Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 10 Most Significant Disasters of 2016

This is my own biased list of top disasters of the year ending tonight and listed in descending order of fatalities. I deliberately left out terrorism and war as I categorize those differently.
  • Hurricane Matthew (Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Coast USA) - 1,000+ killed, inc. 49 killed in U.S.
  • M7.8 Ecuador Earthquake - 673 killed, 16,600  injured
  • Central Italy August M6.2 EQ and October M6.1 & M6.5 EQs - 299 killed and 3 killed
  • Ghost Ship Club Fire (Oakland, CA) - 36 killed
  •  Chimney Tops 2 Fire (Gatlinburg, TN, Firestorm) - 14 killed, 2,013 homes and 53 commercial structures destroyed, more than $500 million in damage, and 17,136 acres charred
  • M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake (New Zealand) Earthquake - 2 killed, major infrastructure damage, 15-foot tsunami at one location, and extreme tectonic deformation of ground surface along fault trace.
  • Erskine Fire (Lake Isabella/Kern Co.) - 2 killed, 257 homes & 52 other structures destroyed, and 47,864 acres charred   
  • Soberanes Fire (Los Padres NF/Monterey Co.) - 1 killed, 57 homes & 11 outbuildings destroyed, 132,127 acres charred, and most expensive firefighting effort in U.S. history.
  • Fort McMurray Firestorm (Alberta, Canada) -  2,400 homes & other structures destroyed and 1.5 million acres charred
  • Blue Cut Fire (Cajon Pass, California) -  37,000 acres charred, 105 homes and 213 other structures destroyed
To view the 2015 list go HERE and to see the 2011 list go HERE.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ghostly Fog Envelops SMR

Tonight I worked the last wedding of 2016 at Santa Margarita Ranch. It was predictably cold given it is now the dead of winter but before the cold set in after the sun set it rained which combined with the subsequent cold caused radiation fog to form on the ranch which moved through the venue in a fashion reminiscent of a horror movie. Below are the atmospheric highlights of what I witnessed.

This is obviously an indoor shot sans fog but it, too, has some ghostly features such as the glow sticks held by Janet and the dancing flame heaters and the stringed lights and the blue deejay light appearing behind Janet's head as if coming out of her head. There was even a white barn owl out of the image up under the crown of the roof perched all night. All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved). 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Quote of the Day - Dolores Abernathy

The past couple of weeks I have become addicted to the new HBO series Westworld whose first season I finished watching tonight. I have long loved the original 1973 movie Westworld starring Yul Brynner as the rogue robotic killer running amok in the futuristic fantasy park originally contrived by Michael Crichton. Any movie or television program or song or poem that makes one think about it for days after encountering it is something special. This Westworld television series is something special. It is good on every level from storywriting to casting to acting sets and shooting localities to special effects. My newest crush is Evan Rachel Wood as the unforgettable Dolores Abernathy. She repeats the Shakespearan line below (from Romeo & Juliet) which her "father" tells her which has the same effect on her as it does on the person she shares it with and it spreads like a virus. She was neither the first or last to say it but to me her telling of it is the most memorable. I will not say more as to not spoil it for you but this is must-see-tv!

"These violent delights have violent ends." ~ Dolores Abernathy

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

R.I.P. Debbie & Carrie

This is how I choose to remember them. Today, Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart (via stroke) following the death (via heart attack) of her beloved daughter Carrie Fisher yesterday. Both women were beloved entertainers whose at-times stormy mother-daughter relationship matured over the years into a dear bond between them whose breaking broke both of them. I choose to remember them as they appear in the above photograph. This celebrity death drama, which started last week with Fisher's heart attack aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles, has emotionally affected me much more than most such stories due. I did not know these people and yet I grew up with them and have followed their lives throughout mine own. Their human foibles and struggles are things to which I can relate more than with most celebrities. I am deeply saddened by this deadly doublet. Photo courtesy of Getty Images (all rights reserved).

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My 1980s Sex Icon Gone

This morning Carrie Fisher of Star Wars' Princess Leia fame died from her heart attack aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles several days ago from which she stopped breathing and never regained consciousness. A generation of hormonal adolescent men, especially the geekier ones like me, found her captivating and her wearing her slave bikini outfit in Return of the Jedi raised her to the level of generational sexual icon on par with Farrah Fawcett's 70s bikini poster image. To many people like me, her character's appearance and personality embodied all the things we desired; physical beauty, an older woman (she being a young adult relative to our still being kids), intelligent, spunky, and courageous. Since her youthful Star Wars run I have continued to appreciate and respect her and follow her life's journey through its ups and downs including her struggles with self-esteem, living in her famous mother Debbie Reynolds' shadow, drug addiction, and bipolar disorder. I seem to have a thing for hot, crazy, emotionally wounded women. I feel profoundly sad about this celebrity death much more than most despite my having never met her. All images courtesy of 20th Century Fox (all rights reserved).

Monday, December 26, 2016

My Three George Michael Faves

Yesterday while spending Christmas Day with my mother and remaining grandmother, I learned of the death of George Michael. In typical human fashion he lived a complex and sometimes tortured life but managed to make it to 53 when a heart attack felled him on Christmas Day 2016. Above are my three favorite George Michael songs in descending order of preference.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Picture of the Day - Face of 97 Christmases

Today mom and I celebrated Christmas with my paternal grandmother, Martha Virginia Noyes. at her apartment in Fremont, CA. She is my sole remaining grandparent and she is ninety-seven years-old. I am grateful beyond words she is still in my life and indeed that she is more a part of my life now than at any time in my adult life given how our relationship has improved over the course of the past several years following a series of rocky periods prior to that thaw stretching back to my adolescence. I have matured and grown a lot as has Grandma who has blossomed and thrived since her husband died in 1998 at age 80. This mirrors her own mother's life who also blossomed and thrived after her own husband died. Grandma had a minor heart attack earlier this year and last year fell in the night and broke her pelvis. Prior to that her life has been pretty health problem-free aside from an appendicitis and emergency appendectomy in the early 1990s. That she has suddenly experienced a surge in health issues to go with ongoing, long-term age related wear and tear has me a bit concerned. I realize I cannot take any time with her for granted and I better enjoy her while she is still in my life. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Picture of the Day - Spreading Flames

Tonight I attended my church's annual Christmas Eve service, this being at least the second year in a row I have been in attendance as I recall. At the end of the service we gathered outside along with New Day Church who jointly worshiped with us, and were sent outside the church and into the world with the commission to share the flame which we literally did for the entire crowd who held candles given to them for this very purpose. The entire crowd's candles were lit starting from just my pastor's lit candle. I always enjoy these sorts of symbolic gestures both in the Catholic and Protestant spheres.

Meme of the Week - Never Forget Nakatomi Plaza

Surely I shall never forget. If I have to explain any of this then you have been exposed as a pop cultural dweeb. For those of you who "get it" I applaud your pop cultural hipness.
*Note: if you don't know and feel you must know to what this refers just go HERE.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Picture of the Day - A Temple To Temple

Tonight I worked a wedding at the Camp San Luis Obispo Officers Club for the first time (for me). It was rainy and cozy and romantic for the the couple who are both service members, he being a guard at SATCOM up at Camp Roberts and she being in basic training in the US Army as I recall. They were a nice-looking couple and the wedding was charmingly small and casual and in a building with that WWII-era look and feel.

In fact, the place is a veritable museum of photographs of the base in yesterday from exercises to celebrity USO visitors performing. This base is the original home of the California National Guard. The officers club there is a de facto shrine to former California National Guard boss under Governor Reagan and later US Army National Guard boss under President Reagan, Lieutenant General Herbert R. Temple, Jr.

The above primary source document framed and hanging on the wall of a hall across from the restrooms indicates that up through the 1970s the Governor's Office of Emergency Services leader was not an Emergency Manager but rather the head of the California National Guard. We've come a long way!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Picture of the Day - Home Group Xmas Potluck

Tonight my church home group (essentially a church bible study held at the home of an amazing couple who are friends but not members of our church) held a potluck end-of-year get-together before taking a break next week for the holidays. This image does not include all in attendance but most in attendance. I sure do love all these people and have grown so much with them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Tsunami Simplified

Miles Traer strikes again! As with THIS other recent offering by him also produced during his recent visit to the recently-concluded American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, he explains a potentially complex scientific principle using language and art design capable of benefiting all levels of learners in the spirit of UDL. Image by Miles Traer and courtesy of AGU via Twitter (all rights reserved).

Flowtation Notation

I love this track once it really gets rolling which is at about the 2:30 mark and a big drop hits at about the 3:30 mark. I've been listening to this track lately on my Volvo's CD player in which I have Blank & Jones' 2004 album Monument in which this trance track "Flowtation" appears. This was one of the last music CD's I ever purchased before I went broke in the Great Recession and imposed emergency fiscal martial law upon myself  in order to survive. Anywho, crank up your sound system and play this!

Happy Solstice Day!

I'm not going to rehash all the details of Christianity creating Christmas to replace Saturnalia and other pagan celebrations around the time of the Winter Solstice and New Year. However, I do wish to remind folks that today being the Winter Solstice made it a big deal to many ancient pagan pre-Christian groups. And, were it not for those elements we would be celebrating Christ's birth later in the Winter when he was actually born. Some of my more legalistic and anal-retentive Christians abhor Christmas for this reason, forgetting that it really doesn't matter when we celebrate Christ's birth provided that we as Christians celebrate His death EVERY day! Given my previously-mentioned issues with S.A.D., I find anything festive that emphasizes LIGHTS this time of year to be a good thing. Furthermore, given this is a relatively cold and dark time of year, any festival which emphasizes celebration of Winter and joy and reinforcement of filial and community bonds through get-togethers and gift-giving is a good thing. In fact, given that God created the Winter Solstice, why don't Christians celebrate that annual astronomical event with as much vigor as any pagans in history?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This Star Shines Bright

This trance track strikes me as being superbly suited for play at or near the start of a deejay set in order get club guests/concert attendees warmly welcomed and in the mood. I love this track once it really gets rolling which is at about the 1:20 mark and a big drop hits at about the 2:20 mark. I've been listening to this track lately on my Volvo's CD player in which I have Blank & Jones' 2004 album Monument in which this trance track "Stars Shine Bright" appears. I would argue this track could also be described as having a house music sound with some electro-funk elements. It is worth noting that Monument was one of the last music CD's I ever purchased before I went broke in the Great Recession and imposed emergency fiscal martial law upon myself in order to survive. Anywho, crank up your sound system and play this!

Now I'm Not As S.A.D.

As some of you may know if you have followed this blog closely enough for long enough, I have a bit of an issue with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Consequently, this time of year is my least favorite as you might imagine, especially combined with the recently previously mentioned significant family death anniversary dates that happen every year within this general timeframe.

In light of this (pun intended) I noticed night-before-last on the way home from mom's house around dusk that there was longer twilight and sunset had happened minutes later than had been the case for weeks previously. This made made me very happy! Tonight (the last night of Autumn 2016) I did a little research and here are some hard facts:
  • Each year in Paso Robles, the earliest sunset time first occurs on November 29th when sunset happens at 4:50 p.m. PST.
  • This sunset time remains in place through December 12th each year at Paso Robles, CA. 
  • Due to the vicissitudes of astronomical movements and geometry, even after sunset starts coming later in the evening on December 13th, sunrise continues to come later in the morning and that change is greater causing the overall length of day to continue to shorten through December 21st when the Winter Solstice signals a return to ever-lengthening days. 
  • Hours of daylight at Paso Robles shorten down to a minimum of time at 9  hours, 45 minutes from December 18th through December 26th. 
  • Two nights ago when I first noted this season that the sun was setting later and the twilight was longer, sunset was at 4:52 p.m. PST. It appears I'm so light-sensitive that I detected that two-minute differential. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Picture of the Day - Flamson Gym Floor

For Paso Roblans wondering whatever happened to the Flamson Middle School old basketball gymnasium flooring from prior to the quake retrofit, look no further than here. It is located next door to me, partly being re-purposed on the floor of my neighbor's house. A larger quantity remains for other worthy re-purposing projects of a well-regarded local clan. As an Atascadero Junior High School 8th grade boys basketball Saint, I played basketball against Flamson and later played on this floor against the Bearcats as a junior varsity basketball player my sophomore year of high school at Atascadero High School. Back in the 1980s Paso Robles High School played basketball in the Flamson gymnasium if my memory serves me right. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Scripture of the Day - David & Paul

Today, as I observed in my school placement classroom and assisted my cooperating teacher to the degree possible given the nature of today's lesson plan, two passages of Scripture kept ringing in my head over and over and over, to wit, "Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling." (Ps. 2:11) and ".... my strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor. 12:9)

I soon recognized what the Lord was communicating to me as I have been stressed for months about how I will deal with being in front of a classroom full of high school sophomores and my cooperating teacher and at times other adult monitors who are grading me either for my credential program or whom I have invited in to watch me so I can get a letter of recommendation from them. Part of my problem has been losing my mojo over the course of a rough quarter at Cal Poly and part of my problem has my inability heretofore to self-actualize the persona of my being a teacher.... that is until the past several days. Talking to my history mentor Dennis Judd on Sunday I shared with him some of my concerns and he told me he never entirely lost the sense of being uncomfortable teaching in front of a community college class and felt that was a good thing as it kept a teacher honest and humble and being more careful about their teaching. I really took that sage counsel to heart. Then today's passages of Scripture reminded me that I am a servant serving my loving Creator who created me to be a teacher as everybody around me for years has observed. God's power is perfected through human imperfection and weakness as the chaff and the dross of human brokenness is purged out in such situations and all that remains is God stuff.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Picture of the Day - Haboob Under Cumulonimbus

Twitter is starting to become my best source of interesting and/or useful photographs with this being one of the most recent such images. I was awed the moment I saw this image of a desert haboob buffeting Phoenix, AZ, as a monsoonal thunderstorm's collapse triggered a downburst on August 21, 2016. Photo by Ryan Vermillian by way of The Weather Channel via Twitter (all rights reserved).

Graphic of the Day - Food-Lover's Guide To Volcanoes

The American Geophysical Union held its annual autumn conference in San Francisco last week. Since the early 1990s I have enjoyed the earthquake and other type earth science-related disaster presentations and resulting articles in the San Francisco Chronicle as written by legendary science reporter David Perlman. He is now slowing down output given he is 97 but still works for the newspaper. I have not seen any articles by him (or anybody else) about anything presented at this year's conference. Either the corporate nature of modern newspapers has taken the Chron's focus off covering an important science conference in their own City or this year's conference offered fewer things worth placing in the San Francisco Chronicle. However, the most interesting thing coming out of this year's conference I could find was on Twitter which is this graphic by Miles Traer (all rights reserved).

Scripture of the Day - Paul (Phil. 4:13)

This past week was finals week at Cal Poly and I barely survived it for a variety of reasons. These reasons included the fact I came into the week a bit behind and had to get caught up AND also actually complete my finals. These finals were all project-based and, to varying degrees and in differing ways, difficult. It seems many/most of the members of my teaching credential cohort struggled to varying degrees under both the quantity of assignments and the sometimes difficult-to-grasp expectations of the instructors.

I also was dealing with my continued recovery from the mental-emotional-psychological-spiritual damage I incurred earlier in the quarter with some family stuff which saw me being able to be strong during the crisis but then experience a bit of a mental-emotional collapse after things stabilized. Then there was my annual onset of S.A.D.

Then there is the fact this time of year features the death anniversaries of the two primary male figures in my life who died when I was in high school, one my freshman year and the other my senior year. Nary a year passes I do not think and reflect upon these anniversaries. If you have been following this blog you know these deaths had a profound and abiding impact on my life to which I am still sorting out and trying to recover and onward move.

Then there is the deepest level of causation and that has been the spiritual attack I have endured as the Enemy has attempted to distract and discourage me. Indeed, I have repeatedly felt like I was in over my head in this adventure and contemplated dropping out of the course. Yet, God's grace abounds and abides and I passed all my classes despite barely surviving one of them. One of the several passages of Scripture that got me through the past week and became one of my mantras was the verse below:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~ (Philippians 4:13 [KJV])

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Picture of the Day - Why It's Called Oyster Ridge

This afternoon into this evening I worked a wedding at Oyster Ridge Barn within the Ancient Peaks vineyards within the boundaries of the southern annex of Santa Margarita Ranch south of Santa Margarita, CA. In case anybody might be wondering why a place 20 miles inland would be given such a name just consider these are all over the place either as scraps laying here or there or loosely incorporated into the landscaping or cemented into walls. These are Miocene-era fossilized oceanic oysters eroding out of an prehistoric near-shore submarine deposit of which the low-lying ridge is comprised. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, December 16, 2016

He's Back!

Earlier this evening I went alone to Park Cinemas in downtown Paso Robles and watched the new Star Wars movie Rogue One on its opening night. I enjoyed it and feel it is a solidly good movie, but I believe I liked the previous offering in the franchise a bit more, to wit, The Force Awakens. Anywho, there were a number of things to like about this movie, most significantly, Darth Vader is back and with a vengeance and voiced by James Earl Jones as God intended. Jones is aged 85 and so I'm glad they did at least one more movie with this greatest ever of all movie villains with the right voicing. Image courtesy of Disney Corporation (all rights reserved).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Home Group Fam Sans Selfs

Tonight's gathering of my adaptive family which is my church home group/bible study featured a particular grouping of people who have never all been at the gathering at the same time and includes some people who often can't make it, but did tonight.

Unfortunately, the host couple was out of town for the day/evening and were not in attendance as they usually are. We were so blessed to be able to meet in their home despite their not being there and it was very cozy with it raining outside the entire time.

These people keep me rooted and real and I have grown so much with them over the years.
Love you guys/gals! All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

*NOTE: one of the attendees, pictured above, Photoshopped the image below which shows Ted and I made to look like we're hanging from a rafter and have placed a Magnum upon it. Thanks Darcie. [Updated 12/18/2016]

Picture of the Day - Menacing The City

A short time ago I found this image accompanying a weather-related Tweet from the Bay Area NBC affiliate KNTV-TV San Jose. I clicked on the associated link and was taken to a photo gallery of weather images captured by the station's viewers featuring various aspects of today's California-wide winter storm. However, this image did not appear in the gallery and thus I cannot attribute it to the photographer. Upon first seeing this photograph, I was immediately struck by how ominous and even apocalyptic the scene captured appears. In this image is captured a distant storm cell (with cirrus outflow) looming over The City as it appears to bear down on it from off shore to the west. Not only does this scene bring to mind the concept of The City getting nuked by an atomic weapon or vaporized by a bolide strike, but alternately, a giant kaiju arising from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to attack The City or an alien mother ship obscured by clouds bearing down on The City by The Bay.
Photo source: KNTV-TV.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Suddenly Big Blue Boxes

Seismic activity in California has greatly increased over the past 24 hours as this Cal Tech interactive seismic map shows. It is worth noting that this increase does not relate to a single larger quake but rather from three centers of increased seismic activity with notable moderate mainshocks comprised of the M4.0 that I felt this morning in Paso Robles, CA, and another M4.0 associated with an ongoing earthquake swarm at Long Valley Caldera near Mammoth Lakes, CA, and finally a M5.0 event in the Geysers Geothermal Field in Northern California. It was located about 6 miles northwest of the center of the geothermal field. It occurred at a depth of just about a mile down so this might have generated short ground rupture if it happened along a fault that reaches the surface. This is the largest earthquake ever located here and relates to water injection for purposes of producing steam to generate electricity. 

2016 Templeton Earthquake

It didn't take long for it to become a meme. The early morning M4.0 earthquake (epicentered 5.5 miles west of Templeton and focused at 3 miles depth) that jarringly rattled the North County (I sure felt it here in Paso Robles as I was already up when it hit just before 4:00 a.m.) caused no damage other than to some people's nerves and was the subject of much conversation throughout the area today. Tonight my dog is acting strangely and I can't shake the feeling maybe another earthquake is eminent locally. This morning's event is probably an aftershock of the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Graphic of the Day - The Mostests

My sis by another mum, Linsus, found this for me and it is quite fascinating. I cannot verify the veracity of any of these figures.
Note: click image to view in higher resolution.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Picture of the Day - Chestnuts & Marshmallows

Tonight I indulged in the annual Paso Robles Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase celebration in my neighborhood. I spent the first two-thirds of the three-hour event with my next-door neighbors behind me in the Chase House. Each year they host a chestnut and marshmallow roast in their front yard along with a carol-singing set-up and hot apple cider. Each year they also feature various other things such as a food co-op promotion and free seeds this year. I helped fill in gaps in their operation and then in the third hour walked down to my church at the other end of the event and did a gate-keeping security detail on the backside of the courtyard adjacent to their parking lot. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chasing Amberized Dino Tail

More proof dinosaurs probably tasted like chicken. For more on this new discovery from China of a first ever dinosaur tail embalmed in amber from 99 million years ago go HERE. To zoom in left click on image. Photo by RSM/R.C. McKellar (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Favorite Pearl Harbor Attack Image

Today marked the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is somewhat difficult for me to wrap my mind around that fact as it does not feel like it has been that long. Perhaps that is partly due to my growing older. When I was born it had only been 29 years since the attack. It is also somewhat strange to consider that the two most closely-associated navies in the world are the two navies that clashed that day.

Picture of the Day - Busy Cal Poly Sunset Scene

I captured this image with my iPhone4 at the bus stop next to Kennedy Library on the campus of Cal Poly early this evening. This image has a lot going on in it. The cumulus clouds presage an approaching storm. The light fixture features the mission bell design. The radio tower for KCPR, the campus radio station is visible just to the left of center and to the right of it is iconic Bishop Peak. At left is Kennedy Library and at right is Bonderson Engineering Project Center. The road at center is North Perimeter. The light to the right of the road is flashing overheard lights to a Cal Poly PD unit parked at the aforementioned building for some emergency. The headlights on the road are those of my approaching RTA 9Express bus I take home after class on Wednesdays this quarter. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Streaming Pyrocumulus in Oz

Above: Here is a view from orbit (Landsat-8) of the wind-driven 30,000-acre Cocklebiddy wildfire in Western Australia's Nuytsland Nature Reserve featuring some rather spectacular pyrocumulus clouds. Image courtesy of NASA. For more on this image go HERE.

Below: Here is a thermal infrared image of the same scene from the same source.
(Updated 12/09/16)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Picture of the Day - Holiday Blues

Tonight I walked my dog Tequila around the neighborhood along the Vine Street Corridor where the neighborhood is preparing for the annual Paso Robles 30th Annual Vine Street Victorian Showcase which is held annually half a block from my house. Many properties are already prepared while others are still doing so. This property is a half block west of Vine Street on 16th Street and has been doing blue each Christmas for a number of years. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved). 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Run To Or From Alien: Covenant

Director-Producer Ridley Scott and Twentieth Century Fox recently released this teaser poster of the next movie in the Alien movie franchise, to wit, Alien: Covenant, to be released next May.

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Today it was announced that USC is ranked #9 in the land and will be representing the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl this coming January 2nd.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Progressive House At Its Best

This is an aurally sumptuous feast of amazing progressive house tracks, as compiled by Collin McLoughlin a.k.a. Mr. Suicide Sheep. Many of these tracks have already been featured on this blog. By all means listen nocturnally (or diurnally as you may prefer) as I am at this very moment in the midnight hour. Be sure to crank up your sound system!

Love Is Not Enough

This is an aurally and emotionally beautiful and heart-wrenching song and the accompanying video is quite effective, too. It captures the sense of devastating loss and emptiness associated with a breakup even when it is engineered amicably. This 2012 Above & Beyond trance track (which features elements of progressive house) is titled "Love Is Not Enough" and features goosebump-inducing vocals by long-time collaborator Zoë Johnston.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Granddaddy of Them All Needs Trojans

I need to get this off my chest. Yes, the USC Trojans should not have lost to the Utah Utes early in the season in the waning minutes of the game. Had they played a complete game that night in Utah, they would have finished the season 8-1 in the Pac-12, 10-2 overall and would own all tiebreakers except with the Stanford Cardinals who do not matter in this year's equation following their fade down the stretch.

The Colorado Buffaloes, who are also in the Pac-12 South, finished 8-1 (10-2 overall with their only conference loss being to USC) in conference ahead of USC's 7-2 record. Had Colorado finished the season tied with USC, the Trojans would have gone to tonight's Pac-12 Championship Game ahead of them due to the tiebreaker. The Pac-12 North is represented by the Washington Huskies who finished 8-1 in conference (11-1 overall with their own loss being to USC at home) and who are ranked #4 in the land.

Tonight, the Washington Huskies played an imperfect game again an inferior opponent in the Colorado Buffaloes and won 41-10 in Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, in the first Pac-12 Championship game not won by the Oregon Ducks or Standford since the games inception several years ago. Few people in college football feel that there are many teams playing better football than USC who down the stretch played up to their talent level and commensurate capabilities, blowing out all opponents over a 7-game winning streak apart from a 26-13 victory over Washington in the Huskies' raucous house that did not feel or look as close a game as the final score indicates.

Watching tonight's game and thinking about how USC is now playing, one is left with but one conclusion: had they been in tonight's game in place of Colorado, Washington would have experienced a nightmare night in Santa Clara, CA. The areas in which Washington looked weak, USC would have exploited even worse and the areas in which Washington looked good tonight were the very areas USC embarrassed them a few weeks ago in the new Husky Stadium.

Given the new college football playoff system and Washington's #4 ranking, if they hold onto that ranking after tonight's game, they go into the new playoff featuring the top four teams in the country. Given Colorado's destruction at the hands of Washington tonight, if the Buffaloes fall out of the #8 spot far enough for #11 USC to rank ahead of them, then the Rose Bowl selection committee could select the Trojans to represent the Pac-12 in that iconic matchup against whomever the Big Ten sends to "The Granddaddy of Them All" on January 2, 2017.

USC ought to play in the Rose Bowl or else something is quite wrong with the current system which already is almost managing to exclude them from any meaningful post-season games aside from perhaps an upper middling bowl game in late December. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Twenty-Eight Years Ago This Afternoon.....

.... I was at pre-game football practice on the game field at Atascadero High School as starting senior center on this date in 1988. This was after school and before the team was to drive down to Orange County to play Trabuco Hills High School in a CIF Southern Section semi-final game. I was interrupted mid-practice by mom showing up to tell me Granpda McGee had just died (at age 84) at his senior convalescent facility on Heather Court in Templeton, CA. I ended practice at that moment and went home with mom. She and my brother and I drove down to southern California and spent the night in a motel. My team spent a boisterous and distracted night in a motel even closer to the school. I participated in the game the next afternoon into evening. We got blown out something like 42-7 much like the Los Angeles Times sports section had predicted.

My head was only partially in the game for obvious reasons. I had just lost the second most significant male in my life following losing my dad three years earlier during my freshman year of high school. By this point I was already circling the drain mental health-wise as I slid further into chronic and crippling anxiety attacks and depression which I worked hard to suppress from those around me and this would only get worse. I'm still trying to rebuild my life to this very day 28 years later. However, rebuilding I am, and God is good to have me still be here and have rebuilt as much as I have with so much still to go.