Here in Malibu
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July 31, 2008

Swept away

high tide last night It started when Henry drove by in his golf cart loaded with an extension cord, an amp and his electric guitar. A neighbor joined in with his equipment and, since I'm now the proud owner of a sweet little Taylor with a pickup, they brought along a cable for me. Henry drove us to the bluff where we plugged in and played loud - really, really loud - to the surfers riding the nice south swell.

Sun setting, waves crashing, chords crashing because as far as garage bands go, we're still a bit rough around the edges. And then we saw a kayak float out to sea. South swell plus high tide swept the beach clean. Waves bumped the base of the bluff and more than a few local boats got carried away.

The sun set, our laughing (in a good way, I'm sure) neighbors dispersed and the Bluffs Band headed for home. For now, anyway.

July 30, 2008

I must confess

Here's a thought I've been having lately, so perverse and unspeakable, I can only stand to post a link.

July 28, 2008

Beach parking

Parking at the beach

July 25, 2008

How the beach looked this morning

FOggy today

A couple of golf carts with a couple of surfers raced by us on the fire road early this morning, so when we got to the beach, it wasn't all that surprising to see the start of a nice little swell.

July 24, 2008


It's "Take Your Dog to Work Day"

Did I ever show you this photo of Maisie on Take Your Dog to Work Day?

July 22, 2008

Succulent light

succulent lightMy friend, Diana, is the one who first put a digital camera into my hands. Literally. She'd been after me for a while to switch from film to digital and I was willing, eager, really, right up until I got to the store and quickly vanished beneath waves of words like macro and megapixels and digital doom zoom.

So Diana took pity, asked for a budget and my credit card number, then went online and bought my first digital camera for me. A lovely little Olympus which fit into the palm of my hand and, once I translated the mangled English of the manual, rarely left my side. It finally died and I boldly bought a new camera all by myself.

Life was good. But then Diana started telling me about the joys of the digital SLR, how when you press the shutter, the camera takes the photo at that very instant, so the shot of the dog catching the ball is actually of the dog catching the ball, and not a photo of the dog's ass flying by a second after the dog caught the ball. Imagine.

And then Diana upgraded to a Canon 5D and I became the delighted and besotted owner of her 10D with a 28-135 mm zoom (see how I can talk the lingo) and life was very, very good. Which is all a very long digression (sorry) on the way to telling you that last time Diana was here, we went for a walk with my 10D and she saw this succulent with the sunlight turning it all sorts of soft and juicy colors and she dropped down on the dirt and click-click, just like that, got this lovely shot.

July 21, 2008

How have we lived without The Furminator?

Jake and the Furminator

Here's Jake relaxing in bed (sorry, mom) this morning after another short yet productive session with the Furminator, the best dog grooming tool ever invented, wondering whether I'm planning to knit him a little brother.

July 18, 2008

Rudy reads needs kneads a book

rudy reads
I'm reading a popular novel, one of the Boleyn series by Philippa Gregory, a bit of history and a lot of conjecture spiked with jousts and feasts and heaving bosoms. At least I'm trying to read it. Every time I pick it up, there's Evinrude, the Crabby One, yowling.

You'd think the book was dipped in crack catnip. He sits in my lap as I turn the pages and breathes deep, eyes glazed over, the shredded corner of a business card from Promises Malibu caught in his teeth.

July 17, 2008

Ducklings get a dunking

first ducklings

Why are these ducklings running? A dog, perhaps? A hawk? The semi-annual shoe sale at Nordstrom?

No, it's a lesson they just learned about waves, about how gliding up and down can be fun and freeing and, well, fun, right until that wave actually breaks and you and your siblings go under, vanish from sight for long, long seconds, then bob to the surface, one by one, like tiny feathered corks, looking as shocked as a bird with a bill can manage.

I think I heard a squeaky chorus of "Holy shit!" come from the little ducklings as they swam frantically from the next wave, stumbled to the blessed shore, then waddled as fast as their plump and water-proof butts would allow, to drop gratefully - if not gracefully - into the pond, where they quickly revised their opinions about mamma duck's warnings about rogue waves and big dogs and friendly strangers, and getting another Metallica tattoo.

July 15, 2008

Sun. And sad. But sun.

tuesday morningYesterday I was too sad to blog. Today I'm too sad to sleep. So, the sunrise. It was slow, lovely, silent save for a flight of pelicans, a baby seal splashing in the shallows.

Yesterday the layoffs of 150 colleagues in the newsroom of the LA Times plus 100 people elsewhere at the paper began. The goodbyes start in earnest today. I've lived through layoffs at other newspapers and it's startling, shocking, really, how the energy in the building is exactly, precisely, identifiably the same. What was different here is how often this has already happened at the Times, and how recently. Just last January scores of remarkable journalists left the building for good, yet here we go again.

The egregious part is that the LA Times makes money, just not enough to satisfy the new owner and the new owner's debt. That's what this new round of blood-letting is about, paying off the $8.2 billion borrowed to buy Tribune Co. Does writing that put me in danger? Who knows, but not writing it almost certainly does.

July 11, 2008

Late bloomer

Warm and sultry here this morning, the air heavy, the birds lazy. Cats on the deck in a torpor, not a breath of air anywhere.

The jacaranda trees, spent to the south of us, have just reached their peak. Purple flowers spread against this leaden sky, incandescent, like fireworks, a week late and blessedly silent.
doves jacaranda 021

July 10, 2008

Lovey dovey

doves on the deckKind of cute but not too bright, these doves chose the very spot on the courtyard deck where Evinrude likes to laze. I had a chat with them, described the Crabby One's sense of entitlement, and they decided the nearby jacaranda tree was a good a place as any to spend this cool and cloudy morning.

July 9, 2008


Brrrr - today at the beach
Here's the beach this morning, just 62 foggy degrees as I got the shot. My neighbor, Cal, waterman extraordinaire (and merciless at Boggle, at which he cheerfully kicks my ass on a weekly basis) says it's a direct result of the heat wave raging just a few miles over the mountains.

July 8, 2008

MTV party house on July 4th ** UPDATED

MTV party house

Yep, they're illegal in Malibu, but MTV set up a party house next door to us in the Cove.

**Malibu's own Hans Laetz writes to say party organizers at the house pulled a permit and all was legal and aboveboard, if a bit loud. Though the workers at the house told us the party was being filmed for MTV, Hans says the permit was pulled by DKNY. In any event, the tents are down, the show is over and the sounds of coyotes and frogs rule our little canyon once again. Thanks, Hans!

July 3, 2008

The wild life

Have I shown you a photo of the new duck family in the last few days? No? Well here they are, all in a row. (Sorry.)

new ducks

July 2, 2008

A bit of beachcombing

Beachcomber on Malibu pierI skipped missed the $75-per-head grand opening of the Malibu pier last Saturday but returned Monday night to check out the new restaurant, The Beachcomber. Which was closed. Well, kind of. Turns out the owners were doing a shake-down cruise for the official opening tonight, serving free food to friends and family. A little finagling by my companion and voila, we were seated at a seaside booth.

It's a pretty room, right where Alice's Restaurant used to be, only not as big and not as loud. The menu's pricey but the food was truly good, even though on Monday night there was a limited menu and waiters were still figuring out where things are and the whole place was running on a generator. David had the seafood potpie, which was amazing, lots of shrimp and scallops and lobster under a buttery crust. I had a clay pot chicken dish, also really good.

And then it was out onto the pier, built by the Rindge family way back when Malibu was a cattle ranch and the whole 17,000-acre rancho belonged to a single family. Imagine.

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