Archive for May, 2008

It wasn’t more than a few days ago that Susan spied our first teeny tiny tomato on the vines she’s been nurturing since March and there was much rejoicing.

Then today Susan found the first born ‘mater had an unwelcome guest that had moved in (click to triplify):

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Drats, but such is life in the backyard. I hope that first fruit helps nourish  this caterpilar through its metamorphosis to whatever it’s to become. And in the meantime Susan’s gonna step up repellent procedures to prevent further invasions.

Did I see what I think I saw earlier today?

I know that a small squadron of crows set to making quite a racket directly overhead in the backyard this afternoon. When Susan and I came out of the house to investigate I counted five of them circling our smaller palm tree and immediately I figured they were giving some raptor grief that had landed up there in the fronds.

Little did I know…

Upon circling to the backside of the tree I found myself looking up about 25 feet from a magnificent red-tailed hawk looking straight down at me while trying its best to ignore the divebombings of the crows and maintain control of its prey, a medium-sized something that it clutched in one talon while holding the frond with the other.

Only when I said something over the crows like “Whoa will you look at that!” and pointed up, did the hawk get startled, unable to deal with the attentions of the crows above and me below. Upon lifting off it was also unable to maintain a grip on its meal — but the meal wasn’t dead and like a shot took off flying in a south-by-southwest direction toward the downtown skyline over the trees and outta there!

With some fluffy down feathers drifting down upon us we watched as the hawk flew north to land a palm tree closer to Sunset Boulevard with the crows in pursuit and not letting up in the slightest.

But here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure the hawk’s catch wasn’t a crow. As it all happened so fast, I didn’t get a really good look at it so maybe it was and maybe the hawk had invaded a nearby crow’s nest. But the down feathers that fell to earth were light gray and the momentary glimpse I got of the escapee bolting away was that it was a pigeon or maybe a mourning dove.

What’s the big deal about that? Probably nothing much, but to my layman’s eye it’s fascinating to consider that I witnessed crows defending against an enemy — even if the battle they wage is not for one of their own.

So my main beef — quite literally — with Iron Man derives in the first couple scenes when Tony Stark is safely back on U.S. soil after having been held prisoner by terrorists for long enough to McGuyver Iron Man 1.0 and kick their collective holy-waring ass. The first thing he does is turn to his colleague in the limousine that’s ready to whisk them away from the freedom bird that brought him back to his homeland of Southern California and he says that the first thing he wants is an “American cheeseburger.” In the scene immediately following he emerges from the limo to a bunch of news cameras and reporters and his driver hands him… a bag that just so happens to prominently feature the Burger King logo.

Seriously Mr. Stark, a Whopper is the best you and your crew could do? Not that I don’t put BK near the top of my fastfood burger list, but hear me out. When one of the richest most successful and powerful men in the world returns home to a hero’s welcome after miraculously surviving three months of captivity at the hands of extremist goons in the rugged and isolated Alabama Hills of Lone Pine, California mountains of Afghanistan, he could pretty much snap one finger and contract TV’s Extreme Home Makeover team to build and equip him a burger stand in about an hour, and with the other finger staff the grill with the finest chef in all the land while simultaneously having a pound of the finest and freshest Angus or Kobe beef delivered.

If not something that over-the-top, at very least hit an In-N-Out or Tommy’s — or better yet, the resurrected Mo’ Better Meatty Meat Burger goodness of Indulge Cafe at Pico and Redondo.

But instead, in this movie that begs me at every turn to willingly suspend my disbelief, I’m expected to swallow that the best that could be done to fulfill this man’s first desire was a warmed-over Whopper? Snagged from the drive-through no doubt? Gah!

With the exception of some other petty issues, this is pretty much the one thing in the entire motion picture that jerked me back to the reality and screamed of product placement.

Those other gripes deal with:

  1. Director Jon Favreau’s cameo scenes as Tony Stark’s bodyguard — was that really necessary?
  2. The whole unrequited love thing between Stark and Penny — yawn!
  3. The climactic finale seemed decidedly not quite fantastic enough — more please!

If you haven’t already figured it out, the shallow extent of such peckings means I thought the movie rocked.

P.S. And there’s a reason to sit through the credits — all of them.

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Here I go again celebrating the littler things such as this moth willing to let my camera get surprisingly close to it while sunning itself on the leaf of an avocado seedling.

The loquat tree in the neighboring yard has branches that grow over the fence into ours.

Before we banned our gardening crew from the backyard because they proved lax in closing the gates, they used to strip the branches bare of the over-abundance of fruit. Now there’s enough for me… and the squirrels and birds and opossums.

Loquats generally don’t get a lot of respect, but they have a tangy apricot quality that I enjoy.

Post RIDE-Arc ride, rolling back home solo I had to stop at the bright lifelessness of Chris Burden’s “Urban Lights” installation outside the L.A. County Museum of Art (click to humongify).

It may seem odd to some, but those late hours are some of the most enjoyable to be on a bike in the city.

I’ve been dealing with some things you know about — like the death of our upstairs neighbor — and some work-related things you don’t. And I’m just gonna keep that boring crap to myself.

But on the office front, I opened a desk drawer that I hadn’t in awhile and found a frame I’d purchased not long after I started working here. My intent had been to fill it with a picture of my beloved Susan and here we are eight months later and I finally got around to doing that today with one of my favorite of her taken at the Eiffel Tower overlooking the Seine when we were in Paris just about this time last year:

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Now whenever I need a smile I can just see her smiling back at me.