April 26, 2015

The Father The Son And The Holy Coast

Good morning and greetings, cyber readers.  As you know, my son Jason is a junior at UC Santa Barbara.  During this past spring break, instead of coming home for the week and be surrounded by family, rabbits and mounds of chicken parmesan, he decided to take up a long standing offer and headed off to Mexico with his friend’s family to relax and experience the culture of our neighbors to the south.

Now, I’m not exactly sure where he went, but I’m thinking Baja, somewhere along the coast.  Now when the Gilbert family goes on vacation, we are happy to do nothing besides eat, read, swim and relax.  After returning from his Mexican vacation, Jason informed me that their family did even less, which is quite an accomplishment.

His days were filled with meals of fabulous Mexican cuisine, taking naps in the hammock and vigorous games of Scrabble at night.  The ocean was too rough for him to learn how to surf, so he spent the days happily reading and discovering new recipes for salsa.

So being that I hadn’t seen my first born in three and half months, I decided it was time for my annual road trip down the coast to Goleta, which is where the UC Santa Barbara campus is located.  My plan was to drive down early Saturday morning and spend the day with Jason before heading back early Sunday, so to be back in time for the tip off of the first of the four playoff games on the day.

Now I am an early riser, as I haven’t woken up after 6 am since Woodstock.  There is really no rhyme or reason to why I have to be up at around 5 am, but once I awake my mind is on full alert and at that point, there is no turning back.  Occasionally, I can fall back to sleep, but it’s never for long.

They say life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep, but I’m not buying it.  I know I’m sleep deprived and suffer from a little sleep apnea, but then again, who doesn’t?  So I spend the day yawning and go about my business.

I was a little anxious about getting up early, so I hopped into bed a little after 10 pm.  I was definitely tired from playing basketball in the afternoon, and so I thought I could perhaps drift off to dreamland before hitting the road in the early morning hours, before dawn’s early light.

Well, I finally fell asleep at 11:30, and then slept in till 12:30, and when I awoke and saw the time, I realized in was in trouble.  I tried switching beds, watching TV, but I knew that by 2 am the sleep train had pulled out of the station.

So I just waited till 4 am, and then hit the road. For my four hour plus ride, I had brought along some select Howard Stern cassette tapes that I recorded back in the 80′s.  They included interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, David Lee Roth, Sam Kinison, Gary Shandling, Joe Piscopo and more.  Even though I have heard them numerous times, they are always entertaining and make the time go by much more pleasantly.

So I popped the first cassette tape it and before I could say “Jessica Hahn,” it popped out.  Put the next one in the same thing happened.  Yes, the cassette player was no longer working, so it was on to plan B.
Fortunately, my CD player was still working,  so I stuck in a live Doobie Brothers concert recorded in Milan, Italy, back in 2010.  I was listening to the music while rolling down the highway, and Jesus was just alright with me.
So I arrived at 8:30, and Jason greeted me, fresh from a shower.  He proceeded to make me a wonderful breakfast of rice, zucchini and chicken, when all I wanted was a pop tart.
We then headed over to the admissions building where Jason is employed as a campus tour guide, and gave a 10:30 tour to 30 prospective students and their families.  After a mile and a half trot around the campus, we then headed back to his apartment to catch the tip off of the Golden State game, and then at halftime headed over to Gio’s Pizza in Isla Vista, where I proceeded to consume the biggest slice of pizza in my life.
The slice was tremendously good, as I was surrounded by a sea of college aged males and coeds drinking Bud Lite.  At that point, I felt like I was part of the Gaucho nation, and it felt good.
After the pizza, we split a chocolate milk shake before going back and catching the Pelicans fourth quarter comeback at his place.  But the Warriors came out on top in the end and so things were falling nicely into place.
Jason had to study and I was a bit tired, so we passed up a baseball game against Cal Poly, before heading out to do a little shopping at Trader Joe’s and Vons.
We then headed over to check out my illustrious accommodations at the Motel 6, where at $146.00 per night, they don’t supply you with any shampoo.  But fortunately, when we picked some take out chicken katsu at the L & L Barbecue, I picked up a couple of containers which my son graciously filled with shampoo.
We proceeded to eat and watch the Dallas-Houston game, and I knew my day with my son was coming to a close.  We spent some time talking after the game, and I listened to him talking about his life, his future options and where he might be headed.  It was great  just to listen and hear about how his life plans might be unfolding.
I said my goodbye, headed to the motel, watched a little bit of “The Closer” and fell right asleep.  In the morning, they served no breakfast, and I was on the road and in the early morning fog before 7 am, heading back to Santa Cruz.
It was a lot of driving but well worth the trip.  Jason will graduate next year and who knows what continent he may be heading to.  His life is going by so quickly, and I savored the time spent with my oldest child.  I look at him and he is so familiar.  He is, after all, the best of me.
For today’s photo entree, we are heading back to the evening of January 28th.  The place was Natural Bridges State Beach, and as the sun set into the Pacific, some nicely colored tangerine clouds appeared in the sky.  Then I headed down to the sand, where pink and white clouds were swirling in the backdrop of the remaining final arch.  The clouds then turned from orange to red, and all was good.

On to some late night humor.  “An intruder was arrested at the White House last night after trying to jump the fence. Authorities aren’t releasing the fence jumper’s identity, but they did say that she tore her pantsuit.  A company has come out with a line of medical marijuana dog treats. Finally a medicine that will help my dog lie on the couch all day.” – Seth Meyers

“Teenagers across the country have been participating in something called the Kylie Jenner Lips Challenge, in which they place a jar around their lips and suck in air in order to make their lips swell. While teenagers in China have been participating in “school.”  Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new movie that focuses on a zombie apocalypse. It takes place in an empty wasteland with no living beings. Just like the movie theater where it’s playing.” – Seth Meyers
“Today is Earth Day. The way I see it, as humans the very least we can do is recycle. A lot of recycling is going on this year. For example, Bushes and Clintons.  The New York Mets have won eight games in a row. Astronomers say this won’t happen again for another 10,000 years.” – David Letterman
“There are reports that Kim Jong Un climbed North Korea’s highest mountain. Kim Jong Un said all it took to climb that mountain was hard work, determination, and lying about climbing that mountain.  At the White House yesterday, a little girl actually asked first lady Michelle Obama how old she is. Michelle answered, “Old enough to put you on the No Fly List, sweetheart.” – Jimmy Fallon
So that’s my last blast for April.  We’ll catch you scoring 40 points and hitting a spectacular, game-tying three pointer in the final seconds to force overtime in game three.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Stephen Curry fans.

May 25, 2014

Does Size Really Matter?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:10 am

Good morning and greetings, Mesozoic Era fans. I was thinking of not posting a blog this week because of the tragedy in Santa Barbara. I just wasn’t feeling that funny.

My son Jason was in Isla Vista that night and close to the carnage. He knew Katie Cooper, who was one of six students killed and lived in the apartment building next door to where he was visiting. And he worked with Chris Martinez, who was gunned down in front of a deli after going to get a sandwich for dinner. And a third student, George Chen, who was stabbed to death, was his friend Drew’s roommate.

This tragedy could have been much worse, as the shooter had three semi automatic handguns and 400 unspent rounds of ammunition in his car. All were purchased legally. Life goes on. And so does the insanity.

As children, we learned that a long, long time ago, well before the birth of Larry King’s grandparents, dinosaurs roamed the planet, as all of the earth’s continents were joined together as one.

But then around 65 million years ago, scientists believe a massive meteorite hit the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The impact blocked out all sunlight, and with no food or tacquerias open, the dinosaurs were sent into extinction. This significantly changed the Earth’s ecology and provided a massive boost for the tanning industry.

A 112-mile-wide crater was created by a rock six miles in diameter. It hit the Earth with immense force, sending shockwaves around the planet, with nothing larger than big dogs surviving. But some species lived on, including fish, sharks, jellyfish, lawyers and TV agents.

People have always been fascinated by dinosaurs. Many of today’s scientists studying these supersized creatures said they got interested after viewing the movie “Jurassic Park.” In the words of the book’s author Michael Crichton, “God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs Dinosaurs then eat man…Woman inherits the earth.”

Or as Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus once tweeted back in the early 1500′s,” Women, can’t live with them, can’t roam the earth without them.”

So when I ran across this story written by Michael Warren for the Associated Press, it spoke to me. It wasn’t so much that another dinosaur fossil was discovered, it was that it could have been the largest creature ever to walk on the face of God’s green earth.

We’re talking about the Big Kahuna, one that would make the Tyrannosaurus Rex look like a pip squeak.

Or as Porsche’s former Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiederking once remarked, “If size did matter, the dinosaurs would still be alive. Porsche, there is no substitute.

So here’s the facts. Scientists in Argentina uncovered bones of a super titanosaur that was as tall as a seven story structure and faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bounce.

Paleontologists say that this titanosaur could have been 65 feet tall and 132 feet long. Think two semi trucks, one after another, weighing the equivalent of 14 or 15 adult African elephants. On a good day, we’re talking about 165,000 pounds. To put this giant vegan’s enormous size into perspective, a T-Rex weighed about 7 tons. This big boy was not counting carbs.

The thigh bone discovered was eight feet long and fully dwarfed a grown man or a WNBA center. It had a long neck and tail and a surprisingly small skull that a yarmulke could fit on nicely.

Experts agree that this new find is a previously undiscovered species, and that it was at least as big as the Argentinosaurus, which had been thought to set the record for size.

Ruben Cuneo, the director of the museum sponsoring the dig, says “What they discovered is a cemetery of dinosaurs the likes of which we had never seen in the history of Argentine paleontology.” Scientists have only uncovered 20 percent of the find and already have found the fossils of seven other dinosaurs, a Che Guevara headband and a pair of sweat socks worn by the San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginolbi.

So they’ll keep digging. Because if you don’t know about the past, you don’t know your future. Or as I once told my rabbi, “What we need to know about the past is that no matter what happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new.” L’chaim.

Before we move on, here’s a few more fun facts about dinosaurs courtesy of randomhistory.com.

Dinosaurs dominated the Earth for over 165 million years, humans have been around for 2 million years, while the crime drama series,”True Detective” has been on for one season. It’s not TV, its HBO.

The Stegosaurus had the smallest brain for its body size of any known dinosaur. It was the size of a Chevy van, but its brain was the size of a walnut, so it was probably a little smarter than a giant fern or a Tea Party candidate.

And finally, paleontologists believe a Tyrannosaurus rex male reproductive organ might have been up to 12 feet in length. Whoa. You would have needed a chain saw for the circumcision.

Moving along to the photo arcade, today I am showcasing some semi silhouette action along the coast. I usually try to keep people out of my landscape shots, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But today they are deliberately in play, as their dark outline provides an interesting contrast against the colorful back drop of clouds and sky.

On to some late night humor. “The Billboard Music awards were last night and there was an amazing hologram of Michael Jackson. He performed a new song called “Slave to the Rhythm.” It was so realistic, Tito actually asked it for money. Yeah, a Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards. Then he left to play golf with holograms of Tupac and Elvis. – Jimmy Fallon

“They say this season of “The Bachelorette” will have fewer hot tub scenes than previous seasons. Which explains the show’s new name: “What’s the Point?” A new study found that legalizing marijuana in Colorado has created more than 10,000 jobs. And that’s just selling lava lamps at Spencer’s Gifts.” -Jimmy Fallon

“A man from Houston is attempting to visit all the Starbucks locations in the world. It’s been four years since he started. He still hasn’t left Houston. A Japanese company unveiled a robot that can tell jokes and then detect if the joke was well received. In a related story, I start my shift at Quiznos tomorrow.” – Conan O’Brien “According to a new survey, fewer than 2 percent of hiring managers said they were actively recruiting graduates with liberal arts degrees. Said liberal arts graduates, “Latte for Karen.” -Seth Meyers

So birthday wishes go out to my wife, Allison, who turned 55 years young on Sunday. As I’ve said before, except for TiVo, she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. On these special occasions, I often harken back to the fateful day I met her, when her first words to me were, “When is this damn game going to be over?”

And then on Wednesday my Marin County based sister-in-law Wendi celebrates her special day, surrounded by friends, family and enough chocolate to take us through the NBA Finals.

We’ll catch you coming back from a painful injury and getting your team back into the Western Conference Finals. Aloha, mahalo and later, Serge Ibaka fans.

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