Friday, September 19, 2008

Also For Your Consideration

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 12:49 PM

So you're already out there supporting the home team in various online competitions and such. While you're at it, why not lend a hand to USC linebacker (and Eureka native) Rey Maualuga? Over at this page , a sponsor of the Heisman Trophy ceremonies is selling off its Heisman vote to the highest bidder, Internet-poll-style. Maualuga, the rock star of the USC squad, is a definite contender.

What makes Maualuga the legend that he is? You can get a good taste of it by checking the Rey-tagged posts at AOL's Fanhouse blog. I'm particularly partial to this one , which examines the trash-talk tactics behind a T-shirt-inspiring own-side tackle.

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Miss High Times?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Princess Shauna

Princess Shauna

A section in this week's e-mail edition of the Reggae Festival Guide provides a link to a webpage where you can cast a vote for a local 18-year-old, Shauna Jiselle, aka Princess Shauna, to become Miss High Times . RFG notes,

If she earns enough votes to make her a finalist, she will be flown to Jamaica and compete in the Miss High Tmes Beauty Pageant. The winner of this pageant graces the cover of High Times magazine. Winning this contest would be a great opportunity for her and open many doors to expand Shauna's modeling career.
Shauna lives in Humboldt County with her family and puppy. She goes to beauty college full time, and spends her off days at photo shoots to further build her modeling portfolio.

The H.T. profile has Shauna answering the pressing question: Why should I be Miss/Mister HIGH TIMES?
I am a ganja princess in the marijuana capital of the world...HUMBOLDT COUNTY, California! It be an honor to represent my stoney hometown as Miss High Times...who better to hold the crown a true stoner bitch?! xoxo"

Before you click through, be forewarned: Like most marijuana mags today, High Times mixes pot porn --photos of resinous buds -- with softcore pics of scantily clad young women in various pot-related scenes. Some of the photos of Princess Shauna show her wearing nothing but strategically placed marijuana leaves.

Also in the running for Miss High Times: "TastyHumboldt," who says,

Beauty is in the high of the beholder. Behold! I am beautiful, high and I love High Times. Yeah I'm Jamaican and Vietnamese. I've always dreamed of traveling to my heartlands as the Weed Ambassador for High Times.



As you might have noticed, there's also a concurrent Mister High Times contest. Among those who have thrown their hat in the ring: local hip hop legend and Eureka resident Garth Culti Vade r , who tells us,

I'm holdin it down up here in Humboldt County - been out on the mountain for 6 months. My upper greenie was voted best on the hill this year. Got some O.G. Kush, Trainwreck, and Diesel (and that shit turned purple!) I'm working on my grow tutorial film, and a couple new - gotta share my skills with the world. Been doin this Humboldt County hip-hop music four years now and Maryjane has supported me thru it all.

Garth also suggests checking his MySpace to hear his song, "I Love You Maryjane."


Garth Culti Vader

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In the Spirit of the North Pole

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 7:17 PM

Via TNR .

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Letter from Lila

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Lila Nelson - Photo by Sheldon Sabbatini.

Lila Nelson - Photo by Sheldon Sabbatini.

Arcata's favorite singer/songwriter Lila Nelson celebrates the release of a new CD, Letter Home , with a show Friday, Sept. 19, at the Arcata Playhouse , where she'll be backed by Mom and Pop rhythm section, Tim Gray and Marla Joy and guitarist Greg Lojko from The Rubberneckers . (Greg opens the show with his own set.) What follows is Mark Shikuma's e-mail Q&A exchange with Lila on letterwriting, her new album, Poi Dog Pondering and other tales of paper houses.

Q: Concerning the title for your new record, other than the Dylan reference (from the song you covered, " I Was Young When I Left Home "), what does it mean for you?

Letters are obsolete. And CDs are becoming so. So really, I should be an accountant or something. The letter is the letter I meant to write. I meant to send. And the home is the home I left as a kid, but also the home I am trying to find as an adult. Also, it's everybody's letter to their mother, and everybody's mother's letter to them. And sometimes it's a love letter. And it's me not writing home when I should, when I'm out touring. What a jerk I am.

Q: Did you have the theme running while you were writing the songs for the new record? Or, did the songs just end up that way?

Themes are always running. The Dylan song is one that I got stuck on as I was touring cross country in 2005/6 and I think it was fall. The songs weren't written with the theme in mind, per say, some are very old. But there is something autumnal about all of them and about the final touch Freddy put on it (or chose not to put on it, in some cases).
My parents' house almost burned down last fall and my mom lost many of her valuables and all of her writing and letters. I was midway through the project then. I still feel those Santa Ana winds blowing inside...also around that time I fell and suffered a concussion. Speaking of fall, err, falling.

Q: You've definitely displayed your influences, namely Rickie Lee Jones , Joni Mitchell , Dylan and Emmylou Harris . Are there any other influences you can site for these new batch of songs?

Funny, I didn't know Rickie Lee Jones' stuff until about 4 years ago, after people kept saying, "You sound like her, you write like her..." I checked her out and am a huge fan now. The others I definitely cut my teeth on. Others I have found since working in radio. Not all the songs are new (to me -- some are 10 years old). Some things that influence me: Uh, seasons, especially Fall (which in my mind landed on us last week...something nostalgic, melancholy delicious...all that). What else: Nick Drake , wine, falling down. Also, when I was 11 or so I heard Loudon Wainwright III . Wrote him a letter. He wrote back. And then I got to see him live and thought, "I want a job doing that — writing songs — being silly and poignant at the same time."

Q: How did you end up working with producer/bassist Kenny Edwards and guitarist Freddy Koella ?

Kenny and I were both singing with another artist and really connected. He's been singing harmony, playing and performing for 40 years or more and you can feel that, subtlety, experience, talent. In the last few years he started singing his own songs and touring the singer-songwriter circuit — Freddy produced his singer-songwriter debut record and has a really sensitive touch, so when it was time for me to record they suggested co-producing.

Q: How long did this record take to make? Do you find it a different process than your previous releases?

Hmmm. I started sketching it out with Mike Dronkers in his Pirate Room Studio back in 2006. But it's not like sketching with a pen, where the more you do the more dense the picture: the record is not busy at all. The process was much more like oil painting. We did some songs. Listened to demos. Painted over. Took it to Kenny's studio. Painted over. Took it to Freddy's, Le Garage in Santa Monica . Painted over. And the product is very simple in some ways. Very contained. We tossed songs, a number of them, perhaps to revisit later. In the past I've recorded at home, or with Tim Gray, who is also fabulous.

Q: The spare sound that presides over the record draws the listener to your lyrics, which feel like short stories. Was this your approach to writing these songs?

Short stories. Well, kind of. I write a lot of memoir and other stuff, and part of what I like about songwriting, or the way I've come to do it, is that it is nothing like writing the usual narrative with the usual arc. The melody, inflection and song structure take care of an emotional arc, and the words get to hang, be evocative pictures, punctuation, reminders. Sans syntax. Dig?

Q: How did you come to cover "Thanksgiving," a song by former Poi Dog Pondering member Adam Sultan ? It's quite a beautiful song.

I love that song. The way it is on the record is sort of a one-off. I sang it with the Dell‘arte Band for Korbel IV because it fit with the theme - forgiveness. Thing is, it always works. There is never a time when it's not appropriate to say, "Oh, sh*t, I f*cked up," and nonetheless, "look at all the amazing colors!" I was playing Freddy's Martin guitar from 1895 or so, and damn, is that a nice guitar, I wanted to play every song I ever knew, while it was still in my hands. So, I started in, "Thanksgiving" being one I had learned from my friend Joe who I think learned it from our friend Ken back in Idaho years ago. It was very simple the way I learned it. And only after singing for 10 years or more did I think to listen to Poi Dog Pondering's version, which is very different. Recently I got in touch with Adam and got to thank him for writing it and he was happy to see it finally covered. I felt somehow like a musical circle had been drawn.

Q: There is an overall melancholic feeling that carries through this record. Looking back on writing and recording those songs, were you processing some forms of loss, sadness?

Now you've made me cry...I'm sorry. (Wiping tears.) * Uh, yeah. Life is hard. And relative. And relatively hard. But really. Loss? Yes. Sadness? Yes. Some about my relationship. Some about the losses of people around me. Some about thinking my childhood home was lost in a fire. Head injuries...and I think, generally, I spend a lot of time in the shadows. This world has plenty of them. Although, I can see it now…the next record will be all novelty songs. *(note from interviewer: her comment)

Q: Will you be touring soon to support this record?

Yes. A little in the fall/winter. And more heavily in 2009.

Q: Can you explain where the image for the cover of your new record comes from?

It's, quite literally, a letter home. My uncle, Tom Benedek , is a screenwriter and photographer and did a project called "Shot By The Writer," where he took old scripts out to the shooting range and then photographed the beautiful damage high res. Then PEN/USA commissioned him to burn some banned books and photograph them. They are really extraordinary. I wanted him to burn and shoot some lyrics for me, but he suggested taking lyrics and letters and folding them into paper houses. Voila!

Letter Home - Tom Benedek

Letter Home - Tom Benedek

Q: Do you still receive/write actual letters? Emails seem rather impermanent.

I sometimes do. Not often. But I do keep all the letters I've been sent.

Why don't you write me? Lila Nelson POB 4150 Arcata, CA. 95518

Addendum: After reading the mostly anonymous discussion below, Lila suggested adding a new photo, which may be taken as her own comment on the cheesecake issue:

homage to Johnny Cash

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Arcata Sesquicentennial

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 11:29 PM

Eleven Arcata Mayors

Eleven Arcata Mayors

Ten of Arcata's former mayors joined Mayor Mark Wheetley (on right in top hat) on the Arcata Plaza today to celebrate the city's 150th anniversary. Those who spoke uniformly had trouble pronouncing sesquicentennial (seskwisenˈtenēəl). Perhaps to mark the occasion, someone had decorated the statue of William McKinley with a brassiere. No one made any attempt to remove it.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Could You Be More Specific?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Once in a while a rabid Journal-hater's interior walls will burst, and pent-up passions come burbling out in a frothing, acrid foam. What can sometimes be disappointing, in such a case, is lack of detail.

What we need from you is specifics. What, in particular, set you off? What was the proverbial back-breaking straw? Having this information in hand while we're sitting around the break room helps us keep the laughs going, and will let us know exactly what we're doing right. Take this letter as a model of the form.

Today's entry scores high with its hyperbolic outrage and its vivid scatology -- a Chihuahua? -- but sadly falls short on the grounds outlined above.

audio player

Thanks, caller! You brightened a gray day. A word of caution, though: When gathering free newspapers in California, be sure to stay on this side of the law. This week marks the second anniversary of AB 2612, which criminalized the theft of free papers for various purposes -- including, presumably, yours.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Lady Blaze

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Keeping watch over the forest from a mountain-top fire lookout is one of those spittle-pay but romantic, go-nowhere-but-be-exactly-where-you-wanna-be part-time career choices that holds perpetual appeal for certain lonesome, oft-literary types who get itchy around too many people. Of course, the gig is a diminishing prospect as technology trumps practical romance.

But in this High Country News story in the Aug. 25 issue, one lookout keeper writes about another lookout keeper who's spent 50 summers in a row spotting strikes and smoke wisps in the Siskiyou Mountains.

Writes Erin Halcomb about 70-year-old Nancy Hood:

Here, in the company of rock wrens, she's counted the surrounding 296 foxtail pines. Prevailing west winds cool her during the day, and at night she listens to classical music and studies the stars. Over the years, she's become the Klamath's keeper of lookout history.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Memorial ride for killed cyclist

Posted By on Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 5:19 PM

This Sunday, a group of cyclists will be riding in memory of Greg Jennings, who was killed by a car Monday, Aug. 26, while he was commuting home to Blue Lake from work on his bike. Tim Daniels, president of the Bigfoot Bicycle Club, put out a notice, copied below, of the ride on his club's website -- and please note the special caveat that this ride is not intended as a "free for all 'Critical Mass' type ride, as he puts it. "If you are in the mood for anarchy I respectfully ask you do not join this group," says Daniels.

Greetings Fellow Cyclists,

As you all know, fellow cyclist Greg Jennings, was struck and killed
by an irresponsible motorist last week. There is a memorial ride
planned for Sunday, September 7th at 12:00 noon. We will be meeting
in the lot where Renner Petroleum's cardlock fuel station (a little
ironic huh?) is located on West End Road in Arcata. In case you're
not familiar with the location, it is near where Guintoli Lane,
crosses over 299 at the intersection of Alder Grove Road and West End
. I would like to encourage you all to ride your bike from home
to the meeting place, but if this would preclude you from joining us
and you need to drive, there is plenty of room to park on Ericson
Way. I don't recommend parking in the Renner lot.

The ride will be slow paced so everybody can easliy stay with us. We
will be riding single file and obeying all traffic laws. Safety is
paramount. I recommend you wear a helmet and bright colors. There
will be a briefing at noon before the ride. Please don't miss it.

We will ride to Blue Lake on 299, through the roundabout and will
regroup at the 76 service station on Blue Lake Blvd. We will return
the via 299 as well. The route will be about fourteen miles with a
couple mild rises along the way. Please be self sufficient, though if
you do get a flat, there will certainly be somebody to help you repair
it if need be.

This will not be a free for all "Critical Mass" type ride. If you are
in the mood for anarchy I respectfully ask you do not join this group.

Thank you very much.


Tim Daniels
President, Bigfoot Bicycle Club
Humboldt County, CA

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Driving into the Hydrogen Future

Posted By on Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM


Humboldt State unveiled its hydrogen fueling station today with Rep. Mike Thompson here to help with the ribbon-cutting and talk about the role the Schatz Energy Research Center is playing in our renewable energy future. He's shown above driving HSU's hydrogen-powered car, which he'd just helped fill with fuel.

Here's a soundbite from Rep. Mike's speech:

audio player

Star of the show was Schatz lab director Peter Lehman (below), whose pioneering work was featured in a Journal story, " Peter and the Fuel Cell, " back in 2006.

Here's an excerpt from Peter's speech:

audio player

Peter Lehman addresses crowd at ribbon cutting

Peter Lehman addresses crowd at ribbon cutting

While this is certainly cutting edge stuff, there are limitations. The fueling station at Humboldt State is the northernmost outpost on what's deemed California's "hydrogen highway." The Toyota Prius hydro-car (converted at a cost of cost $45,000) will only go 100 miles on a 2.5 kilogram tank of hydro-fuel, and there is not another fueling station within its range. (A California Fuel Cell Partnership map shows the closest stations being in Davis and Oakland.) So, Humboldt's lone hydro-car is mostly for show: President Rollin Richmond will be among the drivers, and as a Schatz lab tech explained to Rep. Thompson, there are plans afoot to use the vehicle to take mail deliveries up to the Telonicher Marine Lab in Trinidad.

[More pics from the Ribbon Cutting]

Evolution Energy Systems

Evolution Energy Systems

Evolution Energy Systems team members: Avram Pearlman, Stephen Kullmann, Dave Carter, Juliette Bohn and Anand Gopal (l to r)

The student team won the grand prize in the 2005 H2U international design competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy and ChevronTexaco, which led to acquisition of the Prius and building of the fueling station.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Must Be Said

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 5:51 PM

"ICE" -- the very stupidest of the Bush-era bureaucracy rebrandings.

Are we all agreed?

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