Monday, September 30, 2013

Today's walk report: 093013

My left foot...

Hurts. I wanted to shortcut and in fact I did take a .85 km shortcut but decided to double up on the next street and make up for it. Some weird, self-imposed, tough it out, guilt thing. I suppose. Anyway, I'm overdue for d.i.y. home podiatry on my left foot. Basically this is shaving down calluses I get between the 4th and 5th (the "pinky") toes (inside both toes, they rub) and it's actually pretty challenging because I do this with a sterlized utility blade and have to shave down the 4th toe callus blind. It's impossible to see, I've tried all sorts of methods. Mirrors just make it confusing. It's real easy to make a bad cut. Gruesome, don't you think?

I had a day full of me saying out loud but only to myself and my cat Lucy, "wtf." Many times "wtf!" or even "WTF!!!" I won't explain. I needed the walk and the pain but now I need to relax, have dinner and watch the final episode of Breaking Bad before any more clues to the story "leak" to me.

Oh, when I walked into my bedroom/office here I found Lucy T. Cat going nuts after something. It was the second time today so I had a pretty good idea what it was. This one was just set free in the back yard and I hope it has some way of warning others of its kind about Lucy. If I'm not around they're going to lose a lot more than their tails. Funny, when I was a kid we used to go out and try and catch lizards to keep in little terrariums we made, now they live here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Today's walk report: 092913

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
~Shannon L. Alder~

I went to visit my mom's grave site today. Mostly because she hadn't been lowered into the ground last time I was there. That was for her graveside service back in March of this year. I picked the wrong day to do this. First of all it was hot. I was at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills from about 11 A.M. until 12:30 P.M. and while it wasn't as hot there and then as it ultimately got back here at home, 93º, it certainly wasn't comfortable. I also went on sort of a whim. I had been planning to do this for awhile but I didn't think too hard before walking out the door today. This lack of planning included my not having anything to eat before I left. That was a mistake. The good thing was Sunday, no traffic. The other bad thing was... a lot of people were being buried today and the people who were being buried apparently knew a lot of people to attend their last goodbye. Everyone looked the same too, people were confused as to which ceremony they were supposed to attend. So what did they do? They stopped their cars in the middle of the road and tried to figure stuff out from there. A very inappropriate setting to honk one's horn yet I was tempted.



She's just to the right of the base of the tree.

Which is at the lower end of this church courtyard.

About 90 meters from where my father is buried. My father's grave always makes me sad. He was so young. The tragedy of his death and my childhood memory of his funeral rush my emotions whenever I'm here. Today I kept moving, keeping reflection and remorse somewhat at bay.

My mother's mom only about 60 meters east of my dad. The three graves forming a triangle. Another tragic death, my grandmother taking her life at 64.

Her "view" of the church.

My next destination. The Old North Church, a precise replica of Boston's historic church, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride." The historical rooms have documents and mementos of the colonial period.

Just behind the church, across the road, The Court Of Liberty, featuring a statue of George Washington (which curiously has some weeds growing out the top of his head.)

From behind George, looking toward beautiful downtown Burbank and the Verdugo Hills.

Just behind me again, the memorial for actor Stan Laurel and behind that the Birth of Liberty mosaic. 49 meters long and 8.5 meters high, it is the largest historical mosaic in the United States. It has ten million pieces of Venetian glass and depicts twenty-five scenes of U.S. history from 1619-1787. It's also fenced off by construction work. There's a lot of that going on here right now.

In 1989 I did an article for the Italian magazine Gente (People) for a "day of the dead" article. I mentioned this before here. I used to know where dozens of celebrity graves were located at this cemetery but today I only vaguely knew and wasn't going to bother looking too hard. Besides there are probably 1/2 a dozen sites for finding these nowadays. There was a guy I was talking to just before I took this picture who was walking around using some site on his iPhone. Still, he couldn't find Buster Keaton and all I knew was he was close.

I'm not sure what the pennies are all about.

A huge pile of beautiful cut flowers awaiting disposal. I think this is all a horrible waste but I won't get further into that.

Looking toward Burbank, left to right NBC (below that Johnny Carson Park), Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, ABC Studios and Walt Disney Studios.

A lot of people had umbrellas to cover up from the noontime sun. I wonder what this woman was thinking.

Moving closer to the Burbank side of the cemetery. Bette Davis and family. My photo of her grave just one or two days after she was buried is my most popular image on Panoramio, currently having had 18,028 views.

A short hop behind Bette is Liberace.

Just around the bend, "Love's Messenger."

and directly across from her... these 3 seem embarrassed.

For perspective, here's a shot looking back to the Old North Church and George Washington. It's a big cemetery.

and turning around, I'm this much closer to the Disney water tower. Again, the Verdugo Hills, North  Burbank in the background.

Lots of transmission lines, antennas and dishes back-side of the Hollywood Hills. They don't allow this stuff in populated areas. Deer and lots of rabbits rule the cemetery at night.

I thought my car might stay cool if I parked under the Shade. I was wrong.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Today's walk report: 092813

S.O.S.D.D.? You decide...

I look for things which are new and hopefully interesting but there isn't a lot of variety in the walks for the most part and there's a lot of sameness from day to day.

Yesterday I had this same green lynx spider on this same bush but isn't this different? First round entering the garden. The spider has itself a bee neatly bound to a small cluster of flowers.

Then on the way out of the garden I decided to see if anything else had developed and found the spider busy wrapping up another bee trapped in its web. Along with that ants and some small flies were trying to get in on the action.

You can see one fly coming in from the lower left corner on the image above but here's a closer shot of the bee and the activity there. Parasite flies from the top and ants were moving in from below.

This Japanese couple have become regulars in the garden. Always dressed like this. My guess is they are both in their 70s. I spoke to the man one day when the lotus flower was in bloom. Very nice, a very pleasant gentleman.

This isn't a great shot. I didn't have time to try and get more DOF but it's interesting in that I hardly ever see a pair of hummingbirds resting together. Hummingbirds are very territorial so these are obviously mates.

Here's the bird in the shadows and out of focus in the above image taken moments earlier.

The equestrian unit. Who wants to ride #13 today?

I saw 3 or 4 red-tailed hawks mostly on lampposts as I circled the campus for the last 4.5 km of the walk. I say 3-4 because I think one of them may have been following me. This one certainly got a good look at me.

Losing the sun and wanting to get home before it got too dark. Could this be the same hawk? This is 500 meters from the previous shot but I think it might be the same bird.

8.46 km but I was out for almost 2.5 hours. It was a lovely walk. Thanks for coming along.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Today's walk report: 092713

Friday, 5:30 P.M., out the door and you know what that means?

It means people are insane. At 5:30 the people who are still on surface streets are either desperately trying to get on the freeway, they recently got off the freeway or, by whatever route they needed to take, are in close proximity to home and that first beverage they are so desperate to have after a long and trying work week. Am I exaggerating? A little but according to a 2012 Gallup poll, Americans' drinking habits held steady in the past year, with 66% saying they consume alcohol and drinkers consuming just over four alcoholic drinks per week, on average. Beer continues to be Americans' preferred drink, although wine remains a close second, with liquor favored by 22%.

By the way, alcoholics are chronic liars so if they were polled that skews the results immensely.

But aside from that people just want to get home and do whatever they do on weekends and that makes walking amongst them seriously challenging at times. Just take my word for it, everyone operating a motor vehicle on Friday evening between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00 P.M. is driving whacked out of their skull.

Even old ladies, so just watch it, ok?

Anyway, aside from second guessing drivers and dodging vehicles it was a nice walk onto the local college campus with not much going on in the garden or elsewhere.

More of the same old on hummingbirds but I have a confession to make about some of my hummingbird pictures and my probably mis-identifying several Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus)  as Allen's hummingbirds (Selasphorus sasin) from time to time. So I'm going to try and get that right. My "best of" the hummingbirds w.r. is here in case you missed it.  Most of the hummingbirds there which have tan feathering are Rufous, not Allen's.

For now on these I'm going to say both are Selasphorus rufus. A few problems I'm having are, doing this shit on the fly, not really caring that much and also other people mis-ID all the time so I can't always trust reference images. I do ultimately like to be accurate so I'll try to figure this out more precisely soon.

Then there was another one of these guys. Much more robust than the last one. This is another creature I was unsure of but now I'm positive it's a green lynx spider (Peucetia viridans). The plant might be Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii). I checked with my expert plant advisor on this one before and came up empty. I get really accurate on this stuff when there's a sign posted in front of the plant. The guy that maintains the garden told me someone stole the sign making machine some years back and they apparently couldn't budget for a new one.

It was windy by the way, getting this close with stuff swaying isn't the easiest.

That's all folks. Thanks, as always, for joining me on my walk. If you have a positive ID on something I screwed up on, or for any other reason, please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today's walk report: 092513

Chasing butterflies.

On several occasions this summer I spotted what I believe was the same Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus), typically from my office window or while attending to something outside around the house. I'd grab my camera and would follow the thing around, front to backyard, one side yard to the other but I only saw it land once and it was ridiculously far away for a good picture. When I was a kid we would see Tiger Swallowtails all the time. I'm a little shocked and dismayed over how few butterflies I see here now.

Today I found this about 1/2 a km in on my walk. This is a Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) and yes, quite obviously, it's dead.

Here's the underside...

I don't usually bring a DSLR with me on Mon-Thurs, neighborhood walks but today I did. Mostly because I was thinking I might catch a nice sunset and I did but I decided not to detour to a good photo op spot for pics. It would have added over 3 km and a hill I didn't feel like tackling.

More square pictures...

I cannot BELIEVE these chairs were FREE. I would like to see who was using each of these, just curious.

Intersections and three birds.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today's walk report: 092413

The short version...

I was looking for a photo I took on another walk which wasn't appropriate to take tonight, partly because it was getting too dark but it also would have meant going onto someone's property in the dark so the flash could fill. I don't do stuff like that. Anyway, I couldn't find it. As much as I think I know where things are photo management has become a bit unwieldy on this computer spread across 8 TB of drive space. I'm sure I could spend several days just organizing images. So, saving the idea for another day. There's not very much going on here which is ever preconceived but I'll tuck the idea away and we'll see.

Meanwhile, music was Peter Gabriel--Greatest Hits.

"Mercy Street" is a song written by Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So. The song deals with the life and conflicting emotions of the poet Anne Sexton, and makes frequent allusions to incidents from Sexton's life and a number of her poems, in particular the work 45 Mercy Street. Themes touched on in the song include suicide attempts, troubled parental relationships, a desire to become whole, attempting to come to terms with the past, and confessing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Today's walk report: 092313

Summer's back!

After a couple nice days with a high yesterday of 82º and the day before never going beyond the upper 70sº, we were back into 90ºs today with a high of 95.2º. One sort of learns to expect high temperatures here well into October... sort of. 'Big delay getting out and that meant most of the walk took place on relatively dark streets. Besides never putting sidewalks in for the neighborhood just south of me, most streets here have very few street lights and many of those are 70's-style high pressure sodium (HPS) lights which have a yellow-orange glow and don't really put out a lot of light. They're also kind of creepy.

So... I dressed for the occasion. I also bring a Cree light and I'm not afraid to use it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today's walk report: 092213

Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding.
~Xi Zhi~

That quote has nothing to do with any of this.

Another nice walk with great music but not much to record for here.

On my sunrise, Labor Day walk I mention this canned coffee I picked up from a vending machine that made me nauseous for a short while. Lo and behold today I found this about 50 meters from the machine I used last time. I need to pay better attention. As little as $1 for a "gourmet" coffee too!

So that's on my list for the next A.M. walk and with fall officially beginning today at 1:44 PM PDT I think some A.M. walks are in my near future.

This is my old buddy. This particular red-tailed hawk has appeared here before. Here's the last time and here's the time before that.

However, this time I spooked it from a lamppost over to this tree and found out it had another interest going on up there. Down below there was this one, considerably smaller and it seemed obviously paired in some way. I know that Buteo jamaicensis are monogamous and also territorial so I'm assuming these two are family. Because of the size difference I'm going to also assume this one is offspring as opposed to a mate.

 Art parking...