Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poor Wandering Whale

Here's a fascinating fact: Did you know whales can shut off half their brains? That way, they can sleep and still swim. Man! How I would love to accomplish stuff while sleeping.... Hey. I heard that. I do not sleepwalk through life. Anyway.

This poor whale today. I hope when I'm old and ready to die, that I'm not a spectacle like him, wandering around Dana Harbor, separated from the migrating herd, left to drift and be ogled by masses of people. This morning, he wandered into the harbor, but the folks from the Ocean Institute coaxed him back to open water using sounds. They worried boats might run him over inside. Now, he just hovers near the jetty.

I gotta say it was pretty interesting to see a gray whale up close. Marine Biologists can tell it's old by the *ahem*--wait for it--whale lice. Ew. Yes. Whale Lice. And the barnacles. I've gotta say, it wasn't a pretty beast. As one little girl put it, "CREEPY!!!" Then again, I'm not sure which was more disgusting. The whale, or this man's feet. I won't disgust you further with a closeup. Trust me on this one.

People brought cameras and kids, and oohed and aaahhhed every time the whale came up for air and blew air out it's blow hole. Not a shabby assignment today. Gorgeous ocean views. Cool (a little too cool) ocean breezes. Amazing feats of nature. And a bird up in a tree that I swear sounded like a shrill little barking dog.

All in all a pretty good day, at least for me and for the spectators. Not so much for the whale. Although... maybe he's a showboat. Maybe he wants to go out a celebrity. Considering he's been on every station in every newscast today, I think he's done just that.

Happy journey, whale, wherever that next journey might be.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pretty views and Pretty motorcycles

Wanna see the view from my "office" today?

Not too shabby, eh? I'm not sure how I would handle being confined to a building all day. I love being out and about. While up at the "Top of the World" in Laguna Beach, I saw bunnies and hawks and pretty flowers and sparkly water...

...okay. You get what I'm sayin'. So why was I on "Top of the World" today? Because Laguna Beach is in a dead zone. In order to feed back our signal live, we have to have line of sight with a microwave tower, and since Laguna is surrounded by hills, that can't be done. The solution? Drive up the to "Top of the World" park. Complaining? Not me.

And why were we in Laguna? To interview a family member of one of the American hikers detained in Iran. (See Richard? Real news!) They've been actively campaigning to get Visas for the mothers of the three detainees so they can at least go see their kids, but have been continually denied. Finally today, the Iranian government said they will be issued, but the family is hesitant to believe. They've been told this before. Only when the Visas are in hand, will they allow themselves to get excited. If you're interested in reading more about their story, check out the website, www.freethe hikers.org.

Now I'm going to blather on about my weekend. Work has been stressful the last couple of weeks, so instead of doing what I should have done this weekend--like laundry and grocery shopping (who needs clean clothes and food?)--I instead chose to be completely self-indulgent and just have fun. Saturday I went riding with a friend, Shannon, who just got her motorcycle license and her first motorcycle, a Honda Rebel (well, kind of her first bike. She bought a Yamaha, but it had issues to the point of being unrideable, so our good pal Spider hooked her up with the Rebel). We did 100 miles through the canyons and around Orange County. She did great!! You'd never know she'd been on a bike only a handful of times. Go Shannon!

Sunday, I took the '67 CT 90 out for some exercise. Poor little thing doesn't get much road time with all the other bikes in the garage. I had SO much fun! Seriously! I don't know how many laps I did through Old Town Orange, blazing (okay, maybe not blazing) down street after street ogling the "downtown charmers" (old houses, in cheesy realtor talk). On about my bazillionth time rounding the traffic circle, people started to point and laugh. But we didn't give a rat's ass! We knew we were cool!

When I got back to the shop, my feller had taken the fairing and touring trunk off of MoJoe's old sidecar rig. I couldn't believe how much better it looked! So of course we had to take that out for a spin to make sure everything still functioned right. I swear, people on the streets can't help but smile when they see a sidecar rig. See? I bet you're smiling now!

Okay, okay. I'll stop blabbering on about motorcycles. But I'm a Motor Doll! What do you expect??

Oh! And speaking of Motor Doll stuff! Wednesday, I meet again with the yet-to-be-named all girl car club! And this weekend Mae (my '48 Ford), gets her newly-purchased front fenders! Maw and Paw are dragging the trailer here since I haven't been able to make it out to get them. Thanks Maw and Paw! Wanna read the full story on her face-lift? Go here. Woo hoo!! Maybe Mae will someday be back on the road again!

And now... it's time to eat dinner. Maybe it will dilute the caffeine in my system.

Later gators!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Never forget...

Yeah, I know. I've been seriously slackin' on the Blog front, but it's not as if I've been off counting dust motes. For one, I had some Motor Doll bloggin' to do over on the MD site, you know, motor-related stuff after a busy, super-fun-motor-weekend a while back. Don't believe me? Go check it out.

Plus, I've been workin' on the Winslow building (newly named the WINSLOW MOTOR PALACE). We went there last weekend for the first time as owners--scary, but oh so cool. We put together plans for our "motel room" in the mudroom/shanty off the main building. Sounds charming, eh? Really... it is. I just like the word shanty. And our contractor likes the word mudroom. It's an East-Coast thing. Anyway...

Of course, I could have sneaked in time to write about my daily news stories (what this blog is supposed to be about, right?) but frankly, couldn't get motivated. The stories haven't been at all inspiring. I did an entire week on the federal appliance rebate. All week, pictures of washers and dryers and refrigerators--oh my! Write about that? I don't think so.

And... oh yeah! My house was burglarized. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say knowing someone came into your home and took things you worked hard to buy, stinks. Most of the stuff they stole insurance will cover and can be replaced. One thing for me, though, can't.

For those of you who've read MOTOR DOLLS, you know Benny gets thrown for a loop when her camera gear is stolen, not because she can't go buy new ones, but because the memories evoked from each camera are irreplaceable. The camera stolen from me wasn't particularly sentimental, and because it's no longer made, I got an upgrade as a replacement (thanks, super-cool-and-mega-swell-Richard. See? I mentioned you in my blog. Happy now?).  What really tweaked me was my camera strap. Yep. The strap.

When I was thirteen, I borrowed my dad's SLR to get some shots for a magazine put together by my AP English class. My subject? Arcosanti, an experimental town in the middle of the Arizona desert. I shot two rolls of black-and-white and fell in love with the process and how life looked through a viewfinder. Because I'd developed such a passion (and borrowed my dad's camera way too often) my parents bought me my own, a used Pentax K1000, with a "professional" looking camera strap, much like the one in the picture here. I felt so hip and cool with my bitchin' strap. A couple years after I got the camera, my brother's dog, Red, knocked over my tripod with the Pentax, splitting the body. The only thing salvagable was the strap.

Over the years, I moved that silly strap from camera to camera. It didn't feel like "my" camera unless it wore that strap. When I realized my camera had been taken in the burglary, my first thought was the strap. They stole a piece of my photographic history that can never be replaced.

How did I respond? I kinda took a time-out on life, which is why I haven't kept up on this blog. I felt  zapped but couldn't completely explain why. Yes, work kept me insanely busy. Yes, I felt overloaded. Yes, the theft bummed me out. But totally checking out didn't fit me.

About a week after the theft (while doing yet another ridiculous appliance story) I met a very interesting man: A sixty-something out of work construction inspector living in a Hollywood Hills apartment.  He'd taken advantage of the rebate program and was waiting for his new washing machine to be delivered--and we planned to be there to capture the moment. Of course, the delivery truck was late. Really late. In fact, we had to leave before it arrived in order to make our air slot. While waiting, we stood around and talked. He said he had a gift of seeing truth and gave us some examples that seemed pretty insightful, especially about the reporter I was working with. Somehow we got on the subject of the burglary, and I mentioned the strap. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "It wasn't the strap that was special. It was the way you felt about it. You still have those feelings."

Whoa. He was totally right. His advice?

"When you walk into the store to buy a new strap, transfer all of those emotions and memories into the new strap. Remember, the strap doesn't matter. What's in your head and heart does."

Here I'd been fretting about this silly thing for a week, and a few words from a stranger made me feel a bazillion times better. So you know what I did? I went on ebay and found an old strap like mine and bought it. When it arrives, I'll take his advice and transfer all of the youthful love and enthusiasm I felt the first time I slung my "professional" camera 'round my neck into the new one and create a whole new set of memories to add to it.

Mr. Hollywood Hills Man, I don't remember your name, but I will never forget your eyes or your words. Thank you.