On Top of California


With a camera here I stand, on top of a piece of tormented land.

Pushed and pulled, torn and bent. We went to the top and down we went,

On motorcycles from high to low, taking pictures as we go.

Badwater Basin in Death Valley, California is the lowest point in California at -282 feet  (-86 m) below sea level. Less than 100 miles away is the highest point in California, Mt. Whitney at 14,505 feet (4421 m) above sea level. In between those two points is a lot of up and down of tumulted land, created by the tension and compression of the Earth’s crust as the North American and Pacific plates slide past each other on the boundary known affectionately as the San Andreas fault. The landscape is dramatic to say the least, and above all makes you realize how small you really are.

DP Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

February in California

Photos from my garden – Feb 16, 2014 – The warm temperatures and recent rains have really perked up the garden. Spring is around the corner.

Crispy Hills and Green Grass – Juxtaposition

DP Photo Challenge – Juxtaposition

Crispy hills and lush green grass–which doesn’t belong?

the grass is always greener

Where does the water for the green grass come from?

In California the largest single draw of electrical power is to pump water, from where it is collected (in the snowpack of the Sierras mostly) to where people live and need it (on the coast mostly). Planting drought resistant landscapes and ditching water thirsty lawns are two great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. In California (and probably where you live too) every time you turn on the faucet you are contributing to climate change.

A huge part of this issue is the horrible urban management of aquifers, when such huge portions of land are paved over and turned into aquitards. Runoff drains from our concrete surfaces and carries all the toxins and pollutants of the urban landscape into the water supply, creating poisonous water that drains to the sea. Then we use energy to pump clean water to our homes from far away, because we have wasted and ruined the water where we live. Something needs to change.

How’s that for a juxtaposition?


Cactus Corridor at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

Cactus Corridor at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

At least these plants will be okay in the California drought 0f 2014. We just finished the driest year on record, and there’s no rain in sight.  Look at these satellite photos to see how bad it is.

See Original Post HERE

Fear and Loathing in California

(a dp writing challenge, Gonzo style)

not a true story, but based on actual events

Dude tells me to call him Dude. It may be his actual name but I can’t be certain. As far as I can tell the word dude constitutes about fifty percent of his spoken vocabulary. Dude is wearing a shirt that says Stoned with a picture of rocks on it, like it’s not obvious enough. Trying to have a conversation with Dude is like speaking to an echo. There is a five second delay between the question and response, and usually he just repeats the question back with a slightly altered emphasis. Dude may have hearing loss or terminal brain damage or both, his synapses clogged with resin and his ears stuffed with gummi bears. He’s sucking on a straw and holding a cup of soda so enormous it should have a diving board attached. I’m betting there’s more than just soda in there.

“Well, Dude,” I tell him, “you can’t loiter here,” and he gives me a blank stare punctuated by squints and blinks. It takes a few seconds for my words to filter into his auditory process, draining in slowly between the charcoal and other crispy obstructions in his brain.

“Dude, I never litter.” He looks at the ground around him to confirm his  own report. There is a backpack at his feet, and a sign scrawled on cardboard that reads Need Money 4 Weed. Tied to the backpack is a tiny puppy that looks like it might actually be a fluffy, battery operated toy. “Those butts aren’t mine, dude,” he says. “I don’t smoke that poison, dude.”