Surprise

DSCN2597_edited-2The Getty Museum sits high above West Los Angeles, with a magnificent view of the city and the ocean. Visitors can walk under pines and pepper trees and olive trees to reach the top, or take a tram.

“Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.” ― Rumi

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

 

Double refraction: a Mexican-American neighborhood is re-envisioned as a baseball stadium, and the rage of the people is projected as art on the sides of a 1953 Chevrolet ice cream truck. (photos taken at Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles). One of the placards for this vehicle-as-art reads: “By 1951, certain politicians and businessmen in Los Angeles decided that a baseball team would be more economically beneficial to the city than public housing and they moved to kill the housing project plans, which were seen as espousing abhorrent ‘communist ideals.’ Although many of the families by this time had moved out, twelve families refused to leave. The city was now in legal possession of the land, and looking to transfer the public use land to private corporate interests. Seeking a better location for his team, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley struck a deal with the city, giving him Chavez Ravine as part of an incentive package to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. Outraged former residents of Chavez Ravine forced the city to put the matter to a vote in 1958, but the referendum to bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles won by a margin of less than two percent. Having assumed ownership of Chavez Ravine, the city of Los Angeles planned to forcibly evict the remaining families from the area and employed law enforcement personnel and bulldozers to emphasize that protests would not be tolerated. The last resident, a member of the Arechiga family, was so opposed to leaving her home that she brandished a rifle and yelled to authorities that she would not be moved. A total of 14 sheriffs were ultimately needed to move the family out of the house, which was then razed. The ordeal was captured on camera and televised on the local news that night.”

“Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its transmission medium. … Refraction of light is the most commonly observed phenomenon, but any type of wave can refract when it interacts with a medium, for example when sound waves pass from one medium into another or when water waves move into water of a different depth.” – Wikipedia

“For this photo challenge, show us what “refraction” means to you. It could be an image taken in a reflective surface, it could be light bent from behind an object, or it could mean remedial math homework: the choice is completely up to you.”

 

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Movies And Spaghetti

Last weekend’s adventure was an excursion to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  There’s always so much to choose from that we usually taste just a couple of exhibits in any one visit. One of this week’s delicacies included “Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920’s“.  What an imaginative presentation! It included several “caves” serving as multiplex theaters inside which were cast films of the era. You can see how it’s a natural fit for the L.A. audience.

Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s explores masterworks of German Expressionist cinema … during the liberal Weimar era … innovative in aesthetic, psychological, and technical terms.

Art sometimes heralds things to come, as this exhibit shows.

film themes

film themes

As always, LACMA has something for everyone.

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The Secret of Character-driven Drama

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This morning while I was reading “Map of Heaven” I was struck by the author’s discussion of the invisible world versus the visible world, the real world versus the shadow world. One example you’re probably familiar with is Plato’s metaphor of prisoners in a cave, chained to a wall, with flickering light coming from behind: the prisoners think that the dancing shadows on the wall before them is the real world. And when one of them escapes and actually sees what the reality looks like, the poor prisoners won’t believe him.

As I read “Map of Heaven” I was struck by the similarity of that discussion with the technique of the character-driven story. Because I’m trying my hand at fiction, I’m reading a lot about what makes good story-telling. What does fiction writing have to do with the argument of which world is real? Well, Plato and others propose that the real world is our spiritual home, and this physical world is where we act out the drama of the lessons we wish to learn — like one of those movies where the lead actor is also the writer and director. In weak writing, the author tells us that John Smith is a noble man. In strong writing, the author shows John Smith doing noble acts. In great writing, we are so absorbed in the intricacies of plot and the beauty of language, that the physical world disappears and the story world is all that exists.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

DSC_5645_edited-1Sunset just north of the Golden Gate Bridge
 

For this week’s photo challenge:

we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sign

Autumn in Los Angeles is kind of hard to detect unless you know where to look for the signs!  No trees turning blazing gold and red. Only a modest change in weather. No friendly  community hayrides (unless you think that the theme park ride “LA Haunted Hayride” qualifies). Nope. The sign of autumn is the squawking armadas of migrating parrots on their way to … who knows where … Vacationing in Costa Rica? The Yucatan? Although there are some resident wild parrots year-round, most of my autumn parrot sightings are members of these vast flocks who take a brief rest in my back yard or my neighborhood.

For this challenge, share an image of a sign: it can be a sign near your home — a comforting sight after a long journey — a sign that doubles as art, or other types of signs that hold meaning for you.

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Guided Meditation

DSC_8581_edited-1Meditation has been a long journey of fits and starts for me.  Over the years I’ve tried different approaches, and mostly it was a struggle. Like the puppy who fails obedience class. Or, like a child trying to sneak up on a flock of birds.

DSC_3470_edited-1About a year ago I bought a set of guided meditations (Seeking Heaven by Eben Alexander) on CD. There’s a brief talk followed by instructions to set intention, followed by the meditation. The last section incorporates the guidance of all four in a cumulative meditation. I’ve found it very helpful.

DSC_4292_edited-1Last week I started listening to The Art of Presence, which I borrowed from our library. I sought out the Art of Presence because I need help learning how to stay in the Now as I go about my day-to-day life.  I read a post recently at Healing Your Grief which asks “how do you create space in your life?”.  I’ve been pondering that question for a while.

Some folks believe in reincarnation. I’m one of them. And some folks believe that we make a blueprint of opportunities for lessons we want to learn, before we get here. I believe that too. What if we are able to be present, really present, as in be-here-now present — as we go about our daily life?  To be truly present would make our entire life a guided meditation, wouldn’t it?

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