Feb 22, 2009


The prices of old photos and postcards are somewhat arbitrary. Even location matters. At an event held in a strip mall in San Fernando Valley I was able to pick up photos and postcards ¢25 a piece. At an Antique Paper Show held in the Glendale Civic Auditorium you'd be hard pressed to find anything under a dollar.

It also depends on the vendor. Neatly organized postcards, sorted out by subject matter tend to cost more than ones that are just thrown in a tub unsorted. Some vendors go for quantity, others aim at the collectors of narrow focus, who don't want to shift through hundreds of cards. I just pick whatever strikes my fancy, and I'm also cheap, so I gravitate towards the quantity vendors. I rarely pay more than $2 for a photo or postcard.

I don't remember how much I payed for these gargoyles, but couldn't have been much. They are printed on soft rag paper, and are in very good condition, despite being probably around a hundred years old.

You also get better prices of postcards if the vendor is specialized in photos and just happened to pick up some cards, and vica versa.

These are my human gargoyles. They are staring out at Paris just as intently as the stone ones. Except the dog, the poor thing has no head.

Feb 18, 2009

Trespassing in Altadena

...with the intrepid Hiker. There are these two properties on a tiny street, a couple blocks North of Mountainview Cemetery, and apparently just a block South of the old Kellog place.

The house that was closer to the street seemed to be seriously in disrepair, but look at the size of those trees! It must be like living in the woods. I'm in love. We didn't trespass here, but did across the street:

And found a curious house surrounded with junk and flowerpots.

Karin also showed me the colorful tile house (groovy) and the 50's style gutted house.

Feb 15, 2009

On the Farm

When I was growing up in the fine town of Budakeszi, at one point we had 3 chickens along the house. Then we got a rooster to keep them company. But the rooster didn't last long. He had the annoying habit of crowing at the crack of down. Who would have thought roosters would do such things? By the way the Hungarians word for crow is "kukorékol," which in my opinion is a far more descriptive word. Anyway the rooster ended up in the pot. His demise effected the hens in unexpected ways. One of them started crowing. Well, sorta attempted crowing, the melody was clearly and unmistakably recognizable, but it did not sound quite the same.

When I told this story to others, they sniggered and told me I was a city girl not knowing that hens didn't crow. Well this one did. I'm standing by my word. I'm also not such a city girl. As I mentioned before, my parents divorced, lived in different towns, I with my mother, but spent many vacations with my dad. He was a writer, novelist, but at the stroke of a peculiarly East European midlife crisis moved to the country, and got into a more farming life style. It was not a far jump for him since he was only one generation removed from the land anyway.

He bought a country school. The kind that has one classroom, the teacher's house and a couple of acres of land around it. It was sort of in the middle of nowhere, and kids once walked miles to get there ever day. It was not operated as a school any more, all the kids and their parents moved into the village, except for one old lady in the next farm.

My father started with chickens. At first they were not well enclosed, and the once weed covered yard was all dust and chicken poop. A couple of times we found chickens dead without apparent reason. We figured one thing - there were may little holes in the ground, entrances to the homes of a particular type of wasp. If a chicken was to eat one and it stung on the way down that would suffocate the chicken. That's the only possible explanation we could come up with.

I learned how to daze a chicken. It's quite simple. You pick up a chicken, tuck its head under its wing, and start swinging it gently back and forth. The best way to do it from the point of balance is with legs apart, leaned forward, arms straight down - and swing. After a few swings the chicken is dazed. You can put it down on the ground and will stay there without a move till you nudge it to bring it out of the daze.

I'm not particularly fond of chickens, they are very dumb, but thanks to my experience with them I became an egg snob. To me eggs need to be brown, and have deep orange yolks.

Then dad got a couple of pigs. Traditionally pigs are slaughtered in winter, most often in the weeks before Christmas. Killing porky is one of those true rustic family bonding experiences. It's a big job and the whole family gets together. After the pig is dead, every last bit of it, from snout to tail, get processed into food stuff. It is a whole day affair, and inevitably there is a generous amount of pálinka involved.

Sheep killing is similar, but is not tied to the season. A good lamb stew should have multiple cuts of meat in it, including offal.

Dad also experimented with his couple of acres of land. Fortunately tobacco didn't work out. Harvesting it was not fun. Picking potatoes was not much more enjoyable either. The corn worked out great, however. Especially when the state farm surrounding my dad's was also growing corn. For a small tip the man with the harvester would take care of my dad's crop as well. Heck, he would even leave some corn in the machine from harvesting the state owned corn first.

All the photos seen here are from my collection of found photos, none are personal photos.

Feb 13, 2009


When I saw this picture I first thought that all these people got sick at the same time. Maybe a wedding party's unfortunate encounter with bad shrimp cocktail. Then I realized that they were on a boat with glass bottom and were watching marine life. I wonder if they saw Willie the Blue Whale.

Feb 9, 2009

Don't Call Me, I'll Call You

I have a fully functional home phone again. I used to have the ringer turned off, no answering machine. And now I'm struck by the kindness of strangers, trying to help me out in my time of need. Sadly they have a hard time zeroing in on what that need may be.

First there was the nice young man offering to help renegotiate my mortgage. I was sad to inform him that I rent.
Then there was the other young man telling me "I see you have over $10,000 in credit card debt..." I had to tell him the his crystal ball was broken, I have no credit card debt.
A third one had "records" showing that I expressed interest in college classes. His records must have been at least a decade old.

What these young men need to pitch me is something that will motivate me to roll off the couch and fix dinner - never mind lunch. The combination of gloomy weather, the flu and watching CNN robbed me from the most basic instincts of self-preservation.

Feb 6, 2009

You Want Pork? I Give You Pork.

It's definitely not Disneyland, but I bet that the person in the pink suit is sweating like a pig.

Feb 5, 2009

Landscape With Bacon

Carl Warner likes to play with his food. Everything in his photos is made of food, even the sky. It's worth checking out his website. Unfortunately it's another one of those annoying and uncessary flash sites, but once you figure out the navigation it's not so bad. I especially like the underwater scene with cauliflower and carrots.