I had several plans for viewing today’s solar eclipse, depending on the weather. As the hour approached and clouds loomed in the west, I decided that my best bet would be to get above the cloud cover, and drove up into the hills to Del Cerro Park at the top of the Palos Verdes peninsula.

I’m glad I did, because a lot of other people had the same idea.

Individuals, couples, families, groups of friends, groups from schools — and everyone had a different way to see the eclipse: pinhole cameras, binoculars projecting on cardboard, welding helmets, “eclipse glasses” and more. There were also people who were just out for a day at the park, and wanted to know what was going on.

If J had been a few years older it would have been a family event for us too, but at a year and a half, I don’t think I would have been able to explain anything beyond “don’t look at the sun.” A partial eclipse is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

I’d cobbled together a pinhole camera the day before from two Amazon boxes, a sheet of paper, a sheet of aluminum foil, and lots and lots of packing tape. I actually started with just one box and I decided the image wasn’t big enough, so I grafted on a second. Even then it was only about 3/8″ across, but when testing it I could see the edges of clouds drifting across the sun, so I figured it would work. It did. Continue reading

I drove out to UCI on my lunch hour, and got my first view of the newly-completed Student Center. There are actually some parts of the building left over from the previous one, but the whole exterior is new. Then I remembered a photo I’d taken of the old Student Center, back when I was attending the school, from the top of what was then the Humanites Office Building, now Murray Krieger Hall. Since I had extra time on parking, I decided to see if I could match the shot.

Here it is 10 years ago:

UC Irvine Student Center ca. 1997
UCI Student Center: Late afternoon, 1996–1997

And here it is today:

UC Irvine Student Center, 2007
UCI Student Center: Early afternoon, October 4, 2007

Continue reading

This morning I looked north and saw a narrow band of mountains sandwiched between two layers of clouds. The first place I could stop to take a photo, the lower layer was mostly blocked by hills, but you can still see it.

Two cloud layers, with mountains visible between them.
Click to enlarge

As a bonus, this turned out to be nearly the same shot as one of the photos I posted under Snowblogging four weeks ago (reposted here):

San Gabriel Snow (from a distance)
Click to enlarge

The lighting isn’t as good in today’s photo, since it was overcast, but you can really see the effect several weeks of one-day-a-week rain have had on the hills. They’ve gone from brown with splashes of green to green with splashes of brown!

Well, I’ve finished The Illuminatus! Trilogy (the novel, at least — I’m still working on the appendices), and in honor of that dubious accomplishment, I present this photograph of the Laguna Niguel Federal Building:

Pyramid-shaped federal building, Mt. Saddleback in the background.

Snapped last week while trying to locate the movie theater showing Donnie Darko, just down the road from Pepsi and Wolverine.

It really makes me wish we’d had the better camera with us, though. We got a cheap one we could leave it in the car and have it for unexpected finds like this, but the image quality really is pathetic.