Tag Archives: San Luis Obispo

2Cellos and The Piano Guys at the PAC

This year Pam and I have gone to shows by 2Cellos and The Piano Guys at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly. Both are acts that rose to fame via YouTube and now are signed to deals with Sony. Both prominently feature cellos, which is predictable with 2Cellos but might be a surprise when you see the name The Piano Guys.

We saw 2Cellos first, on March 21. The tickets had a warning printed on them that the show was a high volume event. I noticed that a substantial portion of the packed house appeared to be elderly and refined, dressed for a classical concert. The opening song was Benedictus, which is hauntingly beautiful and mellow. And in that moment it seemed like a classical concert.

But that only lasted for approximately seven minutes.

And suddenly Benedictus turned to Where the Streets Have No Name (at high volume). It was now a rock show. Here is a YouTube clip of that transition (but you miss the grandeur of the concert hall swelling with the sound.

And it just went on from there. My personal favorites were the AC/DC songs, with Back in Black and Thunderstruck at the top of the list. By this time many of the refined guests had found the exits, appalled at the classic rock.

The banter between Luka and Stjepan was entertaining, filled with double entendres and ironic rock star pandering. It was fun to watch these masterful musicians perform.  I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

On May 13 we saw The Piano Guys. This was also a very fun show. It featured more interaction with the crowd, more processed backing tracks, and less classic rock, and lower overall volume. Jon and Steven showed a polished showmanship that was enjoyable. I didn’t see anyone walk out of this show. The set was considerably longer than the 2Cellos set.

The percussive elements of The Piano Guys were elaborate and fun.

Each show had its merits. I’m glad I went to both of them. I must say, however, that the classic rock made me smile a bit more than the pop songs and classical music. Cellos are wonderful instruments.

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Hiking in the Irish Hills

This afternoon I went for a hike in the Irish Hills from the Madonna Road trail head. I took the Mariposa Trail. The trail winds through lowland trees before reaching the ridge line.

The Mariposa Trail winding under the trees.

The Mariposa Trail winding under the trees.

The views of San Luis Obispo and the cerros are very impressive from the trail.

Cerro San Luis Obispo (Madonna Mountain) viewed from the Mariopa Trail.

Cerro San Luis Obispo (Madonna Mountain) viewed from the Mariposa Trail.

Above the trees the views are still wonderful.

A panorama of San Luis Obispo from the Mariposa Trail.

A panorama of San Luis Obispo from the Mariposa Trail.

I took the Morro View Trail to the far side of the hills. On a clear day you can see right to the Pacific Ocean. Today was clear in San Luis Obispo but a bit foggy at the coast. I could just barely see Morro Rock and the ocean through the fog. The wind started to pick up, gusting over the ridge.

Morro Rock viewed from the Irish Hills.

Morro Rock viewed from the Irish Hills.

On my return I took the Mine Trail and visited the abandoned chromite mine that gives the trail its name. Upon returning to Mariposa Trail I picked up the King Trail and took it back to the trail head.

It was good to get in a hike while things are still green. In the past few days tones of brown have become conspicuous in the San Luis landscapes. The gold will be upon us soon, so it is time to savor the green.

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Visitors on the Central Coast

Last weekend I had visitors from the East Coast. My brother and sister-in-law made the trek west. While I was stuck at work Jon and Karrie explored beaches, hiking trails, wineries, and San Luis Obispo. When I got off work we checked out the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Thursday, grilled salmon on Friday,  hiked at Montana de Oro on Saturday. and went to GraceSLO on Sunday. It was great to catch up and show off the Central Coast (and Pam).

A shot from Montana de Oro, with Morro Rock in the distance.

A shot from Montana de Oro, with Morro Rock in the distance.

Surveying the tidal pools, searching for crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, and other cool things.

Surveying the tidal pools, searching for crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, and other cool things.

A friendly crustacean.

A friendly crustacean.

The time flew by. All too soon we were back at the airport saying goodbyes.

A final photo at the airport (photo credit to Pam).

A final photo at the airport (photo credit to Pam).

Good times.

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Hiking and Music: A Good Saturday

Last week Saturday was a day to remain indoors–I did not set foot outside all day long. This week Saturday was different. Pam and I hiked Bishop Peak in the early afternoon. It was sunny and breezy, perfect hiking weather. At the top we savored the views. It is very exciting to see the green tones returning to the California landscape. A little rain makes  a large difference.

View of San Luis Obispo on a bright day.

A panorama from Bishop Peak.

My view of SLO with Pam beside me.

Sharing the view from Bishop Peak.

After the hike it was off to the next adventure. We went to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on the Cal Poly campus and heard the San Luis Obispo Symphony. The show was titled “Out of this World” and featured works by Debussy and Holst. My favorite piece was Holst’s “Jupiter.”

In the PAC before the show began.

In the PAC before the show began.

It was a good Saturday.

Oh, I almost forgot, I had a two pound carnitas burrito for lunch-dinner. It was that kind of day.

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Thanksgiving 2013

I spent Thanksgiving in SLO this year. My routine since moving to California has been to hike on holidays. I had humble aspirations for Thanksgiving–I hiked Islay Hill (elevation: 776 feet). Islay Hill is at the southern end of a series of nine morros.

It was a little overcast when I hit the trail. The sun was poking through the clouds, but things seemed a little grey. One little cluster of clouds was bright white in the sky, seeming to have missed the memo regarding the grey theme.

View of town with Madonna Mountain and Bishop's Peak in the background.

The view of SLO from Islay Hill.

If you turn and look the other direction you can see the edge of the Edna Valley. I’m planning to hike this hill again when things are green in the late winter or spring.

View of a valley from high altitude, with little different colored patches of land that are vineyards.

Vineyards in Edna Valley.

A wooden pole, similar to a telephone pole, standing 10 feet high with metal sppikes attached like ladder rungs.

For those who want to get a little bit higher.

At the summit of Islay Hill there is a pole. It looks like a short telephone pole. Metal spikes have been attached to the pole to make is easy to climb. Of course I climbed it. I did not take my camera up with me. The view was not much better than it was from the ground.

I spent some time looking at the surrounding landscape. The view of the airport is very good. It was quiet on this Thanksgiving afternoon. I enjoyed seeing the neighborhoods in the south part of town from above. The few trees that develop some fall color are easy to spot in the photos. The most notable reds are sweet gum or Chinese pistache.

View from Islay Hill of houses in south SLO.

South SLO neighborhoods.

Another south SLO neighborhood.

Another south SLO neighborhood.

During my hike I turned a corner at a switchback and encountered a large hawk. It was sitting by the trail, surveying the hillside (looking for a Thanksgiving dinner). When it saw me it was startled. It turned and opened its wings and stared at me for a moment before flying. I wish my camera had been in my hands instead of in my camera bag. The mental picture will have to do.

After my hike I joined a co-worker for an excellent Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May you be reminded of the blessings in your lives, and may you find ways to be a blessing to others.

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