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The enchantment of Big Sur began at age 16 when a group of crazy teenagers flew across the country in a 1970 Buick LeSabre at speeds of over 140 mph from New Jersey to California. I documented that “coming of age” trip in a book “Only Moments” many years later. Big Sur was the epicenter of incredible beauty, danger, and a magnet for all types of people in my generation. From the writer Henry Miller, to the beats, to the children of the sixties this place was magical….and still is. The paintings were done in 2013 and there is one more that I will post next that is my favorite and was the hardest to do….

My paintings are now on display right outside of Sedona, AZ at “The Miner’s Pick Gallery” in Jerome at 123 Hill Street located at what once was the hospital and surgeon’s home. Stop in and see Melissa and their incredible offerings of natural wood furniture, crystals, gemstones, geodes, and fossils along with my artwork hanging on the walls.

For more paintings go to


I was all of 16, popcorn in hand, watching the most peculiar film.  Confused and curious I saw apes and airborne bones, spaceships, stars and perfect monolithic structures that foretold the essence of an all-knowing being.  I watched in wonder at a renegade talking computer that seals the fate of astronauts pursuing the message of a distant alien beacon.  And then to top it all off an incredible light show intended to show the passage of one’s soul through another dimension right before my very eyes in 1968.  I like many people, left the theater scratching my head and wondering what exactly did I just see?  Space Odyssey 2001 was probably the only film I went back to the theater to see six times.  Of course being at that youthful age, some of the impetus was to see that incredible light show in a cannabis- induced altered state of mind.  John Dykstra’s montage of colorful landscapes in high-speed superimposed in various colorful grids is quite dated in 2008, but back then there were no computerized graphics, no teams of visual design wizards, just plain old ordinary inventiveness. 

Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Krubrick teamed up to produce a screenplay to attempt to show the future of humanity 33 years from the film’s debut.  Of course, Mr. Krubrick’s penchant for passionate filmmaking with his own vision eventually drove Mr. Clarke from the set, much the same as Stephen King stormed-off during the filming of “The Shining.”  Afterwards, Mr. Clark’s book of the same name was released and people that took the time to read it finally did understand what this incredibly cinemagraphic tale was all about. Arthur C. Clarke was far ahead of his time.  His theories of geosynchronous orbits for satellites became a reality 25 years after he predicted such.  He is the author of over a thousand short stories and over 100 books.  A character in the late Carl Sagan’s movie “Contact” is loosely based on his character paying homage to him.  A resident of Sri Lanka, he kept in touch with the world via videoconferencing on computer and had many friends and fans that he kept in contact through e-mail. 

To say I was somewhat influenced by this man would be putting it lightly.  His image of the future foretold hope and promise for the human race.  It sparked imagination that anything was possible and that the mysteries of life and of our origin could be surmised and possibly obtained some day, and that the question “why” might finally be answered.  His writing is not complicated or hard to understand but his concepts went far beyond mere words printed on paper.  He was a man of vision, a man of hope in this world of harsh realities in the day-to-day struggle of survival.  He provided dreams-dreams of humans at their finest, and technology at its worst and vice versa.  The ironic dichotomy of humans having come so far yet basic instincts of fear and greed, having being imprinted well within our DNA, helping to destroy those opportunities that have allowed our lives to be enriched by the advance of technology.  One of the common themes I’ve discovered about my writing is this human versus environment versus technology predicament, and I find now I owe it all to this man who’s thought process influenced me at a very young age.  I am greatly in his debt-the world is greatly in his debt. He may finally be able to answer HAL’s question-“will I dream?”

Malcolm Campbell author of “The Sun Singer” reviews my novel “Only Moments.”  Malcolm hails from Georgia and posted this on on November 21st and gave the book a four star rating on  Malcolm’s website can be accessed from the links list on the left.

When you watch a man dancing on a dark stage in front of a flashing strobe light, you see only moments of the dance. Nick Oliva has taken the defining, and often poignant vignettes, of musician Chris Vadia’s life and choreographed them into a remarkable novel.

We begin in the future, after all of the moments are long gone–a coming-of-age car trip, first love, marriage, marital strife, a husband-and-wife performance at Carnegie Hall, the death of a spouse–and look at events so fresh they appear to be happening now! But they are of the past and cannot be changed, and they take us–along with Chris–figuratively back in time and where they dance before our eyes in perfect detail before we move on.

The struggling Chris we find within each moment of his life’s journey is not the Chris observing his past from the perspective of a man who learns, is learning, actually, that his seemingly disparate moments of joy and sorrow that appear to have been separated by time and space and vantage point are connected into a well-defined, sensible whole.

If you’re a musician and/or if music impacts your life in meaningful ways, you will appreciate the impact of Oliva’s experience as a musician on the piano/violin practice and performance scenes. But you’ll also see as you read from moment to moment that music is one of several apt metaphors in “Only Moments.” Life’s moments are like the notes in a composer’s great work in progress, a work that in spite of all the choices, false starts, crescendos, decrescendos, and improvisations, turns out the only way it possibly could have turned out.

A long-time fan of Joseph Campbell and his hero path structure or myth and mythic stories, I see within the pages of this novel that Chris Vadia is discovering–like all heroes on the path–that the events of one’s journey, in all their glory, are the tip of the iceberg to the important inner journey we all travel from birth to death and beyond.

“Only Moments” is the journey of a lifetime carried forward on the wings of Chris Vadia’s stirring memories and Nick Oliva’s stirring prose.

I stood at the window the snow crunching at my feet and looked in to see the people eating, talking, and making merry. It was a cold night and I was alone. My stomach twisted and the hard knot made it difficult for me to decide whether to knock on the door. Twenty minutes had gone by and I stood there still frozen in spirit with the same hard knot.

Finally, I went to the door and rang the bell. The door opened and my mother stood half-stunned for a brief second and then broke into tears. We had not talked for three years over a man that she lived with after my father died. He was an alcoholic and his drinking had escalated to the point of her concealing it from me. One day we had words that neither knew would cause the worst to happen. That was three years of non-communication that wasted precious time. I was a pariah to the rest of family as my brother’s children needed a grandmother. I never held that and other complications against them.

My mother had finally had enough and let it be known through my brothers that I was welcome to be there on Christmas Eve, but I don’t think she expected me to show up. Her eyes welled tears and we embraced and she would not let go for quite sometime. I lost control as well and all of those really important reasons for not wanting to be near her, faded away to oblivion with the tears that flowed to the floor.

Three years later she died on October 1st and I often wish I had those years to do over again. I wish we hadn’t both been such proud stubborn people. I wish I had made that effort that I knew was harder for her than me. Of course we reconciled after that Christmas Eve, but the time flew by so quickly and then she was gone forever. I am haunted by those thoughts and as the holiday closes in I see the fragility of life and the merciless hand of time bearing down upon the now eleven years she has left this world.

I know the gift of time now, however late and I wouldn’t ever waste it again. I ache for those years back, but they’re long gone and mere history. Don’t be as foolish as I. Take the time and forgive and forget before it is too late. Don’t give that Ghost of Christmas Past a chance to haunt you in the future.

     I recently did a survey of authors as to “how” they go about buying the books that they like. I wanted to try and nail down the “kernel of knowledge” that motivates one to buy a particular book-be it by author, cover, blurbs, word of mouth, etc.  The interesting thing that I noticed as the comments came in and the topic evolved, was not so much how one buys a book, but where.  The hands down overall venue was the bookstore and not Amazon, or any other internet point of purchase.

 That tells volumes to me, pun intended.  The fact that most people wanted to feel, read, and have the book in their hands when making their decision shows me that even though the internet is a powerful purchasing tool, it still hasn’t replaced many of the habits of book readers.  Ergo, I could postulate that the lack of shelf space inhibits and great reduces exposure for that sale, regardless of genre, price point, or any other factor.  And that “missing link” may be the mainstream distribution of that book, and that would make sense as no movie or music product can survive without that aspect either. 

     To take it one step further regardless of what may be an unpopular and most probably highly criticized statement that it portends is that those books with the power of the major publishers behind them are the most successful and their ability to place books in those stores are what is missing in the lack of substantial sales of self-published and independent titles. So you may ask, who didn’t know that?  I did realize that, but it was confirmed with the evidence that came from those who do actually buy books and are authors themselves.

This is not to say that a book cannot become successful outside that machine, but it makes the odds considerably less favorable. So now the issue is how to overcome those odds or build a better boat.  In this revolution of publishing, the old school is still the dominant method of getting distribution.  One day soon, that may change.
“[Bad] writing is not easier than good writing; it’s just as hard to make a toilet seat as it is a castle window — only the view is different.” ~ Ben Hecht (thanks Philip!)

News Headlines for Saturday by Ariel David 

Musical Code Found in Da Vinci Painting

By ARIEL DAVID, AP  Posted: 2007-11-09 18:47:48

Filed Under: Science News, World News

ROME (Nov. 9) – It’s a new Da Vinci code, but this time it could be for real. An Italian musician and computer technician claims to have uncovered musical notes encoded in Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” raising the possibility that the Renaissance genius might have left behind a somber composition to accompany the scene depicted in the 15th-century wall painting.
“It sounds like a requiem,” Giovanni Maria Pala said. “It’s like a soundtrack that emphasizes the passion of Jesus.”
Painted from 1494 to 1498 in Milan’s Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the “Last Supper” vividly depicts a key moment in the Gospel narrative: Jesus’ last meal with the 12 Apostles before his arrest and crucifixion, and the shock of Christ’s followers as they learn that one of them is about to betray him.

More Musical Codes Found in Art

by Walter Web, EP  Rabbit’s Foot, Arizona

After some research I found that this is not the only instance of finding musical codes in art. Here are some other instances not publicized but just as important:

Artist, Benito Pastability, a sculptor, has found evidence of another musical piece based on Rodin’s “The Thinker.”   He has diagrammed a musical score from the various points of the sculpture and played them on a synthesizer.  “It sounds a lot like Boy George from Culture Club,” he commented, humming the tune “Where Did Our Love Go.”

In another related development Michelangelo’s extensive painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling was analyzed and a computer programmer from Austria, Hans Zimmerfish, has come up with more hidden musical codes.  Zimmerfish explains that he spent 12 years toiling and has come up with a 30 second score that mimics exactly Edwin Starr’s “War, What Is It Good For?”  “The phrase, ‘absolutely nothin, say it again,’ can be heard over and over distinctly,” commented Zimmerfish.

The infamous “Noah’s Ark” painting by Edward Hicks has completely established a musical pattern by Alfred Aquatic of Auckland, New Zealand.  “It is without a doubt the most amazing of all the discoveries as even though the painting was finished in 1840’s if turned upside down and slightly angled to the right, shows a rudimentary musical scoring of James Cameron’s Titanic theme, “My Heart Will Go On,” but the more incredible discovery is that when it is tilted to the left produces “There’s Got To Be A Morning After” the theme to the original “Poseidon Adventure,” by Maureen McGovern.

In Bivalve, New Jersey a researcher has duplicated all the exact cuts for the points of the infamous “Hope Diamond” and using a custom computer program has uncovered another musical mystery.  It seems when David Diablo had spun the diamond simulation counterclockwise at exactly 33.3 RPM,  he recorded something that one can hear the as the words “I Bury Paul.”  His research ended when he mysteriously “got blisters on his fingers” and fell off a calliope to his death.

And lastly, Yuri Dickulous from an unknown village in Republic of Kazakhstan has discovered that “Whistler’s Mother,” that famous painting by James Whistler was encoded with what he describes as a melody that exactly duplicates the theme from the movie “Deliverance.”  Further research showed James had an explorer brother named Louis, an avid canoist.

Though many have heard of Buddhists and Buddhism few understand the working concepts and the fact that it is a lifestyle and not a true religion. The Four Pillars of this way are:

Four Noble Truths
The Nature of Dukkha: Suffering exists in life.

The Origin of Dukkha (Samudaya): Suffering is caused by craving.

The Cessation of Dukkha (Nirodha): To eliminate suffering, eliminate

The Way Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (Magga): To eliminate craving follow the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold path is, the right view, the right intention, the right speech, the right actions, the right livelihood, the right efforts, the right mindfulness, the right concentration.

My interpretation of this 2950 year-old disciplinary practice is that “right” -being such a relative term these days -means of the consciousness of doing positive things that help the self and others. Buddha literally means The “Awakened One.”

None of these concepts are contrary to what it takes to make a meaningful life regardless of whatever you believe as your own religion, yet now as we speak thousands of monks are being killed in Burma now Myanmar because of their lifestyle, because of what they believe-that is harmless to others. What indeed are we of this world that we do such horrible things to each other and destined to do even more each day until the blood runs in swaths of rivers of oppression and hate?

Nick Oliva
Author, “Only Moments”

Captain Ahab used his prosethetic leg for things other than walking. Orca preferred male companionship Lenny in the Grapes of Wrath was really a idiot-savant. Mary Poppins moonlighted as a hooker-expi alla delicious! Hamlet liked wearing leg stockings so much he wore them to bed. Sherlock Holmes was always constipated hence the phrase “No S… Sherlock Flipper was transexual and went both ways. The Three Bears practiced beastiality Bambi was killed by a conspiracy. Mickey Mouse was bi and Minnie knew and was definitely doin’ Goofy things on the side. All of the Transformers go both ways if not more. Moses might have parted the Red Sea but he couldn’t get a date to save his life….must have been the that persistent donkey smell. Erica Jong confessed her character actually did it on the plane at the end of the her Fear of Flying book. Fredo was really a macho guy but they drugged him to make him a wimp. Shirley McClain actually only had one past life but she had multiple personalities. Jane Erye was a lesbian. Ayn Rand had weighty issues. Plato ate too much on his dish and was always after the little boys down the street. Charles Manson really hated Helter Skelter, but loved “Silly Little Love Songs” by Paul McCartney. (What’s wrong with that, I’d like to know?) Dr. Dolittle went around the world in less than eighty days. Heathcliff was a enunch. and finally, They scaled back many characters in Finding Nemo.

Big Sur is the focal point of fate for the characters in this new novel. I care not that the book makes me large sums of money or that my blog site makes money through ads or pass-throughs; I only want “Only Moments” book’s readership to expand in order to touch souls without egocentric satisfaction, and to promote the introspection of the self. There is force of God within, therein lies the answers to the “secret” of life, not ancient papers and codexes throughout the dawn of man; of words mistranslated, misunderstood and held up defiantly as an excuse for the right to kill one another. I take no superior attitude as some would accuse me, I have been dead, literally and allowed back to the land of the living and even as I suffer great pain daily, I am thankful. I count every day as a miracle, everything around me as such. Thank you for taking the time to look at the site and reading mere words.

See for reviews and excerpts.

The story opens in the year 2020, with a romantic/erotic dream sequence and waking of one lonely sixty-six year-old widower Chris Vadia, a retired professional musician, and his sullen celibate perspective due to his wife dying fifteen years earlier.  After establishing the time period and the impossibility of replacing human intimacy with the high-tech devices of the period, we flashback fifty years to 1970.  The story then leads to the serendipitous and comic circumstances of how he met the love of his life, while on a wild summer vacation driving through California with three friends.  A beach in Big Sur is the dramatic background for the fairy tale loss of their virginity.

Time then shifts chapter to chapter, through their college days, marriage, their struggling and successes, parental deaths, the World Trade Towers disaster, their Carnegie Hall debut, and then the crisis of having grown so far apart despite being with each other 24 hours a day. The novel explores how the deep flaws of both individuals bring them together through life, and how the chance actions of childhood experiences run so deep that they ultimately affect an entire life.  At age 51, she dies; the cause of Chris’ mental downfall.  The reader then finds Chris in the present and the reason for the quick flashbacks of time from when he first began reminiscing on his beachside outdoor deck. The book’s climax occurs as Chris goes through a body/soul separation that is literally the culmination of all the previous chapters by using a device of repeating phrases (shown in italics) from previous chapters that now bear new meanings. The reader can now also understand that the opening dream in the first chapter was a foretelling of the entire book.

In the last chapter, his finds his life dramatically changed for the better as a result of his experience from a powerful singular event.

The unforgiving world, the false hope of technology, the commonality of human emotion throughout history ties into an uplifting romantic fairy tale.  The underlying theme is the imperfection of all things human and the unrelenting passage of time, but is written in a very positive manner. The road, throughout the novel is representative of one’s life path and sense of discovery.

A good friend asked me an interesting question about where I would want to retire based on names…….so I did some research and found this……..these are all real names of towns in the USA
Nick Oliva
Auhor, “Only Moments”


Deadhorse, Eek, Floss, Goobertown, Tuba City, Gassville, Greasy Corner, Grubbs, Bivalve, Fort Dick. Blue Ball, Yellow Water, Roachtown, Beans Corner Bingo, Hell, Slaughterville, Bird-in-Hand, Drab, Looneyville, Spread Eagle, Embarrass, Nothing, Surprise, Why, Bald Knob, Flippin, Toad Suck, Weiner, Yellville, Turkey Scratch, Bummerville, Frying Pan, Gas Point, Squabbletown, Gnaw Bone, Crummies, Rabbit Hash, Typo, Cut-Off, Cut -n- Shoot, Ding Dong, Dry Prong, Fort Crook, Tick Bite, Lizard Lick, Idiotville, Colon, Jigger, Satan’s Kingdom, and the infamous Nimrod!

Intercourse, Carefree, Goodyear, Hooker, Romance, Okay, Chiquita, Confidence, Cool, Date City, Eureka, Fair Play, Grand, Hallelujah Junction, Humptulips, Hardy, Harmony, Climax, Security, Little Heaven, Niceville, Okahumpka, Panacea, Cumming, Butts, Beer Bottle Crossing, Threeway, Wonder Lake, French Lick, Jugville, Oddville, Assawoman Bay, Eden, Paradise, Coffeeville, Tightwad, Humansville, Pleasant Hope, Bigfork, Big Sky, Sweetgrass, Opportunity, Short Pump, Simplicity, Beaver Crossing, Virginville, Valentine, Wahoo, Jackpot, Good Intent, Love Ladies, Neversink, Wise, Needmore, Fear Not, Happy, Nuttsville, Veribest, Sweet Lips, Zig Zag, and what the heck Whynot, Knockemstiff!