Saturday, December 31, 2011

So It Ends!

I ended up blogging every day of this month, but the current daily blogging streak went back to mid-November. This blog will end the streak, and I do not intend to do anything like this every again. I did want to end with a bang so the total for the year is 117 blogs. For me that is insane and ends up being almost 33% of the days this year I had a blog entry up. There was a point about the middle of this month I started to get tired of doing this and felt a lot of what I was trying to say was "mental mush", but once I got close to Christmas I was almost over the hump.

Like I usually do at the end of the year, I want to take some time to reflect on some of the high and low points of this blog this past year. Then I will mention a little of where the blog goes from here.

Speaking of which, I started out in the beginning of January of this year announcing that this would be the final year of me blogging as I have been doing. I am going to skip this for now and come back to it at the end of this blog entry. I will say that had been in my mind for how I went about doing every blog this year. That is part of the reason I had 117 blog entries this year is because I wanted to cram as much as possible into this year not knowing what the future would be like.

Of course, the big theme of the year was what I did with my Ramona series and a big reason for the amount of blog entries. I said all I really want to say about that series in the blog entry for yesterday. That started off in January and just ended yesterday.

In February, I did my Return to Lago and added some more blogs about that area. One of the main things my stats have shown over the years is people really care about where High Plains Drifter was filmed at. I can understand that. So, it was important for me to get an updated video and to show what "Lago" looked like on a different type of day with those pictures.

In March, I was finally able to show one that I had waited for years to do. That one had to do with the snowslide that was northwest of Mono Lake near the entrance of Lundy Canyon. That took place on March 7, 1911. I visited the cemetery there and wanted to have it up on the anniversary of March 7, 2011. Goal accomplished!

Also during that month I finally got to post my first time at Rancho Camulos. This was special for the California history involved with that one, but also the oldest film location that I will ever find was filmed there. Interesting enough, I did find another movie made during that same year that has the potential to be an easy location hunt. I like the old silent film location challenges because those are the most difficult to find traces of after all these years. That silent film I am referring to is on the list of things to do, but I do not know when I will get around to that.

In April, I showed my "Mammoth Mountain Hike" which was partly a joke because that was a just a ride to the top using the gondola. The real treat was my Yellow Sky Series that I had waited and waited to post over the years. I was not too thrilled with the morning light conditions I had for the video, but it was one of those I waited so long that I just got tired of waiting anymore. I think I did the best I could do with what I had on that one. If I were to be able to pick just one thing I think you should have seen this year that I did, then that series would be it. I just love that movie, and along with the Boetticher films, I would list it as one of the top films made at the Alabama Hills.

The highlight of May was the Devil's Playground Cave from that Hopalong Cassidy movie. I knew a lot of people would like that one just because of the title. I do have other Hoppy locations and footage I am sitting on right now. I am not sure when or if I will put those up, but since Hoppy did half his movies out in the Alabama Hills there are tons of those one can show.

In June, I spent most of the month showing my hike up to the top of Mt. Wilson and then my time at the observatory. I love astronomy, at least from an amateur perspective, and it was important for me to hit the holy ground of astronomical discovery for the 1st half of the 20th-century. Let me tell you something new. I re-visited the observatory in November! This time I was driven up to the the top. The great thing is we got to go inside some of the places I showed from the outside in the June blogs. So, at some point in the future I hope to show you my "Return to Mt. Wilson" pictures and footage.

July was an okay month, but nothing super special. It was more of a turning point for my Ramona series.

During August I spent some time identifiying some spots in Temecula that most people would walk by and not understand the significance of for the Ramona series and the history of California. Then I covered some things in Long Ranger Canyon like the Gun Smugglers Rock and Hoppy Rocks that I should have had done a long time ago.

During September I spent some time showing how the Palm Springs Tram was used in a Dean Martin film. I then showed my hike to the top of San Jacinto Peak. Another hike that I had wanted to do for years and finally got to do it as a part of my Ramona series.

In the case of October I knew there was no way I was going to outdo my Halloween series from 2010. You can see what I did there if you missed it, but basically I went back and updated some new videos during that month as part of that Halloween 2011 series. I spent most of my time with my Ancient Monsters series that dealt with the new dinosaur exhibit in Los Angeles. I know most people can turn on the tv and see something related to the dinosaurs all the time, but I really liked how I edited those videos with the music. The T-Rex one was the highlight. I had to laugh when I showed that video to some kids, and one of the girls had to walk away from the screen as the big "Thomas" model skull was looking down on her. You had to be there for that because it was projected on a wall.

During November I had my "Murder of Juan Diego" series that was one I really loved and the basis for the whole Ramona series. I love those hikes where you are out in the middle of nowhere and you come across some artifact/sign about the past. The mountain hike was fun. Then, the cemetery was VERY important to me too! Of course, my Reflections at Conness Glacier was the essence of what this blog has been made of. The silent beauty of it all! Many care about that Huell Howser Glacier episode, in some ways my blogs regarding that were a tribute to Huell, but I put my own spin on how I presented it to make it more in line with what I like to do.

The crazyness started in November and I continued it into December every single day. Aurora Ghost Town , then East Pine Street, and R.I.P. Aurora was a major project that I am proud of, but I can understand people not really liking that one. It some ways it is a case of, "nothing to see here!" I just love the history of what was once in that town. That was one that I sat on the footage for quite some time until I could edit it to make it work.

Of course, the big project that offered something I suspect you probably did not have any clue about is the one I just finished up about the movie Nightfall that I called "Out of the Past Too" and "Out of the Past Too Two". There is a tendency to think of my blog primarily dealing with westerns, but that is not really the case. The reason I love westerns is because they were primarily filmed in the rugged outdoors away from civilization. However, if I can find any movie that was filmed outdoors then I am there! So, it is somewhat rare to find a noir-ish movie like this filmed partly outdoors. Not to mention the same director using the same spots in a movie 10 years earlier. There was a time that I really meant to show more noir movies that were filmed in Los Angeles. I started to do it, but because of the dramatic changes in Los Angeles, and the fact that it is so public, it just did not fit with what I had in mind with this blog. I just do not get the same amount of satisfaction walking around the big city for location hunts as I do in nature.

So, those were the highlights of the year. Let me go back to my original post in January and where I go from here. I have been battling the motivation to keep doing this for the past three years. There was a time somewhere between June and July that I really had to ask myself why I keep doing this. I was that burned out.

Of all the years I have been doing this the feedback was a lot more negative too. It was really strange in this regard because not only was it negative, but many times it was irrelevant to anything I have been doing on here or the video sites. In some cases it was people expecting me to do things for them that I have never done during my whole time blogging. Then they would get irritated with me for not giving them exactly what they wanted. Those of you that have contacted me via e-mail in the past know that I have usually written back eventually and given as much information as I could if you had a specific request that I could help with. That changed this year. I got to the point that if something was not relevant or someone just wanting to advertise their site then I just ignored or hit delete. I just did not care anymore. At the same time, not everyone who reads what I have done on here or watches my videos has done this, but more did so this year than in the past.

As of right now, I am taking some time off. At some point I hope to have a short series called "The Nature of Silence" which will cover a hike and help explain some things that if was not obvious about what I have been doing since the beginning it will then. I then hope to have my own version of a FAQ which will be a blog that will go into a little more detail about how the blog will be from now on and why I am will not be doing as much blogging compared to what I have done over the past six years.

I am holding myself to what I mentioned in that first blog this year. There will be future projects, but not to the extent that I put something up once a week. Those days are over. Since I started this blog I have had something up every few weeks or so. In fact, I have never missed posting at least once a month since I started doing this back in 2006. That is going to change now. There will be many months that I do not post anything.

So, at this point, the blog will be in read only mode for the time being as I take an extended vacation. I will make the corrections I promised I would do at the beginning of this month, but I really do need to get away from this blog for a while. Get my life back I guess you could say. However, if you are concerned then have no fear because I just got a new video camera for Christmas that blows away my old one! A big wide angle lens, 1080 60p, and the zoom goes on and on and on and on! :)

With love, sincerity, and thanks from me please be safe, be healthy, and have a Happy New Year!

The Silent One is checking out!


Buster Keaton's Bathtub (Youtube Version)

Buster Keaton's Bathtub (Vimeo Version)

Hell Bent for Leather Rocks (Youtube Version)

Hell Bent for Leather Rocks (Vimeo Version)