Thursday, July 26, 2007

Heading off to the Wilderness

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After going to physical therapy and resting my back for the past three weeks I feel I am up for a trip to the wilderness. I'll be taking off tomorrow morning. I'll spend the first five days with my mom and aunt in San Jose and if the progress on my back continues to improve I intend to head up to my favorite wilderness stomping grounds on the North Coast of California. I love the North Coast of California and have made an annual pilgrimage now for eighteen years running. I love the North Coast because of the wilderness, ancient forests of Redwood groves, enchantment, cool weather, and the lack of people. Eureka which has a population of only 40,000 is the largest city on the North Coast. This year, for the first time ever, I won't be camping, because of my back, and intend to stay a week at my girlfriends sisters house which is only a stones throw from Redwood National Park. I can't wait to go and see the usual sights and sounds which over the years has included eagles, bears, elk, mountain lions, banana slugs, and the most spectacular forests on the North American continent...and... this year I am hoping to see and capture on my digital camera, either,bigfoot or a forest gnome. As many trips as I have taken over the years one would figure I would eventually run across one these creatures...I'll be gone for a total of two weeks and be back in time to start work during the second week of August. In the meantime, keep cool, don't sweat the small stuff, be good as my momma used to say, and I'll post a few pics of bigfoot or a forest gnome when I get back....I promise....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mini Vacation with my sons

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My back improved well enough for my sons and I to take a trip up to the Bay Area to see my mom and a couple of days of sightseeing...which...I am very grateful for...because this may be the last summer my sons are all able to get away the same time...My mom is not doing too well these days so I was glad my sons could hang out and spend some time with her....I don't expect her to live another year...but...I thought that last summer as well....she will soon be 93 years old...she still has alot of fight in her...but...her body is no longer cooperating....After three days of visiting my mom my sons and I went up to Santa Rosa and hung out for three days...We did a little shopping, going to movies, and some sightseeing...Normally, we camp out and do alot of hiking/biking, etc. but my back restricted what we could do. We did do a little bit of hiking which I probably shouldn't have done because my back is bothering me quite a bit now. I start therapy later today and hopefully that will help get me back into shape so I can resume some of my outdoor activities which I love to do but have had to put on hold for over a month now....the highlights of the trip included seeing the new Harry Potter and Die Hard movies. I enjoyed them both...very entertaining...The other highlight was the road trip we took to the coast one day when the fog finally took a twenty four hour break...I allowed my sons to drive most of the way...They loved it....We saw a really cool lighthouse....beach....a few Elk...and...just a lot of beautiful rolling hills...Northern California is very different, geographically, than Southern California...and...imo...much more beautiful...One can actually see Redwood groves...Elk...and wilderness....within an hours drive of San Francisco...and...Unlike Southern California...the folks up north haven't cut down every tree and covered the landscape in concrete...It's a whole different attitude up north...anyway...Just got back...and spending the next week at home...doing therapy...and...if I get better I hope to go up to my old stomping grounds in Humboldt country and spend a week or so before I have to go back to work in the middle of August...

Beautiful Northern California

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The local wildlife

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Forest Gnome

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Point Reyes Lighthouse

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Down but not completely out

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I'm going to keep this short because I am currently in the process of trying to recover from a series of relapses regarding my back. It all started about three and a half weeks ago while hiking and biking at Mammoth Mountain. I thought I had recovered and was ready to head to Redwood National Park the day after the Fourth of July when my back went out again...but...this time...I suffered some of the worst back spasm ever and was bed ridden up until the day before yesterday. The bummer of it all is that I have had to cancel and put on hold all my vacation plans with my two sons....bummer... we have all been stuck in the house suffering from severe cabin fever for the past ten days watching alot of t.v...another bummer....good news...I am up walking again but I need to be careful because I don't want to have another relapse which would probably end any hope of getting away for the rest of the summer.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blast from the Past: The Moody Blues

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Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day's useless energy spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?

The Moody Blues

When I was just a young lad in the late 1960's and early 70's I used to spend alot of time in my bedroom tripping out on the music of Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Yes/Rick Wakeman, and the Moody Blues. While I never did experiment with drugs I did do my fair share of experimenting with alot of different kinds of music, particularly the kind of music and bands that gained their popularity by appearing on the King Biscuit Power Hour and FM stations. I hated AM pop music for the most part. To this day, I still can picture myself laying on my back on my bed reading the lyrics of one of the songs off the Moody Blues album Days of Future Passed. I always loved the Moody Blues album jackets. They were way cool....

Last night a good friend of mine treated me to a Moody Blues concert at the restored Fox theater. I have only attended a few live concerts in my lifetime so this was a real treat to see one of my favorite bands from what I consider the golden era of rock and roll, the sixties and "early" seventies. The Moody Blues never became a huge act,ala the Rolling Stones, Elton John, etc, they have sold over 55 million albums and have put together a string of unique albums which eventually landed them in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.

The concert itself was a blast and a big surprise. Prior to the concert, I feared that the concert might be cancelled because I couldn't imagine more than a handful of people, in one of the most conservative cities in the country, would know who the Moody Blues were, let alone attend one of their concerts....but....was I ever wrong....Not only was the concert sold old but the crowd from the get go was loud, raucous, and in the mood to rock and roll...and...I suspect every long haired fifty/sixty hippie in Bakersfield was in attendance. The overall performance was excellent although I admit I missed the orchestra on Nights in White Satin and a few of my other Moody Blue times I did sense there was a certain, going through the motions on the part of the band, but that comes with the territory when you have been performing the same songs for 35 years running. Overall, they were very professional and sincerely appreciative, imo, of the never ending series of standing ovations they received from beginning to end...and...they went out with a bang by performing my two favorite Moody Blues songs, Nights in White Satin and Balance...even though the Moody Blues can no longer compete with the large arena acts of U-2, Bruce Springteen, the Rolling Stones and the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, they are worth seeing, if you were ever a fan...and...while Moody Blues front man John Lodge is no Bono his vocals and the bands overall performance has maintained a high quality over the years...Big thumbs up to the Moody Blues and thanks for all the wonderful memories.....

The Moody Blues Live

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