Thursday, May 31, 2007

Century Plant Begins to Spawn Flowers

I'd say it's about 12' tall. I'll have to measure it....

Getting Highlights.....

If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Davy Jones Locker and the Flying Dutchman

We just saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The story is centered quite firmly around Davy Jones' locker and the Flying Dutchman. It takes a good deal of liberty off these legends to be sure. Davy Jones is actually a character in the movie and he is portrayed as a mutated cross between a man and an Octopus with a wriggling beard of tentacles, and limbs like those of a Crustacean (an image similar to Lovecraft's Cthulhu). The movie also expands upon the origins of Davy Jones. He appears along with his crew of half-human, half-sea creature sailors aboard The Flying Dutchman. In the movie, the story follows that Davy Jones was once an average sailor who fell in love with a beautiful woman (Calypso) as "changing and harsh and as untameable as the sea." When he could not have her, the pain was so much that he cut out his still-beating heart, and sealed it in a chest, so that he would never have to feel love, compassion or the pain that can come from feeling them again. Significant creative license was taken here as Davy Jones was never really a real person (or has never proven to be) but has always been a myth or indication for the depths of the sea.

In the scriptwriter's commentary on the movie's DVD, one of the writers state that Davy Jones' Locker is not death per se, but spending an eternity with the thing you hate or are afraid of most. For instance Jack Sparrow is forced to stay in a land comprised entirely of salt, as he loves the open sea.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Century Plant 2 Weeks Growth

Well it's been 2 weeks since we saw this incredible stalk growing out of our Black Tipped Agave. The growth has been rapid, growing somewhere around 6" to 12" every 24 hours. There was a time when I didn't notice any growth but that was just because there were no marks between the window and roof line, now, it's quite distinct the difference. Dena and I know for sure it's grown at least 12" since yesterday morning. My mom says to feed it Miracle Grow and see what happens. I don't think it needs any help......
By the way, this picture is taken further back than the previous posts. That was necessary as it has grown so tall.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Charles Mingus - Epitaph

Dena and I attended a Jazz concert last night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles which was spectacular. It was a playing of 19 + movements written by Charles Mingus , composer, Jazz musician, pianist and bass. The 31 piece augmented "Jazz" band was conducted by Gunther Schuller. I've never seen a jazz band so large. They say it was "doubled", meaning there were > 1 of the first chair of some instruments. There were actually 3 first chair trumpets, 3 first chair trombones and 3 first chair Saxophones, making a total of 6 trumpets, 6 trombones and 6 Saxes. There was an amazing array of instruments, a Vibraphone, 2 Grand Pianists, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet (you don't see that everyday), bassoon, tuba, guitar, alto sax, bass sax, those huge drums, what's the name of those? The list goes on and on.....

The concert was long, I wish it was on a Sunday afternoon rather than a Wednesday night. Half the crowd left at intermission, as it was already 9:40pm. The movements themselves were an amazing array of jazz, classical, tributes and frankly, just out there compositions. The music seemed alive, expanding and contracting in some places like a pulsating heart and in others, chaotic at first, then calm, almost as if each movement was a therapy session. I cannot imagine the practice and dedication that must have went in to preparing for this concert by each musician. Playing this type of complicated score with its variety and need for classical precision yet improvisational talent is a feat that should make them all proud.

Well done.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More on the Growing "Century" Agave

Here's my research -- The leaves are 10 to 18 inches long with long, sharp, terminal spines and shorter spines along the edges.(I can attest to the sharpness as they pierced my ankle and caused quite a bit of bleeding when i was thinning out this area of the garden) The stalk can be up to 4 inches in diameter. (It certainly is 4") Members of the Amaryllis Family (wow, that's interesting....) , century plants take many years to flower, although not a century. (Ours has never flowered in the 13 years we've been in this house) Yellow flowers composed of 6 petals, bloom June through August. Flowers grow in clusters and face upward at the end of horizontal branches, appearing only near the top of the stalk This unique native plant has a tall, thin stalk from 10 to 14 feet high that grows from a thick basal rosette of gray-green leaves.
The Century Plant provided Native Americans with a source of soap, food, fiber, medicine and weapons. Agavi americana, can grow up to 40 feet high (holy crap! That's high.....I guess there will be more pictures) with much longer leaves and larger stalk. This American Century Plant is sometimes grown in southern California as an ornamental. It is used commercially in Mexico as a source to produce the liquors tequila, pulque and mescal. (yum.....tequila)

You'll notice how the plant is now above the wall of the patio.....The difference between this photo and the previous is 48 hours.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Black Tipped Agave - Agave parryi

This is a plant in our cactus garden the front yard. We've never seen it flower before. Here is the start of it. Flowers: on large stalk held as high as 10-15ft above foliage, branched; pink bud opens to bright yellow flower; bloom in late spring or early summer; stalk persists if not cut down. We'll see what happens. So here is it's progress on Sunday.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Galactic DisneyLand Warriors

Notice that I am Space Ranger # 1 with the top score!