Saturday, March 31, 2007

David Laurito

They had an art show at The Center today so I popped on in to see if there was anything I couldn't do without. I ended up with a really cool picture of a water fountain consisting of a cardinal with three pigeons sitting on him with the words Pontif XI in the background by David Laurito. It's pretty hilarious but hard to explain in words. I linked in some of David's photos just in case you'd like to see some of his work.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tyrannosaurus Rex

There he is, King Dino himself, Tyrannosaurus Rex. He is the reason I visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Not some poor, tired stuffed lion. Rather, a huge pile of bones that conjures up even huger and scarier thoughts about what he was when he was alive. Although, if you look at him just right, he does kind of look like a big chicken with teeth. Hmmmm... Maybe there is something to birds having evolved from dinosaurs after all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Washington Monument

It was dark and overcast on Saturday evening. The well lit Washington monument surrounded by its ring of illuminated US Flags stood out quite starkly against the purple-gray skies. Every now and then steam from a vent at the base would snake up the sides of the monument in an eerie, ghost-busteresque sort of way. It made for quite a show.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stuffed Lion

I couldn't help but feel sad for this stuffed lion. He and all the other beasts in the museum that were once real, live, magnificent creatures were doomed to watch through glassy eyes the crowds that daily gawk, there at the Smithsonian, there in perpetuity. Once the king of the beasts, there he sat, frozen for all time, mane neatly brushed, posing as if about to roar but never to roar ever, ever again, no more ferocious than a stuffed animal in a toy store. The dinosaur bones were cool. The jewels incredible. However, the stuffed animals were just very, very sad.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Well, it looks like this Mosasaur got the last laugh after all as it cruises through the "Smithsonian seas" long after its bretheren are all extinct. So is immortality overrated? Would we give up our eye teeth to be be truly immortal? Or perhaps, there comes a time when we become outdated, a fixture to be replaced by newer, younger species?

As for me, I have one more month in the current job before I launch into a new career in patent law. It's a little scary, no doubt. However, I think it will be a nice change of pace. A coworker of mine told me he hadn't heard me laugh at work for a while and it was good to hear that chuckle once more. Hopefully, it is a sign of good things to come.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Grand Canyon

Back in the office again but getting eager to be off to the new job. I think it's not good to prolong job transitions as it delays when they actually take responsibility for figuring out your "stuff." Anyhow, I figured I'd post a picture of the Grand Canyon that I snapped from the plane. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the ASA (ouch) at 800 so the pictures were a little grainy and, yes, airplane windows are seldom (a) clean and generally (b) a little opaque (plastic after all) so you lose some of the color saturation. Still, the pictures were not too bad for something snapped at 30,000 ft. Hope you like it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Back in San Diego

The flight back flew over the Grand Canyon and then over the foothills of San Diego. It was moderately clear for once and the view from the airplane was absoltely glorious. Add in some clear blue sky and some streaks of white clouds voila, instant panorama!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Studying Hard

I'm still studying hard and enjoying learning all about becoming a patent agent. As it turns out, the class starts up at 8am EST and then, when it gets out around 6pm EST, the West coast people at the office are in full steam sending email and issues. Unfortunately, that means no time to eat, sleep and certainly no time for any sight seeing so...I've snagged a virtual Lincoln and we'll pretent like I had time to go see it. I'd really like to spend a week or two in DC at some point to see the memorials, museums and other attractions. In Patton's famous words, "I shall return." Until then, we have Lincoln. I find it ironic, however, that his inscription talks about preserving the Union (obviously very important) but mentions nothing about emancipation, pehaps, one of his greatest contributions.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Feeling Ducky

Managed to get a little case of the sniffles. Otherwise, just ducky. Talking about ducks, there are ducks here in the ponds. There were two sleeping on the WWII memorial, more still in the pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the Mall is full of, you guessed it, duck poop! Gotta watch where you step (grin). These two, however, were genuine San Diego Mallards from the pool in front of the Balboa Arboretum. Time to duck out and head to bed (heh).

The Artful Begonia

Taking pictures can be as much art as science. This begonia was in dense shade but backlit by the sun late in the day. I snapped several pictures with different depth of field, some with flash (effectively eliminating the backlighting) and some without. This is one taken with a shallow depth of field and flash, blurring the background, giving a softer, less scientific look and feel.

Peach Blossoms

Double flowered peaches were blooming everywhere in the park Saturday, making a spectacular show. They even had variegated double flowered peaches. It made for a nice stroll with traditional beds of daisies and poppies set off by blooming deciduous trees. I had a lot of fun playing with backgrounds and focal length. Sometimes getting in real close and other times getting macro shots.

I was so psyched up, I wandered down into the canyon in back of the house to see how the fruit trees were doing down there. Not to be outdone, the neighbor's white peaches, while not nearly as flashy were also putting on a show all their own. The avocado, while not flashy at all, was looking promising and the figs and citrus seem to have survived our little freeze this last summer. I may have to stop by the garden shop to get a net for the peach tree so the squirrels don't get all the peaches this year.

Out for a Stroll

Dog and I were enjoying the nice weather on Saturday. The ice plant is in full bloom and the fruit trees have the first hints of peaches. Meanwhile, the weather has finally warmed up in Arlington and the class is going well. The jetlag is still causing me some grief but hopefully tonight I'll be able to sleep decently. In the meantime, I managed to retake some of the pictures with the setting sun. They should be nice.

Foutain Muse

Cold, damp and drizzly in Arlington. Miss that San Diego weather already. The people in class are, for the most part, very nice and class has been fascinating. I'll pop up a picture or two when I get back.

The Muse was from Balboa park on Saturday. The sun was just right to get a few shadows on there. Hope you like him.

Admitted on St. Pattie's Day!

There was some serious partying going on at the St. Pattie's Day festival at Balboa park. I didn't check to see if the beer was really green but this old guy was dancing up a storm to one of the two live bands that were playing.

I also received my admissions letter to law school just before I went to the park so that was just one more reason to have a happy St. Pattie's Day! Yaaaay!!!! No more worrying. At least until exam time. I hope your St. Pat's was as good as mine.

Oh yeah, I forgot the cabbage in the corned beef but it was still really soft and tasty. You'll have to ask if you want the secret.

Isn't Spring Wonderful?

I love Spring! The flowers are bursting out everywhere and there are brilliant splashes of color, each yard a little different, with new discoveries as you walk along. I found this very profusely blooming lavender wisteria growing on top of a stucco and tile garage. It made a tremendous display!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Irish Green

Here's a little Irish Green for St. Pattie's Day. It's a backlit Palm I snapped while walking along San Diego Bay. I'm going to make an exception tomorrow and cook some corned beef just for chuckles and grins. It's normally pretty chewy stuff...mumph but maybe it'll be better when I cook it! Hah! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Arial Geography

Have you ever stared out the window of an airplane and wondered at the geology spread below you? Details that are invisible when you're walking upon them open their secrets before your eyes from 30,000 feet. Millions of years of erosion show up as deep valleys and chasms and yet, from altitude, look surprising like little rivulets in the mud during rain storms. Huge basins stretch outwards from long dried inland seas, fed by dry riverbeds that stretch outward like tendrils. Occasionally, you will see faults in the earth itself, sheer jagged rocks jutting out from the ground at odd angles, all lined up like soldiers leaning on an invisible wall. I could stare out the window of a plane for hours. My only regret being not having the geologist with me to explain the wonders stretched below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birds Are Welcome in Little Rock

In this picture of Little Rock, Arkansas, we have the stately Pulaski House where the Pulaski County Government was first organized. The picture was taken from the little park in back of the house which had, nicely enough, two prominent bird houses, one of which is visible in the center of the picture.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Little Rock

Hello from Little Rock, Arkansas. The trees are blooming outside and it's actually quite warm and humid outside. I had a few spare moments and decided to got out for a quick walk around the block to snap a few picures. As I came back around the block towards the hotel, there was a big gang fight going on with Police attempting to calm things down. Mostly just a lot of yelling and histrionics. I stayed away from the crowd (basically ignoring them and vice versa) and still managed to snap my photos of the old architecture buildings, the wonderful flowering trees and the spring flowers without mishap. When I got back to the hotel, there were people out front checking things out. Seemed like quite the spectacle going on. I, however, decided I would head off to the lounge for a snack instead. Hopefully, that will be all the excitement for this trip.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Something to Chew On

In animal photography, many people like to get the WHOLE animal in the picture. I think, however, that the face shots are often worth a thousand words. This shot, of a giraffe chewing, really reminds me of an old man chewing tobacco. No good reason why. It just does. Does it remind you of anyone you know?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

For the Hal-i-but

It was a gorgeous, sunny 90F today. Light breezes and generally toasty all around. We went for a walk along the bay and saw this man with a halibut which I thought was pretty cool so here he is. It was just a hair small so he ended up tossing it back in.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gorgeous San Diego Day

The day started out misty and overcast but, as the sun came out, the fog burned off and it turned into a bright, sunny, clear skied day. We stopped by the zoo for a little bit to see the animals who were being very frisky in the morning coolness. We went to Baccione for lunch and ended up discussing digital photography with the owner. He convinced me, after showing me a series of stunning landscape photos, that polarizers are the way to go for landscape. I figured I'd try it out myself so I stopped by Nelson's Camera and bought a circular polarizer which I used to snap this fairly dramatic picture off of the neighbor's balcony. I always wondered how they did that. It pays to chat with the restaurant staff.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Frog Tai Chi

It was hot enough today to throw on the air conditioning in the car. The weather service is putting out a fire alert for the next few days due to the hot dry desert wind that is blowing through San Diego. Not bad for March. Seems like it was cold and wet just a few weeks ago.

Mr. Tree Frog, here, in the picture, came up to the window looking for food. Unfortunately, I was all out of meal worms so a photo had to do. I like the zen pose he's in. It looks like some kind of reptilian martial arts.

Home Again

I'm back. Did anyone miss me? It was freezing cold in New Jersey with bitter gusty winds. Oh bleah! It was snowing in Baltimore with a light smattering of that wet, slushy stuff that sticks to your hair and just gets kind of damp all over. However, San Diego is as sunny and warm as ever. Glad to be back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Giant Pacific Octopus

Here's a picture of a giant pacific octopus. They are normally found on the Northern Pacific Coast. I first saw one many years ago on Victoria Island. This one is happily fed and cared for. You can see more of him at the link above.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Overland Park

Hello from lovely Overland Park, KS. It's a gorgeous sunny day out; not a flake of snow in sight anywhere! I'm in the hotel room waiting for an email file to upload before I run of to a meeting. Nothing much but big buildings outside the window so this little lizard from the South of France is going to have to do. The email torrent hasn't started yet since it is still 8am Pacific and the folks in the office are just getting warmed up. Happy Monday.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wet Hummingbird

The tiniest hummingbird came up while I was watering the Mexican Sage. It appeared to want to sip from the stream of water from the hose. So, I held the stream really really still so he could get in close without getting doused. He came closer and closer and closer and then whoosh, disappeared. I couldn't see him anymore and could only imagine that he got sucked into the stream of water and washed into the Sage. I shut off the stream of water immediately and was looking at the sage when, whooosh, off he went. Breathing a sigh of relief, I watched as he moved to the honeysuckle bush for some nectar and then perched on the peach tree to preen and dry off a little. He appeared damp but none the worse for the wear. He's shown here drying off.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ruddy Duck

Spent the afternoon snapping duck pics. This one is one of my favorite Ruddy Ducks. He's always good for a few pictures and for some reason or another is always scratching. I suspect that's how they keep their feathers oiled and fluffed full of air.

The company had the anniversary dinner tonight for us old timers. They reserved the Aerospace museum so we got to tour the museum for free. There were some really cool planes including a blackbird out front, some really old biplanes, a mig or two and a recreation of the Apollo space capsule. There was also a GPS satellite which, ironically, looked just like in the pictures I've seen on the web.

We sat at the gay ghetto table where we spent the time talking about real estate strategy and what markets were moving. I may retire yet and, in the meantime, a little effort seems to keep me moving in the right direction.

The Tadich Grill

We had dinner at the Tadich Grill in San Francisco on Wednesday night. It was cold, wet and dreary in the city that night. However, the restaurant was absolutely packed to the gills. Perhaps there is some truth to the sign outside that claims that they are the "original cold day restaurant." Either way, their grilled salmon filet was lightly marinated and seared to perfection and their clam chowder was absolutely jam packed with clams. I couldn't think of a nicer way to spend a cold, drizzly night.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wassup Duck?

I snapped this duck last weekend. It reminds me of the look my dog gives me when she's expecting food. Or, perhaps the "wassup?" look. Either way, I thought it was kind of cute.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

San Francisco Geese

San Francisco was cold and drizzly. However, being the bird/photo nut that I am, I went out for a quick walk in the rain to see if any of my feather photo-subjects were out enjoying the peace and tranquility. There was a small flock of Canadian Geese doing a fly-by. I had no idea they made it all the way out to San Francisco but here is living proof.