Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a random photo of a tropical location

Sunday, April 26, 2009

African Groove

Every now and then there's an album of music among the myriad of albums that not only pleases from the get go, but seems to get better with time. Such is the case with the Putumayo collection African Groove. I liked it when it came out in 2003 because it reminded me by turns of Fela Kuti and Angelique Kidjo, but these bands were completely unfamiliar. Now it's one of my top driving albums. The arrangements and the rhythms could power an engine, especially the last five tracks, starting with Dady Mimbo's Bouba followed by the chugging of Thievery Corporation and others with equally strange names... Some of the singing is in French or English, but most beautiful to me are the African laguages of which I know not one word. (image displayed with unending gratitude to Putumayo World Music)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don Carlos... en plein air

Reggae legends, and legendary reggae, exist somewhat outside of time. The sweet, catchy melodies of Don Carlos have served me faithfully for over twenty years, but I'd never seen him perform until yesterday's gig at the Pozo Saloon -- the perfect outdoor venue. The sound was crisp, clean, and familiar -- could one ask for more? Last year was Roedelius at the Henry Miller Library; now this. What will next year bring? (photo courtesy Lisa)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the newest members of our family

The newest members of our family are the lime tree (left) and the compost bin (right).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Hachiko was an Akita who belonged to a Japanese agriculture professor in the 1920's. Every day the dog would greet his master's return at the Shibuya train station. One day the master suffered a stroke and did not return. Hachiko however continued to wait in the same spot at the station for over ten years. The public was touched by the dog's faithfulness and he became a national icon. A statue of Hachiko was made that still stands in Shibuya Station. A film about this noble animal will be released later this year. (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lake Santa Margarita

Like the Nile, the Salinas River flows north. The source of this important river is Lake Santa Margarita. It's not the biggest lake in California but a visually dramatic one with some nice hiking trails, such as the one that led to the promontory seen here on the left.

(Ted assured me that promontory was the right word for what we were standing on.)

While exploring we encountered this skeleton of what was probably a deer, a possible indicator of mountain lion activity.

Needless to say, the grass was very green.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

canker, blast & gummosis

This photo somewhat captures the sight of these puffs of cotton growing outside my window, bees and birds swirling around. That's the healthy part of the tree. On the left are large, dead branches hollowed out by fungus and in some places oozing sap. Did I mention that it's probably a cherry, but I'm not even sure? An astute young man pointed out the fungus to me, and subsequent research suggests this is a case of bacteriological canker, blast and gummosis. So today I took my saw, soaked it in alcohol, and hacked off a few diseased limbs. Some of them were so hollowed and termite infested (an effect, not a cause of the disease) that I could break 'em off with my hand. But the puffballs live on...