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Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins brought a unique brand of force and finesse to the game.

Dominique Wilkins

We just played the Atlanta Hawks recently and I saw a familiar face, Dominique Wilkins, a.k.a., the “Human Highlight Reel.”  A few years ago, I was at an “NBA Cares” event with Dominique in DC and that is where I first really had the chance to talk with him and get to know him a little bit.So, my team is in the Phillips Center in Atlanta warming up and getting ready for our game against the Hawks and I look over and see Dominique on the sidelines in a suit getting ready to do the TV for the Atlanta Hawks broadcast.  But the crazy thing is that he still looks like he’s in good enough shape to jump into an NBA game right now, today! So I go over and say hello and ask him, “Can you still windmill dunk?  It looks like you’re ready to still play?”  He says back to me laughing: “I used to be  the Human Highlight Reel….now I’m just the human.

“We talked for a bit and he said that he’s still fine playing in the half-court, but that to go up and down the court is a little bit tough. (probably on his joints). It’s funny because even though I just met him a few years ago, I felt like I knew him from the time I was young because I watched him in a great dunk contest when I was in middle school.  That was the time that Michael Jordan ended up winning the contest by dunking from the free-throw line.  But I think it’s hard to measure what someone like Dominique Wilkins means to the game of basketball.  Obviously, he helped build the NBA into what it is today, but what about all the kids out there, like I was at the time, who can still vividly remember almost the exact images of the dunks he did, and the tenacity that he brought to the playoffs against the Celtics back in the day.  The NBA is a great league because of so many reasons and one of them is the great players and people (like Dominique) that helped build it into what it is today.

Crystal Cove, Hollywood, Malibu type getaway, California State Beach
Crystal Cove State Beach still has the remnants of an era bygone; of hollywood magnates and weekend getaways.

Just when you think that you know every possible nook and cranny of a city and it’s surroundings, you’re introduced to one of Southern California’s best kept secrets: Crystal Cove State Beach. Crystal Cove is technically not located within the city limits of Los Angeles, but it is close enough for people to make the drive down.   When you get to Crystal Cove, it’s almost like taking a trip back in time to see what a beach community must have looked like in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

 

There is an amazing little restaurant called Beachcomber and it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It promises to be an amazing spot for both romance and for reflection.  Also on the bluff is Ruby’s Shake Shack which is quite the diner with multiple locations throughout SoCal and beyond.  What an amazing spot to observe those final 20 minutes up until sunset.  Either restaurant looks amazing with Beachcomber of course being the date spot if you are looking for the restaurant with one of the best locations in all of southern California.

History: The history of Crystal Cove is rife with intrigue and will be touched upon in a few days 1

Surfing and Swimming:  You will find many areas to surf and swim at this hidden cove.

TidePools:  Find the low tide schedule and then get out there and enjoy the exhiliration of exploring a tidepool.  Here is an actual photo gallery of what you my be able to discover when you stroll through at low tide!

Wedding Photography:  As you walk along you might come across a young couple taking wedding or engagement shots taking advantage of the pristine beauty of the area. With memorable sunsets and a typical California friendliness, you will find people from all walks of life enjoying the sandy shores and the pristine precipices.

Crystal Cove cottage reservations: There are a number of refurbished cottages that are available to rent and if you so choose, you can enter the online system to try to reserve one of these gems.  If you want to reserve a cottage here is the official site to do so.

At one time Crystal Cove State Beach was listed in the National Register or Historic Places, but has since been removed for some reason which I could not figure out.  Maybe the local residents were able to get it taken off of the list to continue to maintain its standing as a true hidden gem of southern California.

Crystal Cove, Orange County, California State Parks,
Crystal Cove is a beautiful place which can be visited after a short drive to south Orange County. Come with a camera a swimsuit as well as a keen eye to go back in time about 40 years!
Crystal Cove, Newport Beach
Here is a beautiful sunset at Cyrstal Cove State Beach

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Jack London State Park California

I’m a California native and one of ten children.  Growing up my parents took us to a lot of state and national parks on weekends to have fun. In the Portola Redwoods State Park museum hangs the sign pictured below:

Portola Redwoods, towering trees, Portola State Park
The Portola Redwoods State Park is a masterpiece and is home to hundreds of towering redwood trees.

Now California lawmakers are closing state parks.  When I heard the news that California was planning to close about 70 state parks out of 280 total I felt upset, saddened, and confused.  The strange thing is that the State is trying to save about $22 Million this year on a total state budget shortfall of $15.7 Billion–not even a drop in the bucket.

Last summer, I carved out time to travel to almost 40 of the state parks which were scheduled to be closed.  I interviewed roughly 100 people about the issue.  Over the next few days I will post all of the interviews on Youtube (with permission already granted from the interviewees), and share other findings and ideas on how all 70 parks can remain open. Or, if some actually get closed, how the parks can re-open.

Let’s get thousands of signatures electronically through this petition to let CA state lawmakers know that people would strongly prefer to keep all 70 parks open. It’s great that lawmakers are allowing non-profit groups to help run some of the parks. Now let’s keep all 70 open!

Here are some interviews with Californians speaking about the park closures.

 

1) Interview with Gene Rollins at Mariposa Mining Museum.

2) Heartfelt interview from Joyce Hudson at Candlestick Point State Park

3) Pleading with Lawmakers,  Jaime Carrion speaks at Candlestick Point State Park.