pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: November 2013

28 November 2013

Traffic jam

57 Freeway
Somewhere in Southern California
28 November 2013

Even these days, one can generally rely upon light traffic on the holidays.

Not today.

As I shot this photo, the freeway came to a standstill. Similarly, once we finally got to the 210 West, the 210 East was stopped. For miles.

We almost never leave the house on Thanksgiving because most of the time, I'm cooking. This year, we picked up the spouse's parents and transported them to my brother-in-law's house where we gathered for dinner.

In the time that it took to get there and back, I could have cooked a turkey.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

26 November 2013

Dreadful cell phone photo #11

Alice Cooper
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Costa Mesa, California
26 November 2013
Years ago, I used to joke that you'd find me at a Rush concert on Thursday and then you'd find me parked in my seat at the symphony on Saturday. It actually wasn't a joke--we had subscription seats one tier up from where we were sitting tonight.
Because I'm a long time patron of this place, I get love letters, emails, and colorful brochures. Three days ago, I got an email, saying Alice Cooper! Segerstrom! Tuesday! And the really notable thing about this is that I've never even seen a rock concert advertised at Segerstrom. It's all musicals and symphony and stuff like that. So, I forwarded the email to the spouse with the notation, "Half-tempted..."
And I got an email back from the spouse that said, "Do it."
(What I have not been writing about is that a close relation has been diagnosed with cancer. It is a cancer with a poor prognosis. The family is in a tailspin. The last few weeks have been bad; we expect the next few weeks to be unspeakable. Distraction in any form has never been more welcome.)
So, I found 3 pretty decent tickets and bought them.
And tonight we went.
When I was a kid, Alice Cooper was notorious. Between the make-up and the rumors of horrible things taking place at his shows, he was high on the list of reasons I was not allowed to listen to rock music.
(We all know how that ended. Eventually, I got Pandora's box open.)
Of course, I knew his radio hits, and liked most of them. But it never really occurred to me to go see him perform because, you know, Alice Cooper. About 20 years ago, I read a feature on him in the Wall St. Journal and was introduced to Alice Cooper, businessman, which intrigued me. And then a few years back, we happened to catch his radio show while we were driving somewhere, and he mentioned that he'd just discovered baby mice were called "mouse pups." You could hear the bemusement in his voice. It was epic. He couldn't stop saying "mouse pups." My kids were rolling around laughing in the back seat and even today, all you have to do is say "mouse pups" to one of the them and they dissolve into tears of mirth.
We weren't sure what to expect tonight, but I can tell you we were entertained. Several times, I looked over at the daughter who was sitting with eyes wide, hands over her mouth, shoulders heaving with laughter (She loved the song "Caffeine.") Theater macabre, plenty of music; it was the distraction we needed.
So if you get the chance, catch Alice Cooper live.
And tell him the mouse pups sent you.
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Yeah, it's time to get a new phone.

25 November 2013

That kind of day

22 November 2013
So far today:
Made a trip to Whole Foods (I go once every five years or so because I can blow my entire weekly shopping budget on cheese with hardly a blink. It's better I don't do this)
Fired my tree guy
Hired new tree guy
Told Pacific Symphony telephone harassment specialist telemarketer that I was cooking
Told second Pacific Symphony telephone harassment specialist telemarketer that I'd already given them money this year (truth! And they always try to get me to give them more)
Ate lunch (what I was cooking the first time Pacific Symphony called) with the daughter
Now thinking: nap
Even though I really should start doing laundry...
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. No, it's not raining. It's actually bright, sunny and rather cold.

22 November 2013

Portrait of a napkin as composed by the daughter

Santa Ana, California
15 November 2013

So, yeah.

Not a lot of words lately.

Life is more or less full throttle, but it's not full throttle adventure, it's full throttle work. There is plenty to write, but they aren't things I wish to write.

Last week, the daughter and I were the featured entertainment helped out at her school's preview day. Neither of us is really fond of speaking in front of an audience, so it tends to be a fairly exhausting process. For me, the difficulty comes in remembering to put the brakes on before I say something that shouldn't necessarily be said in public.

(Like "helicopter parents." Which I did say, though I firmly believed I'd only thought it. Le sigh.)

In any event, when all that finally finished, the spouse took the daughter and I out to lunch. And the daughter started messing with my phone, the result of which was a photograph of a napkin. You have her to thank for that.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

14 November 2013

The face of evil

14 November 2013

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPad.

13 November 2013

I count the days

The Other Direction
Santa Ana, California
13 November 2013

12 November 2013

Girls With Skills

Duct work
11 November 2013
This is, in fact, not a duct. It is a 2' x 3' x 6' plywood and foamcore box. The daughter and I built it over the weekend (with an occasional assist from the spouse when I couldn't roll around on the ground anymore) for filming that took place yesterday. The little gap on the left side was part of a flip-up door that enabled them to stick a camera in the side. I was beyond pleased with the result and apparently the dailies looked great.
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

09 November 2013

07 November 2013

Pale moon and mare's tail

Orange County, California
7 November 2013
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

04 November 2013

Time change

Santa Ana, California
4 November 2013

Falling back is right up there with the Santa Ana winds in my book.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

03 November 2013

La Catrina

Noche de Altares
Santa Ana, California
2 November 2013

There's a lot going on in this photo.

As I wrote last year, the daughter belongs to her school's chapter of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. This year as last, the chapter put together an altar for the local Día de los Muertos celebration, Noche de Altares. Unlike last year, this year's altar was intensely personal: it was dedicated to a young classmate who passed away in February. Like the best altars, it was sad and moving because it spoke of the loss of a young and talented boy, but there were also things that made you smile, like Chex Mix. So it was, as it was intended to be, a celebration of his life.

I left the daughter to her hour of attending the altar, and went in search of the spouse. We examined other altars and food stands and places selling t-shirts, listened to bands, and watched dancers. We picked up the daughter when her hour was up, and wandered about some more, waiting until the procession and lighting of the altars began.

And that's where the photo comes in. The procession was headed by the man who was carrying the cross covered in marigolds (or at least, paper flowers meant to look like marigolds) and he was followed by La Catrina , the skeleton dressed her in finery, carrying a candle along with her bouquet of flowers. She stopped at each altar and a representative of the altar lit a candle from her candle, and then used that taper to light whatever additional candles adorned the altar. And La Catrina moved on, followed by the musicians singing and playing in her wake.

The light was fading rapidly, and La Catrina moved as I snapped the photo, so she is blurred, while everyone around her is generally in focus. It makes her look even more otherworldly than she already did--whoever had the job never dropped out of character, and she was creepy. Quite perfect.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Although I was born on the east coast, I spent a significant part of my childhood in the desert southwest. In those days, I remember Día de los Muertos being more of a familial celebration than a community one. Of course for me, November 1 (All Saints Day) was just another day to be dragged to Mass.

02 November 2013

Noche de altares

Santa Ana, California
2 November 2013

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.