Sunday, April 30, 2006

Well I'm in hazy but sunny Southern California this weekend, I'm here for my annual trek to the Los Angeles Festival of Books at UCLA. In the Bay Area there isn't a book festival as extensive as the one at UCLA. The festival has a selection of events to meet everyone's taste except maybe the most erudite and scholarly. However, you can find some esoteric titles on various subjects if you dig around.

The event is free however, you have to pay for parking. we found parking on campus for $8.00 not bad. Have on your walking shoes the event is spreadout around campus and to reach the main drag you'll have a good walk. If you haven't been on UCLA campus the festival will give you a chance to eye the place. There's plenty of food and acourse a cooking/cuisine book stage. If you decide to pack a lunch there many comfortable places on campus to enjoy sandwiches from hom.

One aspect of the festival I enjoy is visiting to the different authors panels and readings. They are very popular and you should reserve your tickets prior to event day. This year I didn't plan to see any specific authors but cruising the festival with my sister and niece we stayed primarily in the children sections this year. There were two entertainment stages, we arrived at the main stage to watch Barney shake his purple thang. We also visited a second children area where the Children's Museum of Los Angeles had setup craft heaven. My niece was able to glue, cut and add sparkles to her heart's content.

A pleasant way to spend a weekend day, I'll be back next year.


Friday, April 21, 2006

It’s Friday night and I’m home tired but happy to be resting after a week full of work. Commuting to Fremont is exhausting, waking up so early in the morning. But it’s extra rough after an evening so staying up late. Thursday night I went to Yoshi’s at Jack London Square to see one of my favorite Pianist Omar Sosa. Getting off at Lake Merritt Bart Station in Oakland I felt relief walking through a City with character. Transversing only ½ a mile in Oakland I walked through Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square, downtown Oakland was warm with just a slight breeze in the air. It was a great weather for walking.

When I arrived at Yoshi’s I purchased my ticket, it was two hours before the show and most of the prime seats where already taken. Ticket holders are allowed to reserve their seats in Yoshi’s it’s a perk for those who arrive early. Even if you don’t plan to eat at Yoshi’s prior to the show arrive early and reserve your seat and grab a bite some where else.

Omar Sosa’s concerts are never the same; he is willing to challenge his audience with experimentation, different music genders, and an absence of a greatest hits song list during his performances.

The program included the saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis known for his arrangement for James Brown I was expecting some funk Thursday night and I receive it plus more. Omar Sosa Quartet jammed integrating so much within their performance. From JazzyCuban riffs, electronica sounds effects to funky solos from Ellis, Sosa's group delighted.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

I was curious, after reading several articles extolling the virtues of the Environmental Cabins at Steep Ravine in Mount Tamalpais State Park, why is this location so popular? So about 6 months ago I woke up on the first day of the month and at 8:00 AM struggled to make reservations for two days (Friday and Saturday) at the park. I wasn't successful getting Saturday just one day Friday March 31st was available.

Well six month later the upcoming weekend didn't look good, March was one of the wettest months in memory, I didn't cancel my reservation and the rain Goddess was kind.

The Steep Ravine Cabins are about 20 miles North of San Francisco on Hwy 1 about one mile south of Stinson Beach. The cabins are not for those who cannot live without luxury, they are without water, electricity, toilets or even curtains treatments on the windows.

The toilets are pit and the water facets are shared with other cabin dwellers and campers. There is a wood-burning stove in the cabin for cooking and heat, I think it's fair to say this is a primitive campsite.

The lack of interior amenities did not bother me, when we arrived at the cabins it was dark but not raining. We started a fire had dinner and enjoyed hearing the ocean crashing on the shore and the general quiet of the night. Because of the rainy weather half the cabins weren't occupied.

In the morning we received the treat of the most beautiful ocean view from our cabin. I left the cabin and enjoyed the solitude of the park, it's quite pretty with great coastal views including waterfalls flowing into the ocean and beautiful lilies gracing the park. The other treat, it was not stormy only a few drizzles. The sky was mostly blue and slightly overcast.

One of the perks of the park is its' location only 1.1 miles from Stinston Beach and minutes from the City of Bolinas. We left the cabin around 12:00 PM, checkout time, and drove to Bolinas for lunch at the Coastal Cafe. For those who don't know the Bolinas' Road signs were removed from Hwy 1. To get there drive pass Stinston Beach continue pass Bolinas Bay after the lagoon ends make a left on the first road you see. When the road ends make another left and within minutes you will be driving through the downtown Bolinas. The cafe was reasonably priced, the service was friendly and professional

After lunch we returned to the entrance of the cabins on Hwy 1 and parked. Across Hwy 1 is a trail head for the Steep Ravine Hike, it's a popular hike known for it crowds but it was relatively empty because of the rains damping the Bay Area. Walking into the Steep Ravine took us into a moss covered fern and redwood forest it was a dramatic change

After the hike we headed back to City, a day of site seeing and hiking without substainal rain I could only thank the Ancestors and the Rain Goddess for her generosity.

Steep Ravine Trails

Butterflies on the trail

View of the Environmental Cabins from Hwy 1


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