All posts by Andrea Gibbons

Apple Valley

Just got back from a little staff retreat at Highland Springs in Apple Valley…how much do I love the people I work with??  Thursday late morning we drove up and did a lot of work, then we swam, lay by the pool, relaxed in the sauna, ate a dinner we didn’t have to cook, played a little soccer, drank beers and margaritas and told a lot of very funny and very innapropriate stories (which I cannot relate here in mixed company) until really late.

I got up early in spite of the late night, the fact that I was still a little drunk probably helped with that, and went for a hike, it is such a beautiful place!  The path initially went straight up…here is one of the views:

And I believe this is what I would look like if I could ever find the courage to get up onto a pair of stilts…

Walked and ran back down, had breakfast, did some more work, swam, laid by the pool, relaxed in the sauna…mmm….lovely.

We had seen the signs for a cherry festival in Beaumont, so we decided to stop on the way back home and pick up some cherries, and some pies, and some funnel cake and who knew what else?  There was a little carnival but the first thing that met our eyes was this shining example of carnie culture…

And guess who else was there?

Yep…God.  We were pretty excited until we found out that not only was it $5 to get in, but that with all of our crazy weather, and possibly global warming, there were in fact no cherries.  Although tempted to pay $5 just to ask God how he could allow a tragedy like this to happen and possibly hit him in the eye, I sadly piled back into the car and Bev drove off.  At the edge of Beaumont we passed El Rancho restaurant and cocktails,

But  no one else was feeling the same uncontrollable urge to stop there and fill up on MGD so we continued on, back to home sweet home…

Disgusting que no?  Just imagine what the inside of my lungs looks like breathing in all of this crap!  Everytime I come back to LA I ask myself, why oh why do I live here?  Soon, soon I’ll be gone.  That little white flash of light middle left is Gehry’s Disney Hall by the way, isn’t it shiny?  I live about 10 blocks from there, in the heart of the smoggy darkness…

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Unacceptable Employee Behaviour

Today in my alter-ego role as mild mannered and caring supervisor, I received an important invite to a one day seminar, entitled

How to Deal with Unacceptable Employee Behaviour

Curious to find out what Unacceptable Employee Behaviour was (in my experience this is actually a much more common failure among supervisors and I know lots about that), I read on.

Apparently Unacceptable Employee Behaviour falls into categories of clearly recognizable types. You have to love that, it’s always great to find new stereotypes and label people by them, it makes this crazy world so much easier to understand and deal with unaided by medication. I offer these labels to you as a gift of hope, to classify your Unacceptable Employees or perhaps even yourself as the first step in overcoming denial and finding help before you get fired. They are:

1. The Excuse Artist
2. The Short-Changer
3. The Intimidator
4. The Gossip
5. The Clod
6. The Downer
7. The Minimalist (a nice artsy ring to that one!)
8. The Soap Star
9. The Itch
10. The Smarty-Pants

Am I definitely a Short-Changer? I suppose Soap Star is not quite the same as porn star so that’s not right, I am an artist but without excuses, I prefer speed to Downers, and love getting my back scratched but haven’t much in common with the Itch. I have been known to kick both Clods and Gossips, with cleats on. While wishing for my ego’s sake I were the Intimidator or the Minimalist, alas, I have found myself to be the proverbial Smarty-Pants – though i’ve been desperately trying to avoid that title since grade school where it generally meant getting pounded. Of course, even though I have frighteningly become what might be termed management, I still believe in “challenging management authority openly and forcefully” which has led to some interesting conversations with myself. I don’t believe an “undercurrent of anti-management chatter” to be too harmful, so maybe as a bonafide grown-up being a Smarty-Pants is not so bad, though I might not fit in so well at the local dive bar if it should become public. Luckily no one there can read as far as I can tell. If you tell, that makes you a Gossip, and you know what happens to them…

Rent your own Hermit

This book is brilliant! I am learning that back in the day wealthy Englishmen actually hired hermits to come live on their lands in specially created faux ruinous grottoes, adding a picturesqueity (I made that word up, but super muppets are allowed to do that), and a certain special something which must have been above and beyond the smell…just imagine…a steady income AND no more wondering what to wear today, no more cooking, no more shoes, no more dental floss? Paradise I say, I might even have time between prayers and the 5 hours of required crazy talk about the coming apocalypse to live my dream of teaching a crew of black squirrels to sing Beethoven’s fifth while dancing the cancan. To be honest, I don’t like bathing in cold water which could be something of a challenge, but a hermit’s idiom requires dirt so I think I’ll be fine.

I can submit a resume and references to anyone who is hiring, and I’ll even buy my own plane tickets…my motto is, *have bible, will travel*, so text me!

Barcelona — and mostly lots of Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Casa Batllo, the Cathedral, some graffiti

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Alcaniz, Spain

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Antequera, Spain

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The glorious Alhambra, Spain

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Avila, Spain

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Marconi State Park

A privilege to come to a conference on landtrusts here at Marconi State Park, to stay in this amazing place of beauty. From the website (accessed August 2017, stumbled across these pictures almost 13 years later to the day, so I’m cheating a bit by setting this to publish back then, but why not honour chronology?):

Marconi State Historic Park has a rich human history that dates back hundreds of years. The Tomales Bay ecosystem has supported the livelihoods of people—from the pre-historic villages of the Coastal Miwok to the farming communities of today.

On past genocide (not noted), Russian settlers, farming, to Marconi…

In 1894, across the Atlantic in Bologna, Italy, a young man by the name of Guglielmo Marconi began experimenting with Electromagnetic Waves (Radio Waves). In an unused portion of his parents’ attic, Marconi constructed devices for sending and receiving Morse code across the room without the use of wires. Through trial and error he steadily improved the distances he was able to send a signal, and soon outgrew his attic laboratory.

Within a year, Marconi was able to transmit a telegraph signal a distance of two miles. By 1897, he had increased the distance to 15 miles, proving that man-made and natural obstacles did not interfere with the transmission of radio waves.

And the hotel itself:

In order to achieve a signal powerful enough to cross the Pacific Ocean, a new, more powerful station was built on the Marin Coast. This station was designed and constructed by J.G. White, a New York engineering firm. All Marconi’s transoceanic stations were “duplex” stations, geographically separated complexes for transmitting and receiving. The geographic separation was necessary because the noise of transmission obstructed clear reception. All these stations were nearly identical in construction. The imposing, two-story staff and visitors’ hotel with its wide veranda is the centerpiece of the receiving station. In addition to its thirty-five rooms – ten complete with private baths – the hotel boasted such comforts as a library, game room, lounge, and dining hall. Flanking the hotel to the left are two single-story bungalows for the chief and assistant engineers. To the right lies the powerhouse that contained the boiler, transformers, storage batteries and a workshop. The operations building, located a short distance from the bungalows, housed the receiving and printing equipment as well as the station’s administrative offices.

All the buildings are similar in architectural style, which might be described as Mediterranean Revival with Craftsman allusions.

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