, but once the sky started to glow it was just outstanding. For me as a photographer, humanitarian and former hand model, photo number five is what it’s all about. Just a wonderful moment to be alive and living on the planet. For a sunrise and sunset boy like myself, it doesn’t get much better than this.

The last shot is of another photographer who was lucky enough to be taking in the sights that night. I wanted to showcase the color of the clouds as the reflection blazed on the sand. All in all, a fantastic night on the digital front. This is one I’m glad I didn’t miss.

Here’s our final salute to the late night. “According to a new poll, 51 percent of Americans feel that their lives were better two years ago before President Obama took office. To which President Obama said, ‘Join the club.’” –Jay Leno “Today President Obama met with a group of top CEOs to discuss creating new jobs. They said they’d see what they could do and then all went back to China.” –Conan O’Brien “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had to go to the hospital today because of a kidney stone. On the bright side, the stone was the first thing in months passed by a member of the Obama administration.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Time magazine is now ranking the best tweets of the year and, according to Time, the best tweet for 2010 was written by John McCain. Experts say it’s even more impressive because McCain thought he was opening his garage door. Anderson Cooper has announced that the title of his new show is just ‘Anderson.’ I think I speak for everyone here at ‘Conan’ when I say, ‘God, what an ego on that guy!’ Ukraine announced plans to open Chernobyl, their nuclear disaster site, to tourists. They say it’s just like Disneyland, except the 6-foot mouse is real.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our final blast for the year. I’m going to take a week off and head out to Palm Desert for some relaxation, revitalization and hopefully a few revelations about why the corn beef tastes so good at Sherman’s Deli.

But before that, birthday wishes go out to my oldest friend, Steve Margolin, who hits the big 58 on Wednesday. Steve and I go way back, as we’re talking pitching duels in Little League, train rides to Amsterdam and late night runs to Hop Kee in New York’s Chinatown for those sweet and sour memories. We both grew up in Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and not a day goes by where he doesn’t beg me to come back.

So thanks for tuning in this year. I hope you’ve been enjoying the ride and that my words have added some joy to your life. We’ll return with some spectacular desert action in 2011. In the meantime, be good to yourselves and we’ll catch you at the goal line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dwyane Wade fans.


  1. A fabulous post to end a fabulous year. Photos 3-5 are truly spectacular – haven’t seen those kinds of colors since my college days. Didn’t know I had any half brother’s but hey, you learn something new every day. Here’s a shout out to Steve Margolin and don’t worry they’ll be bringing those extra noodles you asked for at Hop Kee any day now. Life is good, this blog is great and if I could just erase any memory of the Giant’s debacle yesterday all would be right in the world…

    Comment by Amare Stoudemire — December 20, 2010 @ 6:59 am

  2. Just wanted to say that if I didn’t get your blogs, and I do GET them, it would be the start of a weak week. But with you spreading your wonderful sense of humor, I have never had the problems of wimpy leaks.
    Here’s to you my friend. I have my eye on you.

    Comment by boots — December 20, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  3. Nice work, Geoff! You’re right, cool shot of the setup :)

    Comment by Danny Gaines — December 20, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  4. Shot number 5 remembers me of a visit I made to Syracuse, except I think it was more like midnight. I thought number 6 was a shot taken by Aimee or Summer of you at work, although the tripod seemed a little fishy. This was a banner year for your blog, when is Canon going to start advertising on the site? Or at least, Ferrell’s Donuts. As for aging being a major drag (can’t even see this screen without my glasses), as Indiana Jones said, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” I need to turn back my odometer. Have a great time in the desert, try not to think about the Giants.

    Comment by Father Time — December 20, 2010 @ 10:59 am

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