Pfeiffer Beach Sand, Monterey County, California

I’m trying to learn my microscope. These are single focus shots; as I learn more I will get to know photo stacking which will result in the entire field being in focus. If I do it right. If you enjoy these photos of California sand, there’s pictures of Hawaiian sand at my rockhounding site: https://southwestrockhounding.com/2019/09/14/hawaii-in-a-bottle/

I bought this Pfeiffer beach sand from RC at Geological Specimen Supply: https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/

Here’s what RC says about this sand:

“Sand is derived from whatever material is available. In this case, the probable source of this sand is the Big Sur River. Its watershed contains both garnetiferous schists of the Franciscan Complex and granitic rocks of the Salinian Block, where diorite contains a significant quantity of garnet. Pfeiffer Beach is primarily composed of quartz sand, but in areas the garnet has been concentrated by wave action. This sand is roughly half garnet and half quartz. We could have run it through a concentrator to increase the garnet content, but prefer that students see it as it was found on the beach.”

“A good question for students is, ‘What’s the pink stuff?’ This can lead to a discussion of what makes up sand. It’s unlikely they will have seen sand with garnet in it. It is slightly more dense than the quartz that makes up most of the beach sand in the U.S. The dark grains in this sand are derived from the Franciscan Complex, a chaotic assemblage of rocks that were scraped off the Farallon Plate as it subducted under the North American Plate during the late Mesozoic.”

Note the lone purple grain in the last photo. I’m trying to identify it. These are uncorrected for color, photographed under halogens and a little white LED. The white balance is driving me crazy. The garnet may ranges from ruby red to pink. The clear to white grains are quartz.

What the sand looks like before it is photographed. Just to give you a sense of scale.

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Self-Portraits With A Camera — Do You Have One?

Rei Aijylle Abenoja Estemera is a high school student who just started a blog focused on photography. I know that because she liked my last post so I checked out her site. Her self-portrait with a camera startled me and threw me back more than 40 years.

That photo on her site is here: https://reisblog.photo.blog/2019/09/09/capturing-every-moments/

Here is her photo, cropped a bit:

Check out her site and encourage her! https://reisblog.photo.blog

And here is a self-portrait I took back when I was about her age. With about as much hair as her. I’m holding my Dad’s original half-frame Olympus Pen F  (internal link).

Did you take a self-portrait when you first got interested in photography? You can e-mail me that image and I will post it.

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Going Bow-Wow For Bauhaus

It’s the one hundredth anniversary of the Bauhaus School (internal link) and *Wallpaper Magazine continues to be a fine resource for discovering more about this historic event. They review a Berlin Bauhaus exhibit at this URL:

https://www.wallpaper.com/design/original-bauhaus-berlin-exhibition-review

This is just one photograph from *Wallpaper’s excellent post. Please read. And subscribe if you can afford it. I enjoy my print copies but it is a luxury. As you’ll read in their Bauhaus post, however, *Wallpaper produces great writing on the web for free. Their generosity must be complimented.

Exhibition view ‘Original Bauhaus.’ In the background: Ursula Mayer, After Bauhaus Archive: Unknown Student in Marcel Breuer Chair, 2006. Photography: Catrin Schmitt.

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Las Vegas to Oakland From The Air

Photos taken through a plane window on the way from Oakland to Las Vegas and back. No Photoshop adjustment save for one picture. That adjustment _did_ make the photo look better.

Active Cargill Salt Ponds, San Francisco Bay near Newark.  Elevation of plane, 1,900 feet.

Inactive Cargill salt pond operation across the water from the above ponds. This is near Redwood City, right close to Facebook’s HQ. The Dumbarton Bridge is to the right of the picture. Elevation of the plane is 1,770 feet.

Forest fire in Kings Canyon National Park, California, elevation 36,700 feet.

Mammoth Lakes area, eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, California, elevation 31,000 feet

Amargosa Valley area, Nye County, Nevada, elevation 26,300 feet.

Amargosa Valley farm fields, Nye County, Nevada, elevation unknown. Photoshop corrected. I am thinking of adjusting the rest of the photos. Check back in a week.

Gypsum mine near Blue Diamond, Clark County, Nevada, elevation 11,600 feet.

Mount Charleston Wilderness, Clark County, Nevada, elevation 15,900 feet.

Oil tankers waiting off shore near Alameda, San Francisco Bay, elevation 2,400 feet.

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How I Graduated From High School

I graduated high school with the help of a sick, sadistic math teacher I thought an unredeemable cretin. His name was Van Pliet and I assume he is dead now. Good riddance.

We’ve all had terrible teachers as we have all had terrible bosses. Such is life. Teachers, though, hold a special responsibility to treat impressionable students well, lest those young people be permanently damaged, scarred by a social institution they were required to attend.

Although Van Pliet was a base animal, he must have had a stirring of humanity in him which helped me graduate. Perhaps he felt guilty about the way he treated me. Or perhaps it was a blandishment to whatever stone idol he worshipped. Or one good act to keep him from The Pit.

This story calls for some background, and it relates strongly to what I have written about the soulless self-care industry, a trade that flourishes on blaming the individual while picking the patient’s pocket.

A few months ago I read that California politician Gavin Newsom was receiving attention  for admitting that he suffers from dyslexia, first diagnosed when he was five.

A recent interview (external link) went like this, “Newsom is gratified when parents tell him how inspiring it is to their dyslexic children to know he shares their disability and has achieved success, so they can too. The key, he tells students, is to ‘develop discipline, for when you can apply discipline to a problem in life, you can solve any problem.'” Really?

While I applaud him for raising awareness, he oversells his own story as any politician might, promising success if only discipline is applied. That demeans the intense effort that so many people make against their disabilities with no results. For too many people with severe learning disabilities, there is nothing society can do.

Newsom says that he struggles to this day with reading and writing. I can tell you, therefore, that he will never be a successful writer. I am sure that as an editor I would never approve his writing for publication, you can’t continually mix up words and syllables and spelling and hope to be published. Unless someone wrote or edited for him before submission. But that’s not really getting on with one’s disability, is it? Not if someone else is doing your homework.

The discipline he advocates for other people has not overcome the problem he is afflicted with. Instead, he got into college on a partial baseball scholarship; his pathway to a larger world and what he terms success. His condition also seems to have improved by itself, which is indeed hopeful although that does not happen to everyone.

I started falling apart with mathematics in the seventh grade. I could barely do fractions and I am sure I could not do them right now. At the end of eighth grade mathematics, Mr. Estes, a kind teacher, pulled me and another student aside. He explained that he would give us an “A” for effort at the eighth grade level. But he would give us a “scholastic “C” at the seventh grade level. That didn’t matter to me as I was moving on from the  horror show that was Jonas Salk Junior High.

My freshman year in high school math only confirmed my deficiencies in the subject. My Dad tried quite hard to help, he being a math major in college. Yet I couldn’t follow what he was saying. I was then enrolled for many months in The Learning Center, an after-school tutoring facility.

These people were quite nice and the atmosphere of their building was relaxed and comforting, compared to the constantly high threat level of Encina High School. After several months they conducted a series of tests, quite lengthy, and shortly thereafter my tutoring stopped.

I only learned much later from my Dad that I had something called serial disorder, or at least that is what they called it at the time. Among other things, I routinely mixed up numbers, never being able to recall a long number in its right order.  Double checking math problems didn’t work for me since that means reversing a process, errors occurring on both ends. As I read about it now, this condition hosts a whole suite of learning problems with math.

The tutoring must have stopped because their was no fix. Just like dyslexia, “Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured.”

Instead, I was kept back a year in math while in high school. It was humiliating to sit in a freshman class when I was a sophomore. And worse when I was a junior in a sophomore class. Since I had passed fractions in my second year the next step was Algebra. This was taught my a monster named Van Pliet who insisted that I go to the blackboard as everyone else, to solve a problem written on it.

Every time I went to the blackboard I saw a haze of white chalk, completely incomprehensible, visibly swimming in front of me. I’d stand at the board with my chalk, the figures dancing in front of me. I never had a clue. Unable to decipher anything, I would stand for minutes at a time while my junior classmates laughed and made remarks behind my back. Eventually Van Pliet would ask me to sit down. This continued every day or two throughout the entire semester. The only time I got an answer right in his class was when I guessed correctly on a multiple choice test.

The final was handled in a similarly poisonous manner. The day before the exam, Van Pliet came up behind me, put his hand on my shoulder, and told me there was no point in showing up for the test. He said that my final grade would not change despite no matter how well I scored. Even though I was very young, I knew adults shouldn’t treat kids this way. I showed up the next day out of spite for his damned test and of course completely failed it. That obstinance might have saved me.

To my surprise, and I didn’t realize the consequences at the time, Van Pliet gave me a D- for my final grade. That probably explained why my senior year class schedule didn’t require a math class. No more torture. It must have also allowed me to graduate since passing algebra at the time was a prerequisite.

Passing that course at the college level was unthinkable, of course, but at least I got out of that prison and got on to working with my hands, the most open path to those who cannot graduate college. I later learned to develop my writing, which I always tested three to four grades ahead in high school. Never once, though, did they advance me a grade in this subject. That would have helped my confidence, but that institution couldn’t care less.

Again, I will never be a math wizard no matter how hard I try. That door is closed, just as a dyslexic cannot be an Orwell. We all must adapt to our talents and gifts. Gavin Newsome’s pap about applying discipline to solve any problem must be dismissed as the glad-handing that any politician extends at any time to a crowd of his sycophants and to everyone who delights in blaming people for conditions they can’t control. And for people who won’t raise a hand to help. A pox on them all.

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Out Rockhounding in The Nopah Range

Went rockhounding Monday an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Nopah Range is mostly in Inyo County, California. Extremely scenic, no trees. Bring your own shade.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/2019/09/03/back-to-the-nopah-range/ 

A geologist friend of mine remarked on the photo below, “That’s where sand comes from!”

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Watching Citizen Kane

http://www.aellea.com/script/citizenkane_transcript.txt

NARRATOR
A collection of everything, so big that it can never be catalogued or appraised. Enough for ten museums. The loot of the world. Xanadu’s livestock — the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the field and jungle. Two of each, the biggest private zoo since Noah. Like the pharaohs, Xanadu’s landlord leaves many stones to mark his grave.

NARRATOR
For wife two, one-time opera singing Susan Alexander, Kane built Chicago’s Municipal Opera House. Cost — Three million dollars. Conceived for Susan Alexander Kane, half-finished before she divorced him, the still unfinished Xanadu. Cost — No man can say.

THATCHER
Yes, yes. But your methods! Do you know, Charles never made a single investment? Always used money to…

KANE
To buy things. Buy things. My mother should have chosen a less reliable banker. Well, I always gagged on that silver spoon. You know, Mr. Bernstein. If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.

THATCHER
Don’t you think you are?

KANE
I think I did pretty well under the circumstances.

THATCHER
What would you like to have been?

KANE
Everything you hate.

KANE
Mr. Thatcher. My ex-guardian. We have no secrets from our readers, Mr. Bernstein. Mr. Thatcher is one of our most devoted readers. He knows what’s wrong with every copy of Inquirer since I took over. Read the cable.

BERNSTEIN
Girls delightful in Cuba. Stop. Could send you prose poems about scenery but don’t feel right spending your money. Stop. There is no war in Cuba. Signed, Wheeler. Any answer?

KANE
Yes. “Dear Wheeler. You provide the prose poems. I’ll provide the war.”

BERNSTEIN
Well, you are pretty young, Mr., Mr. Thompson. A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in eighteen ninety-six, I was crossing over to Jersey on a ferry and as we pulled out there was another ferry pulling in and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on, she was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.

THOMPSON
He [Thatcher] made an awful lot of money.

BERNSTEIN
Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money if all you want is to make a lot of money.

KANE
Mr. Carter, here’s a three-column headline in the Chronicle. Why hasn’t the Inquirer a three-column headline?

CARTER
The news wasn’t big enough.

KANE
Mr. Carter. If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.

LELAND
I changed the subject, didn’t I? What a disagreeable old man I have become! You are a reporter. You want to know what I think about Charlie Kane. Well, I suppose he had some private sort of greatness. But he kept it to himself. He never gave himself away. He never gave anything away. He just left you a tip. Hmm? He had a generous mind. I don’t suppose anybody ever had so many opinions. But he never believed in anything except Charlie Kane. He never had a conviction except Charlie Kane in his life. I suppose he died without one. That’s been pretty unpleasant. Of course, a lot of us check out without having any special convictions about death. But we do know what we’re leaving. We do believe in something. You’re absolutely sure you haven’t got a cigar?

THOMPSON
Wasn’t he ever in love with her?

LELAND
He married for love. Love. That’s why he did everything. That’s why he went into politics. It seems we weren’t enough. He wanted all the voters to love him, too. As all he really wanted out of life was love. That’s Charlie’s story, how he lost it. You see, he just didn’t have any to give. He loved Charlie Kane, of course, very dearly, and his mother, I guess he always loved her.

KANE
Well, if you got drunk to talk to me about Miss Alexander. Don’t bother. I’m not interested. I’ve set back the sacred cause of reform, is that it? All right. That’s the way they want it. The people have made that choice. It’s obvious the people prefer Jim Gettys to me.

LELAND
You talk about the people as though you own them, as though they belong to you. Goodness! As long as I can remember, you’ve talked about giving the people their rights as if you could make them a present of liberty as a reward for services rendered.


LELAND
It won’t do any good. Besides, you never get drunk. You used to write an awful lot about the working man.

KANE
Oh, go on home!

LELAND
He’s turning into something called organized labor. You’re not gonna like that one little bit when you find out it means that your working man expects something as his right, not your gift, Charlie. When your precious underprivileged really get together, oh, boy, that’s gonna add up to something bigger than your privilege and I don’t know what you’ll do. Sail away to a desert island, probably, and lord it over the monkeys.

KANE
I wouldn’t worry about it too much, Jed. There’ll probably be a few of them there to let me know when I do something wrong.

LELAND
Mmm. You may not always be so lucky.

KANE
You’re not very drunk.

LELAND
Drunk. What do you care? You don’t care about anything except you. You just want to persuade people that you love them so much that they ought to love you back. Only you want love on your own terms. It’s something to be played your way according to your rules. Charlie, I want you to let me work on the Chicago paper.

SUSAN
You wouldn’t want to hear a lot of what comes into my mind about myself and Mr. Charlie Kane. You know, I wish I never sang for Charlie the first time I met him. I did an awful lot of singing after that. To start with, I sang for teachers at a hundred bucks an hour. The teachers got that, I didn’t.

THOMPSON
What did you get?

SUSAN
I didn’t get a thing. Just the music lessons. That’s all there was in it.

THOMPSON
He married you, didn’t he?

SUSAN
Oh, he didn’t mention anything about marriage till after it was all over and it got in papers about us. And he lost the election and that Norton woman divorced him. He was really interested in my voice. What do you suppose he built that Opera House for? I didn’t want it. I didn’t want a thing. It was his idea. Everything was his idea except my leaving him.

SUSAN
Is that something from him? Charlie! As for you, you ought to have your head examined. Sending him a letter telling him he’s fired with a twenty-five thousand dollar check in it. What kind of firing do you call that? You did send him a check for twenty-five thousand dollars, didn’t you?

KANE
Yes. I sent him a check for twenty-five thousand dollars.

SUSAN
What’s that?

KANE
Declaration of Principles.

SUSAN
What’s the difference between giving me a bracelet or giving somebody else a hundred thousand dollars for a statue you’re gonna keep crated up and you’ll never even look at. It’s just money. It doesn’t mean anything. You never really give me anything that belongs to you, that you care about.

KANE
Susan, I want you to stop this.

SUSAN
I’m not gonna stop it.

KANE
Right now!

SUSAN
You never gave me anything in your whole life. You just tried to buy me into giving you something.

PHOTOGRAPHER
What did you find out about him, Jerry?

THOMPSON
Not much, really. We’d better get started.

NEWSPAPERMAN 3
What have you been doing all this time?

THOMPSON
Playing with a jigsaw puzzle.

ASSISTANT 11
If you could have found out about what Rosebud meant, I bet that would’ve explained everything.

THOMPSON
No, I don’t think so. No. Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything. I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. A missing piece. Well, come on, everybody. We’ll miss the train.

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