A tired Thursday

Finishing up a lot of work and catching up on other things, so right now just a few links of interest:

  • It’s yer typical ‘hey isn’t this interesting, this thing that’s been going on forever’ piece on first blush, but this LA Times story on ‘guerrilla gardening’ has more to offer than on first blush. Among other things, it’s a nice observation about what exactly public land means in terms of who does what with it — and how the government isn’t always against creative use. A key part:

    Scott sees his Long Beach garden as a showcase for drought-tolerant, low-maintenance city landscaping. But he’s in a bind. How does he broach the subject, given his unsanctioned status? “I wish I could get together with the city,” he says. “But I’m apprehensive and pretty much keep under the radar.”

    Meanwhile, over at landscaping headquarters for the city of Long Beach, superintendent of grounds maintenance Ramon Arevalo waxes on about one of more than a dozen gardens done by “road planters,” as he calls guerrilla gardeners. “It’s like an underwater scene, a cactus garden that looks like a corral reef. It’s beautiful. It’s been there on Loynes Drive for 10 years, and we don’t know who did it. You should see this place!”

    It’s Scott’s garden. I tell him I have seen it and know the mystery man who planted it. Arevalo is ecstatic. “I can’t wait to know him! He’s been the talk of this place for 10 years. He’s like the 007 of gardening,” says Arevalo, laughing heartily. He says a homeowners association has complained that their medians are ugly. Why can’t theirs look like that cactus island?

    Arevalo is impressed by Scott’s use of drought-tolerant plants and assures there will be no repercussions if he comes forward. There is no law against planting on city landscaping, except for ficus trees, whose roots wreck roads and sidewalks. The city discourages unapproved gardening but tries to work with road planters it discovers. “If you want to do this, my advice is to contact myself or the council person,” says Arevalo. “We want to partner with people who care about where they live.”

    My kind of happy ending. Who knows, it may yet be the groundwork for something more detailed that ends up helping everyone.

  • No Sparks show today but Steven Nistor has updated his blog with reports on the last four. A sample:

    I was excited to play (“Whomp”) since it and “Angst in My Pants” are my favorites. I get to get inside the mind of David Kendrick, the drummer who played on both of these. His playing is such a great combination of groove, inventiveness and a bizarre “trashiness,” made even more interesting by Mack’s unusual drum sounds. Growing up as a “jazzer,” it has been wonderful for me to get to imitate so many unique drummers over the past two weeks.

  • Finally, a story from a few days back, but part of the joy of the Phoenix lander mission to Mars were the photos that have been captured of it during its descent and on the ground. And there’s no question what the crackerjack one was — trying to show it here would be an insult, so just follow that link. Here’s the description:

    This amazing image was captured as Phoenix came in for its Mars landing on May 25, 2008. The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter pointed at Phoenix, which is seen here against the background of a 10-kilometer-diameter crater called Heimdall. The dramatic view makes it appear that Phoenix is falling into the crater, but in fact Phoenix was 20 kilometers closer to HiRISE than Heimdall, and it landed nowhere near the crater. The photo was taken 20 seconds after Phoenix’ parachute opened. Credit: NASA / JPL / U. Arizona

    An earlier image was striking enough, a small shot of the lander against what turned out to be that massive crater. It inspired an excellent post over at Bad Astronomy, which sums up my thoughts better than I could right now:

    Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

    Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

    Exactly so.


2 Responses to “A tired Thursday”

  1. Chris Barrus Says:

    Interesting comment on Kendrick who I always thought got a raw deal when the Devo fans complained about him replacing Alan Myers. Myers is indeed totally unique, but Kendrick isn’t a minor-league stringer.

  2. Ned Raggett Says:

    Yeah, in listening to his time with Sparks he does have a definite style to him that I’d not fully appreciated before. Nistor’s blog has been grand for pulling out these kind of details — today’s show should be interesting since so much of the original In Outer Space drumming is pretty electronic straight up.

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