Category Archives: Diary

Sunset in the Mountains

Even though in Southern California, we can now feel that the summer is over and the winter is getting closer. The reason is altitude. Six thousand feet above the ocean will give you some sense of seasons, even in the sub-tropics. It is only three weeks away from the time where we had the first snow last year.

Over the last week trees have put on their autumn outfit and are now wearing all brown after a short phase of a green-brown combination. Sure, there are many trees that will remain green all year, but the oaks around here now invite to collect colorful leaves and put them between the pages of a book to dry and preserve.

Days become noticably shorter and now, as I write this, half past five, it is completely dark. But a bit earlier I noticed a symphony of colors developing above the mountains and I was able to capture a glimpse of it…

Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2) Finally Open Again

After being closed for more than four years, the Hwy 2 between La Canada and Wrightwood is finally open again! Rumors were heard in April that May would see the day when repairs would finally be completed.

A landslide had taken down part of the road in 2004. Estimates had then been that it would take until 2006 to have those damages repaired but in 2005 more landslides had destroyed even more of the road and so to took a bit longer – three years to be exact.

The latest rumor was that the road would be open for Memorial Day 2009 – which was last weekend. So, on Friday, to avoid the traffic on the 210 and 15 going around the bend, we drove up Hwy 2 in the hope that rumors would be true.

And they were! At the turn-off towards Palmdale, the Angeles Forest Highway, there was the sign: Wrightwood – Open!

Traffic was very light probably because the new (old) road will have to be re-discovered by the residents over time. We were not the first to take the road this Friday but certainly were amongst the first. We did not save any time in comparison to taking the 210 and 15 (without traffic) but the ride was definitely much nicer.

On the following Monday we took the same route back, for one expecting traffic on the 15 and 210 flowing back into LA but also to set the trip counter to see how long it really is – not trusting Google Maps completely yet.

And it was a beautiful drive! Saw two deers on the road – I guess they will also have to rediscover that its not all their turf any more – some mini-glaciers and beautiful scenery…


hwy 2 reopened - 03

So, what’s the result of the distance measurement with the trip counter? Google Maps is pretty close and if you just want to get there with the least costs it is probably better to take the trip around the bent through Rancho Cucamonga (love to say that) when going outside of the rush hour – easier drive, less wear on the car and possibly a bit shorter on the clock, not on the odometer – that’s about seven to eight miles more.

But it is great to have the option of taking the leisurely drive through beautiful mountains.

Ritalin and Parenting

While driving down the 101 here in Los Angeles I noticed the following sign…

Ritalin and Parenting

… and it made me think.

NO – Come on! There is no such sign in Los Angeles – – – yet!

But you can find bad surprises in places where they are really surprising – – huh?

Anyways, I want to tell about an old friend of mine. A friend I had hung out with during the last year of high school and most of the college days, and I thought we really knew each other well.

Me moving to the US of A interrupted that friendship somewhat, but meeting each other after both our divorces and a few year of hardly hearing from each other, the spark was there again immediately and we could talk as if no time had passed when we met on one of my visits to Germany.

But I went back to California, we both got married again and had kids – OK, our wifes had. Then it was his time to visit us here with the whole family.

During on of our long talks he told me that his daughter had become so difficult in school that she was now on ritalin. That blew my mind! I mean I hear all those bad stories about our school kids being drugged into obedience but I had never met any such kid. I guess because my reality is so that this stuff does not enter it. But then the only first degree of separation person to introduce me to ritalin is my old best buddy from the college days.

I guess our realities did develop into different directions. Even though I don’t really think in his case it was a replacement for parenting because he was and is a loving father. He must have gotten some really bad information, and that’s the danger of it, that if you are not actively looking for the correct information and trust ‘experts’ you might be traveling down the wrong path.

I know how that is!

Steve Eley Ordered Me to Have Fun

Escape Pod Science Fiction Podcast… and I did – again!

Let me explain. Steve Eley is the mastermind behind a podcast called Escape Pod. Weekly he offers science fiction stories as a podcast and I hardly ever miss one of the stories, although I sometimes lag several podcasts behind the current story. The reason being that it’s a podcast, right?

I usually fire up my iTunes once in a while (when I run out of stories on my smart-phone), and download new content onto said smart-phone.

One more element then has to come into play for me to be able to actually listen to the podcast – I have to be in the car going somewhere. Today was such a day, and a good one. Ninety minutes drive back from the mountains, late, the son sleeping in the back so that I could plug in those ear phones and work on my mp3s on my phone.

I got nearly two shows done, Escape Pod 115 –Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush all finished and Escape Pod 116 two thirds done.

The story “Conversation With and About My Electric Toothbrush” was really surprising and enjoyable. The title gives away most of what this story is about and I will tell no more about the funny twist because I want you to go check it out yourself.

OK, the epilogue of that  show also announces that bloggers like me can get prizes that Steve gives away to those who blog about Escape Pod, but this is really not the reason for this blog post – even though it might have been the straw that broke the camels back.

Looking at the Escape Pod website again also reminds me that I really should donate to the site – it would be only just for all the enjoyment I get out of it, but maybe I can do even better by advertising on his site for one of my commercial sites.

One reason for the generally above quality of the stories presented is that the author is actually paid for his story. Obviously this created a cloud of much better stories than those submitted by authors who just want to be published, not caring if they will be compensated for their effort. I actually submitted a story once and it was fortunately rejected, creating the incentive to work on my writing.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Don’t know what happened but lately, I just don’t manage to go to bed when it’s prudent to go. In the old days I could sleep in when I want to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning, but with a kid that needs to go to school that is not possible.

But actually the most satisfying sleep is the one on the keyboard, so I started to practice that for some of my little power naps.

This makes for some nice pattern work even though I still have some work to do to compete with a sith lord.

Sleeping on the Keyboard