Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer

How to distill summer down to a few words?

I worked nine weeks of summer camp, four of which were Summer Camp Classic, and five of which were Trailblazers, with one of the latter being a residential camp for the migrant education program. Badger, despite his attempts to retire, is still the director of the classic summer camp, and Sasquatch has stepped in as director of Trailblazers. He came laden with all sorts of new ideas, including shelter building, a blind walk, Jedi training (sort of a combination of tether ball and dodge ball), cooking, and new (to me) games such as Wolf Pack, Mission Sasquatch, and Nature Survival Experience. It was a blast, and over too fast.

Due to the storm-damaged road, we shuttled kids to and from camp in vans all summer. I was skeptical that it would work, but we managed.

Willow had summer school for much of the summer, but managed to spend two weeks as a camp counselor, one week for Wild Things (mostly 5 and 6 year olds), and one week with the older kids. Sophie was up for some Wild Things counseling too. By all reports, they both did great jobs. I'm a proud dad. Willow is sad that it's over, and is now back in school as a high schooler. Initial reports suggest that the biology teacher gives too much homework.

To mark the end of camp, on Friday I went and saw an uncut Italian language print of Dario Argento's Suspiria at the Roxie Theater in S.F., and on Saturday went up to camp in the evening with Jeanine and Willow, where we met Weasel, Night Hawk, Lion, Clover, and others for a Perseid Meteor Shower viewing party. We saw some big ones and had a fine old time. Weasel recently had both her vocal cords removed to combat the cancer growing there, but can still talk because the false vocal cords help create sound. She went through the whole ordeal with bravery and grace, plus some online diagrams showing what was happening.

Sunday, Jeanine, Willow, and I went up to see the most recent Central Works play, Winter, about the right to die with dignity. It was excellent, even by the high standards of Central Works.

Here is a photo set of all the photos I took during summer camp.

As far as this blog goes, I haven't been writing much mainly because I've been listening to records. It sounds funny when I write it that way, but I've been trying to re-listen to all of my old records, CDs, and cassettes, and since I have over 8000 of them, it's taking up a lot of time. I've rediscovered some gems along the way, but this has led to more purchases. But hey, it's a hobby.

I may or may not get back on track here. Time will tell.




Sunday, May 07, 2017

A Few Photos From the Stormy Months


This looks like a California Newt emerging from a creek, but in reality it's just crossing a trail. Over the last couple of months, I've joked about how it seems that all of the rain withheld during the multiple-year California drought was unleashed over the course of this winter. In any event, the swiftly saturated ground couldn't handle the deluge, so runoff swamped many of the trails, either due to culverts being blocked or simply because the water had nowhere else to go. It made hiking an adventure.


Speaking of creeks, this is what Todd Creek in Sanborn Park looked like after a landslide dumped some extra trees, rock, and soil into it. For over a month, I was actually a bit nervous letting kids near the water, let alone hiking up the creek. Now, from the vantage point of Spring, things are more or less back to normal, although due to the flooding and sliding, in some places it's a new normal.


Just past Todd Creek there is an old landslide that took away a section of trail back in the nineties. The rangers put up a fence so hikers wouldn't march off the new cliff and die, and a single track detour trail eventually allowed access to where the main trail picked up on the other side. This winter, as one can see from the precarious condition of the fence, more earth slid away. Sometime after this photo was taken, the fence succumbed to gravity. It now lies broken at the bottom of the newly scoured ravine. Most of the trees that started growing after the original slide now lie shattered downhill somewhere. In addition to this, the detour trail is simply gone, like a giant took an ice cream scoop to the hillside.


Lastly, here's a photo taken up Todd Creek Road, showing one of several slides that temporarily blocked access. The only people who ever drive up this road are park rangers and camp maintenance staff, but we routinely hike groups of kids up and down it. It's a good thing we're flexible. Many plans were changed on the fly this winter.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Still Here

I'm looking out the window at bright blue sky. A breeze so gentle as to be almost nonexistent ruffles the foliage. It has been around two months since I've written here, and this will only be my second post of 2017. Two months is a long time to be silent. During this silence, a rainy Winter has given way to Spring, we have gone on a couple of trips (one to Orlando, and one to London), and the political situation in this country has continued to fester.

The trail pictured in the previous post is still closed, and the road to camp has sustained enough damage that we've had to shuttle kids up it using vans. Buses exceed the new weight limit and it is apparently against regulations to bus kids up compromised roads (as it should be). We have added several vans to our fleet though, and it is now part of the routine.

I'm using Willow's laptop now. Mine is barely functional. It's a good thing Willow has two.

My long silence is partially due to my laptop getting more difficult to use, and once I got out of the habit of posting regularly, the days just slipped by even after I switched laptops. I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, so hopefully more posts will emerge over the forthcoming days. I realize that I'm mostly speaking into the void anyway, since I don't imagine many people read this (and nor should they, since these posts are usually unfocused personal ramblings). I continue to write just to keep in practice.

Perhaps it's time to rethink my approach.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Month Off For No Good Reason

So it seems I've taken a month off from writing here. It wasn't planned, and there is no real reason behind the decision. I just haven't felt like writing.

The most significant thing to happen during January was the beginning of a new political era, one that is certain to end poorly for everybody. Some enterprising souls are taking notes on the slow motion train wreck here. Tensions run high. Rioting has occurred. Various scummy fringe groups suddenly feel empowered. Innocent people are already suffering.

Of greater personal significance was the sudden death of my friend, Jim Kaiser. Jim played music with my brother. I'll write about him over on my music blog soon, as it seems the more appropriate place to post about him.

Locally, we have gotten a truckload of rain. At work, I've seen water in places where I've never seen it before. Creeks have jumped banks, power lines have come down. Creeks that are normally mere trickles or dry washes have suddenly become raging, frothy torrents. Most significantly, the trail to the reservoir was subject to a landslide, and is going to be closed for months.

Here's what the John Nicholas Trail leading up to Lake Ranch Reservoir currently looks like.


Here are a couple of the trails in Sanborn Park.



We got a foggy day too:



The picture below was taken in a spot where this in normally no surface water.


Sometime over the holiday break, the deer carcass near the driveway in Sanborn Park was reduced to a pile of scattered bones.


There were a few chilly nights too.


The only noteworthy excursion (not counting musical ones, which are reported elsewhere) of the month was a short trip to Hacienda Cemetery to find the grave containing an arm (the owner of which is buried in another cemetery, but that will be a trip for another time). We succeeded. It was a nice little spot.