For my birthday M+E got me this crazy magazine called "Found." It's full of stuff people have found and sent in - notes and pictures and all sorts of stuff. It's amazingly entertaining for lots of different reasons. Their website contains a lot of stuff, but the magazine has more long form entries, like a woman's journal about her Hawaiian vacation in which she and her husband go to McDonald's or Cheeseburger in Paradise every day, sometimes twice a day. Then she won't eat pork a the Luau because she's afraid she'll get a tummy ache. Check out the website for some laughs, especially the notes.
posted by Greg 2:57 PM
Hound Dog Taylor was one of my biggest influences early on. His blues is highly raunchy and emotional, and comes tearing out of the speakers straight into your soul. With his cheap guitar and huge smile, he gets crackling around your brain and won't leave. He only recorded a few albums, and I highly reccommend "Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers - Genuine Houserocking Music," an album my dad bought and I *appropriated* which still gets a lot of play around my house. And yes, it does rock it!
posted by Greg 12:56 PM
Picks of the Week - Shannon's play got pick of the week this week. I saw it on Friday and it's great. It's actually two short plays, one sad and one funny, and Shannon is great in both of them. I hear Thursday is "pay what you can" day, so check it out!!!
posted by Greg 10:01 AM
Top five reasons why Muddy Waters is the greatest: 1: Great punny nickname. 2: He played a telecaster. 3: He had his mojo working (but it just don't work on you.) 4: His singing sends a chill down your spine. 5: He put together the best band ever and invented the "Chicago Blues" style.
posted by Greg 9:03 AM
Sounds of Silence in the Anza-Borrego Desert - Apparently the New York Times editors read my blog and are lifting story ideas. Link requires registration but it's worth it for the New York Times. Here's an idea for another story: There are a bunch of active bloggers living in Los Angeles - check it out!
posted by Greg 3:40 PM
Jimmy Reed has been one of my very favourite blues artists ever since my dad brought home a great double album greatest hits lp when I was in junior high school. I always liked his simple but emotional guitar and harmonica style and his driving bass driven beats, as well as his now classic lyrics. I was familiar with such songs as "Big Boss Man," "Honest I Do" and "Bright Lights, Big City" from many cover versions, but as soon as I heard the originals they became my favourites. As a guitarist, I also appreciated his records because almost every song was in the key of E, making playing along to them that much easier. His songs "Take Out Some Insurance," "I Ain't Got You," and "High and Lonesome" were part of my early repitoire, helping to shape my songwriting sensibility: simple and direct without being dumb. So let's raise a toast to Jimmy Reed as part of the Greg's Blog™ celebration of Black History Month!!
posted by Greg 12:04 PM
From the first time I heard him I was a huge Chuck Berry fan. One of my first ever tapes was a copy of the "The Great 28" which I played over and over on my cheap player and then in my first car until it got so thin that you could hear the other side backwards when you played it. I later got it on CD and still listen to it a lot. His autobiography is one of the best I've ever read, with no ghost writer to temper his flamboyant writing style. Happy Black History Month, Chuck!!!
posted by Greg 10:31 AM
On Friday Molli and I set out for a short trip to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, an amazing place located just three hours south-east of Los Angeles. Inspired and instructed by Joe, we left at 5 in the morning to beat the traffic, and got to watch the sun rise as we left the worries of the city behind while listening to Bob Dylan's amazing new album "Love and Theft" again, marvelling at it's perfection even at 6:30am. After an easy and scenic drive, we came over the mountain on Highway S22 with The Strokes "Is This It?" on the stereo to see this panoramic view of the desert:
In the far distance is the Salton Sea, in front of that is the Borrego Badlands, and in the middle distance the dark spot is the town of Borrego Springs, where we had a room reservation. After descending the mountain we got some grub at Kendalls Diner, the only place open in town. Then we headed to the great Visitors Center where we learned that the desert is named after two things: Anza was a Spanish explorer who came through here looking for a land route from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and Borrego is the spanish word for the bighorn sheep that are native to this area. We learned about the Native Americans (Yuman-speaking Kumeyaay and the Shoshonean-speaking Cahuilla) who migrated between here and San Diego, leaving many cave paintings all over the area. We also learned about the various native desert plants, the Ocotillo, the White Sage, the Barrel Cactus, the Elephant Tree, and of course the California Fan Palm trees. After we checked into our room we drove around and took a couple nice hikes into the arid foothills, over boulders and up washes searching for cave paintings that we never did find. Near sunset, we drove out to a four mile dirt road which took us to Font's Point in the middle of the Borrego Badlands, where we took the picture you can see a couple posts down and this one:
I think that these badlands were formed by erosion which exposed layers of sediment left when the Colorado River used to empty into the sea here after carving the Grand Canyon. It's layers are easily visible and supposedly it's full of fossils, exposed by the erosion which gives the land it's surreal lines. It was amazingly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Check this one picture, to get a sense of scale:
The next morning we drove back to the Visitor's Center, from which we hiked to to the amazing Palm Canyon oasis. This is a natural spring located in one of these canyons in which about 1000 native California Palm trees grow. It was an amazing juxtaposition, after hiking 2 miles through a mars-scape of dry rocks and sand, to find a shady palm grove with waterfalls and cool breezes. It was almost unreal:
After relaxing and almost losing our water in the water, we headed back to town for delicious burritos at the local taco shop, Jilberto's, by far the best place to eat at in Borrego Springs. From there we drove east to see the Salton Sea, but we didn't get too close, instead heading North to catch the 10 West for home, past the windmill farms, giant dinosaurs, and the famous outlet mall (where I assume they sell electrical outlets. Just go to Radio Shack, I say.) The Anza-Borrego is a Southern California treasure which for some reason is not that well known. I always figured there was desert east of San Diego, but only found out about this state park from the intrepid Joe. It is famous for it's wildflowers in the Spring, when the weather should be perfect for the abundant camping facilities there.
posted by Greg 12:48 PM
Friday was the one year anniversary of this blog. I started it as a way to document some of the things I was doing and to share my enthusiasm for various artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, scientists and friends. It's been a lot of fun, even if I haven't gotten any better at spelling. Thanks for checking it out, I wouldn't keep doing it without the great feedback I get from kind readers like you.
posted by Greg 11:14 AM