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May 25th
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GTW Cover Stories

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(hitting) the spot

(hitting) the spot

Local Charles Muir is a revered Tantric teacher. But can our intrepid reporter survive his illuminating weekend of prowess and spirituality?

Years ago, I began dating a young woman I was crazy about. I desperately wanted to prove my worth to her as a lover, but it wasn’t helping my cause that I was hopelessly wet behind the ears where lovemaking was concerned. So I figured I’d give myself a leg up by reading a book about Tantric sex, an ancient form of erotic yoga based in Eastern spirituality. During my third encounter of the close kind with my new companion, I decided to try out one of the practices I’d been reading about: a set of straightforward, easy-to-follow instructions for locating and stimulating the female pleasure nexus known as the G-spot. I was wholly unprepared for the results. This idiot-simple technique, which I’d spent all of 10 minutes studying up on, sent my partner slow-motion bliss-leaping through golden meadows of eternity. Afterward, as angels, stars and butterflies haloed her head, she told me with unmistakable sincerity that she’d just had the single greatest sensual crescendo of her life. “You should write a book!” she swooned, apparently under the very mistaken impression that I was some kind of high-level sexual sorcerer. I tried my best not to shatter that illusion, but inwardly, I was dumbfounded. It was like rubbing a magic lamp and finding out that it isn’t just a story—a genie really does appear.

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Health Issue & 11 Tips for for Optimal Health

Health Issue & 11 Tips for  for Optimal Health

It's 2010 Be healthy Already
Fatigued? That's so 2009. It's a new decade.  Time for a new you.  Take note of the following locals who continue to push the envelope in todays heath world.

Inside:
Kicking Ass: Matt Reyes, Cardio Kickboxer, Sweat Factory
Going DeepJaimi Ellison, Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab
To The Point: Tracy Cone, Pearl Alley Acupuncture
Mobile to Mobile: Levi and Bill Castro, West Coast Mobility
+ local booksellers recommend health books

 

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Sithan Pat

Sithan Pat

He strives to keep Cambodian heritage alive in Santa Cruz
I sit mesmerized as I watch a young girl tear a hairy leg from a plump tarantula and pop it in her mouth. She happily chews on the crunchy thing, enjoying her afternoon snack. A giggle escapes her lips when she notices my open-mouthed expression, and she extends the bag of deep-fried arachnids toward me. My stomach churns. Should I? Didn’t I travel to the Kingdom of Cambodia precisely to collect exotic experiences such as this one? Despite my internal pep talk, I cannot bring myself to eat a dead spider, let alone pick one up. I politely decline. She shrugs her shoulders and glances away, incredulous that I would turn down such an obvious treat. Suddenly I feel just like Dorothy—absolutely not in “Kansas” anymore.

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Kick the Habit in 30 Days

Kick the Habit in 30 Days

How to break the addiction to always using cars and embrace the wild array of sustainable transportation options right in front of you Special Publication: Commute Solutions

Addiction: the condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

As Americans, we often speak of the dangers of addiction to things such as drugs, alcohol and gambling. But what about that nasty habit we’re all guilty of—our addiction to using cars?

It’s a widespread dependency. Santa Cruz County residents, in total, traveled 5,428,740 miles by vehicle every day in 2007, according to the California Department of Transportation, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing. The 2000 census reported 126,106 commuters in Santa Cruz County, but the Association of Monterey Bay Area Government projects that this figure will be 208,750 by the year 2030. That’s an additional 82,644 commuters on our roadways, and an ominous leap in our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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floral godmother

floral godmotherLinda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers works her own brand of magic for local brides-to-be

PLUS: For the complete guide to the Bridal Expo at the Cocoanut Grove click here.

Remember the fairy godmother in the Disney movie Cinderella? With a wave of her magic wand the ethereal lady turned pumpkins into coaches and mice into men, spoiling Cinderella rotten one enchanted evening by giving her everything her heart desired. In the Central Coast wedding industry, consider Linda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers your very own personal fairy godmother that will make you feel like royalty as you marry your own Prince Charming—glass slippers not included.

When you choose Country Essences Flowers to provide the buds for your nuptials, you simply can’t go wrong. Arietta has technically been arranging flowers her entire life. “I did flowers with my mother when I was a little girl,” she remembers fondly. “I helped do the arrangements at the church.” Outside of the traditional wedding season of May through September, Arietta does flowers for local businesses and corporations such as Shadowbrook in Capitola, and teaches flower-arranging classes for area country clubs, schools and women’s groups. Add that to the fact that this floral maven has owned and tended her own flower ranch for the past 40 years—doing between 60 and 70 weddings per year I might add—and you’ve got a florist that really knows her ABC’s (as in azaleas, begonias, chrysanthemums).

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Meet The NEXTies

Meet The NEXTiesIn the first awards ceremony of its kind, Santa Cruz Next honors Danny Keith, Marina Sousa, Reyna Ruiz and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz  for their standout creative efforts.

Somebody once said, “What you focus on grows,” to which I immediately wondered: “Well, what am I focusing on … internally … and how is that growing—manifesting—on the outside?” For the four individuals spotlighted on the following pages— Danny Keith, Reyna Ruiz, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz Owner and Marina Sousa—their inner callings not only led them to follow their heart’s desires but to find a way where their hearts’ desires could somehow spill back into the community and make a positive difference. It’s one of the reasons why these locals are each being awarded a NEXTie Award on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Santa Cruz. The first annual endeavor of its kind, a ceremony honoring locals whose contributions to the community boldly stand out, was birthed by Santa Cruz Next, the local organization that “seeks to enhance the quality of life” of its members and “the community at large.” There are a number of ways SCN does that but by illuminating and, perhaps, actively advancing the development of economic, social and cultural opportunities locally, it seems to strive to connect the town’s “next” generation to the greater community.  The folks on the following pages are being honored for championing such amazing efforts. Keith, who is owner of Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop, has been vigilantly raising the level of awareness on local hunger issues.

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RALLY ’round the iPhone

RALLY  ’round the iPhone

Local tekkies generate buzz with an iPhone app focused on ‘real friends’
There is a specter haunting social media. And though you may hate to admit it, your technophobic uncle somehow managed to hit the nail right on the head in his requisite New Year’s Eve diatribe on how things were better in the “good old days.”

Let’s face it, you don’t hang out with 95 percent of your Facebook friends, you will never even meet half the people you follow on Twitter and you certainly don’t care that Ashton Kutcher is waiting to get a triple venti mocha on North Beverly Drive. All the same, tweets and status updates such as these are edging out the important ones: a friend you haven’t seen in years is passing through town today; an old flame you’ve been hoping to reconnect with is heading to your favorite bar for drinks; a potential client is attending the same seminar as you. You missed all of these vital pieces of information because your high school sweetheart, who you haven’t seen in five years, just got a new lap dog.

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Top of the Class

Top of the Class

Five UC Santa Cruz innovators break the creative mold with projects destined to make a positive difference
There is a lot more going on at the UC Santa Cruz campus than you may know— revolutionary computer games, gardening that’s “hip,” ocean advocates, and a cure for cancer and solution to blindness. As a brand new decade begins, take note of five innovators whose work is already generating powerful change.

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10 Things That Stood Out Locally in the Last Decade

10 Things That Stood Out Locally in the Last Decade

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the light at the end of the dark, sometimes daunting tunnel that was the decade of the ’00s. Y2K what? Oh that Bush and Dick. (Don’t assume I’m talking about George and Cheney.) And terrorism—thanks for the fear? Ah, Barack! Happy to have you at the helm ushering in the post-George Bush Jr. era. I can go on and on about the last decade, and all those things that stand out—the gutting of most major media, celeb obsessions and the silly notion that we are communicating better with each other because we have more gadgets that can “communicate” better. Wrong. Instead, for now, I propose that in 2010, we turn off the TV more often, quit texting each other from across the table, look into each others eyes more and relish the fact that we’re human. It might be a decent thing, too, to give something back to a planet that seems to be in need of environmental CPR. But let’s not preach. Ponder all this in your free time. Meanwhile, take a peek back at 10 things that stood out locally in the past decade. And let’s enjoy the new one. | Greg Archer

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Tales of Tanzania

Tales of Tanzania

Not too long ago, I walked into my office and found a picture of my family on my desk. This may not seem unusual. After all, many people have framed pictures of their loved ones, especially on their desks. Pictures of my family, however, have a different home. They’re perched on a shelf, facing me, three feet away from my desk, and I often look up admiringly and find family members staring back.

“What are you up to now?” I imagine them asking.

“The usual: trying to get out of my own way,” I might silently respond. (It’s this thing we have.)

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival