Tuesday, August 22, 2017

the sadness of the B&B coffee tray

English B&B / Guest Houses of a certain type, a certain vintage, have had the same coffee tray, the same little plastic sachets of Nescafe, the same tiny containers of unreal milk, the same squat white kettle, as long as I've known them.  They used to induce despair; now that's strangely blended with nostalgia.

Monday, August 21, 2017

the start of the semester

I'm sure that I should have gone to this ... it was a very - shall we say - full day, although (courtesy of lots of transatlantic flying last year) I'm finding the pink champagne in LAX's international 1st class lounge quite acceptable as a means of stress relief.  Oh - there was an eclipse?  I couldn't find any pretty little dimpled leaf shadows to photograph - only the view from my window, which was strangely, but not remarkably, lit.  Nonetheless, Alice and I are planning for April 8th 2024.  Texas, I think that will mean ...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

the caterpillar is growing

At least, going back to Santa Fe very briefly, I could check in with the caterpillar and see how she's doing (I may have failed to mention that we also encountered a friend of hers - don't know where they wriggled off to).  She's not cocooned yet - but she seems very well and healthy, and I look forward to her to becoming a Zephyr Bullseye Moth next summer.  I have a deep and dark suspicion that she's eating the Morning Glory leaves - I think she's meant to eat willow, but she showed no interest in the branch that I brought her a week or so back.  But she's so beautiful I'll forgive her.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

memo to my future self

Dear Future Self,

Of course you like coming back to Santa Fe - to enjoy the quiet, the coyote that trots by, the sunset, and to take the chance to water the remaining plants, and replenish the humming bird feeder.  But.  You really don't want to do so again because you're giving a keynote in another country in a few days' time, and you have left all the notes that you've carefully gathered this summer and that you need for completing the talk on your desk top, do you?  Particularly when it's Indian Market weekend in Santa Fe, which has a mesmerisingly bad effect on flight prices and car rental costs.

But yes, indubitably, even if you will have to get up early to fly back to Los Angeles again, it's great to have a quiet evening in which to write, notes by one's side.  And at least I can gather up various other forgotten objects - a tee-shirt in the drier, some granola, two pencil cases ...

with curiosity as to whether you'll take this advice to heart,

Current Self.

the awesomeness of late summer (for Aug. 18th)

Such awesomeness shouldn't actually include a lengthy internet outage - but had I been able to post this yesterday evening, you'd have seen how extraordinary the pink African lilies and the plumbago at the back of our house look in the early morning sun.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

erecting a statue ...

At a time when the rest of the country (not even the "rest" - including the Hollywood Forever Cemetery) is taking down - quite rightly - offensive monuments, USC is putting up what at least is a well-meaning attempt at a statue in the spirit of diversity and equality.  Meant to be a counterpart to Tommy Trojan, our long-standing Trojan warrior forever Fighting On outside the main administrative building, this is Hecuba.  As a very informative article in today's LA Times tells us (this must be the first positive piece from them about USC in weeks ...), this Queen of Troy is deliberately a model of resilience (let's say resistance, even).  Our President, Max Nikias, was passionately involved in the decisions about the sculpture all the way through its making: "On the cylindrical base of the 20-foot statue, Nikias wanted six women representing Hecuba’s daughters, modeled after women of Native American, Mayan, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, African American, Middle Eastern and Caucasian descent, connected by an unfurling ribbon that read Arts, Humanities, Science, Technology, Medicine, and Social Sciences. Hecuba’s face would be a blending of ancestry."  Speaking with all the authority that comes with being a member of the University's Public Art Committee (a committee with startlingly little authority ...)  I've seen a great deal worse, and it's a remarkably, if sadly, appropriate week for this to be unveiled at the opening of our new University Village today.  And no, I didn't go to the opening ceremony ... but I couldn't resist going and seeing this later ...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

fall semester

Fall semester demands, I think, that there should be some evidence of Fall - here is a large, dessicated leaf from campus, which otherwise is full - as yesterday, but, indeed, even fuller - of students moving in, accompanied by embarrassed looking adults wearing t-shirts saying USC DAD, or embarrassing their offspring by taking photos of them in front of Tommy Trojan - I haven't yet ventured across the street to see what, we're told, is TT's "female counterpart," and I'm rather procrastinating on going to investigate that particular piece of statuary ...