Friday, October 31, 2008

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XII

Halloween Night 2008

Well, here I am alone in my house on Halloween night while everybody else is out having a great time or home doing something cool with other folks.
I feel a little bit left out but at least I won't be getting drunk or laid tonight and regretting it later.
Over the course of composing this I have watched parts or all of Resident Evil, House on Haunted Hill, and Return to House on Haunted Hill which has been sort of fun and kept me company.
Earlier in the evening I had Mom over and we watched The Thirteenth Warrior which she had never seen and she liked it as much as I did.

Upcoming Election Night 2008

I hope the light-hearted theme of tonight is not followed by a heavy-hearted horror over the next four years in the United States as a new regime takes complete control of the Executive and Legislative Branches of our government this coming Tuesday night.
I utterly despise the Republican Party and feel absolutely no sympathy for them in what is coming next week as they are about to serve the role of scape goat for problems that are actually much more complicated and for which there are plenty of guilty parties including BOTH the Democrats and Republicans.
The angry mob appears more than willing to inexplicably absolve a party which has had a majority in the House and Senate the past two years and has been in opposition to a lame duck President during that time and yet has nothing to show for it having kept none of its promises it made in order to win the mid-term elections in 2006.
This all makes perfect sense when one considers that angry mobs are stupid creatures much like ghastly hordes of flesh-eating zombies who savagely, but mindlessly attack their closest victim.
Hey, thats sorta Halloween-y isn't it?!


In keeping the Halloween theme going I'd like to mention that I neglected to include in my Jalama Beach Expedition the other day that I found out the details of a grisly incident I heard several weeks ago on my scanner.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department dispatched a ground unit as well as CalStar (medivac chopper) to Jalama Beach for a partially-amputated arm.
My first thought was that it was a shark attack but by the end of the day there were no reports of such so I figured it was some sort of work-place accident involving some sort of work or maintenance crew.
However, what I found out actually happened was that some guy was para-sailing and his arm got tangled up in his tacking and he received a disgusting deglovement injury over a large part of his arm taking off the flesh down to the bone full circumference for several inches or more.
Folks at the scene were able to keep him from hemmoraging to death and by the time the ground medics had stabilized him he was calling off Cal-Star not wanting to pay ten grand or more for the flight to a hospital and instead had himself driven there by private auto.
I think if that had been me I would not have much cared about the money, but that's just me.

Bigfoot Sighting Near Willits During Last Summer's Fires

This Halloween theme is getting sort of fun so you get one more good story.
This past Summer during the height of the June 21 Fire Siege a man traveling northbound on US101 north of Willits near Shimmins Ridge Road encountered a very large black-haired beast crossing the road. The story could be true but given how many wacked out people live in inland Mendocino County one has to wonder about this guy.
Furthermore, I can spot a few problems with his story which you can read here and see if you can spot, too.
If any of you can spot any of those problems I invite you to post them in the comments below.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

October '08 Jalama Beach Expedition

Today the San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club conducted a field trip to Jalama Beach near the western end of the Gaviota Coast of Santa Barbara County on California's Central Coast.

I carpooled with club treasurer and man-about-town Mike Shipsey in his hybrid SUV which was kinda cool as the only money I owed him for the gas could be and was repayed with a Jalama Burger with accessories along with splitting the $8 park entrance fee.

We left SLO around 8 A.M. and got to the park around 10 A.M. with a stop in Lompoc for water and a bathroom break.

There has been a strong and persistent Santa Ana Wind Event this past week into this weekend that has gripped the mountains above Jalama Beach in a long-lived Red Flag Warning. Therefore it was incredibly sunny and warm to the point of being nearly uncomfortably hot with the sun glaring blindingly off the ocean and off the whitish bluffs that border the beach.

The surf was really pounding and thus this famous surf spot was packed with surfers and their girlfriends along with vacationing families whom filled the campground to the overflowing.

Mike and I headed up the beach to the creek and while he checked the bluff strata for fish fossils and checked in the bank of the creek for petrified whale bone.

Having failed to find anything there we headed down the beach and encountered some fresh beach rock where I did find a nice agate that was fresh enough to not have been beach-rounded.

When we got to the bluffs to the south of the campground we invested about half an hour's time splitting strata and found plenty of fish scales but no fish skeletons.

My little Chihuahua/Terrier (actually "terror") mix Tequila didn't like this beach the last time I visited (early 2006 which was also my first visit) and she liked it no more this time.
She is afraid of ocean waves and today it was really pounding so she fought me most of the visit pulling on her leash laterally up the beach to get back to the campground and vertically towards the base of the bluffs to get away from the surf. Next time I won't take her.

Around the point I did find some more beach agates and a complete abalone shell replete with seaweed grass growing from atop the shell.

I also split some concretions in the bluffs right around the point to the south and found some nice little calcite crystals but no whale bone, unfortunately.

There was too much sand and not enough rock on the beach to give us a decent shot at the petrified whale bone we came for and we were too impatient to take the time splitting strata at the base of the bluffs to find the fish fossils we hoped to see as well.

On the walk back to the campground I reconned the bluffs for access when I hopefully visit next wherein I plan to scramble across the bluffs and check the old sea cobbles and pebbles embedded in the exposed old beach material that overlays the upturned sea-bottom strata that compose the bottom half of the bluffs along that part of the coast.

From an instant-gratification standpoint the expedition was a bust as we found nothing worth carting home but we did conduct good recon for future expeditions and saw some incredible scenery and experienced some awesome weather and got off our fat white hineys and took a long walk on the beach burning calories and revving up our corpse-like metabolisms.

Something that is worthy of mentioning is all the naturally-occurring tar on the beach here which bubbles up from tar seeps along faults under the ocean offshore along this part of the coast.
Currents and wave action wash this tar up on the beach here and all along the Gaviota Coast and Santa Barbara Channel area.

This tar can be found splashed on rock outcroppings and on driftwood or just laying as large patties or little globules on the sand.

The Chumash People used this tar to caulk their boats they used to travel along the coast or over to the Channel Islands.

Avoiding stepping on this tar was effectively impossible and I got a good one on the sole of one of my sandles. Even in the Jalama Store and Grill there is the distinct odor of this tar on the bottoms of many or most visitor's feet and footwear.

When we got back to the campground the place seemed to teem with even more people than when we arrived and the overall feeling of the place was that of Summer Vacation on the California Coast which was nice for the end of October despite the Coney Island atmosphere which normally I find unpleasant.

After tying Tequila to a post next to Mike's vehicle we headed for the Jalama Beach Store and Grill which was directly across from where we were parked and was now much more crowded than when we arrived.

Ignoring the Jalama Beach Store given our having shopped in Lompoc for supplies on the way down we placed our order for two Jalama Burgers with all the fixings as well as an order of fries and two Cherry Cokes in the Jalama Beach Cafe and awaited our lunch while exploring the displays in the dining hall.

The displays showed some photos of the Honda Point Disaster of September 8, 1923, as well of marine fossils and Chumash artifacts found on the bluffs above the beach over the years which was very cool and inspired me to future expeditions there.

We decided to eat there instead of outside in the hot sun with the crowds and after eating we left and drove home without incident.

We never did see any other members of our club nor of any other clubs nor anybody who appeared to be there for rockhounding in contrast to the last club field trip there last July wherein some of our members encountered other rockhounds. I know that club secretary Lynnette Bayless and club show dealer chair Dianna Deem were supposed to have carpooled down for this event but we never encountered them.

At Mike's house where I parked my pickup for the day, we did conduct an impromptu San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club board meeting of sorts discussing club policy and strategy as it relates to our two annual shows in Cayucos and came up with some things to discuss as a group at next month's club meeting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2008 Big Sur Jade Festival Pt. 4

To say last night utterly sucked would be too positive and the morning wasn't much better.

For starters, sleep was fitful and oft-interrupted.

My dehydrating myself last evening failed to keep me from needing to pee overnight.
I had hoped to be able to bundle up overnight in the back of my pickup with my little dog Tequila in my sleeping bag and not need to get up and get out of my truck into the cold night and slink in the dark across the school grounds to the dark porta-potties to pee where I can't see nasty stains or crusts.

Reality was much worse than even my fears were trying to avoid as not only did I need to pee a few times overnight but also found myself experiencing a lose bowel and had to deal with all of this in the pitch black of a dark porta-potty.
Remember, these porta-potties were used by hundreds of people the previous day, some of whom were hippy low-lifes with the hygenic standards of Third Worlders.
To make this even more pleasant many of the porta-potties were out of toilet paper or hadn't enough in them to finish a "job".
Therefore, suffering with cramps in the cold, dark night I had to first check porta-potties via feel for a good-sized roll of toilet paper until I found one that had one I could use and then do my business there in a cold, pitch dark, porta-potty with residual god-knows what on the lid not to mention I can't see what I'm doing in cleaning up afterwards.

As if this weren't bad enough I was physically uncomfortable with my bedding arrangement which was way too hard on my back as I had used a foam pad instead of an inflatable one.

Furthermore, I suffer from a chronic post-nasal drip at night that can fill my lungs with fluid if I sleep on my back so I have to rest on my side with my head moderately elevated and doing that last night with the padding problem only worked to compound my discomfort.

Then, I started to notice the gathering light of dawn as I was finally getting too exhausted to stay awake and people around me began to stir so I eventually just gave up and got up and got my day under way. 

By now I was on a roll as my problems deepened.

Remember yesterday's realization that my truck seemed to be heading towards a problem as its ability to start seemed to be deteriorating ?

Well guess what? When I tried to move it out of the festival grounds and back out to the parking area on the north side of the school it wouldn't start. 

First I tried to get my pickup jumped but that didn't work and then I had somebody bang on the solenoid while I tried to start it but both were to no avail so I got some help pushing it out to the parking lot.

Even that didn't go so smooth as the only parking I could get into coasting was way out in Timbuktu and remember: at the end of the day I'd have to carry all my stuff from the festival grounds out to my pickup. 

On the final push I received to get my pickup out of the way one of the dealers named Justin cut his hand on my broken window handle which further made me look like an inept and incompetent fool.

To say I was down by this point would have been an understatement. 

After I got past all that I got our booth opened up and ready for business.

A bit later Mike showed up and told him what happened and when an opportunity presented itself I walked across the street to Sand Dollar Beach and used the pay phone there to make a toll free call to AAA to set up an appointment for a tow truck to meet me after the show after I had loaded up my truck.

The day started slow as Sunday's always do but the 17th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival did receive a decent amount of foot traffic later in the morning into the afternoon.

To my surprise I had my best day of the festival on Sunday as it seemed folks who had been drifting around all weekend circling like hawks waiting for deals swooped in during the last few hours and tried (and often succeeded) to negotiate deals. 
Given I already generously price things I find this process annoying and even a bit insulting but I was so desperate I went with it and cleaned up a little bit which was satisfying although tempered with disappointment that Saturday couldn't have been as good or even better. 

That being said I was nonetheless grateful and that helped me get my mojo back by the end of the day.  

Some more photos from yesterday's belly dancer act.

A scene from the best musical act last night.

Towards the end of the day one of our visitors whom was a diver by trade but also could rock climb and thus is being employed by Cal-Trans to climb cliffs in the area that overlook Highway 1 and pull rocks out of the mountainside and send them crashing to the road below before somebody can get hurt by them was loitering around our booth for an extended period of time visiting.
A lady visiting our booth overheard something he said and asked us if we knew about the emergency personnel she had seen up the coast on Saturday who seemed to be involved in a cliff rescue down the mountain from the road. 
He felt it was a training drill as he claimed he had not heard of anybody going over the side and seemed satisfied that he was in the loop enough to not have missed a story like that. 
As it turns out three Stanford University students on their way down the coast this weekend to visit friends drove over the side of a cliff after dark and ended up 600 feet down and quite dead. We had noticed a CHP chopper circling around above us Saturday which made sense in light of this, but I didn't even read about this incident until I got home and found it here.  

Again today we received some repeat customers of whom some are like friends now which was nice. Even they weren't spending money like in the past which told me the economy, not my material was to blame as some of these folks are the sorts who'd buy something just to buy something just to be nice even if they weren't interested in anything which was definitely not the case.

By the end of the day I was just happy it was over and ready to go home and desirous to get the damned tow truck ride on that damned high road with me on the passenger side over with ASAP.

I tried to guess how long it would take to break things down and load up my truck and arrange for the tow to be there accordingly and got it reasonably close as the driver only had to wait about 20 minutes for me and he was very cool about the whole thing. 

I nearly got a coronary carrying often heavy stuff to my truck a good ways but I did receive help in the form of a load being driven out to my pickup by some neighboring dealers on their way out to leave as well as repeated loads by the young son of another neighboring dealer all of which helped tremendously. 

Anywho, when I was done the tow truck operator saddled up my truck onto the flat bed and away we went.

He and I hit it off right away and had a delightful conversation the entire way home and this largely distracted me on the drive along the side of the mountain just north and south of Salmon Creek although I was aware of what was going on and even shared with him my discomfort. 

Hearing of that wreck on Friday night that killed those three Stanford students near Hurricane Point didn't help calm my mind, but I managed to be okay in spite of that.

I got in safe and sound and had my pickup dropped off on my driveway and bid the tow truck operator farewell and went inside my house and crashed.

It was incredibly nice to be home and I was overwhelmed by a sense of euphoria tempered with exhaustion. 

The next morning I made arrangements with Colony Auto in Atascadero to look at my pickup to which they assented and then I made arrangements to have my pickup towed there.
I made that call BEFORE I had unpacked my truck but given how long it normally takes to get a tow truck to arrive I went ahead with that so I wouldn't have to wait. Stupid me!

The tow truck arrived within 15 minutes or so for the second day in a row, a tow truck operator had to wait for me to move stuff into or out of my pickup. Thankfully, I didn't make this guy wait as long as the guy last night and this guy was cool, too.

At one point while waiting for me to finish he called me over to try to turn over my engine while he banged on the solenoid which he did for longer than I did at the show yesterday morning while the tow truck operator last night didn't' bother doing as extensively as this guy went on doing it and on different parts of the solenoid.
Ultimately, he was successful which made me wonder if that would have worked last evening at the Jade Festival. Oh well, I'll make a mental note on all of this for future reference. 
It was nice to be able to drive my pickup to it's check-up.
It was determined that my starter was shot so we got that replaced and I'm back in business which is a good thing given I have the 2008 Placerville Show coming up next weekend. 


Saturday, October 11, 2008

2008 Big Sur Jade Festival Pt. 3

I cannot put into words how much I was dreading the drive up Highway One along the creepily high stretches of road just south and north of Salmon Creek.
I have an anxiety attack issue with certain situations which include very steep places where I feel trapped like along these two sections of Highway One.

I got up and got going this morning and headed on up to the show with much dread in my heart.
I understood I was obligated to go because I had committed to do this show both in word and deed as Mike was already up there waiting for me and much of my property was sitting up there.
I was committed and I just had to suck it up like a man.

When I got to Ragged Point I realized I could not go forward so I pulled off at a small turn-out just past Ragged Point and just looked down at the crashing waves below and prayed to God for help. For what seemed like a long time I alternated between standing and pacing atop the bluffs there with nary a soul driving by me.

Finally one car followed by a small pickup passed me northbound and I realized this was my opportunity as following other cars would be easier than driving alone for reasons I can't really explain. I shot on through and made it by both spots on Highway One high on the mountainside just south and north of Salmon Creek and on through to the 17th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed and incredibly thankful to God for making that work out okay for me. I now felt empowered about driving back that way headed home tomorrow evening after the show and it was nice to not have to think about it again until then as I was not driving home at the end of this day.

One other thing that disturbed me this morning was my truck's recent trend of difficulty starting significantly escalated and really worries me.
It's so bad now that with the worsening aspect of it I fear it will soon not start which couldn't come at a worse time than this weekend.

Anywho, once at the show we got the tarps we had clamped to the sides of the Easy-Up for overnight protection down and folded and our merchandise that had to put away for the night put back in place and we were ready to roll.

My friend Erin visited our booth at one point today with her cute little new pooch that she is currently calling Leonidas but she's still not sure on that.
She was visiting with friends who all toured the show and took in the music for a few hours.
They are all camping up the coast but wanted to check out the Jade Festival.
They did not appear as prepared for camping as they needed to be as Erin had to borrow my flashlight not to mention some extra linens I brought in case I needed them.
It was good to see Erin but I wished she could have stayed for tonight's concert but alas she was hitching a ride with her friends and they wanted to go.

Other friends and acquintances came by our booth yesterday and today as well such as Bob and Sandi Hurless of the San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club as well as other members of that group like club secretary Lynette Bayless who even spent a night up here in her car in order to spend two days at the festival.
We also received a visit from Gene and Barbara Bilyeu of the Santa Lucia Rockhounds.
We were also visited by Wayne Mills and Debbie Hood of the Orcutt Mineral Society as well as Central Coast rockhounding legend Ralph Bishop also of the OMS.
I got him to agree in principle to take me out to a locale on the southern margin of the Cuyama Valley that has petrified drift wood with barnacles on it.
We also got a visit from Matt Biewer and his lovely wife from the Carmel Valley Gem & Mineral Society.
We also received many other visitors not affiliated with any clubs including repeat customers who sought us out which was nice as they are the people who keep us in business.

There is no shortage of aging hippies here.

Inside-out view of our booth.

Our booth and the one next to it as viewed from the northeast.

Some of Mike Berklio's material.

There was good foot traffic today and folks enthusiastically enjoyed stopping at our booth but not as many of them spent money or as much money as last year or the year before which was true for the entire weekend for me as it has been most of my shows this year with a few exceptions.

We were prepared for the show more so this year than in previous years and I had good stuff and there was good foot traffic but like so many shows this year folks just aren't spending money like they were in 2006 and 2007 when the economy was better than it is this year.

The belly dancers performed again this year.

The only solace I take in this is that it is something that is not due to any failure on my part and that we are in good company as most dealers are seeing significant drops in sales this year.

Needless to say, the say ended with sales being disappointingly low on a day that was supposed to be the biggest day of the show as Saturdays usually are at most shows.

All there was for me to do now was work with Mike to close up our shop for the night by putting certain things away and clamp our tarps to the sides of the Easy-Up and then pull my pickup next to our booth and sleep in it tonight.

After Mike headed home for his first shower in two days I facing no shower tonight snagged dinner from one of the few remaining food vendors still open after the show had technically had ended for the day.
I got dessert from the local food concessioner that was basically the locals banded together selling homemade deserts and snacks which was tasty and fun.

At one point I doffed my hiking sandles in favor of shoes and socks as well as my flight jacket and my beloved rabbit fur-ushanka which show organizer Kirk Brock really seemed to think was funny and I suppose he was right.

The Saturday night ho-down/shindig started after dark with great live music, mostly with rock acts, some with blusey elements, but needless to say VERY cool and along with the pschedelic lighting and multiple generations of hippies twisting and contorting to the rhythm and beat of the music.

At one point during the party I left and walked south down the highway a short distance in the dark to a place where there is a residual wood stair structure on the southbound side of the road that used to allow folks to step over the fence that rings the highway and into the field on the other side.
From there they would cross the field down to the ocean bluffs and the jade-studded coves below.
Now the fence was gone but the 8-foot tall wood structure remained and for some strange reason it is the only place along that section of coast where I can pick up my Verizon Wireless signal.
At one point somebody else was next to the highway behind me trying to get a cell phone signal which was tantalizing close to being sufficient and I invited them to take my place on the wood structure to which they accepted and were successful.

Upon getting back to the party I was taken aback by how much pot smoke was hanging in the air in cloud over the crowd undulating to the music, some with glow-in-the-dark loops of plastic and other items that they twisted and spun about in a psychedelic-looking fashion.
The scene was very funny but also very real and genuine and I treasure the experience although I doubt I was able to pass a drug test after this night due to my exposure to second-hand pot smoke. After the concert ended I turned in for the night and quite a night it turned out to be.

I intentionally deprived myself of fluids throughout the evening in an attempt to keep myself from having to pee in the night so I went to bed dehydrated which it turned out later would be to no real benefit.


Friday, October 10, 2008

2008 Big Sur Jade Festival Pt. 2

I had much work to do today in completing my set-up for the 17th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival so I set the alarm early and got an early start to the day.
I didn't sleep much last night as I was too wired and too busy too late to get to bed when I would have been best served doing so and combined with getting up early I got only about a half night's sleep. Add to that a little drama going between Mike and I and I was stressed out needless tosay.
Unfortunately, by the time I reached the scary-high part of Highway One just north of Salmon Creek it all added up to my experiencing the very worst anxiety attack I have ever had along that road and was hyperventilating so badly that I needed to pull over and regroup at the first opportunity I came to which, unfortunately, was at the very highest place along that high section.
After regrouping, I got back into my pickup and headed on down the hill and up the coast to the Jade Festival.

Although I was safe for now I realized that I was trapped and had to drive back along that stretch of highway at the end of the day on the way home and I was dreading it.
I had never liked that part of the road but had always managed to stay focused on my driving and ignore what was down the hill and listening to music and thinking about other things had always helped, too.
Now for the first time I didn't have any confidence in those things to help me henceforth.

However, I couldn't dwell on that but had to focus on the task at hand and so I did.

Upon arriving at the Jade Festival I could not help but notice a noticable amount of smoke rising from the part of the Chalk Fire that had fingered its way down to Highway One up the coast a short distance to the north. 
Added to that this day was rather windy out of the north which concerned me as it seemed the fire might have a chance, however remote, of escaping and heading south and forcing us to run for our lives. The fire never did escape but the wind would become a problem. 

After working my ass off all morning I was pretty much ready to go by noon which is the time the show opens on Friday.

It was nice to be back again this year in the wonderful atmosphere of this event with the nearly-constant stream of musical acts that rotates through on an hourly basis for all three days of the event and provides a pleasant working environment for the dealers to sell their products.
The musical genres that are represented pretty much run the gamut from all sorts of different rock and roll in many varieties and flavors to blues to folk music and even belly dancers accompanied by drums but in any case a very eclectic and quirky assemblage of music that is utterly awesome to experience, especially when one had the privilege of being here for all three days.   

Another thing I find extremely entertaining at the Jade Festival is people-watching as there are many very interesting characters who wander in over the course of the three-day event.

Mike Lyons manning our booth.

The food at the Jade Festival is also very special.
They have locals serving lemonade and smoothies as well as sandwiches and even a dessert concessioner plus a barbecue outfit and a gumbo and fish taco operation that also makes killer breakfast burritos in the morning.
My favorite thing here ever was not here this year to my chagrine.
One of the local families the previous two years I was here brought in frozen bananas and other fruit impaled on little wood sticks and dipped them in molten chocolate which immediately created a hardened crust of frozen chocolate around the frozen fruit which created a heavenly culinary effect that both looked and tasted awesome.

Fridays at the Jade Festival are typically what is known as "Dealer Day" as the dealers do most of their business with each other on this day before the customers pour in over the weekend.
That is not to say that there are not plenty of customers but overall foot traffic is lighter on Friday as it is a work day/school day for most folks.

More images of our all-too-empty booth.

Mike Berklio manning his booth.

As the day progressed so did the wind which became a problem blowing myriad seeds out of the trees ringing the open area fwhere we were located. 
These seeds got into everthing, including all the little boxes wherein hundreds of my specimens were displayed. 
This mess took me all weekend to clean up and even then I didn't complete that clean-up until after the show.

I was overall happy with the amount of business I did this day although it wasn't much but I didn't expect much hoping for a great Saturday and a decent Sunday to make my show.

Mike volunteered to spend the night with our booth Friday night and I agreed to do the same Saturday night as I wanted to experience the big shindig Saturday night that is put on for the locals and dealers.

At the end of the day I left at sunset (a gorgeous one at that) with a heart full of foreboding about how I would handle the drive along the side of the mountain with not full darkness which would have helped me a lot.

Somehow, I managed to avoid full-on anxiety attacks but did experience controlled panic and was hardly a happy camper until I got to the SLO/Monterey County Line a stone's throw up the coast from Ragged Point.

From there I headed on down the coast en route home and saw Hearst Castle all majestically lit up in the night resting atop the mountain overlooking the coast and appearing rather mystical.

I got on home and after unwinding got my butt to bed at a much more reasonable hour but dreading the drive on the side of the mountain tomorrow morning.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

2008 Big Sur Jade Festival Pt. 1

This year's 17th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival was going to be my third consecutive one and I went into it with high hopes of making a breakthrough despite the current economic distress.

Yes, I'm a dreamer alright!

For the first time in the now three years I've been to this festival wildfire played a notable roll. The Chalk Fire started Saturday, September 27th, and continues to burn in the mountains behind where the Jade Festival is being held. It is now mostly quiet but until last weekend when it rained it was moving down the coast and threatened to cause the cancellation or postponement of the Jade Festival.

Given that this is a three day event, today, Thursday, October 9th, was the set-up day.
There was no need to rush as the venue is the Pacific Valley School and we needed to wait until school let out for the Columbus Day weekend.

I headed up there a bit after my business partner Mike Lyons left Atascadero for it as I had more to do to get loaded up and he ought to get there first as the booth is in his name as he is the one who makes our arrangements for it.

I did get up there safe and sound without driving over the side of the cliffs and without having any notable anxiety attacks in spite of the fact I utterly hate the two really high spots on Highway 1 just south and just north of Salmon Creek.

At least during the previous two Jade Festivals I had my iPod actually functioning and was able to listen to my music to distract me in the scary sections of road but not this year unfortunately but on this day I made do without it.

When I did arrive there I was surprised at how many booth spots were still empty from vendors not having arrived yet.

Mike was parked next to our spot but not much was on it yet so I had missed nothing of the set-up which was nice.

Mike and I did set up our tables and my Easy-Up and I placed most of the non-inventory elements of what composes our booth such as display and packaging materials and some not-that-valuable buckets of material like abalone shells and such.
However, we both elected to not bring most of our inventory until tomorrow morning as we felt no reason to needlessly leave our stuff unattended overnight before the show even began.

Both before and after we did our work we visited with our friends amongst the dealers such as Keith Olivas and Ernie DeFever and Jack Daggett and Kirk Brock and Mike Berklio and others.

It was nice to get caught up with friends and find out what was new with them and hear the latest scuttle-butt.

After arriving mid-afternoon I stayed a couple of hours and left before it would get dark on me driving home.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool Pt. XI

Hey Folks, I'm Back

Well, after getting away from blogging for a bit of late I'm back and don't plan to pause again for the foreseeable future with all that there is to talk about coming up from shows to economic meltdowns to elections to changing of the seasons to October being upon us which is typically the most disastrous month of the year for California along with a host of other things to talk about. 
Be sure to go back and check my blogs about the recent Paso Robles Gem & Mineral Show as well as the Monterey Gem & Mineral Show as well as a recent Useful Tip column. 
Also, you can follow the Big Sur Jade Festival from day to day right here. 

Kimmer News

I've learned that I've been accepted as a new member of the Orcutt Mineral Society so now I'm a member of all three local clubs with the other two being the Santa Lucia Rockhounds and theSan Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club
Today, Estelle from the Santa Lucia Rockhounds contacted me and asked me if I'd be willing to take on the role of Vice President of Education for that club to which I said I would but needed to know more about it first before I could firmly commit so I will soon be given relevant literature towards that end. 
I'm already Vice President of the SLO club so my time is already more stretched than ever before so I'm enthusiastic but a tad reluctant about this but am going to keep an open mind for now. 
In that role I have extremely busy of late doing publicity for the upcoming Cayucos Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show which I will not even be in while having to prepare for the Big Sur Jade Festival the week before which I will be in and then prepare right after that for the Placerville show the same weekend as the Cayucos show. 
Add to that the fact I've been working on getting the SLO club's website up and running of late and I'm pretty much maxed out. 

So How About That Weather

Last night (Tuesday night the 7th) I was able to leave the windows open throughout the house for probably the last time until next May or June.
Tonight is a bit iffy about repeating that as I feel a slight chill building. 
Today certainly was rather Indian Summer-ish if not technically thus.  
Last night at the monthly meeting of the San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club it was very warm well after dark due to the downslope/offshore winds coming from the northeast over the Santa Lucia Mountains and into San Luis Obispo. The effect was a warm, dry wind leaving the day rather scorching in SLO and very mild and nice after dark. 
Today was another hot day in Atascadero as was yesterday.
When I was out walking the morning of day before yesterday, I was buffeted by one of the strongest offshore winds I have ever experienced in Atascadero. 
This does not bode well for what this Autumn will bring wind wise and by extension, fire wise, to California but it is yet early in the season and much too soon to say what will happen.

The Economy Stupid

It's getting so bad I'm afraid to check the news, especially when I first start the day.
When will this end and will it end well for us?
I sure hope nobody is taking a good ending for granted.
I'm also damned tired of the two parties blaming each other for the mess when there is plenty of blame to go around for everybody from top to bottom and both sides of the politico-cultural divide.
I wish everybody would just shut the heck up and focus on where we go from here. 
I admit that emotionally it feels good at the first impression when one hears that Big Momma Gummint is going to come in and prop up this and prop up that.
However, the more I wrap my head around this the more uneasy I feel about our government getting itself so involved in our economy and by extension becoming so much bigger and so much more a part of our lives. 
Furthermore, we are going into tremendous debt in order to try to achieve instant gratification relative to how long it would take to fix this in a more economically sound fashion.
The problem is that we Americans are a spoiled and petulant and impatient and ADHD-afflicted people and can't stay focused on anything for very long and on a steady pace. 
We want to have our cake and eat it, too. 
We are unwilling to pay significantly more in taxes but are unwilling to face significant austerity measures so the debt piles up and the beat goes on.
We have no self-control as a people and no sense of responsibility so why would our elected representatives do otherwise: they perfectly represent and reflect us. 
The problem in Washington DC is that it is functioning exactly as designed.

Would Both of You Please Tell Us Why You Should Be President?

Is this the most distressing Presidential election cycle you can remember?
I feel awful about our two options or is it just me?
I'm an Independent and don't really agree with either guy terribly much but my gut feels better about McCain than Obama whom I deeply distrust whereas McCain merely fails to inspire me. 
At least McCain has been in the fiery furnace and passed the test but not so with Obama.
Also, Obama nakedly lies and obfuscates and flip-flops much more than McCain.
McCain has had a reformer pedigree since long before Obama-Cum-Lately hit the scene and became the latest Flavor Of The Month. 
I still fail to see how Obama is going to bring change and reform when he himself has participated in and done the very things that are the problem and has selected as his Vice President a man whom one can reasonably consider the consummate Washington INSIDER. 
On the other hand, McCain for all his great service for his country over the course of his life just seems to lack that certain something that distinguishes great leaders.
Also, like Obama, McCain has NO Grand Vision for America and how we proceed from here in realizing that Grand Vision.  "Where there is no vision, the people perish". 

A Fate Accompli?

It has been distressing watching the Fifth-Column/Fourth-Estate in conjunction with the Entertainment-Industrial Complex act like a bunch of blushing and swooning schoolgirls with mad crushes fawning over and falling all over themselves to anoint Obama as some sort of Messianic figure who will come to the Beltway and after healing the waters of the politically-poisoned Potomac River then walk across them and right into the White House wherein a New Millennium will be ushered in wherein all Mankind will beat their swords into plowshares and our sickly economy will be made whole again. 
This week I have come to realize Obama will win the election due to McCain's pathetic weakness as a candidate combined with the free-falling economy and folks needing a scape goat which the Republicans will conveniently serve as for this election.
Combine all that with Media and Pop Cultural Anointment the likes we have not seen since 1992 when Bubba was anointed by the same folks while also using "change" as a mantra.
The inevitable result is that the lemmings are going to elect an even weaker man than Jimmy Carter who turned out to be the very worst President of the second half of the 20th Century. 

Prophetic Palmist

Innumerable times over the years I have driven by the palmist's office here Atascadero as it sits right on the main drag of town and the store always seems to be closed. 
I believe I've figured out why: she can accurately predict when there will be no customers.