Friday, March 19, 2010

Anna Feris Day

I decided to make this "Anna Feris Day" on my blog.  So there!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Doggie Kingdom

I was talking with a woman in my neighborhood today about our dogs.  In the conversation, I discovered that her dog, like mine, is a sweet and loyal spirit, waiting all day for her to get home from work, patiently readying for his late afternoon or early evening walk.

And yet when bedtime comes, the dog becomes the dominant organism on the bed with the human an inconsequential happenstance.

A time-laps camera would be appropriate here. One could turn it on when going to bed showing the pet in his proper place near one’s feet or side.  Then as the night deepened, the dog would be seen in this time-laps to gradually move inward and upwards towards the center.  He would end up taking over all movable space, forcing the arms and legs of his master out of the bed covers.

The final frame would show the dog belly-up, all four legs in the air, teeth exposed from gravity and splayed in the bed’s central sweet-spot, with a human or two twisted near the periphery.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I was thinking about meteors today and how we kind of go through our day-to-day lives forgetting how every once in a while an occurrence that’s huge or strange happens to the earth. 

Meteors are just so “out there” aren’t they?  Huge rocks floating through space, sometimes hitting the earth.  The one that seems to have extinguished the dinosaurs was something like six miles in diameter and hit the earth at 40,000 miles per hour.  Man, that’s a big impact, and a big splash!

I read somewhere that in the year 2850 or so, there’s a pretty big one headed our way again, though not as big as the Yucatan-impact meteor.  We all may have moved on by then.

But what would it be like, if maybe we had one that wasn’t too big, but still big enough to create quite a scene, like a rock 50 feet in diameter hitting the ocean outside the Santa Monica bay in the middle of the afternoon?   

You’re laying on your towel getting some sun on a Saturday, and a bright light comes down out of the sky at seems to impact the ocean 300 miles out.   Maybe you’d see a huge column of spray and fire slowly rises from the ocean’s horizon.  Then, within a half hour, people would be evacuated from the coastal areas for the inevitable tsunami that would be arriving.

The earth seems so peaceful in its natural state, and yet some really big things have happened in it’s history, the size of which, we could not begin to imagine.

Here’s a cool shot below by a woman in Colorado who had a camera in the 1970’s and caught a meteor skimming the surface of our atmosphere.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Adjusting to Change

I witnessed two blaring examples of people having to adjust to change quickly today.

They have repainted the lanes of a main street in my neighborhood called Verdugo. The thoroughfare was a four-lane road until about a four days go when the street was reconfigured to include a bicycle lane, thus leaving one lane in each direction for cars.

I have been noticing that since this change, drivers have been doing everything but heeding the new rules. They have been trying to sneak in the right car-pool lane to pass other cars, then tear over back into the single lane, and they have been getting confused on where to make their right and left turns. There is also a new center turning median.

The evidence of this interruption of routine is broken glass and pieces of fenders up and down the street. There have been several accidents as a result of this simple change, and I even witnessed a hit and run the other day of someone trying to get around the new rules. I luckily got the complete license plate of the suspect vehicle and called the Burbank Police with all of the info.

I am not saying that I accept change any easier then others, in fact I have a track recording of resisting change and adapting to it at my own speed, which is usually slower than others. But this lane thing on Verdugo is pretty simple; not rocket science. It’s clearly marked and therefore, I find it to be an interested micro-sociological study of the lack of adaptation skills that drivers seem to have.

The second adjustment to change that I witnessed today, a horrible one, was during the funeral of a six-year-old boy that Brenda and I went to. Just last Tuesday, he fell out of a 2nd story town home window down to the parking garage ramp below and had died within hours of his fall. I can think of no more excruciating thing than to bury one’s own child, and adjusting to the changes would seem nothing short of impossible to me.

At the funeral service, the mother spoke, followed by the father. This man, a tall, large-framed gentleman, who looked to be otherwise unmovable, couldn’t get his words out as he spoke. He was so pained by the loss of his only son, that at the end, sobbing, he was losing his ability to stand, and two people had to support him off of the stage. I have never witnessed such pain before today. I thought he was courageous and strong for getting up to say some emotional words about what his son had meant to him. I cried as he spoke.

I was also affected by the number of children, 2nd graders, who came up and told of their friendship and feelings of loss of their beloved friend. The clarity and purity of their words of love and affection were unrivaled by any adult speaker in the room. The most heart-wrenching moment was when a little overweight, fair-skinned boy came up to the microphone with his father in tow. He started to speak of how much he cared for Dylan, that was the boy’s name who has passed, and this little speaker started wailing and crying so hard, that his large father, who was standing behind him, began to cry as well.

My heart goes out to all of those who were in Dylans life and who have to somehow find the ability to adjust to his loss.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Fred Sunday

I have been working non-stop for weeks. Today, I slept in and woke from my slumber refreshed and happy to see a spring day outside. After resetting my clocks forward, I went to Griffith Park and ran 10 miles, then came home, picked up my girlfriend and our dog, and then went to the local handy-market.

We ordered sandwiches made and then drove up to Wildwood Canyon near Castaway Restaurant. We found nice picnic areas next to a babbling brook up the canyon and set out a blanket and ate our sandwiches with our dog pleading for morsels.

We then hiked up to the top of the hill top arm about 500 feet above where we had a 1000 foot-high view of the San Fernando Valley below. We found some wooden benches on a perch that allowed us a grand view West to Calabasas, South to Catalina, and South East past downtown to some hills probably in Orange County. It was a spectacularly relaxing hour we spent up there enjoying the sunshine.

After descending back down to where our car was parked, we played with our dog in the brook where it was cool and refreshing.

Ah, what a Sunday!

An Abstract Lesson in Modifiers...Dangling

I saw the car peeking through the window.
The car, peeking through the window, I saw.
Through the peeking window, the car I saw.
The car, peeking through the window, saw I.
Peeking through the window I saw the car.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“C" as in....“Community”

Something has always remained in my mind that I thought was funny.  Do you know when you are spelling something on the telephone, and certain letters sound like other letters?  An “n” could sound like and “m,” and a “p” could sound like a “t.”

I was working very briefly for a courier service down in Mar Vista.  This must have been in the early 1990’s.  This was before there were cell phones in normal distribution.  So we had to receive most of our instructions from our dispatcher either via pay phone or a radio given to us by the dispatching office.

In between runs, some of us would wait at the office if it was slow and just talk with the dispatcher.  This one time, one of the drivers was calling in by radio trying to get an address right.  He was saying the letters of the street, followed by a familiar word to help the dispatcher confirm the letters.

In his street name, he had an “i” and a “c” somewhere in the middle, and bless this guy, but he just got stuck with them, hesitating over the radio, and finally said, “i” as in.... “intelligent,” and “c” as in….. “community.”

I couldn’t help chuckling to myself and wondering why, out of all of the simple-to-understand words there are in the English language, he picked two clunky four-syllable words.

I made a vow to myself to never let myself get stuck in this way.  It may seem funny, but if one were in a really critical emergency situation, this could be a major waste of time, or a hesitation that would allow a criminal to get away, such as in not being able to read off a license plate quickly to a police officer.

I thought about the most effective way of learning simple words for each letter of the alphabet and recalled that police departments, though efficient, have various names for letters depending on the police department or the area of the country.

I came to the conclusion that the best way would be to use the aviation words for each letter of the alpha-bet.  Here they are: