Friday, December 30, 2011

Rinconada Trail Hike 2011

Today I took a short hike up to the spine of the Santa Lucia Mountains in the Los Padres National Forest in the backcountry of San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast of California. My buddy and I parked at the Rinconada Trailhead located at the site of the now-abandoned Rinconada Mine and hiked the relatively short distance to the top. The following images are shown in the order I captured them.

The trail starts out in thin oak woodland.
But soon wends its way into chaparral.
The preceding image shows the trail in this brush field but around the end of this spur of a spur ridge.
My Tequila-monster reading the odor mail on the trail.
This highly mineralized ridge (viewed from the south) contains the Rinconada Mine on the north side.
Higher elevation view of the trail as previous with Black Mountain in background.
Pozo Road wending its way from the Pozo Valley in the background and the Los Padres National Forest beyond.
The trail is perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking but motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Nearing the top the trail gets steeper and features more broken serpentine.
The area burned in the 1985 Las Pilitas Fire but 26-1/2 years later is ready to burn again.
The gate near the top.
View from the top where the trail starts down towards Lopez Lake.
View down Lopez Canyon and out to the south towards Santa Barbara County in the far distance.
My buddy Mike and my buddy Tequila.
This elongated dell struck me as looking like a rift valley.
This lone oak seemed out of place on this rocky and wind-swept saddle in the Santa Lucia Range.
View up the spine of the Santa Lucia Range to the northeast.
Zoomed-in view down into the canyons above Lopez Lake and beyond into Santa Barbara County to the south.
View down the spine of the Santa Lucia Range to the southeast.
Despite no mining activity up here at the top there are plenty of mineralized zones like this outcropping.
View down the spine of the spur-ridge up which the Rinconada Trail wends with this being an offshoot of the trail.
Notice the Nike symbol in the hillside? Rock formation in the distance is within Santa Margarita Lake Park.
Rinconada Mine viewed from across the canyon.
What remains of the Rinconada Mine mill including a retort.
The adits entrances have all been covered with boulders they used to honeycomb the ridge above and behind the mill.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Statistic of the Day - 67 ~ 56

Baylor 67 ~~~ Washington 56

A college football bowl game for the ages... one with a final score that could pass for that of a college basketball game final score. Two college football defensive coordinators need to find new employment. Thus was this year's Alamo Bowl.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 Most Significant Disasters of 2011

It's that time of year, time to look back at the year about to end and reflect and take stock of what happened and attempt, however vainly that may actually be, to place things in their proper context and establish their relative significance. Before you is my feeble attempt to list in order of significance (to me anyway) of the natural disasters that befell our planet this year. Of course, being the Ugly American I am my take on this is rather America-centric.

  1. Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011 in Japan.
  2. 2011 Super Outbreak on April 25-28, 2011 in the United States.
  3. Mississippi River Floods of April through May, 2011 in the United States.
  4. Christchurch Earthquake on February 22, 2011 in New Zealand.
  5. Joplin Tornado on May 22, 2011 in the United States.
  6. Hurricane Irene on August 22-28, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea and United States
  7. Van Earthquake on October 23, 2011 in Turkey
  8. Thailand Flooding from July through December, 2011 in Thailand.
  9. Typhoon Washi on December 16, 2011 in the Philippines
  10. Texas Wildfires from April through October, 2011 in the United States.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Christmas Light Display In Atascadero 2011

This residence on Palomar Avenue in Atascadero, CA, annually features the best Christmas light display of any residence in Atascadero and environs or for that matter any residence in San Luis Obispo County to my knowledge. Words and photos don't do this place justice but this is a start.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 10 Most Dramatic Indian Ocean Tsunami Videos

Seven years ago late yesterday first reports were trickling in of a rather sizable earthquake in Indonesia and a resulting localized tsunami of note. Of course this was merely the beginning of sorrows and horrors as the 2004 Andaman-Sumatra Earthquake and resulting 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster unfolded. By today seven years ago we were all transfixed by what we were seeing on the internet and on television. Before this event there was surprisingly little good video of tsunamis. This was a watershed event not only for tsunami research but also for the capturing of tsunami on video camera. The following ten videos are my picks as the most dramatic to come out of this event in the Indian Ocean basin. I list them in order of prominence from top to bottom.

This is unquestionably to me the most dramatic of the raw footage shot of this disaster. It is taken at Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in the midst of a zone of nearly complete devastation where many thousands of people died within sight of where the footage is shot. It shows that entire district of the city being swept away by ominous roiling black waters. Fortunately, the cameraman and those with him found shelter in an impregnably secure structure that was one of the few to survive the catastrophe. Notable in this video is the sound of the water raging past and the children crying in the background and bein comforted by a woman, presumably their mother.

This video clip used to be available in 100% raw form which I prefer. However, the best I could do at this time is offer it as viewed on a newscast clip. It was taken in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, but in a district of town not utterly annihilated as in the previous clip. However, it is basically no less dramatic. Notable in this video is the initial appearance of the tsunami at the intersection the cameraman from which the cameraman is shooting and how quickly bedlam ensues as the water rapidly rises and jetsam and flotsam rapidly pile up.

This is quite certainly nearly as dramatic is the previous one and quite a bit longer. This scene unfolds in Sri Lanka where we see a perfectly normal morning in town get turned into the end of the world for a lot of people as the camera rolls. Notable in this raw footage is the sight of buses being floated and turned over on their sides with people scrambling upon them. I present here the full-length video as I prefer as little editing of video I watch as possible.

This raw footage features a Phuket, Thailand hotel and its beach-side restaurant get assaulted by the tsunami. Especially noteworthy in this reel of raw video is an old couple getting overwhelmed by the tsunami and swept away. The woman was killed. The voice of the cameraman and those around him lends additional dramatic effect.

Although this footage clip is one of the most often used on television up to the present I had the most difficulty tracking it down online. This scene presumably takes place at a Phuket Island, Thailand, resort complex although the video offers no description of itself and I cannot recall from memory where this occurred. Notable in this footage is the father giving good narration and at the height of the tsunami's assault on the resort grounds he yells to his kids to get back inside their room from the balcony upon which they had been observing the approaching 20-30 foot-high waves.

This video is rather remarkable as its length gives us the chance to watch the tsunami approach Patong Beach, Thailand, for several minutes and then we see it hit and then watch the ominous retreat of the surge for a number of minutes in a video first as to my knowledge there is no precident to this showing the entire cycle and from a higher elevation perspective no less. This video is also notable for showing the infamous scene of the boy or young man standing transfixed on the sand from whence the ocean had retreated and unable to bestir himself to run away is overrun and drowned before our eyes.

This is one of my footage favorites from this disaster as it shows a tall and powerful surge of water roll into a resort at Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand, and yet nobody is shown getting swept away. Notable in this video is the large, stately vase-like fountain that initially appears to be tall but at the peak of the tsunami is almost over-topped. Also, the narrator is surprisingly calm but does a great job explaining what is going on.

The raw footage was taken in Sri Lanka and features tsunami rolling into a resort and sweeping away a number of people who appear to survive. The voice of the cameraman and those with him lends narration and additional dramatic effect.

This sequence taken from a rooftop features the tsunami crashing into Patong Beach, Phuket Island, Thailand. It is notable for the widespread disruption of streets and thoroughfares of that resort community as well as the dramatic waves action visible. The cameraman speaks in an unknown tongue but with a Jersey Shore-like affectation.

This short reel of raw video features yet another Sri Lankan resort getting overrun by the waters of the tsunami. This footage features a gorgeous swimming pool getting swamped as well as people running for their lives.

One More Indian Ocean Tsunami Video Of Note

Another Indian Ocean Tsunami Video

Earlier this year I compiled a similar list regarding the Great Tohoku (Japan) Tsunami of last March which can be viewed here and is entitled Top Ten Most Dramatic Tohoku Tsunami Videos.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thank You Very Much

I first saw the 1970 movie Scrooge starring Albert Finney in the title role when I was less than six years old. The following scene (whose song received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song) left such an indelible mark on my memory that I still vividly remember it. I must say this is my very favorite scene in any movie musical.

Christmas At Ground Zero

This is Weird Al Yankovic at his zany best... and NO, this does not refer to 9/11 as some have erroneously suggested elsewhere on the internet in taking misplaced umbrage.I have placed the lyrics below the music player below.

It's Christmas at Ground Zero
There's music in the air
The sleigh bells are ringin' and the carolers are singin'
While the air raid sirens blare

It's Christmas at Ground Zero
The button has been pressed
The radio just let us know
That this is not a test

Everywhere the atom bombs are droppin'
It's the end of all humanity
No more time for last minute shoppin'
It's time to face your final destiny

Well, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
There's panic in the crowd
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath a mushroom cloud

You might hear some reindeer on your rooftop
Or Jack Frost on your windowsill
But if someone's climbin' down your chimney
You better load your gun and shoot to kill

Oh, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
And if the radiation level's okay
I'll go out with you and see the all new
Mutations on New Year's Day

It's Christmas at Ground Zero
Just seconds left to go
I'll duck and cover with my yuletide lover
Underneath the mistletoe

It's Christmas at Ground Zero
Now the missiles are on their way
What a crazy fluke we're gonna get nuked
On this jolly holiday
What a crazy fluke we're gonna get nuked
On this jolly holiday


I Love Schweddy Balls

I consider this to be one of the greatest Saturday Night Live skits of all time:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trans-Siberia Orchestra - Xmas Music With Balls

Ever since I first discovered the Christmas music supergroup Trans-Siberia Orchestra they have been a perennial favorite of mine for music of "The Season". So much of traditional Holiday music fare is actually rather vanilla when you think about it, but not this group. See for yourself here:

Wow Sunset December 2011

Tonight I snapped these shots at work in South Atascadero just before I left for home. I captured eight images in all and these are the best four. I intended to further edit this group down to two but could not bring myself to further eliminate any more so here are the final four.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do They Know It's Christmas?

"Do They Know It's Christmas" out in 1984 and was produced by the non-profit British/Irish supergroup Band Aid was not as popular as but certainly inspired 1985's American supergroup USA For Africa which produced "We Are The World" megahit. I prefer this song. Note: two years later I posted HERE the 1989 Band Aid II version of this song. 

Some Effects of the 2003 San Simeon Quake

Eight years ago this morning a M6.5 earthquake struck the Central Coast with startling ferocity.
The San Simeon Earthquake as it became known resulted in pockets of heavy damage, widespread light to moderate damage, numerous injuries, including your's truly as well as two fatalities in Paso Robles, CA, which received the brunt of the quake's wrath. The earthquake was the result of a rupture of the Oceanic Fault beneath the Santa Lucia Mountains north of Cambria, CA. What follows are a series of images I captured in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

The City of Atascadero's Rotunda Building.
Park Street looking south from 14th Street in downtown Paso Robles, CA.
O'Shea's Bar in San Miguel, CA.
The Rios-Caledonia Adobe in San Miguel, CA.
Oceanic Fault roadcut along Santa Rosa Creek Road east of  Cambria, CA. Mineral springs formed in the roadbed immediately after the quake.
Numerous odiferous mineral springs formed in the bed and along the banks of Santa Rosa Creek immediately after the earthquake.
A huge boulder was loosened from a nearby outcropping by the earthquake and rolled down the hill across Santa Rosa Creek Road and came to rest in this garden.
*Note: I posted a previous piece about this earthquake on the sixth anniversary of it HERE.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quote of the Day - "Agent Smith"

"I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure."

~ Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving) in the movie The Matrix

For more on Agent Smith visit My Top Ten Favorite Movie/TV Villains list.

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XL

First off, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! The response from you my readers continues to be quite encouraging and I am humbled and grateful. Each month's blog visitation keeps exceeding the month prior. Some of it is regular readership. Some of it is the consequence of people being directed here via search engines. Another avenue seems to be that a link to one of the posts here finds its way onto a forum or email list and then a surge of people links through that and into this blog. Given that I am adding new posts all the time the net by which I can pick up such traffic keeps getting broader given both the continued expansion in aggregate volume of my content and in the variety of topics touched upon.

Change Is In The Wind

My good friend Lin Kerns is making more changes early this week on this blog. There are to be new graphics of various sorts most of which are already up as you can see. There is now a new background image, a new addy bar icon, as well as an icon that denotes the end of a blog post (which temporarily features a thumbnail image of my pooch but shall eventually be a cartouche of my name). Also, the number of volcanocams has been reduced down to one, to wit, the one at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Thanks, Lin !!!

 Goosed by Google

I got screwed by Google Adsense last month. Google claims there was "invalid" activity on the ads on this blog at that time. Given I never once clicked on any of these ads myself  I assume this to mean that somebody else was clicking on one or more of the ads Google had placed on this page in the context of my Adsense account. That person or persons did so an inordinate amount of times and in such a pattern that it was viewed as cheating by me or on my behalf. Consequently, this blog will not be able to be profitable as long as it is on the Google server. Therefore, I will be throwing Google under the bus at some point in the coming year and moving this blog elsewhere so it can be profitable. For the time being it shall remain where it is while I continue to build up a viewership and plot my next move.

The Big Four-Oh

I refer to this being the 40th installment of this column, NOT my age which unfortunately is careening towards 42. I feel much younger than that and am actually rather enjoying my fifth decade of life. I still have not lost my hair although some gray has come into my side burns and beard and mustache which has me shaving them most of the time nowadays. I'm not vain enough to color them but I am vain enough to shave them off. I am blessed with the same good vision I have had all my life to date. Senior moments seem to happen more frequently but that is countered by the fact I feel smarter than I ever have regardless if that is an actual reflection of reality or not.

Bah Humbug

Given my continued poverty as well as my suffering mildly from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) and this being the roughest time of year to deal with that here in the Northern Hemisphere as well as the fact I have a tiny family (it's basically me and mom and grandma) so no warm, big family to grab me and pull me in during the Holidays and add to that the fact this is the time of year I have lost most of my deceased family members and to that add the fact I continue to be single which although nice freedom-wise and drama-wise is nonetheless rather lonely, especially in this snuggle-friendly time of year. Given that I am aware of what I'm dealing with it allows me to counter the melancholy when it creeps ups which is certainly empowering but I nonetheless continue to endure struggles that make this time of year my least favorite one. I'm a Hawaiian shirt and shorts and sandals and broad-rimmed hat and sunglasses kinda guy and let's be honest, it's too damned cold to wear any of that right now... well except for the hat and sunglasses.

I Know Somebody Who Is NOT in Poverty

That would be my ex-girlfriend. Sadly, we don't talk at all ever so I know nothing of her life anymore. However, I read in the March 10, 2011, edition of the Anderson Valley Advertiser that she won her settlement against law enforcement authorities in Mendocino County following an erroneous drug raid on her apartment last year. She was injured in the attack and then an attempt made to cover it up by the officer in charge, a man with a reputation for FUBAR's and SNAFU's. Here is what appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser:

A civil rights claim for a negligent and irresponsible search warrant and violent injuring of an innocent victim was settled this week against the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Ukiah.
The claim was filed by Krissa Klein of Willits, and stays in effect against one of the defendants, the State of California. Under the settlement which Klein accepted to avoid litigation, the County of Mendocino and City of Ukiah will pay her $35,000 in damages.

According to Klein’s claim, Officer Peter Hoyle of the Ukiah Police Department and Deputy Sheriff Raymond Hendry, members of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, wrongfully obtained a search warrant for her home in Willits. Had they done the required research they would have obtained the correct address, which was not the Klein home. After forcing entry, Office Hoyle violently threw 21 year old Klein to the floor of her bedroom in March 2010. The records completed by the officers proved they failed to follow multiple legal requirements of the Major Crimes Task Force regarding search warrants. Hospital records show that Hoyle visited the emergency room where Klein was treated demanding the bill be sent to his office, and falsely “stated he was not the officer involved.” In the settlement, Klein obtains compensation for the injuries the police wrongfully inflicted on her. She said that she “hopes this initial victory will result in local police officers following the law.” Klein said she has always supported law enforcement but believes that police should be held accountable when they violate the laws they are sworn to uphold. “Hopefully this will encourage other innocent victims of unlawful police practices to speak up so this won’t happen again and we can be safe in our homes,” she said.

Attorneys Barry Vogel of Ukiah and Brina Latkin of Albion represented Klein. Vogel said the police investigation reports reveal unconstitutional abuses if not a planned cover-up. He and Latkin were surprised at extent to which their client’s injuries were minimized by the defense team. Vogel noted that the claim is still open against the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement which supervises the Major Crimes Task Force, headed locally by Special Agent Robert Nishiyama. Vogel said “If changes are not immediately made to conform to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court regarding the 4th Amendment rights of the people to be secure in their homes further claims will be pursued.”
Vogel noted that there have been previous claims and litigation involving Officer Hoyle.

This takes some of the strain of urgency off of me in regards to the few grand I still owe her. I ALWAYS hold to my obligations but my circumstances the past couple of years have kept me from ever getting ahead enough to finish repaying. her. At least now I know she is not hurting for money while she awaits that happening.

 Off To Grandma's House I Go

After a lovely Thanksgiving 2011 with mom and grandma I shall be reprising that for Christmas with a day trip up there. Mom and I shall get up before dawn and drive up to Fremont and spend the day with my last remaining grandparent and the return late that evening. I have some cool stuff planned for the day which hopefully provide content to share here.

You All Are Crazy

Last evening I was out driving around and doing chores in San Luis Obispo (hadn't been down there on my own in a while) and Atascadero (where I used to live). The Christmas insanity was in full force. It was so bad driving back from SLO and over the Cuesta Grade that I elected to get off the 101 Freeway at the first possible opportunity and take El Camino Real to Atascadero just to get way from the Running of the Bulls that was that freeway last night. I used to be a part of that nonsense back when I had money. Becoming poor has been incredibly healthy for me on so many levels. I have now been poor enough long enough to be permanently reprogrammed. When I get my financial ship refloated one of these days I shall never again rejoin that Christmas orgy and insanity.

The Occupation Jumped The Shark (Already)

Well, that sure was fast. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is so last month. Part of it is they were always a "flavor-of-the-month" movement and thus destined to flame out. Then there was the problem of their own appearance and behavior doing nothing to help their cause. Then there is the fact that their tendency to park it in the middle of , well, parks in the middle of commercial districts and interfere with commerce including the commerce of Democrat-leaning entrepreneurs doomed them. Even the Neo-Liberal news media seems to have turned away from them to some degree. The Chattering Classes need to do Christmas shopping, too, kiddos, so get back to your college campuses or your parent's house in the suburbs. One bit of irony that seems lost on everybody is that Obama's 2008 campaign was largely funded by Wall Street Democrats (the dominant group there) which seems lost on not only the Occupier ding-dongs but quite intentionally by the Fourth Estate.

Fall 2011 Semester Is Done

Last week I took my finals for my three classes at Cuesta College and now am out of school for about a month. Next month I shall officially become a full-time student taking four or five classes. I believe I got two A's and a B this past semester which means my 4.0 GPA just went away but that was never gonna last anyway I suspect so I'm not going to worry about it. I missed some homeworks in my Spanish class that were worth more than I realized at the time. On all my other coursework in that class (including all tests) I achieved A's.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong-il Is So Ronery

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's ruinous reign of repression ended two days ago. This seems to me a fitting way to remember him. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quote of the Day - Abraham Lincoln

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell with the chorus of union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

~ Abraham Lincoln in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coloma California & Sutter's Mill

The first time I visited Coloma, CA, was in 1989. I have been drawn to this place ever since that time as it has become a mental, emotional and spiritual touchstone for me. Something about what happened here draws my soul... it is not the karma of the place (which is bad) but rather the dynamism and lingering sense of historical hangover that permeates here in the context of the foundational changes to which events which transpired here acted as catalyst. In particular the original location of Sutter's Mill and it's tailrace where the initial discovery of gold was made by James Marshall which in turn touched off the California Gold Rush is located in this beautiful little valley. As a reminder that what happened here had profound and tragic implications for other people is the presence of Maidu Indian bedrock mortars inside the boundaries of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The following images were taken on a trip to this place in early April, 2001.
Coloma Valley
The South Fork American River looking down-river from the bridge mid-span.
The South Fork American River looking down-river from the bridge mid-span.
Sutter's Mill facsimile
Sitter's Mill facsimile replete with tailrace.  
Sutter's Mill facsimile showing lumber ramp.
Sutter's Mill facsimile opposite end view showing headrace.
Sutter's Mill facsimile replete with vertical and finished lumber.
That is me standing next to the monument marking the location of Sutter's Mill.
The channel in the foreground is the tailrace of Sutter's Mill where James Marshall discovered gold on January 24, 1848.
A white quartz outcropping rises from the waters of the river just downriver from the gold discovery site.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)