This was the image I woke up to. A foreboding wall of dark clouds quickly approaching. Looks like another day of constant downpour.
It has been very rainy for the last week in Los Angeles. More rain than usual. What makes rainfall especially dangerous in Los Angeles is the combination of two factors. First, we don't get a lot of rain. Secondly, we do a lot of driving. Mass transit is there, but it's like a stopsign at 2 in the morning. Nobody seems to regard it too much. In Los Angeles, we drive ourselves everywhere. Therefore, the roads acquire oil from our vehicles in the cracks, nooks, and crannies of the pavement. And since we don't get a lot of rain to wash it away, it accumulates.
But when it does rain, this overabundance of oil seeps up through the cracks, making the roads multiples more dangerous. With the first rains last week, the number of car accidents has increased exponentially. This is attributed to many factors on top of the rain, like tourists. Los Angeles (being fairly warm during December, contrary to other places like Nebraska, where they're also having an unseasonably warm heat wave at ten below freezing), is a hot spot at this time of the year. The water is still warm because of the Pacific currents bringing warmer temperatures from Mexico. You can go down to the beach between the rainy days, and see several people with their relatives from Michigan, letting their children play in the water. Drop a kid in one of the Great Lakes right now, and you'll face a felony child-abuse suit.
This morning, though, told of a very powerful storm incoming. The worst was already over; the roads have been slick long enough for the oil to be swept away, and the tourists have for the most part moved out. So I wasn't too worried about its approach. It just looked like another day to get a blanket, make some popcorn, rent some movies, or whatever. "Poptart weather" is what I call it. These are the days where you find yourself really in the mood for a Poptart, but ironically, these days always happen right after you run out of the pastries.
Kettle Korn had to suffice.
As the afternoon progressed, I did my usual thing of going to the local arcade and making them richer from their DDR scam. Every DDR machine is a scam, because they like to make you think you're getting all "Perfect"s, and when the machine realizes this, it decides to throw a spontaneous "Great" four notes from the end of the song. Not only does it piss the player off, but makes him assume an "I'll get you next time, you song, you." If you want to see what it looks like when somebody declares war on music, either watch the VH1 Special on Tipper Gore, or watch me get a score like this:
Yet that afternoon, I saw the clouds had been breaking up. I wanted to go to my friend's house between the rain, but he has contracted the terminal illness known as World of Warcraft. Symptoms include: Staying up until 10 am, sleeping until 6 pm, and justifying every hour of it with bringing insurmountable inconvenience to each weakling fancy-pants Night Elf fruitcake on the server. So I had a few hours, and decided to capture some images.
I started out by going to a stretch of land that cuts right through a residential district of North Redondo Beach. Gigantic powerlines soar overhead, and a petrolium pipeline runs underneath. The area is overgrown with grass, and complely unsuitable for housing. It makes for a good spot to walk the dog, though.
I then swung by Redondo Beach Pier, but it was during a very heavy deluge that had suddenly started. A stranger next to me asked me if my camera was waterproof, and thus I realized that taking cover would have to take precedence over anything else. I had gotten a few pictures of the King Harbor Yacht Club's Youth Foundation Race Team practicing in the basin, but I saw them quickly retreating back to the docks as I was ducking into a covered parking lot for the time being.
And there I sat for thirty minutes. Just waiting for the rain to stop. I eventually got back into the car, drove a few blocks, thinking that the day was over when the rain let up. Murphy's Law. You might remember a comic of Calvin and Hobbes, where they go camping. They show up, it rains. For three days, it's just rain, rain, rain. They then give up, pack up the car, and when closing the trunk, the sky completely opens up. That moment right there in the comic was what I was feeling. So I improvised, and found a parking lot by the beach, even though I had no spare change for a meter.
Come on. It was raining for five hours. Getting a parking ticket at this point would only make for a good story to tell at the bar. I would like to meet and shake hands with the calloused meter maid who works in those conditions.
Though the sun never broke through the clouds, I did see several sheets of rain against the glowing horizon. The gaps in the clouds were various oranges and yellows, though myself, I was surrounded by cold blues and greys. It made for an interesting complementary scheme, and since I was out to get photos, I got photos. The wind was blowing, the beach was desolate, the heavens were raging, and when the sun dipped below the horizon, so did the mercury. My fingers are still slightly numb from the second shoot.