And then there were none


The best power trio in the history of the world, tresgatos, has lost the last one of their founding members.

Iggy passed on this morning after a long battle with renal failure.

Linda and I, her two biggest fans, are left with sorrow, photographs and memories.

Maybe the most distinguishing thing that I’ll remember about her was that she had the heart of a lioness.

She was a huntress.

She brought down more than a few birds in our backyard, she grappled with gophers and stared down a few raccoons more twice her size.

But for a lot of years, during the summers, she was a predator and terminator of lizards.

While her two feline companions were sunning themselves on the patio or snoozing the day away on the padded furniture, Iggy would lie in wait, for as long as it would take. Then, when the moment was right she would strike and go trotting across the lawn with the squirming reptile in her mouth.

She almost always brought her victims into the house, where she would release them into her lair — but not until she chewed their tails off.

Despite her penchant for violence against lizards she was, at her core, a sweet and beautiful soul.

Because of her diminutive stature she mostly deferred to the males in her life but was still a committed feminist and a staunch supporter of equal rights for women and the LBGTQ community.

She was well known as a liberal and philanthropist but few knew that she was an avid climber and the only kitty to summit K2 without oxygen.

She was also a champion Formula One driver, a master cellist and a contributor to the Human Genome Project completion.

She loved cheese, shrimp, poultry and anything with gravy and she made cute squeaky sounds when she chewed.

Rumor has it that a biopic has just been green-lighted and Amanda Plummer is attached to the film.

Iggy first arrived in Ventura in 1999 and immediatley adopted Linda Silvestri as her guardian. She liked to call herself Monique but Linda named her Ignatz after the mouse character in the American newspaper comic strip Krazy Kat by cartoonist George Herriman.

Initially Iggy had issues with, Joseph, the other kitty of the house at the time. She found him arrogant, selfish and miserly but eventually the two fell deeply in love and were inseparable until Joey’s passing in September 2011.

Since then she continued to soldier on with her older brother Spooky who left this world in February 2015.

Iggy lived 125 kitty years and crossed over while in Linda’s arms this morning.

We buried her next to her brother Spooky and her life-long companion Joey beneath the ash tree in our backyard in Santa Clarita, right in the middle of lizard breeding grounds.

Now the original tresgatos are reunited and are putting the band back together with Spooky on vocals, Joey on bass and Iggy on cello.

They’ll be touring the universe for the rest of eternity and while I’m not rushing it, when they finally come to town, you can bet Linda and I will be in the front row.

Farewell Sweet Prince

No one who knew him would argue that he wasn’t one of the sweetest creatures who ever graced this earth.

He was soft and furry. He had big, fluffy feet and long whiskers.

And he loved to sing in the shower.

He was adored by both Linda and I but Spooky and I shared a special bond, like nothing I’ve ever felt in my life and no doubt ever will again.

His full name was Marshmallow “Spooky” NoHo. He got his nickname because he was so shy. He didn’t like meeting new people, but if he got to know you, he would sit in your lap or wrap himself around your neck like a scarf and purr loudly. Then he might butt his head on your chin … or your elbow or your shoe and you just knew what he was saying to you, “Hold me.”

Not a night has gone by since I rescued him from the North Hollywood Animal Shelter in September, 1998, that he didn’t sleep in the bed between us and in his later years, under the covers. And unlike most kitties I’ve known, if you moved or rolled over or snored or kneed him during the night, he would just ride it out, wait till you settled down and go back to sleep. And he would stay there, in bed all morning long until I got up. Didn’t matter if I slept till noon. He was not leaving until I rolled out of bed.

Not a night had gone by that that sweet boy didn’t sleep in bed with us, until last night.

beautifulBoy-editSpooky, left the beautiful body he was given at birth yesterday afternoon and headed off into parts unknown. If he slept next to me last night, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t feel his paws on my side or the vibration of his purring. He didn’t drape himself across me this morning as he always did.

When he left, the hole that he left behind was bigger that I could have imagined and the sorrow we now suffer is nearly unbearable.

He was, by all accounts, an old kitty having essentially reached the age of 115 kitty years. But except for the last year or so, he didn’t act his age.

He was always quite vocal, especially when it came to food. He loved salmon, except when he didn’t. He loved tuna, except when he didn’t. He loved people food and cheese and would eat as much bbq chicken as you would give him.

He was of course, like his brother Joey who left us in 2011, a liberal. He was appalled to have to live through eight years of the Bush administration which was half of his life on this planet.

He was sickened by recent events perpetrated by humans and lately tried to ignore the middle east and Paris and Africa preferring to soak up sunshine on the patio sniffing the jasmin wafting through the air and occasionally, half-heartedly swatting at a bee or a fly.

He paid no attention to hummingbirds or lizards or other wildlife. He’d rather be asleep in your lap than running across the lawn or climbing a tree.

He was also, a creature of habit. In his youth he was a bit of a fetch kitty and would chase crushed up cigarette packs up and down the stairs placing them at your feet for hours. Cigarettes packs later became “mice” of all kinds. He love to fetch the plastic ring that seals a carton of milk and would leap into action the minute you said loudly, “Mouse!”

For years when I got home from work he would run to the bed and wait for me to sit down to take off my shoes, knowing petting would ensue. If he was on the desk where you were working and you placed a pencil (or anything) there, he would just calmly kick it to the ground, over and over and over.

In the last few years, he loved to get up on the sink in the master bedroom ostensibly to drink from the faucet once you turned it on but after quenching his thirst, he would just sit there, looking at himself in the mirror, probably contemplating how much older he looked now and asking himself, “Where’s the time go?”

Finally, in the past year, when his hearing was all but gone, he would get into the shower and sing at the top of his lungs just to hear his own voice reverberating off the tile walls.

He sang his favorites from his youth, everything from Creed to Britney Spears, but he mostly loved standards and would end his sessions with Funny Valentine and Body and Soul as an encore. Of course he first learned the Billie Holiday version but he loved to emulate the way Amy Winehouse sang it.

Spooky likely suffered a kitty heart attack while Linda was bringing him to see the doctor yesterday afternoon. I’m thankful he didn’t suffer very much or for very long in his last days.

But I’m also devastated.

I’m devastated that I’ll never hear his beautiful voice singing in the shower again. I’m devastated that he won’t be at my side waiting for me to wake up every morning.

I’m devastated that my face was not the last one he saw before leaving.

It was with excruciatingly heavy hearts that we buried him last night in one of his favorite places to lounge, under an oak tree in our backyard, right next to his brother Joseph.

Wherever it is that he went so suddenly, without a proper goodbye from me, I hope to meet up with him there someday.

Until then, farewell, sweet prince.

BTW: Watch this link of Spooky dancing from 2001, apologies to Fiona Apple.

Pick your cliché


Full circle. What goes around, comes around. Old habits die hard.

Posts in WordPress require a headline which becomes part of the url or permalink. So it’s best practice to write a headline that is SEO friendly, because you write this shit for other people to find and read.

So while “pick your cliché” may not be the most searchable phrase and in fact the word cliché has that special character, e-acute, in it which makes it even less searchy, it’s better than the head I probably would have chosen for this post which might have been something like “Full circle or how I went from small-time shooter to big-city journo … and back.”

In fact, while I’m on the topic, I should actually change the name of this blog to something like, “VisualKaos, meaningless blather from a SoCal-based vizjourno seemingly preoccupied with rambling run-on sentences that are used as rhetorical devices via the comma splice while musing about how fast time flies by and where the fuck his entire life and career went, through discrete blog entries displayed in reverse chronological order.

While that would more accurately describe this and many other posts found here it’s also, less than SEO friendly.

Which has little to nothing to do with this:

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Coachella by the Sea

Busy week in Ventura.

Four of the bands booked at Coachella motored up the coast to play gigs at the Majestic Ventura Theater. All four had great opening bands and I shot around 1,000 images per night.

Here are the edits in SlideShowPro.

Mustache and Member’s Only


I’ve said this before, possibly to the point of irritation but three decades go by pretty fast.

Two thousand thirteen marks 30 years since I stared in the journalism business.

mustacheThat would have been February, 1983.  The Soviet Union performed two underground nuclear tests, “Thriller” went number one and stayed there for 37 weeks, Wayne Gretzky set an NHL all-star record with 4 goals in 1 period,  there was an apocalyptic snowstorm on the eastern seaboard and I was spending evenings drinking margaritas at Charlie Brown’s in Ventura while wearing a black, Member’s Only jacket, acid-washed Jordache jeans and high-top, LA Gear sneakers.

Also, 27-year-old Steve Jobs appeared on the cover of Fortune along with a story about how he “gets his jollies” making great computers. At that point the Apple II was showing it’s age and the Lisa had yet to come out.

My first day as a news photographer was February 7. Ventura County was experiencing torrential rain storms and although I thought my first day on the job would be to tag along with the Oxnard Press Courier’s chief photographer David Crane, I was told to “go get some rain art.”

They may as well have asked me to surgically separate conjoined twins. Continue reading