Bay Area travel madness

Living in Santa Cruz can be a challenge at times. One of the major challenges is getting to and from places in the Bay Area, where most of my musical, job-search, and social activities located.

For San Francisco trips, one takes Highways 17, 85 and 280 (or 101 as suggested below) into the city:

If I am not in a rush, highway 1 along the coast is always a rewarding experience.

For the east bay (Berkeley, Oakland, etc.), one instead follows highway 17, which becomes I-880, along the east side of the bay:

The trick is avoid the bridges. Sometimes this is unavoidable, and one ends up making a “grand circuit” to and from Santa Cruz around the bay.

The trip is about 70 miles each direction (slightly longer on the east bay side), and about 90 minutes unless one hits bad traffic. Really, it's not so bad, and I have been doing trips like this for years for music and art events, or to see friends, family, and such.

But when it becomes several times a week, and nearing every day, it starts to wear on you. Almost all of my job interviews are in the bay area. Then there is the upcoming performance schedule, back-to-back shows in SF and Oakland followed by the tour.

And this weekend will top them all:

Saturday. Rehearsal for Polly Moller and Company. Then br'er performs in San Francisco that night. It's quite a coincidence that br'er is touring the west coast right now, just as I am about to go on tour. Indeed we will also be crossing paths again in Seattle when we both play on October 20th.

Sunday. Rehearsal again. Then the :plug3: headphone festival in San Francisco. I have a solo set at 7:30PM.

Monday. The tour's kickoff show at 1510 8th Street in Oakland. I have a solo set in addition to our group show.

Tuesday. I need to stay overnight so that…

Wednesday. We leave on tour from SF and Oakland bright and early.

This is out of control. Not because of the activities themselves, which are manageable, but the fact that it is far from CatSynth HQ every day. I have options to stay overnight to make things easier (and will likely do so some of the nights), but that means being away from home, away from everything that needs to be done here, away from Luna (which also means setting up more cat sitting arrangements).

Living in Santa Cruz is becoming one huge liability. It was fine when I was working every day here and going up to the city once a week or so, but now my life and all the action in it seems to be back in the bay area. How long can I keep this up?

Woodstockhausen 2007 Cancelled

Weather is always a risk with an outdoor event, and so it is with Woodstockhausen 2007. As suggested earlier, we are having some unusually bad rain, which affected both the stage as well as the roads in the Santa Cruz mountains, so the event had to be cancelled.

At this point, I haven't heard any plans to reschedule…

Wordless Wednesday: From the home office…

Wordless Wednesday: 139

Wordless Wednesday: Seabright Beach, Santa Cruz


No, this article has nothing to do with Moog. Rather, it's just a story with a happy ending published by the local SPCA a month or so ago (unfortunately, they appear to have removed the link to the original PDF). Everyone needs a happy story now and then, even the rather dark and cynical characters who spend time on this forum.

A cat had been found in a San Jose alley nursing her kittens. She had been a victim of animal cruelty and had a 14-inch slash that extended from under her left arm to the end of her stomach. She had been rushed to an emergency vet hospital where surgery was performed to stabilize her and clean and repair her wounds.

Now it's possible that the 14-inch slash on the cat's belly was an accident, but it's more likely that it was a deliberate act of cruelty. What sort of sick, depraved, person slashes a poor kitty, let alone a mother with kittens? I suspect kids. Pro-lifers, take notice! Fortunately, the cat did recover from her wounds:

Although in pain and barely alive, Kitty continued to love and care for her three kittens. The staff at the humane shelter quickly realized this was a special cat as she was extremely sociable and quite the purr-box.

She was then transfered to the Santa Cruz SPCA, where she acquired the name Princess Mugio. Mugio is a Latin verb for groan/roar/bellow, and of course, “moo.” The following is a quote from the person who fostered her during her recovery:

Upon laying my eyes on this severely injured cat, a tremendous wave of sorrow came over me. I could not understand what would possess someone to commit such a heinous act. Here laid this helpless animal, weighing a mere five pounds, suffering from a fourteen-inch thoracicabdominal wound. Princess Mugio had done nothing to deserve such abuse.

Pro-lifers, take note a second time.

Happily, Princess Mugio did make a full recovery, and became quite a charmer:

Princess grew stronger and healthier with each day. She began to flourish. Her unique personality slowly emerged. She began conversing more, especially in the mornings and when I would return from work. It became clear she was a remarkably intelligent cat.

Sounds a lot like Luna, who is not only a “princess”, but is also quite the conversationalist in the morning and evening (when I get home from work).

Eventually, Mugio was ready for a permanent home, and was featured as a “Pet of the Week,” with her own ad in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It stated: Deserving Princess Seeks New Castle. The link takes you to their archives.

Apparently it didn't take long for someone to give her that “castle” and what appears to be a happy ending to what could have been a very tragic story.

on civilization and it's ragged edges

It's been a lovely, warm day, one of the best since our recent deep freeze. Lots of patches of grey haze (probably fog rather than smog) amidst the blue. The melancholy beauty of California “summer,” except it's February.

it's starting to feel civilized again.

Speaking of civilization, many of us took time to help out friends (who I might through my interests in electronic and experimental music, hence this post noses itself into the “music” category) who were moving, from one side of town to the other. With so many of us coming out to help, we got the whole thing done in a fraction of a day. Would that friends and community got together for one another like this more open.

Below is a map of our home little seaside town.

On the lower left is the “West Side”, our side, of town. It's known for including the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), and scenic West Cliff Drive bookended by Natural Bridges state park and the main city beach. We moved our friends from nearby in the West Side over to the area called “Live Oak” on the eastern edge of the map and beyond the city limits. The area has quite a different feel, a flat patchwork of new homes, commercial buildings, rundown blocks and vacant lots. It might be strange that I like to explore places like this, but I do, it feels like being on the rundown edge of a large city. I have a similar feel when biking through the neighborhood near the main city beach, a mixture of old houses, tourist hotels and vacant lots.

It's easy to wax romantic about a place when you don't necessarily live there. Consider the fondness many artistic and cultural figures have for 1970s New York, a time when the city was verging on bankrupcy, infrastructure was crumbling and the (violent) crime rate was far higher than it is now. Daniel Henninger had a great article in the Wall Street Journal two years ago discussing this idea. Among those quoted:

The actor John Leguizamo: New York in the '70s “was funky and gritty and showed the world how a metropolis could be dark and apocalyptic and yet fecund.” Fran Lebowitz, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair: The city “was a wreck; it was going bankrupt. And it was pretty lawless; everything was illegal, but no laws were enforced. It was a city for city-dwellers, not tourists, the way it is now.”

For me, there is probably also a nostalgia for the images of childhood, like the graffiti on subway cars and crumbling concrete playgrounds (I don't think any of those exist any longer). By contrast, Giuliani's cleaned-up Times Square elicits little more than a shrug and a few seconds looking at the big screen…
Most of my recent trips to New York have been in November and December (though I did go back in June, 2005 as well). New York in winter does have its charm, but I miss the sweltering summers, the terrific oppression of the big city…

Super brrrrrr!

If we thought Saturday morning was cold, check out what showed up on Dashboard this morning:

It feels like the cold mornings back east that I thought I was getting away from. This is just incorrect! And ironically the northeast has been having a warm winter. Put it all together we're having some freaky weather. Are we seeing some of the effects of incipient climate change?