Sunday, May 31, 2009

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XX

The Big Sikhote-Alin Meteorite Sold!

The large Sikhote-Alin Meteorite I arranged to have Geoffrey Notkin of Aerolite Meteorites (he's also one half of the "Meteorite Men" duo on the Science Channel) sell for me finally sold this past week.
It first went on the market around the time of the 2009 Tucson Show where it it made its U.S. show debut after being purchased from David Richter of Rocks & Relics at the 2002 Munich Show who in turn sold it to me back in 2004.
We sold it for over three times what I paid for it with Notkin receiving a reasonable commission per our consignment arrangement.
This meteorite almost certainly would have sold much sooner were the economy not so bad this year.
However, I am grateful it fetched the price it did as well as when it did as it could have remained unsold for quite some time.
Notkin handled this entire matter with the utmost professionalism and courtesy and with due diligence and thus we highly recommend him to anybody. He's also a really nice guy, as well.
By the way, he has a fascinating and informative blog entitled Meteorwritings on

Krissa is Coming!

Tomorrow I drive up to Willits to get Krissa and bring her back down to Atascadero so she can spend her Summer break with me to which I'm greatly looking forward. She has a dentist appointment in the morning so she had to wait until then before coming down despite her last day of class being on May 21st.

Krissa is 21!

This evening Krissa turned 21 years of age during the 7 PM hour but she won't be doing any barhopping I can assure you.
The third anniversary of when we first met is on June 6th meaning, yes, we met on 6/6/06.
That also means I first met her a mere week after she turned 18. Ack!
I did not see her as anything other than a friend until early in 2007.
I did notice how much weight she lost between the first time I met her in June 2006 and the second time I met her later that year in September 2006 or thereabouts and noticed she had a nice figure but then proceeded to ignore that fact.
I must say I was initially quite uncomfortable with our age difference while she could care less from the get-go.
However, in time, I got used to it and accepted it and now don't think much about it.
We established the friendship first with no hormonal or emotional storms to cloud our judgement which is important and I'm glad.
Now, here we are about three years later and still friends and speaking to one another.

On the Employment Front

This past week was my third week working two days a week for Steve and so far so good.
I like working for the guy and we get a lot of work done all the while entertaining each other as we share several common interests and numerous viewpoints about the world. All the while I"m paying bills which until this job I had been falling behind on due to slow shows this year. I'm also learning skills I can use down the road when I have my own farm situation.

49th Annual Cayucos Gem & Mineral Show

This past week we escalated the promotional efforts relating to San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club's 49th Annual June Cayucos Gem & Mineral Show.
Fliers began going out to businesses and I belatedly sent some to each of our dealers.
From now on I will give the dealers at our two shows a year the fliers for the next show about half a year later.
We have already busy promoting this show over the internet for some time now which will continue right up until and through the show.
This coming week will see even more activity with banners going up and fliers going out en mass and a newspaper add being purchased in the New Times and possibly The Cambrian newspaper. Furthermore, I will be writing an article about the show to be offered to any local newspaper that will receive it for purposes of free publicity in exchange for free content.
By the way, my part-time employer Steve will be in that show selling his showcases and such.

Rockatomics Rockhound Roundup 2009

Krissa and I shall be in this show this coming weekend, Friday through Sunday, June 5th through 7th, 10 AM to 5 PM, on the campus of Pierce College.
For additional info check HERE.
We will be in this show for the first time ever and are grateful to get into it and excited about its potential.
However, we are a bit wary given how many shows this year that we were excited about which failed to live up to our expectations.
We have not seen much online promotion of this show which is not to say it has not been promoted well online.
Consequently, we are slightly concerned the Rockatomics Gem & Mineral Society is not promoting it as well as it could be and needs to be promoted.
We hope our concerns are unfounded in fact.

K&K Earthwerks June Yard Sale

As of now we plan on conducting a multi-family yard sale here at my house here in Atascadero on Friday and Saturday, June 19th and 20th, 2009, 7 AM to 2 PM and invite the world to show up and lighten our load and fill our wallets. We will give out more details closer to the time if our plan holds together. Today, I and one of my roommates conducted a dry run of sorts yard sale with little promotion to just work out a system to make the real deal go smoother in a few weeks. We did get a few people coming by who saw our lone advertisement on Craigslist that was only up about day prior or so.

On the Rockhounding Front

Nothing much has happened for us on this front for quite some time.
Actually, the only rockhounding I've done this month was at the ranch of that guy we met at the Superior California Show earlier this month who invited us to join him at his place to look at the geology there and tell him what we could read of what we saw as well as to do a little gold panning (we found nothing).

Weather Notes

May is over and so is climatological Spring in California and earlier so this year than "normal" whatever that means anymore.
It seems California is a month or more ahead of schedule this Spring when it comes to seasonal benchmarks. We've effectively been in fire season all month whereas in a normal year the fire season doesn't get significantly going until June and even later in the North State.
Early this month we experienced the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara County.
We've also seen significant monsoonal moisture and convective activity (thunderstorms) over much of California over the past week with resulting wildfires. Typically, we don't start seeing this until June at the earliest and some years even later.
This does not bode well for what we may expect this year over the course of California's annual fire season.

Four Things I've Noticed About Recent Fire Seasons In California

Four big changes I've noted in recent years when it comes to fire patterns in California are as follows:

1) Fires are getting BIGGER in California (and Arizona) despite better technology and knowledge of fire behavior.

2) Fire sieges now occur in BOTH halves of California in the same year as opposed to alternating year to year or even less frequently.

3) Fires now occur year-around in California and with near-regularity as opposed to every now and then as in the past.

4) Fire sieges in Southern California related to Santa Ana Wind Events now happen nearly every year as opposed to every several years or so as in the past.

Santa Barbara Area Fire History

This subject came up on my California Disasters Yahoo group recently and I compiled this list which I posted there for purposes of comparison and identifying patterns of when fires happen over the course of a calendar year. Here is the list for your edification:

Refugio Fire ~ September, 1955
Coyote Fire ~ September, 1964
Wellman Fire ~ June, 1966
Romero Fire ~ October, 1971
Sycamore Fire ~ July, 1977
Honda Canyon Fire ~ December, 1977
Eagle Canyon Fire ~ September, 1979
Wheeler Fire ~ July, 1985
Painted Cave Fire ~ June, 1990
Marre Fire ~ September, 1993
Harris Fire ~ September, 2000
Gaviota Fire ~ June, 2004
Zaca Fire ~ July, 2007
Gap Fire ~ July, 2008
Tea Fire ~ November, 2008
Jesusita Fire ~ May, 2009

Note: Some of these are a bit further away from Santa Barbara but in the general vicinity in any case.

Also note: the above list does not include the following fires which burned along the Highway 166 corridor in far northern Santa Barbara County near the San Luis Obispo County line:

Spanish Ranch Fire ~ August, 1979
Spanish Ranch Fire ~ July, 2000
Perkins Fire ~ June, 2006


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gun Incident - South Atascadero

This afternoon a three acre fire was started on the hill behind the shooting range in rural South Atascadero just off El Camino Real.
It caused a little bit of trouble with some running and spotting but the air attack plane, a battalion chief, and several engines were all that were ultimately needed to quelch it. A fire at this locale due to shooting at the range occurs about every three or four years. This one was about the same size as the previous one, but a bit less dramatic with no air tanker drops as the previous one happened a bit later in the year when Tankers 94 and 95 were stationed at Paso Robles Air Attack Base for the fire season. They are not there right now due to the earliness of the date relative to the official start of fire season which I believe will be this Monday, June 1st.

Right flank of the fire flaring up on the crest of the hill.

Left flank of the fire flaring up on the lee side of the hill as viewed from the west.

Both flanks of the fire losing steam as viewed from the east side of the hill.

Minor flare-up on the left flank as viewed from the east side on Carmel Rd.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Monsoon Visits The Carrizo Plain

I took the following sequence of photos while out on the Carrizo Plain earlier this decade.

It was a Summer day with monsoonal moisture streaming into the region and storm cells popping up all over the place.

Mom and I drove down the length of the Carrizo Plain sky-watching.

We drove on out of the Carrizo Plain National Monument and down to Hwy. 166 which we took west to New Cuyama where we had lunch.

The first two photos were taken on the way south before the storms hit but as they were building.

We returned to Atascadero by the way whence we came and found ourselves in the aftermath of a flash flood of which we had just missed the worst.

The last two photos were taken on the return trip after the storms had rolled through.

Soda Lake Road is the recently-flooded road pictured.

Photos by Kim Patrick Noyes - all rights reserved.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Geoffrey Notkin: Man-About-Meteorites

This past January I had the privilege of speaking on the phone with Geoffrey Notkin, a genuinely nice and most definitely knowledgeable fellow.

Notkin, has been very well known in meteorite circles for some time but has more recently become rather well-known to Travel Channel watchers in an episode of Cash & Treasures which focused on Notkin's Meteorite Adventures as well as currently to Discovery Channel watchers due to his being one half of the cast of Meteorite Men.

Well before his more recent introduction to the general public he was already a busy fellow with a variety of projects and the talents to match them as evidenced by his personal website

He also has a column on the website entitled Meteorwritings as well as his own Meteoriteblog.

Of greatest particular person interest to me in regards to Notkin, at least at present, is his Aerolite Meteorites business to which I have consigned my large Sikhote-Alin meteorite for sale which you can view HERE.

As you may have noticed the price is not posted on the page and that is so that folks don't have a coronary when they read it as it is being offered for an amount that is not the sort of money most of us possess, including me!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XIX

Oy Vey

Bills are piling up, things are getting a bit scary and I'm feeling a bit besieged tonight .... tempted to question my assumptions about this being the correct path in life for me.
However, everybody I know who has been successful in business has had one or more of these periods but stuck it out and ultimately prevailed.
Fortunately I have a show this coming weekend which is a perfect segue into my next topic...

Anderson Gem & Mineral Show

This weekend I will be doing the Superior California Gem & Mineral Association's club show in Anderson, CA. It will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The show is being held at the Shasta County Fairgrounds. I hope to see some of you there.

Where Are My Show Bloggings You Ask?

There in the queue of bloggings I need to publish but none are finished and most aren't even started but I hope this month to get caught up.

I Gotses Me Some Workses!

Steve Shears has hired me to do farm work for him and today was my first day.
We moved (with a tractor) and split (with hand tools) and stacked firewood (about one to one and a half tiers) and planted some trees (one fig, two persimmons), and fixed a tractor.
Today was only a half day as he and I had other things going on earlier in the day.
I am scheduled to be out there again tomorrow.
This is a good gig as it is part-time and on-call but will not effect my shows.
In fact, Steve is a dealer, too, selling display cases and such at shows, including rock shows.

What Really Caused the Jesusita Fire

I can now tell you with absolute certainty that my hairbrained hypothesis that it was caused by some errant hot debris falling off of a Delta II rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) at about the same time simply isn't true. It has now been authoritatively determined to have been caused by day laborers cutting brush from a trail using power tools during the heat of the day during a Sundowner Wind event.

Whatever Happened To Those Sundowners?

All through this past weekend Sundowners were predicted to move into the Santa Barbara area and thus the Jesusita Fire burn area but they never materialized. However, they are forecasted to strike tomorrow and Wednesday.

Cerro Grande Fire Anniversary

Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the start of the Cerro Grande Fire in New Mexico.
The fire started as a prescribed burn on the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM. A cold front came through the area shortly after the burn was initiated and high winds associates with it caused it to flare up and run and spot and burn right into Los Alamos, both the city as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The fire consumed 47,650 acres and 260 homes.

Schwein Flu

The rampant hysteria seems to be finally subsiding after it had killed a whole one American the meantime a myriad of other hazards killed far more people during the same period. Of course, before that it was the notion that the sky was falling with the economy as some breathless commentators were even deigned to compare it to the Great Depression.
So, now it appears we, the people, have to move on to the next hysteria du jour.

Speaking of the economy

Anybody notice the ongoing trend of good economic news (or economic news less bad then anticipated)? I'm also experiencing my own anecdotal verification to this by way of noticing more construction occurring in the North County region of San Luis Obispo County. People also seem more optimistic and less fidgety than they were late last year into early this year.

AHS Class of 1989 Reunion

This is my first mention of this on Eclectic Arcania but hardly the last. I have been tasked by the organizers with finding those of you who went to school with me (and were in my class) but are not on the list of you with whom we have contact to send RSVP's and such. If any of you are reading this please contact me and let me know your email address and/or phone number and/or mailing address so we can talk about the reunion.

Tempus Fugit

It feels somewhat surreal thinking in terms of having a 20-year high school class reunion coming up....can it be possible? Where did the time go? Where did my youth go? Oh, I know, I squandered both! Oh well, at least I know now and am making corrections which are ongoing.

Dad's Days & Mine

Speaking of time passing, my late father, James Gordon Noyes, was born on November 1, 1946, and died on November 26, 1985, meaning he died at 39 years, 25 days.

I reached 39 years, 25 days yesterday, Mothers Day, Sunday, May 10, 2009, having been born on April 15, 1970.

For a number of years now I've set it as a goal to make it past Dad in terms of days spent on this Earth given how Dad died tragically prematurely in a freak electrocution accident in the hills east of Atascadero, CA.

To me it was a straightforward goal to achieve if God willed it. However, tonight, while on the phone with my girlfriend I suddenly saw this matter in an entirely new and deeper context and was temporarily overwhelmed with sadness and melancholy.

It dawned on me that I have more than simply lived to be older than Dad but now am into territory Dad never traveled.

I suddenly realized it is as if for Dad the clock stopped at 39 years, 25 days and will never move forward for him again while the clock for me continues to move past where it permanently stopped for him.

I was and am now treading territory that he never traveled.

From now on it is no longer the case that he has been down this road before and thus I can take comfort in the thought that he made it and so can I.

I now feel more alone and in some respects feel Dad is now further away than before.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture of the Day - Osama bin Lutheran

Doesn't the figure in the church emblem look like Osama bin Ladin?
This church is located in Cameron Park, CA.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Picture of the Day - Mission San Antonia de Padua

Sanctuary at Mission San Antonio de Padua at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey Co., CA. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Picture of the Day - Halcon Road Washout

Halcon Road in rural southeast Atascadero washed out by the Salinas River earlier this decade. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XVIII

Jesusita Fire

A fire started above Santa Barbara yesterday that was christened the Jesusita Fire.
This one came as somewhat of a surprise given it is still the first week of May (I accidentally started to type "June").

It began yesterday afternoon and driven by a modest Sundowner burned burned through about 200 acres of brush above the Mission Canyon area on the Santa Barbara Front.
It put up a lot of white to light brown smoke but burned no homes.

By nightfall the fire had calmed with the very winds that fanned it and made it possible given how early in the year it is for this sort of fire (in heavy brush when most early season fires are in grass).

The one saving grace yesterday was that humidities were actually relatively high at about 35-45% with modest temperatures. In fact it was cloudy upwind of the fire.

Today dawned distinctly warmer and dryer and although I live about a hundred air miles northwest of this fire the winds that become the Sundowner over the Santa Ynez Mountains must first blow by me here in Atascadero.

I worked the first half of the day at my mother's house and monitored the situation throughout the day.

I specifically checked KEYT-TV at 3:30 P.M. to see if the fire was doing anything and they had no coverage of it at that time.

Unbeknownst to me at just about that time the predicted Sundowner hit with a vengeance and according to witnesses the situation changed from pretty quiet to chaos over about a twenty minute span.

By late tonight it appears scores of homes are destroyed and two hikers known to be in the fire area are missing at last word.

Furthermore, five firefighters are known to be burned with three from Ventura County FD being sent to the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks while a Los Angeles County FD rig was damaged (all the exterior plastic was melted).

To give you an idea of what the Sundowner did to the weather today, Santa Barbara Airport smashed its old record high temperature for the day which was 86* F. with a new daily high temperature of 100* F.

The reason for this is due to the Sundowner coming from the northwest and over the mountains. As air ascends to pass over the Santa Ynez Mountains it dries out due to orographic lifting which causes moisture to condense out of the air. Then when the air descends onto the Gaviota Coast on the other side the mountains it compresses which causes it to heat and hence the lower humidities and high temperatures along the Gaviota Coast today compared to inland in the Santa Ynez Valley north of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Tomorrow looks to be about as warm but dryer and with high pressure aloft building in from the west the next couple of days the winds could be as strong or stronger than what we saw today.

If this forecast plays out as forecasted there could be a calamitous fire in the Santa Barbara area as a repeat of today's conditions but with a much larger fire area from which to start could lead to unprecedented destruction there.

Did Delta II Rocket Start Jesusita Fire?

Coincidentally or not, the fire began at about the same time as Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Delta II rocket with a semi-secret payload of a spy satellite.
The USAF denies any connection but residents in the area of the point of origin report hearing a loud band or explosion immediately preceding the outbreak of the fire so one has to wonder if something broke off the rocket on ascent.

Vandenberg Witness

While looking up the time of the Delta II rocket launch at Vandenberg AFB a short time ago I came across this WEBSITE. All I can really say in response is S...H...E...E...P...!...S...H...E...E...P...!......

Proscript Gems & Minerals

The other day I received a phone call from one Don Ricky of Proscript Gem & Minerals.
Apparently he is a former member of the Santa Barbara gem and mineral club that seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth as did their club show some years ago.

Don told me he used to be the main guy who put that show on but got tired of not having any help of which to speak and then he left the club after one particular member (club officer) started doing things in a manner with which he did not agree and to which he was not willing to be a party.

Anywho, he used to do shows, stopped for a number of years and now wants to get back into the game and called to ask me about getting into the upcoming SLOGMC June show.

I had to tell him his odds are slim given Dean Welder of Peregrine Rocks & Trading Post is ahead of him in line and only God knows whom else. Don is a nice guy and I hope to meet him sometime and maybe even do some rockhounding with him.


Tonight my girlfriend and I had our first big heart-to-heart/state-of-the-relationship talk in awhile.
It was not only enlightening and therapeutic for both of us but also "detoxifying" to use a chic expression. Relationships are certainly complicated things and yet so much about them is so simple even a caveman could conduct one successfully. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch.
However, genuine love and like and thus respect and humility and patience and empathy and open lines of communication and being a good listener will go far in a relationship and in turn make a relationship go far.

Quote of the Day

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

~ Winston Churchill


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SLO Gem & Mineral Club Monthly Meeting

Tonight the San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club held its monthly meeting in SLO-Town.
I took some photos of those in attendance to give the outside world a view into our little world in hopes more folks interested in rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and lapidary art will come visit us and perhaps even join us as we are a small, but warm and friendly bunch with a passion for rocks.

At each meeting we hold a Find of the Month Contest and everybody shows their best find of the past month and the members vote on which one was the most impressive. Needless to say, I'm too modest to say who won tonight.

Club president Noah Doughty showing off his two most recent finds: black jade from the Big Sur Coast and petrified whale bone from Hazard Canyon of which the jade he entered into the Find of the Month Contest.

George "Hib" Moore, past club president Bob Hurless, Melcena Brixley and Sandie Hurless at the rockhound round table discussing vitally important matters, to wit, rocks.

A contented Dianna Deem (show dealer chair) immediately following her impromptu post-work shift dinner of the club meeting snacks and, yes, she will kill me for posting this photo and explaining its context.
Helen Whigham and club secretary Lynette Bayless up to no good as usual.

Mike Shipsey showing off his Ant Hill petrified marine mammal bone finds.

Dan Manion (club newsletter) and club treasurer Mike Sheffer trying to look innocent.

Like I said, I'm not one to brag...about the fact my Ant Hill Shark Teeth collected last month won Find of the Month for May, 2009.

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

Monday, May 4, 2009

SLOGEM.ORG Website Up & Running Now!

Throughout much of this afternoon and throughout this evening I have worked to get content on all the webpages of the long-empty website of the San Luis Obispo Gem & Mineral Club which you can now view HERE.

I invite you all to check it out and I am open to any and all helpful advice and constructive criticism.

However, remember, we are limited in budget as far as graphics and features are concerned and as far as content is concerned we have only just begun so consider this a rough draft and judge it accordingly.

Kim Patrick Noyes
SLOGMC Vice-President

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rocky Canyon Quarry Hike

Today I took a short mile and a half (one way) or so jaunt up Rocky Canyon Road from the intersection with Halcon Road all the way to the back of Rocky Canyon Quarry. Just past the house on the left within sight of that intersection is a gate as motorized traffic is discouraged except for residents and Rocky Canyon Quarry activity.

Today was a Sunday so the quarry was shut for the weekend and I had the place to myself. There is an easement through the quarry for those traversing the Rocky Canyon Trail but they discourage wandering off of that easement. I am mostly respectful of that but did stray a little bit on this day in order to feed my passion for taking some photos. Besides, being a rock guy like I am means I cannot remain exclusively on a public easement through any quarry.


Entrance view

Shaped like a volcano.

Arrows lead the way through.

This contraption reminds me of the Queen Alien in her egg chamber.

Pleasant-looking texture.

More eye-pleasing textures.

A cave of sorts.

The quarry equipment rests in a hallowed out canyon area created by older quarrying.

More gravel, but hey, what do you expect? It's a gravel quarry!

Plenty of signage all the way through the quarry so no excuse getting lost.

Interesting interplay of shadow and shape.

Pines planted in the original terraces are becoming noticeably large now.

The Experimental Test Plot (native plants) was planted in 1993.

Beautiful blooming wildflower whose name I know not.

The long grade at the back of the lower quarry area.

Panoramic view from the back of the lower quarry area.

View from below of the newer upper quarry area.

My late paternal grandfather designed and sold conveyor belt systems.
Seeing the conveyor belt systems here makes me think of him.

The closer pile of gravel is actually sinking into a hole that feeds onto a conveyor belt.

I am now contemplating talking to the quarry people here (Union Asphalt, Inc.) and seeing if they would give the SLO Gem & Mineral Club a guided tour as our club field trip one month this Summer when it is otherwise too hot to do much rockhounding on the Central Coast.

All photographs by Kim Patrick Noyes. All right reserved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Picture of the Day - South Atascadero Sunset

Sunset in South Atascadero looking south along southbound Hwy. 101.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).