Racetrack, Friday night

I was at the races at Hollywood Park and the kids were running around burning off bored energy up close to the edge of the track. This little one was wandering along the fence playing with her hair, and stopped in front of three teenagers. She stared up at them and they stared at her, both parties really just caught up in their own worlds and only taking notice of each other for a few seconds.
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Pajama party

I was hired to photograph a party the other night in Hollywood for a friend of a friend, and the theme was pajamas. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got there they had set up a bed against the wall with pillows safety pinned to it, so people could pose for portraits. There was a lot of creativity in there that night with their poses, and I kept laughing so much that I was wishing I had brought a tripod. This pic outside, though, was my favorite photo of the night:
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It’s us against the system, man

My friend Emily and I saw “Point Break”, the play, last night. It’s playing at Charlie O’s in downtown L.A.  It’s such a brilliant idea: they pick an audience member to perform the part of Keanu Reeves, and a P.A. girl holds up his lines for him to read, while enthusiastically coaching and cheerleading him and giving an entertaining performance herself. The audience gets sprayed with water, beer, and a cool-aid-like fake blood. They also get meatball sandwiches, and the cast runs around in the audience during the show. Last night’s Keanu did a great job, and gave himself completely to the performance, letting them use and abuse him. His voice sounded a lot like Keanu’s, and that just made it that much more funny.

It’s terrible how much they make fun of Keanu Reeves’s acting. But it’s so accurate, and from what I’ve heard of it on the radio when they reviewed it on Kevin and Bean, he’s got a pretty good sense of humor about it. He’s a good natured guy, and he is well compensated for his “acting” career. The play and the experience reminded me a lot of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” except that I didn’t leave feeling like I’d just spent the evening with a bunch of Renn Fair fans. I laughed the entire time, and I recommend that everybody go see it while it’s here.

The Vincent Thomas Bridge

Another Long Beach discovery I made was that I can use the Vincent Thomas Bridge as part of my commute to work. I LOVE that bridge. I mean, I used to occasionally drive all the way up from South Orange county, at night, just to drive over that bridge. It’s so scenic, both to look at and to look from. It’s pretty tall, and I got scared the first time I drove over it, though I don’t know why now. It also seems to be free of traffic congestion no matter when I cross it, and apparently shortens my commute just a little bit. I pulled this pic off of the internet:

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There’s a stunning view of the peninsula that is different every day. Sometimes it’s this great blue sky with clouds creeping over the mountain and little bursts of sunlight peaking through and making parts of the hills a glowing green, and other days it’s foggy and I’m up on the bridge in a thick mist, and I can’t see much past fifty feet and the bridge’s tall sides disappear into the clouds.

I can’t exactly pull over and take photographs, as much as I’m dying to, and I wouldn’t know where to take pictures from even if I had time to stop, but one Saturday as I was heading north to visit the South Bay, I held my camera out and just blindly snapped some shots, because hey, it’s a suspension bridge. How bad could the pics be? And as I edited out the pictures of only my dashboard and the sky, I thought, oh. Well at least I will have many, many opportunities to get it right.

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I left the nest for this?

Last night I went over and spent the evening with Christyne because she just found out her cat has terminal cancer. She is, as I write this, at the vet and putting Amber to sleep. I picked up piece of cake for her at the German bakery and spent the evening with her, drinking cocktails as the two of us kept the funereal air at bay the only way we know how: being silly. We quickly got into a nice hazy place while chatting up a storm. The nice evening of gaiety we’d successfully cultivated was interrupted when her downstairs neighbor told her she’d discovered a baby bird on her front step. I’m not sure why the neighbor then went back inside and stayed inside, but we scrambled around the porch trying to catch the little fluttery thing, and then we found ourself the guardians of this tiny, helpless little bird. Of all the fates this bird could have ended up in, some worse and some better, it ended up with two lightly marinated women who sat there for a while trying to look up “Game Warden” on Google. We had very few options, since neither of us could drive. We found nothing on the internet, and the bubbly atmosphere at Christyne’s had flatlined. We put the bird in a shoebox with a towel, and somberly sat eating cake together and puzzling over the fate of this tiny little bird. I then took it home with me and put a heated beanie bag that I use for cramps into the shoebox, and hoped it would make it through the night. I got up this morning and it has gone to the bathroom 3 times, and was just as lively as it had been the evening before. Another piece of luck for the bird was that I was off work for the day and meeting Janae for coffee just a block away from her former place of employment: an animal hospital. And one of her former co-workers just happens to rehabilitate birds.

I couldn’t help but wonder on the way down PCH today what this is like for this tiny little bird. It’s only been on the planet for a few weeks or so, and now it’s in a dark shoebox that someone stuck holes in after he was already in the box because she forgot to do it first. The entire bird world is enough to contend with when you’re a baby sparrow, and now it’s sitting in dark box in a Toyota Corolla, driving down PCH. I mean, it doesn’t even know that the world is round, and that we’re on the edge of a continent. It just knows mommy, maybe siblings, and worms or whatever they eat. And that this big noisy creature with coffee breath keeps opening the top of this dark box and talking baby talk and marveling at the fact that it pooped, and chased it when it got out and fluttered across the living room, cornering it and sticking it back in the dark scary box.

He or she is now in the very capable hands of Javier, the baby bird rehabilitator in Costa Mesa.

The Parrots here

My sister and I discovered that there are parrots in the trees in my neighborhood. I’m sure somebody would have told me about them eventually, but I liked that we just happened upon them while walking under a tree full of them. They go into this noisy freak out session right around sunset, and you would think they were being attacked or were attacking something, but they’re just expressing themselves. Imagine if every day of your life ended with you jumping around outside yelling and singing with all of your friends, family and neighbors. They’re probably getting a lot more out of life than we are.
I finally went out and photographed them, and I forgot how monkeyish and funny they are. I used to work in a pet store, and parrots are very intelligent and endlessly entertaining with their sideways stares and their use of their beeks as fingers.

They’re actually Mitred Conures, and have been here since the eighties. The ones in San Francisco that were the subject of the film “The Parrots of Telegraph Hill” are Cherry-Headed Conures.  Their colony is thriving despite their desire to not let anyone in the neighborhood sleep.  Thank Gaud I have a habit of sleeping with a pillow on my head, and that the nearest Palm tree is at least a block away.

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