Tuesday, July 7, 2015

the promise of a surprise

I'd promised Alice a surprise on our drive up to the North Shore of O'ahu: this was the Byodo-In Temple, a replica of the C11th Phoenix Hall of the Byodo-In Buddhist temple compound in Uji, Japan - constructed here in 1968 to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawai'i (think sugar-cane labor).  When I first came here in 2002 it was truly magical; mist on the Ko'olau Mountains; thin sunlight; floating air.  This afternoon was much more grey and murky - but I still think that it's a totally lovely and peaceful place.

Monday, July 6, 2015


The waves were getting up this evening.  We were driven out of our hotel by the worst rock band in the world under our window - but could hardly complain, when the view along the seafront at Waikiki Beach looked like this.  Very hard to get my head around the fact that I'll be running a workshop on grant writing first thing in the morning, but I certainly feel renewed by a day of ozone ... (and yes, I'll be super-happy to leave Honolulu for a few days after that - too many people!).

Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th July view

OK - not a bad view for a couple of nights (not the conference hotel - that had booking issues, since they wouldn't let me book for two nights, including July 4th, and then go away, and then come back). If you look carefully and closely, though, you will see quite how many people there are on Waikiki beach, and believe me, it is noisy.  I'd forgotten that Honolulu is quite so crowded (and before, I was here for a few nights seriously off season, and it was busy even then).  I will try and calm down and get acclimatized ...

Friday, July 3, 2015

moving office

In physical terms, this isn't a big deal - it means moving myself from the Chair's office, where I've been for nearly four years, into the office next door.  But every time that one changes rooms, it seems like a chance to re-invent oneself.  I've had one super-terrific office in my life, at the top of a house in New Brunswick that was also crumbling, with big big cracks, and noisy sex-crazed raccoons in the walls, and I was rarely in it (chairing, again) - but I could happily have stayed in that for ever.  Only it never quite works that way ...

I needed a picture of Millais's Autumn Leaves in situ for a paper that I'm giving in London in a couple of weeks - and it made me wish that I'd taken a picture of every notice board in every office I've eber been in ... here's AL, indeed, and last year's Christmas Card (taken in San Miguel de Allende), and acyanotype from a class demonstration, and a watercolor drawing, from a calendar, of a Venetian campanile, and Samantha Bricio, from the USC women's volleyball team, and a list of phone numbers that I never have had occasion to call, and the instructions about my own voice mail, given by a previous office administrator, that don't work, and some magnets made after C19th tiles, and an Appaloosa horse.  Pretty much the same as it'd have been 40 years ago, in terms of accidental visual detritus ...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Art History Office

Probably I should have gone with a panorama shot - this doesn't give the full grandeur, so there's another angle below ... I had one major ambition as Chair of Art History (well, ok, apart from avoiding screwing up big-time, or killing people) and that was to redecorate the outer office so that it actually looked like a place that was engaged with aesthetics and the visual.  So - with very very many thanks to Tracey and Beth, the wonderful office staff, for organizing the framing and hanging - we now have the office redecorated with posters from the major LA art institutions (much fun buying them, of course ...).  I took Beth and Tracey out to lunch today to thank them for all, all, all, all they've done during my tenure as Chair - the office wouldn't look nearly so good without their huge input, or function nearly so efficiently without them ...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mexican hats at dawn

We were up at a very early hour in order to drive to Albuquerque to catch a plane back to LA - not, alas, quite early enough for me to capture the orange setting moon in all its glory (see below), but early enough to see the Mexican Hats looking great against the sunrise.  These are wildflowers - Ratibida columnifera - that bloom all summer, especially when it's been as (relatively) wet as it has this summer.  It was a strange eight hours in the sky - not just this moon, but when we were driving back from town last night, Venus and Jupiter very, very close to each other, and very bright.  Only we didn't, at the time, know them for what they were.  Not quite helicopters; not quite drones; maybe some kind of military exercise involving illuminated balloons?  By the time I was home, and googling, they'd disappeared into a bank of low cloud.

New Mexico doesn't normally look as much like Greece as this ...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


OK - we might be rather behind hand in our timing (blame geographical distance) - but we had a terrific belated celebration of Barry Qualls's birthday tonight, and a very timely celebration of his arrival in Santa Fe for the summer ...