San Francisco II – Images

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Muir Woods.

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View from a street below Coit Tower down through the Italian neighborhood and up the hill.

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Big tree.

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Panorama across the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Garden in Golden Gate Park.

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Boats.

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The City from the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Bridge sidewalk.

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Alcatraz from the boat.

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The City from the boat.

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Bay Bridge from the boat.

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Bikes and the Bay Bridge.

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Sausalito from the bus.

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Golden Gate Bridge behind hills.

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City and Bay Bridge from boat.

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Shot of Virgin Atlantic A340 from inside an Alaska B737-700.

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Golden Gate Bridge in the clouds.

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Muir Woods.

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Cool shot of bridge towers.

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Bridge from car.

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Coit Tower.

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Shot of sky, clouds and sun behind a blended winglet/wingtip fence combo on an Alaska B737-900.

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Painting of Coit Tower and Golden Gate Bridge.

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Road leading to the Bridge on the City side.

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Close-up of fog over the south tower.

Stuff 3 (Hotel/Casinos and Regular Spike)

I am currently posting from McDonald’s in Mesquite, Nevada, that failed attempt at a mini-Vegas between Vegas and St. George on the I-15.  Seriously, as you ride through the endless desert between there and Vegas, you see all these ads for hotel/casinos in Mesquite.  And then you get there, just to get gas and lunch or something and you see all these desolate buildings and broken signs for these huge attempted resorts.  I think their main source of revenue is really just weary travelers who need a place to crash for the night and take advantage of the dirt-cheap hotels.  I know we always did it when I was a little kid.

So yesterday, out of seemingly nowhere we decided to leave the beach near Oxnard and go back to Farmington because of non-significant reasons, but the whole thing was still an overall good experience and it ended well.

We ended up getting to my Mom’s friend’s house in Las Vegas last night at around 9:30.  We just crashed there.  So last night I ended up stealing this little kid’s room, even though I was like, “No, seriously, the floor is fine…” and there was this really clingy cat named George that kept me up for half the night.  It was just like living at my house in Farmington.  My cat, Regular Spike, has a nasty habit of yowling at my door several times early in the morning.  I let him in, and then he just wants to go back out again.  Rinse and repeat.  But the thing is, he doesn’t want to do it when I want to get up.  He wants to do it when he wants to do it, which is generally about 4:45 a.m. pretty much every day, like clockwork.  He eventually gets bored with it though, thank God.  So yeah, good times.

And then we got back on the freeway, but my Mom had pre-scheduled a screen-share with a co-worker before we had known we were gonna screw it and book it, because we really did just do that out of nowhere.  And now I’m at McDonald’s in Mesquite.

Kath’s House

I went to my mom’s friend’s house on our trip.  She has two kids named Ella and  Thomas. And we stayed for three days and we went to Souplantation.  I got a ton of mac & cheese it was really yummy. Kath is really nice and funny.

Me and my sister and Ella made a music video and I was a guy who died in it wearing an afro.

This is me as a character in a music video made with Ella

This is me as a character in a music video made with Ella

 

And they mysteriously had A CAT that looked like both of my CATS combined–dun, dun, DUH!

 

I’m at Starbucks

I might just do the exact same thing I did yesterday.  And the day before.  Probably not Monday though.  I think I did something different Monday.  I don’t even know, I can’t remember what I did this week, or what day it is most of the time.  I think I went to the beach for a bunch of hours yesterday and the day before, but not Monday.  I suppose it’s not going to matter.  Unless I get interrogated.  I’d be like, “I swear I’m clean!” and they’d be like, “Oh really?  Then what were you doing on Monday?  “Ohhhhhhh crap….”

It’s pretty windy outside.  Maybe I can order another box kite and land it in the ocean and end up swimming after it in my jeans like yesterday.  Or land it on some dude’s roof-deck and spend twenty minutes trying to hoist it out.  See, I can’t even do something normal without failing in some sort of outrageous manner.  I need to come up with a job where that doesn’t matter.  Maybe professional caveman or hermit would suffice.

I am trying to write more, I have a really good sequence of ideas, it’s just hard.  I tried writing the same thing before, and I just went straight into writing it in novel format and I got about 75 pages in and then realized it was mostly garbage.  And I lost that flash drive anyway.  But I figured I could tweak the story a little, make it less dark and more original and change some plot elements just a little, as well as doing more brainstorming beforehand.  I made this decision officially a while after I got to California, and so far I have about 3.4 pages of comprehensive plot summary.  I would share more about what the story was about, but it would actually be quite difficult due to its complicated nature.  Explaining the story would take forever.  I am working on that plot summary, but it probably would not make sense to other people because I designed it as a reference for myself and it’s full of these weird anecdotes that represent plot elements.  But if it ends up being good and is worth continuing to work on, I’m sure anyone who reads this will hear more.

That’s all I really got for now.

Experiences in Solitude

So yeah, nothing very dramatic happened.  But I did go to McDonald’s today.

But then the WiFi didn’t work so we ended up just going to Starbucks again.  This particular one that we always go to and work at has amazing WiFi.  I could experiment with Pandora’s heavy metal and load music on YouTube stations without cyberspace collapsing into itself.

I tried to fly a box kite for the sixth time today (it had actually flown three of the times before, none of them ended well, and it wouldn’t fly at all for the other two).  It ended ended considerably badly this time, as the end of this event included me looking up box kites on Amazon.

I have continued to to text my friend from Utah, just a little bit, for the past few days.  Also, today my friend from camp last summer called me for a few minutes.  To put that into perspective for all you “regular” people, that’s more social life than I’ve had in quite a while.

I also went to the beach for…. probably at least two hours today.  Same yesterday.  It hasn’t really been good for boogie boarding for the past few days, as the waves have been very huge.  They were like probably eight feet high above the regular ocean level sometimes (which I guess is normal or smaller than normal in some places but generally not with my experiences at my beach) and you could see the curl, like the one in my featured image (I seriously love that picture.  It could totally be someone’s post-rock album cover….. and it was just on some free wallpaper website, I didn’t even plagiarize anything.).  There were waves with these big curls a lot closer to the shore than usual.  And I was swimming around by them and basically body-surfing (I’m not sure if there’s one right way to do that).  At the beach by my house you walk in and it’s pretty rocky, and then there’s kind of a ditch formation where it gets about a foot or two deeper with the rocky ground on one side and smooth sand coming up on the far side, and then it gets pretty shallow again.  After you get past that spot you can body-surf easily.  Right before the huge ones flip over you can dolphin-dive right under them and come up the other side.  Or if you time it right you sort of ride the crest of it right as it’s breaking, and then it will roll out from under you so you don’t get sucked in.  If you ride it as it flips you risk getting violently thrown to the bottom sometimes.  Or you get sucked in and the wave tosses you around erratically before you can swim back up and get air.  I did it a few times.  The last wave I messed with today was huge and I got thrown straight to the bottom and scratched my back up a little and hit my head, fortunately not too hard.

That’s when I decided I was done with the ocean for today.

Blogging and a Very Long Drive Up the Coast

Me in front of Birkholm’s Bakery

January 29, 2015

On Friday (29th) we had school in the morning and I did a lot of blogging, which was fun. After that, we all looked at these old pictures from when I was little, and they were super cute! After lunch I asked my mom what we were going to do that day. She said she wasn’t sure. Noah volunteered going to the beach, as he did every single day. My mom said that she thought it would be fun to take a drive up the coast (of course we didn’t know how long it would be).

We got in the car and started driving. The drive from Oxnard to Santa Barbara was familiar, though I have only drove on it twice. I thought we might stop in Santa Barbara and go to a beach, but we just kept driving. After about 1 hour of driving, the kids started asking where we are going. My Mommy’s Mom (here visiting for the weekend) was in the front seat looking at what would be cool to stop and look at, but nothing was quite what we wanted to look at, so we just kept driving.

The drive was very beautiful. It was very green, the mountains were scenic, and we were driving by these cliffs around the beach which were really pretty. My mom said she hadn’t drove around this part of California since she was pregnant with Ben, which was over 15 years ago, but she seemed to remember it pretty well.

About an 1 hour and 45 minutes into the drive, we went behind some mountains into a canyon-like place. After 15 minutes of driving through it, we came to this little Danish town called Solvang. All the buildings looked like a Danish town in Europe. We went to a bakery called Birkholm’s Bakery. We all got to pick one Danish treat. Their bread and pastries are very different then what we were used to, but it was good.

When we were done, we kept driving. The mountains were all green, and there were clouds behind, so we joked that they were volcanos. After hours of driving up North, I started reminding my mom that we have to turn around eventually because the more hours we drive north, we have to drive that amount of time back home.

Eventually we came into a small town, and I asked my mom where we were. She said the place was called Morro Bay. I asked what we were doing here and she said we came to see this gigantic rock called Morro Rock. It is in the middle of the beach and it is huge. We looked at it and it was mind blowing, then we ate dinner. We headed home and watched old Disney movies. We got home pretty late, but we called my dad. He asked me where we went, and when I said Morro Bay he said: “No you didn’t. Morro Bay is hours up the coast, you couldn’t have gone there.”

I explained and he believed me. We apparently we were in the car for over 6 hours!

Morro Rock was super cool, and if you are ever in the area for some random reason, you should see it because it is awesome. After doing of that, I think that we are having so much fun doing random and unplanned things, and I need to stop worrying about what will happen, because we are having so much fun and learning and seeing cool new things which I think is a part of what life is all about!

Mountains with clouds behind them. What we called Volcanos.  It turns out they probably once were actually volcanos, and Morro rock was a “volcanic plug” that popped out of one when it went off!

Morro Rock

 

Santa Barbara and the Mission

January 25, 2015

Santa Barbara MissionIn the morning, my parents decided that we would go to Santa Barbara after lunch. I kept asking my mom what was in Santa Barbara that we were going to see but she didn’t really answer me. Around 11a.m. I took Noah and Lucy to the beach. Me and Noah boogie boarded while Lucy played in the water. My mom told us to be home by twelve thirty to have lunch then we would drive 40 minutes to Santa Barbara.

We came home around twelve twenty and washed off and had lunch then we left for Santa Barbara. The drive was along the beach and was very beautiful. When we got there, we drove up a hill to a park and what looked like an old church. My mom said it was called a Mission. She also said there were many in California and Mexico because California used to be owned by Mexico. I asked her what a mission was and she said it was Spanish Missions in Alta California are a series of 21 religious outposts; established by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, to spread Christianity among the local Native Americans.

The Santa Barbara Mission was the one we were visiting, and it was built in 1806. They have monks who live there and when they aren’t having mass, you can go on a self guided tour, which is what we did. We walked to the courtyard where they have a garden. They were playing a video in one of the rooms about how they made the Mission. It was very cool because I have only been inside of one kind of church in my life and I thought it was interesting to see what other people do. In the room with the video there was a statue of Mary with candles in front of it. My mom said that people buy a candle then light it and pray to Mary.

My mom also told us about Saint Barbara. She was a girl who was raised by a pagan father who did not like Christianity and locked her in a tower. She somehow got out and became a Christian but her father beheaded her for her beliefs. We walked around the garden then into the grave yard. It was green and had many trees. Some of the graves were nice and marble and others were old and made of rock. Though there were only about 30 or 40 graves, a plaque said there were hundreds of Native Americans buried there. There were crosses everywhere and I wasn’t quite used to that because growing up I was kind of afraid of the symbol, but I got over it. On a small statue there was a symbol that my little sister pointed out to look like my dad’s tattoo. Mom told us it was because it was the same symbol—a sacred heart.

Then we went into the chapel where they have mass. A sign told us to be quiet. We walked up to the altar at the front then looked at the holy water in the back. There were doors at the back and my mom said they were called confessions, where you go in and tell the priest what you have done wrong and he makes you clean again. At the sides of the room there were statues where the people go to pray. My dad pointed out one that he thought was very good, it was of Mary in the garden after Jesus had died and he came to her.

We walked through the rest of the place, going in rooms and looking at sculptures and things. The grounds were very pretty and before we left we walked around the front of it.

After we left, we got ice cream at this really good ice cream place, McConnells, then went down to the beach for several minutes before heading home. When we got home we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

After, I told my dad that I wanted to go to the beach because you could hear the waves from our house. It was dark but that’s why I wanted to go. After dinner, just me and my dad walked down to the beach. The water was really pretty in the dark. With Utah’s bad pollution, we could never see the stars. But here, it was so pretty. You could see see so many stars and the moon glistened on the waves. We walked down till our feet were touching the damp sand, which was warmer than the dry sand. Actually the water would make its way up to our feet. It smelled just like the ocean should smell, of fresh, water, and sea salt. We headed back and went to bed.

I really liked going to the mission. I like seeing what other people do instead of just knowing what I do.

Santa Barbara Mission

Me in front of some statues

Selfie while waiting for my mom to come out of the gift shop

 

 

Stuff 2 (Cherry Coke, Mountain Dew and Post-Rock Music)

I had something I was gonna talk about it and then I forgot what it was.  Oh well; if it was important it will come back to me.  I shall now document whatever comes into my mind for the next several minutes:

Today I relived my memories from our excursion from San Francisco to Monterey Bay, in which I drank about two quarts of cherry Coke from Carl’s Jr. and made myself sick.  Oh, nostalgia.

In the past 24 hours I’ve had a faint glimpse of a social life, in which I texted my friend from Utah for a while.  It may be gone now, I don’t know.

I might go to the beach today.

I can’t believe I’ve been spending two bucks on a small bottle Mountain Dew from the corner store by our beach house when I can get two liters from VONS (Is that supposed to be in all caps?  That’s how you usually see it.) for the same amount of money and it lasts multiple days.

Over the past few days, I have become very addicted to the style of music that is referred to as post-rock.  It’s very hard to explain the music, and especially the feeling created by this music, you just have to look it up and listen to it on your own.  The style is exemplified by artists such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.  It usually is done with rock instruments (guitar, bass, drums and sometimes piano and electronic features) and starts out soft then either remains soft or escalates to a more intense version of whatever is generally being vamped throughout the song.  Like I said, difficult to explain.  Some good songs I have found include “Stop Coming to My House” by Mogwai, “Connie” by El Ten Eleven (I dedicate that one to this article) and “Snow and Lights” by Explosions in the Sky.

How I got into this was that I was trying to find some softer music, generally from artists like U2 and Pink Floyd (“Marooned” by Pink Floyd is amazing), indie acoustic guitar players and also some softer stuff from heavy metal bands, like Opeth’s album Damnation (although that has a much darker ambient feel to it).  All of that music is good though and I would recommend it.

More random crap tomorrow maybe, unless something very dramatic happens.

Stuff

So I came up with that idea, for going on a trip to the northern West Coast, but it was really just an idea so the time-tables came up with don’t really mean anything.  I tried a bunch of ideas I had to make it cheap, but it was pretty much really expensive no matter what.  The cheapest idea I had was just to go back to San Francisco for like a week, which I personally would love to do, but I don’t think everyone else would want to do that.

What have I been doing?

Um…

I don’t know, I go to the beach sometimes, but I still prefer to hide in dark rooms and watch sketch comedy and listen to heavy metal.  I have become very addicted to this one song, originally just because it had amazing music (because it’s like straight up death metal vocals and you can’t understand hardly any of the lyrics until you look them up).  But then I looked the lyrics up online, just out of curiosity, because although generally hard metal vocals and lyrics are awesome, they aren’t very relatable, like “Blackwater Park” and “The Winter Eclipse” (although both of those songs are awesome).  This particular song’s lyrics were also very cryptic, but for some reason they perfectly described a situation that I was in at one point.  Even the title.  But unless someone directly requests it I won’t share the song because most people would just be like, “Um… what?  This makes absolutely no sense.  And…. why…would anybody ever want to listen to this?”.

BECAUSE, it’s awesome.  And I don’t care if you don’t like it, as long as you understand that it is musical art.  My junior high art teacher had this poster about modern art and it said “You don’t have to like it, just try to understand it” and I think that applies to all forms of art.  (Although I will say there is certainly a lot of things that are just slapped together and require no skill, especially in the area of heavy metal.  But it creates a bad reputation for good heavy metal.)

I have made a little progress on a plot line for a story that I already tried to write last year, but my newer version is actually not that bad and the one from last year was super lame.

I have basically no contact with people, but I did get a text message yesterday that said, “So, do you have a special beach babe yet?”  There are……. so many things I could say to that.  Too many.  Like, I know there are no stupid questions, but… that’s a @#$%ing stupid question.

We went to the iFLY in Universal City last week.  That was pretty fun.  If you don’t know what that is, they describe it as indoor skydiving.  You put on a skydiving suit and goggles and a helmet and you go into this jet engine wind tunnel and the air current is powerful enough that it lifts you into the air if you are in the right position.  It was fun but it’s also really expensive.

Yeah so that’s pretty much it.

Edit: “Blackwater Park” is not an unrelatable piece.  It has been argued as an allegory for the world tearing itself apart, which I can’t say I entirely disagree with.  “The Winter Eclipse”, a very progressive black metal piece, probably has some sort of meaning, but nobody on songmeanings.com has elaborated so that would be kind of a project of its own.