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Posts Tagged ‘santa barbara’

I Madonnari

In progress at the I Madannori festival.

In progress at the I Madannori festival.

This weekend was the I Madonnari chalk art festival in Santa Barbara. The event started on Saturday and was still going on Monday, or maybe it built up until Monday. Some of the artists were working seven hours a day on their piece and were still working Monday afternoon.

The subjects ranged from local firefighters to impressionist to portraits.

When I was there it was fairly crowded but not so much that the chalk-work was blocked out by the crowds. I liked the works but I was hoping for some of the large 3D chalk art pieces.

Still it was a good festival.

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Spring

Not the clearest of Spring quarters.

Not the clearest of Spring quarters.

This Spring Quarter has not been the best for weather. In the past I have been able to wear shorts of a multitude of occasions, this year I have worn them maybe half a dozen times. Perhaps the last weeks will turn the weather around and finally defeat the marine layer that is the bane of coastal living.

Then again if the weather continues in the high sixties range it will help me transition to Seattle next year, except the part where I am going home to weather in the eighties for the summer. Right now Seattle is predicted to be slightly warmer then Santa Barbara all this week.

So much for the sunny beaches of Southern California.

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The morning sun through the smoke as ash fell on campus.

The morning sun through the smoke as ash fell on campus.

The fires are over in Santa Barbara, or at least over in that those evacuated can return. In the past I have either been out of the country for the big Santa Barbara fires or they have been in non-threatening locations like Gaviota Pass.

This time though I know at least three people directly effected.

My classmate was evacuated Wednesday at 3am, he had a flight in the morning out of LAX. While he was not displaced that much from the fires he did not  have a chance to pack and wound up moving back in at 1am Monday morning. For him he was just greatly inconvenienced.

My Astrobiology professor had a stroke of luck. Evacuated Wednesday that night he saw his house on TV with the angle showing flames leaping up from his roof line. Eventually he found better footage and found that his neighbors house had burned down. The house across the street burned down. His other neighbor had their yard burned down. His roof took some superficial fire damage but otherwise survived.

A professor who I had for sophomore lab, and who wrote me a letter of recommendation, lost his house. The fire engulfed it and burned it down. I have not heard anything from the department yet about, but I would not be surprised if there is a fund or some sort of communal support from the students.

But now this fire is over, but it will not the last of the year. Last summer the entire state was on fire, hopefully this year will not be as flammable as the last.

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I am more alarmed by the smoke then the actual fire.

I don't know if any of the nearby hills have not burned in the past four years.

So Santa Barbara is on fire again, according to The Daily NexusBBC and the giant plume of smoke in the southern sky.

Of course this fire is related to the fact that it has gone from windy with a slight chill to surprisingly toasty. And with the heat comes a lack of motivation or energy to do anything.

Especially when dressed in a fencing jacket, metal lamé and a nice padded mask.

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Torrential rain is the best kind at UCSB.

Torrential rain is the best kind at UCSB.

 

 

Rain in Santa Barbara is by far my favorite time of year, I do not know mean the light drizzle or small half hour spurts of water, rather the full day of torrential rain. The campus feels so clear and perfect. Giant pools of clear water litter the ground, streams of water flow over gravel and roots. Buildings gain new stained faces as the water pours down.

A new sound overrides the background of the ocean; the slow drip and splash of water coalascing down trees. Eucalyptus are in full fragrance as water flows over the leaves into fat drops landing heavily onto the ground and unsuspecting heads.

Many people do not know how to handle rain. Plastic bags make an appearance as ponchos and seat covers, over backpacks and shoulder bags. Some embrace the rain to fully absorb as much as possible while others deck out in wellies, umbrellas and jackets. Class attendance drops, everyone stays inside (except the surfers), bike and skateboards evaporate off the paths. Some persist in order to elicit smiles from walkers drier under umbrellas.

And then there is the one person biking around with an umbrella held directly in front.

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Rainy Day

 

Rain should never spoil travel plans.

Rain should never spoil travel plans.

It rained today in Santa Barbara, a rare event. It was not a real rain though, not a rain that lasts for the full day and is audible from inside any building. The sky did not darken nor did any lake size puddles form.

It was a british rain. A light sprinkle followed the afternoon into the evening. The rain did not commit, it did not impress, it did not drench, the rain just annoyed.

I guess that today is the day where summer ends in Santa Barbara and the rainy season begins.

It is a good thing I am leaving for home tomorrow.

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La Cumbre Peak

 

I should have brought more water instead of a camera.

I should have brought more water instead of a camera.

A ten mile hike with a three thousand foot elevation change? Sure, no problem! I have ten miles before, I did ten miles in a day in Paris, I walked five miles a day in Edinburgh. I assumed that I could do it. To be fair I did make it to the top of La Cumbre peak, the highest in the Santa Barbara area. I had to have a lot of encouragement from those I was with, two people who did backpacking and serious hiking. They are training to climb Mt. Reinier next summer. I just wanted to get out of the area.

Initially we had this hard rock clambering path planned out, thirty minutes up in the brush we realized that we had no idea where the path was. We were not looking for a nice wide path, rather a direction that was not blocked by thick scrub or vertical rock. We had to turn around. Instead we did the Tunnel Trail up to the top. It was a dusty, hot path covered in loose rocks and more dust. I wheezed, lost vision for moments and stumbled forward and up. With the pushing of my friends I made it.

Once at the top we had a nice break without water (none was left) with our good friends the flies. The problem with this is that I was done in. Except the only way home was to hike the five miles and three thousand feet back down with temperatures reaching nineties and into the hundreds for small segments. I thought I was not going to make it.

I was never more thankful for seeing a car with air conditioning. 

Now of course I barely move.

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