Saturday, December 31, 2011

X - California Los Angeles Band

Exene of X

Funny how time stands still in moments like this. I saw "X" on Thursday night at Harlow's on J Street in Midtown, Sacramento. Time came to a screeching halt as the band came out and grabbed their guitars and mikes. Los Angeles is where X comes from and their sound is uniquely theirs.

When I first saw them way back in the 80's, punk rock music was their calling. But, their punk was not the punk from Great Britain. There was more of a rockabilly stance then with Exene, Billy and John dressing so casual that one always felt that we were in their living room enjoying a wild night of music. X always respected their fans, and we always respected X.

Breathless by X

Three bands for the cool price of $32 beckoned us. First, we stopped for pizza and started counting our funds. Hmm... we needed two more tickets. The pizza parlor was near Harlow's venue, so we sauntered over hoping to score a couple of tickets.

The guy in the black truck... he had tickets and he was selling them cheaper then he bought them. Why? Because he scored X tickets for New Year's in San Francisco. Cool. Even cooler as I got to purchase those 2 ticktes for less than $50 bucks. Now, we were all set to listen and watch this sold out show.

We ran into Marcus and Chas on the way in and learned that it was Marcus' Birthday. They hung out with all of us as we found a view site from the bar. We could see the entire stage!

Billy Zoom of X - Mr Cool
First up was "Scott Wheeler and Zander Schloss" a twosome who wielded a big folk sound. I was taken to the isle of dreams as I sat their absorbing their noise. The music was tinged with a melancholy sound and had me drifting away in a silent revelry of my own place.

Second band was "The Black Tribetans" and they kicked their sound out to a roar of fan approval. They had a faster pace with rockabilly, psycobilly sound. I want to hear this band again... I think I might buy a CD of their music... listening to a youtube video of them right now.

Then "X" lit the stage. And I mean they lit it up with their charm and music. Gawd, I love this band so much! They are the best band that has ever come out of California! Every song was a power based riff of music and X-olator noise.

X - Los Angeles

A great time was had by all!
... wondering if I can get into the San Fran show tonight at Slims...

UPDATE: Yep, Los Angeles video was pulled! Yikes, we just replaced it with a "Los Angeles" live video... let's see if it survives.

This post and this blog belong to WET River Trips in California.
Photos by Big PoppahJah and video by

Friday, December 23, 2011

FOOD! on WET River Trips

I admit it. I am the food writer for FOOD! and camp recipes. How I got involved in that was kinda funny as I am not a great writer...

but I love food (oh, my waist-line).

I went rafting with WET a few years ago and really loved what they did to their albacore salad and how they made their pesto pasta. On the side of the river in a beautiful canyon, those young men and women provided a freshly-made menu that was both superb and filling.

The albacore had uniformly cut carrots, celery, and onions. The rafting crew added in the capers along with mayonnaise and a secret ingredient that made it the hit of the lunch! I had mine on whole wheat and added lettuce and tomato. Very tasty! And, then I grabbed a soft tortilla and rolled-up an albacore salad burrito. Geesh, I'm a pig! I still wanted more! (Apologies to all the porkers out there...).

When we floated back into camp that evening, the guides told us that hors d'ouevres and dinner would follow shortly. Come on, now, I expected some burgers and hot dogs for camping and instead received the most incredible food!

I had a grilled, juicy steak cooked to perfection, a side dish of fire-roasted red peppers and asparagus pesto pasta, a wedge of romaine lettuce w/ bits of tomato, capers and blue cheese and toasted, grilled French bread. OMG! I was so stuffed with food and drink that I could barely keep my eyes open around that campfire.

WET River Trips Food video:

Sleep enveloped me in whitewater rafting dreams and food! What a glorious two day trip on the river! Now, if I can only get the camp recipes...

FOOD Resources for camping
  • WET Menus :
  • Whitewater Rafting Menus :
  • FOOD! :
  • Camp Recipes :

All photos, videos and this rafting blog belong to WET River Trips and their social media.
Kudos for Big Poppah's Picasa photos for this blog.

Monday, December 19, 2011

WET Wishes You a Merry Christmas!

December sneaked in with hardly any storms blanketing the Sierras with a promise of a another great whitewater season. California is blessed with a supply of snow and water from last year for all of our needs: water, agriculture, energy and recreation. Good clean water. We are very lucky. And, we still have the wettest months still to come!

Holidays are here and every morning, I receive an overwhelming amount of catalogues, discount coupons and special offers in my email and mailbox. It's hard to know what my family and friends want this year. We all have so much already. Do we really need another toy or tie or bath soaps? I want to give my loved ones something special... something that counts in their memories.

Last year, money was tight, so most of us settled in on quick trips and excursions in our local area. In California, our local areas are where most tourists go for major vacations. California has everything; mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans and adventure.

North Fork American Class 4+ w/ WET River Trips
whitewater! north fork american in california wet river trips
Team Building trips on American River in Northern California

We have skiing, Disneyland, hiking, climbing, rafting, sailing, surfing, Los Angeles, clubbing, wineries, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, California State Capitol, American River, Coloma, Sacramento, restaurants, gardens, art galleries and music. There is no other place like this state. NONE.

So, I will be giving gift certificates to my friends for my favorite destinations so that they can share the real California experience with me. My plans this year are to do a rafting trip, go to Tahoe, hit Disneyland, hang out in San Francisco, visit the newly designed Crocker Art Gallery and chill at the beach in SoCal. The gift certificates are inexpensive and my friends can use them the way they want and when they want.

This year, our holiday will be spent rather quietly with very few friends since so many of our friends and family are scattered across the world and can't make it home for Christmas. The family unit that will be here is one of good friends who really matter to me. And, that is the best gift of all.

Merry Christmas video from

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays...
Drive safe!

This blog belongs to W.E.T. River Trips along with all content included.
Thanks to youtube for the Christmas video!

Friday, December 16, 2011

California Skiing and Snowboarding

Rain came like a silent warrior in the night. Just enough rain to wash the house, sidewalks and streets clean. But, then the next day... brilliant blue skies torturing all of us who love to go skiing! Fresh powder! Where is it?

Sugar Bowl in Northern California w/ GoPro
Ski resorts are best bets for friends and families this holiday season!

Here are the California ski resorts that are open now and those who will be opening next week:
Snow Country Info:

Associated Press just released a news report about more scattered showers are coming to California, "...Meanwhile out West, a low pressure system moves down the coast of California and will produce a few more scattered showers across southern California and northwestern Mexico. Snow may develop at high elevations of the southern Sierras..."

The site is a clean, no-nonsense list of open ski resorts, resorts that are opening within days, and more info about the resorts; including trail maps.

Take the family, your friends and enjoy the snow! Have that snowy, white Christmas! This holiday season, remember who you love, who loves you and what is most important to you and your life. Your family, your friends are the most important people in your life! Cherish them!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I am a bit late as a blogger to repeat or dissect the going-ons of Occupy Wall Street and the myriad communities that have jumped aboard the protest. My first reaction was, "Right on!" But, here we are months later and there are so many people who haven't heard or are ignoring the movement. Why? This is important info as all of us suffer through the slings and arrows of the current economy.

For me, I am concerned as a business owner and as a citizen of the USA. How did we get so low? Who did this to us? Why did it happen after years of economic stability? Was it an expensive war? Or just the stupidity of our government?

Naw. None of it matters at this point. None of it. We have such serious concerns in our nation now. What do we tell the people who worked all their lives, who saved exactly as they should, who invested in stable markets and never lived the high life? They have lost their homes, their money, and their position in a middle class society and community.

And, you wonder why so many Americans are supporting the youthful brigade? They support them because we are all in this terrible circumstance. There is no one immune except for the 1% uber wealthy... and guess what? Even some of those folks are desperate to get rid of the baggage and the title of "uber rich" so that they can just look at themselves in the bathroom mirror in the morning.

Now, I am starting to rant... again. This is an emotional issue for someone like me who watched as a little kid the shenanigans of the youthful brigades in the early 70's when Vietnam was on the horizon. I remember later reading about Kent State where the National Guard literally gunned down innocent students protesting at their campus. The video can be found on youtube and it is horrifying.

Is this what will change the mind of our leaders? "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming; 4 dead in Ohio..."

Four dead in Ohio.

Wikipedia on Kent State Shootings : "At this point, at 12:24 p.m., according to eyewitnesses, a Sgt. Myron Pryor turned and began firing at the students with his .45 pistol. A number of guardsmen nearest the students also turned and fired their M1 Garand rifles at the students. In all, 29 of the 77 guardsmen claimed to have fired their weapons, using a final total of 67 rounds of ammunition. The shooting was determined to have lasted only 13 seconds, although John Kifner reported in the New York Times that 'it appeared to go on, as a solid volley, for perhaps a full minute or a little longer.' The question of why the shots were fired remains widely debated."

Rants from WET office staff belong to this California Whitewater Rafting blog for WET River Trips.
Many thanks to the folks at Wikipedia for sharing the little blurb above.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Great Valley - Splendor in the Grass

When California is mentioned, the ocean, beaches and surfing are always a highlight of the conversation along with
the beach communities of Malibu. Los Angeles and the glitzy glamour of Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, Getty Museum and music at every club and lounge in that area are something to brag about when talking about the pros of California.

Then there is California's most famous city, San Francisco. Hippies on Haight Street, Golden Gate Bridge, the beautiful bay where whales, dolphins still visit the urban population reminding San Franciscans of the closeness of nature to the City by the Bay. Picturesque Victorian homes dot the hillsides in walking distance to world-class restaurants and culture. An artist and musician's paradise of golden inspiration at every corner of the city. Photographers can spend a lifetime here capturing images unique only to San Francisco.

And, California brags about their mountains. Spectacular Sierra Nevada with Lake Tahoe bordering both California and it's next door neighbor Nevada. Rivers and waterfalls flowing everywhere in the spring where the runoff from the snow brings a sense of urgency to California. Possibilities of whitewater rafting and flooding are paramount in everyone's mind during this time. And, the photo opportunities are legendary as photographers line up to visit Yosemite and other mountainous areas. The Sierras are legendary and draw recreationists, adventurers and explorers from all over the world.

California is my home. I would not live anyplace, but California. But, I want to talk about an area that Californians rarely brag about... and it is unfortunate, because it is one of the most spectacular places in the world.

The Nature Conservancy - Consumnes River, California

The Great Valley. California. The bread basket of the world. Soil that can grow anything. An expanse so huge, that it takes a lonely drive up Hwy 5 to really appreciate the place. Like John Steinbeck and Joan Didion, I have found the beauty and sadness here, too.

I had an errand to run, and I had to meet a friend in Lodi. Remember that old Creedence Clearwater song? "Stuck in Lodi" was a vision of hot, dusty agricultural gloom signaling a valley town that did not warrant a visit. Well, the place was vibrant with grape vines and cherry trees. Vineyard country with world-class wines and wineries and restaurants that support the agriculture there. We had an incredible lunch together at a local restaurant.

The Great Valley at sunset by Stephen L.

As I drove home the next morning, the sky was a swirl of blue and huge pink, gray, white and bluish clouds were filling the skies space. Massive clouds filled with rain and snow moving across the sky like a heavenly dream. The width of the valley was so apparent. Flat and wide, the valley's structure was quite apparent. A huge valley surrounded by mountains. So huge, that you could see the curvature of the earth when you scanned the sky with your eyes.

I almost got vertigo driving and staring at the huge expanse of sky. Birds flew past the clouds, moving and darting among the wind and then landing along the freeway in the wetlands filled with nutritious food of algae, bugs and critters in the water. I saw egrets... snowy white egrets walking in the water right near the freeway. Picturesque, old barns and
landscape dotted with cows were as painterly as the landscapes that you would see at Crocker Art Museum's collection of old California art.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I spotted Mt Diablo in the distance. What an incredible perfect structure in the flatness of The Great Valley. You could see the coastal mountains off in the distance. The lush green pastures of the farmland and the swirl of the wild mustard coloring everything with a chrome yellow. Old Oak trees at least 100 years old or more were leafing out making each tree look as if puffs of sage-colored smoke were clinging to the end of their branches.

I could imagine wild herds of animals thundering through the flat expanse looking for water in the wetlands before civilization started building cities and suburbs in the valley. Indigenous people hunting the animals and praying to their gods for their skillful capture of fish, animal and birds in the valley. Even then, the valley gave the populations food fit for kings.

The Great Valley is beautiful. It is as spectacularly beautiful as any other place in California. I opened my car windows and sang
along with the radio. I had a smile on my face as I realized how incredibly lucky and privileged I am for living in this state. California has more than just beaches... it is a godly place of incredible beauty. Please respect this place and please help to preserve the natural places as best we can. Even the valley... wonderous... The Great Valley.

The Great Valley resources:

Golden Gate Bridge :

Sierra Nevada :

Getty Museum :

The Nature Conservancy :

California Writing Project's "Great Valley Writing Project" :

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, CA :

Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, CA :

World Wildlife :

Fresno, CA - The Bread Basket of the Nation :

Crocker Art Museum's California Art :

Sacramento Art & Events :

whitewater! north fork american in california wet river trips
Photo: Off the side of one of the WET River Trips vehicles in California.

This rafting blog and photos belong to W.E.T. River Trips; all contents are reserved.
Thanks to Stephen for his awesome pics and photos of the sandhill cranes.
Thanks to Great Valley for video and links!