Sunday, October 1, 2023

cat videos

Today was the day that Gramsci discovered the delights of cat videos.  We've always suspected that he didn't have very good recognition skills when it comes to what's on a screen - if I'm Skyping in from England, say, he apparently couldn't care less.  But show him birds ... he was hooked.   This was, it would seem, a British woodland video (all eight hours of it!  we only watched five minutes or so together) - judging by the adorable coal tits and robins and finches and blue jays and crows going cark cark cark in the background (of course I felt nostalgic: not sure that Gramsci recognized this as his heritage?).  I can understand why he found it so compelling ...


Saturday, September 30, 2023

non-native flowers

I think these are probably South African - Protea? I can remember my father coming home with some, on one occasion - had he just returned from a business trip to South Africa? Had they been sent to his office?  In any case, they were tightly encased in mesh, so that the flowers didn't open and crush and disintegrate on their journey, and I thought them unbelievably exotic.  Sitting in a flower shop window in Silver Lake/Sunset Junction - they are still startling, but also disquietingly artificial seeming.


Friday, September 29, 2023

white magic

I just love this group of witches: they are so demure.  It's impossible to imagine them doing anything with eye of newt and toe of frog: more like syllabub with thin slivers of angelica.


Thursday, September 28, 2023

floating flower

I gave myself a day in the library today - a real treat, even if I kept swerving off into admin mode.  And I managed to fill in some important bits of material and thinking, so that was a definite plus.  The plants at the Huntington are in that late summer phase of looking grey, and a little tired - but there are some amazing bursts of color (I didn't penetrate very far into the gardens, today, however - too busy contemplating the decline of the English tree-barking industry in the mid 1880s).

And I was horribly preoccupied, and saddened, by the loss of the tree in the Sycamore Gap.  Loss?  More like murder, or arboricide.  Who would do that?  Why?  It was more deliberate, more planned, more callous than mere vandalism.  My memories of it go back a long way - although I can't find an actual photo with it in, I promise you that it was a few hundred yards away from here ... The saddest thing: when I went to try and place this in relation to it using the map, I found that the on-line maps have already been updated to read "Sycamore Stump."  

My hillwalking started young.  I now wear hiking boots ...


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

outdoor and indoor gangs

What a thuggish collection of raccoons charging down the outside steps just before dawn!  At least this time they didn't disturb all the stones on the waterfall ... (they are rather wonderful: look at those stripey tails).  You never know what you're going to capture on the security cameras - earlier in the summer it was a bobcat with a large rat swinging in its mouth. 

It's hard to know how much the indoor gang know about what happens outside (unless it's birds or squirrels, which are clearly there for their entertainment). Here - although they are probably largely thinking about their immanent supper, they are perplexed by noises in the street, which are caused by Alice pulling forward the trash bins. Scary stuff, they think.  Little do they know about life on the wild side.


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

waiting to catch breakfast

Turning onto our old street, heading to work, there was a hawk - probably a sharp-shinned hawk, since it's so small - and I know that they love mourning doves (for breakfast, not as friends), and there are lots of those around.  I'd have thought it could be a sparrow hawk, but I don't think that we have them in LA (despite there being a perfectly decent Californian wine company called Sparrowhawk ...).  I know Blake spoke of "perfect symmetry" in relation to his tyger, and that therefore the phrase probably had something to do with stripes, but I do like how the hawk is at the apex of ... of what? One of those mysteries one doesn't see until one looks at one's own photograph: overgrown door?

And in other, important, and wonderful news: LOOK!  We exchanged contracts this morning.  Completion is on November 3rd.  I'll say more about who's bought it when I have the purchasers' permission to do so, but I'm very happy, and I know that Joy and Ray would have been, too.  For now - that is, from November 4th onwards - it'll be a teenager spill-over house, and that's great!  I hope they move a table-tennis table in - it would fit very well.


Monday, September 25, 2023

bedroom view (aka The Deck From Above)

Early-ish this morning, I was so dramatically felled (as always) by the Covid vaccine that I thought I might never make it out of bed again to take a picture - at least, not till late ... the icicle shivers lasted from 11.27 p.m. to 1.38 a.m., and then the aching and exhaustion began ...But by the last afternoon I was recovered enough to eat a few Triscuits and even to go to a terrible, terrible documentary in Glendale - Radical Wolfe, which Alice wanted to see because of her current book project ... It was sheer hagiography, including fervent praise from both Niall Ferguson and Peter Thiel; good on Tom Wolfe's style, but didn't ever come close to anything analytic.  Also - we were the only two people in the entire movie theater, which was weird.  

At least I think I may be returned to humanity tomorrow.  Thank you so much, everyone, for expressing concern...