Wednesday, February 28, 2007

San Francisco Bay

I'm up in San Francisco for the night. I have a presentation at a convention tomorrow. No sweat. It'll be fun. Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying the view of the bay from my hotel bedroom. I'll post a picture or two when I get back but here's the Golden Gate Bridge for now.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Saw this duck doing a deep stretch at the Wild Animal Park the other day. They spend a lot of time on their feet, perhaps most of the day, so a good stretch is obviously welcome. It reminded me of some of those yoga poses with one leg and an arm pointed off in some unnatural direction (owww).

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Heron

Birds like handouts. Herons are no exception. This Heron was camped out strategically by one of the many cafes at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, apparently looking for handouts. I had no idea they ate anything but fish but this plump Heron was proof that they are (a) not shy when there's food involved; and (b) likely are eating something besides fresh fish (since fresh fish is not for sale at the cafeteria). In any case, the Heron (we'll call him Bob just for chuckles) was friendly enough to let me pose by him without giving me a nasty peck or two so here we are in all of our glory!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

On Apes and Tools

We like to think humans are pretty special and that we're different from all of the other animals. We've come up with all sorts of reasons. Humans can recognize themselves. Humans can use tools. Humans can do abstract thought. Ironically, one by one, we are discovering animals doing each of the things that we thought unique to mankind. This young gorilla was throwing branches into the tree to knock off leaves which he would then eat, once they fell to the ground. His brother, nearby, grabbed a big, solid turd and tossed it a good 15 feet. Luckily, he was not apparently aiming for the audience which, as thickly crowded as it was, would have been an easy target. Of course, if he did, perhaps it would have proved a point about being locked in an enclosure and put on display.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Early Spring Flowers

It was a particularly cold January and the banana trees and citrus just about went to the big compost heap in the sky. I spent the morning cutting down dead, brown banana leaves. Notably not too brown to get me covered in banana sap from head to toe (bleah). The yard almost looks respectable again.

Even better still, the flowers are blooming in fierce profusion. Peaches, Aloe, Penstemon, Kangaroo Paw and many more. The parks are awash in color (and the front yard's doing pretty decent too, complete with daffodils and Aloe). I snapped a picture one of the double blooming peaches in the park this morning. They were putting on a gorgeous show.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Taro in Old Hawaii

My family used to own a Taro farm back in the old days. Grandma used a triton shell to call the workers in for lunch. The Taro grew in flooded fields similar to the one shown here just outside of Hana, Maui. For kids, there were also swordtails and loaches in there that we could catch with little scoop nets. Perhaps it's a kinder, gentler lifestyle than the competitive urban environment that so many kids grow up in today.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Egret City

It's random picture night! Hmm... Here's a picture of a tree full of Egrets in Hilo, Hawaii. They were conveniently living right next to the fish farm. Coincidence? I think not. Egrets are generally not known to pass up on a free fish dinner or lunch for that matter. These looked well fed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just One Little Sardine

Ever feel like just one little sardine in a big school? I'm coming down with a cold. It seems to be going around and it's got me feeling a little down. I'm thinking a good nights' sleep will do wonders. As for swimming in a school of fish, actually it's quite a rush to be surrounded by a huge school of fish! I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Pictures From Maui

I snapped this shot of a Gulf Fritillary along the trail to the source of the Seven Sacred Pools out past Hana, Maui. The trail was really beautiful although the water level was a little low since they had just gotten through a dry spell. The weather compensated by drenching us silly up at the falls and along the way back to the car. Luckily, that Hawaiian rain is wonderfully warm, refreshing stuff although the camera was probably none too appreciative (stayed in the backpack on the way back).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weather Fit for a Frog

It has been raining all day long. My tree frog, out front, was singing happily. Perhaps it was washing the car that did it? Whatever the case, I want it to stop. No more rain. No more rain. No more rain. Heheheh. Third times a charm, right? As long as it stops before tomorrow morning's rush hour, I'll be happy.

The poisoin dart frog was in the "dangerous and deadly" exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Apparently, Amazon natives used the poison from the frog's skin to tip their darts for hunting small prey. This particular frog was in an aquarium on display and probably received all the crickets he could eat. Not a bad life for a frog!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

An Old Creaky Dog

The dog's getting old on me. She has a hard time with steps, especially in the morning when her joints are a little creaky. This morning her legs slipped out from under her while she was going up the steps. I tried to catch her to keep her from sliding down the steps and, in the process sent dog food flying everywhere. I did manage to catch the dog, however. As I cleaned up the dog food (luckily it's the dry stuff), she comes back and looks at me with one of those, "hey, what's taking you so long" kind of looks. I had to laugh at that. I gotta give that dog credit; there was no whining and she didn't slow down a bit. In fact, she was out sniffing in the grass for squirrels as soon as I opened the door. I suppose we could learn something from dogs, creaky or not.

Aquarium of the Pacific Photo Safari

We went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach today. It's about a two hour drive North of San Diego. The aquarium is fairly large, as aquariums go, and there were all sorts of fun things to see including seals, otters, sea lions and gazillions (aka, a lot) of different types of fish. I've included a snap shot of a large school of unidentified catfish.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Royal Tern

I found this Royal tern, Sterna maxima, hanging out with a flock of gulls. He's showing full breeding plumage. He allowed me to get close enough to snap a few pictures before flying off over the water. He's shown here stretching out his wings.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sacha Sacket Live at Twigg's

I went to Twigg's last night to hear Sacha Sacket. You can hear him on his MySpace page linked above (click on Sacha Sacket). It was a nice break from the crazy work schedule to hang out and listen to the music. No pressure. No stress. Not too shabby.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Springtime in San Diego

Well okay, it's really still Winter but you wouldn't know it in San Diego. The Aloes are bursting into bloom and my Penstemon and Kangaroo paw are as well. The ice plant is blooming in huge purple waves alongside the highways. I love this time of year when the weather warms up a little and the flowers start to gain some momentum. It reminds me of why I moved out here in the first place.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Whew. Rough day. Everything feels like it's going to hell in a handbasket at work. I suppose I should be working right now but I'm going to wish you a happy valentine's day instead! Hmmm maybe some V-Day poetry. Let's see...

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse

When in through the window,

And into the house

Came Cupid and Eros,

To wish you good cheer,

The Happiest of V-Days

With chocolate and beer

LOL. Okay, no Nobel Laureate here! Happy Valentine's Day to one and to all!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Do You Scuba?

Some divers in Carry Redonne, France getting ready for a boat dive. They were going out in shifts leaving a crowd of them waiting at the shore at any given time.

Food Fight

These two lobsters give new definition to the term "food fight!" For some reason, they both wanted top spot on the rock. The big lobster was perched on the top of the rock and was absolutely not budging. The little lobster would climb up the front of the rock and try to poke at the bigger lobster. In turn, the big lobster would rear up and pounce on the little lobster with its front legs. It was one of the odder things I've seen and it gathered quite an audience. Obviously, neither one of them was worried about being spotted and ending up on the dinner table.

There was another possibility. They might have been boy lobster and girl lobster. Hmmm...or maybe boy lobster and boy lobster? Do you suppose?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Leopard Shark

I actually got a full night's sleep last night for the first time in a week. Amazing how much pressure disappears once you've taken the LSAT versus when you're studying for it. At this point, the score was either good enough or not and nothing I can do will change that so why not relax and have some fun? The Leopard Shark was from today's photo excursion. Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Pelicans and I

I hiked down the cliff to Black's Beach the other day. I most enjoy that beach during the cold winter months since the beach is nearly deserted and I can spend time photographing the birds. Between the weather and the hike down the cliff face, the place stays pretty empty during the Winter. True to form, the pelicans and I had the beach all to ourselves. The pyrite-laden sand sparkled gold and black, forming little wave patterns along the beach and thousands of pismo clams glistened in the waves. A light fog was slowly rolling in, adding a dull haze through which you could see the steep sandstone cliffs, carved in dramatic formations with the La Jolla pier visible in the distance. Wow, what a day.

As for the LSAT, well it's done and over with. I did fine. Fine meaning likely good enough to get into the law school I'm applying to. However, it's all on a curve so I won't really know for a month or so. Either way, it's done and I'm chilling out. I can get back to sleeping at night instead of worrying about the LSAT and the Nikon D200 is back out of the drawer. The two of us are going to do some serious picture snapping(big silly grin). I'm already looking forward to it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Big Day

Well, tomorrow is the big day. It's ace the LSAT or bust! Wish me luck. There's a lot riding on this.

Crabs like Bud

Found this superbowl ad on MySpace. Pretty hilarious!

Crabs Like Bud Too

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The Nikon's Back!

The Nikon's back online. I still keep the Olympus around for those spur of the moment photos but today was a photo safari day! I used a day of vacation and went down to the beach to snap some photos. This one, of kangaroo's paw buds, was from the front yard.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Early Spring in San Diego

It's February and it's been a cold Winter; however, Spring blooming starts a little earlier in San Diego. The Aloes are in full bloom and the bees and the hummingbirds are having a feast. This little beauty is blooming in my front yard. The peach tree is in full bloom out back as well so I'm hoping to get a few peaches this year.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

3 Days Left

3 days until the LSAT. I'm still studying like crazy and trying not to stress. How do you not stress out about something like that? Hmmm...happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts... (there, all better, LOL).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Frustrated Gull

This gull had a frustrated look about him as he stared at the spot light, seeming wanting to will it to turn on. Gulls are pretty common in San Diego, perhaps not quite as common as pigeons but pretty close. Still, they are very intelligent and fairly fun to watch as they do their gull antics. They have been known to snatch food from upheld hands or even in mid air from a gentle toss.

Monday, February 05, 2007

9 Lives?

I heard the neighbor calling for her cat and I could hear the coyotes yelping in the background. Normally, they yelp in unison when they have caught something, typically a small dog or cat. Hopefully, the neighbor's cat had a few lives left. I suppose those are the hazards of having pets and wildlife living in proximity.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


At first glance, I mistook this car for one of the Nissan Z's. The body shape is close and the color is pretty typical. On a closer inspection, I realized it was a Mazerati! In general, I've generally felt that spending huge amounts of money on a car is like flushing it down the toilet (well, pretty close). However, there is still this fascination that someone obviously paid huge amounts of money for this car. IMHO, they are likely either very rich, in which case they don't care about blowing the cash, or looking to impress, in which case they may be spending money that was better invested elsewhere. Which one it is, I may never know.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Grace, Luck, Happenstance or Sweat

What dictates who and what we are? Is it by the grace of God? Is it random luck or happenstance? Is it hard work and sweat? Perhaps some of all of the above.
I was approached by a woman in the Walmart parking lot. She said she had children and was down on her luck. She looked a mess with dark bags under her eyes and pretty thin. I know that people tell you that any money you give will just go to booze or drugs but she looked so miserable. She accepted the money and then sat down on the curbing with her head in her hands. She looked so horribly sad and I wished I had some magic cure for whatever was getting her down. Unfortunately, there is likely no such cure.
Still, seeing how bad things could really be makes you realize how lucky you are to have had good parents who taught you how to survive in this world and also to have avoided any serious wrong turns in life or unforeseen catastrophies. It is so easy to focus on what you don't have and on the material aspects in life. I think this woman was a reminder, to me at least, of how lucky we are and how thankful we should be for who we are and what we have.

Friday, February 02, 2007


There are many tales about the glory and grandeur of Hollywood. I suppose there may be some truth to that but, for me anyway, it was pretty much just a big sign on a hill surrounded by dry brush and aging cement buildings. Mann's Theater was fun, however. I particularly enjoyed looking at the hand prints of the celebreties in the cement and some of the goofy messages they wrote next to them. Perhaps for next time.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Garbage Stomach

Puts a new meaning to junk food, doesn't it? This gull had taken a liking to a condiment cup (it had tartar sauce in it originally). Unfortunately, the gulls and other wildlife often die with stomachs full of indigestible trash. Pretty sad really. Trying to get the cup back involved quite a chase and you can see the gull wasn't giving up easily.