Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just a hint of rainbow...


Click for a larger picture


Stopping at our closest Starbucks this morning, I glanced up and saw this rainbow.

Note the red pickup truck parked next to the sign that says "No Truck Parking"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hail...



It got cold today -- a Pacific storm blew in and dumped hail on us. Mind you, this is not an everyday occasion here; it's not even an every year occasion. I think we've seen hail 3 or 4 times in the nearly 7 years we've been here.

Snow levels tonight are supposed to drop to 2000 feet, which means that some of the areas in the Santa Cruz mountains and possibly even the coastal range might get some of the white stuff.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Awwww ...



Cute puppy in a playful mood, little red and blue ball.

canis cutis is, I believe, the taxonomic name.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Another trip down I-280



I love Interstate 280 between San Francisco and San Jose. It is an amazingly beautiful route as it slides next to coastal range, especially as it passes Lake San Andreas (which sits directly on top of the fault by the same name).

This picture (along with the ones I added to the Flickr page, were taken on my way home from taking Clayton to a focus group he had in Foster City. The weather was kinda yucky, but even still, the landscape is just breathtaking.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fun with Photoshop



Ok, I didn't take any "epic" pictures today, so I decided to go with an "artsy" version. I snapped a shot of the flame of a candle, then ran that picture through Photoshop's "Glowing Edge" filter to get this.

The wick itself is in red at the bottom, with the hot flame extending above it in white and blue.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mugged at Yappy Hour ...


Click on the picture for a larger version


Clayton was in town this weekend and went to Yappy Hour at our Friday dog sitter's place (Bark to Basics, Shura Kelly, dog guru) with us.

The doggies loved him! Clemmy couldn't get into the middle cause all the lighter colored dogs wanted thier hairs on his black jacket.

There's a great picture of Clem taken there that is on the Flickr page.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rainy morning ...



Started out as a blah day. Took this picture in my parking lot just before I went in to work.

Other pictures (found at the Flickr page) show how the day proceeded -- by lunch, it was quite nice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The other San Francisco landmark ...


Click photo to make bigger


Look at a picture of Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fisherman's Wharf sign, or the Transamerica tower and you immediately think "San Francisco". Some landmarks are known by everyone.

This picture is of another kind of landmark. Show a picture of Sutro Tower (aka "The Pickle Fork") to anyone who ever lived here, and they will immediately recognize it. It is visible from almost anywhere in the city -- you can see it from just about any of the locations mentioned above.

Of course, no one photographs it. No one includes it in their travelogs or their scrapbooks.

This picture was taken from Twin Peaks, a great place to see the city from above the clouds. Several other pictures taken from up there are now up on the Flickr page (seriously -- check out the flickr page -- especially the one of BOB from up there -- I almost used that instead of this one, but I had a better story for this one).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What Mardi Gras looks like if you were there...



Going for a Mardi Gras theme here. I took this (and some others on the Flickr page) by holding the camera on the dashboard as I drove home and holding for 1 second exposures.

The other option for today was pictures of me watching a Bourbon Street WebCam (also on Flickr).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Brain Age ...



I got Caryn a Nintendo DS-Lite with Brain Age for Christmas. Brain Age was designed by a Japanese Neurologist. It includes a series of activities and games designed to increase brain activity, resulting in a "more fit" or "younger" brain, followed by a test that determines your brain's relative age. You can see information about the game at the game's web site.

I started out with a brain age in my 60's. After weeks of daily training, I've got it down to the age you see in the picture (that's 12 years younger than my physical age!).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cut up cactus ...



On Interstate 280, about 1/2 way between San Francisco and San Jose, directly across the highway from a lake that sits directly ON the San Andreas fault, is a rest stop with a really interesting statue of Junipero Sierra (the monk who founded the Mission system in California) There are some pics of the statue in the Flickr page.

On the trail leading up to the statue is this stand of cactus. Apparently, this particular cactus doesn't have any thorns or anything else to protect it from marauding vandals such as Janet and Jesse.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Capturing movement ...



So, one of the big purposes of this project is to make us all better photographers.

I was looking over all my previous posts, and I noticed that there wasn't a lot of action in my pictures. So, I tried to introduce some.

This is simply a glass of water and a piece of ginger, dropped from a height of about 6 inches. I really like the collapsing column of water behind the ginger as it falls through the water. Also, the little dropplets flying away from the glass. Lots of detailed chaos.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Beautiful day in SF ...


click on the picture for a larger version


It was TRULY gorgeous in San Francisco today. Mid-60's/low 70's and barely any clouds. We left work early to pick up Clem from the dog sitters because we have a concert to go to tonight.

On the way home, we decided to go via "Great Highway", the road that runs along Ocean Beach. It was nearing sundown, and I had to stop to take some pictures of the sun on the ocean (go to the flickr page to see more, plus the ones of BOB taken from our dog sitter's back yard).

This one, while it doesn't have the sun on the water that I was looking for, jumped out. It probably would have been a better shot for Wednesday (Valentine's day), but, I took it today, so it goes in today! The shadows on the sand of the friends and the lovers -- the whole composition makes me pretty happy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pizza night!!...



Over the course of this year (or however long I manage to keep this up), you are going to find that I LOVE Trader Joe's. For those of you unfortunate enough to live where there is no Trader Joe's, I recommend that you immediately write your congressman and get that fixed ASAP. Trader Joe's is the best grocery store on the planet. Period. End of story.

Anyway -- I'm a huge fan of pizza. Not Dominos, not Papa John's, not (insert your local pizza chain here), but the kind you make at home. Here's where Trader Joe's comes in. They sell pre-made pizza crust dough. It's REALLY good and easy to work with. You just let it come to room temp, toss it to the right size, top it with your favorite sauce, cheese, etc, and bake on your handy-dandy pizza stone (not, unfortunately, found at Trader Joe's).

Then eat!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The original Hello Kitty...


This is a Maneki Neko or "Welcoming Cat". It is a traditonal Japanese good luck charm.

In pre-colonial Japan, images of penises could be found as good luck charms in most homes. As the west travelled in and through Japan, the Japanese replaced the "vulgur" images with statues of cats with one arm raised in a gesture of welcoming or beconing. If the right hand is raised, the cat is calling forth friends or customers. If the left hand is raised, the cat is calling forth money or luck.

After the war, as the Japanese exported their culture with their "cheap crap", and, in an effort to sell more Maneki Nekos, they westernized it to "Hello Kitty".

Here in San Francisco, pretty much all of the eastern Asian cultures have adopted this guy (Maneki Neko, not Hello Kitty) -- you see versions in Chinese restaurants, Japanese department stores, Koren Grocery stores, etc.

I post this because the city is in preparation for the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Boar, also known as the Year of the Pig). The festival starts next week, and it is as big as Christmas in parts of the city.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tiv-Uh-Oh...


Click the picture for a larger image


Our friends a Tivo are masters of managing expectations. Clearly, the guy who wrote this error message is a big fan of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott of the Starship Enterprise (tell them it will take much longer than it really will, so when you finish sooner, you come off as a hero!).

The actual fix took less than 20 minutes. This 20 minutes would have seemed like an ETERNITY if I wasn't expecting it to take 3 hours.

Well played Tivo engineers -- well played.

Monday, February 12, 2007

All hail the George Forman Grill...



Rainy day -- not many opportunities to take pictures of good stuff. Getting close to the posting time, I finally decided to take a picture of dinner.

I picked these salmon filets up at Costco yesterday. I thawed them out, sprinkled on some Everglades seasoning, some Trader Joe's Lemon-Pepper Grind, some thyme, and some lemon juice. Then I threw them on the Foreman, and served them with brown rice and petite brussels sprouts.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Golden Gate Cemetary Visit ...



I went by the Golden Gate National Cemetary today in search of today's picture.

It is a surreal place. You can see the other pictures I took at the flickr page, where you'll get just a hint of how immense this place is.

This particular picture is of the final resting place of a number of amazing men, leaders and heros each.

The first is Admiral Chester Nimitz -- the highest ranking naval officer in WW2. He was the US signer for the peace treaty that ended the war with Japan. After the war, he made the comment that "Our armament must be adequate to the needs, but our faith is not primarily in these machines of defense but in ourselves." Tons more info can be found at his Wikipedia article.

Another is Leo J. Ryan. For those who don't know, Leo Ryan was a congressman from the Bay Area who went to Guyana to investigate the People's Temple Cult in 1978. He was murdered there by members of the cult just before the infamous "Jonestown" mass suicide. What most people don't know about Ryan is that he went to Watts and taught school after the riots to see first-hand the conditions there. He went to Folsom Prison undercover to see those conditions while serving as the chairman of the committee in the state lesiglature that oversaw prison reform. Wikipedia article here

Also in this picture (though his stone is blurred in the background) is Congressional Medal of Honor winner Vito R. Bertoldo, yet another hero who showed tremendous courage and leadership under fire in World War 2. His citation for the CMOH tells far more than I could add. You can read it here

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Stump and the Slug...


It rained HARD today. Our area usually gets lots of rain between mid-January and mid-March, but this year, not so much. Today's rain was really the hardest, drenching rain we've had so far this year.

Anyway, there's a break in the rain, and so I decided to go around the block to look for today's picture before it gets too dark. I took about 25 shots, mostly stuff being wet, water flowing, places where water flows, etc. I got a couple of good shots of the cloud cover descending over the hill behind us (you can see the "almost ran" shots at my new flickr page here).

Then, as I was walking around the house on my way back in, I came across this stump. The homeowner's association hires gardeners who take are of our front yard, and they recently cut down a small tree that was dead. I saw the slug on the stump and found myself wondering "where is his shell" (we don't get a lot of slugs, mostly snails).

Friday, February 9, 2007

And After...



Click on the pictures for bigger versions.

Here she is after a long hard day of playing. As I write this, she's konked out.

We think we might have had her clipped just a tiny bit too much, but her fur is always so soft after a close cut.

Don't you just LOVE those ears!?!?!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

During...

Click the picture for a larger version

On Tuesday, I told you that our little Clemmy was getting groomed today, and I promised you an "After" pic. Alas, this one was too good not to include.

She's off to Shura's tomorrow. Shura is our AWESOME small dog expert who sits her on Fridays. Clemnza gets some doggie socialization time, and in the evening at pick-up time, Shura holds "Yappy Hour" with wine, hors d'oeurves, and great conversation with her other clients. Shura is a serious doggy-spoiler, and loves to dress up the doggies for holidays. We fully expect Clem to sport a Valentine's Day bandanna tomorrow, so the picture will be even better!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

South City ...


Click the picture for a larger version


The panoramic pic (thank you to the folks who wrote Photoshop) was culled from about 25 pictures taken on "Sign Hill" in South San Francisco (look Here, I was standing just below the "Y" when I took the picture).

That's the San Francisco Bay and SFO (the airport) on the far left.

The climb up this hill just about killed me! It was only .2 mile (according to the trail sign), but it must have climbed about 400 feet in that .2 mile (puff puff). I clearly need to get into better shape!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Before ...



Clementine is our little Papillon/Poodle 2-year old pooch. She's going to be groomed on Thursday, so I thought I'd post a "before" picture, then, on Thursday, tune in for the "after".

Monday, February 5, 2007

Monday Night TV ...



CBS -- what a turnaround. Who'da thunk the "old fogey's" network would become the "Monday night is funny again" network. Ok, you might disagree with me, but even if you don't care for the message that "Two and a Half Men" puts out, I dare you to try to sit through an entire episode without at least one good hearty guffaw. Even if "How I Met Your Mother" seems like a rip off of "The Wonder Years", it's a darn funny one. (if you saw it this week, "dance, my friend, dance").

And then comes "The Class". Who invites their 3rd grade class to a party? But, it works. A tremendous ensemble cast, doing really, insanely funny stuff.

And, no I have NO stock in CBS...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

A Royal Visit...


(click the picture for the full size)


The Queen Mary came to visit San Francisco today. She is the largest vessel ever to sail into San Francisco harbor.

I had planned to get a really good pic of her passing under the BOB. Unfortunately, about a million other photographers had the same idea, so I could only get as close at the Presidio Main Post (here). I did get quite a few shots of her passing under the bridge, but, in reviewing the take -- I found I didn't like any of them as much as I did this one.

I'm sure you can see the better pics of her entering the harbor at The San Francisco Chronicle page.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

One last chase ...


I went to visit my son today (he's at UC Davis, which is about 70 miles from here). On my way home, I was still trying to find that great picture to take, when I noticed that the sun was going down, and, if I hustled, I could get to the beach in time to get a sunset picture.

Of course, I didn't count on the backup at the tolls on the Bay Bridge, so, alas, when I got to Ocean Beach, the sun had finished its journey below the horizon. Dejected, I turned the car down Great Highway and started home. At a stoplight, however, I looked out at the ocean, and saw a surprising site.

The beach was still FULL of people. Many were starting to wind their way back to the parking lot, but litterally hundreds of folks were still out on the beach -- a fair number of them with dogs, still splashing around in the surf.

I hurredly parked my car, grabbed my trusty D70, and headed down the sand.

I particularly like the fact that I caught the little guy completely in mid jump. I also liked the way the shadowy reflections in the wet sand blur the line where the people end.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The cat that thinks she's a dog...




Meet Sophie. Sophie was abandoned by her mother shortly after her birth and raised for the first 4 months of her life with a pack of chihuahuas. As a result, she's pretty sure she might be a dog.

She plays with Clementine (our Papillon/Poodle mix), tussling and jostling for position as alpha bitch. She eats her cat food grudgingly, but never misses an opportunity to steal Clem's clearly dog-oriented food.

She's also dumb as a post. She has a cat tree. She'll stand at the top shelf of her cat tree, lean over the ledge and look down on us. Pretty soon, we'll hear her hacking, as the weight of her head is causing her to choke on the raised portion of the ledge.

But, we love the little stinker.

Except, of course, when she pees on any rug, blanket, or basically any fabric covered flat surface she sees.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Try, just try to guess what I do for a living...



Data infrastructure makes for a series of moments of controlled chaos. Bits go here, bits go there -- blue wires, black wires, yellow wires, orange fiber-optic cables.

Yet, in spite of all the confusion and spaghetti, it turns out that everthing goes where it is supposed to go -- all of the data that should be read is; all of the data that shouldn't be read isn't.

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