Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Deer Tracks in Snow (December 2006)

There aren't too many reruns on TV now, so why not bring the joy of reruns to the blog?

This picture was the only content of my first blog post on December 16. The blog I posted it in now defunct, and I'm stripping it of 4 or 5 posts that will be reused here further on.

This picture was taken not longer after the first big storm of winter, and a lot of the snow had already melted and compacted down.

I figured it would be interesting to run this now that winter is over, and tracks like these are again a common site as the snow melts away.

Thanks to a fellow blogger for early encouragement and participation as I first tried to really figure out blogging, which I started with this photo.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Spring is Coming

I just now found this photo. I knew it was somewhere, but had not been able to locate it yet. It was snapped in the back yard a couple of years ago. It's here as a reminder that spring is coming. Yes, it was a dreadful dreary winter day today.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Little beach at La Jolla Cove

Part of a little beach at La Jolla Cove is seen here. This is a popular beach, and is not very crowded usually. It's also very small: there's not much of it that is not seen in the photo. You can see the sea caves here. This is also a good place to go snorkeling (to see many fish including the Garibaldi) and to see crabs and other creatures in the tidal pools, which are mostly flooded in this photo and to the right. The picture is from a year ago, but we came back in September and spent quite a bit of time here.

The Nazi Boutique

I did a double-take when I saw this sign at a shopping place at La Jolla Cove in California a year ago. I eventally saw the actual entrance and sign for the place: it was really the Mazi Boutique, and I think it was some sort of art gallery.

Has anyone seen any real bad business signs during their travels, vandalized or otherwise?

Lifeguard Box

Back to some randomly chosen photos and comments. This attractive copper lifeguard box is found at the shore in La Jolla, California. I think there is a phone or something inside it. This is one where I recommend clicking to see the large picture for the cool metallic detail. Surf's up!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

(Another Texas postscriptum)

One more of the sea turtle (the last remaining good one photo other than the video footage). The Hawksbill is a critically endangered sea turtle. "Hawksbill turtles have a wide range, found predominantly in tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans" - from Wikipedia. In Texas, they are said to be "occasional" visitors on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Shell length can be up to 36 inches. I think this juvenile's shell was more than 1/3 of this length. The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is another one found in Texas at the Padre Island National Seashore. There was said to be one of these at one of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex's other aquariums. It's supposed to be illegal to disturb them in the wild.

Warm Showers

(a Texas postscriptum)

(cue "Pina Colada" song for sole reason of "getting caught in the rain" lyric) I was warned of hail right after I went to East Texas. I guess I view dramatic weather with less than the fear I should give it, so I was actually curious to see the first hailstorm I'd seen in ages. Maybe that was dumb: I have no idea how nasty Texas hailstorms can be. I still have no idea. I also have no idea what it's like to drive on hail.

There was no hail, but for a bit when I was outside, I was caught in the rain. The rain was warm, which I'd not experienced for a few months, so it wasn't as unpleasant as it could be. Warm rain showers. After that, it was a cloudburst. The kind that shuts off electric traffic signals. No fun there.

I figured I'd add this item because of another blog where some guy's always leaving comments involving warm showers. Hailstorm wisdom and anecdotes are always welcome, even the ones of the "When I was a kid, we once had hailstones the size of volleyballs" kind. I remember hailstones the size of buckeyes or chestnuts. More about buckeyes later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No sunset photo

part 6:
Sorry, no sunset photo this time. I'll have to take it on faith that the sun shines in Texas. I never saw it, and I do remain doubtful.

Dallas Skyline

part 7:
(cue theme song from Dallas TV show). This photo actually was taken before the aquarium photos, so it is out of order. So be it. The building with the round thing on it toward the right is lit up at night, I believe, making it look even more like a microphone. It's called the Reunion Tower. I've been told that it's kind of scary deep in Dallas, so I didn't want to linger. It was a little cold, and the sky was rather dreary. Overall, however, it was a nice day. This concludes the series of photos. There are some left out, such as some blurry fish pictures (one or two of which might show up later) and one of the Grassy Knoll of "JFK assassination" fame. I have no photos at all from my second day in "the Metroplex".

Sea Turtle

part 5:
This is the lone resident Hawksbill sea turtle at the Aquarium at Fair Park. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this one was about a foot-and-a-half long. I do not know the sex of this one. I hope I remember this correctly: Male sea turtles need good flippers for mating maneuvers, and female sea turtles need good flippers for digging nests for their eggs. This one had a damaged front flipper and a damaged rear flipper, so I guess it's pretty good that it is in the zoo rather than in the wild. One of the reasons described to me for damaged flippers is that seagulls can peck at juvenile sea turtles.

If you click on the picture, you will see some pretty good detail in the much larger photo. Sorry about the flash glare on the left!

His/her tank was in a corner, and he/she seemed fairly happy and active. Just next to the tank was a shark tank at feeding time, and I think there were only two of us in the crowd who looked at the turtle.

This is my lone experience with any sea turtle (and I'm not sure I've ever been near the natural habitat of sea turtles) , so I don't have much to add in the way of past experiences. There is another photo, a side view, below. Just a couple more photos left in this "travelogue" series.

Texas State Motto

part 4:
I figured since my recent entries in the blog were about Texas, I'd change the description to the Texas state motto, regardless of what it was. I looked it up and the Texas state motto turned out to be "Friendship". Just one word, a state motto I'd not heard of before, and I've seen worse state mottos. This one seems to fit, as I met friends and friendly people in both of the main places where I spent my time in Texas. This even included a gas station attendant. Friendly people who were able to put up with my disrupted hearing.

Texas seems to have has a good soul, not like some of the dour places I've been to or those places where there seems to be something ugly brewing just below the surface. There's even a certain favorite city of mine where I hear every once in a while that there is something evil brewing there always.

I tried to find a motto for Dallas specifically, but all I could find was this one: I WANT WHAT I WANT AND I WANT IT YESTERDAY.

Comments are welcome as always. Perhaps something about how friendly some places are or aren't, or about state or city mottos.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fair Park Aquarium

part 3:
This is the entrance sign for the Dallas Aquarium building at Fair Park. It's not the largest aquarium in the "Metroplex", and it wasn't full of trendy modern chrome and it didn't have a restaurant, but I considered it to be well attended and well stocked. The $4 price was a fair deal, considering aquariums 3 times as large costing at least 3 times more. At my friend's suggestion, I figured it would be a good idea to see a sea turtle, and the Aquarium at Fair Park had one.

Fair Park in Dallas has several attractions. Several other cities have been enhanced by the presence of "leftover" fairgrounds which I have seen in varying degrees in my travels. San Diego features Balboa Park, which was once the Panama-California Exposition (1910-1916). It contains the world reknowned San Diego Zoo. Chicago has museums on the former grounds of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. To find out more about the Columbian Exposition, read "The Devil in the White City". I strongly recommend this book. Fair Park is also the home of the Texas State Fair. It is the only unaltered pre-1950s World's Fair site in the nation.

Shopping center parking lots

part 2:
A couple of nondescript restaurants in a nondescript strip shopping center development. I still have not eaten at a Quiznos. I was scheduled to eat at this one upon "de-planing", but I received an unexpected huge breakfast on the plane just before the plane landed and decided not to skew what was already an unusual dining schedule for the day.

Next to this Quiznos is a regular restaurant; a nice hospitable place, and I assumed it stays open quite late. Therefore, there's no reason that people who eat there can't stay inside and have coffee or something at a table rather than continue conversations afterwards in the very cold parking lot right in front of the restaurant after their dinner. Especially someone warned us not to stay out there because it was not a safe area.

But no. I stood there talking to my friend, with my back to a busy commercial strip that offered several additonal late-night restaurant/coffee options as well. And we really did start to freeze. Looking back, I think I spent 6 or 7 hours of one day at this nondescript strip shopping center development that I will likely never see again (inside two restaurants and out in the parking lot). But time spent with friends is time well spent, even if it is not in the best places.

A visit with the Romulans

part 1:
And so the journey begins. As with many such journeys, a stop off at Romulus to see what the Romulans are doing happens early on. The birds-of-prey are run by companies like Northwest, American Airlines, and Continental. I'm talking, of course, about the Detroit Metro Airport, which really is located in Romulus.

In this photo, a Romulan walks past a Quiznos in the food court area. Notice that the Romulan is blurred: I think maybe he was in the middle of engaging a personal cloaking device at the time the photo was taken. Now, I have no idea if he was a real Romulan or not: the tips of his ears were hidden by the baseball cap.

I did make sure to drop by the Quiznos to inspect their menu. Even though the Quiznos was not open. I really had never been to one before, but was scheduled to go to one later that day, and wanted to see what they served, and maybe see if there were any coupons sitting there or something.

Not all was closed: a place next to it was selling big ol regular sloppy pizza slices. For breakfast.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another sunset

Found another sunset photo. This was from closer to home, on the eastern shore of Lake Superior in Canada. It was a couple of years ago.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Eagle in Flight

This picture of an eagle flying was snapped near La Crosse, Wisconsin last year around this time. Around this time of year, many bald eagles (even flocks of them) can be seen around the Mississippi River around La Crosse, Wabasha and other parts of the area. I know I saw scores of bald eagles without even trying very hard.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sundog (December 2004)

Just two days ago, I saw sundogs alongside the sun. I did not have my camera with me, or I would have snapped a photo. Fortunately, I just now found a photo of a sundog from December of 2004. The sun is on the left, and the sundog is on the right. There was, as there usually is, another sundog over on the left (off the edge of the photo). I think I've only ever seen this three times: once back around 1992, once in 2004, and just a few days ago. Each time it was very cold (which I believe is necessary for sundog creation). Has anyone else seen sundogs before, or anything unusual in the sky?

Rhinos (San Diego, September 2006)

Just a nice picture of a couple of rhinos, as seen from the tram tour at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. That's not armor plating, even though it might look like it. It's just the way the tough skin folds. There was a baby rhino around; I'll have to find the picture.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

"Final" Harry Potter day Announced

The release of the final Harry Potter book has been announced for midnight July 21, 2007. The last release was on July 15, 2005. Downtown went all out for this and had a Potter festival of sorts. They had a scavenger hunt, a sort of Quidditch (?) and other games, many stores renaming themselves and staying open past midnight, lots of great window displays, costumed Potter fans galore, real live owls, and more. If I recall correctly, there was one store that pretty much had a name right out of the Potter books, but it was closed during this for some reason.

I hope to be there for this one, with a better camera this time (I think my hard drive ate the pictures from the last one), and perhaps looking the part a little more than the last one (which was not at all) by wearing something Potter-related. If the trend of the past books continues, this last book will be heavier and drearier than any of the previous ones.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hawk Attack

Well, I did end up going out in the snow, only to go next door. I passed this grisly scene near the bird feeder. I'd never seen something like this before. A hawk managed to get a cardinal an hour or two before I took this photo. Feathers and tufts were strewn over a 20 foot wide area.

I guess I'm not going anywhere today

This is a picture of the yard taken from inside looking out through a screen window, about 30 minutes ago. I don't think I'm going out at all today.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I miss her. We had such good times.

I miss her so much.

We had such good times together. Any time of the day, she was just a phone call away, ready to give me what I needed.

She's been gone a few years now, and she is missed.

I'm referring, of course, to the Time Lady. You know, that voice that would say "At the tone, the time will be...", and was always located at a number ending in 1212. A few years ago, she stopped answering. Now there is no way to find out what time it is without using a short-wave radio. The times showing on clocks in the house are now all over the place. Computer clocks always seem to be off, as do cell phone clocks. Computer network clocks are even worse. Now everywhere I go, there seem to be a variation in what clocks and watches say the time is that varies by as much as 10 or 15 minutes. I just want time to be measured more accurately.

Where did she go? I figured I'd ask Google. Sure enough, there's a nice biographical page:

Jane Barbe died in 2003, which is around when the time lady phone number went silent.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You know you're from Michigan when...

This has been kicking around for years in different forms, before blogging and maybe even before the Web came about.:

You know you're from Michigan when...
.... you define Summer as three months of bad sledding
.... you have ever gotten frostbitten and sunburned in the same week
.... you can identify an Ohio accent
.... you point at the palm of your right hand when telling people where you grew up
.... octopus and hockey go together as naturally as hot dogs and baseball
.... traveling coast to coast means going from Port Huron to Muskegon
.... a Big Mac is something you can drive across
.... you have no problem spelling Mackinac Island
.... you have as many Canadian coins in your pockets as American ones
.... you know that a place called "Kalamazoo" really exists
.... you bake with "soda" and drink "pop"
.... you don't have a coughing fit from one sip of Vernor's
.... you know what a Vernor's is
.... you know WHY Paradise is colder than Hell
.... your car rusts out before the brakes wear out
.... if you think of Indiana as the South
.... half of the change in your pocket is Canadian.
.... you know that Pontiac and Cadillac are cities (and people!) as well as cars
.... you can travel through Detroit and not get mugged
.... your idea of reaching Climax is driving just past Kalamazoo.

Any such lists for other states?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A very nice river photo in Montana

I took this photo from near the mouth of the Lewis and Clark Cave in Montana a few years ago. I don't think I'd bothered to look at it until yesterday, when I noticed "that is one of the nicest landscape snapshots I've ever taken". I figured I would share it. Just a nice photo, that's all. Make sure to click and blow it up.

Sinclair Sign, Somewhere in Idaho

I snapped this picture somewhere in Idaho a few years ago. I think it was near the nuclear section of Idaho, but I didn't think to on the look-out for radioactive brontosaurs. I tend to stop at Sinclair stations when I can, because they seem to be so rare, I always liked the dinosaur, and I have memories of my dad getting green plastic dino toys when he'd fill up the car at one.
Here's a rather specific question. Sinclair Gas Stations. Does anyone see them anymore? Does anyone remember them anymore?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Meerkat at San Diego Zoo (2006)

This is probably the best of the meerkat photos. The bright sun and shade did not make for the best lighting for photography. The San Diego Zoo has several tiny meerkat compounds scattered all over. You can watch them for hours. They look so wise and polite, but I think they are just some kind of weasel.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blurred Sea Horse

Back to California, to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla.

Too bad this fellow is blurred. There are a couple of reasons: it's kind of hard to get a good focus on an aquarium photo, and the tail and the fin were moving. The fin on the back is always moving very fast: this is the propelling fin. I think this one was just a few inches long. They are always a lot of fun to watch.

Male seahorses experience pregnancy. Female seahorses do not.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Can you find the sea dragon? (September 2006)

Can you spot the sea-dragon (From the Birch Aquarium near San Diego).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Las Vegas Jellyfish (September 2003)

The mesmerising jellyfish tank at Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay casino.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Cats of Rome

This is one of the myriad feral/stray cats of Rome. Large numbers of them inhabit the Coliseum, the Palatine Hill, the Forum and other ruins and places in the city center. We were told that a charity feeds them lots of pasta, which might sound nice, but it does not meet a cat's nutritonal needs. I hope they add vitamins or protein or something similar.

The cats were not friendly. They tended to stay away by themselves. Astonishingly enough, there are estimated to be 300,000 feral cats in Rome living in over 2000 colonies (

You will see some of the other cats in later entries in this blog, but not all 300,000.