Category Archives: Weather

Pillars Of Sunlight

A different job, a different life in many ways. It was way, WAY too early on a day that was going to be way, WAY too long.

But at least at the beginning, there was this bit of beauty and spectacle.

It’s always there if you look for it.

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Filed under Photography, Weather

Keep Color In Your Life

One thing I noticed in watching all of the news coverage of Hurricane Ian slamming into Florida as a Category 4 storm was the lack of color in most of the scenes. The clouds and rain are white and gray and the lack of sunshine makes everything that does have color seem washed out and pale. The sea not only turns angry and threatening, but it turns gray and black with the whitecaps showing up as the winds explode.

Colorful signs and storefronts and home turn to debris, brown, gray, black, with occasional splotches of color which are quickly spun away and scattered by the storm, to be sunken into the brown and black storm surge.

I think that’s a good analogy for the way our lives are going right now. We want life to be colorful, filled with blue skies, green fields, yellow sunshine, white clouds, multicolored flowers. Instead, some days so many things feel like a hurricane going through our lives, leaving everything broken and reduced to various shades of white, black, gray, and brown.

Keep the color in your life. Fight for it. Cling to it. Share it with others. And if everything’s gray and black and white and brown for you, ask others if they can share some of theirs.


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Filed under Art, Deep Thoughts, Photography, Weather

In Search Of A Little Green

We started restrictions on lawn watering back in June (or was it May?) and between that and several solid weeks of 100+ºF days every single day, the back yard has taken a beating.

But abour ten days ago, just after we got back from Chicago, there were some hurricane remnants wandering through and we got a tiny bit of rain here. Other places out in the mountains and deserts inland, out beyond Palm Springs and into Nevada and Arizona, some isolated spots got enough rain to cause some flash flooding and mudslides, but here we got maybe 0.2 inches of rain over a 24-hour stretch.

Plus, since then it’s been mostly in the mid-80’s every day instead of 100+.

Did it help?

I’m going to go with a resounding, “Maybe?”

I’m not sure how much of it is wishful thinking and how much is actual recovery, but it seems to be a tiny little bit more green than it was.

I’m not talking about those tall, long desert grasses on the right, it’s the standard issue monoculture lawn grass on the left hand side of that barrier that I’m wondering about. Maybe? In spots? Kinda?

At this point, I would be happy to have the lawn hanging on in a “less dead” state than even bothering to hope for “thriving.” Let’s manage our expectations, folks.

This would be another benefit to owning our home instead of renting. If we owned I would be ripping out the wanna be putting green and putting in some low water, desert vegitation and flowers, along with some succulents, cactus, rocks, pathways, and lots of fancy gravel or decomposed granite in between everything. It would look great, be very low maintenance, and have ultra low water requirements. Maybe a bench or two, a birdbath, some bird feeders…

I think we’ll probably be out of the drought via natural causes and a couple of consecutive El Niño years before the owner will be doing that. Brown and dusty might be the new norm. With just the slightest, semi-hallucinatory bit of green mixed in…


Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Weather

Full Moon Through Storm Clouds

After months and months of drought and an almost total lack of rain here in Los Angeles, tonight we have the outer bands of a Pacific hurricane sweeping over us. The worst of it is in the deserts and mountains inland toward Arizona, but we’re at least getting enough rain here to water the lawn a bit. Which is great, because with the water restrictions the drought has mandated, it’s been a while since there was much water out there, and it’s been well into the low 100’s every day for weeks.

Last night, as the 99% full moon was high (not a “supermoon,” but the “averagemoon” gets lousy press) it was visible coming in through the leading edge of the storm clouds.

Good thing Halloween is coming – this was spooky looking.

It was actually gorgeous, but “spooky” has had the same PR agent as “supermoon” for years, and it sells better than “gorgeous.”

Tonight, still a full-ish moon, but the clouds are way too thick to see anything. We’re just grateful for the rain.


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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Weather

Skyscapes – Central Illinois Plus Trains

Out of Chicago for a day before going home, on a mission from God, as they say. First, in a small town, found a train moving some cars around the sidings, blocking the road for a long, long time.

I watch the trains on Virtual Railfan and I know that when they stop or start it’s loud, but until I was standing there I had no clue just how loud.

Later, a bit of convection started building up, making these fairy castle cloud castles.

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Filed under Photography, Travel, Weather

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

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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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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Night Clouds

Scattered clouds tonight, no moon, just the lights from the city reflecting off of them.

Scorpius to the south, a night where it finally cooled off a bit.

A bit of breeze, the sound of mockingbirds and coyotes through the canyons.

The kind of night when it might be nice to lay on the grass and watch the sky. But the megadrought in the US Southwest is in its fifth year? Seventh? Tenth? And with the severe water restrictions in place the grass has died, turned brown, cruncy, and pokey. Maybe let’s just stand here on the sidewalk for a few instead.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Weather

Skyscapes – June 22nd

The “June monsoon” is here!

Yesterday afternoon I was watching posts from friends in New Mexico showing their clouds and rain, and last night it was friends in Arizona. Our weather forecast had about a 15% chance of thunderstorms, with scattered heavy showers as a wave of monsoonal moisture swept up from Mexico and Baja.

The local news reports had stories this morning of thunder, lightning, and some downpours in downtown LA, Hollywood, the Pasadena and Glendale areas, all about thirty miles to our east.

There were also flash flood warnings and a couple of small brush fires in Ventura County, about thirty miles to our west. We were in the middle and had — clouds. No rain. No thunder. No lightning. Just, clouds.

Very nice clouds, mind you! Oh, and enough humidity to choke an elephant, very unusual for SoCal.

So throughout the day I periodically went and took a zillion pictures of clouds. The neighbors were pointing and whispering. They no doubt think I’m certifiable, a solid 5150 candidate, standing out in the middle of the street taking pictures of…clouds.

Finally, while I thought we hadn’t gotten a drop, the dirt on the Volvo says otherwise. Due to the severe water restrictions (notice how brown our yard is starting to look in the photos above?) I haven’t washed it in a while. The spots and patterns in the dust tell of some big drops falling, but very, very few of them. It must have rained for about thirty seconds, tops.

Bad drought. Every little bit helps.

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