We’ve Got The Lede: It’s Raining

IMG_0700 rain on the roof

The TV was on in the family room as the noon news began. The lead story&#185:


How much?

Will it be gone by Christmas?

To an outsider this might seem a little overboard… maybe to insiders too. My suspicion is it’s a much more valid lead than first meets the eye.

Let me dismiss the hyperbole first. It’s the 19th. This storm will be a faint memory by Christmas. Has California ever even seen a storm lasting six days over one spot?

Rain does have an impact here. Because it rains so infrequently, roads often have a light surface coating of oil and grease. Roads get slippery in a hurry. Freeway traffic which normally buzzes by in the 70s has to slow down.

During our last ‘storm’ the embankment adjacent to a freeway in the San Fernando Valley gave way, flooding the road and blocking traffic for most of the day.

When it comes to rain, Southlanders (is that an actual word?) are fragile flowers. Rain storms do impact them.

Anywhere else this rain wouldn’t be a concern. But this isn’t anywhere else. In SoCal we’re just not used to weather!

&#185 – Yeah, I know. This entry’s title says “lede”, but this sentence says “lead.” There’s no explanation. It just is!

A New Respect For Wrestling

Our cousins asked if Helaine and I would go with them to their son Max’s match this evening. Max is a sophomore at Beckman High School&#185. He wrestles!

My knowledge of wrestling is limited. I watched wrestling on TV as a kid. When I worked in Charlotte, we actually taped wrestling in the studio!

One evening I walked past a guy wearing a wrestling singlet, reading the Associated Press wire. It was a surreal moment.

What I experienced was meaningless. That’s not wrestling. What I saw tonight was and it opened my eyes.

What a crazy, brutal sport.

Beckman was visiting Northwood High School, also in Irvine. Think nice campus for a small liberal arts college and you’ve got Northwood.

The wrestlers are divided into weight classes. The idea is to pin your like sized opponent, though there are other ways to score points.

Wrestling on TV is violent, but it’s fake. This wrestling is violent too. No chairs are being thrown, this is much more controlled.

“Do people get hurt,” I asked? Max proceeded to explain they do and it was surprising there was no blood tonight!

It’s obvious while you watch, all the participants are deep in the zone. Everyone is pumping out maximum strength. Some, in pain and obviously losing, had an “I wish I was anywhere else” look on their face as their matches progressed.

Max won his contest. The Beckman Patriots won the meet. No one questioned my lying on my belly like a reptile to shoot 399 photos. It was a good night.

&#185 – As it turns out the Beckman High School wrestling team has a website designed by me.

On Most Days It’s Red Sky At Night


This time of year the setting Sun is easily seen from my second floor office window. I look out and make a judgement–what kind of sunset it will be? It’s photography think. Do I want to take my camera out for the daily sky show?

This afternoon the sky was already turning red a half hour before the Sun disappeared. Good sign.

We’re supposed to get showers later tonight and Thursday. I’m used to the sky being a lot more full of clouds this close to precipitation.

As soon as the Sun was out-of-sight, I did a 180 to take the shot below.


The Lay Of The Land

Google EarthWe are trying to get a feel for this new place. We are trying to find our way–constantly. GPS is an immense help, but I want to learn the area. It won’t happen overnight.

The image at the top is from Google World. It’s an approximation of what you’d see looking toward Irvine from a perch just offshore. The mountains have been exaggerated to allow more of the land contour to be seen.

Most of Southern Orange County is a coastal plain. It’s flat, but it slopes upward toward the mountains. By the time you get to our house, you’re over 400 feet in elevation.

The slope is so gentle I never noticed it until I looked at topo maps. We’re 11 miles from the ocean. 400 feet is not a big deal. But if you rolled a marble down the 133, it might make it to Laguna.

This time of year there’s virtually no natural above ground running water in SoCal. The dry season began last spring. In Irvine get our water from very deep wells and via aqueduct from Central California, hundreds of miles away. Rain here isn’t as critical as snow in the Sierras.

With little moisture, dust becomes a problem. We’re surrounded by construction and farming. There’s no way to stop it. Cleaning always means dusting. Never ending.

Land here is very valuable for homes. That’s odd considering how much of it there is. A large portion of the west is protected from development. That reduces what’s available.

Until those homes are built, the land is planted. Orange County’s big cash crop is strawberries. There are fields of ripening strawberries we pass nearly every day. It’s still strawberry season.

I have seen the observations from back in Connecticut today. The angst I suffered on days like this is not forgotten.

I Don’t Like Snooping

Big news Monday afternoon from Washington. A federal judge took a harsh stand against the NSA spyworks.

A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way. NY Times

That’s really strong language. It’s the first pushback against the NSA’s techniques with the power to make them stop. It will be appealed.

The whole culture of data collection has depersonalized society. So much of what was once done by human is now done by machine. Mistakes are made. Corrections, less often.

I don’t want to be defined by the sum of my computer noticed actions. There are nuances machines can’t catch. There are things only humans see.

We are exceptionally complex.

Define people through algorithms and data points and some part of us disappears. We are being modeled on a coarse grid. How is that good?

Trying To Keep A Low Profile In This Weather

It came via Twitter early today. @JRRN27 @geofffox Hey Geoff, bet you don’t miss this snow!!!! – It’s true. I don’t. And there lies the rub. Will I piss off old friends if I talk about the weather too much? Roll down the window put down the top Crank up the Beach Boys baby Don’t […]

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I Bought A Car

I bought a new car this afternoon. My fifteen year old ride will be retired. What I bought is inconsequential, though I will admit it isn’t the sweet Tesla I drove a few weeks ago. I’m in SoCal. This seemed the wrong time to stop driving a convertible. I attempted to buy the car the […]

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The Movie We Didn’t See Tonight

This story needs a setup. It is tradition with the Foxes and many other Jewish families, Christmas Day is spent at the movies followed by Chinese food. Go back in the blog to any December 25th entry and you’ll read about a movie and a meal! This year, since we’re close to Stef, it’s likely […]

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A Walk Through Hicks Canyon

We walked a lot this summer. We’ve slacked off. Bad. This afternoon Helaine and I headed to Hicks Canyon Trail. This area has loads of preserved land. Much of it is mountainous wilderness. Some open space with commanding views of the Pacific. Not today. Walk Hicks Canyon and the ‘burbs are on both sides. A […]

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It’s Just Not Practical

People talk about travel to distant planets and space exploration. It’s so heroic. So romantic. It’s not going to happen. No, really. No one alive today will ever live on, or travel to, another planet. Sorry. The challenges are astounding. Earthlings aren’t readily adaptable to living off planet. We can’t even live on most of […]

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