Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica PierSanta Monica: it’s something you hear about in movies (a number of movies have been shot there over the years). As a kid growing up in decidedly unglamorous South Africa, it was just as mystical and unattainable as Never-Never land. Yet, here I was, in down-town LA, winding my way through traffic on the right-hand side of the road, intent on soon arriving at this fabled place. We’d just been on a ride through Beverly Hills and Hollywood Boulevard and were about to make a stop at the place we were looking forward to the most. Santa Monica is famous for a few things: the beautiful beach, the pier sporting a large Ferris wheel and the beautiful Californian sunsets on the pier.

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Firstly, I should mention that this post involves some boring, geeky mathematics. Geometry to be precise. In da Vinci’s day, Euclidean geometry was the pinnacle of intellectual pursuit and you will find a great many interesting geometric shapes coded into his artwork. Shapes that now have conspiracy theorists practically frothing in delight.

For most of the drawing in this post I will be using something called “Scalable Vector Graphics” (SVG). You will only be able to see the cool animated images here if your browser supports SVG or you have the Adobe SVG plugin. Firefox supports SVG natively.

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Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock CanyonShortly after visiting the Grand Canyon we took another long tour out into the Nevada countryside. This time, we were headed just a little West of Vegas to a place called “Red Rock Canyon”. As the name suggests, Red Rock is known for its colourful rock formations. The image on the right was taken by Sarah and it has to be one of my favourites. It’s not just because it shows my best side, either. I love how the red, green, yellow, brown, blue and white all draw your eye out to the vast expanse of countryside. This place was just as formidably beautiful, if not as breathtaking as the Grand Canyon.

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We’re all a little bit crazy

Crazy pavingIt’s a common platitude used by health professionals, but as often is the case with platitudes, it’s true. In particular, we could probably all be diagnosed with a couple very mild forms of “personality disorder” at any given time. Why? Well, we all have a personality, don’t we? A disorder only relates to the degree these traits affect our lives.You see, we all have coping mechanisms we use to get by in the world, little techniques that have served us well in the past, things that we are good at, things that work. This is normal and these behaviours form a part of our personality (outgoing, shy, aggressive, passive etc). It’s only when these behaviours get in the way of our daily functioning that they are classed as a “disorder”.

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Need for speed

89 mphIt may come as something of a surprise to some of you, but I have only been driving for around a year now. This time last year I was, rather embarrassingly, frantically working on getting my drivers license so that I would be mobile when I came out here to Texas. It makes sense that since most of my driving time has been spent here in the US that I have started driving like a Texan. The long straight roads and flat expansive spaces lend themselves to high speed. So, it’s not uncommon for people to be doing 10 miles per hour over the speed limit: 80 in a 70 zone, 70 in a 60 zone etc. This is the story about the time I got caught…

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