Friday, February 29, 2008

You lookin' at me?

About a week ago, I spent the afternoon at the Mercer Botanical Garden. It was a nice, sunny and slightly windy day. I admit, St. Louis has some really nice locales available: Forest Park, a Zoo that's free and a really stunning Botanical Garden. It's hard for me to find one that matches its breadth of selection and landscaping.

Mercer does a decent job. Consider its February, and though a Houston winter is nothing like a winter almost everywhere else, I thought the variety was pretty good. There was a decent-sized man-made pond that was drained and looked rather ugly. It looks to have potential though. I'm eager to return and see it in its restored splendor.

I found lots of flowers and associated animals and insects (bees, butterflies and garter snakes). Check out my flickr account for more details.

But I'm most proud of this picture:

I See You!

I spent about 5-10 minutes at the beginning and the end of my visit trying to capture the koi. They were really hypnotizing to watch and with the vivid colors, they were just waiting to be photographed. It was hard because obviously I had to photograph them through water, and often the reflections from the sun defeated me.

When I uploaded to iPhoto, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that this particular koi was looking straight at the camera. It's a little spooky, actually.

Well... this entry ends the February project. Stay tuned for the March project. It'll keep me on my toes.

On an unrelated note, I'm despising the meth-makers of the world for making me miserable because the Feds restrict my ability to get Claritin-D so I can live in Houston and not be miserable every second. Also darn the short month of February for screwing it all up, too.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Ass Factory

Yes, you read that right. Sort of. It's an amusing story. A colleague and I were simply walking through alleyways in an attempt to go somewhere not near work for dinner. We were just casually walking along and I just happened to look up.

The Ass Factory

It's actually the Glass Factory. Whether the G & L fell off randomly or they were knocked off, who knows. But the sign made us crack up.

The best part of the story? This can be found in Salt Lake City. No kidding.

While I'm enjoying the February Project, I'm looking forward to the March project!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I apologize in advance to my mom, who is no fan of birds. And I often agree with her. I'm okay with them as long as they're not flying over and/or near me or waiting to gift me with an unexpected unwanted surprise.

However, I couldn't help but document this bizarre happening.

I was in Galveston last winter with some family friends and we had just walked along this windy beach. About halfway down the parking lot, we saw this motorcyclist feeding seagulls. That wasn't really bizarre. It was the manner in which he was feeding them. We walked down and chatted him up about it. He was really friendly and funny.

Feeding Seagulls

See, he was feeding them by throwing the food in the air, because, according to him, that's how they like to feed. In mid-air. And the best part? It was dog kibble that he was feeding them.

It was simultaneously frightening (too many birds flapping around in close proximity) and fascinating (never seen anything like it).

Two more days of the February project, and then its on to the new one!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ice Cream

Yes, yet again, ice cream is the subject of today's entry. Not because it's an ice cream worthy day (while it wasn't snowing, it was a pleasant crisp fall- or spring-like day). But because I have to say, this amuses me.

I'm a big fan of ice cream and sorbets. I'm used to them being unnatural colors. (I may not want to taste that particular flavor, but I can still be amused).

But I draw the line at this:

Black Ice Cream

Black ice cream? I'm sorry, that's completely unappetizing. Apparently, it's licorice-flavored. Ick. Still doesn't win any points with me.

I can handle almost any color ice cream but this. (Note the rainbow sorbet included in the picture which has colors definitely not from nature.) One of my friends once jokingly called me an "ice cream racist". Maybe I am.

But as they say on Avenue Q: "Everyone's a little bit racist!"

If ice cream is what I'm racist about, then that's not so bad... right?

Monday, February 25, 2008


Okay, so this post should have been done yesterday, technically. But I wasn't really that excited about the Oscars. I hadn't seen most of what was nominated, so I wasn't especially rooting for any particular movie.

So today's post is about an Academy Awards from the past. Specifically, 3 years ago.


Three years ago, I was in LA for a job. Because if you know me, you wouldn't have ever guessed I would be living in LA of all places. Aside from my then current job, this was one of the best things that ever happened to me. A schoolmate of mine called me up at random and asked if I'd like to PA for the pre-show that he was working on. After seeking permission from my then current employer, I eagerly said yes.

It was fairly easy work and I spent a lot of it with eyes wide open because while a lot of things were similar, a lot were different. The best part was the dressing up for the red carpet. We had to be able to blend in fairly well, except for the headset/radios we had to wear and our rather over-size nametag IDs. I found a fabulous dress at Nordstroms and sought out the most padded dressy shoes I could find.

The thing is, I didn't really calculate that by the time I put those fabulous shoes on, I'd have been running around for 3 days straight.

Needless to say, every step I took as the night wore on, was increasingly painful. But it was worth every step.

You probably didn't see me, unless you were overseas at the time and saw any random international footage. That's about the only time I really openly paced the red carpet.

All went well and then our little half hour show was done. After a brief break for multiple photo-ops, it was breakdown time. We had just finished when Jamie Foxx had won his award. Suddenly, we realized we had to leave... NOW. The show was almost over, and it was time to beat the crowds. And the amazing thing was, it wasn't very late at all. See the thing is, the Academy Awards start at 5pm local time. So when the parties start right after the show ends and go until the wee hours of the morning, that's some serious partying going on. Partying from about 8-9pm until ??? am. No wonder so many stars can hit more than one party and do more than just a courtesy stop.

It was very cool to be able to go past the police barricades that grew more and more complex the closer we got to show day. The security was incredible on the Kodak itself, everything was highly protected. And it takes more people than are actually listed in the credits to make that 3+ hour awards show happen.

In fact, I know a few little secrets for those sitting at home. If you're eagle-eyed, you may know it already! I'll divulge if you ask. And no, its not anything super-secret.

I enjoyed my brief time on the red carpet, and a chat with television stage managers about the difference between our jobs.

If you're working on the 81st Academy Awards, and you're hiring, I'm all for it!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Sometimes, my mom can't believe I eat sushi. Sometimes, I agree with her. Admittedly, I'm often picky about what I eat or drink. And sometimes the idea of sushi kind of skeeves me out, but I have learnt it's an acquired taste. I'll admit, I'm far from adventurous. I'll stick to the more 'ordinary' versus the 'exotic' rolls.

In St. Louis, I have a favorite sushi place, courtesy of LA, who craved this place so much one night, that she drove us to the Central West End in a snowstorm where it ended up snowing an inch per hour. Yes, it was THAT good. They have this philly roll that they flash fry and call it 'deep fried sushi'. It is SO good. If you're ever in St. Louis, go to Drunken Fish.

But I don't live in St. Louis now, I live in Houston. So I've found a new favorite:

Blue Fish House

The food is good, the restaurant is beautiful and the parking lot is hazardous. No, seriously. It has the worst parking lot I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. It has potholes as big as my car and fairly deep. And the parking lot isn't very big either. And as I found out while at the Hobbit Cafe (they share this travesty of a parking lot), the surrounding streets don't take to random parkers very well. Beware of parking cops.

But as much as I'm trashing the parking lot, don't that deter you. Just don't go rip-roaring off Richmond into the parking lot. Or you'll regret it.

But I promise you, the sushi is worth it.

However, it is worth traversing that minefield for the food within.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Simply Jif? Simply don't!

So, I've been trying to eat better. With all this time off and a lovely knee-high ankle brace, my aerobic activities have been somewhat limited.

When I ran out of creamy peanut butter to accompany my tart Granny Smith apples (a fav snack), I spotted this friendly-looking jar next to my usual selection (Reduced Fat Creamy - because crunchy still gives me the willies [a remnant from the losing-teeth-stage of my life]). I read the labels, and it seemed like a great choice.

After hauling the groceries up and putting them all away, I wanted a snack. So why not try out this new peanut butter.

It turns out that reduced sodium and reduced fat equals a reduction in taste. It was like spreading cardboard on my apples.

So, when it comes to Simply Jif? Simply don't!

Simply Jif?

Friday, February 22, 2008


Purple Pansy

Today's post doesn't have a story about the day when I took the picture, but more about the content. I love pansies. I really can't explain it. I don't recall having them in our garden when I was growing up, but for as long as I can remember, I've had an obsession with pansies. They come in all sorts of colors, but I especially like the purple ones. (Surprise, surprise.)

Unfortunately, they have a rather negative connotation with their name. I choose to ignore it, and actually, joke about it.

Someday, when I have a window box, I'll have my own pansy garden. I especially love the ones that are so purple that they almost look black. How very Goth, of me. Or is it emo, these days? Who knows, I'm always behind on those trends.

March needs to get here... NOW.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pippin's Turn!

Okay, so Pippin's first appearance on the blog wasn't very good - it was showing off a happy accidental photograph, not Pippin in all her cuteness. So it's her turn for her portrait.

This picture was actually taken sometime in December, when I went back home to house-sit/dog-sit. An excuse to come home and play with my pups? I'm there.

Pretty Pippin

There are several pictures of Pip on my flickr account, and countless more in my iPhoto. It was hard to pick a definitive one for today's post. She's so full of life that she's captured in many ways that tell you a lot about her.

It's interesting to note that the flash in her eyes leaves that almost turquoise bounce-back color. Tommy's is much greener. Who knows...

Only 8 more days of a photo and story a day, then I'll move onto my next project!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

P.S. And a happy birthday to an amazing British actor, Alan Rickman. May he have many more years to play roles in movies/shows that make us think.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Today's post is about Miami. And it's also about college. When I was a sophomore, I was randomly placed with two seniors and a junior. The two seniors were (are) best of friends, and the junior (exchange student from England) and I were random placements. However, all four of us immediately got along well and bonded. About every two years starting sometime after I graduated, we get together in some city for a long weekend. We started out in Vegas. Then we had planned to go on a short cruise out of LA when C discovered that a) she was pregnant and b) that she was due close to our planned get-together. So we went and visited her & her husband (they met in college that year!) in CO where she was living at the time.

This year's trip was to Miami. A brief, whirlwind tour where her daughter, A, now two, came along and joined us. We were somewhere at an open air market, perhaps in South Beach (?) when A decided that she really wanted to go for a merry-go-round ride.

Now the real story part of this picture is that this picture was taken mid-ride. Every time they passed me, I tried to get a cute picture of A because she looked so adorable up on her horse. And that merry-go-round was not slow nor did it wait for this photographer.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this shot captured. I also happened to get a really nice one of her and her mom. But this one is my favorite. It's an unexpected portrait - just lucky timing.

And a gorgeous subject!

Abi on Merry-Go-Round

P.S. the hedgehog mentioned on Valentine's Day arrived today! Cute as I remembered. Perhaps cuter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do you want ice cream with your sprinkles?

Rainbow Sprinkles

I can't explain it... but I'm a little obsessed with these sprinkles. They're my all-time favorite. On ice cream and especially on top of sugar cookies. I have no idea why I have a fixation on these particular ones. I don't know if its because they truly come in a rainbow of colors, including my favorite: purple. I don't know if its because of the 'taste' or the fact that it dyes the ice cream and/or cookie with its coloring.

But its mighty tasty, and lends a little extra crunch to the dessert.

And yes, that's cookies and cream ice cream underneath all those sprinkles.

I post this today because I spent the afternoon walking around in Mercer Arboretum taking about 300 pictures today (many duplicates) throughout the 70 degree afternoon. And then remembering that this is, indeed, February. Unreal.

I hope to post the highlights of today's pictures to my flickr account soon, so check it out if you'd like. I know a few of them will probably appear later on this month. I took some spectacular shots for me... I experimented a little with shutter speeds and was extremely fond of the macro setting today.

It is so tempting to start my next project: a picture from the day (or previous day). But that should be next month's project. It'll force encourage me to take a few pictures every day.

Monday, February 18, 2008



Does this really need an explanation?

Actually, it does. This is my old phone. I bought it just under a year ago here in Houston. It got dropped once or twice, mostly on carpet... but it had long been developing this crack in the casing around the hinge. I stuck a little gaffer's tape on there (I know, I know) and it seemed fine.

And it was fine until one morning, I opened it up to snooze the alarm. I closed it again, went back to sleep and the next time I opened it, crack!

This was a big bummer. I was planning on replacing it as soon as I reached the year-long point because Sprint has this rebate program in one- and two-year increments. But, I was just days short.

Long story short, I raised a little polite hell with Sprint and ended up paying far-less-than-full-price for this phone:

I still want this though... maybe some day:

Rumor and iPhone pictures courtesy of Google Images search.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tommy's Turn!

Since Little Miss Pippin has already been featured, it's Tommy's turn. It seems like just yesterday that Tommy joined our family. But that was back in 2000. When he came over to our house with a brother of his, and fell asleep on my mom's lap. That picture is one of my favorite of his. He was just a little wee thing and his chin is on my mom's lap as she sat cross-legged. We like to say that he picked us. He's the least terrier-like terrier ever. He's warm, sweet, mellow and only growly when proved by his fiesty kid sister.

He's a therapy dog which means he goes to children's hospitals and rehab centers and cheers up sick kiddos and adults alike. He charms them with his smile and amazes them with his wide cache of tricks. Sneezy? He'll bring you a Kleenex. He can fall asleep on command and he can read! And tell colors apart! Secrets? I'll never tell!


This photo was taken in an impromptu photo session. The large window in our living room was uncovered and the pups were taking turns sunning themselves in the large patch of sunlight. I had already gotten some great shots of Pippin (to be shown later on), and the three of us were waiting for the phone call announcing the arrival of my parents back home.

I'm actually tempted to say that this photo was taken either while I was on the phone with them or shortly thereafter. Somehow the lighting was right, the angle was right and he was just a grinning fool!

My pups (even though they don't live with me, they're mine) are my favorite and most cooperative subjects, so you might see a lot of them here.

He's my buddy and I miss seeing him on a daily basis. But the love he gives every time he sees me makes it so worth it. The way he cuddles with me just melts my heart.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

One of my favorites...

To counteract the 2nd rainy day here in Houston, I thought I'd brighten things up.

This is one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. Taken about a year ago in the Houston Garden Center. I was just casually strolling along, admiring the gorgeous roses that were blooming in the middle of the winter ("winter" really because a Houston winter is unlike everyone else's winter in this Hemisphere except CA).

I spotted this gorgeous bloom and saw the bee there. I started taking pictures, and just kept taking them. Mind you, this was with my old camera, Fuji Finepix 3800. Straight up point-and-shoot. No bells and whistles. And shamefully, I didn't know how to shoot much outside of auto.

So getting this shot was PURE luck.


The more I look at it, the more I love it. Just makes me want to learn how to use my current camera better in hopes of feeling like I'm worthy of buying the camera I'm coveting: a DSLR!

I want to know how to be able to capture those pictures with settings, not just by luck. Any advice would be lovely!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Death Valley

Really, there's no rhyme or reason to my photos yet. They're not in chronological order, not by far. Right now, I'm just pulling from my flickr account and going through the 'archives' and seeing what inspires me to tell a story. Maybe March's project will be a photo from that particular day. Of course that requires me to take at least one photo every day, but there in lies the challenge.

Four Hikers

This photo was taken in the sand dunes of Death Valley. Yes, that Death Valley. Do you remember several winters ago when LA was simply drowning in rainfall? Well that rain also fell in Death Valley, and caused all sorts of flowers and vegetation to bloom. That's right, BLOOM, in Death Valley. One of my high school friends, his girlfriend, a friend of hers, and I decided to make a trek to see the blooms in Death Valley. This was in March.

It was a ton of fun, and we spent the night in the sand dunes, after having dinner there. I'm sure we went to bed pretty early and we woke up fairly rested at the crack of dawn. Literally. So we got to watch the sun rise over the dunes which was a lovely experience and I have several minutes of it catalogued on my camera. This particular picture was taken on our hike back towards the cars. Guess which one I am. ;-)

We ended up going to the lowest point in the United States, Badwater Basin, which unlike normal, actually held water. The days did get warm, but nowhere near the overwhelming and oppressive heat that Death Valley is famous for.

Seeing so much green and other colors dotting the otherwise bare landscape was a sight to see. I think I came back from that trip with 300+ pictures.

And the best part of all? We beat the rush. Sure, there were other people there. But at least a week or so later, the Great Bloom was featured on 60 Minutes (if not other news magazines) and the crowds POURED into Death Valley.

I don't have many photos posted from the trip on Flickr, but just give me time. ;-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

So the story behind this is that I found this a year ago at Borders. I didn't buy it. I kind of regret it. I'm not usually for the romantic, soppy stuff that goes with Valentine's Day. The most significance this day has ever had is that it is also my mom's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Okay, continuing on, so I didn't buy this cute little stuffed animal, but I couldn't let it go away without taking a picture of it.

Disgustingly Cute

I mean come on... its a hedgehog, holding a red rose... and its BLUSHING! How adorable is that?

And besides, looking at this saves you from the red lobster with a grin. Maybe that's for next year!

I use Valentine's Day to celebrate friendships - so since most of you readers are my friends, happy day to us!

Edit: I found it unbelievably on eBay for seriously cheap (considering its discountinued). Due to nudging of a friend, A, I bought it. It was fate, right?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Today's post and mini-story took place over the summer. One of my college roommates, her husband and a mutual friend of ours took an overseas trip to Italy with a whirlwind stop in Dublin, Ireland on the way back.

This particular photo was taken as L and I sat in the Dublin airport waiting to board our plane. I was marveling at the tiny, tiny currency.

My hand is small, smaller than most adults. And you can see detail on the original photo quite well, so you can imagine how small those coins really are (unless you've seen them in real life and then you KNOW.)

Tiny Coins

I was considering posting my valentine's post today, but I decided I'll just make another post earlier than I usually do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Square Peg, Round Hole

Yes, you read that right. I'm having a bad day today, actually, and I submitted this particular photo for round three of the photo competition. As of right now, I'm losing 1 to 9. That's okay, now I don't have to look for more funny pictures, but I'm sad that I don't get to use the one that got me invited into the competition. That'll be posted later in the month.

Apparently, my sense of humor doesn't align with everyone's. So tell me, do you think this is funny?

Square Peg, Round Hole

This is actually a prop piano from "La Traviata" - I'll leave the company anonymous. I remember walking into the rehearsal room, admiring the workmanship and then taking a closer look. I did not let the props crew live this one down for awhile. And those of us in rehearsal that day got a chuckle out of it.

So maybe I'm not alone in my brand of humor after all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Mistakes

Sometimes mistakes happen when you take a picture. Sometimes they're good ones. Sometimes they're bad ones (and are often immediately deleted upon import into iPhoto or on the camera itself). And sometimes they're just amusing. Like this one:

Spooky Pippin

This is at home in St. Louis, taken at the border of the den and kitchen. The flash accidentally bounced off the white half-wall of the stairwell and left the rest of the frame in near darkness, except for other white and shiny objects. You can barely see the puppy-shaped silhouette.

However, the light was enough to bounce into Pippin's pretty eyes and make them glow a ghostly green. And if you look really closely, you can see the little bit of her pink tongue hanging out and she smiles happy for the camera that can barely see her.

It's not my best picture of Pippin, not by far. But it is certainly one that makes me smile and think of her.

My little green-eyed girl!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

February Project, Day 2

Some co-workers have begun a trend of 30-day projects (on their blogs or off), and while I was already 9 days into the month when I decided to start this blog, that won't stop me. Instead, I'll call it the February Project.

A picture and anecdote a day. Let's see how this works.


This was taken in LA when I went back to retrieve my belongings out of storage. I wanted to visit with friends and colleagues before leaving town. This was taken at my friend L's house. She and her husband had recently bought this amazing bubble-making machine for their toddler son. I think the four adults attending this gathering had far more fun than the kiddo with this machine.

Aside from the cool view of bubbles within a larger bubble, I also enjoy the reflection of our surroundings on the rainbow surface.

Oh to be a kid again - maybe I need to get one of these machines. It was far too much fun.

And by the way, the picture from yesterday? I won the second round with that photo. Time to find another 'funny' photo to submit for round three. I wonder how far I'll make in the competition.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Parking Signs

Welcome to my blog. I haven't a witty comment or story to catch your eye, but I can start with a witty photo.

I was recently invited to participate in a photo competition on flickr, and I figure that is the best place to start with sharing a photo and its story.


This photo was taken in Windsor, Canada. My best friend and I went over the border from Detroit just for the amusement of having dinner in Canada. When we finally parked near the restaurant that we planned to eat at, we saw this sign. Almost simultaneously, we broke out our respective cameras and snapped this unbelievable sign.

Just when CAN you park there??

Too funny to not memorialize in my camera and on the web.