An omnibus of observations from the San Fernando Valley
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Lovely vintage postcards
On May 10th, 1948, a woman named Pearl wrote the following on the back of a postcard:
"Dear Hazel, well I am in Calif. but have had a cold ever since I came and am not so taken up with it but may later on. We have a nice home, the weather is not too warm, yet and we have rain now and then. How is Everett, well I will write you later and give you all the news. I may come back in July not sure yet. Well bye bye as ever, Pearl.
PS. I don't eat any more."
See more . . .
Nice summary posting of early photography over at Neatorama.
Monday, August 28, 2006
A brief history of celebrity
Modern-day celebrities are hard to avoid these days, and the stars of today are a far cry from their ancient counterparts. Read on . . .
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I just love this movie
The opening lines from Annie Hall:
There's an old joke. Uh, two elderly women are at a Catskills mountain resort, and one of 'em says: "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know, and such ... small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The-the other important joke for me is one that's, uh, usually attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think it appears originally in Freud's wit and its relation to the unconscious. And it goes like this-I'm paraphrasing: Uh ... "I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life in terms of my relationships with women.
Tsch, you know, lately the strangest things have been going through my mind, 'cause I turned forty, tsch, and I guess I'm going through a life crisis or something, I don't know. I, uh ... and I'm not worried about aging. I'm not one o' those characters, you know. Although I'm balding slightly on top, that's about the worst you can say about me. I, uh, I think I'm gonna get better as I get older, you know? I think I'm gonna be the- the balding virile type, you know, as opposed to say the, uh, distinguished gray, for instance, you know? 'Less I'm neither o' those two. Unless I'm one o' those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism. Sigh . . .
Saturday, August 26, 2006
A chewy yet flabby vintage
Friday, August 25, 2006
"[A]n artifact of such utter simplicity and perfection that it seems it must be either the first object or the last..." -William Gibson
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
A Matryoshka doll (Russian:Ð¼Ð°ÑÑÑÑÐºÐ° IPA: [mÊËtrÊ²oÊkÉ]) or a Russian nested doll is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside another. The plural form Matreshki should be used when referring to more than one doll and they are also called stacking dolls in the United States. Read on . . .
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Happy 50th, baseball caps
Monday, August 21, 2006
San Fernando Valley Days
"When I think of growing up in the Valley during the 1930s, I remember solitude: the lone sound of a train whistle disrupting the country stillness, the howl of a coyote, the solitary jackrabbit darting across my path and loping ahead as I biked to school over bumpy dirt roads."
Catherine Mulholland in California Childhood, 1988.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Choose your insect
The Talitha G.
Named after J. Paul Getty's second wife, the 263 foot Talitha was built in 1929. It underwent a major overhaul in the 1990s that added modern technological conveniences such as broadband access, VoIP, and satellite TV, yet preserved its original interior, complete with fireplace, Lalique glass doors, and wood inlay. More here.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Gaze upon the green
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Swirling vortex of doom
Early in the morning on November 21, 1980, twelve men decided to abandon their oil drilling rig on the suspicion that it was beginning to collapse beneath them. They had been probing for oil under the floor of Lake Peigneur in Louisiana when their drill suddenly seized up at about 1,230 feet below the muddy surface, and they were unable free it. In their attempts to work the drill loose, which is normally fairly easy at that shallow depth, the men heard a series of loud pops, just before the rig tilted precariously towards the water. Read on.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
40 square feet of fun!
This little trailer was inspired by the gypsy vardos of Europe and the shepherdsâ wagons of the American West. Inside there is a mobile office with a stainless steel counter and sink, a retractable table, four small closets, six linear feet of shelving and a stainless steel boat heater to keep things toasty. A bed roll can be tucked away in one of the closets for overnight stays. The Vardo is available as a set of plans, as well as a ready-made house. More here.
Monday, August 14, 2006
PARIS, August 14, 2006 â It was Balenciaga at double force: Nicolas GhesquiÃ¨re's young sassy model, in her amazing wardrobe of short, molded flimsy flowered-head wrap with stand-away collars, rounded leggings and mind-blowingly wrought salmon evening dress radiates a powerful modernity.
Elevating his model to a towering height with a vertiginous flower hat contrasted with a droopy toy parachute, GhesquiÃ¨re's vision creates extraordinary volumes and new proportions using fabrics that are rarely seen outside haute couture.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
San Fernando Valley Signage 2
That doesn't look light a happy clown to me. More info. on the Circus Liquor sign here.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
May I take your order?
E-mail spam as a masterpiece in the making
From the Christian Science Monitor:
A Romanian artist uses special algorithms to turn the text of unsolicited e-mail into digital images.
When Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu looks at junk e-mails, he sees patterns - bits and bytes that can be manipulated into colorful plantlike images or stark architectural forms.
As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, he and fellow student Tim Jaeger collected spam and used it to create live multimedia shows of sound, text, and animation - "like a VJ and DJ performance," Mr. Dragulescu says in a phone interview.
Computer languages and algorithms are ubiquitous in our lives, but they're hidden, Dragulescu says, so his projects are intended to "expose" them. "Spam was this material that was discarded and hated by everybody. It was good material for us ... and then I said, 'What else can I do with this?' "
He started feeding messages into a plant-generating algorithm. "I have certain key words controlling, for example, the size.... Like, how many times is 'Viagra' in the text, and maybe it will control the size of the petals."
Just as a painter adds layers, Dragulescu tries different ways of "mapping" messages until he's satisfied with the resulting images.
One that looks like a crop of blue-topped glowing parsnips, came from a message that included strings of words - "Valor, Xray, Vitality, Supa, Amor, Philosophy, moo!!" - and even more random-seeming texts like "ThreadIndex:AcTvBtvuTKhRDcWvRGOd7oYCKcKsmg...."
Even if a spam message is short, it contains a "header" with hidden information - the server that sent the message and the time of day it was generated, for instance.
Dragulescu's program uses the numbers that identify the server to determine the color scheme of the plant images. The time the message was sent sets the age of the plant and therefore how long the petals, twigs, or leaves will grow.
Dragulescu earned his master of fine arts degree last year, and now he's manager of the Experimental Game Lab at UCSD's Center for Research in Computing and the Arts.
Recently he generated digital images from Mozart's music as part of a commemoration of the composer's 250th birthday. "People are very surprised to see data translated like that.... As technology progresses, the way we make art changes," he says.
Dragulescu's father is a nuclear physicist, but he also nurtured a love of culture and the arts in his children.
"I've always been at home either in the sciences or the arts," Dragulescu says.
Indeed, the current problem he's working on is how "to have a more thorough, scientific approach" to his digital art. He wants to create a program that's intelligent enough to discern emotions expressed in a text. "For example, anger or sadness - can you have a program that detects that and makes an artistic gesture based on that?" he wonders.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Let's head for the trees!
Uses for these durable Spheres are limited only by ones imagination. Healing, meditation, photography, canopy research, leisure and game watching are just some of the things you could do.
Monday, August 07, 2006
But you've never heard Gershwin with Bongos!
Spiegel Catalog 1969, Part 2
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Graphics & illustration exhibitions
Some really wonderful exhibitions at the LA Public Library:
Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay
This exhibit is on view from June 3, 2006 through August 28, 2006 at Central Library's Getty Gallery, Second Floor.
Artistry of the Orange: California Vintage Fruit Crate Labels
This exhibit is on view from May 6, 2006 through January 7, 2007 at Central Library's First Floor Galleries.
Treasures of Los Angeles
Central Library, The Annenberg Gallery, Ongoing.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
$4300? But it's beautiful. Isn't it?
Following his training as a naval architect at Newcastle University, David Trubridge has worked as a furniture designer/maker for 22 years. More here.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Lawn Chair. Literally.
How much oxygen did your furniture produce today? In our version of the future, the things we loaf about on indoors will be as beneficial as the stuff that grows out back. In the meantime, sculpt lawn furniture from the lawn itself. Unlike your standard-issue sofa, this lush greenery is totally organic, requires no synthetic finishes, and can be brought to life, Golem-style, from salvaged dirt. St. Augustine tiles create a seamless, living upholstery, or try wheatgrass for a durable alternative. Ask your nursery about planting tips unique to your sod. Note: Couch may require mowing.
Reddy the Woollyhoodwink
Woollyhoodwinks are cuddly woodland creatures made lovably real in select woolen fabrics. The 'Hoodwinks are handmade, so each one is completely unique. Woollyhoodwinks come packaged in their own 'tree' with special surprises! All Woollyhoodwinks, by their nature, are pranksters of one sort or another. The capricious Reddy is infamous as the wild one amongst the 'Hoodwinks. Made in the USA.
Not recommended for little people who like to chew on plastic eyes. Polyfill stuffing.
Custom colors are available
The first cat house made entirely of hand blown glass. The shape of the house offers cats the comfort of private space. The transparency of the glass allows the cat to feel secure and always be aware of its surroundings. A sheepskin throw at the bottom of the house provides warmth and comfort year-round. Solo is $2,400 and is available in transparent red and transparent smoke. Custom colors are available.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Colonial mansion . . .
It's 111 degrees at our San Fernando Valley house today. How does that compare to the statistics? Here are the average temperatures from the Valley over the last 5 years (collected by Pierce College).
Bottom line, the best months to visit here are March through May and October through November. December through February is rainy and, AS IS NOW SO APPARENT, June through September is hot, hot, hot.
Nov. 13, 1913
On Nov. 13, 1913, all eyes were on the first Sierra Nevada water to arrive in the Valley through William Mulholland's aqueduct. The original cascade remains in use beside Interstate 5 in Sylmar, below a newer channel.
More here . . .
Monday, July 17, 2006
Lawnchair at 3 miles up
On July 2nd, 1982, Larry Walters tied 42 helium-filled balloons to a Sears lawn chair in the backyard of his girlfriendâs house in San Pedro, California. With the help of his ground crew, Larry then secured himself into the lawn chair which was anchored to the bumper of a friendâs car by two nylon tethers. He took with him many supplies, including a BB gun to shoot out the balloons when he was ready to descend. His goal was to sail across the desert and hopefully make it to the Rocky Mountains in a few days. But things didnât quite work out for Larry. After his crew purposely cut the first tether, the second one also snapped which shot Larry into the LA sky at over 1,000 feet per minute. So fast was his ascent that he lost his glasses. He then climbed to over 16,000 feet. For several hours he drifted in the cold air near the LA and Long Beach airports. A TWA pilot first spotted Larry and radioed the tower that he was passing a guy in a lawn chair at 16,000! Larry started shooting out a few balloons to start his descent but had accidentally dropped it. He eventually landed in a Long Beach neighborhood. Although he was entangled in some power lines, he was uninjured.