Friday, November 25, 2016

North Lake

(GPS: N37° 13.870 W118° 36.770)

Happy Black Friday! Actually, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be happy or wish that on anyone else on this day. I pretty much stay home on Black Friday. So, wish you well if you are one of those that braves the lines. Not my thing, but if it were a long distance hike...

From Sabrina Lake I drove back to the turnoff to North Lake. It is a dirt road that goes to the lake. Since I'm a little different to say the least, I decided to hike in instead of driving to it. I was just in the mood to explore the area and not drive back and forth. So after about twenty minutes of up hill and curves I encountered the lake:

It was very quiet. Much like Lake Sabrina, there were a few fishermen around the lake. There were a few people taking pictures around the lake. I knew this area was past prime with the fall colors before I got here. You can notice that most of the trees have lost their leaves across the lake. However, the trees on the right side of the above pictures still had some left.
So, I was happy to get this. See the tiny fisherman on the other side of the lake?

Again, like Lake Sabrina, this is another area I would like to come back to for some hiking in the canyon.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lake Sabrina

(GPS: N37° 12.720 W118° 36.680)

I want to wish my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are somewhere else then I wish you a great day as well. 

I'm going to keep things simple today. This is an area that I haven't spent much time at. About a twenty minute drive outside of Bishop, CA gets one to a couple of different areas in the High Sierra. One of these is Lake Sabrina:
I was there during the morning hours, and the sun had not quite cleared the canyon.
I zoomed across the lake for this shot. There were some fall colors there.

It's been a while since i watched Star Trek: Insurrection, but this lake was in that movie (as well as Convict Lake which is about a thirty minute drive away). In any case, I hope to return here in the future to hike some of the trails here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tankland! (Veteran's, Armistice, Remembrance Day)

Happy Veteran's Day! Armistice Day! Remembrance Day!

A few months ago I was at Tankland (Aka The American Military Museum) in El Monte, CA. It is a big lot of military vehicles with the emphasis on the American tanks. It was really fun to see some of these machines in person.
Two Sherman tanks.
M5 Stuart.
 M47 Patton Tank from the side.
M47 Patton Tank from the front.

Go here for more Tankland pictures I took on Flickr.

I took video too. Sometime in the future I will edit a video of this place as well. I'll link it here at that time.

I just wanted to acknowledge the Vets of the U.S. and other allied countries today. Bless you! Thanks for keeping me safe.

Recently, certain American football players have made the news in not acknowledging the American National Anthem while it is played before their games. They have every legal right to do that, but I do not believe they have the moral right to do this. Whatever past sins the U.S. has been apart of, those players have not made the sacrifices that our veterans have made. Many of which are minorities. I used to enjoy watching NFL games, but I refuse to watch anymore until those players apologize. My sacrifice is not the same as landing on Normandy, but I will not spit in the face or on the graves of those who have given me my freedoms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Survival of the Fittest

I wanted to upload this video I took a few months ago. I thought it was kind of interesting. I was not sure who I was rooting for while I was watching it take place:

What I thought was “fun” about this was how prey used its environment to its advantage. Normally a predator like this would completely overwhelm the prey. However, due to the ‘smartness” of the prey it was able to do what it did. I had one of those “Bruce Lee” moments while observing nature in action. A powerful opponent can be stopped if you can find a way to neutralize its strengths.

A few thoughts on the election (really about the media):

I did want to make a few comments about yesterday’s U.S. election. As I have said in the past, I really don’t like it when entertainers or bloggers I follow that specialize in something that has nothing to do with politics feel the need to go partisan. There is a guy with a nature blog that does this to a predictable level during every election cycle that drives me nuts. So, I hesitate to do too much of this on my own blog for the same reason since this is not a political blog. However, one of the issues that comes up from time to time on here is the sources of our beliefs. What good reasons to we have to believe something?

What bothered me about this election was not the candidates involved. It was the way the media handled it. Imo, they were not even trying. Or, from a different perspective, they were trying way too hard. I would log into my e-mail everyday and before I would do that this past year I was getting “hit piece” after “hit piece” on one candidate. There was a blog earlier this year that I mentioned my frustration with the media on this issue.

I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but one day I was on the Reddit conspiracy message board. It was chilling to see that they had come to the same conclusion I had come to. There was one message that showed how all the news stories over a few days to a week were so anti-Trump to the point of absurdity. It actually shocked me that I’m in line with a conspiracy site. That’s aliens and UFO territory there, right?

The expectation is that the media is reporting and representing the issues the public cares about proportionally to the views of the public. The media should not be trying to create reality or influence the public this way. That is what Joseph Goebbels style Nazi propaganda did. I wonder if members of the media truly thought the way they presented the election was fair, or are they really that biased and blind? As it is, it came across like they were bought off by someone. That is what I get off of popular sites like Yahoo news where someone is just paid off by some group to promote their views.

The notion of a “fact checker” is always an interesting idea to me. Who “fact checks” the fact checkers? Especially when they have different values, assumptions, and agendas.

I need to add that Wikileaks exposed a lot of this too. CNN was shown to be colluding with Clinton campaign. Preparing questions to Clinton before the debates, asking what questions should be asked to other candidates, asking about what they should be publishing, etc.

In any case, if there is one thing that I took pleasure in, it was seeing the public give the media a dose of reality. The media was defeated big time. Something to remember as you watch or read anything from the media in the future. Which leads to the following article:

I hope the media starts to reflect a little more like this article does.

One of these days I will talk about what I call, "Playing Psychology" when you can't win someone over with facts and good reasoning. The article hints at that on a few points.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Big Pine Lakes #1 and #2

So this is a continuation of the last blog which was really dedicated to my return to the Lon Chaney Cabin. As I said, when I got to the cabin there were already people there which kind of ruined the moment of making the type of video I wanted there. So, somewhat demoralized, I just skipped the cabin and moved on for another forty-five minutes to an hour of uphill switchbacks in an elevated canyon. Finally, I discovered Lake #1:
Big Pine Lakes #1
That picture is looking back at it since I didn't like any of the views of it from the trail. I was always getting blocked by something that didn't really capture the beauty of it. I'm sure I could have gone off trail to get better pictures of it, but I wasn't in the mood to do that. The thing was I knew Lake #2 is connected with it, and just a matter of minutes of getting to that lake.
Big Pine Lakes #2
This was really the "payoff" lake as far as I was concerned. This was the personal goal of the hike that morning since I had hiked to the cabin before. I had seen pictures of Temple Crag in the background so I had always wanted to view this lake in person. I like the "hand" reaching toward the crag. :)
Big Pine Lake #2 (Glacial Tarn)
These are glacial lakes so that have that glacial tarn turquoise look to them. There are many more lakes back here, but I turned around at this point. I am inspired to go back and explore beyond this point. So in the future I hope to have more to say about this area.

The Lon Chaney Cabin (Flickr Pictures)

I did an alternative video for this hike that I am calling the "Majestic Edition".The area is beautiful, and I wanted something to reflect that. I cut out some footage, added the lake footage at the end, cut out the special effects, replaced spooky music with more uplifting music, and cut out the intro narrative. It is unlisted, and I don't expect many to view it, but it is okay to share with others if you want to. I just wanted to get away from the "horror" theme for this one.

The Return to Cienega Mirth (Majestic Edition)

The music used from is called Brittle Rille and Majestic Hills.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Cabin at 7 Cienega Mirth (Halloween 2016)

Happy Halloween!

Up until about a week ago I planned to skip doing anything for Halloween. After thinking about it I thought there is one area I would not mind doing again on here. So without further ado, here is the video for The Cabin at 7 Cienega Mirth:

I’ll be doing another blog that should be up next weekend that will run a slightly different non-Halloween edit of this video with some alternative footage. I explain why when I get to that point. However, in the meantime let me go over some of my thoughts on this video and what actually happened.

Video editing thoughts:

If you have seen the original video that I put up some years back, you might remember the weather conditions with the clouds going over the mountains making it a little extra spooky. I knew there was no way I could reproduce that atmosphere in this most recent video. That is probably the main reason I will keep the old video up along with this new one.

The old video, like a lot of my old videos, is hard for me to watch. It was good for the time I did it, but it was from an older camcorder that did not have the features my latest one has. I did a bunch of things in that video that I would consider editing mistakes today. After thinking about it over time I started to get the itch to do another video of this spot.

Originally, the idea was to video the cabin all in one take right as I reached the spot. That didn’t work out as I explain below. So, I went with the backup plan. The video came out alright. There are a few moments I would have liked to have done over, but overall I am pleased. I had more special effects ready to go, but when I did some tests on Youtube the quality wasn’t working. So, I decided to cut some of them out.

Hiking thoughts:

You know how I mentioned in the video that it can’t get worse than a zombie outbreak or the Evil Deadites showing up? Well, it did!

I parked at the backpacker’s parking lot again for this one. There is a trailhead closer to Glacier Lodge in Big Pine. The trail from the backpackers parking lot is a little more exposed, seems slightly longer, but starts out a little higher. I got there around 8:30am, noticed a bunch of cars parking, and started right away.

I had the trail all to myself. It took me about an hour to get to the cabin. Then as I was making my way with the camcorder recording I spotted two people in front of the cabin. It was slight shock to seem them since I thought I would have the place to myself. I decided to skip the cabin and go to the first two Big Pine Lakes.

On returning to the cabin I started the recording again. This time I noticed some people sitting by the stream by the cabin. Oh no! I didn’t want to have any people in this video since that would ruin the mystique of what I was trying to create. No problem, I just went with the backup plan you saw in the video.

However, before I did that I shut off the recording and went to the people there in an attempt to just be High Sierra friendly and let them know what I would be doing. Oh my goodness, these people were complete “holes”. As I approached I said “hi” and then asked in a joking way, “So, are you fishing today?”  They didn’t look back at me, but just said “Huuuuhhhhhhhhhh?!?” I asked the same question and got the same response. Then I changed it to, “Are you taking pictures?” and the same response. Sigh. I understand people wanting to be left alone in the isolated High Sierra, but these people were ultra-unfriendly. I then told them that I was going to take a short video of the cabin, but not too worry I wouldn’t be getting them in the video. The guy then completely understood me and told me they were only going to be there for five more minutes anyways. I did what I said and got out of there right as others showed up. So, I never did have the cabin to myself. No big deal, but that couple really put me in a bad mood. Zombies, Evil Deadites, or unfriendly idiots made stupid by a haunted cabin seem to be all the same for me.

Other tidbits:

When I got back to the trailhead I was still a little irritated, but felt better driving back to Big Pine and HWY 395. I still had another thing I wanted to do that is…going back to the Alabama Hills! I should be feeling great when I get there! Then as I made the turn in Lone Pine to head to those rocks, and I saw a sign that said, “Roadwork ahead! 25 minute wait!” You have to be kidding me! I thought I had escaped this. Turns out on this trip at many points on HWY 395 from just past Kraemer Junction to the June Lake Loop to Lee Vining and beyond there were twenty minute stops due to roadwork. The one place I didn’t think would face this, but they were doing something on Whitney Portal Road. There was something else that was annoying about the Alabama Hills, but I leave that for some other time.

A few links:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Ten Year Anniversary of The Great Silence Blog

I wanted to note the ten year anniversary of the blog. My sense of time is really warped. I know it has been ten years, but in some ways it doesn't seem THAT long ago.

What I remember when I started this blog site is I was recovering from Giardia or something very close to it. I had been doing long High Sierra day hikes and was in great shape. I started to feel the symptoms, but even then I was still doing long hikes. It wasn't until the day I drove home it really hit me. For the next two weeks trips to the bathroom were quite frequent, funny, and painful. The creation of the blog was to keep my mind off my ailment.

The first five or so years I was really cranking out many things. Almost once a week at my best to once a month I would put content out. Then I announced I would go into semi-retirement mode with me occasionally putting out further content. That's kind of the way it has been for the past five years and will continue to be.

I want to thank those who have been supportive along the way. I have never been a person that has sought out for the approval of hundreds of people. Yet, it is nice to get a few people that appreciate what I have done.

Along these lines, I thought I would mention that my experiments on my original Youtube channel started almost ten years ago as well. It's interesting how that site has changed over the years. When I originally started I could put up a video and get a hundred views in a day easily without even trying. These days if I am lucky, where the quality and editing of video is so much better and easier, it takes about a month to get the same amount of views. That’s with over three to four times the amount of subscribers I have these days. There are a lot of reasons for that which I am not going into here, but it is interesting to me how the quality of something can increase dramatically and yet not get the same results. Fortunately, I don't obsess over view totals, but it is always fun to see what happens with that.

With that said, God bless and I will see you all somewhere down the road.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering (Memorial Day Weekend 2016 #4)

P47 Thunderbolt (P.O.F. #20)Memorial Day in the U.S.A. was designed as a day to remember those who have died in service to the country. For the type of freedoms we have I am grateful. Something should be said for the allies too who gave their lives in support as well with similar goals. At the same time, I don’t want to deny the humanity of those who were my countries enemies.
Mitsubishi A6M Zero  (P.O.F. #33)A month or two ago there was a Japanese pilot who died who fought against the U.S. at some of the major conflicts in the Pacific. Most people were sending their condolences, but I saw someone say they could never do that because this person killed Americans. Maybe so for the time, but there has been some good-will on both sides. That is part of the forgiveness project that says the war is over, and it is time to move on. Not sure I will think this way about modern terrorists in the decades to come, but soldiers forced into conflicts are a little different.
Mitsubishi A6M Zero  (P.O.F. #34)

It has been said that the 20th century wars were fought so that those living today will never experience them. I think that is true as long as we remember them. If we forget about the quests for utopias and the wars that brought them about, then we are doomed to repeat them.
Hellcat (P.O.F. #2)
I took a bunch of pictures and video at the Chino Air Show. If you are interested the pictures are on Flickr and the video is unlisted on Youtube:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"The Enemy" (Memorial Day Weekend 2016 #3)

Recently, I was reading Gunter Koschorrek’s book Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front. He was a German machine gun soldier in Stalingrad, Italy, and returned to the Soviet Union. The quotes I use in this blog are taken from that.

“My stomach is churning, and I cannot bring myself to look at their colourless faces. Now, for the first time, when I see the lifeless bodies before me, my consciousness really grasps the meaning of death. As a young person you tend to push these thoughts far away from you, but here there is no way to escape them. These people are out enemies, but, even so, they are flesh and blood, just like us. And just as they are lying here now, so could I or some of us be lying here dead and motionless in this ice cold snow.” P. 67
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (P.O.F. #13)
One area that I enjoy reading, watching documentaries, and movies about is the Eastern Front of World War 2. This is an area that most public school students in the U.S. probably have been ripped off on. Understandably, most U.S. history classes emphasize the U.S. parts of the war so the issues with the Germans vs. the Soviets in the east are almost a non-issue. Interesting enough I have heard people say that they have learned more about the Eastern Front part of the conflict through video games like “Call of Duty” and others that have come out over the past two decades than what they got in school.

“Revenge and retaliation! That inflammatory clarion call for revenge! That's the way all war leaders want their soldiers to be. Remorseless, and with hatred and retaliation in their hearts, men can win battles, and quite ordinary soldiers can be turned into celebrities. Fear is converted into hatred, anger and calls for retribution. In this way you are motivated to fight on even decorated with medals as a hero. But heroes have to stay alive, so that others can see their medals; they are supposed to inspire the weaker among us.” P. 227

One of the major parts of Hitler’s goals during the years of WW2 was the destruction of the Soviet Union (“The Judeo-Bolsheviks”). The ideas of invading the Soviet Union go back to his Mein Kampf autobiography. Even though a non-aggression pact was signed with the Soviet Union almost two years earlier, Operation Barbarrosa was started on June 22, 1941. It started off well for the Germans, but the problems of getting supplies over large distances of land, fierce resistance, and the bad weather (rain, and eventually snow in the upcoming winter months) to name a few of the key issues turned into a battle of attrition. This is something the Germans had not faced before with their blitzkrieg strategy used until this point.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (P.O.F. #14)

Over the next two years Hitler and his advisors would come up with further operations into the Soviet Union. The conflicts at Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Kursk to mention some of the important ones are legendary for the brutality. Tank battles, infantry conflict, starvation, cannibalism, atrocities, etc. all had their parts in this conflict. The Soviets held off all these conflicts and would make their offensives and send the Germans back. Millions perished on both sides.

Yakovlev Yak-3 (P.O.F. #21)“I tell Fritz about my meeting with Unteroffizier Schwarz and how, at the Rytschov bridgehead, he executed wounded Russian soldiers by shooting them in the head. He explains to me that people who kill the defenceless must have sadistic leanings, and that war provides them with the excuse to satisfy this inhuman trait under the pretext of benefiting the rest of your men. After this period in Italy we would again be fighting together in Russia for a time and would kill many of our enemies. But, even though war may sometimes cause normal human beings to become insensitive, we would never slay the helpless.” P.138

While all wars are hell there is something a little extra disturbing and creepy about this one. This is the real life version of The Walking Dead. It is much worse than what one sees in horror movies. Little hope, not much is worth redeeming about it. Who were the good guys and the bad guys in this one? It many ways it is a case of evil vs. evil. Hitler and Stalin were not nice guys, and in my book they were almost equally evil. I do think the ideas and how they implemented them were evil in their regimes. I don’t think the same way about the individual people on the ground during the conflict.

Spitfire (P.O.F. #25)
“It’s the Oberleutnant who gives me strength, so I don’t go back, but rather choose to remain with him. I feel tied to him and would go through hell with him. After you have spent some time at the front, like I have, you no longer fight for Fuhrer, Yolk undVaterland These ideals, have long gone And no one talks about National Socialism or similar political matters. From all our conversations, its quite obvious that the primary reason we fight is to stay alive and help our front-line comrades do the same. But we often fight for a superior, such as our Oberleutnant, who through his exemplary attitude manages to instil spirit into even dog-tired and almost indifferent warriors.” P.255

One thing I have learned in life is there are many situations we get stuck in that we had no choice in. Be it jobs, family, friends, school, etc. we are put in situations and expected to fulfill out duty or we are morally blamed or shamed. In the case of the soldiers above it could mean their own death if they did not follow orders, and possibly family members back home. I would like to think that if I were in some situations I would not do certain things, but I’m not sure. It was generally thought that in the trials after WW2 that saying “I didn't want to do what I did, but I was just following orders” was not a good excuse.

I’ll wrap this up tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The WW2 Generation is Almost Gone (Memorial Day Weekend 2016 #2)

Sometime back I was reflecting after some major court decisions had come down and how the country I live in doesn't feel like the one I grew up in. The concerns I and others had while I was younger don’t really exist today in the same way.

A shock that really hit me not too long ago is that we are at the tail end of the World War 2 generation. Those that served in that war that are still alive are now in their mid-90’s. A lot of those people are ones that had to lie about their age in order to get into the service to fight. The reality is that the WW2 generation will be completely gone from us very soon.
P40 Warhawk (P.O.F. #9)
One of my neighbors that is no longer with us was a mechanic for a squadron bomber group during the war. He ended up being the historian for the group. I was given the book he had compiled of all the daily activities of that group for the war.

Most of the flights were B-25’s sent from their base in Great Britain to bombing targets in Europe. Later on the group was sent to Africa to give support with the fight in Italy as well as being a part of the major raid on the Ploesti oil fields on Aug. 1, 1943. Then back to Great Britain where the bombings started to finally reach the heart of Hitler’s Germany. Until D-Day, a good portion of the war for the U.S. was these types of bombings.
B-25 Mitchell (P.O.F. #39)
A portion of the entries consist of flights being scrubbed due to bad weather. Another portion were flights sent off to create a diversion for someone else…to trick the Germans into thinking the major attack would be someplace where they would commit their forces only to find out the real attack would be elsewhere. Most of the entries talk about what was known of the bombing missions. However, what I really got out of these B-25 raids to precision targets is that the ten men on each aircraft really were “dead men”. There was a good chance they would get to their target and let out their bombs, but they might not make it back to base. In their minds, their job was to get to the target and fulfill that goal. In most cases they were intercepted at some point by German aircraft. There were many entries of B-25 crew members having to either jump out with them being listed as POW’s or KIA. If they did their 25 (or later on 30) missions of the tour they could go home, but that seemed to be a rare thing.
P-51 Mustang (P.O.F. #36)
Reading through all the names on the roster that died in action is a sad thing. They are not just names, but people that did their service and died very young. The hopes and dreams of a normal life they never experienced.

Continued tomorrow...