Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dancing With the Fear

Normally I only print my own material, averse to even reprinting anyone else's photos, but this post from Seth Godin just had to be shared.

I've always thought Seth and I were kindred spirits in matters of marketing and business, but the great thing about Mr. Godin is the universality of his principles, which apply in all matters of life and love.

This is a short one, reprinted word-for-word and in its entirety from Seth's Blog:
"How do I get rid of the fear?" 
Alas, this is the wrong question. 
The only way to get rid of the fear is to stop doing things that might not work, to stop putting yourself out there, to stop doing work that matters. 
No, the right question is, "How do I dance with the fear?" 
Fear is not the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy.
I read once that successful Chief Marketing Officers of large corporations often change jobs often, because they're not afraid to make big moves that might not work, resulting in them sometimes getting fired, sometimes failing.

They are not risk-averse, while many of their peers and direct reports cower in fear, posing questions like "What if it doesn't work?" or "What if they don't like it?" or "What if they don't let us?"

Many businesspeople fly under the radar for years, never causing a fuss, never really doing anything remarkable, never really doing much of anything at all.

Those people may have job security, but they have no future. They clock-in, clock-out. Crop and drop.

They are obedient.

But, instead of saying "Yes, sir, may I have another?" to the uninspired, the erratic, the abusive, the unreasonable, the unsupportive, I say yes to myself.

I figure out how to do something, of my own invention.

It may work.

It may not.

I might discover something, find what I'm looking for, create something new.

Or I might not.

But I tried.

Photo Essay: Poppies Peaking in Antelope Valley

Every year since moving to LA, I've managed to visit the Antelope Valley during poppy season, and haven't seen much of anything.

I did see carpets of orange and purple in the distance last year at Tejon Ranch, and some other wildflowers up close, both there last year and at Saddleback Butte this year.

But we Californians have this thing about poppies.

Is it because it's our state flower? Or did it become our state flower because of it?

I'm new here, so I haven't figured that out yet, but I've been monitoring the bloom in the Antelope Valley, and jumped in the car this weekend once it seemed to be peaking.

Everybody goes to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, a state park in Lancaster which apparently has had an impressive display in years past, but this year, a more breathtaking explosion of color can be found alongside of many different nearby roads – including Lancaster Road (outside of the park), Avenue I, and by Lake Elizabeth.

Near the intersection of Munz Ranch Road and Elizabeth Lake Road...

...there were poppies galore, giant poppies the size of your palm.

And not just orange poppies:

...but also the lavender-colored lacy phacelia...

...yellow poppies...

...and sunflowers.

Plenty of people had parked their cars along the side of the road... order to climb up a sandy wash...

...that made for a makeshift trail...

...that led you out from orange into purple...

...where, higher up, the lupine dominated.

Places like this, you appreciate the purple...

...for making the orange stand out more.

Although we'd already seen the best poppy display we were going to see in the Antelope Valley...

...we still headed to the Reserve to walk the proper trails...

...and see a larger, but less concentrated, distribution of California poppies.

It's a lovely area of rolling hills and wide open spaces...

...rife with rattlesnakes...

...and exposed to high winds...

...from which the poppies shy and shrink away.

Are the poppies alone worth the drive? Maybe this year. But they're a good excuse anytime to take a little road trip to the Mojave, drive on the Musical Road, visit a winery, eat some local Mexican food, and gawk at the joshua trees and all of the other living things that the desert has to offer.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: An Explosion of Wildflowers in the Antelope Valley

Friday, April 18, 2014

Photo Essay: Rand Mining District Cemetery

I go to lots of cemeteries, but the ones that tend to interest me the most are those of the forgotten people – the pioneers who didn't make it all the way, the washed away, the war heroes – rather than, say, the prominent figures and celebrities buried in places like Hollywood Forever, Forest Lawn, and Pierce Brothers Westwood.

I couldn't believe that I'd missed out on the cemetery of the historic (and now gone) Rand Mining District, the gold mining community that gave rise to the present ghost town of Randsburg.

The cemetery itself is technically located in Johannesburg, the neighboring town where you can fill your tank and your tummy.

It's feeling a little neglected.

Sometimes it's hard to even identify the graves.

Nature, as it often does, is taking over.

Most of the headstones indicate the year of death in the 1950s, and few more recently...

...indicating the end of the gold production era, which was substantial through the 1930s and 1940s, even though the actual mining of gold on a large scale had ceased in 1918.

Silver was discovered in 1919 and mined until the 1930s.

The Rand Mining District – which was actually comprised of several towns and several different mining operations including Randsburg and Johannesburg as well as Red Mountain and Garlock – was first organized in 1895...

...during the first mining frenzy, when the first stake was claimed.

The cemetery was established a year later, in 1896, with the burial of William Davis, who was shot and killed in a gambling dispute.

In terms of the Old West, Randsburg was a boomtown, even though it was mostly a tent city at the time.

The district touted a total of nearly 30 mines.

The volcanic mountains in the El Paso range proved to be mineral-rich.

Now, the Rand District is known for dangerously high levels of arsenic...

...over 400,000 times higher than a healthy level.

Although considered mine "waste" (commonly found around abandoned mines), prospectors often considered natural high levels of arsenic in a particular area as a good sign for the presence of gold or silver deposits.

The levels have been allowed to become so hazardous – particularly when the wind kicks up – because of the area's remote location...

...despite the fact that it has become popular with dirt-bikers, who are particularly at risk from dust inhalation.

It's also gotten into the groundwater.

It's a shame to witness the neglect in an area that was once booming, having produced $25MM of gold in its 50 year history, according to 1920s pricing.

Now, this is the most densely populated area in the entire District.

Jo-burg can boast less than 200 living residents.

Randsburg has about 70.

There are actually more people buried in the cemetery than the visible markers indicate...

...the loss of the additional locations and headstones of the other pioneer lost due to the "ravages of time."

For those that currently remain...

...they are relatively unmaintained... to the elements...

... and infrequently visited.

Perhaps they've got no one left to visit them.

Perhaps those they left behind are too far away to make the trip.

But, occasionally, you do find a flower...

...or a flag...

...(even a tattered one)...

...placed lovingly upon a grave.

Many of the district residents didn't make it very long...

...causing an entire section of the cemetery to be devoted to those lost too soon...

Yet the most haunting part of the Rand District Cemetery... that there's clearly still room for more.

Lay me down on the hillside at Joburg
Where the desert winds sweep by
Where in row upon row of little brown tents
My former companions lie
With only the sand for a blanket
Instead of a flower strewn bed
My body shall rest from its labors
When my spirit has gone out to God
I tramped those hills in the sunshine
On the desert I'd live and die
Let me rest on the hillside at Joburg
Where the desert winds sweep by

Related Posts:
Change of Plans
Photo Essay: Argus Cemetery, Upon the Trona Centennial