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Operations officer’s log, Stardate 96487.89. We have been tasked with updating the new memory core of the USS CLIR with metadata, presumably to better catalog the files from the CLIRWater optolythic data rod. So far, it has been proven to be extremely difficult to work with, unlike the standard isolinear ones. Needless to say this will be a tedious assignment, something even the Borg might find irritating. The wrap reactor has also been experiencing some new technical difficulty, our deuterium injectors are quite outdated and Starfleet Command has not responded to our request for a new M/ARA. With any luck, we will complete inputting all the metadata before experiencing any wrap core breach.

Driving to America’s Finest City…

For this Thanksgiving break, I plan to drive to San Diego. During my drive, I would be passing through the cities of Temecula, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore and the Canyon lake. These regions occurred quite frequently in the materials I had digitized the last couple of weeks. The weather conditions (rainfall and precipitation) in these regions played a major role in the negotiation of water prices as well as the supply of water to the people in these regions.
Most of the landowners in these regions negotiated prices on their own, which led to long discussions on finalizing common rates. There was frequent interaction between Willis S. Jones and the landowners through letters describing the weather conditions, negotiating water prices for a particular region, updates on the meetings that would take place between the landowners and so on. Driving through these regions would be really interesting and I am curious to stop by and see how the lands have changed now over the years and how the water supply has changed from the 1920s.

Visiting the White House

In September 1963, Irving Wallace visited the White House to conduct research for his novel The Man. He was shown around the grounds and offices by Pierre Salinger, JFK’s press secretary. Wallace’s notes from the trip make for fascinating reading. I’m particularly struck by the fact that the White House was not known as intimately by the public then as it is today. Whereas a contemporary researcher can access almost unlimited images, videos, and writings which promise to take us “inside” this most famous of American domestic spaces, Wallace appears to have been relatively ignorant about the building’s inner life prior to his visit.

A case in point: Wallace refers to what we now know simply as the Oval Office–familiar from endless presidential speeches and Saturday Night Live sketches–as “the President’s Office or Corner Office,” further noting that “the President’s room is round or almost round.” Albeit a small detail, this point underscores how our idea of the presidency is subject to the ebb and flow of potent symbols, images, and public memories. In our media-saturated conception of the presidency (which arguably began with JFK and the access his administration granted to photographers and writers), the inside of the White House has achieved a level of mass familiarity and symbolic currency that it did not have, say, in the 1860s.

Here’s one more nugget from Wallace’s White House notes, which I think is worth quoting in full. Enjoy!

I studied the President’s desk carefully…The President has a tall backed executive chair, swivel, black. A green matted writing board at right elbow. To his left on desk he has a green phone with 18 punch keys, then another phone tying him into the Signal board, a single phoned [sic], then to his right a black phone like any phone which Salinger called “the hot phone.” Wouldn’t tell me where it went to, except admitted domestic and said, “Oh, for your book say it ties straight into the Pentagon.”

Flying over the Inland Empire

This week I am visiting my family in Colorado for Thanksgiving break. My favorite thing to do on the flight home, is to look out the window and look at all of the mountain ranges, rivers, valleys, lakes, and plains. Flying from Ontario International Airport to Denver International Airport, you often fly over the San Bernardino National Forest or Angeles National Forest. Tomorrow on my flight back to Colorado, I’ll be looking for the rivers, dams, and roads that I have learned about from the San Antonio Water Company Oral History Collection. It’s very exciting to know so much about this area, but I can’t help but think of all of the local history, especially the water history, that I don’t know about Colorado.I hope I get a window seat tomorrow so I can see all that I have learned about from the CLIR CCEPS fellowship this semester, from above!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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This week I finished processing the vast majority of the photographs in the collection and begun processing the 35mm slides in the collection. Since I am simply taking 35mm slides out of their boxes and slide trays and placing them into protective plastic sleeves, the process was in fact quite therapeutic. 

The 35mm slides mostly recorded the travels and daily lives of the Yao family in the early and mid-1980s. They travelled rather extensively to China, Europe, Israel, and New Zealand. Among the 35mm slides, I came across a few taken on Yao family’s Thanksgiving party. 

Happy Thanksgiving and please enjoy the photos! 



Cutting the Turkey


Having a Food Baby


Strike a Pose

Delving deeper into the ‘meta’ world…

This week I got to learn about all the aspects of digitizing an item using content.dm, right from entering the metadata to uploading them into the ‘California Water Documents’ collection. Different types of archival materials required different formatting. While entering the data, I had to read through some of the archival materials in order to find out subject terms, locations, dates, creators and recipients. One of the items that was interesting was the letter from the Los Angeles Weather Bureau Department to Willis S. Jones. It had the weather reports of various regions such as the Riverside County, San Diego County and Lake Elsinore enclosed with it. The reports played a key role in the distribution of water supply to the mentioned regions. This in turn affected the negotiation of the prices associated with these particular regions.

Water Planning Inspires Creative Mapping

Irrigation planning led to the rapid expansion of the Boulder canal from Metropolitan Water District and government subsidized urban planners. Engineers developed plans utilizing more “creative” displays of data within the blueprints. 

In the Boulder Canyon planning images, this is exemplified by the map showing the water pathways planned from just south of St. George, Utah and tracked down to Yuma, Arizona and finishing in the Gulf of California. The location was not the main interest in the axes of this chart, but rather the elevation above sea level and the rate of flow captured by the project. What results is a diagram that emulates a meandering river but actually shows the flow of water based on elevation and rate, regardless of geographic location. The ingenuity of the Engineers utilized the decreasing elevations and the South-West orientation of the Colorado River to create this map doppelganger, which represented important data in an eye-pleasing manner.
NARA Series: Boulder Canyon Project Series, 1948-1966. Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826-2009. National Archives Identifier: 2292774

What can you buy for $1.00?

The value of one dollar has really changed since the 1970-s. In 1973, Mr. John Seymour spent $1.00 to pay for a year of subscription to the “FAD” magazine associated with the LDS  Church – Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). What is even more interesting is that a month later the magazine stopped circulating and the editor credited him with $0.70. This is financial particularity! Is there is anything today we could buy for 70 cents?



Photos by Yao

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For the past few weeks, I have almost finished processing the photos in the Yao Family Collection. The next step is to process the 35mm slides, placing them into plastic protection sheets. 

Even though most of the photos are in black and white, I could not help but to appreciate Norman Yao’s sympathy for his photographed subjects and his great artistic sensibilities, especially given that he took up photography as a hobby in college and had never received any formal training in art schools. One could notice his early passion for photography in his college graduation book, in which he described the most painful thing that happened to him during college had been that he lost a part of his photo collection in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Yao worked as a photographer for nearly two decades in Hong Kong for US Information Service and in Claremont for the Claremont Colleges. Here are some of my favorite photos by Yao, enjoy! 

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                                                   Pomona Theater Production

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Behind the Bleachers


Woman by the Window

Have a nice week! 


Magnitudine Rerum: Fermentum PDF/A Exitus

Once in a while, you may encounter problems when upgrading your standard PDF files to the more desirable and archivable PDF/A format such as a reduction of 75% in file size, typically on cold days and resulting in lower resolution. You should understand this particular issue is quite common and may not be your fault; after all, the Omnissiah moves in mysterious ways. Fortunately, the Adeptus Mechanicus (you may know us as IT) is here to provide you with the correct rituals to appease the corresponding Machine Spirit. First off, always have a backup in case the original file is corrupted during the conversion process and the Machine Spirit needs a new shelter. Purge the soulless file to the pit of Recycle Can at the top left corner of your Machine. Next, continue to duplicate the pristine file and repeat the conversion ritual until the Spirit shines with a blue aura. Remember to praise the Deus Mechanicus at the end for such blessing: Do not question the ritual; to break with the ritual is to break with faith. Hail the Omnissiah! He is the God in the Machine, the Source of All Knowledge.