Sunday, February 26, 2006

Before the rain...

With the threat of returning winter rain Sunday, Jeff and I decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures. We headed south to the Pinnacles National Monument--about two and a half hours south of San Francisco. This is a hiking park, so we chose a trail that would take us to one of the more unique local features--the Bear Gulch caves. This gave us a nice view of the landscape, the rocks (including numerous that is not Jeff nor me), and some cool caves to walk through.

Right on cue...the rain arrived Sunday morning. The garden is happy :)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Update from Russia...

Well, I did in fact write back to my Russian spammer and indicate that I'm sure that she had the wrong address. I did this from a safe address to see what direction the spam would take. Well, I got a lengthy response in very broken English. I won't include it all, but a small segment will give you an idea.
"I the operator in the telephone company. I am 27 years old. My growth of 176 centimeters. I like music and to dance. My hobby it cheerfully to spend time with friends. ... Probably it is interesting to you why I decided to get acquainted with you. It is very simple. Recently my fellow worker married the person. Certainly we girls envied her. But when I learned that she got acquainted with the husband on the Internet and that he from other country I decided too to try to find somebody."
Oh, she also included a slightly tawdry photo. So, being the paranoid sort (and Jeff being even more cautious than me), I will let the conversation die here. I don't want all of this to lead in some nefarious direction. Something tells me that the next email will contain a plea for money or something like that.

Back to photos of random places.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Egg update...

Well, early official reports from my folks would seem to indicate that 1) our mysterious egg is possibly a Morning Dove egg, and 2) real egg reportings would include a ruler or some scale reference. So here...a ruler. Ok, ok, it also proves that I don't know how long a centimeter is since the egg was really 2.5 cm long.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

E-mail from Russia...

OK, I love a good spam email. Particularly the ones from victims of political turmoil pleading with me to help them transfer huge sums of money. Truly, they make me chuckle. But today's spam from the mysterious "Elena" has me puzzled. The social scientist in me always wants to figure out the hook that would lure unsuspecting recipients to reply with their personal information. But "Elena" had no hook. Her email didn't make sense, and I don't know what she WANTS from me. Sigh.

Check this out...the punctuation and grammar are directly copied. Its still fascinating.
"Hi! My name is Elena , My job in Moscow , but now i'm workingin Saint-Petersburg. I'd like to travel between Saint-Petersburg andMoscow all the time, I work for a phone-provider company. I will giveyou more detail later. You can email me on my work email address I will send a photo and tell you more if you reply."
Huh? Oh, "Elena". Why am I drawn to this stuff?

And, no, I have no new pictures this morning to accompany this posting. I'm off to class this afternoon, however, so I'm sure that I will have a fresh assignment to work on. Maybe the assignment will be "odd food products" and I'll be golden with my Bingles!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Egg and hornet...

Well, Mother Nature sent a couple of odd visitors to our garden today. One was a tiny, white egg--about one centimeter in length. I found it while I was planting some new items in the succulent garden. The egg was sitting in the open, on the it must have fallen or been carried from somewhere.

Secondly, we watched a lone hornet building the beginnings of a nest in the bougainvillea that Jeff was trimming. In one of my braver moments, I cut the limb and hid :) Victory is mine! (Ah, Stewie.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday morsels...

What a yummy food day! This morning, I made hearty blueberry pancakes and bacon for us. And this afternoon, I broke out the panini press that Jeff got me for Christmas--its a Cuisinart model, and thus far it is working quite nicely. I made delicious smoked turkey, bacon, and monterey jack paninis. I could truly eat these any time of day or day of the week. In the afternoon, on our errands out and about, I snapped another picture in my emerging graffiti series. This isn't an intentional series...this stuff is just catching my eye recently. I'm sure it will run its course, and I'll be back to fog and rain and blurry pictures soon :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Industrial park...

On mornings when traffic on the freeway into downtown is slow, I often take a meandering route through the City's Bayview neighborhood, which hugs the industrial eastern bay coastline. On one of these mornings, I noticed a small, out-of-place sign for a coastal park. So, I veered from my route, only to enter a pre-dawn apocalyptic world.

I've been drawn back to this unlikely spot several times, including this morning, when I knew the early morning light would really bring out the colors in the graffiti art.

Literally, every surface--from building to bench to fence to rock--is covered with the most elaborate street art. They even painted the tree! I will certainly go back for more, but enjoy these initial images.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Snowy pictures...

I wanted to post some of the photos from my snowy Sunday with my parents. Here are some random shots from their backyard, more colorful birds, Sparky eyeing a feathery morsel, and some steaming mussels for good measure. (My mother made a really nice mussel dish, which started with steamed mussels that were then baked in their shells with garlic, bacon, herbs, and breadcrumbs....YUM!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fudge and whipped cream...

Honestly, I toyed with a number of titles for this entry. My flight home from Dulles was quite uneventful. And all the annoying stories I could tell you about Dulles Airport (don't get me started), were washed away by my upgrade to First Class--FINALLY. Sooooo, I had to amuse myself somehow. Here were my working titles:
  • "Fudge and whipped cream...", which were the words of my very nice flight attendant as she offered me toppings on my ice cream dessert.

  • "Grey crab cakes...", which wasn't quite the color I was expecting United to serve me...also considering that I had scrumptuous crab cakes at Clyde's in Virginia this week.

  • "Red wine and Baileys...", neither of which the flight attendant allowed to let drop below half-glass the whole flight.

  • "First class ass...", for the clueless prick who boarded at the last minute with an enormous bag, ignored the attendants guidance that the overhead bins were full, and proceeded to open all of the bins in first class and acted shocked when they WERE ALL FULL.

Or my favorite subject: "I'm sure you could kill a man with a plastic knife..." And if not, then you do get real forks on airplanes...aren't those good at poking? We could try them on the guy with the huge suitcase!

Can you tell I was bored? (Hey, they show the same crappy movie in First Class :)

Whatever...I am home again.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Chickadees and Bingles...

While the rest of the mid-Atlantic sits paralyzed awaiting the storm of the century, my folks and I ventured out to buy a new mouse for their computer and supplies to make one of my favorite dinners--fried chicken. My Dad makes an awesome fried chicken. While we were at the store, I saw a snack food I had never heard of: Red Velvet Bingles. Honest. Well, it WAS Food Lion!

This morning, I did take a more interesting picture of a Carolina Chickadee at the feeder. My folks have a dozen feeders of different shapes and sizes around their back yard. The one at the window makes for some cool close encounters.

Week in review...

Well, I was in McLean all week for a training class. I'm posting today only because I don't want people to think I am dead.

Frankly, there is nothing to report. The class was excellent, but certainly not a subject for here (systems engineering certification, anyone?) My hotel stay was fine, but uneventful. I did get to have dinner with my dear friends Curt and Gretchen, but we didn't exactly solve world hunger over margaritas.

So, instead, I'm reporting on what must be the deal of the century. As I was falling asleep this week, I saw an ad on several late night TV shows that burned into my subconscious. Not one, but TWO, quality Doggy Steps for $39. The doggies looked happy to me.

I'm sorry. That's all I could come up with. I can't even come up with a good rant like Curt :)

Today, I'm waiting for the Big Snow Storm. Uh huh.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Report from seat 24C...

Remember my mantra: keep it positive. This will be a challenge. On a full Airbus A319, Seat 24C is one of those lucky seats which actually has negative personal space. It is in the last row, on the aisle. So then, what are the positives?

Well, I'm facing my claustrophobia. On one side, a heavyset Russian man sitting in the middle seat next to me, his arm clearly over that narrow armrest. In front of me, a fully reclined seat not seven inches from my nose. Behind me, preventing me from reclining AT ALL? That's right...the lavatory. And to the right...the never ending LINE for the lavatory.

The continuous lavatory line DID give me the chance to meet nearly every passenger, albeit at crotch level. Charming. For fun, I should have kept a list of who went #1 and who went #2.

...think positive...

Well, the constant B.O. from the two men next to me was whimsically covered every 5 minutes or so by a random scent each time the lavatory door was opened.

Another positive is that without any space in front of me, I couldn't be tempted to open my laptop and do email or anything. So, I did get to listen to my iPod the entire way...oh, and an inflight episode of The Office, which was really good.

See? I can keep it positive.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

iPod update...

Just a quick post to go on record and say that I love my iPod. (THANK YOU JEFF!) I flew from SFO to San Diego and back without buying a single magazine. This may not sound like a big deal...but I am Mr. Short Attention Span. I need constant entertainment. And my iPod, loaded with some select music and several Don and Mike Show clips kept me more than happy the entire trip. Honestly, this could EASILY pay for itself in cost avoidance at the newsstand in under a year.

Also, another quick item. I wanted to point everyone to the National Audubon website, where my mother was just elected to the national board of directors. I am so thrilled for her. :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm tired...

I just got in a couple of hours ago from two days in San Diego. Its raining, so Jeff and I grabbed some simple comfort food to go from La Corneta, our local (and excellent) Glen Park taqueria.

Anyhow, I'm too beat to tell tales of adventure and wonder :) So, I'll pop up a few cool pictures from the trip. First is the beautiful pre-dawn view from our balcony on Tuesday morning. Second is a shot of the amazing cloud/sunrise action happening over Half Moon Bay as we took off and banked to the south. And lastly is the San Diego skyline after dinner Tuesday evening.

More riveting stories when my brain is able to invent them.