Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XXXIX

With the end of the month coming tonight at the witching hour I thought it about time to finish at a busy month on Eclectic Arcania with another edition of Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool. I thank all you my readers for really starting to hit this blog fairly hard as we had nearly 7,000 hits over the last month which is a continued increase and a big step for us given how dead this blog had become during my hiatus from blogging late 2009 through early 2011.

Goodbye Adsense... Goodbye Blogspot?

I appreciate that some of you clicked on my ads here but apparently some of that behavior was not considered kosher enough for Google's lofty standards of commercial activity. Over a week ago they shut down my Adsense account. This is what they said:
 After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the
effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the
advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that
this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and
Of course never mind that I never clicked on any of my ads even once and never encouraged anybody else to do anything unethical. I will appeal this ruling next week but it will be to no avail undoubtedly. Apparently, the late Steve Jobs suggested Google was becoming Microsoft and I'm starting to think he was right about that. Given my long-term plans for this blog to become profitable I will eventually have to move it to another blog hosting site or perhaps even to my own website. Stay tuned!

Santa Ana Winds, Diablo Winds & Mono Winds

As I write my wind chimes are clanging loudly as katabatic winds rip the state of California from Dan to Beer-sheba. In NorCal we have damaging Diablo Winds doing their thing and as of tonight trees already trees have come down onto and blocked US101 in Sunnyvale, CA. In SoCal we have damaging Santa Ana Winds doing their thing and as of tonight the LAFD is announcing parking restrictions on narrow, winding roads in the hilly areas of their jurisdiction in the event fires break out and such roads are needed to be clear of parked cars so that fire apparatus can make access. In CenCal we are experiencing high winds from the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada all the way to the Central Coast where fires have already broken out on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in Western Fresno County. In the Southern Sierra there are powerful Mono Winds raging through the passes and foothills of the west slope. This statewide event is being referred to by some meteorologists as a once-a-decade event. The concern is not only for wildfires but even direct damage from the wind blowing over vehicles or knocking down powerlines or ripping off roofs and such as well as indirect damage from downed trees and poles and such as well as damage from wildfire if such occur to a significant degree. Stay tuned!

Down The Home Stretch

The end of my Fall 2011 semester Cuesta College is within sight with finals week after next. I still have a shot at straight A's but will probably pick up a B or two which is still just fine given my level of focus this semester strayed with my working and blogging and general time management issues. These latter issues need to be better adjusted for the coming semester given my intention to go full-time. Stay Tuned!

Viva La Volvo!

I must say I am quickly falling in love with my 1994 Volvo 850 I purchased several weeks ago for a grand. The thing runs like a top and with two new tires recently purchased the thing is a dream to drive. I am so blessed by this "God Thing" that worked out so well and so unexpectedly following the death of my 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue that was given my as a gift last June but lasted all of about two and a half months before the tranny began to fail on me. My day trip to Fremont, CA, and back over the Thanksgiving holiday last week was its shake-down cruise and it passed with flying colors.

Santa Barbara Gem Faire This Weekend!

Guess where I shall be? My friend Dave has invited me to assist him in his Rocks & Relics booth this coming Friday through Sunday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds for this weekend's installment of Gem Faire. I hope to see some of you there. Certainly, I look forward to seeing the regulars there whom are perhaps Dave's most numerous and faithful "regulars" of any of the shows he does. I will be downwind of the Santa Ana Winds coming over the Santa Ynez Mountains so I should get a dose of Santa Ana Winds while I'm there Thursday through Friday this week.

My Latest Addiction

The Walking Dead on AMC has replaced BSG as my current television passion. The show is well-written, well-casted, well-acted, and well-executed all around to the point that if feels like a movie, not a TV show. It is based upon a graphic novel although it does not uber-closely abide by its original plot-line. Most of us when it comes to zombie apocalypse themes are biased about them by our experience with the George Romero movies starting in the late 60's and onwards which although very intense and fun and in some cases (like Night of the Living Dead) were trend-setting they relied more upon gore than this show does. This sets The Walking Dead apart given most other zombie movies abide by the Romero mold . This show is soulful and sentimental and intelligent and brings up moral questions without telling you what the answer should be and thus becoming preachy (something it shares with BSG). The first season of this show was comprised of only six episodes while the ongoing second season comprises 13 episodes with a third season having recently been ordered up by AMC quite fortunately. I give this movie the highest rating possible and strongly urge you to check it out.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee Death Anniversary

My maternal grandfather, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, whom I talked about last month HERE, died 23 years ago tomorrow morning (12/01/88). I found out during football practice for a C.I.F. Southern Section football game against Trabuco Hills High School later that week (we got blown out on their field) in the semifinals. It was during this time that my sanity was in full retreat as was my retreat from life in general. Aw, the memories!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alexander Tytler NEVER Said This!

The following quote has long intrigued me as being particularly prescient and insightful given that the author to whom it is generally attributed, Alexander Fraser Tytler, was speaking centuries ago and what he said seems so obviously spot-on in our time and place and therein rests the rub.

“A democracy is always temporary in nature;
it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”

Alexander Tytler never said this or spoke this but whomever did falsely attributed it to him to cover their own ideological agenda. How I came upon this truth was when I looked the quote up with the intent of using it in a Quote of the Day piece tonight which has now been replaced by this piece. Gary North in his wonderful piece "The Mythical Alexander Tyler & His Theory of Democracy" outlines the facts of his own research into the real story behind this myth providing sources for his claims. did a good piece on this entitled "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" from the angle of the circular email aspect of this online hoax.


Monday, November 28, 2011

My First Neurogasm

Last Thursday night on the drive back to the Central Coast from spending Thanksgiving with my grandmother in Fremont, CA, I took an after-dark pit-stop in Salinas, CA. Why? Because it was there, and to remind me of how lucky I am to live in Paso Robles, CA. Anywho, in addition to refueling my car and "draining my weasel" I found myself in need of a legal chemical pick-me-up. To my surprise I discovered a new-to-me (why-am-I-using-so-many-hyphens-tonight?) carbonated stimulus package that appeared to me would be more effective than President Obama's fiscal policies. That's right, I caught glimpse of my first Neurogasm and the very sight of it stimulated me into purchasing it. However, given my skepticism as a recovering shopaholic I also purchased my usual low-cal/low-carb Rockstar stimulus package knowing for certain it would work based upon past experience. That night I never got around to embibing my first stimulant soda packaged in a rocket (or is that phallic?) shaped bottle.

However, this night I finally experienced my first Neurogasm and feeling uber-exhibitionist as I did I captured the entire encounter on camera for the edification of all.

WARNING: Those with delicate sensitivities will be offended by the following images.

Image of a Neurogasm
Image of my having a Neurogasm
Image of me bathed in the afterglow of my Neurogasm

First two photos by Kim Patrick Noyes. Third photo by Mark Wiberg (all rights reserved)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good For Me - Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond is one of the more popular not to mention classy and elegant and musically-sophisticated trance music bands in the world. Below is their gem "Good For Me" with vocals by Zoe Johnston and accompanied by a fan video featuring scenes from the BBC award-winning mini-series Planet Earth. The song can be interpreted on multiple levels with the speaker referring to God or lover or family. As I recall the writers of this song were inspired by their children. 

For your listening pleasure here are the lyrics to peruse as you listen to this song if the video is not doing it for you:

To be with you is easy 
I know you're good for me 
This feeling inside me 
Oh it sends me sky high 

To be with you is easy oh baby 
I know your good for me 
This feeling inside me 
Oh it sends me sky high 

You're good for me my baby 
So good for me my love 
You're good for me my baby 
So good for me oh love

Courtesy of Lyricstime

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Marathon of Loss

Twenty-six years ago this morning I lost my father, James Gordon Noyes, in a tragic and freak accident less than a month after his 39th birthday. I outlined my experience with this part of my life two years ago today in my Losing a Father piece on the 24th anniversary of that sad day. Two years later and I reflect upon a marathon of years of loss in various forms.

My family was always small with both my parents being only children and their parents having not many siblings and those siblings and their offspring having at best a peripheral presence in my life or more commonly none at all. I lost my father in 1985 to start off the train of tragedy. Three years later I lost my maternal grandfather, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, as touched upon in my Dr. J. Vernon McGee Was My Grandfather  piece. At that time his wife, my late maternal grandmother, Ruth Inez Jordan McGee, began to die from her mind outwards through her body, a process that would not reach its conclusion until nine years later as she slowly descended into death which finally occurred in 1997. Then a year-and-a-half later my paternal grandfather, James Edwin Noyes, died at 84. Now all I have left are my mother, Lynda Karah McGee Noyes, with whom I have had an at-times troubled relationship with over the years although God has healed that fully. Then there is my only sibling, my  brother Andrew Carey Noyes with whom I am not close after years of a troubled relationship which seems to be undergoing some healing. Finally, there is my relationship with my remaining grandmother, Martha Virginia Van Stone Noyes, with whom I have also had an at-times troubled relationship which it appears God has likewise healed.

Loss has been an overriding theme in my life not limited to the physical death of people. Spiritually I was dead for most of my life until quite recently. My sanity died in 1988 and not coincidentally did not fully return until quite recently as well although that process began several years and preceded my spiritual Renaissance and Great Awakening. The church that comes closest to being my home church while I was growing up and which left the greatest mark on me in my life to date lost its way and made spiritual shipwreck while I was still young. However, it left an indelible mark on my both good and bad.

Through all of this there has been little comfort to be derived from my fellow human beings. I have felt largely on my own because I have been largely on my own. God has used this to teach me to not lean on people nor on myself but to look to Him for guidance and comfort and healing. My process of becoming who I was created to be is far from complete but at least I can see this process underway. Indeed, it has always been underway even when I didn't recognize it and was in darkness and blindness. Everything that has befallen me to date has been part of God's plan for my life and has been engineered by Him to instill in me the qualities I will need in the future and to teach me hard lessons I could and can only learn by experiencing my life as it has been and continues to be.

I remain to this day haunted by the subject of loss and how the news of it is delivered and received.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ruins of a 1906 Quake-Damaged Winery

Yesterday I had the privilege of revisiting the ruin of the Gallegos/Palmdale Winery built in 1881 and destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The location of this site is the vacant lot on the southeast corner of Driscoll Road and Washington Boulevard. in Fremont, CA. I visited this location back in 2008 or thereabouts with my then-girlfriend. At that time a major capital project was taking place at that intersection and the fence surrounding the ruin was partly knocked down allowing the two of us to explore the site. The construction in the area is now complete and the site fenced in with a high chain link fence topped with slanted barbed wire. However, I was able to capture the following images of the site from outside the fence. I would have preferred to have taken these images in sunny weather but these cloudy weather images will have to suffice.

NOTE: I wish to convey my thanks to Dan Dawson for discovering for me the name of this winery and a link to a wonderful article about it by Ralph de Unamuno of Purple Tongue Press.

There is a concrete path for wheel ruts to drive up (or walk up) from the parking location down the street from the intersection of Driscoll Rd. and Washington Blvd. in Fremont, CA.
All that remains of the winery are the back walls and presumably the foundation.
Date palms have taken over the site of the ruin.
Some interesting structural details remain.
A veritable Garden of Eden has filled in the site of the ruined winery.
Clearly these date palms were planted in a line forming a hedge.
I sure wish the fence weren't in place but I realize it protects the location from those who respect it less than I do.
There is a small antenna in this image and out of frame to the right the intriguing entrance to a dark cellar.
Grandma and Mom and Tequila walking back from the winery ruin.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Images

Early this morning I drove up to Fremont, CA, to visit my 92-year-old paternal grandmother, Martha Virginia Van Stone Noyes (my only remaining grandparent). My mother, Lynda, carpooled with me paying for the gas while I took care of driving duties going and coming. Before dawn I brought a McD's breakfast to her house in Atascadero, CA, which we partook in before we left I then briefly visited my house in Paso Robles, CA, on my way north to grandmother's house. The drive was easy and uneventful given the early hour and our taking the Nimitz Freeway instead of the Bayshore Freeway as I used to do spanning most of my life until recently. For days previous we had been hearing reports of this day being a washout but the storm fizzled and only gave us some light drizzle briefly on the way up and then a bit more rain while we were indoors visiting grandma but at no point did it interfere with our day. Grandma lives in a senior living apartment facility which has transformed our once-negative view of such places.

Grandma lives on the third floor in the building wing at center.
Grandma and Mom.
Grandma and Mom and Tequila.
The leaves are changing color in the Bay Area.
Grandma in her apartment.
Grandma and me who looks like Frankenstein's Monster in this image.
I like how Grandma looks in these two images but I look over-posed.
Grandma and the girls at her eating table: Mary, Sally, and Ruby along with Mom.
The newly remodeled long-time home of  Grandpa and Grandma Noyes
The house is now tall as a 3-story building but is a vaulted ceiling 2-story home.
The new version of this house does not fit in well with the neighborhood.
Apparently, the neighbors were opposed to the dramatic changes.
I grew up visiting this house and find the changes disturbing.
Grandpa Noyes' headstone.
Grandma and Mom at Grandpa Noyes' gravesite in Newark.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Natures Finest: Lake County Diamonds

The scientific literature (both print as well as on the web) seems to suffer from a dearth of information about Lake County Diamonds. I came across a brochure about Lake County Diamonds back in 2008 or thereabouts at the visitor center along Highway 29 in Lakeport, CA. It was published by a home-based jewelry maker called Natures Finest which is also located in Lakeport. With the permission of business owner Sally I am sharing the information contained within said brochure below. However, I cannot confirm the accuracy of everything contained therein although I know that much of it is true based upon my own research and experience.

According to one Pomo Indian legend, these fiery gems are the "moon tears" shed by Moon over the forbidden love of her handsome young chieftain. Another legend has if that these stones are the crystallized tears of the Chieftain Kah-Bel who climbed the slopes of Mount Konocti to visit the gravesite of his beloved daughter, Princess Lupiyoma. Archaeologists tell us that Lake County Diamonds were placed on burial mounds by some local tribes as protection against dark spirits who, seeing the sparkle of the "moon tears", would think the moon was shining and flee.

Science has its own explanation for these wonders of nature. Lake County has been the scene of incredible volcanic activity throughout its ancient past. Mount Konocti, the area's defining landmark, is a dormant volcano where past lava flows of magma and basalt were contained under enormous pressure with temperatures of not less than 1,112 Fahrenheit. Heat and pressure resulted in the formation of beta silicon dioxide crystals - Lake County Diamonds - of unsurpassed clarity and the finest optical quality.

Lake County Diamonds are mostly clear and very hard, ranking from 7.5 to 8 (and possibly as high as 9) on the Mohs Scale, and like all diamonds, they can cut glass. They have been used commercially and industrially, but are in greatest demand as semi-precious gems. Lake County Diamonds may be set uncut for a rough natural look, or faced to set off their inner fire which compares in brilliance to African carbon diamonds.

When you purchase a Lake County Diamond, you get not only an exquisite one-of-a-kind natural gem, but also a piece of our region's natural history and romantic Native American past. 
A Comparison of Lake County Diamonds to African Diamonds
Composition: Lake County Diamond (beta silicon dioxide crystallized) ~ African Diamond (carbon crystallized)

Hardness: Lake County Diamond (7.2-8.0) ~ African Diamond (10)

Specific Gravity: Lake County Diamond (2.64) ~ African Diamond (3.52)

Refractive Index: Lake County Diamond (1.55) ~ African Diamond (2.40)

Birefrigence: Lake County Diamond (.009) ~ African Diamond (0)

Dispersion: Lake County Diamond (.013) ~ African Diamond (.044)

Toughness: Lake County Diamond (#5) ~ African Diamond (#3)

Natures Finest is located at 2740 Reeves Lane, Lakeport, CA 95453
Home phone: (707) 263-8856 ~ Cell phone: (707) 272-6870 ~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quote of the Day - Thomas Babington Macaulay

“History, is made up of the bad actions of extraordinary men and woman. All the most noted destroyers and deceivers of our species, all the founders of arbitrary governments and false religions have been extraordinary people; and nine tenths of the calamities that have befallen the human race had no other origin than the union of high intelligence with low desires.” ~ Thomas Babington Macaulay

A Rockhound's Lament

I know that there shall never be
An ignoramus just like me.
Who roams the hills both night and day
To pick up rocks that do not pay.
For there's one thing I've been told 
I pick the rock and leave the gold.

O'er deserts wild and mountains blue,
I pick up rocks of every hue.
A hundred pounds or more I'll pack.
With blistered feet and aching back,
And after all is said and done,
I cannot name a single one.

I pick up rocks where ere I go.
The reason why I do not know.
For rocks are found by fools like me,
Where God intended they should be. 

~author unknown

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Strong by Tiesto (Featuring Priscilla Ahn)

About two years ago I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life. God was really putting me through the meat grinder mentally and emotionally and spiritually as my then-life seemed to unravel and this song really helped me realize what I was going through. Its lyrics perfectly articulated what I was feeling and what I was saying variously to myself or God in the context of our relationship at that time. It became my anthem for that period of my life and would listen to it many times each day. Since that time things have gotten much better and continue to improve with much work still to go. This song is by Dutch electronica superstar Tiesto with vocals by modern American folk singer and songwriter Priscilla Ahn. The lyrics to this song are posted on the screen below to read as you listen to the song.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Scenes From An Oxnard Rock Show

I had the honor of attending the Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society's 42nd annual "Galaxy of Gems" gem and mineral show at the Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center this weekend. I was there for the purpose of assisting my friend David Richter of Rocks & Relics. This year's show theme was petrified wood. Today starting early this morning I captured some images of the show and share them here.
Rocks & Relics booth in the early morning hours before opening.
Sunday morning quietude pervaded the hall.
Rose Quartz display case.
Blue Forest Petrified Wood display case.
Sharks Tooth Hill display case
Assorted petrified wood display case
Agates from around the world display case.
Agates from across the United States display case.
Display case with assorted and more monumental petrified wood specimens.
Assorted petrified wood display case.
Assorted petrified wood case.
Carbon minerals display case.
Polished sphere display case including an Australian petrified "peanut wood" sphere.
Outgoing OGMS President (and soon-to-be V.P.) Louisa Carey's Green Case.
Assorted petrified wood display case.
Fossil leaf display case.
Assorted petrified wood display case.
Gypsum/Selenite display case.
Scary Gary From Tulare scaring me.
Gary Robertson sorting money faster than the camera's eye can see... DO NOT play cards with this man!
David Richter putting the finishing touches in preparing his booth for the day.
Liquid sunshine was one of the things we were concerned about aside from the economy and drunks in the park.
Initially it appeared the rain would keep folks from coming out today but that is not what ended up happening.
World-renowned paleo-botanist Walter Wright talking petrified wood with Dave.
A gorgeous Argentinian Rhodochrosite sphere being polished by Ray Quitoriano as part of his demonstration of such.
C.J. Quitoriano has written on her childhood report cards "plays with fire".
C.J.'s fire-breathing glass dragon.
CFMS president and OGMS-member  Jim Brace-Thompson and Ismael Sanchez of the Bakersfield Mineral Mites.
Stephanie Hagiwara of the OGMS in a photoshooting standoff with guess who.
Norb Kinsler was the show chairman this year and I christaned him "The Norbster".
Some of the Rocks & Relics offerings this day.
Andy and Sonia DeLong responding to my suggestion she divorce him and marry me instead.
In spite of and/or because of the hard rain today folks really showed up this afternoon.
The mirage of solidity and permanency to the Rocks & Relics booth now gone with the dismantling of it.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)