Thursday, August 31, 2006

el gato

I suppose it's time to write about the cat (remember the cat?) She is my baby, and one spoiled rotten cat. I got her from the SPCA a few years back. I decided it was time for me to have my very own pet (and I would love him and squeeze him and name him George...) I really wanted a dog, but I was travelling a lot for work and I knew I didn't have the time to take care of a dog. I didn't think it would be fair for me to get a dog and then be gone 3-4 days a week. So I decided to get a cat. A cat does just fine for a few days by itself as long as it has food, water and a place to p&p. I wanted a cat that was reasonably affectionate and not necessarily a kitten either. In fact, I wanted an older cat so I wouldn't have to try and teach it not to claw everything in sight. So off to the SPCA I went.

I was looking at all the kitties in there, and of course, I wanted to take them all!! Eventually, I spoke with a volunteer who told me about this cat "Midnight" that was older and very sweet, a 6-yr old male cat and brought me to the cage. There was the cat, lying on its side back towards everyone. I called, "midnight... This cat flicked the tail at me, then looked at me, and looked away, as if to say, "whatever." The sign on the door said this cat had been there since March, and it was now July. No wonder.

Ok, let's see how this cat and I get along. Off to the private room we went. Kitty walked around, sniffed here and there, and was reasonably cat-like and pleasant. I didn't think the name fit, as this cat wasn't all was black and white and acted quite...dainty?? But, I was able to hold this kitty, and we got along just fine. I didn't have supplies at home to bring kitty home, so I had to come back.

Oddly enough, when I went to get kitty, it turned out that there was a mix up and the cat I had bonded with happened to be a 3yr old female (also named Midnight.) And so I took her. She's been a great cat. The longer I have her, the more affectionate she's become.But the name Midnight never fit her. In fact, if I tried to call her that, she'd look at me and look away, as if to say, "I don't think so." It took me over a year to find a better name for her.

It finally happened when I had friends visiting me, and as usual, my little kitty was following me around the house. (She is a funny cat. I'll pick her up, and she complains the whole time..."mreow..meow..meeeeeoow..miao..." as she purrs!! I mean, she's a cat, she has to keep her dignity, no? ) So, my friends and I were hanging out, and being the mature adults that we are, we were looking up looney tunes and trying to find sound waves of various characters!! We looked up Pepe LePew, and one of my friends, looking at the cat, said, "hey, that's your cat!" And it was true. She acts the same! Le mew. le purr. Little Miss Thang.

But I didn't know the cat's name from pepe le pew. The next day, I called another friend of mine. She knows much more than I do about these types of important matters, and I asked her the cat's name from pepe le pew. She thought it was Penelope. It sounded right to me. Kitty was on the floor nearby, and I called, "Penelope." She looked right at me, "finally! you got it! it took you long enough!!"

So, little miss thang got her new name. I call her other things, twerp, my girl and stinker (you can guess about that one.) She has now endured two long car rides. She hates the car. And when I'm done here, she'll come with me to the next stop.Like I said, the longer I have her, the more affectionate she's become. I've gained her trust. She even lets me rub her stomach as she stretches and purrs. This never happened at the beginning! I think she knows she's with me for keeps.

Monday, August 28, 2006


These are pictures from this teeny little beach I found. I've seen several sailboats from the highway and they always seem to be in the same spot. This is one of them. On the beach, someone took the time to create the sculpture..and it actually looks like parrots on a post, especially silhouetted. I think that this might be one of the spot I visit a bit more this coming week!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Visiting LA

Wow, yesterday turned out to be a long day. I headed down to LA, on the train, and then floundered around a bit because I don't really know the city or the metro system all that well, but at least for a first visit, it was good. I found LA reminds me a bit of New York, only with palm trees and less skyscrapers! For one thing, you find every sort of person, from the shishi-fifi set to the downright scary (even though, appearances can be fooling, but if I see a 6ft+ guy, wearing black leather, with kickass military boots and a tough look on his face in the metro, I don't try to find out.) There is so much to do, that I think the best strategy is to know ahead of time what you want to do when you're there, and how to get there. So, I had wanted to go to the Observatory, but I didn't make it. Instead, I ended up in Hollywood, quite fitting considering it's my first foray into LaLa Land! So, here are some pics I took with my handy-dandy little digital camera while I was there.

This was as I came out of the metro,
my first look around Hollywood.


(apparently though, the happily ever after didn't work
and now she's trying to make a living like the rest of us.)

Front of the Kodak theater.

Another view of the Kodak.

Who would have thought that a sign originally put
up as an advertisement would become a landmark?

The shops at the Kodak.

Aah! White elephants attacking! ggrr...arghhh..
(yes, I know elephants don't ggrr or arghh...
but I'm in Hollywood now! It's OK!)

In the courtyard of the shops at the Kodak.
The fountains were fun to watch.

Ooh, sunglasses! How fun!

This was a store display (there's the sunglasses again!!)

And right next door, the Janice Dickinson modeling agency.
Hmm...I wonder if this had any inspiration for the display??

There were some cool tabletops that I combined into one pic.

There were quite a few of these mosaic tile quotes around.

Here we have Highland Ave.

This juxtaposition seems pretty typical
of what I've seen of California so far.

Is it just me, or does it seem weird that there is a huge
Victoria's Secret billboard on the side of the Roosevelt?

Virgin Megastore!! I was so good!!! I didn't buy even one CD!!
It's true!! I wanted to, very much so, but I didn't!!

Is an explanation really necessary??

It was getting a bit overwhelming at times. Not
a great picture, but it conveys the feeling.

And just like NY, garbage on the sidewalks. Interesting, eh?

And on the other side of the street...

Hey, this could be a street corner in Miami too!!

Closer view of the tourist trap.

Hotel and hostel, right in Hollywood. Hmmmm...

Again, a little closer, interesting design.

Breakdancing is alive and well in LA!! These guys were awesome!!
I tried to catch the feel, but a video cam would have been better! Watch.


Waiting for the metro back to Union Station.

And finally, heading back home on the train.
This reminds me of the surfer shorts of the 80s!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Recent pics

A yellow float with an oil derrick in the background.

Walking along the beach, this stone
was getting tumbled by the waves.

The morning after my rant session,
I awoke to the sun!

An estuary near the beach.

Reflection of rocks. The water is not usually this calm.

I thought this gnarly old tree was pretty cool.

This, I've been told, is a ground squirrel.
I'm used to squirrels with big fluffy tails.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

drama happens

The other day, I was talking to a fellow student about our latest assignment. He told me he'd had everything lined up for past Friday but then "drama happened," and the shoot was put off until Sunday. Well, Sunday, "the drama spilled over" and he still had not done his assignment. I love that phrase, "drama happened." It's like Seinfeld's "yada yada yada." It could mean anything!! hmmm, let's see the possibilities...

"I was supposed to shoot on Friday, but my lover's gay ex-girlfriend showed up crying because she realized that she wasn't gay after all and was ready to kill herself because she didn't know who or what she was anymore, but my lover, still being in love with her, slapped her and said, 'how could you? you left me because you were gay and now you decide you're not? Just when I've finally moved on?!? I hate you!!"

"I was supposed to shoot on Friday, but my foot fell asleep, and it hurt to walk. So instead, I hobbled around the house trying to wake my foot up, but every time I tried to put my foot down, it felt like a thousand fire ants had marched into my foot. Eventually, my foot actually fell off, and I had to go to the hospital to get it sewn back on, but in the emergency room, someone tried to steal my foot, which was still sleeping by the way and didn't know what was happening. Eventually, I got my foot back but Sunday the stitches came apart and my foot ran off without me!"

"I was supposed to shoot on Friday, but once we got to the shoot, giant pink lizards were sunning themselves right where we were supposed to shoot, and-have you ever tried to get a giant pink lizard to move so you can do your shot? Let me tell you, those things won't budge! Not only that, you have to be careful that they don't eat you, which could really put a damper on the shoot."

"I was supposed to shoot on Friday, but my model got eaten by a giant pink lizard and, well, she couldn't make it, as she's....dead."

Well, you get the idea. It's a funny phrase, and I've probably used it myself. It just made me smile because it could mean anything. Don't you just love the English language?

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I love the fact that I am allowed to paint my apartment. Today, I painted another wall in the kitchen. This color is called Tropicana Cabana. It's a beautiful Caribbean ocean blue. Paired with the lime green, it's amazing. I could stare at that blue for hours. I just find it calming, yet also invigorating!

I've also chosen the colors for the dining and living room, which are all pretty much connected to the kitchen (no doors separating them.) The living room will be a palette of warm, rich colors, that remind me a lot of ripe tropical fruit. For example, the Calypso Orange makes me think of ripe red papaya. The dining room, being the connector, will have both warm and cool colors. It's going to be great. It might take me a bit to complete, but at least the process is started. The hardest part for me is usually choosing the colors. This time, it's been relatively easy. I've chosen colors I like, colors that make me feel good. Now, I just have to finish painting.

I went out for beer tonight with my landlady and her husband. She commented on how quickly I am getting myself situated and the apartment set up. Although I would like it to be further along, I have to admit that, for the most part, I've done pretty well. I'm down to maybe 1-2 boxes of thing that I still have to find a place to store. It could be because I did get rid of so much before coming out here, it could be that maybe I'm just getting more organized as I get older. Still, not bad at all considering the first time I moved on my own, after 6 months, I still had boxes I still needed to put away! Amazing how things change.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

days buzzing by

The past few days have been a blur. I know I've been trying to shoot my new assignment as well as re-shoot my old assignment. Turns out my instinct on that was right--I was none too thrilled with my prints, and I kept printing different shots hoping that it would be ok, but I really didn't like any of them. So, I figured I'd end up reshooting it, that's all. When I got my slides processed, I was quite happy. I had enough for all three requirements--shape, line and texture! But the black and white? Blech. And sho' nuff, got my assignment back, and both black and white prints were NP's (No Pass) and need a reshoot, while the slides, passed with flying colors (no pun intended)!

And the funny thing, many other students that were in the darkroom printing with me thought my prints were fine, but they were more critical of their own work, which I might add was fantastic. They were clear, sharp, in focus, well developed, and in the process of being printed well. The composition was done well, the contrast was right...all of it. Mine? Not so much. But I had to hand something in and so I did the best I could. What else can you do?

The next couple of days will be a mad dash to complete everything. I tried to go to Santa Barbara and drive around to get some ideas, but it's Fiesta week, in which they celebrate the old Spanish days. So, the main street and many side streets leading to it were blocked off. And the traffic! 101 was stop and go--it looked like rush hour during the week! So, I got a couple of shots here and there, but then decided to get out of Dodge, so to speak, and headed inland to explore. Well, there's a lot of road out there. And not much else for a while! I went out to the Santa Ynez Recreation area and explored there. I found one hiking trail (not much good while wearing flip flops but did make a mental note for future reference.) And then I drove back! Nothing too exciting there but some of the vistas on the San Marcos are amazing! But, not much room too stop and take pictures...and I, like many of you I'm sure, prefer not to get run over. I like photography, but I like being in one piece much more!!