Category Archives: Photography


I eat lots of broccoli, not because I like broccoli, but because I eat a lot of crap that’s “good” for me in my old age, and very little stuff (like ice cream and chocolate and bear claws and cheeseburgers and pizza and… you get the point) that I want to eat. Often to make it taste a little bit less like green, semi-crunchy cardboard, I’ll put a few drops of Sweet Baby Ray’s HOT sauce on it.

A couple nights ago dinner consisted of the aforementioned steamed fresh broccoli, plus a bunch of shrimp. I do love shrimp, and yes, it’s on that list with ice cream and pizza.

But we had no cocktail sauce. An error in my shopping calculations. So I improvised. I already had the Sweet Baby Ray’s out…

Double up the hot sauce on the broccoli, and then really lay it on while coating the shrimp in it.

Thinking about all of that hot sauce on something that my doctor would not approve of to begin with got me thinking. (Which is often not a good thing.)

See the source image

I won’t tell my doctor if you don’t! (And it wasn’t bad – I would have preferred the cocktail sauce, but it beats using ketchup!)


Filed under Health, Paul, Photography

They Found Out

When I went to check the mail this afternoon, I started to notice feathers on the lawn as I approached the mailbox. Lots of feathers.

Feathers on the sidewalk. In the flowers. In the dirt.

Feathers on the sidewalk. Feathers in the street for 50 feet or more downwind in the street.

Somewhere nearby, there was a hawk (or an owl) who was going to eat well tonight. And one less mourning dove. (They’re a long, long way from rare.)

WARNING: From here I start to spout off about California and US politics…

So, let’s think about today’s California gubernatorial recall election, where currently, just before 23:00 PDT, the New York Times page is showing the recall failing 66% to 34% with 64% of the votes counted…

Let’s say that the mourning dove was the GOP, sitting fat and sassy, oblivious to reality, believing themselves immune from consequences…

Let’s say that the hawk (or owl) was the people of California, completely fed up with this 100% high grade toxic bullshit that the GQP is pushing…

Like the mourning doves, there’s plenty more where that one came from.

This is where the analogy starts to break down, because the least of those mourning doves is a veritable Rhodes Scholar compared to the GQP’s finest. Comparing the IQ and common sense of a Republican to a mourning dove is an insult to the mourning dove. I had better not be parking my car under any of the wires they perch on.

Case in point, the GQP started releasing web sites yesterday alleged voter fraud that cost them the election. Yep, they were saying that over 24-hours before the actual election. So take their fraud allegation story with a large grain of salt and recognize it as the insane, fascist, undemocratic lie that it is.

The reality that they can’t accept is that there is no massive secret conspiracy to rig the election in favor of the Democrats. The simple fact is that the Republicans are lower than whale shit and folks are no longer believing their lies.

As I’ve noted, my pinned Tweet says:

No need to change that any time soon that I can see.

And finally, to paraphrase a popular joke about lawyers:

What do you call 1,000,000 Republicans buried up their chins in sand?

Not enough sand!

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Filed under Birds, Photography, Politics

Purple & Pink

Something related to morning glories, but they’re usually a little more blue.

These have always been more of a lavender color and a much brighter, more vivid shade of purple.

And “morning” glory or not, these prefer the middle of the afternoon to explode with color.

One thing that amazes me is how the blossom colors will vary so widely, even on the same stem or with flowers right next to each other.

They’re also a great draw for the hummingbirds.

It’s amazing what you can see if you keep your eyes open and be open to the experiences around you, even if you’re just dragging the empty trash barrels up from the street!

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Filed under Flowers, Photography

Lounging Squirrel – Chapter The Second

Walking through the kitchen to get a soda mid-day. Wait – what’s that out on the porch?

First of all, is it dead? It looks dead… Nope, it twitched. Is it dying? (And please excuse the Dodgers doormat out there. We’re really NOT that sort of people1 But when we moved in the landlord said it had to stay and three years later I still haven’t figured out if he was joking or not.)

I don’t want to move because he’ll bolt, but let’s use the zoom on the iPhone a bit.

Yep, he’s alive, and alert now that he knows I’m here. But he’s not tearing off across the yard and up the tree like he’s training for the Olympics.

This is definitely the closest I’ve ever seen him come up to the house. And he never lounges up on the porch. So what’s up?

When I posted his first lounging photo a few days ago, long-time follower of this blog Jemima Pett thought that it might be because when it got really hot, the concrete in the shade might still be cooler than the air and the critters would do it to stay cooler. That makes sense, but it would still be the first time that I’ve ever seen it. And today wasn’t “stupid hot,” just in the mid 90’s, when we’ve had plenty of days up above 110°, or even 120°. Maybe he was lounging by the pool at the neighbors house on those days, but now they’ve gotten a dog and we’re a pale, pathetic substitute.

I just hope this little beastie doesn’t figure out we’ve got the A/C on inside or he’ll be making a dash for the door when it opens. I don’t even want to think about all of the screaming, crying, and panic that would follow.


Filed under Critters, Photography

Take The Time

We can get way too tied up with work and deadlines and stress, and skip the little things that might only take a minute or two but which can make all the difference in the world to our quality of life and sanity.

Such was the case tonight when I got so caught up that I nearly missed this – Venus in the lower left, the three-day old crescent Moon above, just 4° away.

We got the work done, hit the deadline, it’s satisfying and rewarding – but then I urged others to go outside and look.

They’re smart, good people. They did. You should too.

Seek out the little, beautiful things. Tomorrow night the Moon will have moved, but it will still be beautiful, and if you look up and to your left towards the south and the zenith, you’ll see bright Jupiter, and between Jupiter and the Moon you’ll see Saturn. If you have even a pair of binoculars, you’ll be able to see a couple of Jupiter’s moons, and craters, mountains, and mare on the Moon. If you have even a small telescope you can see the rings of Saturn and maybe Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

But maybe it will be cloudy or raining! So sit in the garage or on the porch and listen to the rain, not just the rain-ish sounding 45-second loop on that meditation or relaxation app.

Or listen to the wind through the trees, or the wind chimes, or the surf on the shore. Even the sounds of traffic on a nearby freeway will sound like surf. (“Ish…”)

Whatever – don’t wait for a rainbow or lightning to see you out. Go searching for the beauty and force yourself to let your shoulders slump, your jaw unclench, you gut to untighten.

C’mon – you did all of that budget re-modeling and you built all of those massive, interlinked Excel files! Surely you can figure out how to relax for a few minutes!

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

That Time Of Month Again

Two days past new moon, and the thin, bright, crescent moon is making the evening sky in the west extra beautiful.

Every month there’s a good chance that something else relatively nearby (on an astronomical scale) will be up there with it.

This month it’s Venus, up there to the left. (Ignore the lens reflection of the moon up there on top, it’s an illusion.)

In theory, Mercury’s there right below the moon, about a smidge above the mountain in the lower right corner, but you won’t see it in these images. It’s still way to close to the Sun and will set before it gets dark enough to be seen. If you want to see it, go look back in May when they were all there together and a little higher and closer together.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space, Sunsets

The Valley Below

I do enjoy the view at night from our back yard out to the east across Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

At some point in the not-so-distant future (or not, who knows?) we may end up in a flat place in a flyover state or back on the East Coast. I’ll probably miss the mountains and the views.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography

A Second Clear Night

Last night’s post was rushed – I was running out of time before my self-imposed “posting deadline” of midnight. So it got cut off abruptly, with the bottom line being that I could see the bright star Capella rising very, very near the horizon in the northeast. That’s rare in SoCal, especially these days, since there’s usually so much haze and coastal clouds scattering the ever present light pollution.

Tonight it was clear again, so I went to take pictures. Again it’s clear, but Capella doesn’t rise until after 22:00, and it doesn’t clear the fence until after 23:00, so this will be rushed as well. (For example, I didn’t have the time to clean up all of the “hot” pixels in Photoshop – please ignore all of those bright red and bright purple specks.)

First of all, here’s a very quickly annotated copy – the (currently) sideways “W” or “M” shape of Cassiopeia  up high, near the north pole, which is unmarked but just to the left of it, right around the left edge of the image. And down below, grateful for that hole or notch in the top of the hedge, is Capella.

Here’s the unedited image. Click on it to blow it up and explore.

And there’s one more item annotated in the image, just to the left of the tree, a bit above Cassiopeia – that’s the Andromeda Galaxy.

No kidding!

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

Lounging Squirrel

How can I hate his furry, mangy, potentially rabid little butt when he’s this cute?

It was hot in the sun, but nice in the shade.

So the sidewalk was juuuuuust right for his tummy.

He was digesting and relaxing, haven eaten his fill of the birdseed that was supposed to be for the birds!

He might have just been too full to run away. His daily birdseed theft is one of the reasons for my hatred. But then he’s so cute…

I hope I don’t get bubonic plague from him.


Filed under Critters, Photography

Grocery Jenga

I don’t know what the grocery store ecosystem is like where you are, but here in Los Angeles the self-serve checkout started moving in and taking over a few years back. Now, at any major supermarket, you’ll typically have one or two human cashiers and a dozen or more automated checkout systems. The only time I ever go to a human checker is if I have liquor of some sort. You can’t buy that at self-service because the robot can’t check your ID.

One of the problems with those automated checkout systems is that the area you put groceries in after you’ve scanned is is a bit on the small side. You don’t have an option of putting the scanned groceries somewhere else. The system is weighing each piece as you scan it, along with the overhead cameras and internal security cameras, to make sure that you’re not stealing. So if you have let some of the staples (canned goods, toilet paper, cereal, and so on) slide for a while and then decide to stock up, you can start to run out of room pretty quick.

When you have limited space jammed to the edge, then it’s time to start going vertical.

Grocery Jenga!

Our store has one employee attendant who babysits six stations and clears jams and helps those who are running into this system for the first time. My grocery mentor yesterday wanted to come and take a picture for winning this week’s “competition.” What the heck, why not? Do I win anything? Customer of the week parking? $20 off?

Let’s not be silly.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography, Silly Shit