Now that the season for the LA phil is underway, I decided to get rush tickets for a performance of Ravel’s Boléro.  It was a delightful and fun performance of one of my favorite songs.  Gustavo was not conducting, unfortunately.


washington, pt 2

More pictures from olympic national park.  Nature!

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plant update

I recently went to the Huntington plant sale with VH and W.  Supposedly there were many obscure varieties of plants that one cannot find elsewhere, but what do I know, I just pick things that look nice.  My succulent collection had grown a bit stagnant, partially due to my inability to grow plants and also because I didn’t really have enough and the ones I had were in the wrong kind of pots.  I think one got a disease and died quickly.  But enough of these somber thoughts.  On to the new ones.

1. Gollum Jade

Like the Lord of the Rings character?  YES, my precious, like the Lord of the Rings character!  There is also such a thing as a “hobbit” jade, which has leaves that are more flat, while these are tubular.  Though humble now, it looks as it will grow in surprising, gravity defying ways without requiring repotting.  “Young plants will quadruple in size in one year only.”  How exciting.

2. pachyphytum glutinicaule

This is a very funny looking plant.  Doofy.  I’ll go with doofy.   It should have a more common name, no?  Shouldn’t all plants have common names?  Possibly it does have one, which is “moran,” but I can’t tell for sure.  Moran would be a good name in any case.  Anyway I really like this one.  I can’t find too much more (interesting) information about it though.  Very mysterious.

3. crassula arborescens undulatifolius

I think my favorite.  I love the curling but stiff leaves with the red tint (because of sun exposure).  “Undulating,” says one grower.  It is also a “comparatively recent discovery, first described by Toelken in 1974, known only from the southern parts of the Klein Winterhoek Mountains in the eastern Cape Province,” growing near jade plants.  Learn something new everyday.  Also Toelken is sort of like Tolkien and thus continues our lord of the rings theme.

Most exciting, however, is not a plant I bought but one that I’ve had for 1.5 years.  Drumroll…my orchid is blooming!  I have no idea what I did to make this happen.  When I first got this plant some of the flowers were in bloom and there were many buds on two different spikes.  The flowers and buds rapidly fell off and I was left with a(nother) sad looking orchid plant.  Well now it’s blooming.

Thus ends the plant update.

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Ducks of the Week: “Waterfowl Collection”

As mentioned, it was hot and sunny-ish for like a week!  Even Guzzi was taking it easy:

Oh wait – Guzzi always takes it easy.  Well anyway, I decided to spend an afternoon roaming through Regent’s park.  Quite lovely.  Gardens and a zoo (which I didn’t go to) and…a  special area called ‘waterfowl collection’!  I couldn’t even get that near Harmony on her special island.  She sends her children, Plum and little John-John, to a £10,000 a year preschool, which is a bit much, I think.

And now, it’s raining again.

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Hello!  I’ve been in London for ten days, spending the summer here doing research.  I’m not sure I actually liked London during previous visits here.  I thought it was too busy, and coming after Italy or Berlin it seemed, I don’t know, vulgar or something.  And I couldn’t handle the food/cost situation.  But this is my first extended time here, and so far I like the city a lot more.  I’m also coming here to study it, so I have maybe a different attitude.

First, I like being in a walking city again.  I feel like I do more exercise just getting where I need to go here than I ever do on a daily basis in Los Angeles.  Along with that comes density, of course, and people and crowds which can be awful (in the subway, for example (sorry, tube)), but mostly give a sense of excitement.  I’ve of course found my vegetarian cafe for my daily coffee, called the Gallery Cafe.  This one is open relatively late and has a full menu plus beer and wine, and shows movies or has music or whatever some evenings.  Finding this was of course first order of business.

My research is on how urban development here has exacerbated or been used to mediate social or political tensions here, particularly looking at the role of ‘nature,’ however defined.  It might be an opportune time to study such a thing, because it seems like there are a lot of artists and architects create garden-y public spaces.  The benefits of ‘community gardens’ seem now obvious, or as a fairly normal thing to do with space, but I’m still wondering why public art is taking this form (as one of my sub-questions, perhaps).  Especially since not all of the spaces primarily gear themselves towards sustainable food production.

So one of these spaces is called the Urban Physic Garden, which is in a space near the tate modern that changes in theme every year.  Last year it was an orchard.  This year the theme seems to be medicinal plants, though they also have all sorts of other things and one of the most interesting thing about it is just the way they’ve laid out the space.

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A local non-profit was there when I went, holding an event to draw attention to the space.  This mostly meant a child’s drawing area and balloons, but they were very nice.  As you can see, I found the space very photogenic, especially the way that the wooden structures create layers in any image.  I also liked the juxtaposition of the garden and the ‘city,’ of course, being that it was right next to an overground line.  The space is also non-functional in the sense that I don’t think they intend for the plants they are growing to be used for any medicinal purposes.  It’s more a museum of medicinal plants, complete with lunch-lectures about the topic and others.  So the place itself seems to be a contained spatial art project, and I’m curious to know why this and not some other things.  I think the children might be the key here, because there is among these spaces a desire to get children involved, and to teach them and the adults about nature, or food, or sustainable living, or art.

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