Not so lost in a summer daze

by John Pixley

Random thoughts coming in during a cool breeze on a summer evening in Claremont:

• Should I feel guilty enjoying the sound of a water fountain? After all, we’re in the midst of a severe drought, and some towns up  north are rationing water.

• Is a Kindle the new cheap paperback?

• Cheap paperback. There may well be a day soon when people won’t know what a paperback is. Cheap or not.

• Then again, the COURIER is beating the odds when it comes to the printed page .

• The Colleges really aren’t so dead now. In the past month, I’ve run into many groups of people, including one lugging cellos.

• Speaking of fountains, the plaza in the Village – what used to be called Village West when it was new not many years ago and is now, arguably, just part of the Village—has gotten to be quite the hot spot. Pretty much whenever I go by, there’s a crowd or at least a fair number of people. Most remarkably, there is more often than not, a group playing music (not a named group, like on Friday evenings, but just friends getting together and jamming).

• But isn’t the fountain there an accident waiting to happen? Sure, it’s fun for children to play on during a warm day or evening, but it’s also oh-so easy to slip on those wet step formations. Recently , I saw an unsupervised little boy almost fall.

• And what was that mother doing taking pictures of her children playing on another part of the fountain? Shouldn’t she have been warning them instead of egging them on?

• I’m all for adventures and trying new things, and all the more so in the summer, but there’s something to be said for safety first.

• At least she wasn’t taking a selfie. That whole thing needs to be done.

• For a while last month, soccer was the new baseball, partly probably thanks to Time Warner Cable.

• But which is more of a poetic delight to hear on a warm summer evening—Vin Scully or that man who yells GOOOOOOOOOAL?

• Camping in the backyard sounds fun. Until I remember that the automatic sprinklers come on at 5 a.m.

• At least I remembered.

• It’s a real drag that my house heats up in the evening. Just like an oven. Even when the day wasn’t that hot, and even when I close the house up during the day and open it up at dinner time.

• I think this is the worst thing about summer. The hot nights.

• It’s amazing how much a few degrees matter. Ninety-eight degrees is so much cooler than 101 degrees. One hundred degrees is where I draw the line and close up the house.

• I’m surprised that I enjoy sitting outdoors when it’s 95 degrees. Just give me a nice tree to sit under and I’m happy.

• But all bets off when that humidity kicks in.

• I love it that there’s live outdoor music in the Village, but I rather sit in a park to listen to music. It’s cooler, and I don’t feel like I’m blocking the way.

• The concerts in Memorial Park on Monday evenings are nice, but for a special little getaway, try out the Levitt Pavillion in Pasadena’s Memorial Park, with free concerts by a variety of groups five nights a week through most of August. Plus the lights in the trees are extra lovely.

• The Levitt on the Lawn concerts at Scripps College are also extra lovely. How about having more than just three a year?

• Sublime does a cool riff on the Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. Check it out on YouTube—or it will no doubt be on KROQ in the next few hours.

• Yes, Bob Marley put reggae music on the map but, for my money, Peter Tosh is that much more soulful and intense.

• I’ve decided that I should have an apartment in Santa Monica—where I can crash when I go to the beach or for those weeks when it gets too hot here or when I don’t feel like making the trek back to Claremont late on a Saturday night after seing a play .

• Or wouldn’t it be nice if Claremont was between Santa Monica and Venice? I think it would fit right in.

• Those who use a wheelchair can ask for a beach wheelchair at Topanga Canyon Beach and probably at other beaches. I recently did this when I forgot to take my manual chair, and it was great—like a lawn chair with big rubber buggy wheels and way easier to push on the sand. It was one of those times when I when happy I forgot something.

• That day, I also discovered a great vegan café in Echo Park called the Sage Bistro, where I had a killer Jamaican jerk burger made with tempeh and with a side of fried plantains. The buffalo cauliflower wings were also tasty.

• From there, I went to the opening for Raul Pizarro’s show at the Claremont Forum. I have written here before about this disabled artist’s wonderful, dreamy, remarkably glowing work.

• Summer is all about such days of wandering and discovering.

• How long will it be before everyone on the beach will be reading Kindles, iPads and iPhones? They’re certainly easier to deal when it gets breezy.

• I always felt that American Apparel was a bad fit in the Village, and now, with the recent tussle between Dov Charney and its board, I feel more “eewwww” than ever when I go by. I still say Urban Outfitters would be better— if we have to have a chain there.

• Is the Fourth of July the new Christmas? It certainly snuck up on me this year. And don’t look now, but Christmas will be here before we know it.



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