Monday, March 21, 2016

When the feet decide that enough is enough

I've been this person before, the one who steps out of a pair of shoes due to discomfort and keeps walking. I did this once on Madison Avenue in New York City in my early 20's and I've never forgotten it.

Thus I can't help but smile when I discover a discarded pair of high-heeled shoes on the sidewalk. This pair seen yesterday on Sacramento Street. I subsequently wonder about the following:
  • what was she (or he for that matter) wearing that matched the purple shoe?
  • what event was she attending before this moment and how many hours were her feet subjected to these shoes?
  • did she walk home barefoot?
  • was she possibly overserved?
  • how tall was this person without the shoes?
  • what was the precipitating event that led to ditching this pair of shoes?
Last but not least... did this person spontaneously combust and all we have left as evidence are the shoes? It might have happened.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sayula II Whitbread race made into a film ~ worth seeing ~ claro que si

Last night I attended the third program for the SF International Ocean Film Festival and one of the movies was The Weekend Sailor.  Everyone loves an underdog and this story delivers with focus on the adventure that unfolded during the 1973-74 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, a real feel good tale. The film's director Bernardo Arsuaga received the director's award for the festival, well deserved. See it if you can.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

stuff you do when you're twelve

In 1976 I was proud of myself for memorizing my #Morse code letters. One evening I went to the side patio door and spelled out “S.O.S.” in Morse code using the porch light. I did this for about five minutes sending repeated #SOS signals ~ I should have known that because I was in a Navy town (#Coronado), this would be taken rather seriously. In another five minutes the police arrived at our front door asking what the matter was. My brother and sister remember this like yesterday and reminded me it was my friend Scott Honor's father that called it in! #oops #tbt  #funny 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the passive space and active time from which all life originates

When traveling in Nepal in 1999, I noticed shrines all over that country for Hindu worship. Specifically with a nod to Shiva and the lingam ...

Here's a photo of a shrine I made today, and a monumental salute of veneration.

Shrine contents as follows:

crown for the king ~ the male
woman playing ukelele top left of frame ~ the female
gold frame ~ art and creative worship
flowers ~ ephemeral nature of beauty
shells ~ water and fluidity 
skeleton ~ renewal through death and shedding what no longer works
pine cone ~ adhesion via resinous sap, the element of holding together
incense ~ just above the woman is a stick of incense burning to infuse the power of the intention into the universe

Thursday, January 28, 2016

And away it goes

Random thought diary: earlier this week I was lying captive in the dentist chair having the bi-annual teeth cleaning procedure. That machine that sucks out your saliva is magical. It reminded me of a vacuum cleaner. Then I started to think how nice if there was a machine to "take it all away" anytime a mess happened. A virtual machine to suck away the ills of life. My favorite word in Spanish is aspiradora and in the mid-1980's I witnessed my mother trying to explain to the Spanish speaking house cleaner that the vacuum cleaner was broken. "No pick-up" she said as she did her best to pantomime the action of not being able to suck dirt. My mom's Spanish vocabulary was limited to say the least. Aspirate that crap out of here.

The importance of being curious

“Curiosity is the main energy...” 
― Robert Rauschenberg

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Can't get enough turtle (honu)

These gentle sea creatures are really spectacular. The first time I saw one last week, she/he was swimming slowly and patiently by me just inches away on the way out to the deeper water. They obviously have seen a few people along the way and so they seemed to allow me to observe as they glided over the reef to feed. Below is some video and photos I took as I snorkeled along with them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Shark watching at the Farallones ~ with

Yesterday I went on the Silver Fox boat from Fisherman's Wharf out to the Farallon Islands with about 22 other people with similar interests. The trip was organized by and marine biologist David McGuire who has been researching sharks and working on conservation for some time now.

We were looking for natural predation activity of the sharks on the seals and sea lions out there that is very frequent at this time of year (also known as Sharktober) and didn't see an actual strike but nonetheless, the day was amazing with plenty of sea life to observe including humpback whales and lots of sea lions, seals and sea birds.

At one point while we were slowly trawling and pulling behind us the "seal pup dummy" (see photo below), we were to the east of one of the guano covered rocks and the stench with the breeze was so overwhelming, it smelled like death. So bad was the smell that I had to cover my nose/mouth entirely. This lent itself in my mind to the history of the island being known as "Islands of the Dead" by the American Indians.

This trip also brought into acute awareness of the amazing accomplishment by Kim Chambers, another member of the Dolphin Club (like David McGuire and myself) who successfully swam from the islands to the Golden Gate Bridge with only a bathing suit (no wetsuit) only a little of two months ago. Read more about that here.

Lastly,  the talk on the boat occasionally fell to the recent occurrence of a shark feeding on a sea lion near Alcatraz as seen in this video.  That doesn't slow down the Dolphin Club, everyone is still swimming along as if nothing happened. I love these people... to hell with living in fear, they won't do it.

heading west, going through the swells, bouncy to say the least

the Google mapping catamaran hurried by on the way to the islands!

this is one of the two "seal pup dummies" that we towed out at the islands, they do work!

that white stuff, all bird poop ~ for centuries

view leaving the islands

getting mesmerized by the wake and falling asleep on the return trip

the channel buoys heading back in toward the Golden Gate Bridge

Sunday, October 4, 2015

surrounded by inspiration ~ motorcycle adventurers with Horizons Unlimited

Last weekend I attended my fourth annual Horizons Unlimited event of about 275 adventure motorcycle travelers in Mariposa, California. I find myself coming back each year to hear the stories and meet the people doing these assortment of amazing trips. If ever I felt like I found "my tribe", these folks might be it. To be in the company of so many people that refuse to see limitations is impressive.  It's the whole "what are you waiting for?" feeling that I leave with on Sunday that strengthens my intention to work toward a trip of my own to Patagonia one day.

Here are five of my favorites:

Alex Chacón came to this year's event as he did the previous year and went over some of the computer software tools he uses to make his legendary motorcycle travel videos that are world famous on the Internet, making him a social media phenomenon. This one is still my all time favorite even though he has spent another year of being extremely prolific.  It was interesting to hear which of the social media tools were beneficial for motorcycle travelers and what might be a waste of time.

Nevil Stow undertook an around the world trip on his motorcycle in 2013 and more can be read on his blog here. What made his presentation interesting was that his motivation came after he had suffered a stroke in 2009 and decided when he got well again that he was going to do this trip. His closing messages that if we're going to undertake a journey even half as adventurous as his, to do it while supporting an organization one believes in and not just for the pursuit itself.

Elisa Wirkala really got my attention this year. I didn't know what to expect when walking in and seeing her motorcycle in the room, a 125cc compact red Honda motorcycle that looked almost new. She blew me away with her story of travel and a gorgeous website that gives terrific detail both narrative and photos of her journey from Santiago Chile to her home in Seattle.  She did a terrific job about outlining the financial discipline she went through in the year preceding her trip. Everyone could learn a thing or two from this intrepid traveler.

Michelle Lamphere gave a presentation about her two year motorcycle trip from her home in Sturgis South Dakota with her now fiancé Brian on their two motorcycles and her courage in overcoming an accident early on in the trip that didn't dissuade her from continuing. More details can be seen on her blog. I picked up her book that she signed for me as it does have some interesting information for going to El Fin del Mundo on a motorcycle. Her presentation was excellent and very engaging.

Walt Fulton and Nancy Foote of Streetmasters offered an off-road all day course on Saturday that I gladly participated in. We reviewed some basics about off-road riding and then took our own bikes on a 15 mile dirt road between Mariposa and Yosemite. Fun was had by most of us.

Elisa with her bike, talking about her trip from Patagonia to the US

me with an illustrious group of intrepid motorcycle travelers

getting ready for the Off Road class on Saturday

me at the half-way mark of our off road ride, feeling lovely
Reg Kittrelle took some photos during our adventures on the dirt, this is one of them of me

taking a break in the heat on the off road exercise

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who gives a rat's ass?

My inner critic is a crotchety old man. He's always smoking an annoying cigar and looking too closely at me (mostly silently) as if he's about to wipe a booger off of my cheek. He appears when I'm searching for meaning in my patterns of creative expression.

He says “You'll never weave a complete story from all this rubbish. Who gives a rat's ass about what's happened to you? You think your experiences are unique? Hell no little girl, it's all been said before.”

From him I learn how to outsmart his pessimistic anachronistic presence. I write in order to get him to show me that almost imperceptible elevation in his left bushy grey eyebrow. Aha, what I've written gives him pause. He's at a loss for words. When he's quiet, I need to go forward down that road. The swinging gauntlet of giant medieval axes at the castle door is how I picture a bad day with Grumpus Criticus. But I can ignore him.

He teaches me how to persevere. I'll outlast him and tell him to shut up. He needs a nap now.