Last Minute Gift Suggestions

Haven't posted here lately. For someone who doesn't give a damn about the holidays, I sure seem extra busy during this time of year. Parties, dinners, cards, letters, gifts, etc.. Anyway, I was going through some CDs the other day and ran across this jewel, one of my all time favorite recordings.

This live material was captured on an old reel to reel at the blue collar 23 Club in Brisbane, just south of San Francisco, in the early 60's. Mostly instrumental, it's a combo of jazz, country, western swing and just plain fun ("music starts at nine, the fights start at 10"). The playing is exceptional, Jimmie Rivers an obscure but very competent guitarist. The audio has been cleaned up well, resulting in a very listenable CD. I love this performance, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys older music instead of the crap foisted upon us by today's music industry (majors and independents). Do a Google search and you'll come up with sites to hear and buy the music.

More Northern California music... Jim Thomas of the Mermen has released an "acoustic" album of his Mermen tunes, with a mellower, ambient intent.

Haven't heard it yet, but I'm confident it will be quite enjoyable instrumental music. I ordered it today.

Finally, for all you Occupy Wall Street supporters out there, a book: Debt: The First 5000 years, an anthropological analysis of debt throughout human history.

It's getting a lot of attention, and is considered somewhat of a bible of the OWS movement. My New Years, Palm Springs read.

Anyway, hopefully everyone will have a wonderful holiday season, and best wishes for the new year.


Last Toast at Junior's

I'm not sure where those silly "fans" came from, seems like a Harry birthday celebration a few years ago. Anyway, it was Saturday, social time at Junior's, but with an important person missing and unlikely to join us ever again. Lots of friends came down for a last beer toast to Harry. The mood was rather festive (the initial shock had worn off, missing Harry had yet to set in), the way Harry would like it. Some pics:

And the roller derby girls joined us for a beer... yep, Harry was glancing over...

Finally, a dedication... Seems like every Saturday the Junior's reference road atlas was thumbed through by Harry showing some bar on some obscure road that he had visited... or he was always generous with an alternative highway for someone planning a road trip. As a result, the existing atlas was showing a great deal of wear and tear... therefore, time for a new one.

Goodbye, Harry, enjoy that one, last, never ending road trip.


Harry Sellers

One of the most amazing persons I've ever met died this week. H. Francis Sellers was an accomplished artist, a great storyteller, a bar hopper beyond comprehension, and, during the latter part of his life, he became a dedicated husband and father. Harry was one of the most innovative, resourceful, and creative people to grace this fair land, and extremely funny as well. He will be missed in the Southern Utah desert, down at Junior's on the North End, and in small bars in tiny towns across the West. Thankfully we still have his art, and we all have stories that will continue our memories until we are all long gone. Some pics of Harry, with friends and family.


Leap of Faith

Last week an intense drama unfolded in the middle of the San Rafael desert. Would two intrepid hikers manage the 10 mile distance from camp site to Swayze's Leap and back under the hot sun with limited water resources, or would they be rescued by young Swedish girls in a large SUV? Well, neither happened, but more on that later.

We did manage one more trip into the San Rafael before the incredible October weather turned toward winter. Temps were great, even reasonable warm at night, and the skies were perfectly clear. The desert was just waiting for our exploration. We've spent some time in the past checking out the Upper Black Box off the Mexican Mt. road, so we decided to find the Lower Black Box, to the south of Mexican Mt.

But first was the long 4WD road across the Sinkhole Flats and Jackass Benches.

After some rough going, we finally decided enough was enough... and a nice campsite presented itself encouraging the decision. After setting up camp, we decided to explore a bit and, amazingly, soon found ourselves on the south edge of the Upper Black Box. Weird how the rivers and roads flow through that country. Anyway, we got some great pics.

Back at camp, it was Modelo time.

As the sun began it's evening descent, the long shadows fell over the desert.

The next day, after filling up on sleazy huevos rancheros, we began the big hike to Swayze's Leap. Being too chickenshit to drive any further on the road (the truck would have made it, but I didn't have much confidence in the driver), we had about a 3 mile hike to the trailhead, then about 2.5 miles to the Leap. The hike brought us closer to Mexican Mt., and obviously someone had been there before us (how, I don't know).

We finally made it down to the river, where it winds around Mexican Mt. and then begins to cut into the Lower Black Box.

There's a very narrow point where supposedly Swayze jumped his horse across the canyon. Note the trail on the other side.

Regardless of myth, this area was fantastic, and offered great views all around, and great opportunities for pics.

Finally, a shot fully into the Lower Black Box. There are a couple other trails into the Lower Black Box a few miles from here, but they will have to wait until next time.

By now, it was midday and the sun was beating down. Thankfully the temps were moderate, but still, the miles hiking out were going to be tough. I kept thinking if we made it back to the trailhead, and the road, maybe we could get a lift back to camp if anyone was around. Beautiful Swedish girls sounded like a good idea. Well, that didn't happen, but we did run across a group of folks with their expanded ATVs who gave us some extra water, then offered us a ride back to camp. Wonderful! Saved by ATVs! Back to Modelo and Tequila and good food and a farewell look at Mexican Mountain.


Swamp Thing

Trying to walk off the intake of a zillion calories, I decided to visit the Punaho'olapa Marsh. This required another visit into the Turtle Bay jungle.

At one point, I found some very unusual trees poking out of the jungle...

And some cool flowering bushes...

Then into the swamp. The trail I followed was an old Oahu railbed... I didn't see any exotic birds (although I certainly heard them), but I did scare up a few mongoose (they were too quick for my camera). Apparently, mongoose(s) were imported to Oahu to rid the island of a rat problem. However, rats live at night, mongeese live during the day. Now there are still rats and lots of mongeese... Oh, well... now for the marsh...

Leaving the marsh, the trail took me back to the coastline. Here, a couple fishermen were having at it.

I also saw a sea turtle surface, but it dove down before I could fire up my camera.

Then it was back to the resort for the big wedding during another beautiful Hawaiian sunset.