Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Traitor In My Own Midst - Thursday 4/19/2007

It's never easy, but it happens in the best of relationships. Familiarity breeds not so much contempt as apathy.

So it has come to this at last: diner infidelity.

I have consorted with a different 24-hour diner. And I have enjoyed it.

I just can't get it up for the huge pool of oatmeal at Bob's right now. The Coral Cafe offers whole grain pancakes, Mexican specialties and another couple of pages I didn't even get to.


Also, it's easier to concentrate when you don't have to say hello to everyone. I am just too friendly. And Grumps said something the other day that ticked me off. Not that he's there every day anymore because one of the waitresses insulted him and he's now going to Lancer's most of the time.

See what I mean though? Six months and the honeymoon is over.

On a lighter note, work has eased up so OneL and I went shopping during lunch yesterday. I found these fun shoes.

No, really! They are fun. See? They have already inspired me to lie on my back on the floor with my feet in the black office chair in order to take this--shall we say frisky?--photograph.

Tell me that's not fun.

Street Art - Wednesday 4/18/2007

Is that a drawing of Veronica Lake on an electrical box on Highland Avenue?

I think so.

Hey Diddle Diddle - Tuesday 4/17/2007

Staying at Braveheart's is one big photo op every time. What a wonderful environment she has created in and around her home!

Thank goodness for my writing group. Seriously, folks, you couldn't ask for a more intelligent, creative, talented and caring circle of friends.

Braveheart could tell I was keyed up as soon as I got to her house. I'd had a pretty much horrific writing date with myself in the previous two-hours, during which I hadn't made any progress. We split a Blue Moon beer with tangerine segments in the bottom of the glasses and talked about some of the issues that came up regarding things I'd written for the novel during NaNoWriMo which were blown out of the water by what I saw in Death Valley last weekend. She helped with the issue we discussed.

During check-in at our writing group I enthused about the cool and helpful things I learned over the weekend. But when we wrote for half an hour I found myself reworking one paragraph over and over. I finally wrote about a page and a half, but usually I get 5-8 pages during a writing exercize of this length.

The upshot is that I was able to vent my fears and get talked down from the precipice of my doubts. Good advice from all. The reality can only serve the story. If absolute realism has to take a backseat to a good story, it's worth it. (I can make my apologies in author's notes, if need be.) And that if you hold onto a thing too tightly, it can't breathe.

Oh yeah. Good stuff. I left feeling relieved and not at all embarassed about taking up everyone's time. Now that is a gift.

I do believe that I can build this book.

But if anyone wants to clap their hands like for Tinkerbell, that's okay, too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mediterranean via Acton - Monday 4/16/2007

One is compelled to wonder just how this boat ended up in a storage lot in downtown Acton. A lot of things are filmed out here (like CSI, and Numb3rs, and The Riches recently), but there's not a whole lot of water.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Wildrose Experience - Sunday 4/15/2007

Okay, so Sunday was very exciting. The main reason we came up for this weekend was to check out some sites that so captured my imagination when Mom and I came to Death Valley in October 2006 that I set my entire NaNoWriMo 2006 novel there. The central characters become stranded in a canyon after a flash flood.

We stopped by the ranger station at Furnace Creek and boy were the rangers wonderful. Talked to four who were amazingly helpful and of course knowledgeable. This photo of a photo is a little hard to make out, but it's a car filled with debris from the August 15, 2004 flash flood in which two people died. One ranger told us that this is not the car in which anyone died but that the car was similarly filled with rocks and mud.

Talking to the rangers was thrilling. They confirmed some things I'd imagined and corrected some things I'd wrongly assumed. But mostly it was confirmed that the central concept is realistic. AVV was an amazing resource for recent real-life stories that support my idea.

In a bold illustration of how people will get cocky and do ill-advised things, we drove into Emigrant Canyon with rain behind us. I took notes on my thoughts about doing exactly what we'd been told wasn't wise, and how we talked ourselves into it.

Wildflowers along the way.

This slab of rock fell from this cliff and shattered part of the concrete floor the former Wildrose Station, which I originally thought was the site of a gold processing mine. I received this information from AVV in an email: "Actually, that floor is from the former Wildrose Station
which had a small cafe, bar and cabins until it was torn down in the early
1970s. More recently we had installed an interpretive sign at the site. It
was crushed by the rockfall."

Even more interesting, especially since that means the rock fell very very recently, geologically speaking!

Members of Franklin Stove will take special note of the unique color!

Driving Down a Mile - Saturday 4/14/2007

A few miles from the peak at Towne's Point, looking back over the Panamint Mountains to the Eastern Sierras, where I think you can see Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous U.S.

These are pretty much self-explanatory. Driving down into Death Valley on the 190. Hydra was particularly excited about the idea of driving down a mile.

There's a marker on the cliff wall behind this that shows where sea level is. Impressive. But not easy to photograph in a meaningful way.

Death Valley Days - Saturday 4/14/2007

Oh boy, was it windy in Death Valley on Saturday. Here you see the sand being picked up from the dunes near Stovepipe Wells. I was disappointed that we didn't have clear skies for Hydra's first visit here. The colors usually just pop.

Palm trees outside the restaurant at Furnace Creek. Honestly, I was not too keen about getting my camera out in all that flying grit. We hiked a fraction of the amount of time we'd expected to, and were physically blown back a bit by the tremendous winds when we did.

CSI: Death Valley! When we came out of the restaurant it looked like someone had dusted the Tahoe for prints.

Took a break to watch the sunset from the little patio outside our room at the Longstreet Inn, just across the border in Nevada. It's only about 35 miles from Furnace Creek and a good option for a room if the valley is all booked up (like it was this weekend).

We took in Marta Beckett's show at the Amargosa Opera House. She has perfected The Sitting Down Show, in which she tells the history of the opera house. She will have been there for 40 years come August!

I know I've said it before, but if you can get there during her October-May season, do it. If you can't, rent Amargosa. It's available on Netflix.

Randsburg Revisted - Saturday 4/14/2007

On our way to Death Valley, Hydra and I stopped for a Cherry Bomb (cherry ice cream soda) at the 100-year-old soda fountain at the General Store in Randsburg. Took this shot through the back window of a Model-T (or A?) that sits off the street there.

Detail of the back wheel.

I took about 290 photos over the weekend, so figuring out which to post is a bit of a challenge!