Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XLVI

It has been nearly 2-1/2 months since I last posted one of these columns and it seems to me that the last day of the month of the new year is as good a time as any to get you caught up to speed on my life. Last time I checked in with this column total hits to this blog had reached 168,278 whereas it is now at 193,953 while monthly visitation continues to range around 10,000+  hits per month. Too bad only Google is benefiting from my efforts here! Anybody else wish to host this but also pay me something for ads?

School Stuff

Last time we talked I explained that I had A's in my three classes with about a month to go in the Fall 2012 semester. I went on to earn an A in both English 201B (Intro To Lit./Critical Thinking) and in History 203A (World Civ. - 1st Semester). Due to my experimenting to see if I could avoid buying books that semester and still achieve high grades I missed some homeworks and thus a bit of preparation a few times for quizzes and came up just short of an A in Math123 (Intermediate Algebra). Fortunately, for purposes of transferring to Cal Poly (which I believe is the direction I am to take at present) the 100-level classes do not count towards the GPA they measure.

I am now enrolled in four classes for 14 units (versus three classes for 12 units last semester. My current class roster is as follows: History 203B (World Civ. - 2nd semester); Communications 201A (Public Address); Math 127 (Intermediate Algebra); and finally, Health 208 (Multicultural Health) my first ever online course which should be interesting. 

Worth nothing is the fact that I am taking Math 127 for the second time with the first time I took it being 23 years ago this semester way back in the Spring of 1990 right smack in the middle of my death spiral descent into the black abyss of serious mental illness (chronic and debilitating depression and anxiety which consumed my youth circa 1988-2000's). I had to apply for a special waiver to be allowed to retake a course which I had previously passed with a C which I received and am now enrolled in the class once again. Unfortunately, the rules are such that my original grade will remain the grade that counts and even earning an A now will not change my grade for that course as it pertains to my transcripts which I feel is lame. I could have passed this class by and gone on up to university-transferrable 200-level math courses but given how much I have forgotten I wanted to retake this course as a refresher and to make my math foundation firm for what math courses I take subsequently. Fortunately, math is not a huge requirement in my major (history) so I won't have much more to take in order to earn my bachelor degree.

Today I want in and talked to an awesome counselor on the (who is the most with-it one I have talked to yet, not to mention the hottest-looking one) and confirmed that with the courses I am currently enrolled in being passed I will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree with coming May! I also learned that in order to successfully enroll at Cal Poly I must successfully take a 200-level math course which I already knew and given my history major it seems that a statistics course makes the most sense (3-unit Math 236 - Intro Applied Statistics or 4-unit Math 247 - Intro To Stats) or even another algebra class (3-unit Math 232 - College Algebra). I found out from her that I also need to take one more life science (probably 3-unit Biology 211) and two Western Civ classes (3-unit History 204A&B). I may have to take the Western Civ courses online and I also have the option to crash some Cal Poly courses as a part-time student.

It appears my financial aid grants (B.O.G. and Pell Grants) will get me through all this until I hit Cal Poly at which time I will have to take on some student loans which is fine... I'll be finally joining the human rat race in that regard! In the next month I am going to apply for scholarship monies for the first time as I have neglected to act on that front heretofore for whatever reason.

Beyond a bachelor degree in history from Cal Poly I might seek a Master's Degree elsewhere such as UCSB or John Brown University in Arkansas, but not my will but God's be done so I'll cross such bridges if/when I get there!

What Winter Break?

My Winter Break/Christmas Vacation ended recently and I am left wondering where it went as I did nothing festive or fun aside from Christmas itself during that time. I seem to remember being poor and busy working every little job I could get my hands on as well as joining my friend and boss Dave on a Quartzsite shopping excursion and doing shows three consecutive weekends overlapping into the new semester. I didn't even get around to any rockhounding nor any organizing in my house or basement or storage unit. Alas!

A Three-Show Stint

I just finished a three-consecutive weekend run of Gem Faires and I am so glad that tonight I'm typing this here in my home instead of being in a hotel room following a grueling day of unloading a truck and trailer and setting up a booth to be followed by three days of sales with the public in the soul-crushing confines of Gem Faire. Worth noting for this run of shows is that my friend Dave's son Dave joined the team and worked with us and was a welcome addition to the ensemble. This run began three weekends ago in Santa Rosa, CA. At that show I contracted the strain of norovirus that is going around the world right now causing more problems than usual it seems. My experience with this pestilence can be best summed up as that at first I was afraid I was going to die and then later I was afraid I was not going to die! Someone in the healthcare industry was recently quoted in a news article as referring to it as the "Farrari of viruses". Fortunately, I got sick overnight before the final day of the show and my friend Dave had his best-ever show at that venue. A night or two earlier I had an amazing but awkward dinner with Dave and his son and his ex-wife and her niece and three other girls selling for Goddess.

The second weekend found me in the Del Mar Gem Faire for the first time ever. Previously, I had only once before been to the Del Mar Fairgrounds that time helping Dave do an antique show in 2010. This time the same antique show was going on simultaneously with our Gem Faire but we did better in the Gem Faire than in at the antique show three years ago. It was nice getting that far south in latitude and experiencing a bit more mild weather than I have been experiencing temperature-wise on the Central Coast lately. In fact, there was a mild Santa Ana Wind event the day we drove down as we passed through the LA Basin.

The third weekend (last weekend) saw me in San Rafael, CA, doing the final Gem Faire of our recent run. It went okay but due to its proximity in time and place to the Santa Rosa Gem Faire two weeks previous it was down noticeably from a year ago. It also didn't help that we did not have the beautiful woman helping us in the booth this time that we did then! This trip we found that it works better to come up US101 through San Francisco and cross the Golden Gate Bridge (no toll that direction) but return the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (no toll that direction) and head down I-880 to the 101 Freeway and on home.

It's Been Frickin' Cold Lately!

I don't mind a lot of weather extremes: in fact I love most of them. However, cold weather is not one of them! It has been a rather dry month in Paso Robles, CA, which has meant nice sunny mild days but frigid  temperatures once the sun sets. Add to that the fact my little house has single-paned windows! It's not easy on the skin being dry all the time like this not to mention being a bit hard on my mild SAD-ness. realize this will get me in trouble with PETA-types but all the mosquito fish in my pond died earlier this month after success frigid days and nights caused a layer of ice that got thicker by the day developed atop my little pond suffocating all the fish. I didn't even realize what had happened until it was too late at which point the ice was 3"-4" thick which really surprised me.

I'm Single Again!

This cold weather is great for snuggling but since last month (college finals week) I have been snuggling with only my cat and dog as my short-lived relationship ended in a flash of sound and fury as the delicate magic died during our first argument (some things spoken can never be taken back). She and I are still on friendly terms but the emotional bond and sexual chemistry seem dead and it now seems apparent to me that is for the best. We are incompatible on many levels not the least of which is spiritually. You see she is not even a fellow believer although I had hoped she might become one. I need a spiritual partner as much as I need an emotional and intellectual and sexual and domestic partner. The woman I briefly dated has much potential and her fair share of positive qualities and admirable traits and feminine wonderfulness to go along with some significant character defects and personality flaws. However, I'm too old and impatient to be willing to try to fix anybody else as I have my hands full working on improving myself.

Noyes Clan News

I heard from my big little brother the other day and he wants us to all get together for a family confab while he is out visiting Cali in early March. This sounds promising and I look forward to it. I miss my brother and wish we were closer and perhaps this might be the start of that happening. I don't really know that will happen and that is out of my hands but I will exercise what little power I have by trying to be there provided my work and school schedule cooperate with this.

 New Dates For Paso Robles Rockshow!

As I shared HERE previously the Santa Lucia Rockhounds have moved their traditional September rockshow to the first weekend in May this year (May 4-5, 2013). I am proud that they broke with that ill-conceived tradition and made things right and fixed a broken concept and did something really smart! Lesser clubs would have stuck with the old dates with the excuse being "because we've always done it that way" which is in no small measure why so many clubs have fallen into oblivion or are in the long-term process of doing so. Innovation and adaption are essential elements of survival in this universe and that includes for clubs. As a club we are working hard to get ready for this as we have less time than normal between shows (September-May) instead of the usual entire yearly cycle. We are innovating in other ways than just our show dates. We will be providing pizzazz not the least of which will be featuring one of the largest privately owned meteorites in the United States! We will also have a good number of new dealers to this show which I am excited about as it is my job to recruit them. I shall keep this blog updated with information about this show as it comes to me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Battlestar Portlandia

NOTE: If you have not watched the recent Battlestar Galactica series then you will not appreciate the humor of this except that it does effectively convey how addicting the series is for many of its fans.

Anywho, earlier this evening my friend Mark shared this with me and I so loved it I'm sharing it here. Prior to this I was unaware of the television series Portlandia with SNL regular Fred Armison.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Picture of the Day - Math Time

I was in the office of my new math instructor, Clark Kerr, at Cuesta College North County Campus yesterday and saw on the wall this clever clock. This clock gives correct time if you do the math correctly. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Moments In Love

I have been a big fan of the eclectic and experimental oddball British music project Art of Noise since the time I became aware of them. In particular I am rather besotted with their classic gem "Moments In Love" in all its incarnations and there are four of them. One can accurately say that "Moments In Love" in all four forms is essentially the soundtrack to lovemaking with even the title of "Three Fingers of Love" being rather suggestive, quite obviously. However, this musical piece, sensuality aside, is beautiful and makes for great chill-out music from a time before there was even officially such a sub-genre officially recognized and so-termed.

Below are all four versions of this song in ascending order of length.

Picture of the Day - Carnelian Candy

These polished carnelian cobbles from Madagascar are larger than they seem in this image as some are up to several inches in length and look even more striking in person. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Ernie Porter Jade Pendant By Diana March

Last October on Day One at the Autumn Cayucos Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show I purchased from Keith Olivas a fine little Ernie Porter jade find made on the Big Sur Coast back in the 1950's or 1960's. The Porter family had commissioned Keith starting the previous weekend at last year's Big Sur Jade Festival to sell off various of Ernie's remaining jade pieces in order to raise money for his mounting medical needs. I did not wish to miss out on California jade-hunting history so I jumped at the opportunity and got one. Initially I got a smaller one with the intent of just having it in my collection. However, by Day Two of the show I had gotten more ambitious and upgraded to a larger and more beautiful one worthy of becoming a pendent with the intent of commissioning my friend and master wire wrap jewelry artist Diana March to transform it into a unique jade pendent which challenge she enthusiastically and with great respect for the Porter legacy proceeded to undertake. This past Saturday I received her completed work while I was out of town at Gem Faire in San Rafael, CA, and only this morning finally got around to opening up a beautifully-packed piece of fine wearable art from Dianna worthy of the piece and of the man's legacy who decades ago found it. Today I wore it with pride to my college classes and showed it off to one of my past instructors (history teacher and historian Dennis Judd) who is an old jade hound in his own right. I highly recommend Dianna March for your wire wrap jewelry needs (particularly gifts) as her work is of the finest quality but her prices are quite reasonable and the service is top-notch!
Below are some hasty images I captured of the piece but they do not adequately convey the beauty of the piece so I will try again in the future with a better camera.

Interior of box package.
Exterior of box package.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Picture of the Day - Bathroom Amenities Map

I notice Sheraton Hotels feature these plastic plates in the room bathroom counters which feature a visual map of where what which items are supposed to be placed on said plastic plate but use a bit more clever labels to describe which items to which each icon refers. Clockwise starting at the red dot: shampoo, conditioners, body lotion, tub/shower soap, and sink soap respectively. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Marin County War Memorial

Yesterday morning while walking back to our hotel from Gem Faire in the Marin Center Exhibit Hall in order to do some online homework in the hotel's business center I came upon this poignant remembrance for local citizens of Marin County who served and even more so whom died in our nations various wars over the course of its history. I was touched by it particularly in light of the fact this community is so liberal in its cultural leanings and Leftists have a long and sorry history of anti-military sympathies. Certainly in the case of those involved with these monuments that was not the case as they did a fine job in honoring our nations dead who originated in that region.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Picture of the Day - Artigas Amethyst w/ Calcite Dogtooth

This fine Amethyst with a large dogtooth calcite crystal at the top from Artigas, Uruguay, was put out for retail sale for the very first time today and sold by the end of the day.  Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Halcyon Evolution of It's A Fine Day

Back in the hey day and Golden Age of trance and house music in the late 1990's and early 2000's, tracks came out that often bridged both genres (or at least seemed to). ATB's 1999 remix of the original Miss Jane's "It's A Fine Day" is one such gem from that era (below).

As is often the case with musical genius and instant classics, such works immediately and/or eventually become synthesized into other formats and genres or otherwise altered and revised by other artists smitten with the potential of such musical gems to be given a creative new twist. Such is the case with "It's A Fine Day" for which Opus III came out with an earlier version several years before in 1992. Below is the Opus III version performed by the inimitable Kirsty Hawkshaw who is still big in the electronic dance music business lending her haunting vocals which have actually improved as she has aged.

However, our little story does not end there as the evolution of this particular piece took an interesting turn as not only did a good many other artists remix or otherwise come out with their own versions or interpretations of "It's A Fine Day" but Orbital took elements of the Opus III version and created the aural gem "Halcyon" whose video below is an ode to the mother of one of the band members whom suffered from addiction to the drug of the same name to which this song refers. Kirsty Hawkshaw does the vocals for this version and the Orbital re-remix further below and while playing the drug-addled mother in the video below.

The story doesn't end there as in a subsequent album, Orbital remixed the track and entitled it "Halcyon + On + On" which appears in the soundtrack of the 1995 movie Mortal Kombat and can be sampled below set to sumptuous scenes of nature. Note: I like this version better than the original as much as I like that, too.

But wait, there's more! There is the matter of that original 1983 Miss Jane (Jane Lancaster) a capella rendering of "It's A Fine Day" written by her boyfriend, English poet, artist, and musician Edward Barton which is found below.

By now you're thinking, "How can there be any more elements to this musical story?" Wrong-o! Since I originally posted this in January, 2013, few months later in May, Kirsty Hawkshaw got the inspiration to do an updated treatment of her version of the Opus III rendering of "It's A Fine Day" which can be viewed below.

Comprehensively updated 3/24/2017.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Picture of the Day - Turkey Tourney

Wild turkeys at dusk grousing about across the road from my friend Janet's place out west of Paso Robles early this evening. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just Be

During the mid-2000's as I continued to emerge from the fog of my mental illness and my time fighting God's sovereignty in my life a series of songs came out or I encountered them at some point after they had already been released that meant a lot to me at the time for they spoke to me where I was at the time and I gained insights from them. Tiesto accounted for not a few of them including this gem below whose lyrics can be viewed simultaneously as equally rather trite and remarkably profound: such structural contradictions befit this strange stage of our existence. It is worth noting that this is great trance from the period the genre was in decline as a result of over-commercialization and society moving onto other things. Another thing worth noting about this song is its video features beautiful outdoor scenes from all over various regions of California. One final note: this song was my featured theme song on my Myspace profile page during the height of the Myspace craze in the mid-2000's. Okay, one last thing: the sumptuous voice one hears singing this track is none other than Kirsty Hawkshaw

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Picture of the Day - My Tsunami Vision

This morning we headed down to La Jolla Shores for breakfast and some leisure time before resuming and completing this weekend's Gem Faire at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This was an incredibly enjoyable escape from the soul-crushing environment of Gem Faire and allowed the team to recharge its batteries quite effectively methinks. For some reason while there this morning I oft found myself thinking about tsunami  as it relates to the tsunami threat to this idyllic community nestled along one of the most beautiful stretches of California Coast. In particular, when viewing the scene above I found myself rather vividly envisioning a tsunami running right through the gap visible above with cars out in front of it attempting to make their escape. This mental image coming to mind in this place on this day felt odd in contrast to the tranquility and beauteousness I experienced and witnessed there today. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Containment Domes of Remembrance

Today I captured this image as a passenger in a pickup riding southbound on Interstate-5 passing San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. The reason I'm sharing this image is that as I approached this facility I distinctly remembered the scene below from the first Naked Gun movie starring the inimitable Leslie Nielsen. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Picture of the Day - My Maine Coon Monster

Rocki is her name and being sweet, cute, funny, fuzzy, mouthy, and playful is her game. Here she is laying on her new ball-in-circular-rail-with-catnip-bearing-cardboard-center-plaything my childhood buddy/neighbor/landlord/fellow cat-owner Mark bought for her while I'm gone doing these shows. How thoughtful of him. Fortunately, mom comes and visits her every day I'm gone on work trips. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some Great Volcanic Eruption Videos

I find the gray, explosive volcanoes much more interesting and compelling than the molten lava-generating ones. Below is a more than half-hour-long montage of volcano video for your enjoyment. It describes itself as "Best Volcano Eruption Shots" although I can think of some better ones it does not contain (think of the  footage of the fatal 1993 Mt. Unzen eruption at Shimabara, Japan), but certainly these are some good to great ones.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Picture of the Day - Ice Plate

It has been unseasonably cold (consistently in the low 20's overnight) in my part of the world (Central Coast) for over a week and will continue to be so for some days to come. With each successive such overnight period shaded, smaller, outdoor bodies of water not only fail to fully thaw during the day but cumulatively develop ever thicker ice deposits on their surfaces. Today while out in the Adelaida area working for my friend Marybeth I found a tub filled with rainwater located in the shadow of a coast redwood tree. It contained a floating ice crust 3"-3-1/2" thick which I dumped out for better viewing. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Picture of the Day - My Zombie Apocalypse

While curled up outside the back door of Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA, today at the height of  my norovirus-fueled fever, delirium, cramps and diarrhea I had a strange vision of sorts. While quasi-delirious and looking out upon the scene above I imagined myself but for a moment in the midst of a zombie apocalypse occurring right here on the fairgrounds and unfolding for me right in the shadow of the racing grandstand. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Picture of the Day - Round Barn

I have taken to this structure since first I set my eyes upon it a couple of years ago. This is the historic Fountain Grove Round Barn in Santa Rosa, CA, the last remaining vestige of a utopian commune. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rock Photography Set XII

This morning over the course of a couple of hours I captured this latest set of images from the Rocks & Relics booth at the first Santa Rosa Gem Faire of 2013. I hope there is enough that is different here from past installments of this particular column to pique your interest long enough to look through it all.

Rocks & Relics booth
Brazilian amethyst along with some Tampa Bay agatized coral, Indonesian petrified wood, and some Acheulean  tools.
Amethyst with cacoxinite inclusions from Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Large Shiva lingams from India.
Green aphophyllite from Maharashtra, India.
Carved fluorite hearts.
Botryoidal malachite from Katanga Province, Congo.
Moroccan selenite
Mix of quartz (irradiated and not) from Coleman Mine, Mt. Ida, Arkansas.
A large dogtooth calcite crystal as part of a cluster.
Lapiz lazuli from Afghanistan
Labradorite from Madagascar
Amethyst from Artigas, Uruguay
Ammonites with nacre, NOT ammolite.
Odd silicated concretions from Morocco.
Ocean jasper from Madagascar
Brazilian amethyst with cacoxinite inclusions.
Chrysocolla from Katanga Province, Congo
Moroccan onyx eggs
Mostly Indian zeolite minerals.
Mix of petrified wood from Indonesia and Madagascar as well as Brazilian agate slab and some Tampa Bay agatized coral.
Ruby in fuchsite from India.
Libyan desert glass
Acid-etched Mexican calcite
Moroccan selenite
Ocean jasper from Madagascar
Stilbite on druzy quartz on small chalcedony stalactites from Maharashtra, India
Acid-etched, iron oxide-stained calcite from Mexico.
Rubellite (pink tourmaline) in quartz from Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Cacoxinite inclusions in amethyst from Minas Gerais, Brazil
More quartz (irradiated and not) from Coleman Mine, Mt. Ida, Arkansas
Another Gem Faire Kim to go with the one in Salt Lake City, UT.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).