Found this Monarch larva in the backyard hanging from a metal stand as it was searching for a solid spot from which to start the process of transforming into a chrysalis. I was lucky I shot it when I did because later it was gone.
Drove my mom to a scheduled brain MRI today at Thornton. It almost didn’t happen because after we checked in and the nurse saw that I had written down that my mom previously had heart valve replacement surgery. They needed to know the make and model of the valve to make certain the powerful magnet …View full post
After my morning flu shot I took my mom to a local Starbucks to get her out and into public a bit. She really enjoys these types of easy, social outings. We also split a slice of their always delicious lemon loaf cake that goes so well with coffee. With all of her recent medical …View full post
Got my annual flu shot at a local Costco, this year by a pharmacist named of Simon. This was first time that I can remember being inoculated by a guy. No innocent flirting this year. This time the needle seemed to bigger than in past years and the serum itself burned more. Wasn’t painful and …View full post
My Tumblr blog turned two years old today! Reminded me that I actually have to do something with it again. Got plenty of my images to share and other people’s stuff to repost. Now to just remember to do it. A gift of cotton is appropriate. Because sharing feels good: Bookmark on Delicious Digg this …View full post
Took my mom for a regular appointment with her primary care doctor just to make sure she was doing ok and to see if her meds needed any adjusting. After her brief exam my mom was given a memory test to compare the results with one she took six months ago. Unfortunately the nurse gave …View full post
May 07 2012
May 06 2012
Had our very first meet-up of photographers who enjoy taking shots at the San Diego Zoo and posting their photos on Flickr, where I also created a group for us. I arrived at the Zoo a bit early so I could get together with Rick Schwartz, the Zoo’s Ambassador, and talk to him about where I can take the group for a personal presentation and photo-op of an animal, something he and I set up ahead of time as a surprise for the other photographers. I met him over at the Children’s Zoo after I watched a meerkat named Matata being taken for a walk on a leash by her handler Maya, who would later end up also being a presenter for our meet-up.
After talking to Maya for a while about Matata, Rick and I walked back to the espresso stand, the planned meeting spot near the entrance, to wait for the other photographers to arrive, none of whom I’d met before except for my regular zoo photo friend, Heather. By 9:30 they had all arrived except for Matt, the Zoo’s social media planner, who, as I would later find out, unfortunately wasn’t feeling well. Our group included Heather, Ion, Penny and her husband Nick, Mollie, Nathan, Deric and his wife, Patricia, and myself. Pretty good turnout for a bunch of online friends/real-life strangers.
After all the introductions were made, Rick had to leave for another short VIP presentation, so the rest of us talked amongst ourselves until about 9:50, when I led the group back to the Children’s Zoo for our surprise photo-op with Rick. On our way there we stopped briefly to take some shots of a mother duck leading her six tiny chicks across a busy walkway.
Once inside the back part of the Children’s Zoo, we waited just a short time before Rick and another keeper named Katie brought out Isa, a rambunctious male Fossa who was in quite the playful mood. He kept trying to bite Rick’s thumbs while he was giving us information and answering questions about Isa. Because of his energetic, early morning playfulness we had about ten minutes to take closeups of Isa before he had to be taken back into his enclosure. I thought we were done with the photo-op but then Rick surprised even me by telling us to walk over to the Clark Theater where he would also bring out a bird for us to see.
We headed over to the little theater area while Rick went back to clean up before bringing out the next animal model. While waiting we were being entertained by Sam, a blue-colored Hyacinth Macaw, who had flown down from his perch and was walking around on the ground until keeper Katie came out to take him back.
Shortly thereafter, Rick came out with a beautiful little Pygmy Falcon. He talked to us for about five minutes, with all of us snapping dozens of shots. Then Maya, the keeper who earlier was walking Matata the Meerkat, came out with a brightly colored Cardinal Lory named Clifford. This was also about a five-minute presentation with lots of picture taking. Once everything was done I gave Rick a large bag of plain m&m’s as a thank you for him taking some time to meet with us.
The group of us photogs then decided to head down to get some shots of the three recently introduced and critically endangered Amur Leopard siblings. After a few minutes of intense picture-taking we headed over to the Malayan Tigers to watch them get fed. Deric and I stopped along the way to say hi to a couple of curious Babirusa. At the Tigers we met up with another photographer who gave us his card for possibly meeting up elsewhere at a later date.
Heather and I then decided to have lunch so we said our goodbyes to the group and walked back toward the entrance to eat at the Front Street Cafe & Cantina. By pure coincidence we ended up running into Rick again who was on his lunch break so he joined us. The three of us had a really good chat about all things Zoo.
This initial photo meet-up turned out much better than I was hoping for, thanks in no small part to the extreme generosity of keepers Rick, Katie and Maya as well as to the friendliness of the rest of the group. I’m already really looking forward to our next one.
( m e e t – u p p i c s )
May 05 2012
May 04 2012
Went to see The Avengers today (opening day) with Sylvia and Rodrigo. Came away convinced that this was absolutely, hands down, the best superhero movie ever made. Joss Whedon has proven his big-budget movie-making genius. Action, drama, dialogue, humor, pathos…this movie had it correct in spades. Wonder Woman, schmunder woman. He should be extremely proud of this achievement. I know I will still be thinking about this movie for the next few days.
After the movie we walked over to an El Torito for lunch and the three of us spent the entire time talking about our favorite scenes.
This is a film I would definitely like to see a few times.
May 03 2012
May 03 2012
Took my mom to see Dr. Boluw (temporarily filling in for Dr. Romero) this afternoon after a few days of suffering from mysterious and intermittent back pains. Dr. Boluw was very patient (oxymoron?), friendly and thorough with her questions. She even ordered a couple of x-rays, which we took care of right afterwards. Hopefully it can be taken care of quickly and easily, once all the test results come back.
In the examination room we were greeted with a plethora of physiology wall charts, none of which had anything to do with my mom’s condition. Below is a photo of one such descriptive chart.
External rectal venous plexus in perianal space?
May 02 2012
Created a “Pin It For Tigers” pinboard on Pinterest for a chance to win a behind-the-scenes close-up encounter with large “cats” at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park for the park’s 40th anniversary. Right away went looking for and found some amazing images of tigers to pin from around the world.
Wish me luck.
May 01 2012
This afternoon I watched a live, fifteen minute address by President Obama. That alone is nothing extraordinary and it doesn’t matter whether I agreed with him or not. What I found to be absolutely amazing is that I was watching the President of the United States speaking live on my computer from Bagram, Afghanistan, a country 7,74o miles away. Roosevelt’s fireside chats seem so Third World now.
The Internet continues to dramatically change they way we all communicate and get our information.
May 01 2012
Finally edited and uploaded to YouTube the video I captured on my cell phone of the closing credits theme to Star Wars: A New Hope performed at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park here in San Diego. It was recorded during the Earth Fair festival on Earth Day, April 22.
It sounded much better in person.
Apr 30 2012
After our visit to the Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park, I drove up to Old Town with my former classmates, Ron and Barbara, to have one final Mexican dinner for Ron before he flies back home to Pennsylvania.
We decided to try a new place that even I had never eaten at called Fred’s Mexican Cafe. The wait staff was friendly, the decor was colorful and festive and the service was quick and polite. But it turned out to be not your average Mexican restaurant. A lot of items I expected to see on the menu just weren’t there, most importantly for me anything with shredded beef. They didn’t even have a chimichanga. The two half salads that my friends had came out without any dressing and we had to ask for it. Very surprisingly, they also didn’t have one of the most popular beers in San Diego, one of my favorites, Negra Modelo.
All that said, my combo meal of a Baja fish taco and shrimp enchilada with rice and black beans was really very good. If I had to eat there again I wouldn’t say no, but it also wouldn’t be my first choice.
Now if they could just make the home page on their website a little less awful.
After dinner we walked around a bit so Ron could find nice gifts to take back for his wife and daughter.
Apr 29 2012
Went for my first organizational meeting of volunteers for the brand new San Diego Comic Fest to be held this October at the Town and Country Resort in Mission Valley. Technically it was the second meeting, but I wasn’t here for the first one. It is being organized by many of the same individuals who started the hugely successful Comic-Con as teenagers and who miss the casual intimacy that has been lost at the larger comic conventions. We met up at Twiggs Bakery on Adams Avenue along Antique Row. We’ll need to find a larger venue once more volunteers start coming onboard.
Names were dropped, ideas were proposed, notes were taken, preliminary duties were assigned, and I had some hot chocolate.
Apr 28 2012
After finishing up weeding the milkweeds, I came inside the house for a little while when I heard the deep and heavy rumblings of a plane I am not used to hearing. Living under a regular flight path you get used to normal, every day plane sounds. I quickly glanced out my bedroom window and to my joy and amazement I saw a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, an American bomber much used during World War II, flying south over our backyard. By the time I grabbed my camera and ran outside it had already banked to the right and was flying out over the Pacific, heading west into a clichéd sunset. At least I got this shot before it flew away.
Apr 28 2012
So I did some more gardening today. A couple of days ago I discovered a Monarch larva on one of our milkweeds. Figured it was time to clean up the area so it can crawl on the ground from plant to plant easier. Really glad I did because I ended up finding an additional five more larvae.
Someday they’ll thank me.
Last picture is what I saw from our backyard and am so grateful that I wasn’t stuck in. So much better doing yardwork for butterfly larvae.
Apr 27 2012
Apr 26 2012
Absolutely stunning slow-motion photography. The barrel-rolling hummingbird is my favorite part, but the massive number of Monarch butterflies is mesmerizing.