Monday, May 31, 2010

Patronize Businesses That Give Back to the Outdoors

Eagle Creek, Ocean Minded and STM Bags volunteered for trail maintenance work at Elfin Forest. Thanks guys! I'll be sure to shop there!

The Ethics of Letting Your 13-Year Old Climb Everest

This post pretty much states my own misgivings about public admiration for this feat. If I told you I let my 13 year old kid do something that had a 10% death rate, what kind of father would I be? His parents will no doubt reply that their kid was special, and the 10% chance of death didn't apply to him. No doubt that's exactly what everybody in that 10% since 1954 has thought, and the fact that he happened to have made it up and down in one piece doesn't change the morality of the decision.

Time to Xeriscape Your Property?

It's cheaper, it's easier, and makes your home more San Diegish. Other reasons here. Theodore Payne is a native plants specialist and here's an article with pictures of the natives.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only in Humboldt County

I really, really love Northern California and wouldn't mind living in Humboldt County specifically. But if stereotypes ever have a basis in fact, they certainly do up there: "Police in [Arcata] are warning LSD users to beware after responding to a rash of incidents apparently connected to bad acid trips." Imagine police crashing Woodstock with megaphones: "Attention hippies: there's some bad weed going around. Watch out. That is all."

Write-up About Rose Canyon in the Union-Tribune

Article here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

High-Volume Trolley to Be Put in Rose Canyon

I just learned about this only because it was in the minutes of my development's owner's organization. Just incredible. Fortunately, there's still time to do something - but not much.

Before I even get into how this would ruin the canyon - if you live anywhere near Rose Canyon, imagine trains going through every 4-5 minutes, instead of only periodically as the Coasters do now. Imagine the construction noise and dust for (how many) years. Imagine most of all what it will do to your property's value.

There's a lot more information at Friends of Rose Canyon's website, including the next (and last!) meeting here citizens can voice our concerns, coming up this Tuesday, and email addresses (which I also include below). I will be going to this meeting, and I've already sent my email. Yes, we're all busy, and yes it's a little intimidating going to one of these functions - but I've done it before and it's amazing how much impact you can have by going. But you have to show up.

Besides the damage to property values and quality of life (think about that! trains every 4 minutes!) another set of tracks will ruin the canyon, not only for our own esthetic enjoyment but for a lot of the plants and animals that live there now. There's precious little open space in San Diego set aside for our kids and their kids as it is. And the best part is, saying NO to more trains in Rose Canyon doesn't stop the line, it just moves it. The colored lines on the map below are possible lines. The yellow one goes through Rose Canyon. The others don't. This is good, because we need more public transporation - and stopping the SANDAG trolley in Rose Canyon doesn't stop us from building it; we just build it on one of the other routes.

[Update: A story in the La Jolla Light says that the MTA has endorsed the red line on the map below. This is great news - a real win-win. We get public transportation, and homeowners and and outdoors folks get to keep Rose Canyon. I don't know if endorsement constitutes the official end of the story so I'm still going to the meeting.]

Did I mention the effect on Rose Canyon property values?

If you can't make it to the meeting, please email the following people RIGHT NOW (time is running out!) and tell them you don't want more noise and trains and dirt ruining Rose Canyon:




If you go to this meeting, I'll see you there (please come up and say hi):

Caltrans District 11 Office
Garcia Conference Room
4050 Taylor Street, San Diego, CA 92110
Tuesday May 25 2010
Bus stop/Transit station located at Taylor St./Juan St. & Old Town Transit Center

Monday, May 17, 2010

Statewide Earthquake Drill to be Held 21 October

More information here. I'll go out on a limb and say it might actually be fun, plus then people can't keep muttering "Sure they can do public earthquake drills in Japan but that would never work in the U.S."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Public Comment for Powerlines Cutting Through National Forest

A judge has said that there has to be a period for public comment on the proposed SDG&E powerlink. Here are some news sources and the organizations trying to protect these lands (news here and here, organizations here and here). I couldn't find the link to leave public comment; might not be up yet, I'll post it when it is.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pony Express Re-Ride This June

Turns out that they already "re-ride" it. Info here; info on our run of the last leg from Martinez to Oakland here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rose Canyon From the North Side

Cross-posted at my blog The Late Enlightenment.

Looking toward the south side from the Genesee Highlands area. Acrylic on canvas.

When you're running, you perceive massive amounts of information just for a moment (that rock on the trail, that lizard skittering in front of you, a patch of mustard flowers hanging out on the trail) and literally after a second all that experience is gone, and you're left with an impression of a ridge and a valley with yellow grass and mint-green sage. That's okay; you can't take the sense-experience with you.

I'm not the first runner or outdoor enthusiast who's wanted to pay tribute to the lands I know and love by reproducing them in my own hand, by writing or painting, so I thought I'd try filtering Rose Canyon through a planist perspective. "Planism" is an umbrella term I use to catch many styles of art, including some named 20th century schools (including cubism) but also van Gogh and in particular Cezanne. I think given my lack of training it's clear that the idea is more interesting than the execution, but it at least prompted me to think about where my interest in this style comes from:

1) Planism is how humans actually see. We break the world into surfaces. This has been investigated scientifically and I've also had a number of personal experiences reinforcing and highlighting this aspect of visual perception. By this I mean the kinds of experiences that nature forces on you, if you're paying attention. Climbing a steep trail in mountainous country, endless parallel ridges backing up to the horizon reveal themselves this way and in so doing lift one corner of the veil off the inner workings of how our consciousness quietly knits itself together moment-to-moment. Even staring through a tree long enough can make the branches seem to suddenly stratify into planes of non-continuous depth. "Line" in representative art seems often (usually?) to really just be a way to emphasize the break between planes, a discontinuity in depth, and that's what inspired my amateurish effort here. Apparently in Europe a century or two ago the fashionable debate was between followers of Ruben or Poussin, who debated whether line or color should demarcate surfaces. Evidently none of these people were ever in the outdoors in California, because here, line clearly does exist in nature.

2) The recent history of line in Western art is a history of planism. Cubism and some of the other 20th-century -isms were descended from or influenced by Cezanne and van Gogh, who broke scenes into planes favoring certain angles (right or slightly acute in the case of cubism). Cezanne's paintings in particular (especially later in his career) flattened scenes into non-contiguous planes, often using dark lines.

Mont-Sainte Victoire, 1885, image from Wikipedia

Also moving toward a more planar style was van Gogh, influenced by Asian and in particular Japanese art which hadn't yet assimilated three-dimensional perspective or realism. (This is no indictment of perspective or realism as aberrations of European art - it's under-appreciated that realism was independently developed in sculpture at least one other time by the Maya.) In the end, if I'm trying imitate anybody, it's Cezanne, but true imitation would require talent and technique which as you may have noticed are absent in the work which begins this post.

3) The Pacific Northwest. A form of planism that absolutely fascinates me is the style traditionally referred to as Haida, but it really spans the Pacific Northwest culture region. (By planism I also mean art which appears to intentionally overemphasize the surfaces in a scene by dramatically decomposing them into planes. I'm not referring to all art which lacks perspective, in which case planism would be a useless term since it would mean, for starters, every drawing ever beginning with Lascaux and extending through 15th century Europe.) I might be trying to imitate Pacific NW style even more than Cezanne (except in full color, on canvas):

From Alcheringa Gallery.

This technique breaks up the subject in stylized ways, emphasizing through relative-size-exaggeration functionally important parts of the animal; teeth, claws, head and eyes; on birds, the wings and their anticipated movements are prominent. Most interesting is that Pacific NW representations are essentially the same in both two and three dimensions - that is, the style in drawings is essentially the same as the style in wood-carving. Think about that: they have more wood than they know what to do with up there, and yet when the style was developing they ended up imposing planes on three dimensions rather than imposing depth on two.

Boy, that's a whole lot of talkin' for one painting. If you made it this far I hope it was interesting to you.

I haven't decided whether the next one will be another planist attempt (on San Clemente Canyon, i.e. Marian Bear) or I'll do a Pacific Northwest mountain lion.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Penn State Beats California School at Volleyball

Looks like Cal State Northridge didn't have what it takes. Them thar East Coast types can play some volleyball, huh?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Berks County Needs More Trail Volunteers

Berks County, PA needs folks to help by being on trail 3 hours a week and helping or answering questions from other trail users. More info here. This is a great way to help Berks County's ever-improving trail system.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bashoo Didn't Like Deserts

Yellow summer grass;
All that remains past warm spring
From green winter rains.

Warrior dreams and poppies in Rose Canyon:

Image credit to Moonjazz.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Running the Coast: Mapping Language Boundaries

I finished running the civilian part of the San Diego County coast some months ago but if I want to do the whole county including Pendleton, I still have one more piece (from the southern border of Pendleton to Las Pulgas). Turns out that my most recent piece of it, from Las Pulgas to the O.C. border, was the southern half of the Juaneño (Acjachemen) territory. Next time if I run from the OC border to just south of Laguna Beach I'll have covered the rest of the Acjachemen Nation. Maybe I should start marking my runs in terms of languages or language families:

(That's a WikiMapi)

On second thought scratch that - everything along the coast in this picture is Uto-Aztecan, and it'll be awhile until I'm in Chumash territory up in Santa Monica. I have to say it's curious that the Kumeyaay were omitted from this map. I like Kumeyaay because it's the only coastal San Diego County group from a language family that also has members in the Bay Area or NorCal (Hokan, which contains Pomo, ancestral tongue of the Sonoma Coast and of thrash metal vocalist extraordinaire Chuck Billy). Which is why the only casino I go to is Sycuan.

Wow, that's a lot of digressions even for me.