May 3, 2015

We Are Only Young Once

Good morning and greetings, May Day fans.  The magnificent month of April is now just dust in the wind, but it went out with a wonderous bang.  On a scale on one to ten, last week was a pretty good one by NBA standards, with the San Antonio Spurs and the L.A. Clippers playoff series turning out to the a, legendary must see TV event.   For pro hoops fans, this was true, unscripted NBA drama, setting the stage to see if the new kids on the block could dethrone the aging champions.

With Kobe Bryant and the Lakers being a non factor in the basketball world, the once dreadful Clips team have become the milk toast of Hollywood.  The Clippers Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have been as dominating on the court as in their ridiculous TV commercials.  The red carpet had been rolled out for the Clippers to make some noise in the playoffs.  But was it to be their time?
They had narrowly beaten our beloved Warriors in last year’s opening round, but lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in round two.  But ballsy new owner Steve Ballmer blew up the town by plunking down a record $2 billion to purchase the franchise last year from disgraced owner Donald Sterling, so things were looking up.  It was now their time, their town.  Own the playoffs.
But a funny thing happened on the last day of the season, as the seedings went haywire and the Clipper’s opponent in the opening round were the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.  This was a true heavyweight matchup, as both teams were more than worthy of moving on to the next round.  Would this once laughingstock of a franchise unload all their previous baggage and make some history?
Well, Saturday night there was a changing of the guard, as Chris Paul, playing with a painful hamstring injury, refused to lose and put the team on his back as they prevailed over the Spurs in game seven, 111-109.  It was a legendary contest for the ages, as the up and coming Clips kept on coming back and hitting big shots to take down last year’s NBA champions.
Paul hit a spectacular shot with one second left that provided the winning margin, leaving the Spurs and their fans stunned.  It was a shame one team had to lose.  The Clippers now move on to the western conference semi finals, where they face the bearded James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
This is setting up a Western Conference showdown with the Golden State Warriors, who swept the young New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round by a 4-0 margin to move on, where they will take on the depleted Memphis Grizzlies.  The young Warriors crushed the Grizzlies in their two previous meetings, and as former coach Mark Jackson would say, “This team is on a mission from God.”  The Warriors easily handled Memphis in the opening game on Sunday in Oakland, with game two coming up on Tuesday.

So the other highlight of last week was spending some quality time in the emergency room at Dominican Hospital.  Last Monday, at approximately 10:20 am, my 89-year-old mother decided to take a swan dive onto her linoleum kitchen floor.  When my father’s caregiver discovered her, she was down for the count, a very scary situation.

I immediately got a call and hurried down there, following behind the ambulance the mile or so to my parent’s abode.  The Fire Department’s paramedic were already on the scene and checking her vitals. My mother was still on the floor when I arrived and out of it, having no idea what had happened.By some miracle, there was no blood, no bruising, no broken bones.  She did say that her neck hurt, so they put her in a soft collar, placed her in a sheet and carried her outside to the gurney, where she was loaded into the ambulance.   Still having no idea of where she was or who was playing that night, and it was off the the ER at Dominican.
Well, it seemed that it was welcome wagon Monday, as at 11 am, five ambulances arrived at one time.  Inside the waiting room, the place filling up like Grand Central Station.  Scattered about were pregnant women, crying babies, wrenched knees, dog bite victims, criminals in handcuffs, heroin addicts and TV agents, a virtual potpourri of open wounds and injuries.
Since my mother had to be wheeled in, she got a room at the end of the corridor, which unfortunately for me, was away from the control center, the heartbeat of the ER, where all the action is.  Things in here move slowly, so you have a lot of time to hurry up and wait.  The doctor arrived and found her being dehydrated, so they hooked to her up to a saline drip, ordered some tests and told her to relax.
In the meantime, I was in the midst of the worst cold I had in years, a real doozy.  And I had to attend to needs of my 98-year-old father at home, who knew nothing of the situation.  Fortunately, he still doesn’t.
My mother stayed at Dominican for two nights, which I was hoping would be like a vacation from my father, but she had little to eat and not much sleep.  After two nights and a new prescription for an infection, we checked her out and headed back home.  I knew the stress from my lack of sleep and good looks would catch up with me somehow, and I was hit with the mother lode.
But my mother and father survived the ordeal, and my sister-in-law Wendi came down from Marin last Wednesday to help out. My mother got awfully lucky, because she was a concussion or broken hip waiting to happen.  As for me, I have my own issues to deal with, but I’m just happy to be done with this latest crisis.  On to the second round, Warrior fans.

For today’s photo series, we are heading down to Its Beach on the morning of March 13th. I started off shooting the reflection from the clouds down on the sand, and the headed over to Steamer Lane.  The sky was full of beautiful red clouds which changed to orange as it got closer to sunrise.  Then sun the arose and cast a wonderful light across the water.  For my final shot, I got the sun trying to disappear into the clouds.  All in a day’s work.

On to some late night humor.  “Floyd Mayweather said he will make around $200 million for his fight on Saturday against Manny Pacquiao. Meanwhile, the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby will get an extra carrot.  Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen attended a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in New York City this week. Hillary told them, “Good luck with the reboot of your ’90s show.” And they said, “Thanks. Good luck with yours.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is expected to announce tomorrow that he is running for president, making him Hillary Clinton’s only Democratic challenger so far. Or as Hillary put it, “Oooo, appetizers!”According to a survey from the Physical Activity Council, Americans are the least active they’ve been since 2007.   To which Netflix said, “You’re welcome.” – JImmy Fallon

“In Oregon, a number of brewers are competing to turn sewer water into beer. The brewer said, “Hey, if Bud Light can do it, we can do it.”  In Baltimore, the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox played a game today in a completely empty stadium. It was the first major sporting event to be played in an empty stadium, unless you count every professional soccer game in America.” – Conan O’Brien

“Nicki Minaj made a 13-year-old boy’s dream come true when she performed at his bar mitzvah over the weekend.  Imagine being the kid at that school who’s having the next bar mitzvah. How do you compete with that? His friends will say, “What, you’re having a magician? He’d better reach into his hat and pull out Beyoncé.” – James Corden  “There’s a new dating app that pairs attractive females with generous males who will fly them to foreign countries for first dates. If you’d like to know more, tune in to next week’s “Dateline.” -Seth Meyers

So we’ll catch you playing in pain, while hitting impossible shots and willing your team to victory to advance on in the playoffs.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Paul fans.

February 22, 2015

We’re As Cold As Ice

Good morning and greetings, deep freeze fans.  Last week, I wrote about our lovely February weather, which lasted on through the three day President’s weekend.  It made for perfect golf conditions for the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro Am National Golf Tournament.   Well, at least till the fog blew in on Sunday.
Or as it says on the wall at the DMV, “Living without faith is like driving in a fog.”  Don’t let the shroud surround you.
Yes, the weather was ideal, with the tournament play being televised on the Golf Channel.  When you tuned in, besides seeing the celebs, the beautiful fairways and landscape of the three golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula, you also had a chance to view the incredible coastline and overhead shots of dolphins, whales and corporate sponsors, along with the abundance of sea life that is Monterey Bay.
Now I don’t usually watch much golf, as I think it’s more enjoyable to listen on the radio, but recently retired anesthesiologist Dr. Michael Schur was heating up my phone lines, calling in from his waterfront estate in Satellite Beach, Florida.A couple years back, he had celebrated his 60th birthday playing on the course at Pebble Beach, calling it “a lifetime dream come true,” and he wanted me to experience the majesty and wonder of God’s most beautiful golf arena.
So I put down the Hardy Boys book I was reading, (“The Mystery of the Chinese Junk”) and turned on the tube, and watched in amazement.  And then the fog blew in and blew out on Sunday and Tiger Woods was nowhere to be found.  Game over.
The conditions couldn’t have been any better for the tournament, but as the golfers teed off, the east coast was being bombarded with an arctic blast and freezing conditions.  The blizzarding snow just kept on falling, so as soon as people dug themselves out, they were greeted with another large dose of the white stuff.  .
To this point, I believe it was either Oprah, Dr. Phil or the Dali Lama’s brother who once said, “Sex is like snow, you never know who many inches you’re going to get or how long it will last.”
It has been a nightmarish 2015 for residents in the northeast, as the storms just haven’t let up, as Boston set a record for the snowiest February in history.  It doesn’t seem like winning the Super Bowl came with any good weather karma.
It’s like the old Chinese proverb, “Three feet of ice does not result from one day of cold weather.” Or as the old Eskimo proverb says. “You never know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks.”  I’ve always said, if you’re going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.

So as our week began, the skies went temporarily gray.  As we donned our sweatshirts, another winter blast of snow and ice swept into the midwest and into the south, burying some regions in more than a foot of snow while paralyzing transportation and cutting off power to a quarter of a million homes.  The eastern third of the country was locked in a deep freeze.

The bitter cold air was coming down from Siberia, where the the temperature was minus 50 below.  Southern states like Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and the Carolinas were frozen like popsicles.  You didn’t need to head to the local skating rink.  Just open your door and step outside, as admission was free and no skates were needed.

And reporting in on the weather carnage coming out of Nashville is field scout Nancy Mager, who’s the director of Sponsored Programs at Western Kentucky University.  As she reported, “It’s all ice and Syrian rebels.  We had an inch of ice on the trees, roads and power lines.   The schools have been closed all week.”

“The ice is beautiful and sparkling, but it’s dangerous as hell, as the roads haven’t been plowed or the sidewalks shoveled.” A New Jersey native, she added that with the wind chill factor at minus five degrees, “It’s never been this cold.”

I’ve also skated on thin ice and driven on icy roads and it’s a nightmare.  You hit the brakes but you just start sliding, with no control over your vehicle.

I had the pleasure of being in an accident like this years ago back in New Jersey, when a car had stopped ahead of me, but when I hit the brakes, I just went into a slide and rammed him.  And the ironic thing was, I was on my way to the gas station to put snow tires on the car, something we east coasters have the pleasure of doing.

So bitter cold temperatures shattered decades old records last week all across the Great Lakes region and in cities like Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Miami, just to name a few.  They’re shivering in Chicago as it’s been the coldest February since 1876.  Niagara Falls was turned into an ice spectacle and in Eastport, Maine, they’ve had 109 inches of snow in 23 days.  That’s brutal.
But the grand prize went to the city of Embarrass, Minnesota, where folks woke up to a thermometer reading Thursday morning of 41 below zero, without the wind chill factor.  I just have one word for them.   Brrrrrrrrr.
And finally, to put the cherry on top, on Friday, twenty one states had temperature in double digits below zero.  It was the coldest day in February history in Cleveland (minus 17), Flint, Michigan was a balmy minus 25, and in the blue grass state of Kentucky, it was the chilliest day in Lexington in 21 years (minus 18.)
And over the weekend more misery was headed their way, with another blizzard warning for the northeast,with more storms on the horizon .  While out here on the central coast, we’re struggling with temps in the mid 60′s, while in the Hawaiian Islands, they’re looking at a high of 82 degrees.  Somehow, it all doesn’t seem fair.
But as the late, great, Johnny Carson once quipped, “If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.”  Amen.
For our photo department, we are returning to the morning of Christmas Eve.  I was a fantastic sunrise, with vivid cloud colors, painted reflections and wild surf pounding in the background.  I was shooting from the sand at Its Beach, before making my way over to catch the sun coming up over the bay at Steamers Lane.  Just awesome beauty.
On to some late night humor. “Jeb Bush gave a speech yesterday. He had a pretty rough time. He accidentally said that ISIS has 200,000 men instead of 20,000, and then he mispronounced the name of the terrorist group Boko Haram. So if history has taught us anything, Jeb is well on his way to winning the White House.” – Jimmy Fallon  “Yesterday during a speech on national security, Jeb Bush mispronounced Boko Haram and got confused between Iran and Iraq. When reached for comment, his brother George W. said, “He sure sounds presidentiary to me.” – Conan O’Brien

“Starbucks has launched a home delivery service. It’s perfect for anyone too lazy to walk one block in any direction.  Little Caesars has introduced a giant, deep-dish pizza with a crust wrapped in three feet of bacon. Two hours ago Pizza Hut surrendered.  Here’s a new device that allows airline passengers to completely isolate themselves from their row mates. The device is called a baby.” – Conan O’Brien

“Gallup, the polling company, released its annual well-being index where they rank the health and happiness of residents of each of the 50 states. Alaska finished first and Hawaii was No. 2. It’s interesting that the top two happiest states are the ones that are farthest away from the rest of us.” – Jimmy Kimmel  I spent the past four days in Cuba shooting a special episode of this show.  I had an amazing experience in Cuba. People there are fantastic. But I do have to say it’s very nice to be back home in front of all of you capitalist pigs.” – Conan O’Brien

“The Westminster Kennel Club’s dog show is going on in Madison Square Garden.I want to tell you something about that dog show. If I want to see rolling over and playing dead at Madison Square Garden, I’ll go to a Knicks game.  At the NBA All-Star Game, the West beat the East 163-158, but the loss will be credited to the New York Knicks.” – David Letterman

So again, 60th birthday wishes go out to my brother Paul, who I celebrated the blessed occasion with on Friday along with his son, Josh and our old pal Doug Mackinnon, at the Oracle Arena, as the Warriors blew out the Spurs.  I just wish the game was as good as our seats.

So we’ll catch you putting up big numbers and playing like the first pick in last year’s NBA draft.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Andrew Wiggins fans.

December 28, 2014

It’s The End Of The Year As We Know It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:17 am

Good morning and greetings, end of the year fans. Well, it will soon be out with the old and in with the who knew, as 2014 draws to a close. And with the fresh year comes the new calendars. I’m really excited about the selection, as there as are so many fantastic ones to chose from.

I’ve narrowed down my favorites to the National Geographic Beautiful Landscapes, National Parks and Monuments and the Sports Illustrated 2015 Kate Upton mini wall calendar, who, no pun intended, is an American treasure chest herself.

And so this is my 50th post of the year, where I sit down and probe my mind for subjects to write about. Usually, it’s weather, sports, a few personal insights and observations, some late night humor and more weather.

But this was a tough week, as I was drawing blanks. So after banging my head a few times on the keyboard, I decided to switch things up, and had my son Jason, after promising him a big bump in his allowance, to ask me a series of random questions to draw out the inner me. You know, getting up close and personal.

So here we go. Boy, was I nervous.

Question: Who would you like to change places with for a year?
Answer: I’d like to be Stephen Curry with stronger ankles. I’d also like come back in a previous life as Scott Baio, if you catch my drift.

Question: What is your favorite all-time TV show?
Answer: Definitely “The Honeymooners, with “Baywatch a very close second.” As for third, “Sargent Bilko”, “The Three Stooges”, “Friday Night Lights”, and every show on the Oprah TV network.

Question; What celebrity would you compare yourself to?
Answer: Woody Allen, with a better jump shot. Or a slightly smaller and gentler Howard Stern. Oh, and Sandra Day O’Connor.

Question: What is your favorite liquid?
Answer: A chocolate milk shake, with Tropicana Orange Juice runner up. And the Pacific Ocean.

Question: What’s the first thing that you would like to hit your palate in the morning?
Answer: Chocolate cake, with any kind of quality cookie in second place. Or leftover Chinese food. And for my vegan cholesterol purposes, some roasted broccoli smothered in parmesan cheese.

Question: If Steve Nash came over for dinner tomorrow night, what would you serve him?
Answer: Boneless thigh chicken parmesan, with pasta and spinach salad with huge chunks of avocado. With chocolate cake.

Question: If you could tell your rabbi something right now, what would it be?
Answer: Take the Seahawks and the under.

Question: If there was a 30 for 30 film made about you, what would it be called?
Answer: “Every Day is Saturday.”

Question: What’s been the funniest moment in your life?
Answer: This is a tough one. But I’ve got a winner. I was living in Hermosa Beach and getting ready to take my brother Brad and his wife to LAX. Being the nuturing sibling that I am, I made him a chocolate milk shake for the ride. So he climbed into the back seat wearing a brand new white shirt, and we started up the hill to the airport.

On the way up, the car suddenly lurched forwards, causing a minor tsunami in the back seat. When I looked in the rear view mirror, the shake was covering his face and dripping down his sunglasses onto his beautiful white shirt. The sight of the dripping shake was hysterical, and his wife and I laughed all the way to the airport. I dropped them off, then drove home laughing all the way. I couldn’t wait to get home tell my wife the story, but when I got back, I couldn’t get the words out because I was still laughing so hard. I laughed about it for days.

Actually, I’m still laughing about it.

To commemorate the occasion, my brother took a picture of his shake damaged shirt and made into a mouse pad. Ah, memories.

Question: What question would you like to know the answer to?
Answer: How much longer am I going to be writing this damn blog? And who killed JFK?

And finally.

Question: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in life?
Answer: Never answer any question seriously.

So to celebrate 2014, which is the Chinese Year of the Horse, I am featuring some of the highlight moments from the last digital twelve months. Of course, these pictures are just the tip of the iceberg, but a nice smattering of color, light and nature’s magic. It’s all about capturing the moment, and I think I’ve caught my share.

Now for some humor. Mrs. Peterson phoned the repairman because her dishwasher quit working. He couldn’t accommodate her with an “after-hours” appointment and since she had to go to work, she told him, “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you a check. By the way, I have a large rotweiler inside named Killer; but he won’t bother you. I also have a parrot, and whatever you do, do not talk to the bird!”

Well, sure enough the dog, Killer, totally ignored the repairman, but the whole time he was there, the parrot cursed, yelled, screamed, and about drove him nuts.

As he was ready to leave, he couldn’t resist saying, “You stupid bird, why don’t you shut up!”

To which the bird replied, “Killer, get him!!!”

So it’s the end of the year as we know it, and I feel fine. On to 2015.

So we’ll catch both of you having your best seasons of your careers while being the most underrated point guards in the league. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mike Connelly and Kyle Lowery fans.

December 30, 2012

Somewhere Over The Fiscal Rainbow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 5:11 pm

Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Well, twelve months have past since the big ball dropped in Times Square, and as I wander through this lifetime, I still have so many answered questions, like why are we here, why do bad things happen to good people, and why am I paying Direct TV hundreds of dollars per month and I still can’t get Showtime?

Since last New Year’s Eve, when I had a few too many wine coolers and tried to take my pants off over my head, I’ve pumped out 51 postings of my wit and wisdom here at Sunrise Santa Cruz. According to the fact checkers at MIT, that would equate to approximately 76,500 words, three hundred commas and one semi-colonoscopy. And with a nod to the folks at Canon, who at one point considered sponsoring this site, these pages also included over 300 images of semi-spectacular beauty from the central coast, South Pacific and my modeling days. I believe it was my high school driver’s ed teacher who once said, “Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film.” And that, my Kodak moment friends, is the reason I went digital.

So as Smithsonian Magazine once pointed out, these weekly ramblings of mine are all about the humor. Whether it be a quip from Woody Allen,”Life is full of misery and suffering and it’s all over too soon,” or these gems from Rodney Dangerfield, “I met the Surgeon General. He offered me a cigarette,” or “If it weren’t for pickpockets, I wouldn’t have any sex life at all,” I only borrow from the best. You can throw in anything from Mel Brooks, the Three Stooges, Honeymooners or the Zucker Brothers. The list of comedy greatness, like the amount of recording hours on my new DVR, is endless. There are so many classic lines circling through my mind that I need to air out on a daily, weekly and bi-monthly basis, because that’s the way I roll. In the words of Jane Fonda, “We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words, and repetition impresses the subconcious, and we are then master of the situation.” God, I loved her in “Barbarella.”

I find myself inserting simple everyday comedy into my daily life, as when I’m at Safeway, and the checker asks me if I need any help out, I always answer, “No, just emotional.” Gets ‘em every time. And that’s a tough audience. Or when the bank teller asks how would like my money, I usually reply, “Regular size bills.” Or just the simple act of walking up to someone and tapping them on the opposite shoulder. That never ceases to amuse me. Yes, I’m what you might call a late bloomer.

As my former editor, pilates instructor and Nashville-loving friend Nancy Mager has often reminded me, everything is in a lyric. You’ve got the old standbys like “Does anybody really know what time it is?,” or “Does anyone remember laughter?,” and my mother’s favorite, from ACDC, ‘I’m on the highway to hell.” That song is so soothing. I always like to toss musical lyrics into these posts, because everything has been said in a song and it’s a clever way to paint a picture. And as Rod Stewart says, “Every picture tells a story.” At least that’s what he told his eight children with five different women.

So moving along, on Christmas night, the Gilbert entourage went out to eat at a local westside restaurant that will remain unnamed (Thai Orchid.) While I was happily downing my gai yang and pad see ew with enough sweet and sour sauce to fill the Red Sea, a couple sat down at the table next to us. We engaged in polite conversation and I then went back to filling my arteries with pad thai.

At some point, I believe while I was prospecting for the chicken in the kang ka ree, the gentlemen asked if I was a photographer. I replied, “why yes, I’m Ansel Adams Jr.” He said he had come to my house/gallery/fortified compound a few years ago for Open Studios and remembered me from all the 8×10 glossy headshots of myself that were hung on the walls.

But things revvved up a notch when his wife chimed in that she gets my blog every week. Wow, what a nice gift from Santa that left me with a sense of renewed vitality along with a twist of thai iced tea. I was so taken by the moment and appreciative of their kind words that I decided not to tell the restaurant manager they were planning on stealing the silverware from the table.

So on that note, I want to thank the millions, er thousands, er hundreds, er all my faithful cyber followers who have supported my non-profitable, subscription free site over the past year. I appreciate you coming back each week and going down the path of lies, exaggerations and half-truths that make this site what it is. I promise to always have a place for you to journey to each week to enjoy a little comic relief and take in some of nature’s beauty. They say they best things in life are free. Here’s hoping this is one of them.

For today’s photo outburst, we are heading back to the day Santa rested, December 26. It was a classic day along the coast, as the clouds played hide and go seek, with periods of rain and sun creating prime rainbow conditions.

These multi-colored arches were out in force a good part of the day, and I shot sections of the first in the early morning from the parking lot at Natural Bridges. I then caught another one looming over the upper westside that was a full arc wonder. We close the year with a couple of afternoon shots of the clouds above Steamers Lane and Its Beach. All in all, it was wet and wild, just a classic day with rainbows stepping up and making spectacular appearances up and down the coast. In the words of author Rachel Houston, “When you reduce life to black and white, you never see rainbows.” And that’s why, sports fans, I’m all about the color.

So that’s it for 2012. We’ll catch you shooting hitting the soft jumpers, driving to the hoop and knocking off Bin Laden. Aloha, mahalo and later, President Obama fans.

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