Friday, June 30, 2017

Fun with succulents

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Freude schöner Götterfunken

While our country produces unease and derision abroad and our governing party tries to undo the social contract at home, there's this

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Journey to the east

Watched two episodes of the BBC's diverting if fluffy "The Story of China," on the Song and Ming dynasties, but when I tried their online"Which Emperor Are You?" game I found I'm a Tang guy. Given the loaded questions I suspect most people who play will end up similarly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Library people

How does one explain the joy of a day at the library? Not a day tracking down things one already knows about, let alone one double checking what you think you already know, but one where you have time to follow references where they lead, and references from there? That just sounds like what we all do nowadays with hyperlinks and internet searches, I suppose, but somehow it feels different in a setting like UCSD's Geisel library. I suppose it's a somewhat naive faith in the republic of letters, the community of peer review, but somehow I feel more like I'm getting to the unknown unknowns here.

Perhaps I can illustrate with some of my findings today. Reading a recent article by a young comparative philosopher who's part of a special discussion critiquing the Eurocentrism of the discipline of academic philosophy (so much for the republic of letters!) I've been asked to write a short comment on, I learned all sorts of fun things, including that the late 18th century Chinese novel 野叟曝言 narrated a Confucian hero's takeover of the world; it ends in the establishment of the most purely Confucian society of them all - in Europe!

I was also introduced to exciting ideas of one of this comparative philosopher's graduate school classmates, who's used Chinese traditions to suggest that philosophy might flourish if it moved from metaphors of conflict to those of play and the communities of aesthetic creativity and enjoyment. Following up one of her recent works (I'll have to wait until I'm back in NYC next week to actually read it, since UCSD doesn't have a copy of the book) I found it was in a book edited by one of my college classmates from undergraduate days, with whom I've long lost touch. Inhabiting these shelves, journals and databases are my people, known and unknown, forgotten and remembered.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sun, moon and earth edges


I managed to get lost in my own backyard today. I was trying to rediscover places I played as child in Crest Canyon, giddily following anything that looked like a trail. I found hidden canyons, dark forests, grassy valleys, bare mountaintops... and then the trails disappeared.
Eventually I was able to find the trail I'd come on and retrace my steps to the familiar north-south trail. I remain amazed that this rich uncharted world is tucked away so close by.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Time-space vortex

So I'm not wrong, every time I come to Southern California, to feel like this is the future. Not that I live in the past. Apparently Brooklyn's among the few places in the north and east with a race/ethnicity/ gender/age breakdown like that predicted for the whole land post-2050.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flower children

Canchalagua congregating at the TPSR Extension, while a wood at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is taken over by naughty nasturtiums.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Bark beetles have killed hundreds of Torrey Pines in the last years, including this collapsed pair, which used to across Carmel Valley to the
Reserve and the ocean - here's in a pic from 2013. Or perhaps it was just old age? Already in 2009, below, it was thinning. In any case, RIP.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017


In Torrey Pines State Reserve Extension: an avalanche of coast buckwheat, lava sprays of scarlet larkspur - and hummingbirds!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Longest day

Views from airplane windows of our points of departure - Mount Macedon, VIC - and arrival - Del Mar, CA. The first picture was taken at about 9:45am of an Australian winter, the second ostensibly an hour later in Californian summer, diagonally across the vast Pacific!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sunset over the Mount

And so another Australian visit comes to an end...
I'm glad this part of the world is part of my life.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Closing the circle

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally been to see the "footie" at the "G" - an Australian Rules Football match at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds! I'd been told from first arriving in Oz that sport was the national religion, and, in Victoria, footie in particular. I've seen bits on television and made a half-hearted effort at understanding what was going on - there seem to be few rules, as there are few lines on the pitch. I've met people who've played (including my nephews as tykes doing Auskick), and a woman whose father was a famous footballer, who, she proudly told me, broke every bone in his body (the players have none of the armor of American football players), even his fingers!
But it really is different seeing it live, the vast oval below you, seventy thousand fans around you, and unbelievably energetic long-legged players racing one way and another far below, the ball changing sides constantly, the scale of things alternating between graceful long kicks, elegant passing and tangled scrimages. The word "balletic" recurs in people's praise of the game (at least among the people I know), and beyond the moments when a bunch of men rise, Kierkegaard-style, into the air to catch a kicked ball, there is a grace and a fluid joy to the whole thing - quite the antithesis of the US' static pointillistic national sports (except basketball and hockey, I suppose). The teams playing were Collingwood vs. Melbourne, and underdog Melbourne squeaked out a victory against the fearsome Collingwood, so that was nice, too.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Being in Australia with dear friends, delightful family and delicious food doesn't mean not missing home a little.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

We took the road over the mount to the Woodend Winter Arts Festival.