Thursday, March 22, 2007

Encinitas Nooks and Crannies

In the coastal communities of Encinitas and Leucadia, we have many quirky nooks and crannies waiting blog exposure. Ah, yes, these are the people in your neighborhood . . . Here we see the mark of Jim Morrison at this shop offering Astrology Readings and Jewelry.
Astrology ReadingsA few blocks away, these dwellings give new meaning to the word "houseboat."
Encinitas HouseboatsThe vernal equinox was yesterday and clearly spring has arrived at the beach. Purple, yellow, and pink dot the cliffs above the white water.
People came out in droves to surf, ply the beach, and feed the pigeons.
Feed the birdsSurfers in wetsuits took to the water, shown by this split pair, as the sets rolled in.
Split pair

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Confessions of a Groupie

Isam Band CD cover 'Stay Awhile'For those expecting lurid tales of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, you are apt to be disappointed. I am after all both the author and editor of these tales and will use a heavy hand at extricating any damaging, compromising or otherwise inappropriate material. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that.

That’s just a lure to get you to read my post. But, truth be told, I am indeed a bona fide groupie. You see, I went and married the bass player of a rock and roll band. Actually, he wasn’t the bass player then—he was the rhythm guitar player. But I think his nature is well-suited to the bass.

And this band has gone through several incarnations from the earliest days. It has evolved from being a cover-only, party till the cows come home rock band to the Isam Band, a source of award-winning original tunes—some romantic, some that rock, a little blues, a tad country, with hot guitar leads and soulful vocals. You can hear them New Year’s Eve at Dobson’s Restaurant and in June at the San Diego (a.k.a. Del Mar) Fair.

The band is putting the finishing touches on their CD, a work that’s been evolving for awhile. Isam (Sam) Khoury is the creative source of these tunes. He is both a conjurer of tunes and crafter of words. His supporting cast includes Paul on bass, Dave on drums, Michael on keys, and Bill on vocals and harp. Occasionally, there is also Sara on vocals as well. Recording and mixing all happened at Spragueland Studios, the incredible recording studio owned and run by Peter Sprague.

The CD includes guest appearances by Trip Sprague (flute and sax) and Peter Sprague (acoustic guitar). I have a sample tune. There isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t melt instantly if her significant other played this tune for her, saying something like “This is how I feel about you.”

Sam has given me permission to post it. So enjoy. Track: Whoever Brought You Near (God Bless) Vocals and Guitar: Sam; Guest Guitar: Peter. (2 MB)

The CD is in its final phase—tracks have been mixed and the cover artwork is being designed (sneak preview above). I will definitely repost when it is available (iTunes and regular, tactile CD), because, after all, I am a groupie.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

And so asks the Chicago Transit Authority in their 1969 self-titled double-platinum debut album. And, weirdly enough, that question is still relevant today, with Daylight Savings Times moving up three weeks earlier than normal, cell phones that get their time from the mother ship and wall clocks that are susceptible to power outages (which are rare, but are guaranteed to occur when you most need an accurate alarm clock). What’s a time-conscious (or time-unconscious) person to do?

Well, I’ve recently embraced my cell phone as an accurate time source and a convenient alarm. Don’t want to be late for that appointment? Set your cell phone alarm. Conference call scheduled at 10:00AM? Set your cell phone to 9:55AM so you’re ready. I have been known to get so absorbed in whatever I’m working on, that I not only work through lunch, but I forget to pick up my kids at school (that was a long time ago—they’re on their own now—and they’ve hopefully forgiven me).

This January in London, I needed to get up at 7:00AM. The hotel’s front desk was closed, so I couldn’t request a wakeup call. I didn’t have my digital watch, but I did have my not-in-service cell phone. However, it still faithfully kept time. But not London time; it was fixed at its last known time source, New York City, where in-between flights I turned on the phone. Since I wanted to get up at 7:00AM London time, I set my alarm to 2:00AM Eastern time. I did test it first to make sure my cell phone alarm would work and went to bed. Brilliant—just like clock work!

Last weekend at the Sunday change to Daylight Savings Time, I wasn’t quite as confident. I thought that Verizon would accurately update my cell phone’s time, but still, one heard grumblings about mini Y2K-type snafus. In defense of the unknown and not quite sure (and unable to test), I set my cell phone for 7:00AM and my mostly-trusty wall clock for 7:00AM. Of course, I adjusted my wall clock before going to bed on Saturday night and left my cell phone for its master to refresh.

What do you think happened? Before I answer, let me say that a user-friendly device is one that, in spite of its being complex, offers an intuitive interface and allows us users to do most tasks easily. Any other behavior is either a bug or a usability issue.

On Sunday morning, my wall clock went off at 7:00AM, as it should. My cell phone did not. Just as I was about to leave the house, my cell phone went off at 8:00AM. So, not only did the mother ship advance the clock an hour, but it also advanced my alarm setting! I’ve been trying to figure out why someone would want that behavior. I’ve concluded that it’s a bug. Verizon, are you listening?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Color on the Cliffs

Blossoms along the cliff at the beachSurprise color erupts along the base of the cliffs as spring time has arrived at the beach.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stones Strewn About

Rocks on the Beach
Stones strewn about
All over the beach
Scattered in piles,
Stretching for miles
Such clatter and roar
as the waves wash them o’er
And yet, I press on

One foot
in front of the other
One shoe
just clearing the hazard
Whilst the other shoe sinks
in the sand

Ah, such effort and care must I take
To make sure I don’t twist m
y ankle
Or break my toe
On this stone or that
Or the millions or so that lie up ahead
Happily, those behind can do me no harm—

Unless I turn 'round
And run back among
Those stones strewn about
All over the beach