Thursday, November 30, 2006


I'm back in Kansas City and it's snowing something fierce. The highways are coated in about 6 inches of snow and they're talking about 18 inches of snow by morning. I'm guessing it only makes it to 8 or 10 inches of snow as the snow is slowing down a little but either way, it's cold, windy and slippery out. After a dinner with co-workers of Kansas City Barbeque, I'm feeling ridulously full (and wishing I didn't eat quite so much...). Hopefully, it will not still be haunting me tomorrow morning.
We managed to drive out to one of the shopping areas off of Stateline road to look at the lights. The stores were all closed already but admittedly, the lights reflecting off of the snow and the nearby river walk area were really beautiful. There were also stunning displays at some of the mansions along the roadside.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Funky Tatoos

People get the funkiest tatoos. Sometimes you wonder what motivated the owner to get them. Were they drunk? Was this supposed to be his girlfriend on his arm? If so, what happens if they break up? His girlfriend was there lying on the grass next to him and she "kinda" looked like the tatoo (sort of). Grin.
This is a closeup from Saturday's posting. The other thing that always amazes me is the details that pop out of pictures that you don't notice in real life. Things like markings on a bird, veins in a dragonfly's wings and tatoos...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Night Heron on a Rock

Sounds kind of Zen doesn't it?
Night Heron on a Rock.
Water lapping gently.
Breeze ruffles feathers.
Evening sunlight waning.
That heron didn't budge, even as I walked up to get a picture. That little bit of water between myself and the heron was enough to convince him that it was okay to pose without flinching.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The "Doggie Eye"

Shelties are generally not water dogs; however, this sheltie is being braver then most, entering the cold salty water up to his shins. However, he is definitely giving his master the "doggy eye" and perhaps thinking that cold salty water is no place for a sheltie. I had to laugh at this since it is the same look my dog gives me when she doesn't get treats in her dogfood.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Digging for Worms

Snapped this picture yesterday of a guy digging for sea worms in the mud. They use the worms for bait. I was amazed at how tame the birds are, eagerly hanging around for a stray worm or two that someone else labored to dig out.

Blue-eyed Kitty

Cats have the most piercing eyes. Siamese, with those striking blue eyes, seem almost haunting. This pampered cat was out relaxing in the sun on the top of a bordering block wall at my sister's place.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Bike Ride

It was a gloriously sunny day. My allergies have been kicking up for the last few days so it was nice to have a little reprieve from the sniffling, enough to get out in the Sun on the bicycle anyhow.
I snapped a fair number of bird shots and, with the setting sun reflecting off of the water, some of the shots were quite spectacular. I also found a slowly moving unknown heron to take a picture of. It's always a exciting to see a bird you've never seen before. This one looked like a heron, walked like a heron but was just too small and too darkly colored for your typical great blue heron. As is often the case, when you stare at the pictures for a while, you become aware of new details that you may not have noticed under the original conditions. While staring at the photo of the "mystery bird," I decided that it is likely a juvenile great blue heron (explaining the smaller size and lack of cascading feather plumage).

Photo-Foiled or Not?

I saw a little white butterfly at the beach the other day. I was trying to sneak in close to snap a picture or two without falling off of my rollerblades when the neighboring cat also sees the very same butterfly. The cat comes bounding over as I'm desparately trying to get my picture (before he eats the little thing). Needless to say, the cat got to the butterfly before I did and the butterfly was none too successful at flying off. Actually, it ended up a bit of a tattered mess. I, being the perpetually adaptive thing that I am, ended up taking pictures of the cat chasing the butterfly instead. Be glad you're not a butterfly. Be very glad.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was asked what the derivation of Thanksgiving was. Digging around the web there are references to varied celebrations for the fall harvest both pagan and religious. It occurred to me that, especially in ancient times, making it through another year's harvest and having enough food to survive the winter was a real feat and something that people did not take for granted.
Odd that the "day after Thanksgiving" should now be the biggest shopping day of the year and that Christmas decorations popped up in the neighbors' yards a few days ago complete with dancing deer and inflatable Santas. Overall, however, while Thanksgiving has become a very commercial holiday it still retains the tradition of taking time off from the daily work craziness that we now live in to spend quality time with family and friends. Hopefully, that is a tradition that will endure.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family, your friends and those that you love. May you have many warm and enduring memories.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Enjoying the Last Rays

Some people enjoying the last few rays of the setting sun at Mission beach. It was pretty warm out and good enough to dabble in the shallow water.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Crouching Tiger, Leaping Turkey

Remember the Karate Kid? The "Karate Kid" (Ralph?) had that funky one legged pose/kick; flying crane or something like that. Well, here's "jumping turkey". Have a nice Thanksgiving and stay safe!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hawaii From Space

Ever wonder what Hawaii looks like from Space? You can see the the East side of all of the islands is greener and wetter due to the prevailing easterly tradewinds that constantly bring moist water laden air up off the ocean to cooler mountain slopes where the moisture turns into rain.
You can also see how the islands get bigger as you go South due to the volcanic hot spot that slowly moves South, thereby creating the Hawaiian island chain (now creating Lo'ihi south of the Big Island of Hawaii.
While Maui (looks like of like a tadpole from the air) looks smaller, it was likely one of several surviving peaks including Molokai and Lanai that make for a significantly larger land mass. In order from North to South, you have Ni'ihau, Kaua'i, Oahu, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui, Kaho'olawe and Hawai'i.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mission Beach Sunsets

It was really hazy today. When we have high pollution days it normally means that there is going to be an awesome, color-stoked sunset.

As if on cue, there was a glorious sunset at Mission Beach. Brilliant shades of orange, red and yellows reflecting off the water. You can see two surfers trying to get in that one last wave although, overall, the ocean was pretty calm.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Steaming Hot Lava

Picture of hot lava rolling into the ocean in huge plumes of steam.
Meanwhile, the camera is out being repaired. Apparently, I was a teensy bit too rough on it. I'll have to get myself a real camera backpack with padding so I don't have to worry about putting the backpack down. Of course, I have a few more cameras so it's not total despiration. I managed to get out of the Camera store without buying anything but then everyone was very busy/occupied so I suppose there really wasn't any pressure.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Demons and Ghosts

I really like the way the lighting puts up shadows like ghosts as the man looks into his reflection in the bowl. Playing with multiple directed lights provides some very unique effects.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Baby Penguin

Found this happy little penguin at Seaworld. His mom was standing nearby to keep watch. Reminded me of the neighbor's kids that are always running up and down the cul de sac. Isn't it amazing how much energy youngsters have? Almost makes me wish I was a kid again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bee in a Prickly Pear Cactus

What would make a bee dive into a prickly pear cactus? Pollen and lots of it. This little bee is covered head to toe in pollen and nearly every prickly pear flower on the cactus was pollinated. The flowers only last a day or two so they really give their all to attract the bees during their brief moments of glory.
Ironically, it makes you wonder about the analogy of people diving into prickly jobs for extra pay just like bees dive into pollen. For all our intelligence, are we really all that much better than worker bees driven by that last bit of pollen?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sentier Des Ocres

This is the view from the roadside along the gorgeous cliffs at Sentier Des Ocres in Rousillon, France. The earth there is alive with earthy yellows, oranges and reds and the sandy soil stains your toes as if they were tie dyed! There is a quaint artist community there that sells all sorts of art supplies, glazes, figurines and pottery.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Endangered Hawaiian Silver Sword

Here's a picture of the endangered Hawaiian Silver Sword, a rare succulent found only in the Haleakala crater on the island of Maui. This one is actually in bud. The flowers, when they bloom, look like a garland of red daisies. The color is from fine hairs that cover the leaves to reflect the intense high altitude sunlight.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another Week

Gearing up for another week. Laundry is done. I've relaxed a little over the weekend. Cross your fingers and hope it goes okay. I meet with the new boss first thing tomorrow morning.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Osaka Castle Reflections

There is a huge moat around Osaka Castle. This picture shows some of the smaller surrounding buildings on the Osaka Castle grounds reflecting in the moat.
I had a little party tonight for some of the alums in San Diego. They were all very nice and pretty lively. I cooked up all sorts of food as well and I think a good time was had by all. I'm going to be eating leftovers for a while.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Japanese McDonalds

Yes, they have McDonalds even in Japan and they serve mostly the same food with a few local dishes for the burger averse. Most of the customers are Japanese as opposed to Westerners and they appear to be adapting to the fast (if not especially healthy) Western fare.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's the Meaning of Life?

At my coworkers funeral, there was a decent sized crowd but they were notably all from work. One of the bosses got up and said what a hard worker he was and how he never turned away work and traveled at the drop of a hat. Seeminly ironic things for a boss to say at someone's funeral who just died of a heart attack.

It does raise the question of legacy. What do we want to be remembered for and by whom? Do we want to leave a lasting impact in our community? Do we want to raise a family? Indulge in politics? Create revolutionary new technology? What can we look back on in our old age without regret? Is shipping hundreds of millions of semiconductors something to be proud of? Or do should we strive to be remembered for something more personal or even interpersonal? Is one good friend at your funeral better than a dozen co-workers? Curious minds want to know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sticky Mess

Hah, got your hopes up but it's just another really cool jellyfish picture that I snapped in Osaka.

Meanwhile, it was another crazy day at work. Execs yelling, re-orgs that seemingly don't make sense, all in the wake of yet another coworker passing away from a heart attack. What's a wayward Hawaiian to do? I'm open to suggestions...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gridlock is Not Always Bad

Looks like the Democrats are having a pretty good night, given the initial results. Neither party was being very forthcoming about the reasons behind the results. The Republicans would not admit that they were getting trounced in the national elections because they had strayed to far from the middle. The Democrats were a little more candid about why California still has a Republican governor who, ironically, has recast himself as a moderate "Repubocrat" and is suddenly very chummy with the Democratic state legislature. It seems, in my humble opinion anyhow, that either party, if left completely in charge of the henhouse/bank eventually becomes extreme in their policies and alienates the majority of the voting public. Perhaps, we are best off with gridlock with neither party in full control since gaining consensus requires compromise which drives legislation back towards the middle. Either way, a lot of people will be relieved in gaining a little balance in the Federal government.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy Holidays

A little spillover Halloween cheer just to get you warmed up for Thanksgiving. Can't imagine what Santa will be like!

Of course, tomorrow is election day, isn't it? I'd best get to reading that ballot so I don't end up sitting in that voting booth too long tomorrow. Busy day ahead of me.

Stay warm. Stay safe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bridge Over Water

This is a picture of a bridge in Osaka shot from the cab of a taxi with the windows rolled down. It's really quite dramatic in a single tower suspension sort of way (as opposed to the golden gate with two major towers). The setting sun lit it up so that it shines against the background (kind of like using a really really big flash to do foreground lighting).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Afloat in a River of Emotions

The Funeral is done. The church was magnificent. Lots of coworkers were there as well. The speeches were mostly very inspiring. Perhaps, my only regret is in not having gotten to know him better. Odd that you should learn that a person is so much deeper than what you knew at work by the testimonies of his family at his funeral.

I was getting a little teary at the end of it. You can try to keep it all in but somehow it always creeps out somewhere. I dodged the reception afterwards. The only thing more embarrasing than sniffling in public is sniffling among co-workers. I left a CD with some old pictures of happier times in the card. I've never seen him smile quite so much as those days so I figured I'd share those moments with his family. A parting gift from a wayward photographer.

I had a beer and a chicken salad for lunch. I feel better now. A little wattery eyed but no more sniffling. I could use a hug but hey, I'm the one that's still alive and kicking. That's something worth being grateful for all by itself. The food helped too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Funeral Tomorrow

I had a bad day at work, capping off a really rotten week. It all started with the passing of one of my coworkers. Everyone is down and in a bit of a foul mood. Without going into details on the histrionics at work and why my day was generally miserable, I'll note that I need to write something inspirational in the card for tomorrow but I'm really feeling a bit empty at the moment. I suppose I could just sign it. I sent a nice donation to the American Heart Association at the family's request. Still, there's no sense of closure. Ironically, as my co-worker was from a Catholic family, I'm thinking that something from the Bible might be comforting and I conveniently have 3 or 4 versions of the Bible. Do you suppose that it is hypocritical to put in a bible passage to console a religious family even if you haven't been to church in a really long time? Oh why not...

...okay, it's done. I chose Psalm 23:4, "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for thou art with me...and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."

Farewell old friend...

The photo is of a large, engraved monolithic rock that stands outside Osaka Castle in Japan.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Asian Fro

There's that Fro. For Asians, that's some seriously big hair.


Japan is a very crowded place. Lots of people and lots of cars all cramped into tight spaces. To deal with that, they have some of the tiniest little cars that are high but very short so they can squeek into little parking spaces. They also have these tiny little construction machines that look like a cross between a crane and a trencher. It's so tiny I'm not sure what keeps it from toppling over when it digs into the ground. The driver was apparently taking a break. Also kind of fun but hard to see in the reduced picture is the mini-fro (aka big hair). Most Asians have fairly flat hair but this guy had a little fro going which was photo-worthy by itself.

On another note, the halls at work were notably empty at 6pm tonight. While that may not seem odd in many work places, a lot of us typically work late. However, having our co-worker pass away of a heart attack, the third in 5 years and the second in 2 years, has apparently gotten the work force thinking about family, exercise and anything but working late.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Boat to Nowhere

Do you ever feel like you work and work and work and never seem to get ahead? Kind of like a boat to nowhere? Or perhaps it's just a matter of discipline and determination.

This guy was sitting on the sand waiting for the waves to come in. Each time a wave came in he would wiggle around getting a little closer to the water. He did finally get into the surf but it certainly looked like a lot of work. I'm guessing he just didn't want to get his feet wet starting up further in the water. Either way, it was pretty funny to watch.

For all you Scorpios out there, and you know who you are, have a very happy, deliberately fun filled birthday.