Friday, July 31, 2009

No Shootout this week...

I'm finishing up moving this week and wasn't able to get to this week's assignment. :( Plus, it took a lot longer than anticipated to get the internet hooked up.

I'll be back next week, I promise!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday "My Town" Shootout--"Reflections"!

This week's theme was chosen by Audrey in Canada.

Alas, I'm in the process of moving this week, so I didn't have time to head out and take pictures, so I'm looking back in the ol' archive for my most absolute favorite reflection photo.

These were taken last October; my cousin was getting married in Cape Cod, Massachusetts at twilight.

I now see why photographers refer to this hour as "the magic hour"!

No filters whatsoever were used here.

To set the scene....

And here it is. My aunt and uncle liked this photo so much that they used it in their Christmas letter! (Take a look in the "tidepool" in the foreground. :) )

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday "My Town" Shootout--Yard objects!!

Since I live in an apartment, I don't have a yard.... so I went to my parents' house and used theirs!

There are tulips abound in the backyard, and a lot of the bulbs have grown together, giving us these "hybrids". Also growing are purple and white tulips!

Another thing about living in California... fresh fruits and veggies! My parents have two orange trees, plus an ever-bearing lemon tree. I can't remember the last time they actually bought citrus!

Lastly, just as an amusing aside, this little guy peeks out from amongst the daffodil greens.

Now go enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday "My Town Shootout"--Texture!!

This week's theme was chosen by shootout team member Linda from Canada--TEXTURE!

Remember to click on the pics for full size! (and take a look at my excursion to San Francisco post below this one!)

How about some leafy greens?

Or how about some iron in your diet??

And a little fruit and nut for some variety. ;)

Monday, July 6, 2009

I left my heart.... in San Francisco...

Since the Bay Area is such a melting pot and accessible from all over, today I adventured over to see the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (SF's Golden Gate Park is bigger than NYC's Central Park, thank you very much!). Matter of fact, Joe DiMaggio himself played baseball on the park's diamonds as a kid.

Unfortunately, cameras weren't allowed in the exhibit, so the images will have to live in my mind (which is a shame, since the lighting in there is so spectacular!).

Remember to click on the pictures to see them full-size!

The item used here is the top of one of his canopic jars. It's amazing to see the amount of detail and construction in all these items, and yet they had no benefit of our modern tools and technology.

Ponds all over the place... and the waterlillies were blooming!

Okay, you movie buffs... does this look familiar?! What movie was it used in?

(if you guessed "The Wedding Planner" with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConnaughey, you're right!)

We next headed across the concourse and went to the California Academy of Sciences. It was founded in 1853 and they recently re-opened in the park in their new $500 million state-of-the-art building. This building is AMAZING... it's all about being green and sustainable. 60% of the building is insulated with recycled blue jeans, the roof is a garden that cools the building as well as collects the rainwater to be used for watering, radiant heating in the floor, solar panels for energy and heating, lots of windows for natural light thus eliminating the need for artificial light, and on top of that, this museum was recently certified as the "greenest museum in the world." I'm not one for being over-the-top green and eco-friendly, but the things considered here are mind-blowing!

A panorama of the new digs...

The Northern California Kelp Forests...

Docents cheerfully assist academy visitors at the ever-popular tidepool exhibit!

An eel is rocking the black and white.

One of the intriguing alligator gar fish.

A snapping turtle chilling in the swamp exhibit... to his friend, the albino American alligator! For obvious reasons, he can't live in the wild!

The Academy claims this guy was used for research for the Jurassic Park films... I'd hate to tell him otherwise!

I then headed towards the Living Roof.... this shot is of the coastal shore exhibit as well as the queue waiting to get into the rainforest exhibit that's 4 stories tall!

These two shots are of informational panels about the roof.

Shot across the concourse, showing the de Young Museum (where the Tut exhibit was) as well as some of the 60,000 solar cells.

This shows their plan for using nature's AC--the marine layer and Bay Breeze--as a way to cool the museum. The area in the center there is an open-air piazza where there are tables set up to eat lunch or just enjoy the sunshine (assuming the famous fog hasn't rolled in!)

Even though the building is almost a year old, they're still planting on the roof!

A panorama from the roof....

And a parting shot... picturesque Sutro Tower with the Living Roof in the foreground.

Thanks for "coming with me" on the excursion!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone had a happy 4th of July!!

Dublin itself doesn't have a "central" 4th celebration (but they have legalized the "safe and sane" fireworks, so people celebrate that way). I instead headed over to the neighboring town, Pleasanton, to take part in their festivities; the annual theme is "Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution".

I was actually taking part in the celebration by playing in the community band onstage, so most of these pictures were taken by my mom--thanks, Mom!

Here, greeter Barbara Lucich hands out programs and American flags to attendees.

Our Master of Ceremonies Ken McDonald.

Our local Lions club was selling lunch--a hot dog, soda, and a bag of chips, all for $1! Thank you, Lions Club!

Our local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) legion presents the colors.

The all-volunteer Pleasanton Community Concert Band provides patriotic music for the afternoon (and I'm up there! :) ).

Our own "Uncle Sam" (AKA Pleasantonian Ward Belding) reads a tribute to Abraham Lincoln (and for the record, he owns that suit and his mother made it for him in high school--and he can still fit into it!).

Recognizing veterans and thanking them for serving!

It was a good 'ol flag-waving celebration!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday "My Town Shootout"--Celebrate LIFE!

This week's Friday Shootout theme was chosen by Doreen from Michigan--Celebrate LIFE!

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I ever get back.
For it's root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

What better way to celebrate life this 4th of July weekend than with the American pastime--BASEBALL! Dublin is ridiculously close to Oakland, home of the Oakland Athletics, and with Dublin's proximity to our commuter rail, it's an easy trip--no driving involved, and there's a train station AT the ballpark. Piece of cake!! I played ball as a kid, and as a family we attended a number of games throughout my years as a kid. I've also taken my father to a game annually for Father's Day for a number of years (Mom comes along too!), and it's always a fantastic photo opportunity. Remember to click on the pictures to see them full size!


These little kids are getting the opportunity of a life.... an autograph of a major league baseball player. It's probably one of the best days for them... and they'll celebrate it! (random note... I love my camera's 12X optical zoom! My seats are in the bleachers and I was able to get this close without using the digital zoom!)

A family soaking up the glorious California sunshine. We were having a heat wave, and since Oakland is on the Bay, we get nature's AC, the marine layer, which made the day wonderfully comfortable (whereas Dublin hit 108* that day!)

It was also Little League Day, so the team hosted a number of little league teams. The teams from Stockton (to the East) got to walk around on the warning track before the game (more on that later).

The A's mascot, Stomper!! He's quite the entertaining pachyderm. He comes around the track during the pre-game festivities of the weekend games, and he usually has a rap/hip-hop song by an Oakland artist blaring over the PA system and he then jives behind homeplate with his "driver".

But today, he had "The Tonight Show" theme from Johnny Carson's days playing over the PA, and he was CELEBRATING the LIFE of Ed McMahon. (taken off the JumboTron)

Here's more about the Stockton kids. One of the A's players, pitcher Dallas Braden, hails from Stockton and grew up being raised by a single mother who had to scrimp and save to give him the chance to play little league. Seeing her struggle, he's "adopted" a few kids annually who have single parents and he covers all the costs involved in playing on a little league team. See here for more info. The real neat thing? The kids got to throw out the first pitch!

Sundays are also "Take the Field with the A's" days, so one little league team from the Bay Area gets to head out on the field for the National Anthem, get an autograph from "his" player, and then stand on the field with the player for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Way cool. :)

Two little boys near us who were proudly wearing the day's freebie... a neat A's cap!

Unfortunately, the team wasn't showing much life, and centerfielder Ryan Sweeney stepped up to the plate to try to remedy that....

... and he did it! Line drive, scoring the runner from third base!! Here, fans CELEBRATE the spark of LIFE the team is showing!!

And then the TEAM CELEBRATES!!

Alas, the spark wasn't big enough. The A's lost to the Colorado Rockies, 3-1.