I made the mistake of reading the side of a milk carton this morning, and it annoyed me enough that I picked up the phone. Is there any connection between a stock image of a young seedling in a model's palm, and the milk my child drinks? I called Horizon Organic today and told them I thought it was less than honest to state "choosing organic leaves the world just a little better than how we found it." If they were indeed leaving the world a little better than they found it, you'd think they'd allow customers to visit their facilities. When I asked if I could see where the milk we buy comes from their helpful customer service associate replied, firmly, no.



I have a Fuji Instax 200 on loan and am savoring the joys of instant, undigital photography. This installation—HappyHappy by Choi Jeong-Hwa—of plastic toys and containers from a $.99 store is currently at the BCAM plaza, between LACMA and BCAM.



I lost this knife about 20 years ago; found it recently. I have more useful knives, but this one's prettiest, hands down. I thought I'd photograph it before it goes missing for another 20 years.


Compost Lesson #7

The optimal temperature of a backyard compost pile is between 135 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don't bother buying a thermometer. Decomposition only goes in one direction. Let it.


Julius Shulman: 1910–2009

No picture with this post, in honor of Mr. Shulman whom, we thought, would never die. I like to think a lot of significant Southern California structures exist, in a way, only because Julius Shulman's photos gave them life. Whether one visited any of the buildings Shulman immortalized on film or not, the vision he put forth was much greater than what any of us would come away with visiting the same scene.

I've stared at his images, long and hard, trying to absorb just a touch of his way of seeing.

This past year I had the good fortune to hear him speak at UCLA. He didn't answer a single question put to him, though he did speak at length. No one held it against him.


Compost Lesson #6

Smith & Hawken is going out of business, after 30 years. You might still be able to find one of these bins in an S&H store, but they're no longer taking online orders. I've had this one for about 10 years; it's not pretty but it does what it needs to: enclose compost, let it breathe, keep it hot. If you can find one on sale, it's a worthwhile buy.


Compost Lesson #4

"With us the wastes that escape use typically become pollutants. This kind of use turns an asset into a liability."
—Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America