Truck Warmer

From the way back machine in 2003.  Woody the cat looks for the highest point which happens to be on top of the old 1984 Chevy pickup.  A good vantage point.

Bakersfield, California 2003


Atticus Lambord was known for his mountain dew.  It had a distinctive gas tank rust flavor.  But, after the first sip, you couldn't really taste anything anyway, so, no one fussed about the odd flavor.  One of his most popular batches was what he called '84 .

(the above is fictional)

Bakersfield, California 2003


José  Dominguez carried this coin and shell casing as good luck pieces.  He thought he had hit the jackpot when he auditioned for The Mask of Zorro and came real close to signing a contract.  Then some guy named José Antonio Dominguez Banderas snatched the lead role from him.  Turns out the producer wanted someone with the same number of words in his name as the movie title because he was just quirky like that.

(the above account is fictional)

Bena Road, Kern County, California 2006

Pole Top

This pole gets a lot of use in photos.  It's convenient since it is located in a corner adjacent to four backyards including ours.  It is not unusual to catch a glimpse of a bird, a cat, a squirrel, a possum, a rat or a cable TV guy navigating up or down the pole.

I can only think of one time in the past 19 years that there was actually an electrical lineman on the pole.  I remember that because it was 1 AM and I called the utility.  We lost half the electrical circuits in the house.  Turned out the wire in one phase had broken.

An hour and a half later, we had a new service drop to the house.  I offered the lineman a big slug of whiskey, but, he declined because he had another trouble call.  All the linemen I ever worked with needed a shot of whiskey before working a pole; primarily to steady their hands!

Bakersfield, California 2007

The View

Barnaby Coltcarrier saw this view in 1873 for the first and last time.  One moment he was thinking, "This is where I'm building my cabin" and the next moment he was coyote bait.  Barnaby stepped in a ground squirrel hole and while trying to regain his balance, he shot himself in the foot.

That didn't kill him, but, because he couldn't move quickly, the elephants trampled him to death.  The Barkum & Bently Circus was moving their pachyderms from Caliente, California to Bakersfield, California when the unfortunate accident occurred.

Bena Road, Kern County, California 2007

Where There's Smoke

Sometime around 1771, Frankie Garbonzobeani was looking for a way to get across the Kern River.  At that time, the river was very wild and treacherous.  As he puffed on his pipe mulling over possible routes, he noticed several Native Americans on the other side of the river.  They noticed him also.

Well, it wasn't long before the Indians had a fire going and appeared to be signaling Frankie.  Fortunately, Frankie knew a few smoke signals and puffed on his pipe until they were actually communicating.  Frankie asked if it was safe to cross the river where he was.  Two puffs of smoke told Frankie all was well and he could cross.

Unfortunately the third puff of smoke, danger, was snuffed out when Abitclumsy stumbled into the fire.  Frankie and his party were swept away never to be heard from again.

(The above account is fictitious)

Rancheria Road, Kern County, California 2008


After his trip to Mexico, Bombus the Bumble Bee began noticing increased body temperature and chills.  He was having trouble landing on flowers, usually missing completely.  He also noted the flowers appeared to be really vivid.

Bombus didn't remember eating or drinking anything unusual while in Mexico.  A little tequila and rice and beans mixed with some delicious mushrooms.  His brother-in-law told him the mushrooms had been picked that morning and were called something like sillycyben.

(The above story is fictional)

Bakersfield, California 2008


It would be very difficult to identify this landmark by just viewing this piece of it.  The birds, however, can see the whole thing and, like cats, want the top.

Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California 2008

Wrapped Up

I guess, like everything with some age, glass insulators attract collectors.  This group includes some manufactured by Cayner and Hemingray.  I don't really know anything about poles and insulators other than I dug holes with a "spoon" for line crews in my first six months of electrical apprenticeship.  The only time I wrapped myself around a pole was in a pole-top safety course.  That was enough to convince me that I didn't want any part of climbing poles.

Bena Road, Kern County, California 2009

Read My Mind

Leland is schizophrenic.  However, he doesn't hear voices, he sees voices.  At times, his affliction makes it difficult to fly.  You may notice him moving erratically through the sky; kind of a hiccup motion.  He's just trying to avoid what he perceives as other flying voices.  The world is not always black and white.

Bakersfield, California 2009

Daily Routine

Leroy, here, thinks he's a sand bee.  I'm not sure, but, since it's Leroy's story, we'll go with sand bee.  Leroy starts his day with a very low altitude flight around his immediate surroundings and, usually, runs into a plant stalk of some kind which is why his buddies call him Bonking Leroy.  Anyway, after he picks himself up off the sand after head-butting a plant stalk, he'll fly to the top of the stalk to see if Jack is home.  Yes, sand bees read fairy tales too!

Leroy hasn't found Jack yet, but, he does tend to agitate a lot of flowers by walking on their faces.  The black-eyed susans slap the crap out of Leroy with their petals, but, Leroy is a little slow from all the bonking and doesn't realize he is irritating the flowers.  He just thinks the flowers are being friendly.

Bakersfield, California 2009


Adolph and Archimedes were buddies.  They did everything together.  Played hide-and-seek in the birch leaves, chased butterflies and hid nuts from the bluejays.  Then, one day, Archimedes ate Adolph.  Turns out Adolph was an aphid and Archimedes was a gall midge in the larval stage.  Archimedes was a natural aphid predator.  The butterflies and bluejays knew this would happen eventually, so, they played along with the two boys while their doomed friendship lasted.

Bakersfield, California 2010


For years, people would ask, "Where is Richgrove, California?" and even if they were told, they could never find it.  So, someone stuck a tall tank up to use as a navigational point.  Now, people see the tank and miss the Richgrove sign, so, they still don't know whether they have been through town or not.

Richgrove, California 2011

The Hanging Pole

A lot of ranchers have a practice of hanging dead coyotes on the fence.  Coyotes are smart.  One sniff of a dead coyote and the live ones know to avoid the area.  The same scenario was practiced by humans throughout history.  The only problem was that humans didn't sniff the carcass, so, they never learned to stay away.

Woody Granite Road, Kern County, California 2011

The Tracks Of My Tears

While crossing the railroad tracks in Wilder Ranch State Park located north of Santa Cruz, California the lyrics from an old Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song popped into my head.  Quite unusual for me.  Generally, my brain transmits rock 'n' roll or heavy metal snippets.

Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz, California 2011

Standing Tall

I don't know about your location, but, the Central San Joaquin Valley in California has a ton of electrical transmission towers.  It would be wise not to walk around holding conductive materials pointing skyward.

Bakersfield, California 2011


Almost every town on the West Coast of California had a Fox Theatre at some time.  The theatre in the image opened on Christmas Day in 1930 with the feature film, Just Imagine.  The building is an example of an early work of architect S. Charles Lee from Los Angeles.  The exterior of the building is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style as was the original interior.

The building survived the 1952 earthquake, but, eventually closed in 1977 with brief openings in 1983 and 1984.  After that, the theatre fell into decay until 1994 when, threatened by demolition, a small group of city businessmen and women joined together to save the theatre, forming the Fox Theatre Foundation.  Today, it gets a lot of use.

Bakersfield, California 2011

Learn From Failure

The Sun slowly sinks on Transylvania and Wilbur the Wolf gets another chance to practice his howling.  So far, Wilbur has not done well with his howling.  It was pretty obvious when he heard Count Dracula exclaim, "Listen to them, the children of the night.  What music they make except for Wilbur.  Get with the program, Wilbur!"

Bakersfield, California 2011

Tag, You're It!

Paintcan Harry was really good at what he did.  Tagging.  A buddy of his had an engine he used to do side work the major railroads wouldn't.  Harry painted Railroad Police on a car and had his buddy haul him all over the county.  Harry's buddy would drop the car and Harry would wander around tagging other cars.  No one ever bothered him.

(This is, of course, a fictional story.  Harry didn't have a friend with an engine.)

Bakersfield, California 2011

Bolted (B/W)

Ellivro Thgirw dreamed of building his own flying contraption.  He finally came up with a plausible plan and moved into the construction phase staging his machine in a huge parking lot.  What he found though was that no matter how fast he flapped the multiple rows of wings, his contraption would not become airborne.  He finally had to give up due to a lack of funding.

It wasn't until much later that Ellivro realized what the problem was.  He had forgotten to unbolt his flying machine from it's temporary supports.  However, by the time he understood his error, the flying machine had been repurposed for use as a source of solar energy.

Bakersfield, California 2011


Ed P. Lastered drove his 19 mule team on this road for 30 years.  Yes, he only had 19 mules.  There was some kind of conflict with US Borax and they got a court order preventing Ed from using a 20 mule team.  Anyway, Ed never noticed the kind of odd shaped trees on the mountain side until just recently.  Probably because he ran out of his home brew and involuntarily sobered up.

The trees kind of look like a pine, but, the branches don't look right and if you get up close, the leaves or needles look more like a juniper, but, the bark looks like a sequoia.  Ed said it makes his head hurt just thinking about it.

Hwy 33, Ventura County, California 2011

All Tied Up

The great thing about fishing is that you can lose all your tackle and still find something to use that was left by someone else. This equipment has probably been in a Hart Park tree for some time. 

Hart Park, Kern County, California 2012

No Sun, No Tan

See those rocks?  That's where Arne Knudtson usually sits and fumes.  Arne is a troll and came to the United States in 1723.  He wandered around a bit and settled in Tulare County, California next to Tyler Creek.  Things were fine for about a hundred years and then people started passing through his area.

Eventually, those people built a bridge in the 1900s which meant even more people passed by Arne.  The worst part for Arne is that the people chose to build the bridge over the rocks where Arne would sit and get a suntan.  Arne is one mad troll!

Tyler Creek, Tulare County, California 2012


All the duck mommas tell their young not to play in this area.  They warn them about the big bad river that this water flows into and the perils of getting caught in the ferocious currents.  Wait.  There is no big bad river any more!

Hart Park, Kern County, California 2012


Just a few years ago, like around the 1820's, there were few inhabitants in this area.  Mainly native Indians and a few Hispanics, Chinese, Whites, Spaniards and a couple of Basque sheepherders.  The Indians were a little unhappy about what they considered a population invasion in their private hunting grounds.

However, the chief Indian, Mika "Racoon" O'Neil, yes, I forgot to mention there were a few Irishmen around too, figured out that all the other races really liked to drink and gamble.  So, Mika set up the first gambling casino on this hill where he and the tribe made big wampum from all the other folks and eventually retired to Palm Springs.

(everything above is fictitious except the part about the Basque sheepherders and the Irishmen)

Round Mountain Road, Kern County, California 2012


Back in the 1840s, Peyotl Champignons would search the foothills in the Spring for fungus.  He would gather them, dry them and then barter with the Yokut Indian tribes.  Depending on the quality of Peyoti's harvest, he would sometimes receive payment in matching tule reed bowls.  He was very close to having a full set.

Peyoti always held back a bit of his harvest and hid it under a rock below this bluff.  It was his practice to take a taste of the previous year's harvest and meditate for awhile before heading in to do his bartering.   Awhile could be anywhere between one and four days.  The timing all depended on when the flying pigs appeared.

Round Mountain Road, Kern County, California 2012


This piece of land is of historical significance because of what took place here in 1961.  John was visiting Marilyn in Hollywood and got really hungry.  So, he decided they would drive to Woolgrower's in Bakersfield, California for some chow.  Now, John knew that Bobby and Martin were in the Kern County area visiting Cesar,  so, he invited them to join he and Marilyn.  After dinner, everyone was feeling frisky and decided they wanted to play a little touch football.  That's how this field came into play.

The presence of so many Democrats in a Republican county freaked out the local Republicans, so, they quickly put together a team and met the Democrats in the field.  Well, after a while, things got a little sweaty and folks started peeling off shirts.  The game stopped when Marilyn pulled her shirt off.  At that point, the Democrats and Republicans realized there was one thing they could agree on.

(the above account is completely false)

Round Mountain Road, Kern County, California 2012

Spring Reflections

Prior to 2012, this area was a park used as a gathering place for the homeless and drug trafficking.  There was a dirt-lined canal that ran through it.  As part of a downtown rejuvenation program, the canal was reworked to include ponds, bridges, paved sidewalks, fountains and street lighting.  A crackdown on homeless and drug trafficking also followed.  Restaurants modified their structures to include outside eating adjacent to the current park and, eventually, a US District Court was built.  All in all, a huge improvement over early years.

The only thing that hasn't changed is the duck vandalism.  The ducks aren't happy with just the reworked canal and ponds, so, occasionally they break off sprinkler heads to create more temporary ponds.  Of course, the ducks point the finger at the geese, but, we all know it's the ducks!

Mill Creek, Bakersfield, California 2012

Dry Dock (B/W)

It was on this spot in 1818 that Frenchman Hippolyte de Bouchard realized his navigator had guzzled too much rum.  The last thing he remembered was attacking the Presidio of Monterey, California the day before and here he was in some little indian village.  His navigator must have made a left turn in all the smoke and hit a river instead of the ocean.  Well, needless to say, this wasn't going to look too good on Bouchard's pirate resume.

Bakersfield, California 2012

Harder Than It Seemed

It was at this point that the posse began to suspect that maybe it wasn't going to be easy to capture Ben "Tree Snapper" Von Hidlesburg.

Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County, California 2012


Back in One Million BC, Sophia laid down for a nap and, as sometimes happens, never woke up.  It was, of course, a bummer for Sophia, but, it really shocked Tumak.  Sophia was Tumak's traveling companion after his father, Akhoba, expelled him from the family cave.  Fortunately for Tumak, he ran into Loana who made him forget his sorrow.  Tumak spent the rest of his life slapping skins.

Tulare County, California 2012


Burt the Blackbird is a little slow.  He's been sitting in this tree for three weeks now wondering where everyone went.  It didn't dawn on him that his buddies are down at the Blackbird Tavern in Temecula, California watching football.

Audubon Kern River Preserve, Lake Isabella, California 2012

The Walk (B/W)

"Long Strider" Jim Slinkerbaugh traveled this road every day in 1927 to work at the Tumble Inn.  It was about a five mile walk for him, one way, bare foot, in the snow.  But, Jim really needed the work and he didn't mind.  He started off washing dishes in the cafe and later pumped gas at the Richfield gas station.  Jim was very dependable.  Then, all of a sudden, Jim quit showing up for work.

(You can fill in the rest of the story yourself.)

Old Ridge Route, Los Angeles County, California 2012

One Spindly Bush

No one wrote it down, so, this is just hearsay.  In 1938, Joseph Sago and Lawrence Bushney had an argument about the landscape for this view.  Joseph thought a palm tree would look nice while Lawrence preferred some kind of bush.  Joseph argued a palm tree would give an unobstructed view other than what the trunk hid.  Lawrence was totally against palm trees, especially planted in the mountains.  He thought palms were useless for shade, aesthetics and attracted rats.  Well, since neither Joseph nor Lawrence owned the land, they couldn't do anything except argue.  They liked to argue.

Old Ridge Route, Los Angeles, County, California 2012

Patron Of The Port

Many nationalities contributed to the fishing industry on the California coast.  The Chinese in 1853 followed by Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.  Italians, primarily from Sicily, dominated the sardine fishery.  Then Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of Italian fishermen showed up.  No one knew he was a troll, but, everyone did when he stayed out late one night and got caught in the light of the sunrise.

(Could be true.)

Monterey, California 2012

Another Pile Of Rocks

Spanish merchant, Sebastian Vizcaino, stopped here on his way to Monterey Bay sometime around 1602.  Of course, he didn't know he was going to Monterey Bay because he hadn't named it yet in honor of the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico City, the Conde de Monterey.

Spanish explorers could not resist a pile of rocks and frequently left their mark on them unless they had been previously named by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and then they renamed them and left their mark.  They were so mean to Juan.  Photo rendered in Topaz Impression.

17 Mile Drive, Monterey, California 2012

Obscure (B/W)

Not many people know that back in 390 BCE, Chinese philosopher, Mozi, and Greek philosopher, Aristotle, got together on this corner to discuss the principles of camera obscuras.  Of course, back then, this building wasn't a Bank of America, it was a Mayan temple later repurposed as a bank.  Mozi was really impressed with Aristotle considering Aristotle was just six years old at the time.  After their discussion, they traded firecrackers and ouzo.

(The above account is accurate from what I remember.  It may be clouded a little because I got into the ouzo pretty early.)

Bakersfield, California 2012


Jacques "Clay Pigeon" Quartz was a gangster in the 1920's.  He took up residence in this building to handle his pigeon betting operation.  Unfortunately, he liked to shoot pigeons and commonly depleted his flock by 50% or more at a time.  Business wasn't really that good for him and, in fact, it was later revealed that the pigeons were betting against Jacques.  The pigeons won most of the time.

(Non of the above is true; as far as I know.)

Commercial Exchange Building, Los Angeles, California 2012

Low Tide

This building had diving platforms on every floor.  There must have been twelve at least.  I'm assuming that the Pacific Ocean tides must get pretty high for these platforms to be useful. Otherwise, why would they have built them?  Just to make sure we weren't missing something, we climbed to the top thinking maybe there was a pool on the roof.  All we found was air conditioners.  Some guy on the street with a megaphone and spinning light on his vehicle started yelling at us as we climbed down.  I don't know what he was so excited about.  We've been up higher diving platforms.

Downtown Los Angeles, California 2012

Golden Cloud

I know, I know.  It's not every day you see a Palomino on a fire escape!  Olivia de Havilland used to open a window to get a bit of fresh air and that's when she discovered Golden Cloud would step out on the fire escape and practice yoga.  The horse was pretty smart!  Olivia was to ride Golden Cloud as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).  A short while after Olivia, Roy Rogers was preparing for his first film and wound up choosing Golden Cloud as his mount.  Roy later renamed the horse, Trigger.

(Pretty much everything above is a fabrication other than Golden Cloud practicing yoga.  I told you, he was a smart horse!)

S. Hill Street, Los Angeles, California 2012

Drag The River Bottom

Local farmers frequent the White River on Friday nights with their hopped up tractors.  They sit around drinking buttermilk and race up and down the dry river bed until the cows come home.

Tulare County, California 2012

Mason Henry Gang

Back in the 1860s, there was a California gang of outlaws called the Mason Henry Gang.  They killed Republicans as a hobby because they were unhappy with the way American President Abraham Lincoln was running things.  The gang was run by John Mason and Jim Henry.  They thought about using John Jim as a gang name, but, went with Mason Henry instead.

After killing three men on November 14, 1864, John and Jim high-tailed it to Ducor, California, which, they discovered, didn't exist until 1885, so, they hid out in this field.  Fortunately for them, the White River was nearby and they stashed their horses in the river bed out of sight.  The only drawback to the field they hid in, other than having to lie flat all day without a hat, was that it was kind of cool at night and they couldn't light a fire to keep warm.  The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District had a restriction on wood-burning fires.

An article in the Stockton Daily Independent about the November murders stated, "They did not appear to be influenced by motives of plunder, but solely by malice against Republicans. They have both for several months been around Gilroy and on Wednesday last, were seen near South San Juan. It is to be hoped they will not long escape their just deserts. They are of the worst species of the guerrilla, as cruel as Apaches, and as fanatical as crusaders.”

Eventually, John and Jim made their way to the California coast and raised more hell.

Somewhere South of Ducor, California 2012

Not The Moon

I've got to tell you, my buddy the Sun was pretty upset about all the hoopla surrounding the last super blood lunar eclipse.  I mean, it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for backup from the Sun.  But, does the Sun get any credit?  No!  Everyone is gaga over the moon.  The Sun just goes on about his daily business like any other day and tries to ignore all the fuss.

Morro Bay, California 2012

A Common Perspective

I have done a lot of shooting from this vantage point over the last five or so years.  It offers a different view of the city even though the buildings pretty much stay in the same positions.  Every once in a while, the Brower building will wander a little north or west just to make me take a good hard look.  But, that isn't too often.

Bakersfield, California 2012

Low Sink

Franklin didn't really have a problem with the new apartment bathroom.  Sure, he had to lug jugs of water up 3 flights of stairs, but, he figured that counted for his daily exercise.  He didn't even mind the odor left from using a cat box nor depositing the used toilet paper in the hefty bag.

However, according to Hazel, the bathroom needed a lot of work.  I guess we know who will win this difference of opinion.

Linda Vista Hospital, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California 2012

Frank and Jesse

The bank in Russellville, Kentucky was robbed on March 20, 1868.  It was reported that Frank and Jesse James took part in the heist.  Rather than confront the local heat, the boys headed to California to visit with their uncle, Drury James, and hung around the San Luis Obispo County area for almost a year.  Apparently, the James boys stayed out of trouble during that period of time.

The boys kind of stayed on the down low during their visit since their notoriety as outlaws had begun to grow.  They used to ride up to this area in the photo and dip their toes in Old Creek to cool off.  There wasn't a reservoir until 1961, so, the sightings of the James boys living the leisure life on houseboats in recent years can't be true.  Of course, it could be that their ghosts have returned to California.

Whale Rock Reservoir, San Luis Obispo, California 2012

The Path

Back in ancient times, like around the 1700s, Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary and explorer who was a native of Majorca, would get up before everyone and walk the dunes racking his brain for a new adventure.  He was kind of an antsy man and liked to always be on the move.  Eventually, he reached Monterey, California in 1769, but, not satisfied, he travelled north and became one of the first Europeans to see San Francisco Bay.

Morro Bay, California 2012

Nude Man or Mae West?

Photographers, generally, will shoot any and everything.  For instance, this empty package of Camel cigarettes.  Depending on your imagination, inside the camel's foreleg you might see a nude man sporting an erection.  Or, you might see Mae West.  Or, you might just have the last cigarette, another alcoholic beverage and wonder WTF is wrong with these people.  But, then again, I, personally, never saw "S-E-X" on a Ritz cracker.  Could be my faulty imagination.

Round Mountain Road, Kern County, California 2012

Press 7

Morris Rickle was stranded in this elevator for 16 hours.  Morris always carried a backpack with a few supplies just in case something like this happened.  A little food, water, a light blanket and matches.

As near as the authorities can figure, somewhere around hour 14, Morris tried to roast some hotdogs and was overcome by smoke and then, evidently, became part of the roast.  When the doors were finally opened, all the responders found was a piece of chared blanket and two hot dogs.

(the above account is fictitious)

Bakersfield, California 2012

A Big One

Gomer Grimpeur lives in the top of this giant sequoia.  He never comes down.  He has an agreement with a couple of locals who bring food and water.  Gomer tosses a rope down with his waste bucket and the locals replace the bucket and fill it with water and food.

Gomer has been struck by lightning 15 times in the 25 years he's lived in the tree.  Some people speculate Gomer may have been struck a few times before taking up residency in the tree.

(There is no truth to the story above.)

Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County, California 2012


The 9 AM shuffleboard singles pairing got a little out of hand.  Raymond was playing Chester.  Chester showed up with a metal disc that weighed 150 lbs and a 12 foot cue.  Raymond stood slackjawed with his regulation 15 ounce wooden disc and 6 foot cue for about 10 seconds and then he started pummeling Chester.  Well, there is a slight difference between 150 lbs. and 15 ounces and Chester retaliated.  By the time Raymond and Chester wore themselves out, the board was no longer in playing condition and the clubhouse was gone.  Both Raymond and Chester were banned from playing on the Palo Alto table.

Aptos, California 2012

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