Wednesday, October 8, 2003 7:30 PM
part 9

Ling-Li and I went to the Joshua Tree National Park. Perhaps not surprisingly, it's full of Joshua trees. According to the text that I read to find out what a Joshua tree is, a Joshua tree is a member of the yucca family. It relies on a single insect (the Yucca moth) to spread the seeds so that the tree can replicate (and the moth itself relies on the tree to supply the only food that the moth's larvae will eat, so that the moth can replicate - an interesting symbiotic relationship). I found it hard to avoid anthropomorphising the trees, the cacti, and the rocks. It seems that I'm not the only one, since the story of how the Joshua tree was named involves Mormons deciding that the trees mimicked the Old Testament prophet Joshua pointing the direction to the promised land. I saw trees that looked like people bowing or running, rocks that looked like faces, etc. The wonders of nature.

There's a cactus garden in the Park which has a sign that says "interpretive trail". While I suppose that its intended meaning is "choose your own way through", I intentionally interpreted it as "find the secret meaning in the numbered posts that exist throughout the area". I didn't find it, but it was fun to try anyway. This leads me to a collection of misleading signs that I've seen recently...

A restaurant had a sign that advertised a "Full bar", but it was empty. It's obviously not like "No vacancy".

A sign in a shop says "We carry hard-to-find light bulbs". How do they know?

A sign in this building says "QA compatibility". Does your QA like my QA?

A sign in a shop says "Pick up cart here". Hmmm, "How you doing?". :-) It hasn't worked so far.

A sign in a shop window says "Park in rear", but there wasn't one.

A sign in the road says "Left lane ends merge right". How does it do that?

A sign in this building says "Fire assembly point". Take fuel and oxygen, apply heat until combustion occurs...

A sign in my apartment building says "Low head room". Not so high-brow.

A sign in a hotel driveway says "Slow children". That seems a bit unkind.

A sign on the pier says "Road closed to thru traffic". Apart from that horrible spelling, through to where?

A sign on a door said "Wet paint". It's all about context - is it a verb or an adjective?

I've decided that I'm a cat person. While I've liked dogs in the past, I've decided to defect. I don't know which came first - that many of the dogs here try to attack me as I walk past, so now I prefer cats; or that I prefer cats, so many of the dogs here try to attack me as I walk past. At least Yun Yun's cat likes me.

The 4th of July is a big deal in the USA. It was a normal day for me, I went to work, and wondered why no-one else arrived. The same thing happened to me in Iceland on Catholic holidays. The people in Los Angeles (at least) celebrate the day with a show of fireworks, which began at exactly 9pm. There were so many fireworks and they were so loud that it sounded like rolling thunder. They stopped at exactly 10pm.

Do we speak the same language?
- "What is it?"
- "81 cents"
- "No, what Is it?"
- "You want one?"
- "No, I want to know what it is"
- "It's 81 cents"

So Yun Yun left the area. She used to say that since she's lived in Los Angeles for years, she has seen it all. I say that if she's been "living" in her car during that time then she hasn't seen anything. Did she see sign that says "I cheat you right"? Did she see the tree with branches so large that its owners have installed supports for them? Or the tree that has grown around a fence post, so that the post is now part of the trunk? I don't know, I never thought to ask.

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