The Moon.

Just cause I rented a damn telescope for a lens…

Transmissions from the Satellite...

Transmissions from the Satellite...

Lens: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 USM IS
Body: Canon 7D
ISO: 100
A: 2.8
T: 1/160

Editing: Contrast adjustment, Cropped.


Shooting weekend – March 18-20

Why would I possibly post a post about taking pictures this weekend?  Well, there are a couple reasons…

1.  I rented a bunch of equipment, so I’ll be getting some distinctly different shots than the norm.

2. I’ll be attempting to hit up a few different (at least two) events. It’s a photography weekend, not just a weekend where I end up taking pictures.

I want to put the bug in your ear!  This has very much become a photography blog, even though I didn’t start off intending it that way, and if any of my readers are going to be at any of the events, or have any events that I should shoot with the ridiculously nice equipment I’ll have on hand, I’m all ears for requests and such.

At the moment, I’m tentatively planning on shooting Cars and Coffee on Saturday (should be fun with a 300mm lens and a 1.6x cropped dSLR for an effective focal length of 480mm) and the Prospectors Enduro on Sunday.

Since this is one of the lenses I need for another project, I might hit up a few different areas, eg: Bolsa Chica for some bird photography, etc. But I’m not sure you care about that :-P

Saturday: Irvine

Sunday: Spangler Hills

California – Joshua Tree National Park

Hello once again, wandering wayfarer! Today brings us to Joshua Tree National Park… Let’s cut the crap and get right to it…

View Larger Map

I need to get a polarizing filter.

It's very windy here. This is also not Joshua Tree National Park... but close!

Walkin’ in the Mojave.

I rocked this trip with my friend from pre-school, Nick, and his buddy from college, Jesse. These are Jesse's dirty shorts.

It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood! ;-)

It's LOG!

Someone want to edit out the sticks in the background for me?  I started to, and then decided I was feeling quite uninspired.


They just photograph so well.

Logs are a recurring theme

B&W for kicks.

Almost every photo in this series has a crap-ton of color saturation... Almost.

Things die in the desert, and then dry out.  It’s not my fault that logs are interesting photo subjects.

Yup, another one.

Cacti, too.

This kinda reminds me of a post card from the 60's. Is it too much?

Sometimes, your perspective can make you feel really, really, really small...


Namesake on blue.

This is an exceptionally fine example of a young Joshua Tree.

Now that I’m putting these pictures up, after days of sorting and editing, I’m realizing that I must find logs exceptionally fascinating.

yet another log.

This doesn't look real. Keen observer.

8,000ft from 5,000ft and a few miles

POW! This is not jumbo rock

It was kinda bland, so I fixed it. Not bad at 50...





So I was a little heavy-handed with the digital editing on this album.  Do you hate it?  Love it?  Drop me a line…

Shift Lever Repair

A while ago I broke the shift lever on my bike.  Being cheap, I bought a cheap aftermarket shift lever for about $40 on ebay, rather than the $80 stock replacement.  It then proceeded to break only about 5-6 months later.

Question 1:  Was the $40 I saved worth this aggravation?

Question 2:  After dropping $18 on a repair, is the $22 I ended up saving worth this aggravation?

Question 3: How long is this repair going to last?

To buy:
3/8″ Drill
3/8″ x 2″ Stainless Steel Bolt + Nut
3/8″ ID tubing (needed to buy 10′ at Home Depot.  Used 2″, or 1.66%)
“Blue” threadlocker

And now the photo…

Looks nice, don't it?

It actually feels better than the aftermarket part, since the bolt/tube combination is stiffer.

Motorcycle Coffee Cup Holder

I ride to work nearly every day on a motorcycle. For a while, I was eating breakfast at home and bringing a bottle of water. As I’m not really a morning person, this slowly gave-way to buying breakfast on the way, at first occasionally, eventually EVER. SINGLE. DAY. I was bringing it to work for a little while, but then, as I realized I don’t actually like eating my breakfast (now cold) at work, I started eating it at the coffee shop…

And then I started drinking coffee, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I avoided this for so long, but it caught up to me, for reasons that are irrelevant, so let’s just say: I like coffee.

So then, since I’m not a morning person, I started waking up later, and not being able to enjoy my coffee at the coffee shop. Thus; I had to transport it to work, on a motorcycle.  And thus was born, this ridiculous solution to an unnecessary problem.

I am, by nature, a problem solver.  What’s the right solution?  A travel mug. Obviously.  But due to being something of an idiot, stubborn, lazy, and just generally having a penchant for creative solutions, that was not viable*

So you want to know how to get a coffee-to-go on your motorbike?  Look no further, curious kindred, for I will guide you to the ways of mobile beverage… man.

You will need…
To Bring:
– Bag (motorcycle tank bags will work dramatically better than… well basically anything else.)
– Towel (Experiment to find what works best for you, but you probably want something smaller than a beach towel)
– Expensive laptop, books, or other liquid sensitive 3-dimensional, mostly flat device(s)

To Buy:
– Cream Cheese

To Steal:
– Napkins.  An ample supply.

To Give Away:
– Dignity
– Pride**


Step 1:  Buy a cream cheese!

You have no idea how imporant this is, to the stability of the universe. Behold...

Step 2: Take the foil OFF the cream cheese container, and throw EVERYTHING ELSE AWAY (everything but the foil, that is)***

It is highly recommended that you wipe off any cream cheese from the foil, prior to the next step...

Step 3:  Purchase coffee, “to go” and place the foil on the drink hole

Some say there are better ways to plug a hole... fuck 'em!

Step 4: Open your BAG.  Make sure your expensive water/fluid sensitive devices make a relatively flat, stable footing.  These devices will be used to elevate your coffee cup, to shove it’s face in the top of the bag.**** Place the towel in the bag as shown, and the coffee (with foil) on top.  Make sure that the mouth hole is opposite the kick-stand side of your bike!

This is the precise moment people will start giving you strange looks. It's best to smile politely. If you can look a bit dubious as well, that is recommended.

Step 5: NAPKINS!


Step 6: Fold.

Towel that has been folded over coffee cup, one time(s).

Step 7: Fold… AGAIN!

Towel has been folded over coffee cup again, now for a total of two fold(s) over coffee cup. Two.

Step 8: close the bag!

You have closed the bag, so this is a closed bag. This bag is closed.

Step 9: Place the fully closed bag very carefully on motorbike.  You may now corner as hard as you want, and you will not spill your beverage [, man] (take that, cagers!).  Acceleration and braking may be done somewhat aggressively, as well, depending on how much coffee you drank prior to inserting the coffee cup into the bag.  Bumps should be avoided at all costs.  Wheelies and stoppies may cause beverage leaking.

Let's Riiide!

Step 10:  OPEN the bag!  It’s like a prize, every time, to see how much didn’t spill (my best is NO VISIBLE LEAKAGE AT ALL.  Beat that, suckers…)

Expensive water/fluid sensitive equipment dry, and ready for another roll of the dice.

Congrats!  You have just officially transported your coffee in one of the most ridiculous ways possible.  Every time you do this, just think:  Somewhere out there, Martin is making me feel just a little bit better about myself, by doing this every single day.



Footnotes are for chumps, that’s why I made them:

*OK, so here’s the deal:  I don’t like being a coffee addict, which I most certainly am, at the moment.  I’ve done good for myself at avoiding these things in the past, but coffee just helps. Obviously people understand this, since coffee is the second most traded product in the world (behind petroleum products).  Anyways, I feel like if I actually bought a legit travel mug, it would seal my fate of being addicted to coffee for the rest of my life.  It, somehow, makes it more real.  I’m in denial here, folks.  There, I said it.

**If you’re disinterested in giving away your dignity and pride, a possible solution is to also bring an ample supply of humility.

***Alternatively, you can purchase a bagel in addition to the cream cheese, and spread said cream cheese on said bagel, and consume said bagel (with the cream cheese you have literally just spread on it) as a delicious treat.  This process does NOT affect the beverage transportation process – it’s just a nice perk!

****I am not responsible for damage caused to you, or to any of your stuff, particularly the expensive water/fluid sensitive devices.  If you’re unlike me, and somewhat intelligent, you will start with a shorter bag or just buy a larger sized coffee to avoid this situation.  Me?  Expensive electronics.

Baja California: Guadalupe Canyon Oasis

I don’t know why I even bothered with the map, but here it is, in all it’s mostly-inaccurate glory.

View Larger Map

Truthfully, we did start and end in San Diego, but since this is listed [STRICTLY] under traveling in Mexico, I can’t really include that, now can I?  Also, I have no pictures, so it’d be pointless.  Much like this map.

The only solid parts of the maps are the three points and the fact that you can drive between them.  In actuality, the driving between these three points is easier than the map suggests because [as truth would have it] you can drive on areas of Mexico that Google does not consider a road…  Like, the much smoother lake bed leading to Guadalupe Canyon Oasis/Hot Springs.  Furthermore, you don’t really need an exit to drive off the highway.  At least, not an official one.

Also, I’m glad I didn’t drive through Mexicali alone.  I would have got very lost.  Actually, on that note, I did get lost immediately after crossing the border…

120 seconds later I was in Mexico for the first time in my entire life. 121 seconds later I was lost.

So everyone told me that you can go into Mexico with no trouble, but ohhhh no, the Mexican border patrol has to stop ME and ask if I have anything to declare.  Meanwhile, the people we are following disappear into the depths of Mexicali…

Thank god for still being in US cell phone service range, as that very immediately saved my ass.

Mexican Toll Booth

I don’t really know where people get off thinking they can make any money charging people to drive across a dry lake bed, but it works.  It apparently also has a list price of 10 tacos per vehicle, but you can totally talk them down to five tacos, for two vehicles.  (This is assuming you can pick up a taco for 10 pesos, as advertised in Mexicali)

It's ok if this picture makes your eyes hurt

This is the road you want.  I’m serious.   Not even the Mexican highway (which is honestly nicer than many American roads) is as smooth as this puppy.  Sustained ~60mph for the following 20 miles.

Das Bier!

Why would I put a German caption on a picture taken in Mexico…


aaaaaannnnnnndddd this is why you buy a 4wd vehicle.

NOCONOC may or may not be a legit license plate number.  You be the judge.

Now I don’t mean to insult any culture by saying this, but it’s worth noting that I was fucking filthy only 1.5 hours after getting into Mexico and having to dig a truck out of the goddamn sand.  It might just be the way of the land.

Furthermore, you don’t actually need a four-wheel drive vehicle to make it to Guadalupe Canyon Oasis, you just need to not drive through the easily avoidable sand dunes.

Stuck again. Dammit.

Maybe, on second thought – just get the 4wd.  On to the campsite…

Close Packed Oranges!

After digging out of the sand and finally arriving at the Oasis, we got to bust open the close-packed oranges!  Chemistry joke, anyone?  Anyone?  Close packed, get it? Grain structure?

Livin' it up

I know it’s only the middle of the photo series, but this might be THE quintessential photo of what Guadalupe Canyon Oasis can offer you.  Not the PBR – you have to bring that yourself, but a very, very nice place to drink it.  They maintain the sites very well.  The whole grounds are very clean and the tubs were inviting, with a natural feel to them.  The plumbing was hilarious though, and required us to bust out the duct tape no less than two times.


That covers all the campsite photos, next up are from hiking up the Canyon, to look at the many available waterfalls.  I think we saw three of them, officially?  Hard to know, for sure…


Waterfall #1

This waterfall drains nowhere, visibly.  Just seeps into the sand.  I’m told it usually flows much more than that, though.


Moar Rocks!

A bit colorful, no?

Stabby plant doesn't want to be touched.

Waterfall #3 Pool

So if you can imagine taking a 10ft deep swimming pool, and placing it  in a rock ledge, I’m pretty sure this is what you would end up with.

Waterfall #3

[no pics of waterfall #2, or #4, or #5, or #6, or #7]

Cactus Skeleton

Oasis. Desert.

Well, that’s it for the Oasis.  We rolled outta there, filled up just outside of Mexicali and headed to the Tecate border and got extremely lucky (no line!).


Great Wall of 'Merica

And that wraps it up.  If you’re looking for a great place to spend the weekend, and want to just get away from civilization, Guadalupe Canyon Oasis is an excellent choice.  I know I’ll definitely be going back.  This was a very pleasant introduction to traveling in Mexico.  If you want your trip to be sans-digging out of the sand, just don’t drive through the sand dunes!  Also don’t drive through the lake bed after it rains.
Oh, and we stayed in La Playita.  Very nice site.  A bit more secluded than some of the others, with a large tub.

Final words of wisdom:
Shirtcock is the counterculture to topless women.  And it’s not pretty.



Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade

Fans of Trip Hop will like this one.  I am a huge fan of the merging of hip-hop and blues.  The downtempo chill-out vibes emanating from my hi-fi.  Good stuff.  Incomplete sentences.

Dig it.  Good album to relax to… Or make out, if that’s more your style.

Personal favorite tracks:
Even Though
Blood Like Lemonade
Recipe For Disaster

Amazon affiliate link:
Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade

Soda Pop.

My friend posted this picture on facebook:

And I got to wondering about how the US cities would overlay, so I spent the 5 minutes to create an overlay.  Here’s the result:

Being from Western Massachusetts, I most certainly say “Soda.”  Living in Southern California, I still say it.  :)

This explains why no one could ever agree on this while I was going to school at RIT in Rochester, NY, as it’s right on the line.  Other locations of note are St. Louis, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City… and where else?

So, what do YOU say?


*Writing this post reminded me of a video I saw MANY years ago, in the early days of the Internet, before youtube. One of them, was a video of a guy drinking his first “soda pop” and I believe it was set to “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones. It may have been directed in a “Tarantino” style. It may have been called “pinecone.” My memory is surely questionable, but if any readers know what I’m talking about, please forward me along to the video as I couldn’t find it on youtube!

California: The Salton Sea!

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I get antsy.   Frequently.  This last weekend I got so damn antsy that on a whim I threw the saddlebags on the bike and headed in the general direction of The Salton Sea.  Proof that this was a spontaneous call, the sun was already setting:

I love oil rigs. They're so beautiful. Huntington Beach, CA

There’s a spirit to doing long, particularly solo trips that just puts me in a different state of mind.  I think it’s about as close to meditating as I ever get.  I really wanted this to be a trip to set my spirit free, so I decided to avoid highways and just grab a hotel wherever I felt like it, and if I happen across a road that is calling my name, to go down it.  After all, gotta suck that marrow out of life (Thoreau, go look it up.)

I believe the words you're looking for are "you're an idiot" Santa Rosa Truck Trail/Forest Rt 7S02, near Pinyon Pines, CA

It was all going well until I rounded the bend and ended up on the north-facing slope.  Then my dry, warm, albeit dirt road turned into a snowy icy mess.  I’ve never seen a road change conditions so quick!  It took me about 20 minutes to get the bike 10 feet.  Of course I tried, I don’t give up easily.  And on that note:  race inspired street tires are awful in the snow.

Coachella Valley Vista. Baller road.

After finally making it to The Salton Sea, I held up the night in this quaint little Motel – The Sea & Sun:

with COLOR TV!!! Desert Shores, CA

I give it 4/5 stars.  It loses a point for no wireless internet, but gains 5 since I didn’t get murdered in the middle of the night because honestly, what do you expect from a motel in a ghost town?  Was it gorgeous?  Fuck no.  Did I sleep well? Yes.  And albeit a bit divey, the bed was pretty nice, actually.   At $50/night they really could use that wireless internet.

I picked up two pretty strong wireless signals there, but when asking the clerk he was pretty adamant about there not being any wirelss [for hotel guests].  Better take your internet porn with you!  As a marginally comical side note:  There’s a Starbucks up the road about 7 miles at the local trucker stop with free WiFi.  There is also a Motel in Salton City, which is just slightly more “vibrant” than Desert Shores.  Maybe they have wireless?  It’s a little harder to find though, since Salton City is a labyrinth of unused roads.  At least Desert Shores is compact, and has a very obvious main drag.

Salton City is laid out the way you might expect a 5 year old to plan a city.  You know how they like to make curvy roads in suburbs, as if to try and pull the wool over your eyes because “look curves make it less monotonous!”  Well that’s how Salton City is laid out.  Now imagine there are about 0.2 houses per road.  That’s right, for every 5 roads, there’s one house.

Good luck finding your way.  Lucky for you, they all have street signs!  Also it’s completely flat and appears to be common practice to just drive in the direction you want to go, whether or not there is actually a road there.

Merry Christmas!

Salton City Boat Launch

It’s the “fastest body of water in the US” for boating due to it’s high salinity (No boating on the Great Salt Lake?) That’s why this boat ramp is so well maintained.

Salton City, CA

Did you notice the dead fish in the last photo?  This is one of the most foul smelling places I’ve ever been to.  At first, the highway on the ride in smelled of Parsley (which I like) and then cat urine (which I dislike).  The Salton Sea smells, predictably, like salty water and rotting fish.

Das Boot!

Salton City, CA

Once past the chain link fence, you could have a nice cookout!

After finding not much interesting at the Salton Sea (I didn’t find the famous landmarks of the trailer or car rotting into the ground, as in classic form I didn’t give myself enough time to actually explore the area) I headed out and found myself riding right into Ocotillo Wells. The SV really isn’t much of an off-road bike, but luckily a lot of the trails are pretty tame, if you’ve got any off-road experience. Certainly easier to ride than the snowy road the night before…

SV conquers Ocotillo Wells! My bike hates me.

I love the SV, but I really need something tuned more for off-road use.

Ocotillo Wells, CA

Salton Sea / Ocotillo Wells from Montezuma-Borrego Highway

After dicking around in Ocotillo Wells for a while on a bike built for something completely different, I headed out [the long way] towards Julian, CA to get me some World Famous Apple Pie!

This is the first time I've been to Julian when Mom's was open. Still no pie.

I spent about 30 seconds deciding not to get in line, about 3 minutes taking pictures of the line, and about 30 seconds getting back on the road towards Palomar Mountain.  Fucking ridiculous.  No apple pie is that good.

It's the Golden Hour! Lake Henshaw, CA

Palomar Mountain, CA

HDR (High Dynamic Range) Image of the sunset from Palomar Mountain.  You can just barely make out the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente Island, and the edge of Catalina Island (on the right).

Sunsets (a haiku)

Sunsets blow my mind
In person roxors my socks
Pics of ’em suck ass


So… I’m a bit of a big deal, being a swanky photographer and all.  Interested in high resolution images?  Drop me a line and tons of cash, and they can be yours!


The truth is, Santana really knows how to rock it out with a guitar:

Citizen Cope/Santana – Sideways

That’s all.  I just felt like sharing.  Also, this song makes me feel good, and bad.  With it’s melancholy underpinnings, and spine-tingling guitar, it just seeps emotion… At least, that’s how I feel.  The great thing about music is that it speaks to everyone differently.



General footnote:  Happy Holidays, everybody!  Remember, this is a holiday about giving.  As I imagine most of you are like me and live in the wealthiest nation in the world, how about you go check out The Life You Can Save and make a donation to those less fortunate.  If you find yourself with a moral dilemma in regards to feeding the hungry vs. population control, you can walk on over to Wikipedia, and check out the Demographic-Economic Paradox and rest assured that you are, in fact, doing the right thing.

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