Eight Years Ago Today

Gerry Pearce loved the water. He told stories of swim meets at Baghdad College in the mid-1940’s, and although he never tried to teach me to speak Arabic he did teach me to swim. Those early lessons were during the summer of 1962.

My dad and I spent untold hours together in various pools over the years, though he never had a pool at home. We went to West Hollywood Park, Hollywood High, Jen Loven’s pool, and whatever hotel pool was available during various Westercon or other science fiction conventions. During the 40 years we swam together, not once did he join me in the ocean – the Pacific was just too cold. Even during the many years I lived footsteps from Venice Beach, I couldn’t entice him to so much as get his feet wet.

This photo of my dad is from July 1963, taken by my mom at West Hollywood Park. He died the morning of April 27, 2003. I am lucky enough to have constant access to a swimming pool that he likely would have found warm enough. The flash of sunlight off moving water in an outdoor swimming pool reliably brings him to mind. At this point in my life, every time I go back and forth across the surface of the water it feels like a victory lap. See you in the pool!

Magnificent Dragonfly!

Magnificent Dragonfly

This spectacular creature showed up and posed for pictures. One of the earliest posts on this website featured another fantastic dragonfly.

I like to take and to publish these pictures for the sake of art, but this one has a little story behind it. These days, I am working hard on revising my bar exam essay writing video program. I really want to be finished. Today I worked all morning at my Ocean Beach office, and this afternoon my sister-in-law Eden, her husband Gil, and their young son Sam came for a delightful afternoon of socializing, swimming and eating. This beautiful dragonfly showed up a few minutes after Eden and her family had left. I was on my hands and knees on the floor of my home office, hooking up some equipment. Alexis and Elana called to me from the patio. How come nobody around here respects my work? Don’t I ever get to take care of my own business?

Fortunately for me, I have a wife and daughter who appreciate that you don’t get that many chances to snag a taste of natural beauty like this one. No doubt you’ll all be pleased to know that somehow I did manage to get my gadgets to cooperate, and that soon a needy public is going to get in on the latest secrets to writing passing essays on the bar exam (for a modest fee).

Happy Trails

2010_0620_scott_horseI’ve always wanted to ride a horse on the beach. Fortunately, my loving family made sure I got a chance to live my dream. The lesson: if you’ve got something you’ve always wanted to do, do it soon. I had a great time but it took me several days to recover from spending three hours on the back of a horse. If you want to go on the same trails and the same beach, check out this fine company.

Medical Hot Dog

Medical Hot DogIt’s important for us to take responsibility for our own health, especially as we get older. We also need to set a good example for the younger people in our midst.  I believe these things.

We went to Balboa Park to celebrate Mother’s Day last weekend. A group of Native American tribes were holding an outdoor gathering that was open to the public. It was fun and educational. We learned that in the days before the white man invaded, tranquil and peaceful indigenous people would sit together around the campfire, living in harmony with the natural environment and with one another, enjoying bacon wrapped hot dogs! It’s a good thing a few intrepid and courageous people were able to keep that tradition alive long enough to see it embraced by the masses.

Native American bacon wrapped hot dogs have special medical qualities – that’s one reason why it’s OK to eat them. That’s also how they justifiy the $35 price. Alexis thinks they use kosher hot dogs to wrap the bacon around, because irony tastes better. Exactly. Like I said, we have to take a little personal responsibility for our own health. Everybody knows kosher hot dogs are better for you.

The colorfully-dressed, feather-crowned guy who sold me this outdoor feast told me all about the history and about the powerful medicine in these hot dogs. He looked at me earnestly, like a brother might, as I held the two $20 bills.

“Do you know these medical hot dogs will take away gray hair?”

“How, by making it fall out?”

“No, by invigorating your body and making you young again. You’ll see.”

Seven Years Ago Today

1962_gerald_pearce_by_scott_pearceMy dad Gerry Pearce was 33 years old when I took this picture of him back in the summer of 1962. I was three. This was the first photograph I ever took.

I still remember holding the big, heavy black camera in my small hands and trying to keep it steady while at the same time pressing down the steel button hard enough to take the picture. My dad was sitting still on a reclining lawn chair on the concrete patio of our old-fashioned 1920’s garden court apartment complex, in part of town now known as West Hollywood.

At the moment I took this picture I was positive it would be a masterpiece. When the pictures were developed this was the one I was most interested in – after all, it would prove to the world what a hugely artistic and gifted little boy Gerry and Joan had on their hands.

Imagine my chagrin when I discovered I failed to, as we say in modern corporate lingo, “meet or exceed expectations.” To make matters even worse, I could tell that my dad was actively disappointed with my first effort at photography.

Today is the seventh anniversary of his death.

The Parents Are Black

Ocean Beach ParrotsOcean Beach has a colony of parrots, originally from northeast Mexico, who have decided to kick back and enjoy the Bohemian vibe and counterculture traditions of OB. I love these birds and how colorful and loud they are. When they finally showed up, I called Alexis on her cell phone. As a result of a bad connection and mutual senility, the conversation went something like this:

“Alex, the parrots are back!”

“What? Parents? Black?”

“The parrots are back!”

“The parents are black? Whose parents are black? Who cares?”

“No, not black, back.”

“Back? Whose parents?”

“Not parents, parrots. The parrots are back.”


It’s a good thing that my wife and I are so well educated. Who knows what our efforts at communication might look like otherwise? Anyhow, the cool birds have returned and here is some proof.

Gerry Pearce 1981

Gerry Pearce in Hollywood, July 1981

Today is the sixth anniversary of my dad’s death. My mom took this picture on Rutherford Drive in the Hollywood Hills back in the summer of ’81. I plan to publish many of my father’s photographs and movies soon, along with his book on the Middle-East. No doubt a grateful world will wonder what took me so long.

It’s Good to Have Nine Lives

9 Year Old Thrillseeker

This is a nice action shot from 41 years ago. You’ll notice that I am being photographed from above, with a cliff behind me and rocks about a hundred feet below.  Nobody said it wasn’t OK to climb up the sheer face of an ice-covered mountain until after I had done it! If it was so dangerous, how come I wasn’t more closely supervised? What do you expect a nine-year-old kid to do out there, memorize multiplication tables?

My mom took this picture immediately before she started yelling at me for taking so many dangerous risks. Startled by her outburst and frightened by her fury, I lost my grip and fell backwards to the rocks below.

Easy come, easy go. One big benefit of being raised by cats with psychic powers is that you get bonus lives out of the deal.

This would not be the last life I lost, tragically. Fortunately I’ve still got a few left.

Great Science Project Idea

Alexis and I went to the local elementary school to check out the science fair exhibits.  One kid wanted to figure out which of his two dogs was smarter. Another compared the number of un-popped kernels of popcorn from various brands. A lot of the exhibits were interesting.

Elana’s project compared the sugar content of Coke with that of fruit juice. “Why do you drink that stuff?” OK, I like a glass of Coke now and then. Just be glad I don’t mix in a bunch of whiskey.

Then it came to me – a great idea for a kid science project! “Alcohol absorption rates of the grownups in my family.” The budding young scientist could put all the adults in his or her family through series of tests of cognition and coordination, carefully noting their condition as they consume booze shot after booze shot. They could all take video game driving tests, too, and compare the results with the legal standards. Here’s an entrepreneurial tip: go for an endorsement deal. Don’t you think one of the alcohol companies would pay to get access to all the parents in the science fair exhibit hall, not to mention the next generation of customers?

This is one idea for a kid science project that you won’t have trouble getting the family to participate in and support!

For no extra charge, here’s today’s rainy sunset at the beach.

Rainy Sunset Beautiful Winter Colors