25 October 2007

The office is open and the surreal continues

I was a bit less news obsessed yesterday. It was Eileen's birthday and I decided that even though I didn't get a gift there on time, I could get something in the mail to mark the day.

I'd picked up some coppery coloured Murano glass during one of my bead store excesses.

The plan was earrings for Eileen and the girls -- not exactly alike but related and in a nice neutral. I got these great copper head pins at Lost Cities -- the centre one is really long with a more brassy coloured ball at the bottom. The flanking head pins have a little upside down pyramid of copper balls.

I dithered a bit about whether or not to use the copper ear wires in case of allergies but the overall look is better and I can always swap the wires out if there's a problem.

So I did a little wire bending and earring construction before making another post office run before taking the knitting on a walk through damn near deserted Balboa Park.

The art museum has an exhibition that includes these computer animated figures by Julian Opie.

When I got home, I checked my email and was surprised to discover that the office was reopening today. I fired off an email to some people and phoned other to spread the work.

Since the office is just above the Westwood area, I really didn't know what to expect. Kali did not make the get out the door any easier -- she's been stranger than usual through all this.

Unlike the Cedar fire where you could see burned areas as far South as the Northern wall of the Cubic building from the 163 and much of Miramar looked lunar, there was almost nothing to show that there had been any fires or that fires were still burning for most of the commute.

It wasn't until I was coming up on Exit 18 on the 15 Northbound that the smoke in the distance gave some clue of the fires. I took my usual exit and other than the strong scent of smoke there was very little evidence of the fires that had ripped through the area.

The Sony-ites were not back on site but it was on the drive down Via Del Campo that some signs of the winds and fire appeared mostly in the downed branches.

When I got out of the truck, it was like stepping into an ashtray and the view from the walking track down into Westwood still didn't send up any huge shivers beyond the haze.

As several people pointed out, what I wasn't seeing probably told more about the devastation than what I could see.

Although they had replaced the filters and cranked the HVAC up to clear the building the smell was still pretty nasty inside the building. The television in the lobby was airing George W's arrival at Miramar. I didn't stop to watch.

As I passed Miramar, I saw the news trucks setting up their trucks to cover the imminent arrival of George W.

They still hadn't let the residents back into the area when I took these shots. I heard later that they waited until after the photo op.

It was strange to be back in the office at all and there was a lot more water cooler chatter than productive work for most people. Plenty of people chose the work at home option waiting for better air quality and some people were still evacuated.

I'd have to say that the biggest and saddest evidence of the fire that I saw was animal behaviour. While catching a cup of coffee in the afternoon, a co-worker and I saw a road runner (a rare sight in RB) and it was frenzied trying to get into the building.

I managed to stay in the building longer than I thought and perhaps longer than I should have.



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