Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Endorphines Prompt Lively Discussion

A good workout brings out the best in us. Some say it is the increased blood to the brain, others claim its the higher levels of endorphins. It's probably both.

I stopped to view the plume coming off a Wilmington oil refinery fire, seen in the distance, after my 45 minute vigorous walk on the Hill. Bryan, of Long Beach, did the same after running up the Hill's steepest street-- four times!

As we watched the plume grow, we started commenting on the parallels with the British Petroleum disaster currently playing out in the Gulf. I asked his opinion about how well President Obama is handling the disaster, and he gave me a nuanced response. "The situation is far too complex to pin blame," he said. He then went on to discuss the multiple agencies, jurisdictions and historic considerations involved, unwilling to join the large numbers of Americans who say Obama is not responding well.

"Complexity" kept cropping up, as Bryan ranged from problems confronted by developing nations; to his documentary video project in Guyana, (formerly British Guyana in South America) where he was born; to the challenges of living a life of principle, exemplified by the just deceased coach John Wooden.

Finally, we discussed the political complexities of preserving open public space, pointing to the Hilltop Park and the trails nearby.

Bryan, owner of an IT company in Long Beach found at, runs daily on the Hill. "I love those trails," he said.

We shook hands twice before we parted, and said we'd be seeing each other on line and on the Hill.

-- See slide show to the right for the entire Pleasant Encounters project

-- RCH

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