I Still Want Daria (I Know She Still Wants Me)

I big reason for the Death Valley excursion was my fascination with Zabriskie Point, mostly from the Antonioni movie of the same name. Hell, any movie that uses Roscoe Holcombe in the soundtrack, along with the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star", is OK in my book. Then there's Daria...

Anyway, Francis Ford Daynes rented the movie and posted the following review:

I Netflix'd Zabriskie Point, a really silly stereotypical look at confrontational politics and free love of the late '60's, beyond unrealistic. Totally ridiculous and self-indulgent. I mean really dumb. With Rod Taylor as the evil land developer, Mark Frechette, now deceased, as the heroic(?) campus rebel, pig killer, and James Dean wannabe, and despite her good looks, Daria, the secretary, who is dumb as a post. After killing a cop at a campus demonstration, Mark steals a Cessna and flies over LA with Dark Star in the background, while Daria cruises the desert in her Buick Roadmaster. She's on her way to Phoenix, and you just know they're destined to meet. There's even a Lord of the Flies sequence at a ghost town with some kids who try to rape Daria, which freaks her back onto the road in her Buick. And there's the the North by Northwest Daria buzzing scenes with Mark flying low (at least he was a decent pilot). This movie is dialogue-optional. Daria: "Did you really steal that thing?" Frechette: "I needed to get off the ground." And bingo, they drive right up to the Zabriskie Point parking lot. Everything and everyone wanders aimlessly, including Frechette and Daria, through Zabriskie Point, for hours, no food, no water, eight zillion degrees outside, but they're fine. The script may have been interesting, but on the screen... I'm not sure I can wait for the sex scenes. May have to fast forward. OK. Sorry to disappoint you, Sherm, but they weren't that great. Frechette: "I always knew it would be like this." Daria (looking into his eyes longingly): "What?" Frechette: "The desert." The plane then gets a John Lennon Rolls Royce treatment, and Mark flies back to LA, where he's surrounded and shot by one of those nasty pigs. Daria hears about it on her car radio, somewhere in the middle of a cactus grove, and we get that "I'm going to do something significant" look, and after Daria communes with a waterfall aside Rod Taylor's desert mansion, boom goes the house and all of those bad guys and their obnoxious wives, TV sets, cars, refrigerators, etc. I guess it was supposed to be a light show or something. Did Daria do it with mind power? We'll never know. The end.

Mind power? Well, she did join Mel Lyman's cult for some time. Left that and married Dennis Hopper... All so curious...


Road Trip--Death Valley

Returning from SoCal and the NAMM madness, we made a hard left turn in Baker and headed north to Death Valley. I'd been through the northern, Scotty's Castle area years ago, but never DV proper. So now was the time...

Just after entering the park, we met the ranger, who was quite friendly (or just looking for a hand out).

As we drove on, into the valley proper, we were amazed to see so much water pooled in what is supposed to be a very dry and barren desert. I guess the extreme California rains continued over the desert area (and certainly reached So. Utah). Here's the reflection of Telescope Peak in one of the pools.

And in the "you can run, but you can't hide" department...

We finally reached Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the US, and it was a lake!

The only way to capture this area is via video, so I did this quick panorama with my digital camera.

Here's another shot of Telescope Peak, the highest point around. DV runs between two mountain ranges. Telescope Peak is part of the west side range.

Deciding on a round of golf to break up the day, we drove down to the Devil's Golf Course. Sure... one hole, par 200...

Another small diversion into the cliffs on the east side of DV took us to Artists Palette. Some interesting colors mixed through the formations.

After reaching the Furnace Creek area with its $4.50 gas, we took a road that goes behind the immediate cliffs on the east side of DV. This led us to Zabriske Point, where Daria was waiting for me to roll around nude in the dirt with her (obscure Antonioni reference).

A longer drive behind DV took us up high, nearly a mile above Badwater Basin, to Dante's View. This was an amazing overview of the entire valley. Here's a simple pic, and also a quick panoramic video (with lots of wind noise).

And who can visit Death Valley without mentioning Borax, the primary mineral mined in the area by Ronnie Raygun and his Death Valley Days TV show. There's a stop at an old Borax works complete with a restored 20 mule team wagon train.

We left the park hell bent for Beatty, NV and a Motel 6. We are so high class! But one more diversion, just west of Beatty... the Rhyolite ghost town with the famous bottle house.

We left Beatty the next morning, passing three tempting brothels (I'm sure the girls looked fabulous at 7:00am) on the way out of the area. I wanted to stop in Goldfield for breakfast, but the Mozart Bar is no more... probably condemned or burned down... a new saloon has taken it's place (or maybe I was just bleary eyed...).

Then across Nevada on Route 6, even lonelier than the loneliest highway in the US (Route 50, further north in Nevada). Eventually home to SLC, another great road trip and more stuff for this blog.


Road Trip--Valley of Fire

Our NAMM adventure was actually an excuse for a road trip. First stop, the Valley of Fire just outside Vegas. This is a great little park and well worth the easy diversion off the freeway.
(as always, click on the pics for a larger image).

Here's some of the seven sisters... and some cool rocks...

Deer hang around the visitor's center, affording a great photo op for tourists (me)...

Hiking around the Mouse Tanks area, we took pics of each other... Rod is quite the photographer, and this trip was as much for his photo opportunities as NAMM. I'm sure we will see some great shots from him in the near future.

Here are some views from Rainbow Vista, then Fire Canyon...

And the domes... Silica Dome and White Domes...

Finally, one more rock... you can get great deals midweek, and the rock artifacts spread around the joint are endlessly fascinating...

I also took Rod down the the Double Down Saloon to watch the midget porn, but that's another story... "Shut Up and Drink", indeed...


Jazz, Best of, SLC, 2010

Finally got this collection together. Some examples of jazz performances I recorded in Salt Lake City during 2010. Local players come and go, but there's always great jazz to be found in this city. Too bad one has to dig it out rather than expecting clubs to offer innovative jazz on a regular basis.

To listen or download the tunes, go to my web site.


NAMM 2011 2nd Post

So we went back on Friday, tried to get to NAMM at the opening. Sometimes you have an hour before the madness hits full stride. I was looking for mics for my studio, and had some great conversations with reps from Audix, Shure, and CAD. Here I am at the CAD booth...

And after all my stupid questions, I'm sure the rep felt like this...

Anyway, I'd hoped to take more pics, especially of the bizarre folds who show up: full-on punks, metal heads, over-the-hill rockers, babes of all sorts, but I was overwhelmed. I managed to find some peace and solace at the concerts on the main lobby stage.

Yep, this is the ultimate NAMM madness... tons of gear on stage but the performers are video'd in! We may go back on Sunday for a bit, see if we can get some deals on gear.


Dick Dale Update

A better pic of Dick and Lane from a friend who photoshopped out the NAMM background madness. A fine looking couple. (click for a larger image)


NAMM 2011 1st Post

From the Hard Rock in Vegas to the NAMM show in Anaheim, we had quite the day. OK, I don't know what NAMM stands for except music is in there somewhere, and the convention draws some of the most incredible people in SoCal and beyond (oh, it's supposed to be about the gear, but the people who attend are endlessly fascinating). First are the babes... they remembered me from last year and the year before and wanted me even more.

Ran into Dick Dale again this year. He's still alive after multiple surgeries... he described a litany of internal disarray, but looked pretty good, other than weight loss. Best of all, he has a new babe, Lane, who was of significant help with his recovery. I can imagine!

I'm officially boycotting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until the King of Surf Guitar is honorably inducted.

Finally, for today, was the return appearance of Jimi Hendrix. What a thrill! Two guitar gods in one day!

Succumbing to exhaustion, we bailed early... to fight the madness another day.


I'm a Roadrunner, Baby

Hanging at the condo in Palm Springs, this huge bird trots by... as big as a crow... very curious...

OK, doesn't look so big in the pic (click on it for a larger size), but it is a large bird. When I chased it, a ridge stuck up from its head, and I knew the kind of bird... a roadrunner! Oh those great old cartoons! Where's Wiley Coyote?

Anyway, couldn't get a pic of the bird on the move, so this pic will have to do for the more distinctive RR appearance:

And, of course, if you really want to get into the roadrunner mythology, check the cartoons on the web, but also this!


Sostice 2010

Another holiday season has passed... This year was a little more exciting... Solstice became more prominent, rather than that day Christians stole from the pagans... Solstice, the darkest day of the year, the noir holiday! We shopped via Amazon, celebrated some family stuff before the Solstice day, had a good party on the traditional eve, and pretty much neglected the 25th itself and all the commercial trappings (you mean it's a religious holiday?). Solstice night itself was celebrated at Jane's, with the pagan fire pit (a smaller party for her than her usual blowout, but welcome just the same).

I was lucky to get a late invite, and lucky to enjoy the company of such a friendly (and well wined) group.

After the fire ritual (mostly smoking cigarettes!), we warmed up over dinner... fondue of several varieties.

The fondue was so good, some thought of novel ways to enjoy it...

And of course desert...

Cleanup is always a chore, especially after copious amounts of grape juice...

Speaking of the grape... some of us do take a great pic when imbibing...

The pagans got it right. And now off we go into the cold, dark days of winter... waiting for the spring renewal. And Cinco de Mayo!