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Sunday, 17 April 2011

GRAPHIC IMAGE (Dead Raccoon)

I apologize for the dodgy quality of the photo, but I've just spotted this raccoon near my house. It's clearly a victim of roadkill, which is incredibly ordinary.

This raccoon, however, is ridiculously large. I would wager that it weighs roughly 30-40 pounds (14-18kg).

This is only newsworthy to me because of the raccoon's size. Most raccoons we have around here are at most half the size of this specimen. The quality of the picture is so poor because that is the closest I could get without cutting out any part of the animal.

Poor guy, took it right on the chin, as dictates the stoic's manual.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

My Local Pool...CLOSED

I was walking by the community swimming pool, and was surprised to see this.

I have NEVER seen a duck in my neighborhood before, so somebody must have planted these duck droppings in the swimming pool. I'm not sure why, but apparently the health officer happened to come out and find 'duck droppings' in an area with no ducks!

Or, some ducks sneaked in and laid their droppings in the pool. I don't really know - just thought it was funny.

The ducks are still at large...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Kid Gets Caught Shoplifting

Here in southern California, we (read: guys) like to shop at places known only as 'T-Shirt Stores', or 5 for 10, as they are colloquially known.

One can purchase 3 high-quality plain t-shirts for $10 plus sales tax at these stores, so it makes little sense to steal something from these generous proprietors.

However, somebody didn't tell the kid in the picture above how cheap the garments cost, as he took it upon himself to steal clothing under the watchful eye of CCTV.

Thankfully, this petty thief has been shamed by the owner in this series of video stills that resides next to the door.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Truck Tipped Over

So I just encountered this incredible sight as I was driving, and have genuinely never seen something like this whilst stopped right beside it.

The cop told me that the driver is okay and then offered me free pre-mixed cement.

Ever seen anything like this before?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Interesting Storefront Sign

I'm not sure I've ever seen such an odd location in my overly sensitized suburban town, so this is a massive treat for me.

I'll be back on Monday to begin my Asian-style pastoral training. Anybody want to come with?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Fishing Boats

Fishing is one of my favorite things to do. I do it whenever I can - it's quite relaxing and is actually moderately fun.

Do you guys/girls ever go fishing? I do see girls fishing from time to time, so it's not unheard of.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

What's Your Favorite Fruit?

Mine is the strawberry. The sweetness and robustness of the flavor is just astonishing. The fact that it is produced in nature continues to amaze me.

So, what's your favorite fruit?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Clandestine Wal Mart Office

So, I thought I was entering Pacific Division R, but it turns out I was going to a top secret Wal Mart office. I won't betray the location of said office, but I certainly found it odd that they are so secretive about its whereabouts.

Why do you think they don't want anybody knowing where they are? Other tenants in the building don't even know it's a Wal Mart office - I asked two and they said it was a real estate company in there. Hmm. Very interesting.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Snail Without A Shell

Ever wondered what a snail looks like when he's outgrown his old shell and goes off to search for a new one? Well, wonder no more, as I have photos of such a snail on such a journey.

They really are fascinating creatures, the way in which they protect themselves is quite remarkable. It's really the first bullet-proof vest, if you think about it. They don armour that isn't part of their body in order to protect themselves.

I just find these simple creatures to be incredible.

Note: I found him on my trowel in the backyard, took him in the garage for some photos (he was a natural in front of the camera), and then brought him back to right where I found him. I even made a mark so I could return the trowel to the exact same place from which I took it. No snails harmed here; I love them far too much.

Awesome Tree House!

I would've loved to have had one of these when I was a kid. Too bad this was in a front yard, though. I'd have preferred it to be in the back.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Magnificent Suburbia

Perhaps the most interesting shots one can take in my delightful suburban neighborhood. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Massive Slug

Probably the biggest slug I've ever seen, as it slowly meandered across my path. Just to give an estimate of its length, it was roughly 2-3cm longer than my middle finger. Quite the invertebrate.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Lactose Intolerance

Over the past few years, I've noticed a growing intolerance to dairy products - a gradual move that has culminated in my breaking out in hives after consuming some yogurt.

Yogurt and cheese were my final hold-outs, and it appears that the former has gone the way of milk, cream, and many others. Now it's down to cheese, but I doubt I'll be able to eat that for very long.

Are you lactose intolerant? It started to hit me around 19-20 years old, and at 25, it's nearly destroyed my capacity to consume dairy products. Oh well, I won't lament the loss of the ability to process lactose - I'll just accept it.

Photo: Copyright, PA from telegraph.co.uk

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Giant Strawberry

This is the biggest strawberry I've ever seen. Has crop specialization gone too far? This thing is absolutely massive, and to be honest, I'm a bit uncomfortable eating it.

Fish

A beautiful fish, roughly 40cm long at the local nursery.

Friday, 25 March 2011

A Sad Day

Two snails mourning a lost friend. And perhaps eating him - I'm not entirely sure.

What Is Your Favorite Mobile Game/App?

My favorite game or app at the moment is Tiny Wings. I've been playing it for a couple months, and I still love it. It's just one of those games that you can't really stop playing.

What is your favorite mobile phone game or app at the moment? I'm always looking for new stuff, so I'm anxious to hear what my dear readers have to say!

Image: Copyright, Andreas Illiger

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What Is Your Favo(u)rite Television Show?

I'd have to say that I am partial to the Law & Order series and police procedural dramas in general.

That aside, I'm also quite fond of comedy and the odd sitcom.

What TV show(s) do you like? Which one do you like best?

I must admit I don't watch much telly, but when I do, I stick to Law and Order, Family Guy, and news magazine shows/documentaries.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Nice Backyard

Hello, dear readers. Finally over my illness, and am ready to get back in the blogging game.

Here's a picture of a backyard I just visited in Newport Beach, CA. Must be nice, huh? Would you like to live here? A tsunami might ruin everything, though.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Nice T-Shirt

If you were a tourist, would you buy this lovely t-shirt? Just asking out of genuine curiosity, as I can't see myself wearing it :-)

Ominous Clouds

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Non-Stop Rain in Southern California

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a better picture of the rain with my phone's nonexistent zoom, but that doesn't mean the rain is any less intense.

We had severe winds this morning, at roughly 30kph, with 100kph winds forecasted for the night - though I've seen no evidence of these winds that were reported via the emergency broadcast network, as their monotonous female computer voice so kindly interrupted my Law and Order marathon.

That being said, this area is not known for its rain. It is, however, known for having schizophrenic weather, as evidenced by the photo I posted of the sunny beach on Friday (it's now 22:45 on Sunday - 55.5 hours after that post).

Anyway, this weather has severely interrupted my nightly jog/walk, and I'm feeling a bit restless. One can only walk up and down the stairs so many times before those nicely carpeted steps lose their allure.

I hope everybody had a lovely weekend. I didn't, as I am sick once again. My immune system is really taking a beating as of late.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Harbo(u)r

Here's a view of the harbor in my town. Perhaps it's interesting if you don't live by the sea or a lake with a big harbor. I still love it after living here for 20 years.

Friday, 18 March 2011

No Nuclear Fallout Here!

A week ago I mentioned that people here in California were overreacting to the tsunami.

Now, however, there is allegedly a cloud of radioactive particles floating over our beautiful coastline. Do people here care? Nope! As you can see from this photo taken at 15:05 local time, the main beach in Laguna Beach, CA, is quite crowded.

Go figure...

Tsunami? Let's go watch! Radiation? Let's not give a shit! Funny world we live in.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What Languages Do You Speak?

I speak English and Spanish - L1 and L2, respectively. I am in the process of learning French.

What about you, dear readers? What languages do you speak? Which would you like to learn?

UPDATE: Given StareDad's proclivity for programming in many languages, I'd also like you to list any programming languages you know! Good call, StareDad!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Temporary Sickness

Hello, dear readers.

This is the longest I've gone without making a post, and that's because I was sick. I'm not really sure what was wrong, but I had a headache for a couple of days and was terribly tired.

Thankfully, though, this has all passed and I'll be back to posting regularly tomorrow!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Petrol/Gas Prices - Part 3

So this will be the final instalment* of my price of gasoline series, as it has now surpassed the psychologically significant barrier of $4 per gallon.

The petrol station pictured here is an average price for my area; $4.139 is the highest price I've seen for 87-octane petrol. That being said, last time I wrote about how we had just passed the $1/liter mark; however, that was some 18 cents ago. The price for a liter is now 107.2 cents - and climbing.

The sign pictured here started the day at a mere $4.019 - something I would have loved to have paid. By 12:30pm, the price moved up 4 cents, and this was on a day when the markets were closed.

Without using currency exchange rates, how much is a liter of fuel where you live? And, if you're in a part of the US that is not California, how much does it cost where you live?

*For some reason, the American spelling of this word - with 2 l's - looks wrong to me now.

Newport Harbor near Balboa Island

Here's a picture of some boats in the harbor as seen from Balboa Island.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Tsunami Report From Southern California

As the vast majority of my readers are au courant in terms of world affairs, I'm sure you've all heard about the massive earthquake that struck Japan - and the subsequent tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific Ocean's coastal communities.

Well, I'm in one of these communities, and the only thing that's happened is severe overreaction. The police set up a blockade for a kilometer around the harbor from all directions, preventing me from getting to two restaurants I work out of. This makes little sense, though, because Coast Highway is actually closer to the ocean in some parts than the harbor's shopping area.

The only abnormality here is that there are literally hundreds of boats out on the ocean. Even on a hot summer day there have never been so many boats out on the water around here.

Apart from that, there's nothing out of the ordinary here vis-à-vis the tsunami. My thoughts (not prayers) are with the Japanese as they struggle through this horrific disaster.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

200 Followers!

I am so very thrilled to announce that I have reached 200 followers! I genuinely never thought I would reach these dizzying heights of the blogosphere.

I want to thank all my readers, especially the people who comment frequently on my posts. You guys/girls are bloody awesome.

Also, I'd like to say thank you to all of you for your kind words in my previous post. I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, due to some people not having profile pictures, I can't tell who was follower number 200 :-(

Divorce

So my parents just got divorced. I can't say I didn't know it was coming, but it's certainly a bit weird. To be honest, I don't really know what to think about it at this point, as my dad's only been gone a couple days.

What about you, loyal readers? Are your parents divorced, and did it bother you at all? This may sound callous, but it doesn't bother me one bit.

Monday, 7 March 2011

What's Your Favorite Non-Alcoholic Beverage?

Mine is water. I drink tons of these bottles of Kirkland Signature water from Costco, and recycle them all every couple of months. I'm quite fond of Gatorade, too, but I don't drink it as much due to the artificial coloring used.

So, what's your favorite non-alcoholic beverage? Post away!


UPDATE (09.03.2011): I've tallied your votes below, and the top three choices were Water (12 mentions - including mine as the tie-breaker), Soda (11 mentions), and tea (10 mentions).

Very close in the end, with honorable mentions for smoothies, juice, and milk!

Offensive Logo

Is this logo of a Native American running with a bowl of water incredibly offensive? What if an armored money truck had a picture of an Orthodox Jew?

How is this the least bit acceptable?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Parades Putting Me In A Pinch

I knew for weeks that today's day at work would be dreadful, due to a blocking of the main street for a parade about whales.

It turns out I was spot-on, and this parade caused me to do all kinds of extra driving and clever navigating only a local could accomplish.

Once past the parade, I thought I was free to speed on up the coast, roughly ten miles to the other place in which I work. In this case, I was dead wrong. The city directly to the north was having a parade of its own, meaning that I was left to struggle through detours for more than an hour.

So, after leaving the home base around 11:45am, I didn't reach the other location - just ten miles up the road - until 1:10pm. Couple that with the fact that it was 28C (86F) outside, tourists rarely know how to drive, and the truck I was using lacked air conditioning; and I was made to be in a perfectly dreadful mood as a result of these tedious parades.

In future, you may go march your local celebrities, dressed-up marines, and driving advertisements elsewhere. Thanks very much.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Absolute Darkness

Have you ever driven down a road that had no lights whatsoever? I just finished driving down a stretch of road bounded by the ocean on one side and a cliff on the other. Needless to say, there wasn't much light apart from my anaemic headlights.

It was very odd driving down the street with no lights. Have you had a similar experience? It's very weird, yet extremely cool at the same time.

2,000 Views!

As you can tell from the hit counter to the right, I am on the precipice of the monstrous chasm that is 2,000 pageviews.

I just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to all my readers/followers for contributing to this. I remember being chuffed about 250 views, and I genuinely did not expect to reach this momentous plateau so quickly.

So once again, thanks to all, and if you happen to be visiting when the views clock strikes 2,000, leave a comment so I can thank you and give you a shout out!

Thanks, everybody! ¡Muchas gracias por tu apoyo!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

What Is Your Favorite Podcast?

As the picture suggests, my favorite podcast is The Guardian's Football Weekly, starring James Richardson, Barry Glendenning, et al.

Have you got a favorite podcast? A podcast that you await eagerly, maniacally refreshing iTunes as you wait impatiently for its arrival?

Do post in the comments section below!

Picture credit: guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Inability To Sleep

It is nearly 3:00am right now, and I'm positively incapable of going to sleep.

There's a very good, frustrating reason for this: I took a nap.

Sleep beguiled me with its charms and I fell victim to the age-old trick known as a 'nap'. As I imagined, the nap felt spectacular, as giving in normally does.

Sleep tempted me with promises of eradicating my boredom, relieving a bit of sleepiness, and leaving me perfectly dehydrated. In other words, it was a mighty temptation.

And, as Oscar Wilde remarked in Lady Windermere's Fan, 'I can resist everything except temptation'.

I wholeheartedly concur, Mr Wilde.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Chelsea v. Manchester United

Fernando Torres (pictured) is playing for Chelsea against usual title rivals Manchester United - the first time he's met them since his move from Liverpool.

It's 0-1 after nearly half an hour, after Wayne Rooney scored a rather magnificent goal.

Very disappointing from Chelsea, as they could have closed Rooney down.

United haven't won at Stamford Bridge since 2002, so the match is not over yet!

It's now half-time, and Chelsea still trail 0-1 to Rooney's goal. Chelsea's stand out player has been David Luiz, as they were on the back foot for much of the second half of the first period. Hopefully he'll be able to maintain his form in the second half.

And the second half is underway...

It's 1-1 -David Luiz has scored for Chelsea!!! After a brilliant defensive display in the first half, Luiz has scored his first goal for Chelsea in the biggest match of the season. Well done to the lad!

35 minutes to play, with United's da Silva twins warming up on the touchline.

The goal has really galvanized Chelsea. Didier Drogba looks set to come on for the last half-hour.

Less than a quarter of an hour to go, plus stoppage time. David Luiz has clattered Rooney to the ground. I love to see Rooney writing about in agony whilst his boss berates the fourth official. The icing on the cake would be a Chelsea winner in stoppage time. That would be brilliant.

In other news, Berbatov and Giggs are on for United, whilst Drogba and Zhirkov are on for Chelsea.

ZHIRKOV WINS A PENALTY. CHELSEA CAN WIN IT RIGHT NOW!

Lampard to take the penalty...AND HE SCORES!!!!! IT'S 2-1 TO CHELSEA! STAMFORD BRIDGE IS ROCKING!

Zhirkov very nearly scores from a corner kick's deflection. Chelsea's 8th corner of the game flies in from the boot of Lampard...

Two minutes plus stoppage time to go. I'll have no fingernails left by the end of these 4, 5, or 6 minutes. Nervy times.

Looks like there will be 4 minutes of stoppage time, waiting for confirmation from the fourth official.

Cech easily collects the ball as the clock strikes 90 minutes, and the fourth official confirms the four minutes of stoppage time.

Drogba wins a free kick on the edge of United's penalty area.

Nemanja Vidic is sent off for a second yellow! United's captain given his marching orders. He will not be playing at Anfield.

Smalling (the lone centre-back) concedes a corner with 30 seconds to play!

En route to 95 minutes, and Drogba wins a throw.

Chelsea win! It's 2-1 to the Blues! Great come-from-behind victory.



Photo Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images (www.gettyimages.com)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Veetle.com Mobile

If you've got an iPhone or an iPod touch (or possibly an Android - never tried it), you must try veetle.com from your device's mobile browser. I've been on a walk for nearly two hours, and have been streaming Family Guy non-stop.

This website is also good for live sport and many other things - especially films. It has virtually eradicated any last morsels of boredom from my nightly walks.

The quality of the streams is fantastic; it looks as though you are legitimately watching television. Many people stream large blocks of a single show, such as Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Top Gear. This is great because one can simply start watching a channel at any time and he or she will be treated to something magnificent.

All you need to do is go to veetle.com, the mobile version, which is simply a list of good channels, will show up. All you need to do is tap the channel you want to watch, and it will load in the iPhone's QuickTime player, and you'll be set.

I wish you many hours of entertainment whilst walking, sitting in class, or queueing - it's spectacular regardless of where you are or what you're doing.

Odd Speed Limit

Something tells me they were torn between 15 and 20.

Third And Final Shot

Here's a view of the cliffs overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach, CA.

Same Place, Different Angle

Beautiful View - Laguna Beach, CA

Working On My Day Off

So, I'm here working on my day off, as it's a chance both for me and the company to make a bit of extra money.

As wonderful as that may sound, Sunday is the day on which I do the most sleeping. I really cannot be bothered to get out of bed at all on Sundays, but today I was out of the house by 7:45am.

I'm the worst kind of cantankerous when I've not had enough sleep, but today I feel strangely relaxed. Perhaps it's a sign that I should actually get up out of bed on Sundays.

Probably won't happen, though. Sitting is just about my favorite thing to do.

Friday, 25 February 2011

What Is Your Favorite Holiday-Themed Confection?

These are probably my favorite holiday confections - what is yours, and what holiday is it associated with?

How Ridiculous Can People Be?

This sign is absurd, yes, but do people really think that nature (and by extension, free animals) doesn't exist?

Americans are so used to their silly, super-sanitized suburban neighborhoods that they need to be reminded that their Labrador isn't the only animal in the world.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Petrol/Gas Prices, Part 2

A few days ago I talked briefly about fuel prices and their unerring ascent towards the $1-per-liter landmark.

Here we are, just a few days later, and much to the chagrin of SUV drivers up and down California, we have met (and surpassed) $3.785 per gallon for 87-octane fuel. For the record, 91-octane petrol passed this mark some time ago.

As I passed my local fill-up station today, I was stunned to see that the price for 87 octane had risen dramatically quickly to $3.859 per gallon. This, logically, put the 91 octane at $4.059 per gallon - a price not seen in the US since the petroleum supply in the southern United States was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina.

This brings the price of petrol in Southern California up to 102 cents per liter, the very same price I paid for a whole US gallon when I started driving 9 years ago.

We are only in February, roughly four months before the annual spike in gas prices, meaning that the price will only be going up from here.

I think we have all but seen the end of the era in which Americans pay far less for gas than their European counterparts. When broken down per unit of currency, we are now paying almost the same as those in Europe (currency conversions aside).

I'll never forget the day my high school economics teacher told us that we would never see gas for under $2 per gallon again. That was the only bit of truth he told us burnouts during that astonishingly boring semester immediately before my graduation.

How Do You Feel About Speed Bumps/Humps?

These were recently installed on a street near my house, and I hate them. When an ambulance/fire engine needs to speed by, what are they to do?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

TV Commercials For Places That Don't Exist, Part 2

So, I made a post a few days ago about places like CiCi's Pizza and Sonic - restaurants that advertise in the LA television market despite having no locations there.

It turns out there's another place constantly advertising here that I've never seen. This place is called Golden Corral. It appears to be some sort of seafood buffet costing 'around 10 dollars', as they invariably put it.

The closest one, however, is nearly 100 miles away, and I've never seen it, nor known anybody who has eaten there.

Then again, this place could be just like Sizzler and fully exist without my knowledge (or consent, for that matter).

Price of Fuel

Gas/Petrol prices are on the verge of reaching a psychological point people in many other countries have experienced. That is, we here in California are about to pay 1.00 unit of currency for one liter of fuel.

I know most Americans do not use the metric system, but paying less than $1.00 per liter used to set the American driver apart from his or her European/Canadian counterparts.

1 US gallon is equal to 3.785 liters, so as soon as the price (currently at $3.659 per gallon) reaches $3.789 per gallon, we Californians will be paying $1.00 per liter for gas/petrol.

So, $45 to fill up my 45-liter Honda? I bet that V8 SUV isn't making you feel very clever right now.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Great Result For Chelsea!

It's finished FC Copenhagen 0-2 Chelsea in Denmark. Chelsea's form has been poor, but they never really looked troubled tonight. Two AWAY goals from Nicolas Anelka look to have sealed Chelsea's passage into the quarter-finals with the return leg at Stamford Bridge yet to come.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Beach Shot

Here's a rather crude image depicting the great Pacific Ocean, my local chapter of the World Ocean.

Snow-Capped Mountains

The mountains in Orange County, with a bit of snow on top. Beautiful view today.

Californian Traffic

This is the 5 freeway, one of the main motorways in California. It is always filled with cars, regardless of time of day. How is the traffic on your local freeway/motorway/highway? I'm surprised I'm driving at 60mph (100kph).

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Would You Want To Be Immortal?

I'll be 60 in 2045 - should I like to be 60 forever? How would you feel about be frozen in time and existing as a machine?