Sunday, January 5, 2014

φοσ βορεα

So this is another photo blog post, although I do have some written posts that I haven't put up yet, but I hope to soon. There will still be comments written under these photos though so that should still give you an idea of things. Also, my title is Ancient Greek, phos borea, or translated as "light of winter" or more especially, "light of the north winter wind." I called this post that because it is images (in mythology sometimes images and light are related), so these photos are the "lights of winter."

This will also apparently be part 1 since it won't let me load all the photos I want. I will probably call the next post something else, but know that they are part of the "light of winter" post. Many links to wikipedia I will put in this post in Russian to make it easier on many of you. You can change to English if you want, but I will put the link to the Russian version.

This first picture is of Daria in front of the Pantages Theatre in North Hollywood (yes that Hollywood) where we saw the musical "Evita." It was truly wonderful. If you don't know the story, look it up on Google or yandex and read about it. I don't remember the exact date, but it was between October 23rd and November 9th since that is when it was scheduled at that theatre on their North American Tour.

I have to say that this came out brighter in the blog than in my photo album. This is the full moon rising November 17th. I just thought it looked beautiful. My original photo had a darker effect on the trees. I'm struggling as to whether or not I prefer the darker or the lighter version. Either way it was a beautiful night and this was taken from right outside our house.

This and the next few photos come from Thanksgiving weekend. My parents were in town for the holiday (and I guess my mom took all the dinner pictures so I'll have to try and get some from her if I post about the dinner). We went on an excursion to La Brea Tar Pits or a much shorter description по русский.  We also went to Old Town LA (Olvera Street). More on both of those to come. The above photo and a few others of houses are pictures I took from the car to show you all some of the large houses of wealthy people who live in and around Hollywood.

And to show you a hill and palm trees along the side of the highway.

More palm trees near Hollywood Bowl (a venue for various entertainment shows).

While driving (hence the picture is blurry) of "Ripley's Believe It or Not"museum that has strange yet true things. I have never been inside, but I have read many strange facts from their books.

A clearer picture of somebody's house in the Hollywood area.

A few houses (sorry, they're blurry - driving again).

Two more houses.

And another one. All of these houses are built near each other. There are two types of houses in "wealthy American suburbia." There are what we call McMansions (Mc from McDonalds - remember your vocabulary of "chain store" and Mansion from a very large house), because all the houses look almost exactly the same (like chain stores where there is nothing special or different). The other type are like the above houses where each is unique, special, or different. Usually these are more expensive than McMansions, but not always.

And another.

A better picture of a palm tree. It is also the entrance to La Brea Tar Pits (the yellow banner on the lightpost says "La Brea"). I have always loved La Brea Tar Pits (La Brea means "Tar" in Spanish, so we could say this is The the Tar tar pits, hehe) because it is an opportunity to look back into the prehistoric era. Many animals were trapped in the tar for various reasons (it might have looked like water, or they saw another animal stuck and thought it was an easy meal). Thousands upon thousands of animals have been found here by archaeologists mostly ranging from 9000 years ago - 40,000 years ago (remember in English we can say 9k-40k years ago). It is really neat and the science-y side of me that loves to learn things loves what is there. I went to this place probably 3 or 4 times as a kid, but I have not been back in 15-20 years. This was a great opportunity to reexamine history. We also went there because neither my dad nor Daria had been there. It was their first time each.

A picture of the garden which has plants that have changed very little over the last 40k years. 

Daria next to a statue of a prehistoric short-faced-bear (now extinct). You can read about it по русский.  

A picture showing a closer version of some of the old plants. I can no longer read the sign so I forgot what this one was.

From outside the museum you can see a replica of a mammoth as it is about to enter the lake. This lake was there, but it was a mixture of water and tar so still not the best.

On the other side of the lake (same one as above) a replica of a mammoth is unable to escape the trappings of the tar.

A picture of tar seeping out of the ground.

The skeleton of prehistoric bison. This skeleton is much larger than the modern day bison and this species is now extinct, but it is the ancestor of the modern animals. All of these skeletons are dug up from the La Brea Tar Pits.

A saber toothed cat (you may recognize it as Diego from the Ice Age movies). Wikipedia did not have a Russian version so here is the English.

Here are the remains of an actual mammoth (not the replica out front). This specimen was over 13 feet tall (about 4 meters) and about 15,000 pounds or 6,800 kilograms.

The most common animal found at the La Brea Tar Pits was the dire wolf. This wall has the skulls of over 400 dire wolves. Most likely, they got stuck in the tar while trying to eat a mammoth that was stuck and they thought they were getting an easy meal. My favorite animal is the wolf and so this ancestor (now extinct and larger than the modern wolf) is also special to me.

Me standing next to the exhibit of the dire wolves.

Me again.

A picture of the lab where they clean a lot of the bones. There are only 2-5 full employees and over 100 volunteers that do this job. It's really awesome. The picture on the white in back is of a mammoth and they color in when they have each of the bones ready. The large bone in about the center of the picture is either a rib or a tusk (I don't remember).

What the archaeological site looks like. People have to stand on the boards and they dig out tar by small squares 1 foot at a time. One of the cool things in the museum is that you can try and pull a pole out of the tar to feel how difficult it would be once you get stuck. You do NOT want to get stuck. It is hard to pull that pole.

Me outside the museum, with another museum behind me (I think modern art, but I don't remember. While many museums can go where a building is, the La Brea Tar Pits obviously must stay where the geography is, but the city decided to make "Museum Row" and so there are about 8-10 museums all right there).

A picture of an actual tar pit as it currently sits outside (with a fence to prevent - stop - people from going into it).

You can see a bubble in this pit (if you look at the middle it looks like a ball) where gas seeps out of the tar.

Later that evening we went to the original part of LA. This sign says "El Pueblo de Los Angeles" which is Spanish for "The Village of Los Angeles" (before it became a city). This map shows the original street, which is very small, and is now just a fun place/market to go shopping for various Mexican trinkets (new vocab for you - fun little items).

Daria and I as we stand at the entrance to the street.

My mom and brother walking down one side of the street. You can see different dresses, scarves, purses, toy guitars, ponchos (Mexican sweatshirts), and many other things.

The oldest house in Los Angeles built in 1818.

My dad is in the middle. Just another view of the marketplace. 

Some graffiti of a woman's face on a booth that closed up for the night.

Since it was about 4 weeks before Christmas, they set up a scene of the Nativity to prepare for Los Posadas (a Mexican festival to celebrate the Nativity of Christ).

I have long loved these paper flags that many Mexican and Central and South American use for festivals (and now many people just put up in their houses all year).

To prove that Daria and I did not just take pictures off the internet but were actually there.

A picture of downtown LA at night. I still haven't taken one during the day. 

A picture of the Capitol Records building (the red "Christmas tree" of lights is on top of the building) as we were driving home that night.

I went to the Convention for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on the weekend of December 5-7. In the Episcopal Church each diocese (geo-political part of the church with lots of priests and deacons, but only one bishop (метрополит) there is a yearly convention, then the national church meets once every three years, and the worldwide church meets every 10 years. I preferred the convention for the Diocese of Nevada (last photo blogpost), but this was cool because the woman who is speaking and on the screen is the first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion (consecrated in 1988).

December 14th, I went skiing with the youth group (teenagers in the church) at a place I've never been before. I was shocked to see snow on the mountain, but not on the places surrounding the ski hill because I have always skied where there is always snow. This was possible because the snow is manmade (not natural), but the weather is cold enough. It was a fun day and I was happy to go downhill skiing again.

While riding the chairlift (machine to take you from the bottom of the mountain to the top), I laughed because many women threw their bras (бустгалтери) onto this tree.

I liked this picture from the top of the mountain where the strong winds (almost gales for those who remember that word) were blowing snow off the top.

Some of the members of our group.

As we were leaving the ski mountain I just thought this was a beautiful rock formation so I took a picture. I was also a bad example to the teens in my car because I was taking pictures while driving.

Sunday, December 15th, Daria and I went to a party on a farm/ranch where there are lots of rescued animals, and other animals. It was also funny because we met some of our Russian friends there (from the Russian group we sometimes go to) and we did not know they were going to be there. These are alpacas that we were allowed to pet. They have a very soft wool.

And here is Daria posing with Norman, a steer (neutered bull - male cow who cannot have children), who was rescued. He is about 7 months old in this picture and was very sweet to spend time with.

Feeding a pony (пони, малорослая лошадь). We fed about 6 or 7 ponies.

And I'm trying to pet a horse. He was fine when I had carrots to feed him, but he pulled away when I didn't have any more carrots.

My friend Scott from university. I haven't seen him in 5-6 years. He plays in two different bands and I went to an acoustic concert (not electric) of one of his bands when he was playing at a famous venue called the House of Blues in Hollywood.

Here is his new band called Green Light Theory. I don't like them as much as I like his group called Lido Beach (named for Lido Beach, New York where he is originally from). You can see the sign for House of Blues in the back. This is one of 6 rooms there, it's a small room called the Voodoo Lounge. The punk band NOFX was in the largest room, but because it was sold out we were unable to get into their concert.

As I was driving home from the concert I passed some houses that had Christmas lights for the holidays. I don't remember which town this was in, but it was on the famous road Sunset Boulevard. I liked the Santa with a reindeer.

Another house near the above one. I really like Snoopy (well actually the character Linus, but . . . ) so I had to take a picture of this.

This house is not near Sunset and I took this picture on a different night than the concert. This is a house near where I live and I took this picture while walking Karma. It is down on the lake.

I really like this photo of the lights that are on the island and the dock (как порт) in our lake. The lights are set like candles, but their reflection in the water is beautiful.

This is a really bad photo of the houses on the other side of the lake, also reflecting in the water.

Another house near us with animals out of lights. I think it's a deer and a bear, but I don't remember.

Another house, and the square at the back of the picture is the gate that you saw in the last/previous post that says MLMC.

The lights on the right are on the island. From center to left they're on the shore below our house and the lake is the large dark spot on the bottom of the picture.

A close up of a light from the Malibou Lake Club beach. The lights in the background are on the shore near our house, and the red light on the right is on the island.

Daria and I went up to Minden, Nevada, where my parents live, for Christmas and New Years. The Carson Valley has the Sierra Nevada mountains on the west and the Pinenut Mountains on the east. The Pinenut mountains are a good place to hike and Daria and I went hiking with Karma. There was some snow, but less than normal.

Daria posing with some snow and a tree. It was cool-ish, perhaps around 37F (2-3C).

Karma is smelling something in the snow. She's wearing her light coat (not the heavy one we often used in Russia).

Here is me in the Pinenut mountains. The mountains in the background are the Sierras (much grander mountains).

Daria with the Sierras in the background.

A view from one mountain over the valley to the other mountains. For those who remember from the last post, Jobs Peak is in the center of this photo.

A zoomed-in view over the valley and of Jobs Peak and Jobs Sister.

At home, on the couch/sofa Daria is curled up with Karma. Karma scratched her cornea on her left eye a few weeks ago so we did have to monitor her eye. One of the best ways was to always stay next to her. You will see a white towel on the couch: that is because my mom doesn't allow Karma on the couch without a towel. Daria and I permit her to be on the couch without a cover.

On the road toward Lake Tahoe before we start driving up the mountain. Ranches on the left and right.

This is part of Lake Tahoe (we say that about town/area). This is what we call Stateline where California and Nevada meet and there are Nevada casinos on both the left and the right. They are the tallest buildings around the Lake. There are about 4-5 good casinos there and about 3-4 so-so ones.

The actual stateline between both. Often we do things on both the CA and NV sides because activities are on both sides of the border. Welcome to California and the city of South Lake Tahoe (I was born in South Lake Tahoe).

From the CA side of the border I am taking a picture of Harrah's Casino. I will set foot there, but I will never gamble there because they treated me poorly when I was a teenager. They own Harvey's across the street (now - they did not own it when I was a teenager; they bought it when I was in university) and I will gamble there, but Harrah's pissed me off (made me mad) and so I will never gamble there.

In Harvey's, a great sign. It means "be smart about gambling. Do not bet more money than you have - do not go into debt). I thought it was funny.

This street is on stateline where the "welcome to CA/South Lake Tahoe sign is." I thought this was a beautiful picture with the planet Venus shining beautifully.

A closer picture, but more pixelated because I zoomed in. Still beautiful.

There is a ski resort on the CA side of Stateline called "Heavenly." It is very famous and a lot (I mean a lot) of Japanese people ski there. At the bottom of the mountain there is "Heavenly Village" a resort with hotels, shops, and an ice rink (above). It's very expensive there, but it's fun to walk around it.

At the edge of the "village" Daria and I pose with a snowflake.

As we walk back toward the casinos, you can see Harvey's on the left and Harrah's on the right. My best friend's parents work at Harvey's (dad at the bar, mom on the floor - what we call the area where the machines and gambling tables are - she works with Black Jack -21 - and craps and other table games). I like to visit them whenever I'm in Tahoe.

A view as we re-enter Nevada. Officially, the towns are "South Lake Tahoe, CA" and "Stateline, NV." This trip was on Thursday, December 26th. I went with Daria and my mom.

My parents's house at night. I realized I have not taken a good picture of the house in the daytime. I will ask my parents to get one because I want to show you it.

Friday, December 27th Daria and I went skiing at my favorite ski resort, Kirkwood. As I mentioned above, I had never skied where there was no snow around. I was shocked that while they had regular snow, this was also mostly manmade because Tahoe has not had much snow this year. It's the first time ever that I saw it with this little. It was depressing. Really depressing. Also, although I mentioned Heavenly in the earlier post, I do not ski there. I have been there twice. It's too expensive, there are too many tourists who do not know how to ski, and too crowded. Kirkwood has always been preferable. However, it is becoming crowded and expensive. :/

Daria as we start the day.

I think this is a beautiful picture of Kirkwood, but there should be a lot more snow on the mountain (you should not see rock at the top). It is a very warm year and we have had very little snow. But still it's a beautiful picture.

So, as I said above, I've never skied a mountain where I went on snow, but the other side was bare. I seriously never have, and I accepted it in Southern California (SoCal), I was a bit upset that Kirkwood was also bare. I know some snow was manmade, but more of it was natural than SoCal. This was partly because of the sun melting the one slope and not melting the ski slope. However, I have never seen this at Kirkwood either and it was sad.

The next day after Daria and I went skiing, my parents, Daria, and I went back in the same direction toward a place called Hope Valley. We go cross-country skiing (not downhill - more like what I do around SPB and Lisiy Nos with no mountains) and snow-shoeing (not skis, but similar) in this valley. I thought this was a beautiful glimpse of the mountains. However, this should be covered in snow. This should be how it looks in the summer, not the winter.

Again, another view of the mountains as they should be in summer, not winter.

Another photo. These are my beautiful mountains that I grew up in. I love them dearly, and it always feels like home when I'm there.

Another view. At least this one has snow -ish.

And another view of the rocky-ness of the mountains. So beautiful, but still this photo should be from July, not December. That's just sad to me.

Ahh, in Hope Valley (надежда по русский). There is some snow, although probably only .2-.5 meters, not the 1-3 meters that is normally there. Daria and my mom are starting off on our snowshoe excursion.

And there they go, zooming in on the camera.

Daria, my dad, and my mom. All the tracks in the middle are of people who have skied and snowmobiled. I like the skiers, but I don't like the people snowmobiling. All of this snow is natural. None is manmade, even though the mountain in the background is empty.

On the way home from Hope Valley and snowshoeing, as we entered the Carson Valley (where I grew up and my parents still live) there are some wild turkeys. We have never seen turkeys in the valley before so we needed to stop and take some photos. This is about 6 kilometers from my parents' house.

The next post will have more photos. I hope that you all enjoyed these and got to see some more about where I grew up/live currently/or whatnot.

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