A Travellerspoint blog

October 2014

Eye of the Beholder

A new camera

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We both purchased new digital cameras the other day and we're both excited about it.

Andrea can chime in about how she feels about it but I am excited about the prospect of learning a new artform.

Today, as luck would have it, I stumbled into a student photography exhibit at OrangeCoast College in Costa Mesa. Earlier, I dropped Andrea off at her pen pal's house then drove around looking for something to see and do when I saw the 'Art Center' sign just a few blocks away. It turned out to be the Photography and Media dept. at the OCC so I walked in and was surprised to find this exhibit.

I did study photography way back in college but had forgotten most things except for those aspects that also applied to cinematography and filmmaking. As I viewed the student work, located on the main floor, I thought about how I should approach my new photographic aspirations.

Well, "talk is cheap" is a nice cliche that works here so I'll just start to share some of my early efforts at photography takenover the past few days.

Hope you enjoy and feedback is always encouraged!

-g

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Posted by woa 20:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Traveling through California

Yosemite, Fresno, Monterey

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Yosemite is one of those places that burns its imagery into my mind.

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We arrived on a gorgeous day and there wasn't too much traffic. Yosemite is much more "organized" now than when I was a child. Back then, I think there were just tent/cabins near the river and then just open campsites. Now there are free buses that take you to all the key spots, a nice main area where you can eat and visit museums and nicely paved roads to drive on.

These modern conveniences don't detract from the ultimate glory and beauty that is Yosemite. Everywhere you look there is some magical play between sunlight and shadows, or various flora and fauna dancing about in color. This is a place to feel small, compared to the grandeur of nature, but that smallness imbues a person with uncommon confidence and stamina. While hiking Vernal Falls, Andrea raced up the steep, uneven Inca-like steps for a picture opportunity. I was really impressed. She would not have done that a few years ago when we first started hiking. I mean, she was afraid of cows after all!
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Yosemite is unlike any other place in California, or the world for that matter. It makes you feel like you haven't stayed long enough and that you need to visit it time and time again. I hope to someday again.
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One of my favorite stops in the park was actually the old settlement where the first pioneers constructed a little village in the then unknown valley. (Unknown to Americans that is). There is a rustic cabin there titled, 'The Artist's Cabin'. A placard explains how it was the artists who first saw Yosemite that helped create its popularity. Artists came to Yosemite, painted amazing works and then brought them down to the masses to admire. The rest is history as they say. In fact, history is replete with artists being the ones to first chronicle a special place or event. It's too bad that society continues to misunderstand or devalue the universal contribution of artists.
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Although I sometimes bemoan how technology infringes on a quality of life, I can appreciate its usefulness as a tool for traveling. We were on our way to Monterey from Yosemite and quickly used the Smartphone to see if there was a fun place to take a break from driving. We found it in Fresno of all places.

We found online the FORESTIERE Underground GARDENS which promotes itself as a "Subterranean Journey to the Mediterranean--
in the Middle of California!"
It had the words "garden" and "Mediterranean" so that was good enough for us.

Fresno, for the most part, is just a dry, hot, flat city in the middle of nowhere. Most people just pass through on the way to somewhere else. But if you do pass through a need a quick break than I recommend this place. Why? Because the Forestiere Gardens is a great example of a single-minded person working hard to create beauty and comfort in the middle of nothing. Here is more http://www.undergroundgardens.com/

In short, an Italy immigrant came to the U.S. with hopes of creating a citrus ranch only to be greatly disappointed at finding out he just bought acres of cement-like land. Does he give up? No. Instead he uses his intelligence and experience at tunnel building to create a subterranean oasis that kept him cool and out of the Fresno heat. He used a DIY ethos to build his dream citrus garden and in the process, created an enormous underground space that seems so safe, cozy, private and inviting that it is very easy to imagine you are someplace exotic. The sad part of his story is that most of the town folks thought he was crazy when all he was doing was creating a wholesome dream to show others how they too can live comfortably through the hot, brutal Fresno heat. The guy even grew a tree that had 7 different fruits on it!!
I admire his efforts and wish I knew the man in real life.

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Monterey is one of those places that you have to visit while in California. Sure it has a literary pedigree but the real "catch" is the uncommon shoreline hugged by green/bluish water and glistening sand. It's a great place to go on you first whale watching expedition and The Cannery area is small enough to so you can take in all the shops and diners and not feel like you missed out on any of that. More importantly, it is a place that now values sea life and you can't help come away wanting to defend Mother Natures grand creatures the Whales along with sea lions, seals and other blessed creatures that still gives a sense that that ocean lives and breathes every moment.
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Posted by woa 17:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Wild Wild West

Coming up...

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The National Geographic website contains resources that enable you to map out a pretty good travel plan via car.

Our next road trip will be into the Great Southwest U.S.A. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/four-corners-southwest-road-trip/

After leaving Huntington Beach, we will arrive in Scottsdale AZ on Halloween. Then it is on to Flagstaff for a week to explore the places on this NG Map including Monument Valley and the Four Points. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/four-corners-southwest-map/

Posted by woa 05:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Music that Haunts

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Halloween is a unique time here in America. It can mean many different things depending on where you live and how old you are.

Different things scare us to our fear core. I would guess that we are all haunted in one way or another.

I recently went through our entire music library and replayed this song from one of my favorite albums of all time. After listening to it several times, it dawned on me how much the lyrics of this song scares me. I think I first heard the song 'Time' when I was around 16 years old. I would play it occasionally on my Ipod many times over the years. and I've come to the conclusion that this song, over all others, made me realize how precious time is in my life. It haunted my very being and was most likely rolling around in my subconscious when I decided to consider taking this long voyage.

So in honor of Halloween, here are the lyrics to this great song which has haunted me my whole life. Does it haunt you too?

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Time by Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away, across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

Posted by woa 19:20 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hunt for the Gorn!

A Childhood dream Comes to Life.

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As a child, I grew up idolizing Star Trek TOS. I had many favorite episodes but I was always fond of the episode 'Arena' in which Capt. Kirk battles the Capt of the Gorn ship on a desolate alien planet.

As it so happens, this alien planet is Vasquez Rocks just north of Los Angeles.

Here is a pictorial sci fi strip chronicling our effort to find THE GORN!

FIRST, we beamed to Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Par , a 932-acre park located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, in northern Los Angeles County, California. It is in Agua Dulce between the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles and seen easily by motorists driving the Antelope Valley Freeway (CA 14).


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The rock formations were formed by rapid erosion during uplift about 25 million years ago and later exposed by activity along the San Andreas Fault.[1] In 1873 and 1874 Tiburcio Vásquez, one of California's most notorious bandits, used these rocks to elude capture by law enforcement. His name has since been associated with this geologic feature.

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The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed "Kirk's Rock" due to being featured in several Star Trek episodes, each time representing a different planet.[6] The use of the rock as a place to struggle with an enemy was echoed in the film Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey twice, once replaying the Gorn Star Trek episode on the TV, and again when title characters are murdered by their doubles at the same location.

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In the Big Bang Theory episode "The Bakersfield Expedition," which aired in 2013, the four male protagonists appear to stop here, thanks to green screen, on their road trip to ComicCon in Bakersfield, CA. Since they have Star Trek: The Next Generation-themed costumes for the costume contest at ComicCon, they decide to have a brief photoshoot at the Star Trek filming site. Their stop goes horribly wrong when someone steals their car as they are taking pictures. In the episode "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency", the characters attempt to observe a meteor shower from "34.48° N, 118.31°W", the map coordinates of the Vasquez Rocks formation, to make it appear as if they were there.
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the end

the end

Posted by woa 11:42 Archived in USA Tagged rocks gorn vasquez Comments (0)

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