A few awesome images of Yellowstone National Park that I took while working the fall season last year. Stunning Park that always deserves attention and care
At 1:55pm on May 2nd of 2013 a very peculiar event happened to me in Mesa Verde National Park. It goes a little something like this:
While on a pleasant hike from the Morefield Campground a few miles into the Park on the Prater Ridge trail, I came back to my car to get in, drive out of the parking lot, and immediately saw 3 Park Ranger SUVs pull out from a side road to follow me for a couple minutes before hitting their lights and pulling me over. Surrounding me like it was an invasion, they came out and over to my window while I was in confusion as to the issue. When asked why I was pulled over, the main officer aggressively stated that it was the marijuana he saw on my seat between my legs (which of course he couldn't see from following me, but we'll get to that later). Forcefully asking me to get out of the car ( which I did) he pointed to my car seat and told me about the pot I had on my seat. As the other Rangers closed in, obviously wanting to go in for a kill on an insanely dangerous skinny pot smoker like me, that of course requires many officers to subdue, I immediately pointed out that what was on the seat were cocoa nibs. Stopped with an idiotic look, the disbelieving officer (who refused to identify himself to me, likewise with all the other officers) questioned the straightforward comment I made, which made me have to re-explain that those were cocoa nibs on my seat and that I hadn't smoked pot in 15 years. As the officers backed off, that look of embarrassed disbelief shined through in the lead officer's face. He asked me for my license, insurance and registration information (which I gave him). While running it, I wanted to take a picture of the situation. I was nearly detained by 2 of the anonymous Rangers and threatened if I were to do so, even after explaining the simple photographic errand I was doing. When the main Ranger returned to me, I asked how he knew pot was on my seat when he couldn't see such a thing from his vehicle? He explained that he saw it on my car seat in the parking lot. I responded, "You mean you went snooping in and around my car while I was hiking...?", he said "yes", and I said "and you were just snooping around my car for... fun..?" and he said "yes". I said "hmmm...that's interesting..." And so..they just did nothing for a while after that privacy invasion (I was hiking for a good couple of hours or so), as they just waited for me to finish hiking;after they identified cocoa nibs..as marijuana...Here's our tax dollars at work good citizens. Police work in our Parks at it's finest. Don't you feel safe? I sure don't. This would go right up there with police officers' fine work sitting in speed traps all day and organizing SWAT team treatment at all the peaceful rallies for peace and justice, while all but ignoring the serious neighborhood drug and violence problems that don't see the same commitment. We need a change. We need to stand up to this. To protect and serve is the motto but I seem to see less and less of that.
970-529-4465 is the Mesa Verde Park Service phone number. Let them know what you think. I've provided the only picture I was able to take-after the humiliated officers left me alone when they realized they had nothing to earn them brownie points, I took this photo of the very pot-like (lol) cocoa nibs on my seat. God Bless everyone.
Time certainly does fly when you're having fun! I've had so much going on lately both of my head and my heart and in my life tha to try to summarize it all within a few sentences or paragraphs would be unjust. Needless to say though, I'm on a wonderful new series of journeys right now that all expand upon what I've done but present new opportunities and involve taking everything I've done to the next level.
Recently I've enjoyed doing freelance photography for search engines and consulting companies on the Internet and that is been a wonderful way to take my love of travel and jaunting about in the Bay Area with my love of photography and the ease and technologica capabilities the iPhone.
At the same time I've explored my artisan side with creating craft products like homemade organic Kalua, working on recipes for more organic craft beers, and working on interesting ideas for organic vegan liquors and other bar products.
I've lost no interest in craft cocktailing, bartending and looking for the next great opportunity to take my skills and love of meeting people and creating organic craft drinks and talking about wine and beer with those who appreciate them; the next level however, it needs to be a very specific place an opportunity to accept what I have to offer, and the skills I have. I need a place where I can thrive and grow and present the opportunity to create inorganic cruelty free artisan environment. I need to continue to travel and explore and see the next and crannies of this world as well as the famous icons. I need to tell stories and make films and right interesting books. I need to act and present my diversity of character range in film as opportunities arise. And I also need to present the opportunity of growth spiritually and in the good things of this world to other people and help them grow. And that's something that I need to learn to do and to take the opportunities as they come to present those other people. It's all an experience and one that I am so happy that I share with my partner Lynn and which every day presents itself new possibilities. May every day offer the best that's yet to come..Cheers!
As part of my series on Ashland started earlier this year, I've been writing and editing videos that showcase the beauty and diversity of the cocktails, breweries, restaurants, theater and hotels of the area. Included as part of this series is this short video of lead bartender Ryan Mortimore at Larks Restaurant at the Ashland Springs Hotel demonstrating some of his mixology and cocktail philosophy as he shakes up one their signature drinks. Cheers!
Recently, Lynn and I travelled to Ashland (well, June...), where we chronicled restaurants, theater, hotels, breweries and bars, a little of the great outdoors and art...generally having a great time. Included in our visit was a breakfast at fusion-y, flavorful Dragonfly Cafe, where one of the highlights was the sweet and saviry Coconut French Toast. Here in this video though, the manager and bartender made us their signature cocktail, a jalapeño-blueberry margarita, and it was savory! Cheers!
The beauty I've been seeking here in Yellowstone the last couple of weeks has been partially quenched, but I'm always felt wanting more, as so many secrets await. With only 1 more week here, and the snow having started, we'll be packing in any and all photos and sights we can. We've managed to hit a lot of the major geysers for eruptions, see enormous amounts of wildlife and enjoy serenity by sparkling rivers and broad valleys..
Over 17 years ago I began a journey, one that helps define me today. I started working in the National Parks, in the Resort side of things. The path that I followed led me to Grand Teton National Park in the summer of 1995 (and again in 1996), part of a Earhly paradise that includes Jackson Hole, the striking Tetons and the large, diverse and unique Yellowstone.
While the Tetons possessed a striking visual to Rocky Mountain splendor, Yellowstone allured me with a colorful magic that I have yet to see anywhere else. Nothing can match wonder of seeing the famous geyser basins for the first time and seeing the views across the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone; exploring a place that you realize shows off every natural wonder found somewhere in the park.
So here I come back, after many National Parks and National treasures and travels, to dive deep into this Park, re-discovering the familiar, exploring the unseen, and chronicling everything along the way, following with te Tetons and Jackson Hole along the way.
So fly away with me and discover the magic of this place, as I accumulate pictures, video and stories of the land, people, art, food and beverage, and anything else I could obsess about knowing, seeing and discovering of the beauty around us..
Exactly 3 years ago, I took the first step in a 4-step process that is known as becoming a Master Sommelier from the most recognized authority, the Court of Master Sommeliers. I took the Intro Course in Campbell, California, a 2-day whirlwind of lectures and tastings that ends with a 100 question, multiple-choice test, with a 60% minimum passing rate, and including many questions that were harder than I expected.
After 3 years of continuisly working in the restaurant and wine/food media fields, I finally tackled what I had been wanting and putting off of, signing up for the Certified level on September 12th, again in Campbell, CA, a significant step up that is a series of 3 tests. A blind tasting of 1 white and 1 red wine, to be properly analyzed, followed by a 40 question test (multiple choice, matching answer, and short answer), followed by a service exam suggesting food and wine pairings, opening a bottle of champagne and duscussing cocktails and spirits. I crammed unendingly up to the last minute, uzilizing books, the Internet, my girlfriend and friends to all ends, and still worked 5-6 days a week. I was both excited and nervous going in.
I was thrilled, humbled and relieved.
And now, the next step, Advanced. An even greater leap. But I think I'll travel to Europe and South of the Border first...
As a long time bartender and mixologist, I was unfortunate not to be exposed to the famous Peruvian (and Chilean) brandy Pisco until moving into the SF Bay Area several years ago. Upon being handed a glass of Puro (straight Pisco) at Cantinna in Union Square on an unexpected visit while on a night out on the town in SF with fellow bartenders, I was turned on to this little elixir none-too-soon. I'm now creating Pisco cocktails, sipping on an ORO Italia puro at the end of my nights, researching the Pisco Punch and Sour, reading the exhaustive Guillermo Toro-Lira books on the subject,studying the terroir and production, visiting the bartenders cocktail lab at ORO on Treasure Island,going to trade events, etc., etc..., of this spirit that gained fame in American (and is still the leading US consumer) culture in San Francisco, a mainstay there since the Gold Rush days. After this introduction I will be heading into a 3-part article on Pisco. Part 1-Book reviews on several Pisco books and a review of the basics of laws and tastings of Pisco. Part 2 will visit several local and well-known San Francisco bars and labs with a Pisco focus and a look at the bartenders who love the magical stuff, and the cocktails they make. Part 3 will take us into the heart of Peru and Chile to explore the land is comes from, and the bars that focus on it's homeland spirit, meeting the faces and places that make it special.
Infidelicacy, a surealist horror script I wrote with actor extrodinaire, good friend and writer Matt Baker in L.A., is now officially in pre-production, after years of sitting on the desk waiting to be made. Starring Matt in the lead role, and (tentatively) Machelle Allman, Ally Jones, Calvin Green and Larry Laverty in other lead and supporting roles, this is a most exciting project combining elements of Woody Allen, Hitchcock, horror and surrealism, all with an original take and style that Matt and myself have brought. I've chosen experienced stage actress and director Dianna Grogg as my Assistant Director, and had a great meeting with her and local filmmaker John Harden in Santa Rosa for an early meeting to talk about crewing, funding, and early generalities. Also attached is Art Design/Direction by celebrated artists Lynn Strough and Robbie Geiss. As we move forward with locations (some scouted in San Francisco and Petaluma) we look at assembling a top-notch crew in the technical departments, followed by the gear, F/X-costuming-props, onto solidifying the locations and all actors, followed by early shooting/test shots and the funding campaign. This is all exciting for all of us, and I look forward to every step of the process, and keeping everyone tuned!