Rainbows, Wet Snow, and The King of Limbs

It's cold in California this morning. And while it's still not East Coast or Mid-west cold, it is cold enough for snow. I think this has happened maybe 2 other times since I lived here. I actually don't even remember the last time I, personally, was around snow. Had to have been... maybe Japan? Wasn't much there either, but I think that's when I last stood in falling snow.

Last night I was beat after a stress-filled week at work. I think I passed out on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, full on pizza and beer, the asthmatic hiss of the gas heat breathing in the walls of my apartment. I barely remember getting into bed. But because I fell asleep so early, I woke up a bit before six.

I felt this was the time to listen to the new Radiohead album, The King of Limbs. I grabbed the big bowls of my headphones, and sunk deep into my bed, the comforter wrapping around me like quicksand as the first tinkling piano loop, tip-toed into my head through the holes of my ears. Perfect setting for the first listen of the album.

After the the last lyrics of "Separator" faded ("wake me up, wake me up") and the drums abruptly ended, I climbed out of the place in my mattress that I had sunk down into. Standing in my boxers is when I realized how cold it was. They were talking snow on the news yesterday so I decided to go see if it had happened. I bundled in cold layers of clothes that had been sleep-strewn across my floor last night. Having a breezy carport beneath my bedroom, made the clothes extra icy sliding over my goose bumpy skin. Shirt, jeans, sweatshirt, smurfy hat, wintery jacket, etc. I grabbed my camera and headed for Skyline Boulevard.

On the way, second listen to The King of Limbs... When I got to the top of 92 I started looking up toward Skyline to see if it was snow-topped. It still looked pretty green up there with the cottony wisps of fog rising from the redwoods like the smoke rising from a scattering of small camp-fires. The sun was blasting through cracks in the cloud-cover all over the place and lit up the reservoir with its god-rays.

As I got closer to 280 I started to see small, white breaks through the trees. Had to be snow, right? It was pretty neat when I pulled onto Skyline, leaned through that first set of twists, used to flipping back and forth through there on the moto. In the middle of one of those twists I was suddenly face to face with an amazing rainbow. I slid into the muddy turn-out and started taking some photos, Radiohead urging "don't worry, don't hurt me..." A flock of white birds flipped through the sky like scraps of paper, so high and luminescent in the sun and against the dark clouds.

I jumped back in my truck. Then a long, climbing straight section. Down in the shoulder-less sides of the road I started to see the first bits of snow. And as I climbed higher and higher, there was actual accumulation. I stopped a few places to take photos, make a snowball (more slush-ball). One of the last snowy spots I stopped a man and woman had brought their little girls to play in the snow. They were wrapped up in winter clothes and throwing snowballs at each other, wet splashes on impact. They had even built a tiny snowman who was listing horribly to one side.

I finally headed home and right about when I got below the snow-line, I came around a turn that pointed me directly at the Pacific. Either the earlier rainbow had moved and grown or this was a brand new one. I found another muddy turn out and made some more photos.

What an amazing morning. Now it's just steadily raining, solid grey sky, the thundery roll of jets landing at SFO. Time for another listen to The King of Limbs. Here are some photos:

[gallery link="file" orderby="ID"]

Here's some video of the wet snow falling:


A Cappella Moto Truck

If that isn't a band name, I don't know what is.  Their hit song would be an epic tale of a day trip to Santa Cruz to pick up a motorcycle and listen to music, music that employed only voices as instruments...

Actually this post is more one of amazement and love for my little, black, Toyota pickup. What a beast this little sucker is. A hundred and seventy thousand miles on it, brakes worn, suspension kind of hosed and yesterday it was stuffed with three guys (2 that are like 6'3" or more and me) and a Suzuki SV650! The truck didn't even blink... or if it could blink, it didn't... Would stalling be blinking in the car world? Actually, why do we even say "didn't even blink." That doesn't seem like a form of protest or giving up to me. The truck didn't even hold up its tires and beep madly, "Fuck that, you ain't stuffing all that inside..." Okay, that's just starting to sound pornographic. What was my point?

Let me start from the beginning... Alex, Sean and I headed down to Santa Cruz yesterday to load his moto, that had been sitting for months, into my truck so he could bring it home and get it back to running. When Alex asked me, I have to admit, I didn't think my truck could do it. So we piled in and headed down 101, 85, 17 etc. over the hill to Santa Cruz. It was gray-ish, little blasts of blue sky, a ray of light, then gray again on the ride over.

Ian peein' piddley poo (his proper name) was going to be singing with his a cappella group, Cloud 9, on a street corner in downtown SC as well, so we decided to first stop and watch that. Even though I thought I had, I never have seen Ian perform live and in the flesh. I've only seen YouTube clips which were all very good, but something doesn't translate with YouTube (I say that about to post video I took of them on YouTube). They were great. Really entertaining and goofy and everything you want in your a cappella. And while the group was great, Ian really was awesome. He was working the crowd (really big crowd for a street corner as well), and committed to the whole show and performance. I feel like I'm writing a review: "The group had an excellent nose, nutty with a hint of the desperate sweat it takes to harvest such brilliance. A robust, harsh, yet beautiful color, like a winter sunset pulling your eyelids open, forcing you to watch (the weird, eye opening device from A Clockwork Orange), but you're in love with abuse."

Yeah, so go see Cloud 9 perform. It's awesome.

As a side trip, before the show started, Alex, Sean and I went down to Streetlight Records to browse around and kill some time. I have to say, I don't know what to do in record (cd) stores anymore. I remember being in that same store not too long ago with Dave Dworak and we were in our element, digging through the racks of music, looking for awesome deals on obscure, Japan-only-released singles, flipping through boxes and boxes, the clack of the anti-theft, plastic cd holders keeping time to a rare, staff favorite, blasting through the sound system... Now I just kind of wandered, couldn't really figure out where I would even start to dive in and start looking. I didn't know the band that was playing, didn't know what to do really. Now it's all clicking through websites and music blogs and iTunes to find music, videos from La Blogoteque - Take away shows. I'm not complaining. It's just so different from, well, somewhere between five and ten years ago.

After Cloud 9, we headed to Alex's fave brewery in Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Co. for a beer and a hot dog. We then headed over to a sell-everything-i'm-driving-cross-country-to-Boston sale / kegger / hang out that a friend of Alex's was having. This was a very typical Santa Cruz event to me, but one I just don't picture Alex involved with. When I thought about it, I didn't really "see" Alex in Santa Cruz at all. You know, Santa Cruz, hippy-dippy-doo, pot brownies, surfing, naked on the beach Santa Cruz. I think of none of those things when I think of Alex (I was about to type "no offense, Alex," but am pretty sure he would take none from that statement). It was a cool little gathering at a business called Five Feet From the Moon. They make concrete and iron-work type furniture and sculpture, etc. Very cool space. Even the dogs running around were cool. Too cool to be petted by me. I was literally dissed by a dog. Bitch. See what I did there? :)

After gathering keys and driving to Alex's friend's house, we proceeded to load his moto into my truck. This is where I thought it was gonna get ugly, lifting the bike in, tying it down, stuffing us all back into the cab... I just thought the truck would just bust down to its "knees" and surrender. Yeah, completely wrong. I think it took us all of fifteen minutes to load it and be ready to go. My truck was like, "yeah, man. whatever. that's all you're gonna load?" My truck was feeling the laid back, SC, vibe.

With moto secure we went back down to meet Ian and his gf for food and one for the road. Of course, we had another side trip to the driving cross country party to return keys... and another beer.

Food and drinks consumed, catching up with Ian caught up, we piled back in the truck and headed up Highway  One, back home. Once we got out of rainy-gray Santa Cruz, it was a beautiful drive up the California coast as it always is. My mantra if you live here: Don't take California for granted. So lucky to live here. the Pacific was smooth and greenish-blue, the sun was setting behind chunks of clouds... Amazing.

That's pretty much the tale, now here are a mix of iPhone and XTi photos and video.







Alex supervising Sean on strap re-adjustment.





You can watch the video in HD, but for some reason, either YouTube or WordPress took out the ability to embed in HD. Anyone know why?

On another side note, I think this is my first post that includes all the categories contained in the subheading of my blog, writing, photos, music and motos. Exciting.

Video Weekend

A well documented moto ride on Friday and Kate and Alex's party on Sunday. The stills from the moto ride I posted, but here's video from both my camera (mounted on the front of my bike) and Sean's camera (mounted on the back of his bike) so you have FULL COVERAGE! Sean chose Imperial Teen for his soundtrack, so I kept it going. Forgot how much I love them. And then, the Fourth of July Picnic/Party video, some of which you've seen in an excerpt (Liberty of Jaimé). Good times.

Sean's camera and better editing skillz:


My camera:


And the party shot and edited all on the iPhone 4:


Ginger Persecution

Don't dig the song too much and thought the video was kind of funny until they started killing my brethren. I know they're trying to say something about race and persecution, but the message gets garbled. The parallels I assume are supposed to be... well, see here is where I'm not positive. What are they trying to say?

Added warning, this is a pretty violent video. Not for kids on this one.

[vimeo 11219730]