Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fire and rain, but not in that order

Well, i tried to upload pictures today but 'Hello' and the blogger picture server seem to be down. But, in any event... the fire season has started. Last evening when I was driving home i noticed a small fire above Tujunga (i had a picture, too, but i can't post it yet.). This fire was quickly extinguished... just in time apparently because upon driving to work today i drove right into the start of a santa ana wind. The hot, dry wind was raging all day in the canyons, and sure enough another fire started some time late in the morning. This one was where the 118 crosses the Santa Susana Pass. With the dry winds of the fire season, the fire burned right across the 118 up towards Box Canyon and Rocketdyne (presumably not igniting any rocket fuel). Last I heard it was currently menacing the 'Bell Canyon' gated housing tract, which i'm sure will mean a lot of miserable republicans if it burns down. It's better if it doesn't though.. because burning houses smell bad.
If the fire continues it may spread into the Ahmanson Ranch area (mostly grass and oaks, the oaks will probably not be killed and the grass is mostly weeds anyway) and Cheeseboro Canyon (my private hell of the last summer). Perhaps the entire canyon will burn rendering our 'burnt' and 'unburnt' plots useless. As much as I would like to see the whole area turned to ash, it's probably best if it doesnt burn as too many fires just tend to convert areas to weeds. Also, hopefully the fire doesn't burn all of the chaparral in the higher part of the Simi Hills.. there is some neat relatively old brush up there.

Monday, September 26, 2005

At sunset last night there were lots of funky clouds.. it looked much like the weather before the storm last week. Sure enough, there were thunderstorms moving through Ventura and Santa Barbara through the night and today up at Little Tujunga Canyon we had a small, fast moving storm come by... it poured rain for about 2 minutes, accompinied by some close cloud to ground lightning... and then it was gone. The rain wasn't measurable here.. but nevertheless, it is quite unusual to be getting storms like this at this time of year. Posted by Picasa

clouds Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Stick Shifts, Safety Belts, Bucket Seats

So, on Friday, I got in to work and went to pick up the truck i was going to use to move some furniture to my new office.

And... lo and behold.. the truck was a stick shift!

I haven't driven stick in about 5 years, so i was a bit worried. I went to go ask if they had any other trucks. They called around and couldn't find any. I realized that i am going to have to deal with the stick shift problem eventually. No one was averse to me taking the car, so after a bit of deliberation, I just did it. After stalling 3 times due to forgetting about the emergency brake, I was off into LA traffic. I did not stall out at all on LA roads, so I was very proud. I guess stick shift is like riding a bike.. once you get back into it, you remember fast.

Much of the rest of the day consisted of fighting with the copier. At the end of the day I got to take the truck out to start to get familiar with more of the park. I had a lot of fun driving the stick shift on mountain roads.

On a side note though, the USFS seemed to think it would be a good idea to buy some 2 wheel drive trucks in an area with lots of muddy fire roads which gets substantial snow in the winter. Who the hell comes up with this stuff? Why would you buy a 2*2 truck in these mountains, ever? So ultimately, the problem isnt the stick shift, just the fact that some of the vehicles are not 4 wheel drive.

Yesterday I was down in torrance hanging out at a party with my friend Cambria... Anyone who knew me in High School finds this extremely strange because me and Cambria were basically arch enemies in high school.. we did NOT get along. But who the hell holds a 7 year grudge?? Besides, i don't blame someone for disliking me back then... haha. In any event, the party was a 'sausage fest' so there wasn't much meeting of new girls or anything... but sometimes it is fun just to hang out with a bunch of loud, drunk guys too.

I didn't get drunk. I had to drive.

Oh yeah... I have declared this weekend the start of 'Party Period 3'. Party period 1 was a really fun part of college and Party Period 2 was the time spent with Eli and the SCA's making music (and the cabin trip). It'll be fun.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In the pines...

Today for the first day I was actually way up in the mountains. I didn't get to stay long, but it was nice. I was up on Mt Wilson and the Chileo Flats area. Up high in the mountains there are ponderosa pines and white firs and other trees more representitive of places like the Sierras. Since these mountains are so steep, the area densely forested with pines is smaller than that of the San Bernadino mountains (they prefer more gentle slopes, it seems) but the mountains also have a variety of other things like bigcone spruce and oak forests, and deep canyons full of oak and alder forest.

It's a neat area.. well, most of it is. There are dirty urban fringe areas just like in Malibu. It's definitely in the 'front lines' of habitat preservation.

My office is in a canyon right above the Valley. I will be in a trailer (which is all the forest/park service seem to ever have) but i will have a window and my own office area. And hopefully i will be in the field a lot.

Other than that... I am really enjoying my place in Pasadena. I haven't done too much social stuff yet but i hope to soon.

Oh yeah.. Josh, if you read this... we were hoping you could help us get a password on the wireless connection. Call/email me when you guys get back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oh yeah.. i forgot to mention that on Monday night and Tuesday morning, the Pasadena area as well as many other parts of LA expereienced a series of thunderstorms accompanied with lots of lightning. The thunder woke me up at least 6 times during the night.. and since my head is next to a giant sliding glass door, i got to watch lots of lightning. After all was said and done, between a quarter and a half an inch had fallen in the area... easily breaking the records throughout the LA basin where the prior rainfall records were on the order of .08 inches. Things are definitely weird now. The picture here was not taken by me, it is from This is Hunnington Pear. Posted by Picasa

This is an image of the internal structure of hurricane Rita, using wavelengths that highlight the center of the storm. It shows the 'skeleton' of the storm and what you can see is a nearly perfect eye with a perfect eyewall and feeder bands. In theory, this is about as strong as a hurricane can get... Gilbert was slightly stronger and this one will probably be stronger too before it hits land. Hopefully it will diminish before landfall but unfortunately, storm surges do not weaken as fast as the rest of the storm... there is going to be a lot of talk of climage change, and it is impossible to say that this is the reason for these storms. However, we can say that the extremely warm water in the Gulf is a big reason why they are getting this strong. Whatever is going on... it isnt good for the coastline of Texas. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mt Wilson area after the storm. The thunderstorms which lasted all night and through much of today ended up producing a lot of lightning, and not much rain... about .25 inches in the lowlands and up to an inch in the mountains.. not much by winter storm standards but more than the average rainfall for the entire month of September. Posted by Picasa

Mt Wilson area after the storm. The thunderstorms which lasted all night and through much of today ended up producing a lot of lightning, and not much rain... about .25 inches in the lowlands and up to an inch in the mountains.. not much by winter storm standards but more than the average rainfall for the entire month of September. Posted by Picasa

turbulent clouds over the San Gabriel Mountains Posted by Picasa

beams of light on the Foothill Freeway Posted by Picasa

Jack in the Box looking stormy Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2005

it is raining!

it is raining outside now..

nothing major so far,
but there has also been lightning.
It is wet enough to smell good, at least.
summer rain smells different than winter rain. the smell reminds me of colorado or the sierras.. because summer rain is very rare along the California cost.

Today was my first day of work. I was at a conference.. nothing really exciting happened. I probably won't be outside this week. I am learning lots of stuff and hopefully making contacts. I am excited about my new job.

I am also really excited about the fact i can walk to just about anything. I walked to Trader Joes today to buy food... it is a very short walk. I also wandered about in a park. There are so many people on the streets, it just makes me want to wander around more. There are lots of hipsters, and lots of cute girls... unfortunately it doesnt seem that likely that i will get a good excuse to talk to a random cute girl on the street. I will have to work on that.

In any event.. things are good. but at the moment, i am just waiting for it to get going.

Well, it was getting dark, and by the time i got out there i couldnt see much. Here are some cirrus clouds glowing in the setting sun. The air is really calm and muggy out there, and kind of energetic. I still think we could get a storm... but any rain this time of year has to fight against a lot of dry air so it is far from a sure thing. Posted by Picasa

it looks like we *might* (or might not) get a line of thunderstorms movign through LA in the next few hours. My earlier attempts to photograph distant storms were thwarted by a dead camera battery.. but i will try again after i eat.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2005

the view from my balcony Posted by Picasa

closeup of my hipstery computer desk area Posted by Picasa

my new room Posted by Picasa

baby cactus! Posted by Picasa

goodbye, SAMO Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2005

And here is a small completed piece of the vegetation map i have been working on for the last 2 years. There is a lot more to be done but it was nice to have some of a complete product before l left! Now it is left to Julie and John to finish. Posted by Picasa

...then i look at this picture and realize i am glad i am not that person anymore... (dave - look at my capris pants!). One of the problems with the last time i 'stirred things up' is that i never really made a clean break with my past.. it tormented me for almost a year and influenced my interractions with others throughout that time and after. This time... in theory... i will just be all new. I am keeping what is important from my past... my family, my friends, my experiences... but everything else will be new Posted by Picasa

Sometimes it is really weird to look at old pictures of yourself.. you just realize things you didn't know at the time. This picture was taken within a few weeks of me moving back south.. probably even before me and Esther broke up. I dunno, maybe its just my 'i wish i were still in college' bleached hair, or maybe just that defiant look of 'angry confidence' i have going on... i look back with a mix of nostalgia and irritation. I mean, it is almost like i am not even the same person anymore.. and that was just three years. Well... when i first came back down south, i was kind of being an ass, and just dumb in general. It is nice to see that i am making progress... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

flowers... and with this... i should finish loading the car and go to bed Posted by Picasa

political commentary... Posted by Picasa

Me and Rachel fighting over plant cover Posted by Picasa

A typical day at work... Posted by Picasa

Julie just gave me a cd full of a bunch of pictures from the last 3 years working at SAMO. I will be posting a few of them here.. maybe not all tonight beacuse i am currently trying to fit all my stuff into the cab of the truck (not working too well). Anyway this is the biggest brassica ever. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I am 1337! Posted by Picasa