Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring break and random walks

Somehow I've managed to arrange a vacation this year, two weekends and a week of travel with family up north. It always takes days to get out of the work routine and to start experiencing things off that grid.

Match box cover
Our after work hikes are back on and this calls for more planning - San Gregornio, San Jacinto, and Mt. Whitney. Picked up Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: A History of Walking and revisited the section on walking clubs, especially interested in the Naturfrieunde (Nature Friends, motto "Berg Frei") founded in Vienna in 1895 and today one of the largest NGOs in the world. Militant leisure, working classes' access to nature, socialism, sustainable development, and rambling... living threads offering much to the inquisitive. German, Austrian and other Alpine immigrants brought the Nature Friends to the US in the early 1900's and today there are 4 locations in California being operated by them including right one in Los Angeles (actually Sierra Madre).

Der Grosse Sprung
Coincidentally I've been on a Bergfilme jag, watching Der Heilige Berg (1926) and Das Blaue Licht, with a handful of others in the queue (Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü, Der Grosse Sprung). Just an mild obsession with a gorgeous, obscure micro-genre.

Match box cover

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to blogging... Spring 2010

It's spring and this was the first weekend to enjoy the longer daylight thanks to the arrival of PDT. It was warmer than usual too it kept people guessing about the summer to come. But chores and errands called out so it was the long delayed haircut (I feel great afterward!), patio and yard clean-up, and a run to Sunset Nursery for herbs, vegetables and potting soil - all calculated to be completed BEFORE Sunday's LA Marathon and the anticipated disruption in local traffic.

It's been a busy year+plus since the last posting. My personal boiled-down power-point-bulleted resolution/mantra for 2009 was "Condition, Plan, Communicate." I definitely devoted time and made progress on the first two, not so much for the latter!

With all the opportunities to publish across multiple platforms (twitter, tumblr, facebook, etc) it's blogging diary style that still beckons and offers "long hand" thoughts.

Found a very, very long lost nephew in the last week and that increases a tiny family by another 5 so I can already declare 2010 a year of family. That plus multiple trips to Phoenix for a deathly ill cousin who is finally on the road to recovery.

Traveling across I-10 between Los Angeles and Phoenix exposes to some ample emptiness and draws me to maps. One such idle map exploration led me to Midland, CA, a ghost town to rival Trona (NOT a ghost town but candidate often enough). As with my general fantasy life about deserts, it's due to a childhood saturated with Twilight Zone episodes and B&W sci-fi movies like the Monolith Monsters. When I see roads heading off into the distance, distant desert peaks and a sprinkling of structures an image of the isolated desert town springs to mind. Check out this lovely still from the Monolith Monsters!

Top image by Eric Lusito from his book After The Wall: Traces of the Soviet Empire