Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coastal Birds

Double Crested Cormorant
Got the chance to take a walk earlier by the bay. Oftentimes, because of the sweeping and scenic view of the bay and the ocean, these small critters around are missed. Unlike the seals and the sea lions who always have constant visitors in their natural habitats , these coastal birds are often simply missed, well, maybe because they choose to flock more on coastal mud flats that may not be as scenic for a lot of people. But luckily for these birds, the coastal mud flats afford them with constant and rich supply of foods that walking along this stretch, one will observe so many bird species aside of course from the more famous California Brown Pelican and very common sea gulls. 
Not All Birds That Flock Together Are of the Same Feathers
Anyway, these are some of the birds I was able to capture today in my walk at Mission Bay. I really did not wait for sunset anymore, since after a day of learning I was too tired and hungry, I wanted to just eat and sleep, and now, blog a little bit :)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Orange and Oblation

**originally published January, 2010

Friday's Blogging For Fun. Our group is doing an alphabet meme, and this week, we are doing letter O. I had been thinking since last week about letter O, and could not come up with an interesting "O", until the word Orange came to my mind,
Orange Hue @ Sunset, San Diego, CA

Then, today, my eldest brother shared to us the great news about my nephew as one of the 50 Oblation
Scholars ( out of the 70,341 examinees) of the University of the Philippines. My nephew is graduating in high school this March 2010 ( Philippines end of school year), and coincidentally, he is also one of the top 20 finalists of the Philippines Math Delegation out of the thousands representatives from different high schools in the different regions of the Philippines. When he was in elementary, he was one of the Philippine Delegates for the elementary level to the World's Math Olympiad held in Singapore. Though he did not bring Philippines a medal that time, but for us then, his representation of the Philippines to a Math Competition in an international level is already enough achievement. So, to my nephew, our big congratulations and good luck also for the coming Math Olympiad. The top 20 finalists will continue to vie for the top 4 to represent the Philippines in the coming World's Math Olympiad.

Now, back to "Orange". Here are some more of my collection of orange photos.

California Poppies, Toothrock Trail, Poway, San Diego County

Sunset, San Onofre State Beach, San Diego County

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

And here is more about orange and oblation. :)

Orange- like yellow, is a happy color :)

Physiological Effect: Orange has proven to be a stimulus of the sexual organs. Also, it can be benefitial to the digestive system and can strengthen the immune system.

Psychological Effect: Orange has shown to have only positive affects on your emotional state. This color relieves feelings of self-pity, lack of self-worth and unwillingness to forgive. Orange opens your emotions and is a terrific antidepressant.

 Oblation -  is a term used for a solemn offering or presentation to God. University of the Philippines is the premier institution of higher learning in the Philippines, and its symbol is the "Oblation", which is a figure of a naked man with arms outstretched and face pointed upwards. The University of the Philippines symbol of "Oblation" is based on the second stanza of "Mi Ultimo Adios", written by the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal. Each year, they award 50 Oblation scholars, to the top 50 UPCAT qualifiers. To the 50 best entering UP freshmen, to maintain their Oblation Scholarship, they must not have a grade below 2.0 ( or no grade below 83%), no dropping of classes and no incomplete standings.The Oblation scholars enjoy such benefits as waiving all school fees, a book allowance of P2,250 pesos per semester, a P3,000 monthly stipend and a STFAP-patterned transportation allowance. Oblation scholarship is only good for 4 years.

** 3/12/14 Update: My nephew is able to maintain his Oblation Scholarship, he is now in 4th year of a double major pursuit: Metallurgical Engineering and Computer Science. Next school year, he will no longer enjoy the benefits of an Oblation scholar, for oblation scholarship is good only for 4 years, and engineering is a 5-year course. Though he has two majors, but he will be able to finish both without adding more years to his college.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beloved Partner on Road Trips

Fallen Leaves and Reflection
It was not my idea to come up with the above design. After hiking, I was pleased to see how nature wonderfully decorated our car. Before clearing the leaves, I took a remembrance of how nature gave us a pleasant surprise that time.  This car is our beloved partner when taking road trips outside of city.

Crusing on Desert's Dirt Road, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA
We love to explore our wonderful world, and a lot of the times, these hidden gems would require cruising on rough roads, unpaved roads, off road, soft sand, snow, and what else.
Crusing on Snowy Mountain Road, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County, CA
Though in the city, we prefer to ride the sedan because it consumes less gas, but the comfort provided by SUVs on rough, unpaved and off roads allow us to see more of these many hidden gems.
Navigating Through Big Redwood Tree, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA
However, we are not really "off road" people. We fear we have very little idea about car repair and maintenance. Our little knowledge about car maintenance would sometimes stop us to explore some places we really want to see if the driving would become so tough. We are afraid of maybe getting a flat tire if we hit some pointed rocks, among other things. It is good news for us to learn that we can quickly call for help. Let us say for example, we are exploring Dallas and would need an immediate brake job, we can call Dallas auto repair to get quick assistance. Since this car repair company is all over US, providing most common car repairs to almost car makes and models, such as Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Silverado, among others, now, we are gaining a little bit confidence to maybe visit some places we intentionally skipped before because of our fear of having car trouble on the road. Now, maybe, I can look forward to going to Race Track Playa in Death Valley National Park.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Joy Rides

Sunset @ Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
In two months, we'll have our last free maintenance service for our sedan, after that we will be on our own. One great service we had been enjoying for almost six years now since we bought our car is the $0 maintenance cost for the first four years, and we just paid a little more to buy maintenance for two more years. However, there is no extension of service maintance anymore after the 6th year, that now, we have to be on our own.
Sunset, San Onofre State Beach
Since we intend to keep our car while it still runs efficiently and does not give us any headache, we are now on the process of finding a reliable and less expensive car servicing company. Thankfully, I have heard from a friend in Chicago who recently had the water pump of her ten year old Toyota Corolla replaced at Chicago auto repair. I am glad to know that this car repair and servicing company is all over US, and I can find them in San Diego too. It is great to know we can have this quick and reliable car help, for we intend to have many more joy rides from our car.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

L is for Light

This was supposed to be my Blogging for Fun Friday post, however, I am late again, but then, better late than never. We are doing letter L this week, I thought at first of Las Vegas for a change from my nature pursuits, however, my friend Tes also featured Las Vegas. Having done Los Angeles already before, I was at lost then of what to do for letter L. While I was browsing my pictures, I saw this picture below,

Colors of Dispersed Sun Light
and this is what inspired me to join this Friday's letter L Blogging for Fun, and my entry is Light for L.

The above picture is our ceiling. :) Have you tried looking up at your ceiling or walls when the sun light passes through your glass windows? You will see what made Newton conclude before that white light is produced from many colors. The glass prism disperses white light by refracting each color at different angle, and the separation of colors is seen. Just like with rainbows, sunlight is refracted by raindrops falling through the atmosphere, producing a display of rainbow colors.  But then, we do not always have to be outside and have both rain and sun to see this dispersion of light, we can just be inside our home too. During the morning, when the sun rises from the East, the light enters our glass window, and I would look up at our ceiling, and I would also see what Newton saw in his experiment of glass prism before explaining why white light is made up of different colors.

Colors of Dispersed White Light on Our Ceiling
Right now, as I am typing this entry, I see the same rainbow of colors above my head. I find it cool, to be waking up with the sunrise, and then, see the colors of light hitting the house after.

Anyway, here are some more light pictures:

Downtown San Diego Lights from Coronado Island

Light from the Horse Carriage, Seaport Village, Downtown San Diego

taken from Horton Plaza Mall, downtown San Diego

Light slowly leaving the slopes of the Sierras, sunset at Eastern Sierra, CA

Colors of Sky when the Sun Light Bids Goodbye, Sunset @ Old Town San Diego
Have a good weekend, everyone. The sun light is shining bright here in sunny San Diego, and as I end this post, the rainbow of colors on our ceiling now has disappeared, meaning the sun is already high enough :) and time to enjoy the beautiful world outside.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year Day's Gifts To Simple Joys in Simple Life

Walking @ the Tidepool Area, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
New Year's Day, the first year of the decade of the teens. After waking up, I looked outside from our bedroom window for signs of beautiful day. I saw the very intense color of the sky which promises for a very good sunrise. I got up and took my camera, but then, as I stepped outside, I saw the pink sky looking West. Pink, being my favorite color, always draw me. I decided to walk towards the front of the house ( which is looking West) instead of walking to the back ( which is looking East for the sunrise that woke me up).

Moon Over Pink Sky
I thought of changing my lens to a zoom one so I can zoom the moon, however, after I stepped inside and changed my lens, the pink sky was gone and the moon was in a very pale color. I then remembered the sunrise at the back, but when I went to check it out, the sun was already high! How quick the changes in the sky happened. Determined to find good things for the first day of the year, I checked for low tide conditions. It said: -1.6 ft at 3:53 pm! This was what I wanted, negative low tide! It is time for tide pools! Though San Diego has a lot of sandy beaches, but it also has a lot of rocky shores which are ideal for tide pool. Whenever we go tide pooling in San Diego, I always think of Cabrillo National Monument.

Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA ( 3:30 pm )
The picture above was taken at 3:30 pm yesterday. During high tide, from this same angle, it is hard to take a picture with the rocks below. Looking down, and looking up, there were two things that made me excited: 1. the low tide. 2. the clouds, which means the sunset will be special, New Year's Day special.
What is special with the tide pools at low tide? At low tide, people can view the ocean's intertidal zone ecosystem up close.

Man's Shoes Almost on Star Fish
Exploring the tide pools at low tide is called tide pooling. Many plants and creature live in the tidepool area. Tide pools are a unique yet brutal habitat in the rocky shores where the ocean meets the land. It is interesting to observe the life species at this area when the tide is low. Take a look at the picture above for example, I took that since a man knelt down to have a better angle of the creature he wanted to take picture of. Unknowingly, his shoes almost kicked the starfish, but of course, he did not and the starfish was safe :) . One thing for sure, I know he must be wet after kneeling down on wet sea weeds with some trapped sea water in the pool.

Red Crab
Maybe the man in the above picture had a very good picture of the red crab above that I was also taking a picture of before him, but I did not kneel since I did not want to get wet. That crab was huge, perhaps the largest I ever saw even compared to the big crabs I saw in the sea food market. 
Here are some more tide pool pictures from yesterday:

California lobster
(we saw this lobster brought by the pounding wave, we helped him go back to the water )

 Star Fish

Another Star Fish

I'll let you guess what this is, clue: I only capture its arms
Though it was still fun tide pooling, and though I have not reached the cave yet, but the it was getting darker and the tide pool area closes at 4:30 pm, so we had to head back to the parking lot. As we hiked up the cliffs, the setting sun was changing the colors of the sky everywhere!

Setting Sun, New Year's Day 2010 ( 4: 43 pm )

Looking Back to the Tide Pool Area Below ( 4: 56 pm )
( you can compare the colors with the 3rd picture above when we arrived at the park )

Looking Back to the Tide Pool Area Below ( 5: 03 pm )

Yuccas Showered by Clouds ( 4:43 pm)

Yuccas at Sunset ( 4:47 pm )

Badlands and Yuccas ( 4:57 pm)

Looking Down at The Tide Pool Area ( 5: 02 pm )

The Ocean After Sun Set ( 5:00 pm )

The Ocean After Sun Set ( 5:06 pm )
Did we do anything special to witness this beauty? We just simply took the moment to enjoy the simple things in life such as exploring the tide pools and stopping for sunset. As the decade moves on, I hope to be able to continue to enjoy the simple things in life. Life is like a wonderful and meaningful hike, there are lots of ups and downs, trail crossings, switchbacks, and beautiful scenic turns which we see only when we learn to slow down.
Hope everyone had a great start of the New Year!! My holiday vacation is over ( back to reality now for me on Monday ), though I may be seen less in blogging world again, but it does not mean I have stopped from enjoying the simple beauty around us.