California’s Drought, 2014

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 25, 2014:

California is pumping itself dry.  As the drought deepens, desperate farmers are turning to groundwater, using the supply at nearly double the normal rate. It’s a short-sighted practice that needs thought and planning, not the open-tap treatment groundwater now gets.

*     *     *

In ever-watchful California, groundwater is an oddity, unmetered and uncontrolled, with landowners free to pump without limit.  This is the only state to take such a laissez-faire attitude, a vestige of the Gold Rush era.

As the drought heads into its third year, the policy is a disaster. Groundwater now accounts for 60 percent of the water usage, up from 40 percent. Well drillers are among the busiest workers in farm country, as agriculture pushes ever deeper to supplemental supplies.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Heat (August 2014)

Seven-hundred dead in Chicago in 1995.  Fifty-thousand across Europe in 2003. Eleven thousand in Russia in 2010. Heat waves have become hotter, longer and more frequent in recent decades, and scientists predict that climate change and the growth of cities — which trap heat — will boost body counts.

But what if we could see the heat coming ahead of time?

From “Red Alert”, by Ariel Sabar, Smithsonian Magazine, September 2014

A Dream

Oh Lord, it is soooo hot.

Self was driving madly around LA just a few days ago, and now she is home.

But it is just as hot as it was in LA. With the added bother that much of her garden looks ready to expire and it is hard to water because it is so hot. Not to mention that there is a drought so one should really NOT be watering.

Self has not found time to search for more photographs on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  FRAY. She commonly writes four or five posts on the week’s theme, but so far this week she’s only written one.

She peruses other bloggers’ sites and found this series of pictures of lightning (which frays the sky? She guesses that must have been what the blogger was thinking) which were interesting.

Oh Lord, her arm hurts. Is practically stiff from all the commenting on student pieces.

Last night she dreamt (or was it really happening?) that she was experiencing a terrific pain in her chest. Then her Altima plunged off a pier and straight into some water, and very slowly disappeared. With herself in it. So that means she died. End of story! The dream continued, though. She was inexplicably able to move through space as if she were alive. What does that mean? It was all confusing as heck.

Then she went to Barnes & Noble, where it was very airconditioned, and she couldn’t find any books by Shusako Endo or Jim Crace or Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. She took so long searching the book aisles that by the time she returned home, The Man was home. He always parks so snugly, almost blocking her access to the only driveway. Seems almost like a challenge, the way he parks. She’s tried to figure out the motivation, but so far it has eluded her. Couldn’t he move forward, even just a foot. It would seem so much more polite. Self thinks: if Nicky Loomis were here, she would certainly make of this a story.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2nd Thursday of August (2014): A Poem By Joan McGavin

Met Joan McGavin two years ago, in Hawthornden (where she also met Jenny Lewis; and Alison Amend; and Hamish) and had many wonderful adventures which she looks back on with fondness.

Joan is expecting her first grandchild very soon. Self thought of her today while having her car washed: the Auto-Pride on Woodside Road has a great gift shop, with all manner of gift cards. Self chose one with a cheerful yellow envelope and a parade of babies on the front.

Joan is currently the Hampshire Poet of 2014 and is organizing the Winchester Poetry Festival and is mega-busy.

Her collection, Flannelgraphs, was published by Oversteps Books.

Self likes this poem in particular because she’s just finished writing a short story called “The Freeze.”

New Skills

for the globally warmer world
will include flood wading
taught by out of work
circus performers
ex-stilt walkers
acrobats and the like.

Anger management
will be increasingly called for
with levels of overcrowding
making those living
jowl by cheek
more and more likely
to go for the jugular
of their nearest neighbours.
Our tutors are tried and tested.

Tear control –
though not strictly part of our current
Adult Education provision –
is an old skill;
revision, one-day courses
will be offered
by our highly qualified staff
of tsunami victims.
Haitians.

Joan speaks so pointedly, though softly.

Stay tuned.

“How To Train Your Dragon 2″

Today, self was where she usually is in the summer:  watching a movie!

Her face is so familiar to all the concession stand people at the downtown Redwood City Century 20 that she regularly gets asked:  “So what movie are we seeing today?” And then she gets to hear what they think, if they’ve seen the movie already.

Today she saw “How To Train Your Dragon 2.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Contrasts 8: Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in the City.  Self was there to have dinner with friends at Roam Artisan Burgers on Fillmore Street.  It just so happened to be the last day of the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Since the theme for this week’s Photo Challenge is the same as last week’s — CONTRASTS — self chose shots where the contrast between light and shadow, or the contrast between two different colors, was most dramatic.

The perfect place to watch the Fillmore Jazz Festival:  Roam Artisan Burgers, 1923 Fillmore Street.

The perfect place to watch the Fillmore Jazz Festival: Roam Artisan Burgers, 1923 Fillmore Street.

Most of Fillmore Street was closed for the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Most of Fillmore Street was closed for the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

The colors of this poster are so vibrant -- like the jazz festival itself.

The colors of this poster are so vibrant — like the jazz festival itself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Because July 4, 2014 Is Just Around the Corner

The Fourth of July is one of self’s faaaaavorite holidays, for many reasons:  the red, white and blue!  The parades!  The picnics!  The fireworks!  The summer heat (if a parade takes place in less than scorching weather, it’s not really a parade, in self’s humble opinion)! The crowds! The mood!  The retro rock music!

In honor of this year’s holiday (which falls on a Friday, thus making the weekend a three-day, which means everyone — those getting away as well those doing staycations — is in a mellow mood), the Wall Street Journal asked six Americans — a potter; a world-champion swimmer; a novelist; a fashion designer; a CEO; and a performance artist for their own particular takes on the concept of “Independence.”

Here’s what the novelist, Richard Ford, has to say:

Independence contains the seeds of drama — the very thing a novelist is looking for — because it always implies independence away from something.  It also confers consequence on a person and a complex sense of interiority, which are also things that novelists are interested in.  But does it confer strength or powerlessness?  That question is part of the American narrative.  A month before my novel Independence Day was published, I threw out the ending and wrote a new one, which we used, in which my protagonist, Frank, is standing beside a Fourth of July parade as it marches down the street and feeling the urge to join in.  Whether or not I knew it before I started the book, I knew then for certain that the real virtue of independence was the degree to which it allows you to join the human race, rather than stand apart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge is “Between.”

Here are two shots self took today, because she was thinking of the challenge:

Claremont, CA:  Downtown Farmer's Market

Claremont, CA: Downtown Farmer’s Market

DSCN6227

Self loves the apple cider and always gets some every time she visits son.

She’s also bought things from the spice vendor.  And Jennie gets hummus and other salads from a Mediterranean food vendor.

Self decided to throw in a picture from when she was doing a residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in May.  She was looking for shots of “between” that represented actual spatial demarcations:  between stalls at a farmers market or between walls or between earth and sky.  She looked through a whole lot of her Ireland pictures before settling on this one.  She was going to say it was an example of “between earth and sky.”  But now she thinks, not really.  It’s more of the way sunlight breaks through the clouds on a typical Irish spring day.

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Extra Extra 6: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self really loves this week’s Photo Challenge, it has been so much fun analyzing which pictures have that something “extra.”  Not to mention how much fun it is to look at the way other bloggers’ have interpreted the theme.

A beautiful photo is one thing, but a photo with an unexpected detail has personality and pop. — WordPress Daily Post prompt for this week’s Photo Challenge, EXTRA EXTRA

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California.  Francesca wants to be an opera singer.

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California — practically in self’s backyard! Francesca wants to be an opera singer.  The “Extra” in the shot:  The fact that instead of looking at the tourist sites the bus was passing, self spent most of her time gabbing to K and F.  Their smiles are beautiful, don’cha think?  Their next stop was Berlin.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin.  The "Extra" is the clear blue sky.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin. The “Extra” is the clear blue sky.

Lincoln's Inn, Dublin:  Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.

Lincoln’s Inn, Dublin: Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.  The “Extra” in the shot is the glass of wine. Self drained the glass to the last drop.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

First Saturday in June (2014): Reading The Guardian On the Train From Cork

The Guardian really likes Tom Cruise.  Self remembers reading rave reviews for some movie he did two years ago (“Oblivion”?), and now they’ve given “Edge of Tomorrow” (a kind of “Groundhog Day”/ science fiction mash-up) a positive review. OK, mebbe self is confusing The Guardian with CinemaBlend.com?  Here, anyway, is the link to The Guardian review.

Self is back in Dublin.  The train trip from Cork was very long.

Yes, she’s just been taking lightning trips all over Ireland.

Today was a beautiful day.  Not even the smallest cloud in the sky.

She met a Read the rest of this entry »

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