Saturday, December 30, 2006

Our New Neighbor



From Norm! Las Vegas Review Journal Gossip Column:

THE SCENE AND HEARD

A spy tells me the west-of-the-Strip mansion Michael Jackson has settled into is a 10-bedroom, 11-bath, 20,000-square foot private estate owned by San Francisco real estate mogul Luke Brugnara, who earlier this year tried to buy the Crazy Horse Too topless club. The never-lived-in palatial home features full-sized basketball and tennis courts, and a 3,000-square foot master suite with a 2,000-square-foot closet.
(Review-Journal)

As it turns out, that house is across the street and one block east of us. Can't wait to see how this all turns out...

One of our favorite Las Vegas bloggers has this to say about all that.

We're getting popular, but we need to improve these numbers

Bull Run Bridge & Tunnel Authority popularity

Friday, December 29, 2006

Mureta's Antiques

One of our very favorite places in San Fancisco is Gary Mureta's store. It's a tiny place on Fillmore between Washington and Jackson, filled with treasures from old SF estates.

Some San Fran Snaps

We were in San Francisco in November and I just now got around to posting these photos, including our visit to the new downtown mall.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Shapshots and Slideshow

Thanksgiving in December


We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with our friends a couple weeks late. No traveling on that most traveled of holidays...

Ron had planned a clambake, but the clams from James Store seemed more like bait than bakers, so it was a shrimp appetizer instead. Judy mashed up potatoes, Kim made dressing, Tysun marshaled the brussels sprouts, Susie baked up broccoli.

April made green bean/mushroom soup/fried onion casserole in celebration of our roots and Mike and Pat composed a salad. I baked a turkey to golden perfection, Terry carved it like a pro. Deb baked a chocolate flourless "Roberta Cake" that was too marvelous for words.

We washed it all down with the wonderful no name Siraz made by Marrianne's friends and after dinner, the musicians among us filled the house with pickin' and singin'. A perfect evening!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rain Fishing

A little weather didn't stop these guys..

Raindrops!

A series of storms have passed through the valley.

(And I was able to work around one of the uploading problems, but my usual favored way of posting pictures is still broken)

Software, feh

I have some lovely new photographs I'd like to put up but we're using a beta version of blogger that seems to have some problems right now...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First snow

We woke up to this wondrous site -- first snow (for us, anyway; I think there was a dusting a week before we came.) Don't we have a nice front yard?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stella

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Quiet pool with dipper

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The river is running about 250 cfs right now, barely enough to make a ripple downstream of the house and the rapids right out the window have a very hushed rushing sound.

There's supposed to be some rain, and maybe snow down to 4500ft this weekend. I suspect if that's the case, the last of the leaves will fall...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter River

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Country justice

We're in Kernville for a week or two. Late last night, we heard a couple of canines making all sorts of barky noises right near the house. We were of course curious; I got out my Night Vision Binoculars (new toy!) and finally spotted what turned out to be a couple of coyotes who seem to have treed something. Roberta assumed it was a raccoon. Coyotes noticed us and bugged out. This morning, Roberta goes to see what it was -- and there's a dead coon there. We shoulda waited for the doggies to carry it away...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Our dear friend Marty Kreloff painted this portrait of us. Tonight's the unveiling at Roberta's 2nd Annual 50th Birthday Party.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Stardust fades...

October 31st was closing night for the Stardust, the casino of the movie _Casino_, once the largest resort in Las Vegas, now slated for the wrecking ball. Last month, Josh and I went to an event there and I snapped a few for posterity...

Click the image for a slideshow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tony Bennet at the Hilton

We saw Tony Bennett at the Hilton on Saturday night. He's 80 years old and has a stronger voice and better chops than ever before. Holy cow.

 
 
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Aircraft Ignition and the Rod Run

Josh's younger brother Alex is visiting. We went downtown for a celebration of internal combustion.

Aircraft Ignition and the Rod Run
Oct 7, 2006 - 36 Photos

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Visit from the marsupial



Stella did not approve of this opossum outside the kitchen door. The opossum did not approve of Stella.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beep beep

We do have a pretty enjoyable back yard. This roadrunner didn't pose for long, but he posed!

Monday, October 02, 2006

An even better Great Blue


This one's with the telephoto adapter. I sure wish I had as good a camera as I do binoculars for this sorta thing.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Birds of the day

Today we've seen the great blue herons, an osprey (amazing to see them hover), and a red-tail hawk being chased by a dozen or so dippers, apparently offended by the hawk's presence and appetite for dippers. 

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A great blue

A great blue heron fishing right in our back yard. We see several of them every day flying up and down the river; this time of year they spend more time standing around here. I wonder if it's because there are fewer people around? They seem pretty shy; this guy fled when he noticed me sixty feet away.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back in Kernville

We're back in Kernville for a couple weeks -- this coming weekend is Turkey Vulture Festival, the next will be the Rod Run. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hmm

Roberta's been working on a photo essay. I think I'll do the narrative to that instead of a retro-log.

Day 1

OK, now that we're back, I'll tell the story of our Alaska trip, perhaps a day at a time.

Day 1, Thursday, Aug. 23. We get picked up 6:30am or so for a 9:45 flight. This "three hours lead time at the airport" rule is best served by ignoring it, but I have trouble doing that, so we get there early. We had the clever idea this time to reduce our luggage count and use One Big Suitcase. Suggestion for future travellers: don't do that. We get to the airport and discover that our bag is overweight (a risk we assumed might happen) and that we had to redistribute the weight. What the hell? We figured we'd be able to just pay an extra tariff or something; no such luck. So we redistribute. In the course of the redistribution, I drop the now-70-pound suitcase on my toe. Broken nail. Ugly. Painful. Ow.

But we got on the plane OK, and it was an uneventful trip, the best sort. At SFO, we dither around a bit and then find the guy to show us the way to the bus to the ship. Turns out there are four couples on the bus (for the first stretch), and three of them lived at some point in the town of Monroe, Washington. Pure coinkydink.

We get to the ship. It's an odd looking critter. Built in 1991, it was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Same guy who did the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The ship? Well...it's a really dumb design. There's no place to stand outside on the front of the ship! All front views are enclosed, and what's worse, the glass is treated with some real crappy ultraviolet blocking stuff that also blocks a lot of the view. What's more, there's no classical promenade around the ship. Dumb design. There's a reason Princess is retiring the Regal Princess next year; it's just not a very good ship.

Anyway, we make our way to our room, and discover, unlike everyone elses' room, ours is closed and locked. So we stand around for a half hour while they find someone with a key. For all the grousing we might do, this was the only instance in the entire cruise (not counting one ill-advised foray to the hamburger bar) that we got anything other than excellent service from the staff. (Oh, and not getting our luggage delivered until late that evening; if they'd just told us that often luggage takes several hours to make it to the rooms, we'd not have been so pissed. It does seem to be a running joke among the entertainers.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

No beverages including shampoo

Greetings from on board the Regal Princess, en route to Juneau.

I don't know if we'll be able to post any pictures en route; connectivity is slow and expensive.

As we prepared to board the flight to San Francisco, the gate agent explained the new rules to us, including "No beverages including shampoo."

Monday, August 14, 2006

comments

ok, so I'll deal with the spam and anyone who wants can leave comments. Damned spammers.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cops in Bakersfield

A few weeks ago we were in Bakersfield, doing the Costco-Trader Joe's run. I was feeling crappy; Roberta was driving. Suddenly we notice a police car with his red lights on. Roberta pulls over, of course. The cop walks up to the window, and says, "I notice that your Nevada registration tag reads 04. That means it's expired." I said, "Take another look. 04 is the month." He walks to the back of the car, then comes back and says "Oh, I see the 2007. Thanks for the education." and walks off. We were quite amused.
We're back in Las Vegas now...we've got some more interesting stuff to post, but first we need to wake up.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Grr. Webcam 1 is screwed up -- tilt is stuck in a real low position. So I've repositioned it and disabled pan and tilt. Sniff.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Smoke above the water

There's a fire burning in the mountains above the south side of the lake. Pinatubo sunset, Kernville style.
We've decided we need to make the "comments" section only for registered blogspot users; we were getting spam comments, several every day, far more than any comments anyone else was making. Sorry about that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Our favorite sign

Cows are pastured on the steep hills above Kern Canyon. This sign says it all.

Webcam 3 has moved

We've moved Webcam 3 so that it now has a good look up the canyon. The top right position points to a local landmark called "Yellowjacket"; off in the distance is Baker Point. This camera's is almost out of range of the wireless connection, so reception may be spotty.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Racing snake

This is a California Striped Racer, Masticophis lateralis lateralis . I think this is a juvenile one -- adults can be four feet long.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Water, water

Here's the river going gently over the rapids, as we lose a couple hundred cubic feet of volume every day.



This is looking up Bull Run Creek. It's quite placid now; this section is warm and barely knee deep. Some big squawfish live there now.




And just a nice arty shot. Actually, it came out totally black, but to my surprise it contained a ton of information when I tweaked it.

Snakes on a plain



This lovely King Snake met us on our walk around the property last night. (OK, we were emptying the dog, and she pointed out the crawler to us.) He did the little "hi, I'm a rattlesnake" game, but we were not impressed by the wiggling of his little tail -- nor did his lovely brown stripes cause us to think he was a diamondback. He did entertain all of us, though, especially Stella, who had to be pulled back from a potential snack.

Waist Deep in the ...

Another back yard shot. I've been learning a bit about flyfishing -- not by doing it, but by watching it on the river and in a video a friend is making. It's delightful to watch -- and there's an obvious difference between the skills of the average and the excellent fishers. I can see how it can be a meditative sort of hobby, even without the geeky obsessiveness of fly tying.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More sights along the way

Sugar Pine cone by the side of the road, and ghost oaks
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Rock Art

and remnant of the Stormy Fire.



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Knob, dome, and needles

This view is from NF-22s10, heading toward Johnsondale. The little town of Johnsondale used to be a classic company town; when the logging business folded, Johnsondale turned into the "R Ranch", which basically is a timeshare trailer park around the log pond. If you have Google Earth, you can look at it with this -- let me know if this doesn't work.

Looking down

We went on a little drive up and around the mountains. This is up around 6500 feet; we're looking down on Kern Canyon, near Fairview.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Front Door Bun

This guy was hanging out by our front door (this is a through-the-window shot.) The bunny population here is astounding.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try tonight to get some bat pictures; turns out we have the best place in the universe to watch bats catching bugs.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A nearby friend


This one's not on our property -- it's on the other side of Lake Isabella.