Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Today's purchases...

Dropped into the Santa Monica Barnes & Noble today and signed a couple of my books. And made a couple of purchases, including these two -- photographed on our coffee table in prestigious company, the Emmy's programme from last Sunday...

It's launch day for Anton Strout's "Alchemystic" and it's always nice to know your book sells on day 1; and I thought Lee (who's a pal from my hometown) might like to see his book basking in Los Angeles...

Besides, I want to read them both.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

And then...disaster

 I read recently that 97% of every location in the lower 48 states of the US is within 3.2 miles of a road.* In Australia it's probably the other way around: 97% of Australia is further (much further?) than 3.2 miles from any road...

Some more from our trip to the Gascoyne. After leaving the Kennedy Range, we headed towards Mt Augustus, another national park, this time a slightly more upmarket one. You know, with a few luxuries like running water, electricity, a shop, petrol/diesel pumps, hot showers and flush toilets. Not, you understand, that we didn't enjoy our time in the Kennedys!

And so, there we are bowling down a road that looks like this, with nary a car in sight (and in fact, hardly a car seen in either direction for over 100km):
...when we had a puncture. In fact, two punctures, at same time -- which in a place like this, is a bit of a disaster, as we only have only one spare tyre.
Fortunately for us there is someone around with a sense of humour, witness the sign.

Cobra Station. Or, for American readers, Cobra Ranch.
Otherwise known as the Old Bangemall Inn, once the local pub for station hands...
The station is called Cobra because of the cobra snake-like shape of the land concession.
 One of the tyres blew up when an attempt was made to mend it in the station workshop -- so we have no spare and are not happy with the idea of continuing on without one. We take decide to stay put and settle in to the Cobra caravan park.
The caravan park at dusk, day 1
We order a tyre from Carnarvon, back on the coast (some 400 kms away). Deliveries via Gascoyne Traders take place once a week, but we are hoping there will be someone else coming through earlier. And so we begin our wait.
We sit outside the van, sipping a glass of wine as the sun settles behind the trees. 
Things could have been a lot worse...

*USDA Forest Service figures as quoted in Wired Science Sept 19, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kennedy Range

A few miscellaneous shots from areas around the Kennedy Range campsite camp site and from the nearby Temple Gorge. And by the way, if your knees give you problems while climbing I have come a huge believer in using a stick. Mine has an inner spring and is adjustable. It made the impossible a breeze...
Weird stone (Inner circle about a handspan across)
All the walking trails are marked by those coloured circles...
Inside Temple Gorge
Inside Temple Gorge
Husband with another odd boulder
Odd bent stone with walking stick for size comparison
A track made by kangaroos near the caravan park
Heading towards the temple in Temple Gorge
Inside Temple Gorge

Honeycomb Gorge

Ok, so I do know I am in L.A. at the moment, but I haven't finished posting pix of our West Australian trip into the Gasgoyne division.These are taken in Honeycomb Gorge, one of the many gorges accessible around the Kennedy Ranges.
The waterfall you can see has water only when it rains...
All these are of natural formations, made by wind and rain and water over millenia
To give an idea of size--there's me standing at the base, in the middle.
Close up
Husband and ...hieroglyphics?
This was one of the weird formations -- about 40cm across.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

I'm in Venice

Venice, California, that is...

I went for a walk today. The first person I met was a middle-aged lady with 4 or 5 heavy shopping bags, walking with difficulty because of a limp. I helped carry her bags to her car and found out she had just picked up free food distributed by a good Samaritan at the end of every month.

She said she had trouble meeting the rent and buying sufficient food as she could only work part-time, because of her leg. And the leg wouldn't get better because she can't afford the physio she needs. Seems to me something ridiculous about that -- affordable medical care would mean more productivity, but in the richest country in the world...

It seems so odd that Malaysia can provide very low-cost (often in fact free) health care, whereas USA so often can't.
I have to say, that as a West Australian used to dazzling white sand, this doesn't really do it for me.
Still, there are always the birds to look at. (Heermann's Gull above and American Crow below)
Or the artwork...
Or the street performers...
Or the dogs...
Or the green doctors prescribing medical marijuana...