Amazing! California Photography Sailing Santa Barbara Travels

Busy, beautiful weekends

Every once in a while, you come across these perfect weekends spent not only surrounded by incredible scenery and weather, but by amazing people. In my last trip up to Santa Barbara, I met Doug, who sails with Sleeper — a Lindenberg 26. He arranged for me to come up this weekend, basically for a trial run — to see if I was game enough to go on an overnight race out to Santa Cruz island this upcoming weekend.

I left a little later than I would’ve liked, so my choices leaving Santa Monica were to sit in traffic on the 405 or to sit in traffic on the PCH.

Obviously, I chose the PCH. It’s a gorgeous drive north, first through the coast and then some picturesque farmland.

I stayed with the co-owner of Sleeper, Cheryl, in her stunning Santa Barbara home. I walked through the door, and was speechless with the view.

Amazing! Travels


Not the greatest video, mind you.

Seeing marine life in any shape or form is incredibly exciting to me. While sailing on Mother Cramer, dolphins would swim alongside, surfing on the waves created as the ship breaks through the water. Everyone would peer over the side in a sort of calm awe. Off the coast of California, we were accompanied by dolphins for a brief period, and it reminded me of gliding along those warm Caribbean waters. Below, just a short video of the sunset while sailing from Newport Beach to San Diego.

Amazing! Journalism Sailing Travels Writing

A new chapter

I hate making “big” announcements.

It seems egotistical to assume something that is big to me might mean the same to others. Usually, it doesn’t.

The two-weeks are in at my work.

Picture 5

Some of you have heard me talking about the SEA Semester program —the one educational opportunity I always regretted not doing while in college.

Starting in mid-February, I’ll be in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, which is near the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard area. I’ll be regressing to my college years, taking classes in all sorts of oceanography and maritime studies related subjects.

Then, I’m heading down to the Caribbean, to continue the semester learning about the finer points of sailing and research in the area. I chose this particular track because that whole area is close to my heart, and Panama shares a lot of the cultural and historical markers of the Caribbean region.

Did I mention I get to learn more about sailing?

And while at my work this doesn’t qualify as a journalism-related sabbatical, I plan to continue doing my own personal brand of journalism, writing about my experiences and posting photos.


For now, I’ll spare you the details on how this is logistically happening. It just is, and this is why:

I do not want to look back later in life and regret the things I should have done when I was young and carefree.

So far this life, I’ve only regretted the things I never did — the opportunities that flew by without me doing anything.

Blaming money can only go so far before it becomes just another excuse for why I’m idle and frustrated with what I haven’t accomplished. I’m not such a fool to think that money is not important. Money allows you to find happiness in whatever it is you value.

And I’m not such a fool as to not be grateful for all have, and the great opportunities that have come my way.

But I’ve often wondered if the excuses I create are a form of denial to never admit I’m afraid.

In my dreams, I change the world. In reality, I have convinced myself it is impossible because that is easier than doing something. In reality, I’m passionate about very little because being passionate is hard, painful and often disappointing.

It is a work-in-progress to realize you do not want the same things others do, or that while you might, you just do not value them the same.

I suppose that I decided, without really meaning to, that my career would have to wait — be second to adventure for a while. I welcome work in design, whether it’s web design or print graphics, and it has not stopped being my interest to be employed in that field.


My favorite question so far has been, “so what do you GET out of all this?” And the best response was suggested by a friend — whatever I want.

For the moment, I’m weary of defining success by what I GET in my bank account.

I’m ok with some people thinking that quitting the comfort of my steady income, and going to this program with no tangible financial benefits, is stupid.  To those people I say, I hope you find a shred of inspiration in my stupidity, to appreciate what you truly value, what you love on such a personal level that you have no need to convince others of its worth to you.


While this ain’t the Oscars, I can’t end this post without thanking those who have supported my crazy. M.M who encouraged the crazy if only for the sake of having a dream; the unfailing Don Wittekind, who can’t get rid of me no matter how many years and miles I go from UNC; Tyler for proofreading my essays; my sailing friends Ginger, Mark and Vance among many others.

And the two people who have been putting up with the crazy from day one — my parents. Thank you for always helping me think through my odd dreams and fancies instead of dishing out crushing disapproval. Above all else in my life, I’ve been the luckiest in having you.

I’ll post here as much as possible for those who are interested, and everybody is welcomed to follow me on this new adventure, as I hope you will.

The next chapter could be better or it could be worst. Either way, I’m confident it’ll be worth the read.

Amazing! Phoenix Random

Tropical Storm

Honestly, is Patricia that weird of a name that it deserves a Tropical Storm?

Let’s see, I’m sure you’re all dying to know about what happened with my dentist’s office turning me over to a COLLECTION agency! So I went in and asked to speak with the Doctor but he wasn’t in the way, so I spoke with the receptionist who at first seem sullen that I had the audacity to imply she hadn’t updated my new address. So she looked up the reminder postcards we fill at the end of every visit, to be mailed out to remind us of our future visit. Oh, what’s that? The postcard has my NEW address? Right. You’d think that would’ve been followed with an abject apology.

You’d be thinking wrong.

The Dr. eventually did email me and said I could call him at my earliest convenience.

Moving on.

My neighbor in #3 decided to have a Prince-themed party in our little courtyard, so I decided to take it to the next level and invite all the Republic peeps (aka those of us who toil and moil for the Arizona Republic). My Photoshop skills were put to the ultimate test with the invite…

How could you NOT want to go THAT party? Prince? Pirates? Prince on a Segway attacking Pirates?

That’s me with a purple jacket I got at Salvation Army for $1.99. And I might wear it at non-Prince related public outings, because I think it’s pretty snazzy. And one of the winners of the night, my Crying Dove. You can sorta see the tears, but you can ask anyone who attended. They were witness to The Amazing. At some point in the night, I thought it best to put on my pirate coat from Halloween a few years ago and, obviously, a Mexican hat… So technically I was Prince-Mexican-Pirate. I don’t believe that was recorded. Probably for the best.

And just because this post isn’t random enough. A photo of the Greyhound dog races in Phoenix, where we celebrated a friend’s birthday. Yes, at the dog-races, which, I might add, was a cool place. I can totally picture in its heyday, full of people betting and screaming. Although our party did do a fair share of both. Now, it’s about to close down, so get all your dog racing in while you can.

I’m all ready for the Kentucky Derby. Note to self: upgrade from Mexican hat.




NCAA Champs



I spent the entire night trying to get Vic Vogel, who sits across from me, to respond to my chant of “Tar…” with “…Heels”, which is the usual. But the best I got was:

Me: Tar…

Vic: Iowa


AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Amazing! Arizona Celebration

John Smallwood from the Philadelphia Daily News says…

“The Eagles can’t lose, because the fabric of reality will not allow the Arizona Cardinals to rip such a huge hole in it by advancing to Super Bowl XLIII. It’s simply not the Cardinals’ time. Theirs will come at Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 – that’s the year some ancient prophecies say the universe will collapse on itself and the Earth will be sucked into a giant black hole.”

Dear Mr. Small-wood: 

YOU can suck it. 


*Photo by Matt York/AP

Amazing! Arizona Music Phoenix

Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding

Finally! Photos from Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding. Those of you wont don’t know (all of you probably), this is a comedy and music event put together by Alice Cooper, with all proceeds going to the Solid Rock Foundation. 

I got there pretty early and met up someone from the PR company. Nice guy, that Sam. I was offered food, and a chance to go backstage. Now this is a big change from usually being treated like cattle. Go in, shoot three songs, get out. Don’t get me wrong, the media reps I’ve met are awesome, it’s the orders they get from high above that are pretty restrictive. Coldplay gave 8+ photographers approximately five feet of space to shoot from. 

At any rate, met the guys from one of the bands playing, Whiskey Falls, and then met Alice’s lovely wife, Sheryl. She actually helped me get Alice for a photo of the two of them (see below). It’s was kinda hectic, since everyone was getting ready for the show to begin, but it was cool to talk to some of the other bands, just hang out. I wish every concert I covered was like that! Even if it’s the Cheetah Girls (which I have to do tonight… don’t laugh!).

Other notable musicians that performed were…

Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac)

The amazing Robby Krieger (The Doors). Did you know he is in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time? Though, I often disagree with Rolling Stone’s “lists”. 

Love his little smirk in this photo.

Plus Arizonians Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Whiskey Falls, F5 (this guys actually put a link to my slideshow in their “news” section! Now I feel bad for not putting more pictures of them up, but I do have quite a few good ones of them) and Alice Cooper’s son’s band, Runaway Phoenix, amongst others. I’ll have to post pictures of these bands later. 

Although, here’s a picture of Brandon Johnson of Whiskey Falls, hanging out with Alice backstage. 

With wife Sheryl. 

And you all have already seen my photo with Alice (god awful picture of me, probably because I was in shock!). Nice guy, nice event, nice cause, can’t ask for anything more. 

Oh, and apologizes for taking so long. It’s been a hectic week and work, with odd hours that actual involve me getting to the office an “normal” people hours… yeah, out of my house before 9 a.m… blah. 

Amazing! Arizona Music Phoenix

Alice Cooper and me

That’s right…


The man…  



The legend…    



… and lil ol’ me


Photos of the actual concert coming up soon.