Taken from the Manhattan Pier, I’m pretty sure. I think…

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Taken from the Manhattan Pier, I’m pretty sure. I think the color of the water has been manipulated, such that at first I didn’t recognize it as Santa Monica Bay, but the outlines of PV and Catalina in the background give it away.

More than anywhere on land, the waters from here south through the San Pedro Channel feel like home to me. Sometime during umpteen hours piloting there in the pre-GPS era it imprinted itself on me.

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Wednesday, April 29th, 2015



ORIGINAL CAPTION: Passengers on board Disneyland’s new Columbia sailing ship will never get scurvy… especially if handsomely suited in gay tangerine.

We’ve bought annual passes again this year after a few years of not doing so. I’ve never liked the crowds, but with the right attitude I can enjoy the crap out of DL, and having the passes really helps. Because the pressure is off, and eh, we’ll get to it next time. So instead we can focus on little things, new-to-us things, and it’s wonderful.

Our last visit was just a one-day dash on Sunday. High on my list was going on the sailing ship Columbia, which I’d never done. I’ve been bingeing my way through the Patrick O’Brien novels (currently on The Ionian Mission), so I was totally down with exploring an age-of-sail replica.

One unexpected thing for me was how all the rigging is finished off. You can see it in this photo. Basically, the ship has all the masts and shrouds you’d expect, and some (small) sails that are almost always kept furled on the yards. But where you’d expect all the running rigging to be, there’s… nothing. All those belaying pins under the rail in the photo: On a working ship there would be lines going to most of those, coiled halyard falls and the like; basically there’d be rope everywhere. On the Columbia, though, there’s nothing. Nothing at all for the vessel’s thousands of inquisitive visitors to get into trouble with. It’s like being an infant in the most obsessively baby-proofed home ever.

Which totally makes sense, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. Down below is similar: I was excited about seeing the belowdecks museum of life aboard in 1787. But rather than being configured the way it would have been, there’s a big open area in the middle that you walk around, with tiny screened-off cabins on the sides.

All of which was fine, and fun. In effect, the Columbia is a museum piece that faithfully represents not only what an 18th-century sailing ship was like, but also what a mid-20th-century Walt-Disney-imagined amusement park attraction was like.

It’s like with Disney’s version of fairy tales, or the Tomorrowland vision of the future. It’s simplified and sanitized, the rough edges smoothed away in service of an uncluttered, slightly kitschy, middle-America narrative.

Which is cool. Disneyland is what it is, and I love it. Not the way I loved my imagined version of it as a kid, when it was perfect and awesome and it made my stomach hurt just to think about it. But the way you love someone you’ve come to know over decades, having seen them at their best and their worst, until their imperfections become cherished reminders of who they are, of your shared history.

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thatkindofwoman: My jam.  Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers -…

Saturday, January 17th, 2015


My jam. 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “You Don’t Know How It Feels”

When the video for this song first came out it in 1994 it was really popular on MTV. But the standards of the day dictated that the line “let’s roll another joint” could not be played. So instead the version of the song they played (in heavy rotation, many times per day) had the word “joint” (and only the word joint) played in reverse; that is, backward-masked a la “Paul is dead”.

Which was just so wacky. I mean, with the rhyme scheme it was completely obvious to anyone over the age of 5 (and probably to a decent fraction of the 5-year-olds as well) what the actual lyric was. And yet millions of times per day we stared at our televisions as they played “let’s roll another tnioooooj”.

We were such delicate flowers.

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From Out-of-Print U.S. Editions of the Lord of the…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

From Out-of-Print U.S. Editions of the Lord of the Rings:


This reissue which appeared in 1973, featured Tolkien’s own artwork.  It became a widespread favorite in the U.S., particularly for those who grew up in the 1970s.  The three watercolors are (Vol 1) “The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the-Water,” identified on the copyright page as “The Hills: Hobbiton-across-the-Water; (Vol. 2) “Fangorn Forest” (“Beleg finds Gwindor in Taur-nu-Fuin”), not identified on the copyright page; and (Vol. 3) “Barad-Dûr,” so identified on the copyright page.  The back covers featured promotional blurbs and a portrait photo of Tolkien.

This set was marketed as a 4-book boxed set, packaged with The Hobbit which was also reissued at this time to match the LOTR set, and featured Tolkien’s painting “Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raftelves,” on the cover.  There were two styles of boxes, both of which were adorned with Tolkien’s Heraldic Devices of the First Age (Pictures No. 47) on either a gold foil or red background.  The gold foil box was another feature that made this set memorable.  This and the first Ballantine edition are both highly sought after among collectors.

Sometimes I remember something that the Internet reveals to be a complete fabrication of my big, squishy brain. That happened to me yesterday, when I went looking for information about the New Year’s Eve concert Devo did at the Long Beach Arena, which I remember fondly as my first real rock concert. I discovered that I did not attend that concert on December 31, 1978 (the New Year’s Eve of my junior year in high school), as I had long remembered it. Instead, I attended it on December 31, 1979 (during my senior year).

With that proof of my memory’s fallibility fresh in my mind, I was a little concerned that I might have misremembered which edition of LOTR I read in junior high. Maybe the one I was remembering was actually a later edition, the covers of which I’d mentally grafted onto the earlier memory?

Thankfully, the Internet confirms that I remembered correctly. I still had those books until not too long ago. Like the Skin Horse, the covers had long since been loved off. But they were definitely Real.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/69746868229.

Sir Francis Chichester wrote that a sufficiently experienced…

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sir Francis Chichester wrote that a sufficiently experienced sailor would be able to tell, just from the look of the water, what part of the world he or she was in.

I think about that passage from time to time. Like when I looked at this photo and thought oh, I bet that was taken from the Manhattan Pier, looking south with Point Vicente in the distance.

Because I grew up sailing those waters and walking on that pier, and it looks so familiar that it makes me feel homesick.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/69570191215.

the-eldest-woman-on: Star Chart This illustration is from The…

Monday, November 4th, 2013


Star Chart

This illustration is from The Stars by H. A. Rey (the Curious George author/artist). I have a beaten-up copy that is, in a certain sense, my oldest book. I own books that are older, but of all the books I own its the one that I’ve had the longest, with a distinct memory of reading this physical copy as a young child.

It’s the original cloth-bound hardback of the first edition, published in 1962, which makes it exactly as old as I am. I remember reading it (which would have meant looking at the pictures) when I lived on Hilton Drive in Redlands. We moved from that house just after my parents divorced, so I could not have been older than four, or at most five.

I loved it then, and love it now.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/65998342261.

yourland: Disneyland ticket book, 1965 I remember these. I…

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013


Disneyland ticket book, 1965

I remember these. I went to Disneyland a bunch in the late 1960s, and these ticket books were pretty much the center of your world in the park. The books were expensive, and if you were like me your dad probably was only going to buy one for you. Then you had to be super careful managing your use of the D’s and E’s, because those were what you needed to go on the awesome rides (hence the term “E-ticket ride”). I remember working deals with my siblings, trading tickets in return for future favors. I and everyone I knew had old ticket books from previous trips with a single unused “A” ticket, because honestly, who would want to do Mr. Lincoln when there was awesome stuff like Pirates of the Caribbean to go on?

Those tickets, with that special wavy pattern in the paper, were imbued with a really powerful sense of value in my little-kid brain. I mean, actual money was more or less meaningless to me, but those tickets were worth something.

I remember when they phased these out and went to unlimited rides with an increased entry fee. I think Disney did that because Magic Mountain had opened, and offered unlimited rides, and Disney needed to do so too in order to compete. That was the word on the playground, anyway. I didn’t expect I’d ever miss these ticket books, but I totally got a rush of nostalgia from this post.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/48724902690.