Gardening and Writing

By cjohnson | September 12, 2005 1:54 am

Well, it was a quiet weekend here. I was working hard on writing a paper, and so did not go to any wild parties, or parties of any sort, for that matter.

peasI learned from Pharyngula that it was World Naked Gardening Day on Saturday, so I thought I’d give you an update on the garden, as I did do some pottering about out there…..and I know what you want to ask! The good news is that some of the peas are ready! But they’re going to come ready in separated stages, so it looks like I’ll have about four peas a week, annoyingly. Also, I got one early pepper, of quite an unexpected colour, that was ready the day after I did the last garden post, but I neglected pepperto tell you then since I thought you’d heard enough. No more have come, as the pepper plants seem to have decided to focus on growing to twice their size first. They do look healthy.

It’s an all out war between me and the skunk(s) again. And it might go nuclear again. I’d declared a truce for a while, but a few nights ago two of my zucchini plants were dug out at the roots just at the height of their flowering, so I’m mad. Will be re-arming with all the previous weaponry: sticks, stones (for throwing), cayenne pepper, and the nuclear option …ammonia!

Also on the gardening front, after a day’s calculating and writing yesterday, in the evening I decided to go to my favourite movie theatre, the Arclight, (in Hollywood, not too far from home, on Sunset Blvd, near Vine – best sound, seats and screens in town; check it out) and see The Constant Gardener. It was an excellent relatively low-key film, with a powerful and sad message. I do recommend it if you’re looking for ideas about what to see. Excellent performances (Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, among others), and directed by Fernando Meirelles, that excellent director who also directed a wonderful film that I love called City of God. Also, the film served as a reminder to me that unexpectedly crappy things can happen in your life while you’re worrying about the garden…

Today was spent mostly at home sat at the computer, writing. A sure sign that I’m getting old and distracted is the fact that it is much harder to get fully immersed in a writing project. When I was younger, much younger than today, I’d have been constantly working on the research with no other distractions (you know, committee meetings, teaching, etc), so that when I came to write the paper I’d have the whole paper essentially assembled in my head. Then I’d just sit and write it, sometimes all in one sitting, working through the night if neccessary. Not so now. Too many other things to worry about (not counting the blog here at all, by the way), so ideas come out all slow, not fully formed, and in the wrong order, which is not what I’m used to. Also -very importantly- I’m still trying to determine my favourite places to sit and work around the city when I’m in writing mode. Friday afternoon saw me at an excellent cafe I like called The Alcove (it’s in Los Feliz) for a few hours, writing and thinking. I spent yesterday working at home, mostly, but I did go for a pint or two at the Cat and Fiddle (a British pub (!), also in Hollywood, on Sunset Blvd; everybody checks everyone else out a little bit because someone spread a rumour that you’re supposed to spot celebrities there….tiresome, but a good spot) after the movie and do a bit of writing (on a folded-up bit of paper so as not to scare the patrons) on a bench there until about 11:00pm. I like changing venues a lot, getting on with life (seeing it and living it) and calculating and writing as I go. It’s one of my favourite modes of operation.

home office Today (Sunday) was mostly home, sitting outside from 8:00am writing and thinking, listening to the quiet morning sounds, broken only later by the guys building a deck over at the house across the street, and the sounds of the new neighbour (some minor celebrity, apparently) and his buddies moving into the other house opposite. Then in the late afternoon I decided on the spur of the moment to head to a new venue and scribble there: the beach. So I drove over to Santa Monica, parked the car, got out the bike and cycled into town, walked down the 3rd Street Promenade (checking that the buskers are still absolutely awful – they were (I have a theory about why)) and then cycled on to Santa Monica beach, then Venice beach, and then back to Santa Monica Beach because for some annoying reason there don’t seem to be any public tables at Venice beach.

beach office It was another gorgeous sunset, and after it got too cold to continue writing I did do a bit of cycling around to see what I could see along the promenade. I’m rather pleased with how much I got done in terms of quality thinking, computing and writing, although I do sometimes long for those days when I could get totally immersed, could stay up late both physically (and logistically) and just rattle off a paper like that, all in one go. On the plus side, I’m probably able to achieve way more across a variety of duties, and be useful to a lot more people, now as compared to then. So you win some, you lose some.

Don’t ask me what the point of this ramble was. I don’t know either, so there you have it. Anyway, now I’ve got to go write the lecture for tomorrow’s 9:00am class. And it’s almost midnight. Sigh…


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Gardening, Personal

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