Saturday, May 26, 2007

Proof that Mixed Couples Work?

I found this little swamp monkey giving his otter friend a kiss. Who says mixed couples don't work? Certainly a lot of swamp affection going on here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Heading North

I'm heading North to take some pictures so the blog will be quiet for a little bit. I hope to come back with all sorts of pictures of whales, bears, birds and otters. We have a little boat chartered to go into the Fjords for day hikes and overnight mooring. I've got a little case of the pre-trip jitters but, being the world traveler, not too bad. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do Monkeys Miss?

When you see monkeys swinging from branch to branch, have you ever wondered if they ever miss? This wet swamp monkey apparently missed and fell into the pool below. He's paying for missing by spending a damp afternoon drying off in the tree.

By the way, don't you love telephoto lens? They get up close and personal and blur out all the ugly background details. This monkey was snapped with a 500 mm lens on a virgin photo safari run (ie, I was trying out the new lens). Just in case you've never seen a 500 mm lens, they are huge and they are heavy. Quite the spectacle, really. I'd swear all those little digicams had lens envy. As for me, I just had a sore arm from lugging it around. Oh, that and a few nice pictures.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Hummingbirds Are Here!

The hummingbirds are here! Well, okay, a lot of them never really leave but there are a fair number that migrate through in the Spring to take advantage of the burst of Spring flowers. This one was contentedly hanging out next to these pendent pink flowers. It was there long enough to snap a few photos anyhow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dance the Flamingo

Dance, dance, dance... Oh, that was Flamenco, wasn't it? Well, here's a flamingo up close and personal; tete a tete so to speak. You can actually see the little filters on it's beak that it uses to filter out water crustaceans. It reminds me of baleen in a whale's mouth. Parallelism is pretty cool, isn't it?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monkey Mohawk

I hear mohawks are in again. At least I've been seeing little kids with gelled mohawks running around again. Funny how styles come and go and come back again. However, I'd like to point out that human kind was not the inventor of the mohawk, as our little monkey friend here can attest to. In fact, the piercing eyes, the chin goatee and the mohawk definitely give him a certain monkey flair in a fashionista kind of way.

Fashion statement aside, this is a black leaf or Francois Leaf Monkey(Trachypithecus francoisi), one of about 5000 left in the world. It is found in tropical monsoon forest near limestone hills and caves (where they winter). They hail from China (Guangxi and the Southwestern Guizhou province), Central Laos and Northern Vietnam. They are also being bred at the black leaf monkey breeding center in Wuzhou City, China.

Penny for Your Thoughts...

I wonder what that bear is thinking as he looks at the bedraggled dead bird he has been playing with and then looks at all the plump people on the other side of the glass? I wonder what that kid is thinking as the bear stops to take a look at him? There's a reason why that glass is so thick! One the the audience said he was there when the bear suddenly lept up and caught the bird out of mid-air. We can see there's not much left of it after an hour of the two bears playing keep away with it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Old Saguaro

Saguaro Cactus are native to the Sonoran desert of Southern Arizona and Southern California. They grow about an inch a year making this cactus, at about 10-15 ft. in height, a real oldster (let's see, 12inch/ft x 10ft X 1year/inch is over 120 years of growth!) This one was in bloom and, as opposed to many of it's friends, not particularly spiny. It made for quite the show.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Meerkat Momma

This meerkat momma is busy keeping watch while her youngsters below were playing and digging holes in the loose dirt. Meerkats are just so photogenic that it's hard to resist snapping just a few pictures of them, with their bright eyes, attentive stares and their upright human-like stance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nap Time for Simba

If nothing else, Lions are good at napping. These two were all cozy and snuggly on top of the abandoned range rover. What more could you ask for? A little shade from the desert heat, a snuggle buddy and a nice cool range rover to lie on. That is the stuff of life!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Butterfly Tuesday

This is a picture of a Peninsular Metalmark, also called a Behr's or a Mormon Butterfly. I fail to see any resemblance to the Morman's I know but it is certainly beautiful enough that most anyone would be happy to have it named after them. Even if it is just a BUG (grin). I saw this guy on Sunday in a succulent garden up at the Wild Animal Park. We were pretty bummed to drive all the way up there and find out that the butterfly exhibit had closed some two weeks ago (pays to do your homework). However, there were a few natives (all the better) flying around the miscellaneous trails.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fern Spotted in Vicinity of Kihei, Maui

News Alert! Fern has been spotted in the vicinity of Kihei, Maui, last seen waving happily from a yellow rubber raft. After a long and fruitful stay in New York, Fern was seen leaving the house seeking something "tropical", with a yellow rubber raft in tow. If you see Fern, tell him that his friends in New York miss him greatly and to please bring back Kona Coffee.

Kihei on Tilt

What's a guy to do on a deserted beach in Kihei, Maui but take pictures? This one's on tilt with my head tilting to compensate just a tad. Do you suppose it's global warming or maybe one too many cups of coconut juice? White fluffy sand and nobody around. Gosh...

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Cock of the Rock, indeed. This is a Guinean Cock of the Rock or Rupicola rupicola, one of the most sought after South American Birds. This one flew up to say hello and very willingly posed for quite a few pictures. If you like color, this bird has color!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bird Motel

The doves have been taking over my orchid baskets. They inevitably kill the orchids if there was something there still alive but how can you feel bad about these cute little guys? Besides, they're so photogenic.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

How's that for Rocky Mountain High? This picture was taken up at altitude from the plane as we passed over the Rocky Mountains on the way to Denver. It was bouncy as ever and the camera was shaking pretty bad but the mountains were far away so it came out decent. It was stunningly beautiful as the sun lit up the white mountain tops.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

San Diego Aerial

Here's a picture of San Diego from the airplane window. The large green block in the center is Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. As opposed to LA, you can tell that San Diego is anything BUT flat. In fact, you can see the green tendrils of the finger canyons all over the city which, by the way, was build on a large natural plateau which has eroded into valleys and canyons. I also suspect that the sandy, rocky soil resulted from ocean sediment that has been forced upwards as the Pacific Plate slowly moves up the continental plate.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wet and Lush Kansas

As promised, here is one of the pictures from the US435 that loops around Kansas City. Everything was incredibly lush and green and the low lying fields were flooded with pools of water. Of course, they had just had over 7 inches of rainfall the prior day so a little water is to be expected. The drive from KCI to Overland park was both relaxing and beautiful. I'm hoping the suburbs, which are already encroaching on the 435, don't overtake it too soon as the drive is truly beautiful.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Kansas City

One last trip to Kansas City and then it is off to the new job. The tornados missed Kansas City, having been a few miles out, so I arrived with no flight delays and with relatively little drama (other than a little bit of turbulance outside of Denver). The weather was cool and very pleasant and the setting sun lit up the skies with bright streaks of clouds in myriad greys and blues. It was glorious and it was all I could do to not pull over on the highway and snap all sorts of pictures. I did snap a few, however, and as soon as I get near a USB cable for my camera, I'll post a few.

There were a few fat Canadian geese waiting for me at the hotel. They were waddling around the thick, lush green grass munching. I couldn't tell if they were eating the grass itself or hunting for bugs or, perhaps, a little of both. There were no goslings, however, and I'm guessing I'm a little early.

We went out to dinner with some of our old time customers/business associates. It was great to see them. We have been through thick and thin with them and it brought back many memories. Hopefully, everything will go fine once I'm gone. I'm figuring everyone is replaceable but it'll take a little while for things to settle down.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Screaming Eagle

It's an orchid judging night. Here's an orchid from tonights judging called Paphiopedilum Screaming Eagle. Quite showy once you get a light on it.

Stopped by Coco's for dinner first and had some grilled salmon and salad. Having behaved so well, it seemed like some boysenberry pie was in order (a la mode). Yummm. I ran into more of our judges at dinner. We've just had a rash of people passing away. It's quite sad really but most of them are well along in years and I guess it is to be expected. As one of the MDs in the program said, the alternative to getting old is none too pleasant either.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Back to the Farmer's Market

I caved in and bought an orchid at the Farmer's Market. It's mainly to decorate the kitchen more than anything else. It has a sweet smell that reminds me of carnations. The best thing about orchids is that they last for weeks.

There was a new guy manning the orchid booth at the market. It turns out it's my good friend Ramona's son. Odd that neither of them ever mentioned that they had a son. Anyhow, I asked him what happened to his dad (who normally mans the booth). He tells me his dad passed away in January. I realize, at this point, that I haven't been to the Farmer's market in a really long time. Wow. I hate having people pass away on me. We both agreed that Tom (his dad) was a real character! ;-) He'll be sorely missed. Guess this blog's for Tom. RIP Tom, hope you have as much fun up there as you did down here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Otter on Ice

This little otter was rolling around in his own floatable ice pack and really enjoying himself. It does highlight how well insulated those otter fur coats really are and how they can float around all day in the icy cold kelp beds.

Meanwhile, San Diego had a sunny but cool and breezy day that was perfect for roller blading or a quick jog. The beach was not nearly as packed as I expected, given the pretty decent weather and the cool breeze did not get in the way of a wedding or two and a multitude of parties.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday at Last

Here's a picture of a passing sea lion that was waiting for handouts. They are amazingly friendly when it comes to fish.

Meanwhile, I'm glad it is finally Friday. It's been a stressful and annoying week. Hope you all have fun plans for the evening. ;-)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Almost Friday!!!

Almost Friday! Friday, Friday, Friday! Another hectic day today. It started with a presentation to an auditorium full of people at 7:30am and then technical discussions with customers after that. I am pooped. The beach is sounding better all the time.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to Catch a Ball

For you frustrated would be ball players out there, here is a little example of what not to do when catching a ball. He's clearly running fast enough to catch it. However, you can see that the hands have already clasped and, yes, his eyes are closed and the head is looking AWAY from the ball. Sorry bud, but it's hard to catch a ball with your eyes shut. Near impossible for most of us. For you budding engineers, it's the difference between open loop and closed loop control. Keep your eyes on the ball. Works for tennis balls, works for frisbees... A little scary at first, but it is generally much better to catch the ball then get accidentally nailed on the head by it. Busted in the act! The silly thing about it is, for me at least, I had no idea that I wasn't looking at the ball at the moment of impact (for tennis) until somebody pointed it out. It made a huge difference! Guess that's my flying object tip of the month... Hope you all had a happy hump day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whiffle Ball

It was pretty overcast and dreary at the beach on Sunday but it was still warm enough to hang out and relax. I spent some time snapping pictures of the surfing semi-finals. There were some guys out playing whiffle baseball in front of the judging stand, generally oblivious to the whole surf commotion; this one had just hit himself what would have been a home run, at least by whiffle standards (grin).