Visions of Morocco

So, only a couple of months late. . . like to I’m improving, but I’m not.

Marrakesh: Who said Morocco could get cold?

Buildings can’t be taller than minarets, so if you find a way up there, you can see everything, including the landscapes I spent a day shooting in the mountains nearby, surrounded by birders, including a cute Irish redhead. The days are like El Lay, the nights colder, but last year at this time I was in Iceland, so I’m definitely not complaining. Having spent time at the ridiculousness that is the Djemaa el-Fna, I stayed away from this public loony bin that is the famous square this time; both my eyes and ears would have been sore after only a few minutes. There’s nothing a traveling girl likes more than getting a henna tattoo on her hand; too bad there were no such girls around. . . I did have some orange juice and nuts to contribute to the local economy, not that it needed my help. Much more photogenic—and therefore photographed—is the Souk des Teinturiers, with all the brightly covered vats for dying clothes; as always orange is my fave, though they may call it saffron. It’s been called an ocher-colored city, and now I think I know what color that is. . . As for the important things, the train station has a McD’s, and the whole building has wifi. No doubt the most fun I had in town was shooting the caleche, which are green horse-drawn carriages. There’s a big deal going on now about how the horses are treated, with an association named Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad giving a seal of approval to those who do it right; go to those so those who don’t see why it’s a good idea. The only thing I treated myself to, believe it or not–mostly not, if you know me at all–a visit to a spa, where for the first time I received a four-hand massage. . . I like it! Though they sure take their scrubbing seriously. Guess it’s not as bad as a Finn whacking you with branches, but still. . . I managed to turn down the henna body wrap rather easily. . . I even got a hand massage, as in my hands being massaged, after overdoing it on the photos. . .

Tangier is the Tijuana of Morocco. . .

Having one stayed at a villa in the hills, with the beautiful views of the ocean, I knew where to go to get the shots. The beaches are another place for fun shooting, but then when isn’t it? {Other than sand getting in your cameras.} Other than getting lost in this crazy medina, my fave thing in town is the American Legation Museum, which s the place where the U.S. ambassador parked his tushie for the 135 years after Morocco became the first country to formally recognize the United States of America. Today it mostly tells you about the many Americans who’d lived around here, the highlight most likely being a copy of a 1789 letter from George Washington to what he calls his “Great and Magnanimous Friend, the Emperor of Morocco.” Almost makes you wanna cry, huh?

Fes {or Fez}: Better around than inside

You know a medina is huge when it’s divided into 20 little medinas, and even the local guides get lost. Someone actually counted all the alleyways, lanes, and streets, coming close to 10,000. More interesting to me was the rumor that the town has the oldest university in the world! But since you’ve seen in the last few blogs what an archaeology geek I am, you shouldn’t be surprised I spent all of my spare time at Volubilis, which from AD45 to 285 was the capital of the local Roman province, the southernmost outpost of the vast empire. Home to at least 20,000 inhabitants during its peak, the city’s wealth was all olives and wheat. . .  as well as supplying coliseums with the majority of their gladiator-fighting lions. Deserted by the 11th century, totally flattened by an earthquake in 1755, you can still see a triumphal arch, forum, and faded beautiful mosaics.  Latin pop quiz: what does Volubilis mean?. . . yeah, right, you looked it up! It’s “morning glory.” Not going to go much into the history of the place, except to mention the obvious tie-in with someone we learned about a few weeks ago, Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the famous Cleo, married to Juba II, who was himself a descendant of Hannibal. Unfortunately Sultan Moulay Ismail raided the city’s remains in the 18th century for building materials to construct a vast nearby palace. And then the huge earthquake of 1755–same one that hit Portugal, if you’ve ever read Candide–finished it off. Today the site is about half excavated, showing off a bunch of lovely mosaics and buildings, with names like the House of the Athlete, the House of the Nymphs, the house of Dionysus, the House of the Euphebus, and the House of Orpheus. Fun to see a representation of party-animal Dionysus in the Islamic world in the mosaics, but easily my fave was the dolphin. . .

Ifrane: When you want it cold. . .

You don’t really expect a mountain resort–“little Switzerland,” they call it–40 miles from Fes, but here it is: alpine chalets, acres of trees, a mountain-fed lake, and a plaza with cafes and restaurants. They say it’s a good 30 to 40 degrees cooler than Fes in summer, and now with winter closing in there’s a light dusting of snow. Always a big deal with the local rich, it’s even more so now that the latest king built a royal palace, plus a private university. Still, it came across as a happy place, with plenty of non-rich day-trippers getting their photos taken in the parks and going on hikes and picnics and such. I even had a pretty good steak here, with American ice cream–not mentioning corporation names–for dessert. The royal palace seems to take up most of one half of the lake, with white swans the only things getting past the guards, who do their best to look inconspicuous, though they can’t fool an expert. Fun fact: the Barbary macaque roosts in troops of 20 to 30–I woulda called it a gaggle. Unlike all other macaques, the females mate with all the males, which means they’re never sure of the offspring’s paternity. . . which means the males have to look after all the kiddies, not knowing which might be theirs. I’d tell ya to think about that in human terms, but I don’t want this blog to degenerate into porn. . . maybe later.

Oeurzazate: Don’t even try to pronounce it. . .

Hollywood, Bollywood. . . Ouarzazate? Yep, if you believe all the local tourism propaganda. It also seems to be the local version of Palm Springs, but no need to get into that, other than to mention it has the most sunny days of anywhere in the country. They wanted to show me the huge movie studio, but I finally convinced them I was from Hollywood and seen it all. To me the most astonishing thing about the place was the quiet, and how laid-back everyone was. . . and I know you’re dying to find out: it’s pronounced War-za-zat. So it basically felt like a small vacation, with the only really important place to photo being the kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou, famous enough to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and just a fifteen minute drive from town. I’m told the site gets more than 130,000 visitors a year, but I was pretty alone as I shot crazily before anyone came along. As you might imagine, sunlight on the earthen walls makes for beautiful reflected light, but more importantly, as a James Bond fan. . . Follow me if you can: the movie is The Living Daylights, toward the end when Bong and Kara are taken to Morocco and the crazy Russian general is making a drug deal. The Afghan resistance–the forefathers of the Taliban–attacks the Soviets and then runs off while the main actors jump into a huge plane and take off with the drugs. . . and a bad guy, and a bomb. A few minutes later Bond drops the bomb–literally–on a bridge, dropping it and the Soviet tanks. As the locals celebrate on horses, shooting their rifles into the air, in the distance you can see the beautiful hill town. . . Did not go any further into the desert on this trip. . .

Casablanca: it ain’t just a river in Egypt. . . I mean, a movie title

Hard to believe the city is only about 200 years old, making it slightly younger than El Lay. Actually more similar to Mexico City, it’s the place where the rural folk and immigrants go to make it rich. . . plus it’s known as the “big smoke.” Other than some French architecture, though, not all that great a place for sightseeing. South of Casablanca, on the other hand, is a long stretch of beach that makes up the country’s summer vacation spot; I’m told locals will pitch a tent–not a euphemism, this time–on the beach and stay there all of August. Had to spend a couple of days shooting the beaches near Casablanca, and for whatever reason it was a lot more bo-ring than up in Tangier.

Tunisia for dessert

Tunisia looks exactly like it did on my last visit a few years ago, but it’s obvious to see the people are happier, maybe not so much with the government yet, but with the possibilities. Did manage to relax a couple of days on the lotus-eating island of Djerba, with its luxury hotels and casinos, as well as the place where the Mos Eisley exteriors were shot in Star Wars; turns out those were the droids you were looking for! Later, back on the mainland, I got to go to Luke’s uncle’s farm, but once again I missed Monty Python’s castle. The highlight was marching to the place where Luke stood and watched the sunset–only one sun, dammit!–while listening to John Williams and the London Symphony playing the music. . . with the Family Guy version in my head, to my chagrin.

Hmmmmm. . . off to pop the Star Wars DVD into the slot. . . see ya when I come up for air. . .


Who Said Weekends Were for Resting? Part Deux

SUNDAY (couple of weeks ago, not yesterday)

So. . . I wrote this long piece on how I got back to UCLA and the Meet the Bruins gymnastics event, but when I reread it I thought it was tremendously boring–yes, even more than usual, shut up! Rule is, if I get bored by it, it ain’t goin’ in. Hopefully the rest of it turns out better. . . but then it could hardly get worse.

So, by four o’clock I was back in the student union–damn, I keep writing student onion–and doors wouldn’t open at Royce Hall till six, so what to do? There was always the lounge, which would no doubt be showing NFL football on the huge screen. Which was okay, but instead I headed down to the bookstore first, determined to find something on which to spend my 20% alumni coupon that wouldn’t cost much; I used my last one to buy a Bach action figure for Hilary Hahn, though I haven’t had the chance to give it to her yet. Anyhoo, just as I was about to give up on that, I pass through the science-fiction section; I haven’t bought a sci-fi physical book in a long time, now kindling them. . . electronically, not using them for fire. Up on the top shelf, displayed prominently, is Clockwork Angels, the book version of Rush’s album of the same name. So I confiscate a copy and take it to the small area with tables next to the market, and get all the way to page 100, and amazingly a lot of the songs–at least in the first half–suddenly make a lot more sense. On page 50 there’s a painting, representing where the Anarchist has graffiti‘ed a wall, and above his message there’s a small piece that says MMCXII. . . yep, 2112. Awesome
When the store closed and kicked me out at 5PM, I did go up to watch some football after all, leaving just before 6. Took the elevator up, crossed the bridge into Ackerman, and just like that I’m ¾ up the big hill. From there it was an easy walk the rest of the way, past the library, then across the fountains while looking down Janss Steps toward the playing fields, making the last right turn into the corridor of Royce Hall to will call, then right inside.
After some walking around–including a fun gal giving pens away: “periwinkle!”–I went inside to listen to some of Dvorak’s Piano Trio #4, with Cheryl Norman-Brick on violin and the main man Jeffrey Kahane on piano, a bit of a pre-game show that they made funny as I realized, Wow, these Royce Hall seats are old!
Just like when I went to the Hollywood Bowl to see Rush and realized the last time I’d been there had been Hilary Hahn–pretty opposite musical styles, you might say–I had a similar feeling here, where my last trip had been to hear Bryan Adams on his Bare Bones tour, and now classical. After making note of Mr. Kahane mentioning the book Dvorak in Love, I made my way up to my balcony seat and perused the program while having a pleasant conversation with the lady sitting next to me, while her grandson played on his phone. Reading the part about Gershwin, there’s an immediate mention of the word glissando, which I had never heard, and neither had she, but we were overheard by the chuckling man in front of her, who started us on a long discussion about how controversial that word appeared to be.
Coming in just before the start is a funny little man whom I’ve seen at plenty of UCLA events, but I don’t like talking to, so I ignored him in favor of the woman with the gorgeous redhead braid who sat next to him. . .
Because it was so dark, I didn’t get to write down many notes, not wanting to annoy people with my mini-flashlight. Didn’t bother memorizing too much either. . .

1. Dvorak: Serenade for Winds
Took a while, but I finally recognized the main theme, on clarinet. Guy with an absolutely HUGE double bass on the side. . .

2. Copeland: Appalachian Spring
Again took a while to recognize, but I did, got easier when they got to that famous part of what I always thought was a religious song, therefore unlikable, despite the nice melody.

Halftime: yesterday I was on the front balcony on the third floor, looking out at the library as I partook of a lot of cheese and crackers; today I’m on the side balcony second floor, taking in the walkway I’ve used many times, the towers of Fowler, the women’s gym in the distance, Anderson to the right, and the hill. It does suck, though, that the main reason they open up such a balcony is not for fresh air, but to give the smokers some place to annoy everyone else.

3. Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony
Frenetic, which is usual from John Adams. As has happened just about every time I’ve heard Adams, his stuff reminds me of Stockhausen. This time Kahane is using a baton; I was surprised he didn’t on the first two pieces. I found myself interested–or distracted, depending–in watching the pianist switching over to celesta, taking the book along, then back–from this distance she reminds me of Christiane, whom you know from previous blogs. You don’t usually see classical musicians rocking out. . .
Would it be fair to say most flutists are women? The main guy tonight was indeed a guy, who switched to a piccolo at times; I love stuff like that.
Also fun was watching the stagehands moving the pieces around–the piano got wheeled from back to front to back to front during the night. There are obviously marks, but I can’t see them from here. Other than percussion and the huge bass, the only things they really had to move was chairs.
4 Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
This time Mr. Kahane speaks to audience, talking about how he got his one million miles on United, thought he’d be sick of this song from hearing it so many times on the commercial.
A small digression to recount some history and inspiration on this famous piece. With only five weeks to finish this commission, he took the train from Noo Yawk to Bahston, where. . . in his own words: the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise… And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance.
Kahane mentioned that the piece is often played with a huge orchestra nowadays, but this was done as it was originally written, for only nineteen musicians, yet it still sounded huge. I was surprised to find it only sixteen minutes long, though I never heard the guitar or banjo. Bass was slapping very hard! Drew my attention often. Kahane is loving playing this piano part, left hand going over the right, picking hard; turned out I actually had the best view, looking right over his shoulder at both hands. His solos were really intense!
After a very fast walk to Wilshire the ride home was boring, especially with no photos to look over. Shocked my Achilles didn’t bother me after such a long day. . .


Travel Theme: Transportation

This week on the Ailsa Travel Channel, the theme is transportation. . . in case you missed the title. So here goes. . .

We start with the silliest, at least for the subject we have. Sure, it’s transportation, but I think I’d rather be on the Titanic. . .




I would need another ride to get down to the horsies first. . . and then I’d probably be distracted by the chessboard, hoarding people onto it to play the pieces. . .

salzburg 2


Here’s a smoother ride, mostly because the journey is so much shorter, and Stockholm is so beautiful you don’t even notice you’re seasick. . .



Definitely get seasick–as well as bored–on this puppy.

nayarit boat


I love how people assume this shot is from 50 years ago, so I can get huffy and scream, “I’m not that friggin’ old!” Actually about 15 years old, the black&white helps. . .

not that long ago


And there I go, gently wafting away. . .

you know it



Who Said Weekends were for Resting?

Apparently this blog I did on Tuesday did not show up. No wonder there’s been no views. . . at least I hope that’s the reason. . .

Those of you on public transportation, do you use the MTA’s Nextrip website or app? It supposedly uses GPS to tell you when the next bus is coming. Well, I checked it and saw the bus I needed was coming in 5 minutes, leaving me with plenty of time to sashay down the stairs and onto the street to wait for it. . . not that I sashay, of course. So I wish they could explain to me why it came 17 minutes later. . .
Usually I enjoy air conditioning hitting the back of my neck, but apparently that was back when I still had some hair there, as now it’s just freezing. Can’t wait for it to grow back.
Anyhooey, Saturday was spent at UCLA–as was Sunday, but more on that later, obviously–in the company of a few Egyptologists I know and a lot that I didn’t, with the main thrust of the symposium–though they didn’t call it that–Egypt in the Days of Queen Cleopatra: A Study Day on Ptolemaic Egypt. Sounds like fun, huh? Surprisingly, for the most part, it was, as I always enjoy learning new things about topics that stir my fancy, as opposed to learning new things about subjects I couldn’t give a fig or any other fruit about. Being so far away, I missed the first two lectures. . . stopping at In-N-Out and Jamba might have something to do with my tardiness as well. Got there in the middle of Bilingualism in Hellenistic Egypt, which would have been of greater interest to me had I heard it from the beginning, but I muddled through it. Following was Ptolemaic Queens and Royal Propaganda, though I had no idea at this point that it would be about vases.
Those very few of you who have read this blog before no doubt remember my archaeological hero, Dr. Kara Cooney, who of course was in attendance and gave a little squeal when the speaker was introduced as receiving her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins; I once again submit that Dr. Cooney is a giggly teenager with a giant brain. Anyhoo again, the speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa, turned out to be my favorite lecturer of the day, and not because she was a winsome blonde. {Shut up!} She explained how the Greek rulers of Egypt made themselves over to look like Egyptians to the locals while in the stuff they sent back home to Greece and other places–vases, coins, etc.–they were totally Greeked out. . . and no, I didn’t mean geeked out, though that’s possible too. BeeTeedubya {By The Way, shortened and then lengthened}, it took me forever to learn to pronounce, let alone spell, the name for those aforementioned vases: oinochoe. . . whom I kidding, I copied that from the internet. Most interesting was when she mentioned how the queens–the wives of the Pharaohs rather than someone like Dr. Cooney’s buddy Hatshepsut–became popular for the first time in Egyptian history, deified into what she termed a ruler cult. Unfortunately, when she mentioned the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge I kinda zoned out for a minute, remembering my trips there.
I came back in time to wonder if the vases were colored, and as though on cue she talked about glazes and gold leaf, which was used to increase prestige for the owner. On a funnier note, she mentioned the priests came from the military and a lot of them were Olympic victors, with their daughters as the priestesses, which sounds weird until you remember that was pretty regular for pharaohs in earlier times. Interestingly enough, these propaganda vases all went around the Med, none of them going south.
On to audience questions, where someone mentioned the design on the vase had some Dionysus worship, which now that I think about it–and look really hard at the pictures–is pretty obvious. . . how I missed my favorite pagan god, I have no idea, but it’s a forehead slapper, alright. {Whom I kiddin’? Aphrodite is my fave. . .}
With all this information percolating in my brain, it was just the right time for a break, so I got to go over to Dr. Cooney and gently kid her as I always do. Amazingly she recognized me without hair, and as a photographer–only reason, of course–I couldn’t help but notice how much her eyes popped with the green sweater. Plus she was wearing jeans, which not many fashion-conscious professors do. Awesome. . .
Messed up on the guy in charge’s accent–I thought German, turned out he was Dutch–but luckily I didn’t say anything out loud, so if he never reads this he’ll never know.
Next up was the newly minted Dr. Barbara Richter, who told some fascinating and scary stories about her kids in the wine and cheese afterparty, but for now spoke about temples, calling her lecture Between Heaven and Earth. I’ve been to Egypt a few times, mostly as a tourist, but I can’t remember ever visiting the Temple of Isis at Philae, which looked particularly amazing from above. Amusing to me was learning what a sistrum was, a sacred rattle that might have been the ancestor of the
tambourine. One form of sistra {the plural of sistrum} was called a sesheshet, which was explained as being named after the sound it makes, but from my research I see it’s also the name of a queen, so there. Next us was the Temple of Denderah, which also looks fascinating, including secret doors leading into a basement that held crypts; not so sure I’d want to wander through them back when they were new, but looking at them through the photos they’re not so creepy, despite all the horror/erotica I’ve read on ancient Egyptian vampires. {Shut UP!} As though reading my mind, the next subject was “dream incubation,” where the goddess sends down a message through a dream; incubation is an interesting word in this context, but I’ll go with it. Hathor, being the Egyptian goddess of love in the same way as Aphrodite is to the Greeks and Venus to the Romans–I could go on forever–is of course my favorite here, so if I was flagging from the long day after a long night of insomnia, this perked me back up.
Since there’d been talk of music earlier, I now realized I hadn’t studied much on the Egyptian god on that subject, Ihy, who was the son of Hathor and Horus, as well as can be figured out anyway; mythology sure can be like a soap opera. I did get a chuckle at seeing that, while Hathor’s dress is almost floor-length, Horus is wearing what amounts to a miniskirt. Another interesting tidbit was a wall message where the cartouches were left blank; as someone mentioned in the Q&A, that meant the magic didn’t know where to go and was rendered useless. . .
Next up was Nature and Origin of the Cult of Saraphis, by Shanna Kennedy-Quigley, which I happen to think is an awesome name. She also lectured with a lot of fun and enthusiasm, and since I never got a good look at her, you can’t accuse me of saying all this because she’s pretty. . . cuz I know you guys never give me the benefit of the doubt. Anyhoo cubed, there’s a photo of what turned out to be an almost-life-size statue of the god Saraphis himself, with a Cerberus by his side. At this point it occurred to me that Alexandria under Greece sounds fascinating, but then it was mentioned the statue might have come from Sinop, a place in Turkey I know, so my mind wandered off in memory again; I gotta work on that. Another name discussed was Strabo, my favorite ancient scribe–suck it, Homer!–as well as Clement of Alexandria, who woulda been awesome had he not been so religious. At that point Shanna makes an oral booboo and goes “Oops!” which sounded so cute. Later on she said, “Pluto. . . not the dog, of course.” She even interrupted herself to bless a sneeze! “Sorry, habit.” Also enjoyed her use of the phrase “Cautious speculation,” followed by “Bam! There we go!” But probably the best was when, perhaps knowing the UCLA connection, she mentioned that the image of Saraphis on the screen “reminds me of the lead singer of the Doors.” She likes to nod eagerly too; she may officially be my second favorite Egyptian lecturer after Dr. Cooney, though Dr. Waraksa is up there too. . .
One more break, and then Dr. Jacco the Dutchman says, “Proud of all of you for sitting for five hours.” And then we get. . . CSI Alexandria! Last Days and Death of Cleopatra, by Dr. Robert Gurval, who teaches Classics here at the U-clan. He didn’t make much of it, but did mention something not many people–including some around me–know: Cleopatra VII is the famous one, and the previous ones–apparently not six–are hardly ever talked about. First he spoke about Pat Brown, a professional criminal profiler on the Discovery channel–I did not see Dr. Cooney’s reaction to the mention of her broadcast partners when she did her series–doing something similar to this, where the conclusion was, according to the profile, Cleopatra would not have committed suicide. Since I don’t think criminal profiling can cut across two millennia, when thought patterns and emotions and notions of honor were clearly different, I’m not putting much stock in that. . . and I have to say it’s
been difficult watching Criminal Minds ever since Paget Brewster left, this time of her own will. . . yes, I am the King–nay, the Pharaoh!–of tangents and digression!
Next up on my cruise along memory lane was the Hunterian Museum at the U of Glasgow, but this time I recovered quickly, and heard that Cleo had actually been in Rome when Julius Caesar was killed; don’t remember if Shakespeare mentions that. Some reference of the famous battle of Actium–which I think I had to read about in my few weeks at OCS–leads to Lucius Pinarus Scarpus, a relative of Octavius who nonetheless fought against him on Mark Anthony’s side, until after the
battle he saw which way the wind was blowing and switched. I just love that name, no doubt the inspiration for Tosca’s Scarpia; I need to read up on him.
Lest you think Cleopatra was the innocent victim of circumstance, let’s not forget she once sent the King of Armenia’s head to the King of Medea as a sign of friendship; though she had four kids, she was a queen first and a mother second. Another character I have to read up on is Selene, her daughter who became Queen of Mauretania, though I heard it as Macedonia at first. Already from what little I checked she seems to have been my kind of woman. . .
From there it was rounding up the usual suspects as to whether Cleopatra actually killed herself or died at the hands of the enemy, again making it sound vaguely soap opera-ish. I don’t know if I was expecting him to put forth his own theory, but I guess the lecture was more informational than actual crime-solving. . . at which point I like to cackle, “Maybe the forensics aren’t in yet!”
In the Q&A some old smelly guy–as in he’s-pissed-in-his-clothes smelly–who accosted me later made a denial/the Nile joke, and rightly Dr. Gurval wouldn’t let it end on that. Later on I told the guy that phrase had originated–as far as I knew–in a Dire Straits song: “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” but as you might expect from the intellectual hoi polloi, that didn’t go over well.
A lot of people bailed quickly, so fast they didn’t hear Dr. Jacco–later found out his last name is Dieleman–say there would be wine and cheese on the balcony. . . and here I thought it would be a small landing jutting out from Royce Hall. Uh-uh, we’re talking about the big outside right in the middle of the two towers on the front; awesome view of the library and quad as I leaned on the old stone, taking in its memories. . . until I realized how many insects were chittering around me; ugh.
On to the table, where to add to the wonderful ambiance, the cheese was actually pretty good–you know how picky I am–and the crackers I took a chance on were great, so I scarfed all of them up. No idea what the other stuff was, but along with some pineapple slices I turned this into dinner! No wine for me, of course, though the catering gal was fun to talk to. . .
Whoa! Carillon is loud up here!
Soon enough all Egyptology chat ended as people got to know each other. Wanted to talk to Dr. Waraksa–and not to tell her “You pretty!”–but she got pigeonholed early and I never got the chance. That’s okay, I got to mess around with Dr. Cooney some more. Turned out she and Dr. Barbara both had two sisters and one brother, amongst other similarities, until I finally said, “Are you sure you two aren’t the same person?” Then Kara made some crack about how those without siblings turned out. . . her oh shit! face was priceless as I informed her, in an over-the-top fake huffy voice, that I was an only child. . .
Damn, I can write for hours, or at least pages! The next day will have to wait. . .

;o) Continue reading

Travel Theme: Circles

My wordpress buddy Ailsa does a blog each week about a photography subject, and this week it’s circles. Here’s hers to get you in the mood to participate, though I’m hoping the shots below help you out too.

LACMA tables

LACMA tables

Hollywood/Vine subway decorations

Hollywood/Vine subway decorations

Union Station chandeliers

Union Station chandeliers

Huntington Gardens--Chinese window

Huntington Gardens–Chinese window

Dessert. . .

Dessert. . .

Griffith Observatory--always feel like the scope is watching ME

Griffith Observatory–always feel like the scope is watching ME

stage lighting

stage lighting

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Musician on a windy day

Musician on a windy day



Late with the Decompression

Back in October there was a huge festival in downtown El Lay billed as a Decompression party after Burning Man. Twenty bucks to get in, but considering how many times I’ve seen my friend Christiane in concert without getting a good shot of her, I figured I could shell it out. Yet even with an outdoor show I ran into trouble: the reflective bunting hanging from the top of the stage cast a leaf-shaped shadow across her face, at times making her look like she was wearing a Mardi Gras mask. Oh well, I managed. It helped that Burgundy the bassist was clear of shadows, as well as Chris’s husband Sean doing his comic/magic act after.

And then we crawled around the whole place for hours, the highlight being the 3-D tent; if you have the glasses, you can still the flower photo comin’ at ya. . .


Burg sees me. . . oh oh


The Angel Brigade


Probably the best shot I’ll ever get of her. . .


She won’t let me borrow her halo!

!!296 robot

I HOPE she’s doing the robot. . .


Sean marveling at his wife. . . I think

!!821-step into my lair

Step into my lair. . .


Burgundy on your shoulder much better than a parrot.

!!908--turning trix

Sean turning trix again. . .


Sean needs to shave. . .

!!1007-shooting mandala

Chris shooting Burgundy’s. . . mandala


Now you see why Chris wears a halo. . .


That girl scares me. . .


Zaiden learning to salute. . . from Sean


Ireland going for a mock plane ride. . .


I can’t tell ya how much I loved the 3-D tent. . .