out of the summer, sliding into fall…

Since the total eclipse on 8/21 this much and more has happened… wildfires in the west (pretty much unreported by mainstream media), catastrophic floods in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal (same there as well), hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the continuing nightmare of Maria… in Texas, the South, East, Cuba and the Caribbean; the earthquakes in Mexico.

Though the mainstream media has moved on (shamelessly) and continues to cover Trump 24/7 (again, shamelessly), people are struggling and just trying to survive. Here are some ways to help:

For those affected by Hurricane Harvey – Houston, Rockport, Beaumont and the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana… https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/ways-can-help-people-hurricane-harvey/  Ongoing…

Hurricane Irma relief – Florida, the Caribbean, Cuba… https://www.directrelief.org/emergency/hurricane-irma-response/
and: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-irma-relief-fund/?rf=ggad_17&gclid=Cj0KCQjwr53OBRCDARIsAL0vKrOK70PdGk8NK2pgOb8KNNsj6mMuLM5Odtumx5SAEYHH7UMUOn9bZOUaAjgtEALw_wcB Ongoing…

Hurricane Maria – the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and possibly (probably) on the East Coast… https://doublethedonation.com/blog/2017/09/donate-support-hurricane-maria-victims/
and: http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/ Ongoing…
In Puerto Rico in particular, the situation is dire: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/if-anyone-can-hear-us–help-puerto-ricos-mayors-describe-widespread-devastation-from-hurricane-maria/2017/09/23/7ef5f6c4-a069-11e7-8ea1-ed975285475e_story.html?utm_term=.e41c7e3277f6

Victims of the earthquake in Mexico City… again through Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mexico-earthquake-relief-fund/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwr53OBRCDARIsAL0vKrPa6uUubFh8Dia8GPbuy0Kr_fKF66cHtyoFoY49tJ_H2pAHy-YYPC4aAj8UEALw_wcB
and Direct Relief: https://www.directrelief.org/2017/09/mexico-city-rocked-by-7-1-magnitude-earthquake-weeks-after-devastating-temblor/ Ongoing…

And for the relief efforts in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal: https://www.globalgiving.org/nepal-india-bangladesh-flood-relief/ Ongoing…

And lest we forget the Pacific Northwest where they’ve had record heat and wildfires this summer, an essay from Naomi Klein: https://theintercept.com/2017/09/09/in-a-summer-of-wildfires-and-hurricanes-my-son-asks-why-is-everything-going-wrong/

In all instances, please help where you can. In a few years we will look back on 2017 as the last “normal” year climate-wise, and this year, this last month has been anything but normal. Climate change, and specifically, abrupt climate change is real – all too real. It is happening, happening now, and it is accelerating. I have added a couple more websites on climate change in the blogroll and suggest you check them out. The Robert Scribbler website in particular was extremely accurate in predicting that both hurricanes Harvey and Irma would intensify (dramatically) before making landfall. Hurricane Maria has been off the charts. Climate-deniers are just simply wrong – dead wrong. And they have been all along. Don’t listen to them. If you still have financial interests in fossil fuels at this late date, it is time to divest from those now. If anything is to be done or can be done at this point, carbon emissions must be cut drastically each year moving forward and that is only a beginning.

At Upper Blue Lake just below Quandary Peak, near Breckenridge, CO… 9/02/2017

The second part of today’s blog: a look back at this summer, now that it’s officially gone, and some of the hikes we’ve taken recently, Erin and me. After June it has been mostly a dry, hot summer but not as bad as summers where there have been major wildfires here, like the summers of 2002 and 2012. There have been a couple of wildfires recently (one near Steamboat Springs), but for the most part we’ve been fortunate this year. If you live here in the West, you know that can change quickly – wildfires one year, followed by flash floods the next.

Cosmo in front of the fireplace at la Casa NoV…

Right now in Golden, we’ve been in a foggy raincloud all day and we’re getting some much-needed light rain, thankfully, and it’s about 48 degrees F. (9 degrees C.). Actually it’s wonderful, and this morning we fired up the fireplace for the first time in the fall/winter season. It’s snowing up at A-Basin Ski Area this morning. Here are some pics from our late summer’s hiking and though the snow is falling now in the high country and more of it soon, hiking isn’t over yet, at least until the end of October… And then there will be skiing/snowshoeing.

The Annual Running of the Mountain Goats at Upper Blue Lake, 2017… Photo by Erin Foley.
The goats running down the trail, seemingly, to meet us. Which makes me wonder if people have been feeding them. If you do visit the Blue Lakes, however much you may want to, please DO NOT feed the wildlife. And not just here but anywhere. Thank you… Photo by Erin Foley.

In early September the skies were smoky here, so we didn’t hike for a couple of weekends. Here are a few shots up at Blue Lakes near Breckenridge and the previous week up on the West Ridge Trail from Loveland Pass.

I will mention – if you’re heading up that way – that the Monte Cristo Gulch trail is actually closed. We got about a half-mile in and there’s a rockslide which has completely covered the trail. Yes, it can be navigated but we chose not to that morning. It should be noted that while you can traverse to the trail on the other side, you could also trigger another rockslide so it’s not recommended. The Monte Cristo trail is probably closed for good. I can’t imagine that any agency is going to clear that rockslide. Just sayin’…

Communing/hangin’ out with the mountain goats, Blue Lakes…
From the West Ridge of the Loveland Pass Trail… Looking toward the Keystone Ski Area…
The West Ridge Trail from Loveland Pass… Looking back toward Mt. Sniktau, just to the right of center. You can see the ridge, leading up to the summit at 13,234 Ft.
The West Ridge Trail from Loveland Pass…
On the Stanley Mountain Trail, west from Berthoud Pass, looking south to Engelmann Peak (just right of center)…

From yesterday’s hike up the 730 Mine Trail/Griffin Memorial trail:

The annual fall aspen leaf tour, this time from above Silver Plume…
All sorts of weather on the trail yesterday… Sun, rain, fog. Looking down the avalanche chute toward I-70 below… This is a trail I’ve hiked many times. The dead wood in the avalanche chute appears to still be from a major avalanche that happened here in 2004.
Mountains and fog… via Instagram.
Golden aspens, mine ruins, fog, sun… what more could you want?
Shmoopy (Erin) on the trail in the fog…
Colorado fall color on the 730 Mine Trail, Silver Plume…
Mine ruins and fall color…

Luminous, on the trail…

Aspen leaf on the trail in the rain…

Nights on Venus News:
I had mentioned in an earlier post that there would be a 4-song EP by the end of this year to complete the material from the “We Are All Haunted by Something” sessions (of which there is quite a bit)… which then soon expanded into a 6-song EP… but now those plans have been scrapped. In favor of…

The infamous switchbacks on the Stanley Mountain Trail, west of Berthoud Pass, 8/05/2017…

Releasing the remaining songs as singles and B-sides over a period of months beginning this coming December with a 2-song single… until the next full-length Nights on Venus album which is slated for December, 2018. I am planning for and anticipate a few surprises, so stay tuned. And I thank you for your continuing support…

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, which was released on July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT
My two Reverends… “Goldenboy” on the left (a Rocco from 2002), and “Prince” (a Charger LE with the P-90 pickups from 2014) – not purple, but it came to me from Minnesota.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. He is available for personal astrological consultations. Contact via e-mail at carrington.ct@gmail.com

 

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eclipse-mania!…

is in full swing. Right now we are just a couple of days away from what is probably the most anticipated event in at least a few years, possibly decades (think 2000, the Millennium?) – the total solar eclipse in America. As people will be traveling to points along the path of totality, getting to the event – wherever you are – is shaping up to be the “Mother of All Clusters” on the highways and byways. A few days ago Channel 7 here in Denver posted this graphic…

Courtesy of Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) and Channel 7, the Denver Channel.

600,000 freakin’ people… Hey, I told you Wyoming was booked up! And they will be on the road that day just here in this part of the country. In fact, that’s more than the number of people who actually live in Wyoming and call it home. Wyoming will double in population on August 21st. And I sure wouldn’t want to be heading up to Casper that day on I-25, usually a parking lot from Colorado Springs up to Fort Collins on good days… or Ogallala, Nebraska on I-76 and I-80, or on the road anywhere else. So we’re not.

Motel rooms have been booked up for months, the prices steadily going up into the stratosphere of motel room pricedom. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event – that’s true (although I do seem to recall we had a partial solar eclipse in the early 1960s when I was at elementary school in Dallas that day and we made pinhole cameras out of cardboard boxes to look at it safely). Services and restaurants in all the small towns along the path of totality will most certainly be overwhelmed for that one day. Business will be good, pumping some much-needed money into the local economy… and chaotic.

Path of the Total Solar Eclipse across America on August 21, 2017… Images courtesy of NASA.
The eclipse, brought to you by… Grease Monkey? No… don’t think so, and now apparently, they’ve run out of the free glasses.

It’s… ECLIPSE-MANIA!

A couple of links (please feel free to share):
From Space.com
And check this out…
Simulation of the eclipse in your area 

Here’s the deal: whether you’re in Caribou, Maine or Yuma, Arizona (or even in Nome, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii), you’re going to see something of the eclipse. In parts of Canada and Mexico as well. It may be partial, but it’s going to get dark. How dark depends on where you are. Here in the Denver Metro/Front Range area, we will have 93% totality… so it’ll be plenty dark. How dark? Well, after the Moon, the planet Venus is the brightest object in the night sky and currently it’s moving through the sign of Cancer; above 97% totality you should be able to see it. It’ll also get anywhere from 2-8 degrees (F.) cooler, depending on the totality of where you are.

Of course, when viewing the eclipse, wear the appropriate safety glasses/eyewear. Do NOT look at the eclipse directly or stare at it even with the glasses on. And it’s not a “Triple Dog Dare” moment.
Here’s an excellent post on this
.

Some new music from Nights on Venus from the new album…

So yes, the eclipse is a very big deal. This is perhaps one time where the hype surrounding an event is actually justified. Hopefully if you have paid a fortune for a motel room wherever you go, it will not be cloudy that day.

Astrologically, what could be the possible significance of the new Moon/total solar eclipse be in Leo? It depends mainly on the house placement and any aspects to other planets in the natal chart and also the progressed and solar arc charts. Since this is being billed as the Great American Total Solar Eclipse what possible significance would be suggested for the U.S. during this time? Let’s take a look at the chart of the U.S. for Monday…

Natal chart of the U.S.A., July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m…. Snapshot of August 21, 2017 at 1:31 PM, EDT. The total solar eclipse… note the Sun-Moon conjunction (new Moon) in the 9th house (Click to enlarge).

It is interesting to note that this is only the 3rd coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in this country’s existence. The first two: 1776, when we declared our independence and became the United States of America, and in 1918, which marked the end of the first World War and when the short-lived League of Nations was formed.

In the Transit to Natal chart above, the Sun-Moon – new Moon – conjunction occurs in the 9th house at 28 degrees, 53 minutes Leo. Aspects to: natal Pluto in the 2nd house (inconjunct), natal Moon in the 3rd house, opposition (wide orb, but significant I think, so allowed), transiting Uranus, 4th house (trine).

Emphasis here is on the 9th house, which in the broadest sense represents learning on the level of identity – learning, or in this case, re-learning who we are. Applied to an entire country: learning/re-learning who we are as a nation. We literally have to decide who we are now at a time when we, as a nation, are at our most politically divided and polarized since 1860.

In an individual’s chart, 9th house integration would usually occur through philosophy, religion, higher education, travels and long journeys – anything that would expand (Jupiter as the natural ruling planet of the 9th and Sagittarius) a person’s horizons intellectually and their own self-awareness and of the world they live in. The 9th house also symbolizes the principles (or lack thereof) that a person was instilled with – i.e., the law or social/moral code. Again, Jupiter. In the chart of a nation, this would symbolize the law, the code of ethics that guides a country, and would play out in the sociopolitical arena and also represent, along with the sign on the cusp of the Ascendant, the “face” that nation presents to the world at large. So some of what I’m going to talk about here has to do with law and those principles as they have come to the forefront at this particular time of the total solar eclipse on 8/21 in the U.S.

Eclipses themselves symbolize or signify an ending and/or a beginning. Where a solar eclipse occurs in a chart generally sets the tone for the next 4-6 months depending on when the next lunar-solar eclipse pair happens. Eclipses are also harbingers of change, sometimes profound change, and I would expect that is what we’re going to see over the next 6 months through the lunar-solar eclipse pair in February, 2018. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most important 6-month periods ahead in the life of this country – especially in light of the events of the last few days – as we have now arrived at a crossroads. There also seems to be widespread awareness in this country that we have reached a crossroads now.

This eclipse comes right as we have an existential crisis in government.

The first thing I’ll say about this is that if you think these last 7 months have been chaotic, and they have been, the next month has the potential to be even more so. And then things should gradually stabilize more by February, 2018. Given the events now that have happened since last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, the ending indicated here by this eclipse, is that this current “presidency” will come to an end. Trump will leave, or be removed from office within the next 6 months. It also would not surprise me if he resigned as early as Monday, August 21st, the day of the total solar eclipse. Being the total narcissist he has shown himself to be, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he would try to upstage this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event just to draw attention to himself. This is one possibility signified by the eclipse. That he would resign would be the “easy” way.

The hard way? That’s where the aspect of the law comes into play. The Constitution provides remedies in times of crisis. Impeachment of course, is the one most people are familiar with, but that will take many months and does not guarantee removal from office. The most expedient way involves removal via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. Trump has shown no interest in actual governing, only ruling, and he has nothing but contempt for the laws of the land. He thinks and acts as if he is above the law and also now faces several legal battles (e.g., the emoluments hearing on October 18th), in addition to the grand jury hearing on his alleged collusion with Russia to secure the election. In other words, the law is currently operating as it should, acting as a check and balance to someone who would run roughshod over it, but the laws of the land could be severely tested during this time and if Trump will not abide by them, then that becomes a constitutional crisis and a long drawn-out battle that this country, as we’ve known it, may not survive.  This is not hyperbole.

Thomas Cole (1801-1848): “The Course of Empire – Destruction”, oil on canvas, 1836.

I hope he will take the easy way. That would be best for everyone, including him. In a very real sense, Trump’s “presidency” ended the day he did not denounce and disavow white supremacists, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis.

What happens next is up to all of us. It revolves around some central questions: who are we as a country now? What kind of nation do we need to be and become? Certainly not the nation we’ve seen these last 7 months.

Also from the new Nights on Venus album…

Enjoy the show Monday. Be safe. ‘Til next time…

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, which was released on July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT
My two Reverends… “Goldenboy” on the left (a Rocco from 2002), and “Prince” (a Charger LE with the P-90 pickups from 2014) – not purple, but it came to me from Minnesota.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. He is available for personal astrological consultations. Contact via e-mail at carrington.ct@gmail.com

 

post-wedding bell/honeymoon/election/media blues…

It’s been quite a week. This November, everything got real…

One part of this post will be the fun stuff, one part will be rant. I’ll do the fun stuff first…

We came, we saw, we got married…

erin_craig_bell_tower
The Shmoopies get married… Church of the Transfiguration, Evergreen, Colorado, Nov. 5, 2016. About to ring the bell… Some history here. My family came up to the Evergreen Conference, of which the church used to be a part, every year from 1965-1971. I worked at the conference from 1971 through 1975, my first job, and one of my duties was to ring this bell for the morning services. This was the first time I had rung the bell in 41 years.
Highland Haven, Evergreen...
Highland Haven, Evergreen…

And we partied afterwards. Mightily. Loudly. A fun time was had by all at Lariat Lodge just up the hill on the other side of the highway – the reception was excellent, thank you guys! – and thank you everyone who came and celebrated with us. Erin and I are very glad all of you were there with us for our “alternative” wedding! It was one of the best parties I’ve been to in a while. Yay us… we did it!

On Canyon Road, Santa Fe...
On Canyon Road, Santa Fe…

And then we hit the road for a few days… down to Santa Fe, where I used to live for a while in the mid-1980’s. And our favorite place, Ten Thousand Waves. I had been going to the hot tubs since 1984 but I had never stayed in their rooms/suites before. Actually they’re more like casitas – small houses, and I highly recommend them. Do the full experience. Staying on site there, at the compound up in the foothills of Santa Fe at 7,700 feet, is an experience not to be missed. We went into town, checked out the art galleries, mostly on Canyon Road, and all our other favorite places. Santa Fe doesn’t change a whole lot, particularly around the plaza and everything that doesn’t radiate off of Cerrillos Road, and that’s one thing I love about it. The air always seems to carry the scent of piñon, the high desert light is bright and intense, adobe everywhere (“if you don’t like adobe, go home…“), and there’s always that spiritual vibe about this place.

there's our next house, up there on that hill... Twilight in the foothills.
There’s our next house, up there on that hill… Twilight in the foothills from our front porch at Ten Thousand Waves.
A roaring fire in the casita...
A roaring fire in the casita, Shmoopy’s toes…

There’s a song on the next Nights on Venus album (scheduled for spring/early summer, 2017) entitled “The Indelible Imprint of Place”… this is what I’m talking about. Always love a spiritual vibe in a place. Santa Fe may be our next home (for me…again) and chapter in life… and I certainly hope so.

Chili ristra at Geronimo restaurant, Canyon Road...
Chili ristra at Geronimo restaurant, Canyon Road…
Sculpture, Canyon Road...
Sculpture, Canyon Road…
Dining at Izanami...
Dining at Izanami…

A week later I wish we were still in Santa Fe.
There was just one little fly in the ointment… well, actually a rather large one. There was that whole election thing last Tuesday…

And now, the rant…

In the space of a week I’ve gone from fucking pissed to thoroughly disgusted… well, I’m still fucking pissed but mostly just more disgusted at this people-of-WalMart-WWE-reality-TV-shitshow-spectacle of an election. Sure, it’s all fun and games… ’til someone elects a fascist.
#NotMyPresident
#NotMyCulture

Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

To those who voted for Trump, you have absolutely no idea what you’ve done and I only have one thing to say to you…

Oh, what was that? Say it again…

Very sorry… and very, very soon, just like those poor souls over in the UK who voted for Brexit and then wanted to have a do-over vote when they realized what Brexit actually meant. Unfortunately, this is way worse and now all of us are on board.

The recurring image that comes to my mind about what happened and what’s most likely to happen now going forward is this scene from the movie Mulholland Drive with Naomi Watts and Laura Harring. When Harring’s character Rita begins talking in her sleep, Betty (Watts) awakens her from her nightmare and tells her “it’s OK” to which Rita responds, “No, it’s not OK.”

The last few days I’ve seen some posts come across my news feed on Facebook from people saying we need to come together now and unite as a country and get behind President-elect Trump. Fuck that. Go peddle that happy horseshit somewhere else.

Even President Obama said yesterday that “Americans need to reconcile themselves to a Trump presidency.” In this context, reconcile sounds more like “resign”. That’s not acceptance, that’s resignation. And so the normalization of these things begins – things that cannot and should not ever be normalized, including, but certainly not limited to, the demonization of others for starters.

"Rhinoceros" by Albrecht Durer, 16th century...
“Rhinoceros” by Albrecht Durer, 16th century…

Nope. Not going along with that either. There comes “A Time for Refusal“. Keep your humanity and basic decency intact. Don’t go along with the crowd, the mob, or the “new normal”.

Currently, the results of the national election show Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by over 2 million votes (a lead that continues to grow, btw, a week later… hmm). It’s way past time for the Electoral College to go, to be gone. A couple of petitions: Make Hillary Clinton President on December 19 . The electors of the Electoral College still have to do a formal vote that day. This petition has 4.3 million signers as of this morning. It’s a longshot of course but if you really don’t want to see Trump take office, it’s one of the last chances you may have.

The 2nd: Abolish the Electoral College .

And finally there’s this, which may be the most effective. E-mail the electors directly at Ask the Electors.org . Longshot for sure… but it’s the last line of defense before Dec. 19th.

How bad could things get here in the U.S.? Chris Hedges over at Truthdig has a few ideas on that in his most recent essay. Well worth a read, even as sobering and bleak as it is. What’s that expression?… “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Also a good read this week, complete with some helpful hints for future reference, comes this essay from Masha Gessen, “Autocracy: Rules for Survival“.

As bad as the outcome of the election was, equally bad was the media coverage of it and the campaign pretty much from the get-go. In fact, the media coverage has been more infuriating and I didn’t even watch much of it on TV. They are more than complicit in this national disaster. It was just pervasive everywhere you went – online or otherwise. The sensationalistic headlines, the coverage of Trump seemingly 24/7, the polls, the dissemination of lies, the Twitter fights and ridiculous reports of them as if they were real news, and on and on ad nauseum. Again, disgusting. This applies equally to the leftist media outlets as well as those on the right.

And oh, I love this from Thom Palmer’s Truth in Politics blog. He gets it right.

The election cycle needs to be shortened and all the pundits, the pollsters, the smarmy commentators, most of whom don’t deserve the air time they get, et al. need to go the way of the Electoral College, i.e., out the fucking exit door, get rid of them all. It wasn’t just pervasive, it was abusive. The American people are in an abusive relationship with its endless proliferation of media and addiction to it. And you know what you do when you find yourself in an abusive relationship?… You walk away from it; you leave…

And you go on with your life. Live your best life now.

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV Website.

Erin & Craig... in front of the "hobbit hole"...11/5/2016
Erin & Craig… in front of the “hobbit hole”…11/5/2016

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky),

new song: “unearthly”, album cover artwork, hiking up mt. flora…

The EP/album “Unearthly” is coming together, with a release date set for late December. Today, the cover artwork for the new album:

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for the new EP “Unearthly”… Photo/design by CCT.

And a preview of the mastered demo of the title track…

UNEARTHLY
(© 2015 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The track list and sequencing has been finalized… 6 new songs, and they are:

  1. Porn Stars Stole My Subaru
  2. Unearthly
  3. Lightning Trees
  4. All Become One
  5. Past the Tipping Point
  6. We Move Off Together

I’ll be finishing up pre-mastering on “Lightning Trees” next and plan on putting up the mastered demo version by the end of this month.

Today in Golden we are getting some much-needed rain. Except for only two or three days of some kind of rain, it has been bone dry in the Front Range since the 3rd week of July (as the pics below taken yesterday in the high country will attest to). For the last few years the seasons have been shifting to later in the year by about a month here in Colorado but with rain and snow forecast for this week we now appear to be fully into autumn (and it’s about time!). Cooler weather ahead… yay!

The trailhead to Mt. Flora. This is up above the old Berthoud Pass ski area and the signage is incorrect. It's actually 2.5 miles from this point to the summit of Mt. Flora.
The trailhead to Mt. Flora. This is up above the old Berthoud Pass ski area and the signage is incorrect. It’s actually 2.5 miles from this point to the summit of Mt. Flora.

Nights on Venus began its 6th year of existence on the 8th this month, we celebrated my 59th birthday this past weekend, and Erin’s birthday is coming up next Sunday, the 25th. We love October! Pics of this weekend’s hike up Mt. Flora (13,132 ft.) on the Continental Divide follow…

Getting an early start as always... Erin on the trail.
Getting an early start as always… Erin on the trail.
Above timberline... it's a different world.
Above timberline… it’s a different world.
Higher up and about halfway there. Colorado Mines Peak, with all the weather/seismic housings, is on the right.
Higher up and about halfway there. Colorado Mines Peak, with all the weather/seismic housings, is on the right.
Onward and upward...
Onward and upward… Back in 2000-’01 I worked quite a bit on this segment of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) up to the summit, in finishing the new trail, at the time, and maintenance.
Looking south toward Grays and Torreys Peak, two 14-ers, in the center. Engelmann Peak is to the right...
Looking south toward Grays and Torreys Peak, two 14-ers, in the center. Engelmann Peak is to the right…
On the summit of Mt. Flora, looking toward the southeast, Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt, also 14-ers, in the distance. Hadn't been up here for 10 years so it was good to be back.
On the summit of Mt. Flora, looking toward the southeast, Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt, also 14-ers, in the distance. Hadn’t been up here for 10 years so it was good to be back.
Erin o' the Tundra... Her first 13-er!
Erin o’ the Tundra… a little chilly and windy up here. Her first 13-er!
Coming down off the summit looking to the north toward Winter Park and the Fraser Valley. A few ski runs at Mary Jane can be seen on the left. Note that there is no snow to be seen anywhere... and that ain't right. In years past, A-Basin and Loveland ski areas would duke it out to see who opened first for the ski season... in mid-October. Both ski areas have pushed back their opening dates for the 2nd year in a row. Further evidence of global warming/climate change.
Coming down off the summit looking to the north toward Winter Park and the Fraser Valley. A few ski runs at Mary Jane can be seen on the left. Note that there is no snow to be seen anywhere… and that ain’t right. There should be snow everywhere. In years past, nearby A-Basin and Loveland ski areas would duke it out to see who opened first for the ski season… in mid-October. Both ski areas have pushed back their opening dates for the 3rd year in a row. Further evidence of global warming/climate change.
Heading back down...
Heading back down…
"Two Against Nature" - Our re-enactment of Steely Dan's album cover from 2000, at high altutude...
“Two Against Nature” – Our re-enactment of Steely Dan’s album cover from 2000, at high altutude…
Summit selfie...
Summit selfie with rock cairn… safer than bison.

Santos“, a 4-song EP was released in July and is available now on CD Baby,  Bandcamp,  iTunes/AppleMusic, and Amazon MP3. The new EP, “Unearthly” to arrive late December, 2015. In the meantime…

Nights on Venus, "Santos"... to be released July 8, 2015...
Nights on Venus, “Santos”… released on July 8, 2015…
"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.

Santos“, “Perspective” and all previous albums  from Nights on Venus are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook, and Instagram.

 

photo essay: fall color in the rockies, 2015…

Erin, stylin' on the trail...
Erin, stylin’ on the trail…
Sign at the trailhead...
Sign at the trailhead…

It’s that time of year again here in Colorado… that time when fall has come and we head to the high country to view the annual extravaganza of the aspen leaves turning bright yellow, gold, and orange against a backdrop of the dark green of the evergreens and purplish mountains and a deep blue cloudless sky. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know it’s a yearly thing we do. We’ve finally reached fall – favorite time of the year – and the temperatures are also finally getting cooler as we head toward winter. This year Erin and I combined our customary drives with a lot more hiking – last week Chief Mountain, this week on the other side of the divide, on the Western Slope.

Hiking on the Lenawee Trail, Summit County, Colorado.
Hiking on the Lenawee Trail, Summit County near Montezuma and Keystone, Colorado.
On the trail, early morning...
On the trail, early morning…
Climbing upwards through a shorter aspen forest...
Climbing upwards through a shorter aspen forest…
And looking back down the trail we've hiked so far...
And looking back down the trail we’ve hiked so far… This one is a bit surreal, the leaves like little flecks of gold rising up into the sky.

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The aspen forest on the Lenawee Trail... We missed the peak color here by about a week. There were many leaves on the trail at 10,600 feet...
The aspen forest on the Lenawee Trail… We missed the peak color here by about a week. There were many leaves on the ground already at 10,600 feet…

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The town of Montezuma from the Lenawee Trail...
The town of Montezuma from the Lenawee Trail…

lenawee9Eventually you leave the aspens after about the first mile-and-a-quarter of the trail. The Lenawee Trail itself is steep for the first 2.25 miles, then levels off a little bit after that to its crest at about 12,850 feet on a saddle on the backside of the A-Basin Ski Area off of US Hwy. 6, down from Loveland Pass toward Keystone. We didn’t go all the way to the top this time… maybe next time. Coming down it seemed surprisingly warm for this time of year and there was no snow on the surrounding mountains; it has been very dry for the last month-and-a-half. As ski season is supposed to begin in 3 weeks at A-Basin and Loveland, I would imagine the snow-making machines will be working overtime from now through then.

Looking west down the valley toward Keystone and Dillon...
Looking west down the valley toward Keystone and Dillon…

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Nights on Venus News:
Currently finishing up on the song “Lightning Trees” which makes 4 songs complete with more in the queue for Unearthly; I’m thinking this EP/album will be either 6 or 8 songs to be released at the end of 2015 or early 2016. Here is a mastered demo from the forthcoming album, the song, “All Become One”… another song to follow in the coming weeks.

ALL BECOME ONE
(© 2015 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Santos“, a 4-song EP was released in July and is available now on CD Baby,  Bandcamp,  iTunes/AppleMusic, and Amazon MP3.

Nights on Venus, "Santos"... to be released July 8, 2015...
Nights on Venus, “Santos”… released on July 8, 2015…
"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.

Perspective” and all previous albums  from Nights on Venus are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook, and Instagram.

 

notes/thoughts on ‘santos’…

First off, there is the title… Santos. Meaning ‘Saints’. The idea for the title came from watching Bill Murray’s most recent movie St. Vincent earlier this year, when I was fishing around for a title for the EP based on the songs I had recorded at that point. The whole idea of “saints among us”, so the EP has kind of a quasi-religious tone to it – though I prefer the terms, mystical/spiritual – from the get-go.

The image for the cover is the stained glass from St. George’s Hall of “St. George Slaying the Dragon”, taken by my mom on her last trip to the UK. When I had the title, I thought the image was a good fit; much of my mom’s side of the family is either from Scotland or the Liverpool area before they came over to the U.S. I scanned the image, then took it into Photoshop where it “cleaned up” rather nicely.

The songs themselves…
The Owl and the Lynx:
Written and recorded at the end of 2014, early 2015. The chorus vocals here are virtual vocals, synthesized, and they carry the song. The visual I get here is a video, like something that would’ve come from the 1970’s – you have an owl in flight and they’re very graceful when they fly and swoop down upon their unsuspecting prey, usually at night, and the owl has this friend, Mr. Lynx, and you see the lynx running and being stealthy and all, and they strike up this partnership, like detectives on a cop show because this is a video made to look like it was from the 1970’s and cop shows were very popular back then (e.g., Starsky & Hutch), and so there’s a lot of flying around and the lynx is always running after something when we see him, and it’s all suggestive of something happening but nothing much really happens. But it’s so 70’s cool…

Well, that was the idea anyway. It’s actually kind of a dark song. Which is appropriate ’cause owls can see and hunt in the dark. They’re night birds. In Native American symbolism, owl can see that which others cannot… and there’s a lot of darkness out there right now, my friends. Likewise, the lynx is an animal you won’t see very often – they stay hidden much of the time and in Native American symbolism, they are the keeper of secrets. Symbolically, both owl and lynx have to do with discernment, seeing what is true and separating from what is false, especially important in these days of information (and disinformation) and distraction overload.

Images from the Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams
Images from the Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams and David Carson. Illustrations by Angela Werneke.

For All the Afterthoughts:  This song was originally written and recorded way back in October, 2010, just after Nights on Venus made its debut (coming up on 5 years now), but it was never completed. This happens a lot. I have a ton of those songs which I could work on from now until 2030 (spoiler alert). For one reason or another some songs don’t come together initially as you’d like – or sometimes not at all – so you put them on the backburner. To be completed another time. But I always liked this song so I would revisit it at various times, work on it, record different parts for it. At the time, I put this one aside and wrote and recorded “The Clouds Form on the Left” which, by contrast, finished up in just a few days. I love those songs – they practically write themselves. But “Afterthoughts” stayed in my mind as kind of a… well, an afterthought.

In its first incarnation, “Afterthoughts” was very, very slow tempo-wise, around the 85-88 BPM-mark… as was most everything on that first album. Things proceeded at a glacial pace. A lot of this slow tempo came, in part, from a band I was listening to a lot only 1-2 years earlier, Spokane. Check out their song “Proud Graduates” and you’ll see what I mean. Very good, moody band – I always liked their songs. But the tempo on “Afterthoughts’ was the first thing that needed to change; it was too slow for the song and needed to be faster. I re-recorded it at a faster tempo but It wasn’t until the middle section came together late in 2014 that “Afterthoughts” became alive again. Totally by accident.

“Things turn out better by accident sometimes. But you can’t organize accidents.” – Jeff Beck, from the book Zen Guitar, Philip Toshio Sudo

Very true. I totally subscribe to this because it has been my experience, whether working in music or visual art. The book Zen Guitar itself is one of my favorites and I turn to it often for inspiration. The quotes alone – from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page to Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Jerry Garcia – are worth the cost and it’s applicable to any other instruments and other arts across the board. I’ve been meaning to write a review of this book but just haven’t gotten around to it. I find it invaluable and it is highly recommended.

From the Osho Zen Tarot deck... Illustrations by Deva Padma.
From the Osho Zen Tarot deck… Illustrations by Deva Padma.

The first and most important thing to know about “Afterthoughts” is that it’s not about “thinking” at all. It’s about the feeling one senses of being an afterthought to other people that you may be close to – for instance, in relationship with a significant other or even in your own family on a personal level or also an “afterthought” on a larger, societal level… as in the idea that “some people count, and others don’t”, an idea which is very prevalent in America today – and I’m sure elsewhere (and probably always has been).

5 of Pentacles... from the Morgan-Greer Tarot deck...
5 of Pentacles… from the Morgan-Greer Tarot deck…

Substitute the word “underdogs” or better yet, “disenfranchised” for afterthoughts and you’ll see what I’m getting at here. I think for most of us, we’ve all been there at some point and if you’ve been there, you know that feeling and it’s not a good one. In fact, it sucks. So this song is for everybody who’s ever felt that way at one time or another, whatever the reason. Eventually you cut out that toxicity (from others) in your life, if able and necessary, and ultimately find your own way because that’s what is required. You become a trailblazer… for yourself and your own life. It doesn’t matter what anybody else or society thinks [about you]. That the song ends on a positive note is a testament to this and hopefully I’ve conveyed this musically.

And then you begin a journey…

The Fool’s Journey: Written and recorded in January, 2015. A.K.A. the Hero’s Journey. If you would be your authentic self, then of necessity you take this journey. And it’s definitely a journey worth taking. The road less traveled… off the beaten path. Really it’s the only path worth taking. What… you’re going to be satisfied by corporate culture which insists on hegemony and conformity? If you have any degree of self-awareness, then no, probably not. And the thing is, once you begin this journey toward greater self-awareness and [unfettered, unattached] awareness itself, you really can’t go back. The ‘Fool’ sets out on his/her journey with youthful exuberance, blissfully unaware of the pitfalls ahead. Usually as you step off a cliff.  And the hardest thing to be in society, any society, is to be your own person, truly an individual. The Individualist. It’s the most rewarding journey anyone can ever take.

journey
Images from the Morgan-Greer Tarot and Osho Zen Tarot decks…

A lot of digital delay and echo on one of the guitar parts here – it’s a wonderful thing.

Terra Incognita: Written and recorded in February, 2015. Terra Incognita means “unknown territory” and I think this is where we arrive once we shake things up and take the journey toward becoming a true individual, outside the dictates of our upbringing and of society. I think it also describes where we are on a planetary level right now – humanity – as our world continues to change and we often don’t recognize it as the world that we used to know. I think this will continue to hold true in the years to come, and yes, I’m talking about climate change here but also all the sociopolitical and economic changes that are bound to follow and are inevitable as a result. Constant change. Personally I’d rather come from a place of peace rather than fear.

It wasn’t until I had finished recording that I realized where the ending, the chord change, came from. That is an ending in traditional hymn structure (Episcopal/Anglican tradition). That is “the Amen”. Talk about upbringing…

So these are some of the thoughts that were running through my head as I was working and listening. Individual results may vary.

'Santos' on iTunes and AppleMusic...
‘Santos’ on iTunes and AppleMusic…

Eventually the Santos EP will be piggy-backed onto the full-length album, its predecessor, Perspective and released on CD – yes, well after the fact I know – probably in early 2016. Next up is the 2nd EP for this year, entitled Unearthly, which is scheduled for a December release date… unless it becomes a full-length album which it very well may.

‘Til next time…

The new 4-song EP, “Santos“, has been released and is available now on CD Baby,  Bandcamp,  iTunes/AppleMusic, and Amazon MP3.

Nights on Venus, "Santos"... to be released July 8, 2015...
Nights on Venus, “Santos”… released on July 8, 2015…
"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.

Perspective” and all previous albums  from Nights on Venus are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook, and Instagram.

 

random thoughts on a sunday…

A few random thoughts today during some “down time”… The album Perspective has been released and is available on all the usual online outlets. I’ve been cleaning up in the studio the last month, clearing out some of the old, making room for the new, and catching up on some listening, mostly Prince’s albums from 2014 – Art Official Age (love it) and PlectrumElectrum with 3rdEyeGirl (love it). Well, I’m a huge Prince fan.

Nights on Venus News: Several people have asked why “Blue Mountains Walking” wasn’t on the recent release, and yeah, that was a judgment call along with a few other songs. I wasn’t completely satisfied with it and it was more electronic which didn’t quite fit in with the overall vibe of Perspective. For now, you can find it here as a mastered demo. It will be on the 1st EP for this year of which there should be at least two. It’s paired with a new song, “The Owl and the Lynx”, so far.

Moving forward, I’m going to a more-or-less perpetual release schedule starting in 2015, which means when a few songs are done, they get mastered and released. NoV in bite-size chunks… with a summary album of all recorded material at the end of the year, the long and the short. It’s a bit more ambitious and, at the same time, more personal, rather than the standard one album per year release. A couple of gigs are tentatively scheduled  for the summer at festivals in the mountains here, with an expanded lineup – nothing definite (or signed) yet.

In the meantime… I’m watching Green Bay vs. Seattle in the NFC Championship game, the Cowboys having been eliminated last week. Go Pack Go!

On this day in Rock history: From 1974… former members from Free, (Paul Rodgers & Simon Kirke), Mott The Hoople, (Mick Ralphs), and King Crimson, (Boz Burrell), formed Bad Company. Their debut album was released in June that year.

I remember seeing them that summer of ’74 at the Denver Coliseum, having never heard of them before and opening for the Edgar Winter Group; they kicked ass that night! That album and their next, Straight Shooter, became listening staples during senior year of high school.

And finally, a staple of the current morning routine around La Casa NoV… Bryan Cranston (Walter White, aka “Heisenberg” of Breaking Bad fame) narrating that children’s classic (for adults) “You Have to F***ing Eat”. Cracks me up… “The bunnies are munching on carrots…”

Until next time…

"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover

Perspective” and all previous albums  from Nights on Venus are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook, and Instagram.