January 29, 2012

Why Is The Sky Moody Blue?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 6:03 pm

Good morning and greetings, Super Bowl fans. That’s right, we’ve started the countdown to Super Sunday, the same day twenty-four years ago that I bought my wife a surprise engagement ring after she picked it out. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic.

Next Sunday is also a day when the earth stops orbiting on its normal axis, as Americans will consume 200 hundred trillion chips, 400 billion slices of pizza and enough guacamole to fill Lake Erie. Throw in enough beer and alcohol to double the size of the Red Sea, more money being gambled then what we owe the Chinese and we’re talking that special day where we honor the national pastime of violence, NFL football.

So this leads to the questions that everyone will be asking next Sunday. Can Gisele Bundchen’s main squeeze, Tom Brady, obtain redemption for the Patriot’s 2008 shocking defeat in Super Bowl XLII that crushed their hopes for an undefeated dream season? Can the league’s hottest quarterback, Eli Manning and the Giant’s Big Blue defense continue to sizzle in the postseason and take home another championship trophy? And most importantly, the question fans all over the country will be asking themselves the next day around the water cooler, what was your favorite commercial?

Well, speaking of the Big Blue, I came across an article last seek written by Natalie Wolchover for Yahoo Live Science that tickled my New York Giant’s fancy. Have you ever wondered why the moon is out sometimes during the day? Why is the sky blue? Will we ever discover aliens? How much does the Earth weigh? How do airplanes stay up? And what’s the point spread on the Giants-Patriots game?

According to a new survey conducted over fish n’ chips in England, these are the five questions kids most often ask their parents. In my case, it was, “Why do I have to study algebra?,” followed by “How do the storks know where to deliver the babies?” and “Can I have a raise in my allowance?”

Of the 2,000 parents of children ages 5 to 16 who were surveyed about their kid’s questions, two-thirds said they struggled with the questions and depression. One-fifth of the parents admitted that if they didn’t know an answer, they sometimes made up an explanation, pretended that no one knows or went into a trance. And one-third of the parents said they thought the moon was made of cream cheese.

Myself, I never wondered about the moon making an appearance during the day and I believe there are aliens out there and in Hollywood. I’ve never pondered how much the earth or Oprah weighed and forget about how airplanes stay up, I’m amazed that my pants stay up without a belt.

But being a photographer and a citizen of the world, the question that really caught my interest was, why is the sky blue? Or in the words of former Chapel Hill resident Dr. Michael Schur, “If God isn’t a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue?”

So here we go. The light coming from the sun is made of many colors; light travels as a wave, and each color has a unique wavelength. Violet and blue light has shorter wavelengths, while red light has a longer wavelength, particularly in Amsterdam, and the other colors have wavelengths in between. And the cheese stands alone.

When the different colors of light pass through the atmosphere, they run into molecules, water droplets, bits of dust and friends from the old neighborhood. Because all these particles are closer in size to shorter wavelengths of light, they tend to scatter violet and blue light much more than red. They send rays of violet and blue light richocheting toward the ground and your eyes like an Eli Manning third down sideline pass to Hakeem Nicks. More violet light actually gets scattered by atmospheric particles than blue light, but your eyes are more sensitive to blue, so in accordance to K-mart shoppers, the sky appears like one big blue light special.

Sunrises and sunsets are orange-red because with the sun low on the horizon, sunlight must pass through more atmosphere to get to your eyes, and only the red light can make it all the way through. The shorter wavelengths have all been scattered toward the ground and the sky is defenseless in holding back the incredible colors that these moments bring. Or in the words of the Classic IV “Traces of love, long ago, that didn’t turn out right.”

And that leads us into today’s photo funhouse. We harken back to the morning of January 19, when at first glance the early morning sky showed more promise than the Fox Network’s much ballyhooed new series “Alcatraz.” Although I was still without my regular lens, I had my new zoom in hand, which I used to capture this morning of spectacular color and pageantry.

And I am happy to report that after a three week hiatus, Sunrise Santa Cruz is back in the digital ballgame. Now all I need is some clouds and a miracle. Actually, all I need is you, my cyber audience. At least that’s what Mike & the Mechanics told me.

On to the late night. “Rick Perry dropped out. He said while it’s sad he won’t be president, he can always run again next year. Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife went on nightline and said that he wanted to have an open marriage. This is the second wife, talking about him when he was fooling around with what became the third wife. Newt wanted apparently to have his wife and his marriage and also women on the side giving him oral sex. This way he could be nice and relaxed when he went to work and accused blacks of feeling entitled. “Meanwhile, at the debate, Mitt Romney’s got a look on his face like, ‘Three women at once? Who’s the Mormon in this race?’” –Bill Maher

“Scientists announced that they have detected a brand new subatomic particle. This particle is so tiny, it’s actually smaller than the income tax rate paid by Mitt Romney. “Mitt Romney won’t release his taxes, but on the other hand, turns out Newt Gingrich wrote off two of his marriages as a total loss.” – Jay Leno “Mitt Romney is going to release 2010 and 2011 tax returns. Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich is going to release his 1988, 1994, and 2005 wedding vows.” –Conan O’Brien

“Newt Gingrich was cheating on his second wife while he was prosecuting Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky thing. In other words, Newt puts the ‘hippo’ in ‘Hypocrite.’ “Gingrich is lining up impressive endorsements. Todd Palin, Gary Busey, and now, Chuck Norris. I’ll tell you, his endorsements could beat up Mitt Romney’s endorsements.” –Jimmy Kimmel “You’re not a Washington insider? You, the former Speaker of the House and Freddie Mac consulting millionaire, are the Washington insider. When Washington gets its prostate checked, it tickles you!” –Jon Stewart, on Newt Gingrich campaigning as a Washington outsider

“Yesterday in Florida, President Obama kissed a woman on the cheek after she told him he looks good. Which explains why last night, Michelle made him sleep on Air Mattress One. President Obama aired his first campaign ad of 2012, which promotes his record on clean energy. Obama’s a big environmentalist. In fact, for the election he plans to recycle the same promises he made four years ago. “Next week Obama will visit Iowa, Arizona, Las Vegas, Denver, and Detroit. Not because he’s campaigning, just because all he could afford was a Southwest flight with a bunch of layovers.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A hiker who was lost in a blizzard said he stayed alive by digging a snow tunnel and burning dollar bills for warmth. Today he was offered a job as President Obama’s economic adviser.” –Jay Leno “People who saw Steven Tyler sing the National Anthem at the Patriots game yesterday said, ‘Nancy Regan really looks good for her age.” But Steven Tyler got some of the lyrics wrong, so now everyone thinks the song goes, ‘Flag looks like a lady.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our last blast for January. Birthday wishes go out next Sunday to my longtime confidante and the First Lady of the state of Western Kentucky, Nancy Mager, who predicted years before the internet was invented that I would someday be blogging for no compensation. As they say, keep your friends close and your good friends closer.

So enjoy Super Bowl week and we’ll catch you at the trophy presentation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Victor Cruz fans.

January 22, 2012

Will & Grays

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 9:19 pm

Good morning and greetings, Super PAC fans. Well, you’ve got to hand
it to Diana Ross and the Supremes Court. Their 2010 ruling allowing
these out of control groups to raise unlimited amounts of money from
individuals and corporations and then spend it attacking the campaigns
of political candidates has wreaked havoc in the presidential
landscape.

But then again, who doesn’t like watching a civil war break out in the Republican Party. I believe it was either a Confederate soldier or Newt Gingrich’s second wife who once said, “We’ll fight them, sir, ’til hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice.”

These Super PACs now have a venue where they can launch totally inaccurate, outrageous missile scuds against opposing candidates. I haven’t seen a series of such vicious attacks since a group of killer orcas went after a gray whale last spring in Monterey Bay. The poor whale was as defenseless as Mitt Romney trying to defend his flip flopping on the issues. And that leads us into today’s post, with an assist from the reporting of Jason Hoppin and Stephen Baxter of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Last Monday, a 700 pound,13-foot baby gray whale was found beached
just north of Moss Landing. It was obviously in distress, and despite
the best efforts by marine experts who were called to the scene, it
had to be euthanized by a veterinarian. The undersized and prematurely born whale was just one day old and had been seperated from its mother and somehow made it to shore. Much like it would have been in my case, without her, it never had a chance. The pictures of this youngster dying on the sand were just tragic.

Reports out of Monterey say that the gray whale migration was at its
peak last week, with whale watching boats seeing 20 to 30 go by each
hour. What a phenomenal sight to observe as these gigantic creatures make their 12,000 mile migration from Alaska to Baja, California. Usually, the mothers wait till they get to the warmer water to give birth, but this group of California gray whales was traveling with youngsters and their nannies. Personally, I would prefer to give birth in a warm, sheltered lagoon, but that’s just me.

In the fall, the humpback whales off the central coast made international headlines with their breaching so close to shore, and now the grays are putting on a show for the locals. The Calfornia grays, who grow to 40 to 50 feet in length, have been spotted mating near Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, which has local parent groups up in arms.

All this Moby Dick talk reminded me of an incredible morning back in
April of 2009, when a year-old gray whale washed up on the shore just
north of the arch at Its Beach. Except for a modeling shoot that I
witnessed back in the 80′s, this was the most interesting morning in my 26 years plus of pounding the West Cliff beat.

As you can from the first photo, I was not alone in taking in this epic
sight, as the local TV stations went live with their coverage. This
25-foot-long, 8,260 pound juvenile had been found dead next to the wharf and had been towed out to sea for burial. But for some reason, it floated back toward land to create this unique photo op.

Since the whale refused to be buried at sea, they decided to haul it up
the cliff, which created this surreal scene of a gigantic sea creature
being pulled up through the iceplants and then loaded onto a flatbed
truck. It was saddening to see this beautiful specimen of the sea being taken away for a final burial at the city landfill, but it did make for a whale of a story. To read my original post, click on April 2009 in the archives to the right and scroll down to “Whale, I Guess This Is Goodbye.”

These moments just serve as a reminder of what an exotic place
Monterey Bay is. There’s a reason they call it the Grand Canyon of the
Pacific. As a landscape and nature photographer, I shoot images of what is on top of the water. But there is a whole other world, that for people like me, who are wetsuit challenged, do not get to observe
except by going the the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which just raised their
entrance fee to $32.95 for box seats.

So even though I’m not seeing what’s below the bay, I’m taking in the
most from what’s above. There’s a reason I choose to live along the
edge of the continent. I believe it can be summed up a few simple
words inscribed on a bench above Its Beach. “I live by the sea. Enough said.” Good night and drive home safely.

On to the late night. During a campaign event on Saturday, Mitt Romney reached into his pocket and gave cash to a woman who said she was broke. Which got awkward, when she was like, ‘I’m also lonely! Experts say Mitt Romney needs Latino support in elections. Romney says, I’ll never pander to any group or mi nombre no es Mitt Romney.” –Jimmy Fallon According to the exit polls, Mitt Romney won in every category of voter in New Hampshire, from rich to poor, from young to old, from white to really white. He won across the board.” –Jay Leno

“Mitt Romney, whose father was born in Mexico, is now talking up his
Mexican heritage. Not to be outdone today, Newt Gingrich said he once
cheated on one of his wives with a woman named Juanita.” –Jay Leno
“Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race for president to return to
his former job as the guy in the picture that comes with the frame.”
–Jimmy Kimmel “Sen. John McCain told Sean Hannity that choosing Sarah Palin was still the best decision he ever made. Well, today the
Arizona DMV took away his driver’s license.” –Jay Leno

“The South Carolina GOP primary campaign is in full swing. Candidates
are shaking hands, kissing babies and strategically ignoring Confederate flags.” –Stephen Colbert “Researchers found a frog in new guinea that is so tiny, they believe it’s the smallest vertebrate on the planet. It has the tiniest backbone of any living creature, except members of Congress.” –Jay Leno “Kim Jung Nam, the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, said that as a leader his younger brother will fail. When he heard this, Kim Jung Un was so upset at his older brother, he yelled, ‘I’m telling Kim Jung Mom.’” –Conan O’Brien

So our summer weather ended last week as the winter rains finally made an appearance on the central coast. While snowstorms battered the northeast and northwest, Florida and Hawaii boast sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures. I love the meterological diversity of this country. And any form of chocolate.

So today marks the start of the two week Chinese New Year celebration. It’s the Year of the the Dragon, a symbol which stands for power, good luck, success, and happiness, which I was definitely feeling after yesterday’s NFC Championship game. We’ll catch you heading to Indianapolis. Aloha, mahalo and later, New York Giant fans.

January 15, 2012

Hot Fun In The Wintertime

Good morning and greetings, warm weather fans. Well, who doesn’t love summer weather in January? According to Diana Ross, so far this month we’ve had no wind, no rain nor winter’s cold. And you readers know I need to follow the sun wherever it leads, because ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough and ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from writing my weekly declaration of codependence.

So how dry has it been here on the central coast? Well, as they say in Rick Perry country, it’s been so dry the trees are bribing the dogs. Not a drop of rain has fallen in the month of January, although rumor has it that both some moisture and the NFC championship game between the Giants and 49ers are headed our way this week.

Well, thanks to some research by Jennifer Pasko of the Sentinel, here’s some facts about our lack of precipitation on the central coast.

Folks weren’t exactly dodging the rain drops last month either, as according to the National Weather Service and the banana palms in my back yard, it was Santa Cruz’s second driest December on record. These recordings date back to 1893, right around the birth of John McCain, the man who had the vision and foreskin, er foresight to bring the world Sarah Palin.

A total of 0.13 inches of rain fell from the sky in December, as compared to almost 10 inches that dropped in 2010. Up the coast in the Bay Area, they have been keeping rainfall records that go back to the Gold Rush, which is coincidentally the last time the Oakland A’s made a good trade. For 49er fans in San Francisco, who are still rejoicing today, it was the third driest December since 1849, when chow fun was first spotted in the city’s finer Chinese dining establishments.

Until then it was just lo mein and chow mein, but then the floodgates opened and all kinds of appetizers like crab rangoon and shrimp rolls broke loose. In the two drier Decembers, not a drop of rain fell, which would indicate the fog was also out to lunch, which comes with egg drop soup, steamed rice, crispy egg roll and a fortune cookie.

Moving along, in the midwest and Great Plains, the first week of 2012 brought temperatures nearly 40 degrees higher than average. Thermometers were busier than my two TiVo recording systems as 473 high temperature records were set on January 6. As Brad Johnson at Think Progress Green put it, “Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth flooded the United States, shattering records and CDs from southern California to North Dakota.” Meanwhile, it was 10 degrees in New York that same week, but Derek Jeter was in Paris with Minka Kelly so there was no need to worry.

Every major city in North and South Dakota set records for the date, of which many were shattered by sixteen degrees of Kevin Bacon or more. To put it in perspective, on this balmy January day, it was four degrees warmer in Rapid City, South Dakota than it was in Miami, Florida. Holy Dwyane Wade, Batman.

Now I admit I’ve never been to this midwest tropical paradise known as the Dakotas in January, but I know what it’s like sitting in a meat locker watching the golf channel. The ground is normally more frozen than Joan River’s smile. Believe me, there’s a reason they call it the Badlands.

This same record heat produced the first 60° temperatures ever recorded in Minnesota during the first week of January. We’re talking about an area colder than Mrs. Herman Cain after hubby arrived home from his failed presidential wanderings. Things got so bad in Viking country that they had to cancel a midnight snowshoe hike because there was no snow. I hate when that happens.

But according to Brad Johnson, there is a downside to this heat wave that has me crying and tearing me apart. Although schoolchildren are dancing in the streets, this breakdown of normal seasons threatens serious economic disruption. The total lack of snowcover in the Dakotas means that wildland fires are much more likely and the seasonally cold air following this surge of heat will severely damage the winter crops that are usually protected by at least 3 inches of snow at this time of year.

And then there is the cancellation of one of my favorite fall shows, “Prime Suspect” on NBC. Sure, the program’s name was misleading, but I love the cast, starring Maria Bello as Detective Jane Timini. Actually, this has nothing to do with the heat wave, I just wanted to rant a little bit.

For today’s photo sweepstakes, we are journeying back to the last images recorded before my camera lens decided to take a sabbatical, which would be the morning of December 29th. And it was a sunrise that I won’t soon forget, as it was low tide and I wanted to capture as much of the brilliant reflection from the clouds as possible, because that’s the way I egg roll.

In my effort to get total reflection, I edged out into the water, and before you could say, “Remember the Titanic,” a wave hit me. As I backstroked towards dry land, my zoom lens dove out of my pocket and went for a swim. “No, no, no.” But it was yes, yes, yes, as it turns out, lenses and salt water really don’t mix. Thus, another memorable chapter in the annals of Sunrise Santa Cruz was in the books. Or should I say the Pacific?

On to some fresh late night. “Congratulations to Mitt Romney. He won the New Hampshire primary last night. See, this is proof that even the multimillionaire son of a multimillionaire can beat the odds and run for president of the United States.” –Jay Leno “Seventy-six percent of people polled thought that Mitt was short for mittens. I’d vote for him if his name was Mittens Romney. Other nations would fear us for being so adorable.” –Craig Ferguson “I’m having trouble warming up to Mitt Romney. He looks like the guy in the restaurant that comes to your table to make sure everything’s all right.” –David Letterman

“Fidel Castro posted a blog entry this week titled ‘The Best President.’ Castro thinks a robot would do a better job than President Obama. And if Mitt Romney wins, that could happen.” –Jimmy Kimmel “With all due respect, Castro, we tried the robot thing here in California. And it didn’t work out. I came up with a great slogan for Romney. “It’s time to Mitt or get off the pot.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“During the debates I drank a shot every time I heard the word ‘contraception.’ I was more wasted than a contribution to Jon Huntsman.” –Stephen Colbert “Jon Huntsman is surging in New Hampshire. And it lasts longer than four hours, he’d better call a doctor.” –David Letterman “During the GOP debate on Saturday night, Jon Huntsman spoke Chinese. Not to be outdone during the debate, Newt Gingrich ate Chinese.” –Conan O’Brien

“You know the difference between Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Tim Tebow? When God tells Tim Tebow to run, he wins. “Even though Rick Perry came in fifth, he is not quitting. He said it’s on to South Carolina. And then today, he said, ‘Which way is that?’” –Jay Leno “Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is under fire for a remark he made in Iowa about black people. The remark has sparked outrage among Iowa’s black community, otherwise known as Steve.” –Conan O’Brien

David Letterman’s “Top Five Ways Kim Jong Un Celebrated His Birthday”
5. Enjoyed ice cream made by Kim Jong Ben and Kim Jong Jerry
4. After seeing how good Charles Barkley looks, joined Weight Watchers
3. Nice quiet dinner with a few close human shields
2. Treated himself to a deep-tissue jowl massage
1. Executed his pastry chef for using those trick birthday candles

So another weekend of NFL playoffs is now history. I hope you caught the Saints-49ers game on Saturday, as the end of that contest was as fantabulous as it gets. And on Sunday, it was a New York Giants shocker as they upset Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl champion Packers in a game that if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Unlike courtroom proceedings, the Giant’s defense never rested.

So enjoy Dr. King’s birthday and perhaps take a moment to reflect on the greatness, vision and courage of this man. We’ll catch you coming up huge in the biggest game of your life. Aloha, mahalo and later, Alex Smith fans.

January 8, 2012

You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 2:54 pm

Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. For the lovers of pro football, January is prime-time, as this past weekend featured chop blocks, gang tackling and vicious helmet-to-helmet hits, and that was just fans tailgating in the parking lot. And let’s not forget enough scantily-clad cheerleaders and beer commercials to make my head explode. When you throw in college football’s Rose Bowl, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and my personal favorite, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl that came with sour cream and chives, it was quite a week on the pigskin front.

There was also some interesting moments in the skies above Monterey Bay. As I mentioned in my last post, my Canon Rebel EOS suffered a stroke and died on the morning of New Year’s Eve, leaving me digitally challenged. And for some unexplained reason, I don’t have a backup camera to get me through prime times like this, which leaves me and Dusty Springfield wishing and hoping and thinking and praying that the skies don’t light up on a spectacular level when I’m lensless. Well, it may not have been Murphy’s Law taking effect, but last Wednesday night was one for the ages on many levels.

Now in my own weakside defense, and I really have none, I had brought along my daughter’s camera just in case the sky blew up on this night. All afternoon it looked as if the sunset had more potential than the 2011 New York Jets, and I knew there would be a window between my son and daughter’s basketball games to take in the sights and sounds. So when I exited the gym at 4:30 and checked out the sky, I could see the motherlode was coming, so I took off for Stockton Avenue to take in this midweek wonder.

The sky was already blowing up with unusual colors and texture as I hit West Cliff Drive. I took out my daughter’s Kodak Easy Share camera and prepared to shoot away. The only problem was, NOW HER CAMERA WASN’T WORKING. I thought to myself, relax, take a deep breath and try to enjoy this upcoming incredible experience that you won’t be capturing. Enjoy the moment. Of course, if you know me, you know this really wasn’t totally possible.

Now people always say to me, “Geoff, can’t you just enjoy watching the sunset?” Well, I could if I wasn’t a photographer and didn’t have a photo blog where each week I attempt to showcase the best from the skies and byways of the central coast. And just my luck, my Etch A Sketch was in the shop so I was out there alone, just me and a sky that would turn into clouds of purple mountain majesties. This was way above the fruited plain on a night oh so beautiful with spacious skies and amber waves of greatness.

So I sucked it up and accepted my photographic fate like a real man by sobbing uncontrollably for about ten minutes. In reality, I know looking at the bigger picture, there are worse fates, like if my TiVO went down. It was just disappointing to know what was coming and that my cyber audience was not going to be part of the festivities. Okay, so I’m a giver. Just don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

My daughter’s game was now underway so I returned to the gym at Natural Bridges. I stood by the door and went to check the sunset every couple of minutes, as the skies were now a 360 degree canvas of unbelievable colors and designs.

To the east, the sky was as passionately pink as I’ ve ever seen it at sunset, while to the west there were riveting ribbons of orange and later red. My neighbor said it was like looking into a fire, a burning caldron of January color and pagentry. The reflection upon the ocean and sand was off the charts, although I didn’t have the emotional strength to go and look. Plus, my daughter was seeing some first-half minutes, and I didn’t want to miss any crossover action.

So the bottom line was, this was the most fantastic sunset that I’d ever seen but not photographed. So when I walked through the door at home after watching my son and daughter combine for two wins and 24 points, I wondered, what’s for dinner and what can I do to make up for this missed opportunity of greatness? At times like this, there’s only one place I can go. No, not to Disneyland, but to my photo archives.

We’re heading back to the evening of January 22, 2008, which was an epic night on the central coast. It was a most extreme low tide day (photo #3) as I was able to walk completely around the arch at Its Beach, something I’ve only done twice in my short but defense-oriented life.

I was shooting the exposed barnacles and sea stars when someone said, “Do you see the rainbow through the arch? (photo #4.) Then a snowy egret flew through and I shot it landing in the exposed kelp beds in front of the arch. I could just sense that this evening, much like my first chocolate milk shake, was going to be very special.

As you can see, the sky just went off from here, ending with a very colorful canvas (photo #6) that had friends and anemones buzzing. But here’s the kicker, and I don’t mean the guy that missed the three field goals for Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

The next night, I photographed my all-time favorite, Santa Cruz sunset up at Natural Bridges. We’re talking back-to-back, world-class nights in the skies above the central coast. To check it out, go the archives on the right, click on January 2011 and “Does This Sunset Make Me Look Fat?” will pop up like A-Rod with the bases loaded in a playoff game.

So the good news is that I’ve ordered a new camera and I should be back in business before Rick Perry exits the presidential race. I hope some of you caught the spectacle in the January 4th sky. In the words of my old pal Marc Techner, a West Cliff regular at sunset time, “It was magical. The colors, from the different shades of pink and purple and fuchsia just lit up the whole sky. It was totally incredible, one of the best ever.” Thank you and stay thirsty, my friends.

On to a little late night. “As I was coming out here, CBS News predicted the winner of the Iowa Republican caucuses: President Obama. So now that Michele O’Bachmann is out, that leaves Mitt Romney with best hairdo.” –David Letterman “Rick Santorum’s campaign is celebrating the Iowa caucuses with a pizza party. Here’s the embarrassing part: It was delivered by Herman Cain.” –Jay Leno

So that’s a wrap. Enjoy the warm winter weather, the ongoing NFL playoffs and we’ll catch you in the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Tim Tebow fans.

January 1, 2012

I’ve Got A Great Past In My Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 2:41 pm

Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Well, 2011, much like the hopes of my camera not breaking down on me while I was about to shoot Saturday morning’s New Year’s Eve sunrise, is now history. Ah, karma.

It reminds me of the old joke, “What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence? Time to get a new camera.” I could sum up the missed morning experience by paraphrasing the lovely Teri Hatcher from a classic Seinfeld episode, “it was real and it was spectacular.”

This missed morning magnificence then led into Saturday night’s sunset, which had fans lining the coast to check out the super sky along West Cliff Drive. I was in possession of my daughter’s Kodak pocket camera to capture this magic moment, but it just wasn’t quite the same without that Canon in my hand. Yes, size does matter. But with any luck, I’ll display some memorable images from this night before breaking my New Year’s resolution.

When I think about the 365 days that I just crossed off my Justin Bieber calendar, I’m left with the thought of what a wild and wacky year it was. So in honor days of future passed and a Canon trashed, let’s take a quiet stroll down Lois Lane and see what washes up on the memory banks of what’s left of my mind.

The first thing that jumps out is the state of our nation. God bless America, land that I love, where last year President Obama and Congress couldn’t even agree on anything, including whether Michelle should have gone sleeveless on New Year’s Eve. Is it just me, or is something wrong when the approval rating for our elected officials hovers at 1%? As amazing as it was that Barack Obama was elected President, I have to wonder if he and the kids are enjoying the experience? But then again, despite his difficulties in making progress with our economy, I guess he had a better year than Osama Bin Laden or that wacky Khadaffy.

Late night political comedy was off the charts last year, as the Republican presidential candidates provided more material than an Orson Welles’ bathrobe. There were so many statements and foot-in-the-mouth moments to choose from, but I believe the top spot must go to the lovable Herman Cain, who it seems was rolling around in more than dough in his days as the Godfather of pizza.

Just the fact that he could run for the top job in our country with an expertise in mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce is one thing. But to have, for lack of a better term, the basketballs to run for the top office with those skeletons in his closet was just simply amazing. He was definitely Cain but certainly not able.

For us folks here on the central coast, the weather, like my blood pressure when not watching the New York Giants, was relatively stable. But for the rest of the country, it was simply bonkers. Never has there been 365 days of such extreme weather conditions. Texas was brutalized with severe drought conditions, raging wild fires and Rick
Perry. Oklahoma saw massive heat waves and the Oklahoma State football team get screwed out of playing for the BCS national championship. We had killer tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama and massive flooding in Tennesseee. And then Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey, Connecticutt and Vermont, leaving these states in worse shape than the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning.

This weather was more extreme in 2011 than some statements made during the NFL and NBA lockouts, and one has to wonder if this will be the norm from now on or just a one-year cool hand fluke? It made for riveting watching on the nightly news, as I have always been amazed at how diverse the weather is around the fifty states. I mean, an earthquake in New Jersey? This would never have happened if Tony Soprano still had a back office at the Bada Bing club.

And speaking of our 50th state, when the reporters covering President Obama’s Hawaiian vacation were doing their standups, we could see dozens of people swimming in the warm tropical water in the backgound. This is while a good part of the country is shivering. God bless Hawaii. Anywhere you can wake up where the temperature is 72 degrees, the birds and papayas are singing and Steve McGarrett is on patrol is truly a plumeria paradise.

There was much evil and suffering in the world in 2011 and it continues to reign in 2012. What some people continue to do to others on this planet is unspeakable. That is why every day that you wake up with a healthy mind and body is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. Why bad things happen to good people will never be fully answered for me, so I take life one game at a time and always remember to re-up my TiVo programming every 12 days.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that after all the painful and difficult situations people have gone through over the past year, I came out relatively unscathed. Sure there have been moments of me not whistling Dixie (like New Year’s Eve morning,) but the overall picture still looks relatively bright, even if I’m not watching in HD. Both my parents (94 and 85) are still roaming the planet, everyone in my family is healthy, and our golden retriever just got accepted into law school. There’s always plenty of food on the table, so it seems I’m just one lucky boy who has a forum to make a small cyber contribution while displaying a little beauty from life when my camera isn’t on the injured list.

So although the holidays have passed, it’s still looking a lot like Christmas here at Sunrise Santa Cruz, as for our photo replay, we are venturing back to the night of December 25. It was a very spiritual day, as the NBA kicked off its shortened season with five back-to-back games on the inner tube.

But while these millionaires in shorts were jamming and slamming, the evening sky was lighting up like Ray Allen from the three-point stripe, treating holiday beachgoers to this exciting show. I decided to observe the festivities from the sands of Natural Bridges State Beach. It was an entertaining low tide experience, and one that I was excited to share with my mistletoe and menorah fans.

And as a bonus, the final shot is from local photographer Judy Bingman, who made the trek on Christmas Day down to Pfieffer State Beach in Big Sur to capture this spectacular sunset. She had hoped to shoot the light coming through the arch at sunset, but instead had to settle for the panaromic moment of holiday reflection.

So that’s a brief look back at 2011, as we move on to the new year of hope, dreams and NFL and NBA playoffs . And this one is a biggie, as my friends and compatriots from the Fort Lee high school class of 1970 all will be turning the big 60. That’s a frightening number to write, no less say.

So I’m hoping it was a good holiday season. With the latkes and jelly donuts behind me, I can now get back to focusing on the important things in life, like keeping Jason’s high school basketball stats. We’ll catch you making amazing plays from the slot back position. Aloha, mahalo and later, Victor Cruz fans.


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