Thursday, July 27, 2006

To live and film in L.A.

The biggest problem I’ve found with working in downtown Los Angeles is not dealing with the traffic nor the crowds nor the elevated prices nor the homeless. No, the problem only comes into play when I view a movie or TV show or commercial that was filmed in downtown (and there’s a good number that were).

When I see a scene shot in the surroundings where I spend a significant section of my periods of sustained non-somnambulance, I become instantly distracted from the plot or dialogue and instead must try to identify the buildings in the background or the street down which the characters are driving.

It’s not something I can control; I just do it.

What’s worse is when the editing of the sequence puts the characters from one spot to another that isn’t anywhere near enough for them to have (in actuality) reached it in the allotted screen time. The verisimilitude of the scene, no matter how compelling the writing and acting and directing might otherwise prove, is utterly lost for me.

The most recent example I saw (on DVD) was the otherwise enjoyable Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, where Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer go from what is ostensibly near the 101 to an area that I know is actually near downtown Long Beach—some 27 miles away. (I know Long Beach for obvious reasons, being the other place I spend much of my time.)

In Heat, there’s the big shootout in the street (5th, to be exact, between Flower and Figueroa, near the 110 freeway), where when they flee they run to a grocery store around the corner… that isn’t there. Really. I don’t even know where that store is in real life (as opposed to reel life), but it is not right around the corner from where the shootout. There are tall office buildings, and the freeway.

I could barely watch the end of Collateral because it takes place on the same trains I ride every day. Well, sort of. In the climactic sequence, it goes from the downtown station, but it involves some modified version of the trains that don’t actually run (the Blue Line trains have driver cabs on both ends, so they can run either direction, but in the movie there's some back door--as though it had a caboose--for Tom Cruise's character to get in), and then moments later they’re down in Redondo Beach--at least 15 miles away--at a station that isn’t even on the same line as downtown. There's no way that train that left the downtown station could even get on the tracks where the sequence ends.

(I could go on, but let's admit neither of us really cares that much about such details.)

It's not that I fail to grasp how it enhances the drama to modify what the actual physical layout of the location is. No one else I've met cares--I get it. Still, unlike movies that take place in familiar surroundings and accurately reflect the area, these films don't inspire me to tout how I've been there but to lament having been there.

I simply need to not watch them at all.

There need to be warnings before such presentations, much like alerting one to offensive language or sexual situations. Something like UDLA (Unrealistic Depictions of Los Angeles) in the ads or on the DVD cover would suffice.

I'm not asking them to change their movies, nor calling for boycotts; I just want to be alerted about what might offend me (so to speak), so I can make informed choices. That's all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quiet on the set

On Mother’s Beach in Long Beach, next to where my team assembles for dragon boat practice, a film crew had set up a stage on the sand. This past Saturday morning, they were filming a scene on said stage. And by filming a scene, I mean filming a single scene. There’s little to take the luster off seeing a movie be made than seeing a movie be made, repeating the same thing over and over. And over.

The film is apparently of the working title Spring Breakdown, and appears to be a light comedy starring Parker Posey and SNL regulars Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler. The scene we saw being done involved our intrepid heroines performing in (according to the sign at the back of the stage) an "all girl talent show." They were "performing" Wilson-Phillips' "Hold On" (I’m not sure whether they’re supposed to be lip-synching in the story, but they were in actuality), complete with choreographed dance moves, to an utterly indifferent crowd of beachgoers. I suspect the story involves the protagonists being outcasts amidst the debauchery of spring break, and that the extras were specifically instructed to stand at the foot of the stage and not move or show any shred of enthusiasm, because that’s precisely what they did. Over and over. Then at the end of the song the actresses come up to the front of the stage to bow, receiving only a slight dabbling of applause. At that point, Rachel Dratch’s character grabs a microphone and yells something about not caring whether they (the crowd) like them (the misfit performers) because they (the performers) know they are "freakin' awesome."

(Yes, you’d think after seeing it done multiple times the exact quote would stick with me better. After the first couple times one starts to block it out, I think.)

However, I’m not here to give you a preview of what presumably will be hitting your local multiplex next spring. (To be clear: I have nothing to do with the film; were it not for signs posted around I wouldn’t even know what the film was called.)

I could discuss what it is about us that attracts us to such spectacles. I could ruminate on how we may be drawn to movie sets out of some subconscious hint of a fantasy wherein we are lingering about and get "discovered" by the director (or someone associated with the production in some position of authority), get a speaking role (despite not being in SAG), and parlay that into a lucrative career as an actor, thereby permitting the glamorous life we see spotlighted on the myriad television programs about "entertainment news." I could offer some theory about how seeing places we frequent or know well included in productions that presumably will be seen by people all around the world applies some of that glamorous cachet to us, albeit vicariously, by virtue of our vague association with the location; if nothing else, it gives us something to talk about with people. However, I am not here to contemplate our proclivities for hero worship, even in small forms such as this.

No, I intend to mention something that one would not think about unless one is routinely part of movie shoots.

Obviously, there are extras at a shoot such as this. To have an apathetic crowd for the performers, they need a crowd, but they don’t need anyone with skills greater than standing and, presumably, not looking at the camera. The edge of the filming area was marked off with yellow tape, not unlike the stuff used by police to mark the perimeter of a crime scene (but without seeing the finished movie, it’s not fair to say whether the comparison is justified), except with the text "Hot Set" printed on it, and next to the cement walkway dividing the grass of the park from the sand of the beach were signs indicating by virtue of being in the area one was tacitly giving permission to be filmed, so presumably anyone passing by could be an extra. However, judging from all the young bikini-clad women who were by the set before we even arrived (at 8 a.m)—and after six years of being at this spot at that time, I can safely declare this was an unusual sight—clearly there had been a casting call attracting more experienced extras, so there was not much need for passers by to augment the crowd.

However, I’m not here to talk about the cute young things who were intended to represent the typical spring break destination attendees. I am led to believe these people do get a stipend for their time, and we could see they were provided some basic sustenance to keep them fed for the day. They weren’t "the talent" (whom I noticed were staying at a house across the street from the shoot when they weren’t needed), and ultimately all these young people had to do was hang out at the beach most of the day, which presumably they were inclined to do anyway. And no offense to the actresses identified as the leads, but this didn’t seem like a movie where I’d expect the budget to allow for too many extravagances for the non-talent. (Even "the talent" were only put up in a house across the street, not in individual trailers.) Thus, what really caught my attention about the setup: the porta-potties the producers provided for the presumably putrid purposes of these people. They were immaculate. (See picture below—I’m sure I’m the only person around who surreptitiously took a photo of that.)

Okay, maybe it's not that impressive, but relative to the beach restrooms we are forced to use, and relative to the porta-potties I usually see, they were amazing. And these were just for the extras. (Signs on the doors clearly restricted the "public" from using them—of course, one could simply walk across the background of a shot and no longer be the mere public but be part of the production at that point. I digress.)

No wonder movie tickets are over $10 even for matinee shows.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer clouds

A picture taken today! Really! (Usually it takes me a few days or even weeks to get around to posting what I shoot.)

Uncharacteristically humid weather in Southern California is causing these unusual cloud formations. Maybe. I don't know much about atmospheric phenomena, but it sounds good, don't you think?

Let's talk about us

It’s so disappointing how easily we humans are classified, be it by psychologists or by marketers or by appearance. However, that is our nature: to seek to make order (in our minds, at the very least), to create patterns where there may not be patterns, to pretend to know things about other people whether we know them or not.

So, really, our species is inherently disappointing.

That explains a lot.

Friday, July 21, 2006

As the light shines through

And now for something completely different:
a shot of the sun rising (not setting).
And trees that aren't jacaranda.
Quite the artistic stretch, I know.

If you have ever looked at the pictures I post here and wondered why they never have people in them, why are you spending so much time thinking? Anyway, the answer is simple: Trees and buildings and clouds and sunsets don't get embarrassed at the prospect of the whole world seeing them (and rarely threaten legal action or bodily harm to the photographer). They also hold still quite nicely.

Flaws in praise

One day last week on my way back in the office after lunch, I stopped after I pulled open the door and started through, and waited a couple seconds to hand it to a woman who approached. I didn’t pull it open for her to let her walk through; I merely didn’t let it fall shut so she’d have to pull it herself. I’ve held the door for many people, male and female, so for me this was no big deal. She, however, couldn’t believe it, and made a point of commenting on how unusual it was to find a gentleman. As it turned out, we both headed to the escalator, and she continued to remark on it. I muttered something that I don’t even remember now just to acknowledge she was still talking.

I think more guys would be likely to hold the door for her if she didn’t make such a production of mentioning the pseudo-chivalry; I’m sure all the guys within earshot who didn’t hold a door unconsciously thought, Well, I’m not going to do it now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Three-chord poetry

In "Cretin Hop," Joey Ramone (who I presume came up with the lyrics) repeats using "four" in (I guess it’s) the bridge:

Cretins wanna hop some more
All good cretins go to heaven

I’m not suggesting I don’t understand the need for ending on "seven" for the couplet’s rhyme. It certainly makes for easier writing; the next line essentially must end with "heaven" because it’s the only obvious word in English that rhymes. (Go ahead. Try to think of another. I’m not saying no such words exist, but how many just came to mind? Exactly.)

Were it that the line proceeded from where the sequence left off in the first couplet ("five-six-seven-eight"), the possibilities for coming up with a closing rhyme in the second couplet would be wide open, given how many words rhyme with "eight." I don’t know much about the band’s method of songwriting, but making the line end on eight would have made for a more drawn out process. And it wouldn’t have improved the song in the end result.

It may seem I’m implying seven allowed for laziness on the lyricist’s part, but really it proved to be efficient; sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is the best idea one will get, and when one is putting out two albums a year (as the band was doing back in 1977) one needs to get cracking.

However, I started talking about the repeated four. The thing about seven that distinguishes it from every integer up to ten is, of course, it’s the only number that is two syllables when pronounced. Thus any four-number countup (between one and ten) that includes seven will be five syllables long rather than four. To maintain the precise number of syllables of the first couplet’s first line, the second couplet’s first line would need to be one fewer number (only "Five-six-seven"). Not only would that seem unbalanced in the total amount of numbers sang in the lines, that would be only three accented syllables (spondaic and trochaic meter), whereas "one-two-three-four" is four accented syllables (dual spondaic meter).

Hence, to maintain the meter of the accented syllables (and to end with "seven"), four had to be repeated. The extra unaccented syllable at the end of four-five-six-seven not only allows for the rhyme but provides an increased level of complexity to the bridge; the singing of the two lines in the opening couplet is not exactly the same as the singing of the two lines in the closing couplet because of the squeezing in of that bonus syllable. It’s not something that consciously appeals to the listener, but it enhances the experience.

For those of you who know the song, go ahead and imagine it with just five-six-seven at that point. See? Not as good.

You never thought of the Ramones as that artistically complex, did you?

[Hey look. There's a link for leaving comments. Wouldn't it be fun to tell Doug how full of crap he is?]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

There's good light for photos in the middle of the day, too

In the early part of summer, around 3:00 in the afternoon, the sun hits the roof of the small outdoor amphetheatre in the back of the Disney Concert Hall at an angle to that the light cascades over the side of the building.

Above on the right, this is what that looks like from 41 stories up. Below on the left, this is what it looks like from street level. [Feel free to click on either to see a bigger view.]

(Hey, what kind of tree is that in the foreground?)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Drink up

I drink too many carbonated beverages. I know this. I don’t drink them in the quantities I did years ago, but I still drink more than I should.

I don’t drink coffee, so a Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper becomes my source of caffeine. (In theory. By this point in my life I don’t think it has much effect on me. It washes down food better than water—which, when I’m at my desk during the day, I drink in ridiculous amounts—and doesn’t leave me wanting something else like if I drink orange juice.)

To delude myself into thinking I don’t have a problem, I don’t purchase sodas and bring them with me to the office; I have put money in the vending machine in the break room to get one when I’m there, but that I can pretend is a spontaneous decision, and despite the price of two cans from the machine being more than I could buy an entire six-pack at the supermarket, the financial cost is well worth the mental benefits.

One morning last week I got to work, and as per usual I turned on my computers, and while they booted up I took my water cup to the break room to fill it at the cooler. And I “spontaneously decided” to get a soda from the machine, so I put a coin in the slot.

It fell straight through, landing with a tiny ringing thud in the coin return below. So I tried again, and the same thing happened. So I tried a different coin, which did the same.

Just as I was about to give up, figuring the machine was out of order, and having my will power to resist forced upon me, I glanced closer at the little digital readout by the coin slot, which indicated how much money one had inserted, and noticed the angled lights making out what appeared to say “FrEE”. So I pushed one of the buttons next to the available selections.

A can dropped down to the bin in the lower portion of the front of the machine.

I retrieved it, thinking perhaps someone had put in money but failed to actually choose something. However, their loss was my gain, and I started back to my desk. Just as I was part way there a bunch of people passed me heading for the break room, making remarks about free soda. I turned and followed, and watched as people who would never drink soda in the morning pressed buttons with enthusiasm. Several got cans of soda that they mentioned they had no intention of drinking right away, or possibly even until the next day, as though this was some crazy fluke to be exploited while it was available.

After I went back to my desk and logged in, I found an email from the office manager announcing that all the soda machines, in all the floors’ break rooms, were dispensing them gratis now. There was no indication of it being a limited-time offer, but the hoarding instinct was kicking in for many nonetheless.

Now, it should be noted that coffee had long been provided for those so inclined, and on some floors there were also cappuccino machines, and in many of the other offices sodas had long been free as well. Really, it was merely about time.

Clearly, Fate is trying to tempt me, to see whether I can have will power that is not spurred by the fact I don’t have any change.

And my biggest question I have is this: What am I to do with the coins I accumulate if I’m not pumping them into the vending machine? Give them to the homeless I pass each day on my way to the train station?

Life was so much simpler last week. It was more expensive, but at least I had a grasp on it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blown it all sky high

Notice in the shot on the right how these are being shot off not by train pyrotechnicians but by regular people on a residential neighborhood. I'm pretty sure the fireworks in question were not acquired at that stand down on the corner. Just a hunch.

What better way to celebrate the battles that followed a bunch of guys deciding to blow off the British crown, which involved arming civilians of the time, by putting explosives in the hands of civilians of this time?

Forget about emoticons

I'm waiting to see if this new system for identifying tone in emails catches on.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Screwed by not being screwed

They say no good deed goes unpunished, and I am a firm believer in the anecdotal evidence to prove it. It seems to fly in the face of karma, however. That’s what I was thinking the other morning as I walked to the train station; although I left home with sufficient time to stop by the garage and put some recyclables in the building’s receptacle, I encountered an older woman, replete with walker, also going there.

Of course I helped her, which involved me holding the dumpster lid open with one hand while grabbing handfuls of newspapers from the canvas bag in which she’d carried them. And she had quite a number of handfuls, so by the time we finished and I actually got on my way I figured I would just miss the train I otherwise would have easily made. However, I followed the thought about how helping the woman costing me catching the train with a thought about how karma might not operate on such a simple one-to-one basis; the benefit to be gained from a selfless act may come much later, or have already occurred, such that one would not readily identify the connection. I have, overall, a spectacular life, and if the worst thing that happens to me today is that my plan to get to work a little earlier gets thwarted then it will still prove to be a pretty good day.

So, utterly convinced as I approached the corner where I turn and can see the station that I would round it and see the train already pulling away from the platform, I proceeded contentedly down the sidewalk. Unhurriedly, I stepped around the corner and saw… no train. However, I still had a block to traverse to get there, and it was still possible for a train to appear from the other direction and force me to have to run that last block in already-sweltering temperatures to catch it (in which case I’d probably let it go, not being worth getting all sweaty).

I walked that block’s distance at my usual pace and still no train. I moved up the ramp to the platform and found a spot in the shade of a palm tree, and still no train. Then I started to worry the line was encountering unannounced delays; that would be just the sort of twist Fate would put on the situation. Just at that moment, however, the approaching train emerged into view, ultimately about three minutes behind schedule. Which had allowed me to comfortably get to the station, without having to rush, and make the train no problem.

That may or may not have had anything to do with the assistance I gave the woman. As I had convinced myself, it wasn’t necessarily that simple. It may have just seemed that way; that would be just up karma’s alley to try to make me think what I’d just thought was wrong.

It does delight in keeping me on my toes.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Play ball

The right field fair pole (it's not foul) at Dodger Stadium, taken from behind it (were it in the shot, you'd see home plate straight ahead in the background).

Notice the dings in the lower portion. They'll never get much for it as a trade-in.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Doing the right thing

As alluded to in previous posts, I was in Vancouver last month. I was there (for the fifth time in six years) with my dragon boat team, the Killer Guppies, for the largest tournament in western North America. (And if you want to read about how we fared, you can read this write-up--which I did not compose--from the team's website.)

Last week I sent out this link to my Vancouver pictures to the people in my department at work, as many of them had asked about the trip; I figured they might enjoy the overview album I put together. (Do go ahead and click on the link and give 'em a look-see, if you haven't already, as you'll need to have an idea of what's there before we move on here. You don't have to log in; just click View Slideshow. And when you're done come back here. We'll wait.)

[Muzak playing...]

Most of the replies I got were along the lines of “Looks like you had fun”--most likely due to the inclusion of just a couple shots at the end (from the sake bomb sushi dinner and a club some of us attended afterward)--but one was a bit different. It started with that same looks-like-fun sentiment, but then asked (in this exact phraseology): “Where are the Black people?”

Allow me to interrupt myself with this clarification: I am not making that up, nor exaggerating, nor twisting in any way the words of the respondent in question. Really. Allow me to further explain that the question was not meant in a humorous or ironic context; it was asked in full sincerity. The person is not someone with whom I have conversations with this sort of presumed familiarity, and we generally discuss only what is absolutely necessary for professional [sic] purposes. Just so we're clear.

Although this may disappoint some of my readers, I didn’t respond; I didn’t know how. I'm not suggesting that I was surprised this person thought such a thing (and the question should tell you everything you need to know about the person with no further elaboration), but I must admit I was taken aback just a bit by the act of actually composing it in an email (that I could share with the rest of the world but choose not to) and clicking Send.

I wasn’t sure whether this individual's insinuation was that our team was somehow racist for not making sure we had a full complement of all races on the roster for the trip, or whether it was that the sport was racist for not having African-Canadians (or whatever the appropriate term would be north of the border) at the tournament (at least not so prevalently that they would appear in my pictures), or whether it was that I was racist for not including any Blacks in the shots I chose but assuming there must have been some up there—and in sufficient numbers to be noticeable in what would prove to be the better shots, regardless of subject. Heck, maybe there was no insinuation at all.

Make no mistake: I had a number of comebacks come to mind, to be sure. “I’m afraid Affirmative Action doesn’t apply to our team/sport.” “We’ll get right on putting recruitment ads in Essense and Ebony magazines.” “Like we could get Black people to get up that early. Don’t you know we practice at 8 in the morning?” And my personal favorite: “Blacks don’t feel comfortable around this many Asians and whites with paddles.” However, I have enough difficulty in my life without some sardonic witticism being misinterpreted, especially in an email that could be shared with the human resources department. As funny as it would be, it's not quite worth losing my job for.

[As you may have surmised, I don't tell people at work about the blahg. Please don't mention this if you happen to know someone who works where I do. Unless you think they'd find this hilarious.]

Pointing out that we have had members who would be considered of that ethnicity on our team in the past (not necessarily a lot, but some) would have only brought about questions regarding why we can’t keep them on our team, and really only serve to prolong this interaction. Mentioning how our team is actually more diverse than a lot of teams in the sport (that I’ve seen) would be rather futile as well.

In the end, I figured: There’s no point in trying to overcome the ignorance of someone with being logical. And I shouldn't have to.

Besides, everyone on the Guppies (past and present) knows that I view them all as my niggas, no matter what they look like.

[Our next tournament is coming up on the 29th and 30rd of July, at the Marine Stadium in Long Beach. Everyone is welcome, but you don't have to do anything you don't want to.]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The midday sun reflects off the 53-story Wells Fargo building in Downtown L.A. through the glass ceiling of the significantly shorter Wells Fargo Court.
(The large orange H-shaped object is the side of the elevators. That's right: a two-story building has an elevator. Talk about size envy.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I must point out this wonderful post from the blog of my friends Tracy and Ian, who are getting ready to have their first child, and in this they ruminate on what kind of parents they'll be by selecting fictional parents from TV shows to emulate.

Tree lines

Trees of some sort casting late afternoon shadows on the sidewalk outside the Bonaventure Hotel.

So, is this a photo blog now or what?

I suppose I fancy putting photos on the blahg—and by extension, the act of taking the pictures in the first place—because it serves as a nice contrast to the jaded and somewhat crass elements found in the written pieces; sure, I put some modicum of humorous spin on those, but the photos strive more to find beauty in the world rather than poking fun at how much it sucks. They’re what maintain some shred of humanity in all of this, and apparently I consider that to be somewhat worthwhile.

Ultimately, the blahg fails because I’m not as optimistic as one needs to be to make blathering on about one’s self interesting in and of itself. And the irony (I’ll dare to use that term here) of the situation here: I’m not talking about my life, per se, but about some version of it; paranoia about most people I don’t know was already resident in me makes me perhaps subconsciously guarded.

The photos don’t quite prepare an unwary reader for the written stuff, and perhaps seem incongruous in light of the general tone of the text in the non-photo posts. The “rules” would dictate that I have two separate blahgs, one for the rants/ruminations/diatribes and one for the pictures. However, given that I have a hard time getting my readers to check out the one site I do have here, I’m not sure it makes sense to expect they’d check out two (and we know that were the content thusly segregated the photo one would be infinitely more popular). Heck, at this point I think the sweetness (so to speak) of the photos cuts the bitterness of the text to make the overall site more tolerable, but I think the contrast works both directions; it’s all good and well to look at semi-interesting pictures, but that’s more akin to eating dessert every day without having eaten anything more substantial.

Of course, what dispels whether the long-rambling-text posts or the just-a-photo-and-caption posts is the superior part of the site is analyzing what proves to be the posts that get the most comments: short, mostly despondent rants with no attempt to be funny at all. Those are the most emotionally charged pieces, and hence they elicit the greatest impulse in the audience to reply. However, those perhaps are made more effective by virtue of their contrast with the longer pieces and with the non-textual pieces; they would lose their impact were they all I posted.

(Yes, I’m treating getting four people to comment like it is somehow an impressive amount. When I sent out Dougression emails, I would get more replies in the first few hours than I can get from something that is theoretically available to the entire web-enabled world. Popularity is relative.)

This is the World Wide Web, where some of us put stuff and pretend the rest of the world gives a crap.

It’s not that different from life outside.

Enjoy the pictures, everybody.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 9

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final pictures...
Yes, I think we've had enough of this "project" (and it's getting more difficult to find jacaranda still blooming by this time of year), so we'll close off the third trilogy of posts with the last photos of these trees.

[But if you're just finding this, please start at part 1. There's no important reason, however. Every once in a while it's nice to be conventional, just to mix it up.]

The below-ground courtyard of 333 South Hope St. in Downtown Los Angeles not only has waterfalls but is ringed by jacaranda. (Yes, both trees on either side of the waterfall in the background are jacaranda, as is the partial one in the upper right. Go ahead and click for a larger view to see the flowers.)

Up to this point, you've probably been thinking, These shots of jacaranda during the day, at sunset, and even at dusk, they're all good and well, but don't you have any taken at night, illuminated by a street light, slightly out of focus?
As a matter of fact, I do. This one I found in South Pasadena.

Jacaranda appeal to all denominations.

And a bonus "look back" shot to conclude our adventure. (Yes, that's a jacaranda behind the postbox.)

That's all, folks. (You're going to miss those puns. Admit it.)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 8

[If you're just discovering this feature, go back to part 1 for what passes for an explanation.]

More pictures I've taken around Southern California of the sub-tropical tree known by its genus, the jacaranda. (Click on them. Do it.)

In the neighborhoods at the base of the Hollywood hills
(notice a certain landmark in the background) I risked life and limb
to stand in the street to get this shot (notice also the oncoming car).

The north side of the park around the (somewhat redundantly named)
La Brea Tar Pits has a number of jacaranda planted there.
(Notice the statues of sloths in the background, lower right.)

A close-up shot of the purple flowers, this time on a tree in Inglewood.
Yes, that white speck near the center is the moon.
(One day I'll get a camera with a more powerful lens.)

Continued (at least once more) in part 9...

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Another shot from my Vancouver trip last month. Okay, another shot from my flight back from Vancouver last month.

This is somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean, probably south of Vancouver Island and north of the northwestern part of Washington, as seen from several thousand feet up.

Don't worry: There's no jacaranda out there.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The reason they make you turn off electronic devices in preparation for landing

Gentle imaginary reader,

I'm guessing that you have reached some level of jacaranda saturation, after all the posts in the past week and a half featuring those things. Frankly, you're probably sick of seeing them. So today we offer a picture that is likely to inspire air sickness even though you're on the ground.

[You will find an air sickness bag in the seatback in front of you.]

This shot was taken during my flight from Vancouver back to LAX a few weeks ago.
The plane was banking to the right over the greater Los Angeles area (as part of its final descent) as I took it, hence the reason the lights from the ground appear to be swirling while the wing is in focus. (Yes, that's the wing.)

[Please press the button for the attendant if you have any items you need disposed.]

Not quite the palate-cleanser you were expecting, was it?

[Please remain seated until the post has come to a stop at the gate and the captain has turned off the Fasten Safety Belt sign. Thank you, and we hope to see you again soon.]

Why was I in Vancouver? you're not asking yourself. More of that dragon boating nonsense. If you'd like to hear about that, leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 7

Happy Wow-the-Sky-is-Hazy Day (otherwise known as the day after July 4th).

Pulling the jacaranda photographing project (see the last week and a half's postings if you haven't already) into the topical (yesterday's festivities), we begin today's pictures with one including fireworks.

You're thinking, Cool fireworks, but where's the jacaranda? It's the silhouetted tree at the right edge of the shot, at a block party in Inglewood.

Lining Santa Monica Boulevard in front of these buildings in Westwood, it's... well, you know.

[Go ahead. Click on the images. You know you want to.]

(That's right! A complete posting of jacaranda shots where none were taken in Long Beach or downtown L.A.! I do get around.)

Continued (but not much longer) in part 8...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 6

Another round of downtown L.A. shots featuring our new photographic obsession: the jacaranda around Southern California.

(Does that title say "part 6"? Yes. Does that mean you should check out parts 1 - 5, from posts in the past week? Eh, if you are so inclined.)

Undaunted by the towering buildings and oppressive bridges, a tree grows (not in Brooklyn) along Flower Street. (Actually, several do; the silhouetted branches in the foreground are also a jacaranda.)

Around the periphery of the 7th & Fig shopping center, the jacaranda give shade to the crowds.

Outside the World Trade Center--the one in L.A.--are more of our favorite purple blossoms, and in the background flags wave on the grounds of the Bank of America building (above more jacaranda lining that side of the street).

Continued... maybe... in part 7...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 5

Proving I'll ride this horse into the ground and then just keep digging, here's three more jacaranda pictures I took.
(See parts 1 - 4, if you haven't already. They're the last four days worth.)

Behind the spritely fountain at the upscale shopping center The Grove (see the bottom of the bridge in the lower left) there's some tall jacaranda. (They come in all sizes.)

You're probably wondering: Aren't there any shots where the trees in shadow but the background is in light? Yes. Here's one along Hope St. in downtown L.A.

In the courtyard of a Long Beach Methodist church (the spire is in the background), this jacaranda tries to get a little closer to... the deity of your choice (or the lack thereof).

[Click on the pictures if you like. Or don't. Whatever.]

Continued (unless I receive death threats--no, not even then) in part 6...