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Archive for February, 2014

Rain, Glorious, Rain — End of the Day for February 26, 2014

February 26th, 2014 Comments off

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The sound of rain on the roof of the high ceiling of my home office was a welcome one when it arrived earlier this evening. Rain, especially here in California, is life. It keeps the garden alive. It keeps our water prices down (somewhat) and it washes away a lot of the grit and grime the other 9 months of year when rain is not only scarce but in most years non-existent.

Rain glorious rain

There is little chance that this rain will end our drought, but it will get us a little closer to normal rainfall and that might be the best we can hope for.

Here in Southern California we have a love/hate relationships with rain. We need it desperately but the issues it can cause often lead us to fear its arrival. Driving and traffic can get quite screwed up when it rains. People seem to forget how to drive in the rain from one season to the next. Solo spinouts, read-end collisions and even some rollovers are typical. I have seen some fairly crazy crashes in my time here, rivaling even the ice and snow skidding of my Ohio childhood. For my own part, all of the collisions I have been involved in happened on dry roads, so danger lurks at all times of the year.

We can also have issues with mudslides, especially in years where we have had many fires in the surrounding hillsides. As far as I remember, though, the number of fires has been relatively low this year. Still, it doesn’t take much rain to make the barren hillsides start to feel the effects of gravity and head downhill. The more rain, the more lubrication the mudslide has, the more momentum it gathers and the more material it can carry. I can’t say I have ever seen a mudslide unclose, although I did once come upon a house-sized boulder that had recently toppled on to Topanga Canyon Road when I was returning from Malibu, one rainy day. The videos I have seen of mudslides are terrifying enough to make me never want to be too close to one.

Rain in the Garden Video from 2013

Rain montage video from 2010

As you can tell from these videos, I am always interested when the rain arrives and usually find some way of capturing it . If it is still raining tomorrow (which the forecast calls for), I’ll probably record something, too. These are nice videos to watch on those 100+ degree days the come for weeks at a time in the heights (or depths) of a Southern California Summer.

Don’t hate the rain. Slow down when you’re driving. Stay home when you can. Stand outside and watch it come down for a while. Revel in the rain for it will be gone much too soon.


Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio via Instagram

February 26th, 2014 Comments off

Small Town California – End of the Day for February 25, 2014

February 25th, 2014 Comments off

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Coming from a small town, I still look for various small town festivals, tours, and events. I was flipping through the latest issues of Westways magazine (from the AAA) and at the end of each issue they list just these types of events for LA and surrounding counties.I always end up marking a few possibilities in the list, but lately I haven’t been able to attend very many. Life is busy and setting aside time for even a full day away can be tricky when you are trying to sync 3 different calendars and all the activities of those involved.

Some of the items I marked this month are:

  • Trona Centennial
  • Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour
  • Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival
  • Carpenteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour
  • Morro Bay  AAUW  Garden Tour

Over the years, I have developed a few places I like to visit at any time of the year, just to get out of the big city. These include:

  • Ojai, California
  • Idyllwild, California
  • Mono Lake, California (and vicinity)
  • BIg Bear Village/Lake Arrowhead, California
  • Tehachapi, California
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Jerome, Arizona
All of these provide just what I need when the city gets to be a bit too much. If you are looking for a little bit of small town California, you really can’t go wrong with these places. There are a host of others, of course, so seek out your favorites (and share them with me!)
Idyllwild Christmas
Christmas Time in Idyllwild, California
High in the mountains above Big Bear Lake with the Jackels

Tehachapi Loop
The Tehachapi Loop

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Travel, Writing Tags:

Photos: Animated GIFs from Providence High School Musical – Urinetown

February 25th, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Dinner at Friend’s House via #instagram

February 25th, 2014 Comments off
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In sickness and in health – End of the Day for February 24, 2014

February 24th, 2014 Comments off

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The Winter colds have arrived, but I hope that I remain cold-free for at least a little while. Joseph was home with the typical sinus and sore throat complaint, like a lot of other kids and adults. I have noticed that since I had my gall bladder out and lost some weight I seem to be a little less susceptible to colds and such. Unfortunately, this seems to be offset by a higher incidence of allergy trouble. I never really had much problem with that in the past, but it seems I have grown more sensitive as I have grown older.

Of course, with the boy home from school, work didn’t proceed as normally as I would have hoped. I got a lot done, including a question and answer video for a UCLA Extension Voiceover class and my usual, weekly Career Opportunities podcast, but other things had to be set aside. I made us a great big pot of spicy ramen using somen noodles and some do the pulled pork we had left over. Add in a little creole spice mix and it was a great comfort to both of us. I am hope Joe can get back to school tomorrow as it is also an important day of rehearsal for the musical along with all his usual school work.

Recipes in Rotation: Tuscan Sausage and Potato Soup - 1

Not tonight’s ramen, but another one of my warming and comforting soups from dinners past

Recipe: Tuscan Sausage and Potato Soup

Meanwhile I will cross my fingers and toes, drink a little more OJ than usual and make sure U get a bit more sleep, just to stave off anything that might be in the air. For me, I often catch things worse than the original recipient as my immune system seems less capable of fighting stuff off.

They are predicting cooler temperatures and rain from Wednesday though Sunday, so I am also thinking it might be a great time to curl up, hunker down and let the storm (in all its forms) pass on by.


Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Food, Recipe, Writing Tags:

All the world’s a stage – The Magic of Theater — End of the Day for February 23, 2014

February 23rd, 2014 Comments off

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Rosanne and I love a bit of theater. We met in the theater, I proposed in that same theater. I have done nearly every job in the theater during my college days and even have my Bachelor’s Degree in theater. Despite our enjoyment of theater, we don’t see nearly enough of it these days, so we made a promise to ourselves to get out more frequently in 2014. Joseph has helped with this by being in 3 productions at his high school in his first 2 years with many more to come, I would guess.

Vanya 01

Vanya 02

Scenes from Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Mark Taper Forum

Today, Rosanne got us some great tickets (See $20 HotTix Information) to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Mark Taper Forum. We packed up Joe, who invited his girlfriend along for a Sunday Matinee double date. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. This show is the epitome of what great theater can be. Funny, witty. artistic, great performances and I absolutely LOVED the set design (one of my focuses in college). If you have a chance to see the show, I would highly recommend it. It is accessible for nearly everyone, but anyone with an even passing knowledge of Chekov will find and even deeper level of pathos and humor in the show.

As good as today’s show was, I think that bad theater is a lot like bad pizza. (LAUGH) Even when it is bad, there is something good to be found there. You can learn as much from troubled productions as you can from Tony-worthy performances. One of the largest benefits and joys of theater is participating in it — whether as a member of cast or crew or sitting in the audience, working with the actors through you gasps, laughs, applause and shouts of joy. Anyone who has ever been on stage can tell you this. The audience is an active participant in the performance and a great audience can make a good show great or a great show a bore. There is a magic that happens in theater that, for me, outweighs most of the other great experiences of my life.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Closing Night - Providence High - 2013 - 05

Joseph preps for his role of Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Providence High

Despite what you might think of this town as “Hollywwod” and the “Movie Factory” of the world, there is an abundance of theater here. There are plays and musicals of all shapes and sizes performed nightly here in Los Angeles and for the price of a couple of cafe latti you can have a great time watching great performances. You can even see great theater for free. We are regular attendees of the Independent Shakespeare Company’s free Shakespeare in Griffith Park each summer. We have been for at least 4 years running and never fail to have a great time. Sure the actors have to compete with poor acoustics, howling coyotes and low-flying police choppers, but, as I said before, there is a magic that happens there in the canyon each evening. Free theater doesn’t mean bad theater, but it does give you a way to participate without risking anything more than your time and a show walk to the show site. This summer’s shows include Twelfth Night, Richard III and Taming of the Shrew. I look forward to seeing them all.

Isc 2014

For several year’s running, I have hosted and participated in a number of live readings which we stream live and record to share via the web and YouTube. My event is an annual reading of A Christmas Carol and our friend’s Keri and Michael have mounted a yearly Halloween reading and also 2 ambitious productions of Love Letters From History and Road to Independence (a four part series dramatizing the events of American Independence) Each year we try to bring in as many friends as possible, some for their first time. Universally, when the show is over, these new people say something very similar — “Wow, that was fun!” Of course, as theater people, we know it is fun. That is why we do it, but it is a great kick to introduce others to joy of theater, too. The more the merrier, I say.

If you haven’t seen a play recently, glance at the theater listings in local publications, do some Google Searches, talk to your friends and go see a show. Join us for an outdoor Shakespeare performance this summer. Come and read a section of Christmas Carol or other readings and experience the magic of theater for yourself. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Empty Space

The results of my performance in Spider Baby The Musical back in 2009


Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Theater, Writing Tags:

Photo: Mark Taper Forum | Music Center | Los Angeles via Instagram

February 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Music Center Fountains | Downtown Los Angeles via Instagram

February 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Ohio Winter Past (animated)

February 23rd, 2014 Comments off
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