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1  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: September 29, 2016 12:28:45 AM
Felicity's been in Los Angeles during a summer of record-breaking temperatures and into a fall with more of the same.  Back in June, this was the hottest we were actually out and about in:



And that was at 6:20 PM!

Autumn in Southern California its not unusual to have temps in the 80s, but here's what it was a couple of days ago at 5 PM:



And then at 6:15 this evening, just off a freeway at the crest of a hill



a little patch of rain coming down briefly on maybe a square mile or so.  By the time we were through it the temp had come down to about 10 degrees...although that didn't last long once we were out of the cooling effects of the rain.  Unfortunately it appears that mother nature was just going "nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah" to our poor drought-stricken region, because that was the extent of the precipitation (except for what's coming out of me as I write this at a little after midnight with the temperature still at 81 degrees) (where's a little sweat-dripping emoji when you need one?).
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2  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: September 27, 2016 04:25:42 PM
I am woefully, embarrassingly behind in sharing Felicity's adventures but am going to try to post something as daily as possible from now until she arrives home to catch up.

And Ill start with our most recent activity first: a visit to Olvera Street, one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles, and for decades both a tourist attraction and a shopping destination for locals looking to get Mexican-made items from clothing to ceramics to souvenirs and more.



Olvera Street is one long block, down the center of which are stalls selling all kinds of smallish things like mini guitars, plastic accordions, backpacks, serapes and huaraches, little toys and games, candies and snacks...your basic variety of chucherias (aka tchatchkes), while on either side of the street there are one- and two-story buildings that house stores selling more substantial goods (along with chucherias) and eateries.  Felicity got a new sombrero for the occasion and fit right in with the festive atmosphere:



One of the buildings on Olvera Street is the Avila Adobe, the oldest existing house in Los Angeles:



Built about 200 years ago, it was badly damaged during a severe earthquake in 1971, but has since been fully restored and furnished as it might have been in its earliest days.

Here's the parlor...



...and the kitchen...



The building surrounds a central courtyard, on one side of which is an outdoor kitchen



with an overhanging grapevine trellis in full fruiting bearing bunches of tiny grapes.

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3  Re: Sock Monkey/ Sock Critter Swap Round 10 in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: August 15, 2016 01:23:15 AM
Before flying off to her forever home, Kaymonklee had a chance to hang with Captain Monkeypants, the brilliantly outfitted Mal Reynolds monkey I received from noelle some rounds back.  (For those not familiar, Mal and Kaylee are characters on the short-lived but long-loved TV show Firefly.)

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4  Re: Sock Monkey/ Sock Critter Swap Round 10 in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: August 11, 2016 01:50:51 AM
This has been a spectacular parade of monkeys so far, and what I received from Griminspiration only makes 10 that much more perfect a number for this round.

Opening the large box that arrived on my doorstep the first thing I saw was glittery black tissue paper and an envelope reading open me first.  Inside was the sweetest handmade card:



Removing the tissue paper I found some fun Monkeys in Space fabric that turned out to be a roomy tote bag



inside of which I felt something round and hard, larger than a softball, and I had an immediate thought as to what it might be.  I was mostly right (Grim had been inspired by one of my choices rather than taking it literally) and I actually gasped as soon as I started to see what it was that I was pulling from the bag:



Oh.  My.  Goodness.  One of the themes on my questionnaire was Space explorer/space cadet, thinking of those great 1940s and 50s scifi illustrations, ray guns, etc.  In stalking me, Griminspiration saw the astronaut sock monkey Id made in an earlier round and used the more modern, realistic look as a jumping off point for what she made.  And Id actually had astronaut on three or four previous round questionnaires, so bonus points for Grims crafting ESP!

The space suit has separate mitts for his hands, a sleeve for the tail, amazing boots



and everything is secured with Velcro straps.  Under the helmet his head is encased in a protective hood:



The contemporary space suit comes off to reveal a vintage style suit in silver lame (just imagine how cool it'll look with the helmet and boots on, too!)



and under THAT he was wearing his everyday long underwear that help keep him warm in the cold reaches of outer space:



As if all that isnt enough to love, Astromonk is perfectly crafted, beautifully shaped, AND has a wire skeleton that makes him completely pose-able!



Grim also sent along some perfectly chosen extras freeze-dried astronaut ice cream (Neapolitan), a mechanical monkey (pull down on the little banana at his feet and he claps the plastic symbols and his eyes blink), an alien from outer space toy, PLUS pin buttons with pictures of the astronaut monkey I made, two of his spacesuit flight patches, and a shepherdess monkey I made for a different round (!):



Griminspiration, thank you so, so much for creating this treasure for me!
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5  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: July 29, 2016 01:42:50 AM
More behind the scenes with Felicity in Hollywood.  First: making it rain!

Heres Felicity looking out a window on a gently raining morning:



But that window is part of a set on a soundstage, so we cant just be sprinkling water on the other side or wed be drenching a lot of very valuable equipment, not to mention all the electrical stuff thats everywhere on stages.  Instead, plexiglas boxes are mounted outside the window, the rain comes in at the top and at the bottom gets siphoned back up to fall again:





Out on the street, sometimes you just need it to look like its recently rained, in which case you bring in a water truck



And when you really need a good pelting outdoors, there are water towers really just very tall skinny pipes from the tops of which the rain spews forth.  Here we had four of them, I think, because we were seeing about half a city block in our wide shots.



Now more movie magic, location edition.  We had a scene outside a post office, and when I saw the exterior where we were shooting I thought, How cool that they found a post office that fits the time period and where our story takes place" (though of course we'd added the period mailboxes and jeep):



Then I went inside to look around



and when I turned to right I saw that even after all these years I am easily taken in by the magic, because heres what was actually inside the building:



A huge empty space, being used partly to stage some of our equipment, while nearby extras waited to be called into action (one of the storylines in this episode is about the 1970 US postal workers strike):



And heres a pretty good clue as to what the building had actually been:



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6  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: July 13, 2016 11:57:14 PM
A few months ago I auditioned for and was accepted into the chorus of a local symphony orchestra.  Our first concert after I joined was a couple of weeks agoat the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a premier performance venue here in Los Angeles designed by architect Frank Gehry in his inimitable style:





The interior is a equally sweeping and imaginative, with plenty of glass, beautiful wood, soaring and open but also with lots of playful curves and corners:



A garden on an upper level at the back has lush trees and walkways, and a fountain Gehry designed for Walts widow which he named A Rose for Lily.  Lily loved Delft ceramics, so thats what he used to mosaic the entire surface:



The big excitement, of course, was inside the hall itself.  Obviously I couldnt take pictures during the performance, so after the pre-show rehearsal Felicity and I got some insider shots:

Entering from offstage


Up to the chorus benches and the organ loft (also known with good humor as the upset box of french fries)


The view from my spot in the first row of the chorus


And although I dont have any pictures to prove it, I smuggled...er, brought Felicity in with me for the concert.  The chorus had only one number (from Candide) in the first half, but the second half was all us, singing songs written by Richard and Robert Sherman for Disney movies (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jungle Book, etc.) and theme parks, the non-Disney animated Charlottes Web, and more.  Richard Sherman is still living (and still writing music) and he conducted the finale, a great arrangement of Its A Small World (really!).  I'd had Felicity nestled next to me on the bench, but when the chorus stood up for this last number I positioned her between me and my music so she could be fully a part of such a wonderful moment.

Just having the opportunity to be on the performance side at the Disney Concert Hall was a thrill, but with this particular program of music and to top it off Richard Sherman at the podium for the finale, it was a truly unforgettable experience!

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7  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: July 04, 2016 06:53:28 PM
Ohmygoodness, I am so far behind I dont know where to start, so I think Ill begin with why its been so long since I posted.

For the last couple of months Ive had considerably more than my usual amount of film work, mostly on one show where I was filling in for someone who was out with an injury.  Some days I went to my office job first for a few hours (to use less of my accrued time off) and then put in 12-14 hours on a set or location.  There were also days here and there on a couple of other shows, and every weekend there has seemed to be some meeting or event (very unusual for me).

Felicitys been with me the whole time and Ive got mass quantities of behind the scenes pictures, as well as sights weve seen both while on location and on our own.  Lets start with the show thats been occupying so much our time.

My film job has several elements, but the biggest, time-wise, is keeping track of what the camera is seeing and doing while also keeping track of the actors and their lines by taking extensive notes about every take of every shot (aka setup) of every scene, notes that go to the editors so they know what was shot and where to find it.  The very first thing we did my very first day on the show we had four cameras at the same time shooting on a street in downtown Los Angeles.  This is video village, which has monitors showing what the cameras are filming:



All the cameras were moving and were focused on something different while our lead actress was walking down the street, through a crowd of protesters, and around a corner.  What a way to start the day!

We had one street fully blocked off to traffic:



This was partly because we had some crane shots that would overlook the entire street, and partly so we could control the traffic the way we needed to and our picture cars wouldnt have to go around the block once theyd driven past; instead they could stop out of camera range and then after the director called cut just back up to their starting points.  And since the show is set in 1970, all of our picture cars are from the period so we REALLY had to control the vehicles passing by!



Later in the day we moved a few blocks away for scenes both inside and outside a restaurant.  Both scenes took place at night, and because it would be light out when we started shooting we did the interior scene first and all the windows at the front of the restaurant were covered to block out the light:



Setting up inside:



When we moved outside it was dark, the black tarps were taken down, and we made it rain for a scene that took place (in the story) at a completely different establishment!  (No pictures of that, but will post some later of another night rain shoot we did last week.)

Now heres a little movie magic for you:  The outside of the restaurant where we shot has been recreated on a soundstage, identical to the original (right down to those scallopy loops on the top of the rail:



But the inside is completely different from the real restaurant:



The scene we shot inside the real restaurant takes place in a setting unique to that one scene, and all the audience will see is the eating area, while the Coles in the show is a bar for which we've shot exterior scenes at both the real front in downtown LA and the one built on a soundstage miles away and all the interiors on the stage.
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8  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 14, 2016 07:33:06 PM
Eeek! Felicity is adorable in her sun hat <3

I know, right?!? Grin Grin Grin

All of the gardens are absolutely beautiful! It's cool to hear that they are going with more drought appropriate plants Smiley 

Unfortunately, of the homes on the tour only the mayor's residence was really making the effort.  The garden where we couldn't take pictures consisted of a very large lawn edged on three sides with roses.  Another is mostly paved, but had these fountains running into its swimming pool all day:



And as lovely as the other gardens are, their lushness comes at a price paid by those of us who can only enjoy their greenery from what we can see if we drive or walk by....



(End of mild rant from lifelong environmentalist who nonetheless appreciates the beauty.)
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9  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 14, 2016 02:54:40 PM
Felicity recently went on a garden tour with me, a fundraiser for a neighboring, um, neighborhood's historical society.  There were five homes in all, only three of which, I thought, were actually interesting garden stops (and the least interesting didn't allow pictures!).

First stop was the official Mayor's residence (though they haven't all lived there since it became the official in 1977, our current mayor and his family moved in after he was elected).  They've done a great job replanting it for drought conditions, and also had a display of "aeroponic" gardening, which let you grow mass quantities on a very small footprint, using 90% less water and no chemicals:



(I made Felicity a garden hat for the occasion....)

The central part of the garden now has a lot of open, unplanted space along with native and drought tolerant foliage:



At the far end they've retained a wonderful vine covered pergola and what I called a miniature summer house which faces the entire yard to the back of the house...



and is fronted by a fountain/pond which is now kept dry due to the drought:



A couple of highlights from some of the other homes were this charming vegetable garden, where Felicity found a a resting perch on a strawberry pot...





...and this yard with what has to be one of the all-time great pool toys...

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10  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 02, 2016 06:00:25 PM
Last week as part of my office job's Staff Appreciation Week, we went to a trendy bowling alley for a few mid-afternoon hours of food, drink, and, well, bowling.  We took a Dash bus (about half the length of a regular bus, they follow smaller, more localized routes around parts of Los Angeles, but mostly concentrated downtown where we were)...



...to an entertainment complex called L.A. Live which has performance, movie, and event venues, restaurants, the Grammy Hall of Fame, and this bowling alley.  It was hard to get interesting pictures because the lights are pretty dim, except for where the balls roll back in:



Lunch was bar-type food, most of which I couldn't eat, being a mostly vegetarian, so I filled up on tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, and consoled myself with an overly sweet, fruity version of my go-to cocktail, the Moscow Mule:



A Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice served in a copper mug, sometimes with fresh crushed ginger, often with mint leaf -- delicious and refreshing.  This one also had both simple syrup and blackberry syrup.  I asked for a dish of limes and squeezing the four wedges they brought into the mug helped combat the syrups.  At least they got the mug right.

But those are really points of amusement and not complaint, because we had a great time.  Best of all, I finally had a light bulb go on about the how of bowling and broke my record high score of, I think, about 14 and bowled a 99.  OK, that was over two games, but for me: fantastic!  The ball I used was, for a change, light enough, which allowed me to make a better approach and throw, and I think if the thumb hole on the ball had been a little bigger I might have done even better (couldn't get it in completely which had to affect the spin and direction of the ball as it left my hand).  In any event, having never done anywhere near this good in my previous (if limited) bowling outings, I feel I have to credit any success to the presence of my Little Visitor!
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