Snow Rabbit

That could be me someday. Everytime I ask someone how steep a double-black-diamond ski run is they point to a tree

When asked how steep a double-black-diamond ski run is, most experts would point to a tree. This is a pretty good example of what they mean.

Is it really March already? What’s that? A week from tomorrow is April??? Ohhhh man…

I FINALLY went out to the snow about a week and a half ago for the FIRST time this season. Shameful I know. But still just as invigorating as ever. I’ve been skiing since I was two years old and it’s been a winter tradition ever since. Plus I’m Norwegian, so I don’t really have a choice.

I’m going to go again. This Friday I think. My sister is home for spring break, maybe I’ll drag her along. But this time I’ve got another thing to consider: A HELMET. After the Natasha Richardson incident this last week, well, I started thinking about all the head injuries in my life. Being 6’4″, I’ve bumped my noggin on enough low door frames, ceilings, lamps and shelves to last a lifetime. I might as well get a ski helmet now while I can still make the conscious choice to do so. I’ve had a few concussions in my life, one of which occurred on the slopes when I was in high school:

I was at Boreal with my dad and sister, just for the day. (Naturally. Who would go to Boreal for more than a day??? pfshh … if I’m stayin the night I’m goin to Heavenly or Squaw, baby!) But Boreal is nice and close for a quick spontaneous day trip. Anyway, while my dad is a super expert skiier, my sister, at the time, wasn’t so much, so I decided to ditch the fam and venture out on my own. I came across the Olympic run, (well, I remember it being called Olympic. At this writing, Boreal has no run called Olympic, maybe it wasn’t even at Boreal. I knocked myself out! Who knows … Maybe I just fell off my bed at home or something) … Anyway, this is what I remember:

This run had a series of big-time jumps. Big 10-feet high ramps, one after the other. I didn’t go down them very fast, I just got maybe 3 or 4 feet of air on my skis. (I was a carver, not a jumper.) Anyway, I went down the same run 3 times and as I took the chairlift back up I thought “Okay, ONE more time then I’ll go find dad and sis.” I went down a couple jumps at the top of the run and as I was making a right turn I saw a MUCH smaller jump (with some trees not too far ahead of it) and thought “Hey, that’s not so big, I’m gonna SPEED UP!” Blackout.

That’s the LAST thing I remember thinking: I’m gonna speed up. Haha, wow! That’d be a great quote on my tombstone.

I looked like this

This is probably what I looked like, minus the hockey stick

Next thing I know I’m down at the bottom of the mountain by the lodge. My skis are placed neatly next to me, my boots are undone, my hat, goggles and gloves are all by my side, and I’m sitting on the ground with my arms resting on my bent knees. Just sitting. Staring incoherently at all the people walking by, TOTALLY out of it.  Then, I recognized someone from my high school.  That familiarity jolted my consciousness back to reality. No sooner did I realize “I am sitting on the ground” than my dad and sister come rushing up to me, wondering where I’ve been. All I could say to them was “Where’s my hat???” about 3 or 7 times. I was gone.

I had an abrasion on the bottom of my right temple; my right hip was sore; and my ski pole was bent at a 30 degree angle right underneath the handle (the thickest, strongest part of the pole). Dad and sis walked me to first aid and before I knew it I was in the back of an ambulance on my way to the hospital. (Though by then I had come to my senses and kept apologizing to the EMTs for making them go out of their way for my dumbass.)

I still don’t know how I got down that mountain. Knowing me, if some passer-by said “Hey man, need some help?” I’d respond in a defeated, raspy voice: “No, thanks!” ::cough, cough:: “I’m cool!” I swear, if I was wrestling with two wild crocodiles and Paul Hogan came to my rescue in a boat with a harpoon, but before using it asks: “Want me to flog those buggers?” in his powerful Aussie accent, I’d still say “Nope! I got it, Paul!” ::croc bites off my arm:: “Don’t go to any trouble just for little ol’ me!” ::I die, and Paul skiffs away:: Stubborn, but true.

So to reiterate: I knocked myself out and somehow managed to get all the way down the hill completely and utterly dazed and confused with no recollection of exactly what happened. Yeah … when I go skiing this Friday, I think I’m going to take my cranium into consideration and buy myself a helmet. I’m sure my brain would appreciate it.

This isnt me, but Ive been there. That helmet keeps sounding better and better...

This isn't me, but I've been there. That helmet keeps sounding better and better...

Art

"El Guitarrista" by Justin Bua

I enjoy art in all its forms. Whether it be music, sculpture, photography, writing ~ I love it all. But I have some trouble with the artistic lingo. First of all, when someone calls oneself an “artist,” that is just WAY too vague. For example: If somebody plays music, that person’s a musician; if someone sculpts a statue, that person’s a sculptor; a dancer dances; a writer writes; and so on. The thing is, ANY of those people can legitimately call themselves artists, and that can get confusing. “Artist” is an all-encompassing title of art’s many forms, and this can cause misunderstanding, circular arguments and utter pandemonium in an otherwise efficient and productive conversation. Therefore, I would like to enter this plea into the record books of discourse: No longer can people refer to themselves merely as artists alone. In which case, the word “artist” is now somewhat of a preposition in need of a modifier. Hence, if you’re a chef, you’re a culinary artist; if you’re a musician: you’re an aural artist; if you’re a writer, you’re a semantic artist; if you’re a dancer, you’re a flexible artist; if you’re an actor, you’re an emotional artist; if you’re a painter/sculptor/photographer, you’re a visual artist, et cetera.  And if you STILL call yourself JUST an artist, well, you’d better be all of the above! (In which case, you’d be a Renaissance artist.)

Now, say you go to an art gallery: there is (usually) no poetry, there is (usually) no writing, (usually) no performances, (sometimes) food and (maybe) ambient music in the background—but there are (always) paintings, sculptures, photos—VISUAL art. That’s not fair. They should be called visual art galleries.

Art as a concept has taken a turn for the worst these days, only because it serves as legitimate validation for accidental mishaps and/or lack of effort: Instead of correcting a mistake on the display you created, the wall you painted or the car you dented, one can easily say that it’s “art,” or “postmodernism,” and then just waltz away from a job unwell done guilt free. I’ve actually encountered this firsthand. I was writing a story and our copyeditor claimed that I made a typo! [And “copy editor” is two words. There’s another!–Copy Ed.] Hahaha, please … as a semantic artist I need, no… I reqUIRE, no… I DEMAND the freedom to spell words arbitrarily! If I want to spell photo with an “f,” knife with an “n,” or xylophone with a “z,” so be it! These are the things I think about…

One of my Angles and All favorites

Anyway, speaking of art, I do have some friends who have been utilizing their artistic skills in positive ways. One person that comes to mind is a close friend of mine named Jack Haines. She has been creating visual art for many years and has recently created what she calls an “art blog.” Instead of a blog full of text and a few pictures, hers is full of pictures with a little text on the side. It’s a great concept. I doubt she originated the idea, but as I haven’t searched for any others and she introduced it to me, as far as I’m concerned she’s the first! She has a very unique eye for very interesting works of art that she finds and collects throughout the spacious Internet (why must Internet be capitalized!? I will now incorporate my artistic freedom and type internet from this day forth…). Here’s the link to her art blog, but I must warn you that many of the images are rather dark/morbid in nature, not quite in tune with the peaceful tranquility of Solano Magazine. I would recommend this blog for R-rated audiences only (18 and up) as some images contain nudity, gore and/or potentially disturbing images. But this is the world we live in and this blog provides excellent insight into some of the modern art that’s out there: http://anglesandall.blogspot.com/

Miro's Top 10 Entry: "In Unison"

In other artistic news, a long time family friend of mine, Miro Salazar, is an excellent visual artist. I don’t want to spoil his character too much as he may be a subject for an article someday, but he recently entered a poster contest online for the Flight of the Conchords HBO television show. While he didn’t win, out of 1,000 entries he was placed in the top 10! So congratulations, Miro! (view the winner and other contest entries HERE) He also designed the logo for Comedy at the Cantina, as well as many posters for the Vallejo Jazz, Art & Wine Festival so many years ago. While his resume remains virtually endless, you can view some of his works at: bymirostudio.com/

And if I could take this opportunity to say a few words about Flight of the Conchords. This show is amazing. It’s the only show on TV that I really make a point to watch. If you haven’t seen it, buy the first season and catch up already. Tenacious D tried to do a similar show as a two man band that’s struggling to make it, but despite my undying love for the D, Flight of the Conchords takes the television-shaped cake. The Conchords bring music, humor and racism up a notch to a whole new level of mockery. It’s comedy taken seriously in every sense of the word(s). Visit their website at www.hbo.com/conchords.

p.s. the very first image above is by Justin Bua. I really like his work as he manages to mix music and dance with visual art in such a way that the pieces really seem to come to life, like in those Harry Potter movies. His website is www.justinbua.com.