Category Archives: Photography

Thriving Out Of Spite

With the five-year drought now putting SoCal (and pretty much everything west of the Rockies) on severe water restrictions, the front yard is looking dodgy and brown.

And yet…

Our hero abides. It doesn’t bloom all the time, but every week or two it will pop off another flower just to either:

  1. Flip off the human race for completely screwing up the planet
  2. Give the human race (at least, this member) a shot of inspiration
  3. Both of the above

Hang in there little white weed flower. I might be needing you there more than you can imagine, and that’s only going to get more true by the day I suspect.

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Filed under Climate Change, Flowers, Photography

When The Conditions Are Right Again

It’s been a while since we had a decent sunset here. There have been clouds now and then (see the “Skyscapes” posts of the last month or three), days when it’s totally clouded over (but no rain AT ALL, at least not here), and lots of days when it’s “clear and a million.”

Down along the shore there have been some nice sunset pictures from San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara, and on up the coast.

But here, in “The Valley” – not much.

Until tonight.

Not the best ever, but not bad.

Not the same as getting the finest of wines, but to someone parched and panting, a cold glass of water can be exquisite!

 

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Filed under Photography, Sunsets, Weather

Random Old Photos – August 8th

It’s been quite the day. I think I may have blown a brain circuit or two.

Let’s keep this simple. What was I doing fifteen years ago?

Traveling to a NASFIC in the Saint Louis region with the family apparently. (Side note, while I was also working full time plus and also going to Pepperdine to get my MBA and starting my flying lessons, I apparently also took six trips around the country, went to three airshows, two science fiction conventions, and three or four baseball games. Where did I get the time and/or energy?!) But rather than going with the stock photo of the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse in downtown Saint Louis, I like this one of that same area broken up and fractured in the reflections of an office building.

 

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Filed under Photography, Travel

Late Afternoon Moon

Every now and then someone goes off on social media about how they’ve seen the moon during the day and it’s NEVER BEEN THERE BEFORE (LIKE, EVER!!) so this is obviously a sign of the impending apocalypse or a glitch in the Matrix or a conspiracy by the Illuminati or something.

These people are usually mocked hideously (as they should be, because, jeez!) but it does make me wonder just how clueless some folks can be about the world around us. I understand that not everyone can have a college degree in the sciences or be the next “Jeopardy!” super champion. But where exactly do we set the bar for awareness of “common knowledge” facts about the reality that surrounds us 24/7/365?

I think it’s safe to assume that by their teenage years everyone should have noticed that the moon is often visible in the daylight hours. Water is wet, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, fire is hot, Darth Vader is Luke’s father, and the moon is often visible in the daylight hours.

(Too early for spoilers on the Luke thing?)

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Filed under Astronomy, Freakin' Idiots!, Photography, Space

Blue & Black

Following last weekend’s tripping incident (do I go to the penalty box for two minutes?) my arm has decided that it’s now time to turn some graphic shades of purple, black, blue, and yellow in addition to continuing to be tender.

“YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER GUY!”

Well, yeah, except that the “other guy” was gravity and it kicked my ass. Again, the good news is that I had the presence of mind to not stick out my hands and end up with two broken wrists and instead tucked and rolled, landing on my “off” elbow and shoulder.

To take my mind off of that, today I got to spend almost two full hours in the dentist chair. What I had thought would be ten minutes of biting down into goo to get a mold for a replacement crown turned into an ordeal of poking, prodding, numbing, needling, drilling, grinding, burning, sanding, polishing, and biting down into goo. About mid afternoon the anesthetic wore off and my tongue, cheek, and gums have spent the rest of the day getting reacquainted after their little nappy-bye, with lots of “WTF happened while we were asleep??!!”

I’ll be taking drugs to get to sleep tonight. If anyone needs me bright and early tomorrow morning, I plan on being neither.

I am FrownyFace McCrankyPants. I want ice cream but that would only make it much worse, and if that isn’t an indictment of our times I don’t know what is.

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Filed under Health, Photography

Skyscapes – August 02nd

Too much adrenaline the past few days. Starting with some dental issues that just put a constant buzz of advanced discomfort on every breath, along with a dentist who keeps telling me there’s nothing wrong at all. We’ll try again tomorrow on that front. Something to look forward to. (NOT!!)

Celebrity deaths over the weekend. Sometimes it’s just a footnote or a minor point of interest. Sometimes it’s more, like with Bill Russell or Nichelle Nichols.

Then tonight we hear about Vin Scully.

LA sports fans are lucky. For decades we got to hear Hall of Fame announcers almost every night. Chick Hearn doing the Lakers games, Bob Miller on the Kings’ broadcasts, and Vin Scully as the voice of the Dodgers for sixty-seven years.

Even growing up in KC as an A’s fan, then being a Cubs fan when the A’s moved away and I did to, finally being an Angels fan since the mid 1970’s when I moved to Southern California, I always knew who Vin Scully was. The man was a poet, a storyteller, far more than a mere baseball announcer.

Tonight we also went and donated blood again at the new Red Cross center, which happens to be right across the street from our “new” ALS Golden West offices. That’s a task we choose to participate in every eight weeks (-ish) and while it’s something I’ve done hundreds of times and I’m used to, there’s still some stress involved.

Then of course, politics, life, the Universe, and everything.

So I noticed that there were clouds, some subtropical moisture kicking into the area from a tropical storm off of Baja. Not enough for any rain here, although some mountain areas got a few showers, but enough to look pretty if you pay attention.

I paid attention.

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Filed under Photography, Weather

Buzzing Demon

Welcome to August, where I finally vanquished my nemisis of the last three days!

No, not the monthly financial reports, although I did get those done. I’m talking about this not-so-tiny buzzing demon from Hell!

It’s truly amazing to me that an insect so relatively tiny can cause such chaos for me for days on end. He was in my office, and once I knew he was there at least I was able to keep him quarantined in that one room. If he had gotten out and was buzzing around my ears at night I might not have survived the war that would have had to follow.

As it was, every time I was in my office, which was a LOT the last few days (oh, who are we trying to fool, it’s ALWAYS a lot!) every ten or fifteen minutes I would hear that high-pitched whine as he buzzed my ear and tried to take some blood from my jugular vein. Then he would dart off, my work would be interrupted, and the madness would repeat.

The other thing that I noticed is that he was biting me repeatedly on my arm where I have a large bruise. (I fell off of a small laddar while refilling the hummingbird feeders a few days ago. The good news is that the “Have you fallen?” feature on the Apple Watch works just fine. I’ve set it off plenty of times while just minding my own business and being a bit rambunctions. It’s nice to know that it also goes off when I actually need it.) Where the bruise lies under the skin I’m guessing it’s that purple color because there’s a pocket of blood, or at least more blood in the tissue than normal. Can a mosquito sense that somehow and know that a bruised area is a target-rich environment? Google doesn’t say.

Starting the week and the month with the usual issues I was annoyed that this guy got me again. Then he vanished while I stalked him when I should have been downloading bank balances. But when he came in for another pass he was silhouetted against the monitors and my cat-like reflexes whipped into action. (HA!)

On closer examination, I note that this is one of those Asian Tiger Mosquitos – the black & white stripes on the legs are a dead giveaway. The issue is that these guys can spread the West Nile virus and other nasties, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any symptoms.

There may be a viral load in my future, but for now, VICTORY IS MINE!

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Filed under Critters, Photography

Door Dragon

Today the door dragon was on guard.

Can you see him? I mean, the clouds were gorgeous just before sunset, the view over Castle Peak as lovely as ever. But there’s a dragon there.

So he’s a relatively tiny dragon, but he’s on guard nonetheless! He’s not just there for the warm sidewalk and near infrared radiation.

He’s also there to eat! He doesn’t do this for his health. The presence of hawks, mockingbirds, and various other predators have a bearing on the odds of surviving the afternoon out there somewhat in the open. But right there along the far edge of the sidewalk… See it? Dinner on the hoof!

Even under the best of times there are ants everywhere here. With it as dry as it is now, the worst drought in decades and threatening to become the worst in recorded history, the ants are everywhere.

And while that sucks for us, it’s a feast for the fence lizards! So let him sploot out there on the porch, I won’t bother him. Let him eat his fill of ants any day.

Just watch out for the hawks. And the mockingbirds. And all of the other critters higher up on the food chain in that whole circle-of-life thing.

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Filed under Critters, Photography

Another Saturday Night, Another Play At The Ahmanson

Tonight we get “Dear Evan Hansen.”

“Oklahoma” is for September at the end of the season. “Prom” is next month.

Gotta admit, these theater & concert subscriptions are pretty cool!

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Filed under Entertainment, Photography

Skyscapes – July 28th

Some days you don’t even have five minutes to take a break and go looking for birds or lizards or flowers or anything interesting.

That doesn’t mean that the interesting or unusual or beautiful things aren’t there. It just means that you have to take advantage of the opportunities you have.

Maybe, for example, before your busy, busy, busy work-from-home day starts and you’ve just scraped your sleepy butt out of bed you remember it’s Thursday. Which in turn means that before you jump in the shower you have to slip on sweats (so as not to upset the neighbors) and go out to unlock the back gate so the gardeners can come in. Sixty seconds, tops. In a hurry, on the run. But wait…

Look at those clouds!

…2…3…4…and okay, NOW hustle back in to that shower and breakfast and emails and Excel files and reconciliations and Zoom meetings and computer repairs and phone calls.

It’s a little bit better because you stopped for five seconds and looked at the clouds.

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Filed under Photography, Weather