progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Boring Old Wildcat™, which I guess isn’t so boring, considering it had been months since I’d been here:

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Sorry for the advanced delay in getting this post out. I’d excuse it, but there really are no excuses.

The Labor Day holiday was not so horrible as I had feared. I guess the campers got it all out of their system on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July (which fell on a Monday this year). Actually, my poor co-worker M_______ received the brunt of it, because he was working the day use over at China Camp Village, where it seemed we received the most traffic.

Wildlife seemed to provide most of the entertainment this weekend. Found a live raccoon that had crawled into one of the trash receptacles and curled up to take a nap on top of the garbage. Had to jab it with my pogey stick to get it to leave.

It’s confirmed that I have a few vacation days coming up in a couple of weeks, so that’s a relief. I believe I’ve earned it. In the meantime, I’ll relish the coming of the off-season, where I can concentrate on other things than just cleaning restrooms and picking up trash.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Henry Coe State Park:

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I’ve always wanted to go to this park. Of course, me being brainy I wind up going during a controlled burn! D’oh! Oh well, it was educational. I’d never seen a controlled burn in action before. And I don’t think I inhaled too much carbon monoxide. After all, I am still alive and posting this!

I’m glad I finally got out here, though! The visitor’s service aide was super-nice and gave me free admission when I flashed my Big Basin employee parking pass. There are spectacular views of the distant countryside throughout the park. I wound up eating lunch at Frog Lake, which was still surprisingly lake-like in spite of the drought (it’s not particularly moist up there). I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t see any wildlife, then I saw a hawk and a deer on the drive back down the hill!

More of this stuff is on the way, since I’m back at Big Basin (though I’m currently in Morgan Hill composing this post) and I’ll be hiking every day this week except for Friday, when I pack up my things. So it’s a little bitter-sweet.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the old road above San Pablo Reservoir. Trust me, the lake is back there:

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Saw my first bald eagle today! Just an immature fella, but still pretty amazing! I thought it was an osprey when I first saw it. I hiked way further afield compared to how I usually do. All in preparation for next week, where I take advantage of the fact that my park housing is paid for the month of November and spend every day hiking.

This week is also going to be all about stepping up the job search. Still no bites on the applications I sent out. There is possibility for employment in another field, courtesy of a friend, but I don’t want to talk about that just yet.

Next week, in addition to hiking, will be all about doing more shooting for Confirmed Bachelors. I’ll be editing the text I have now.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the picnic area above San Pablo Reservoir:

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...and was I glad I chose to hike here! During my “rest & rehydrate” break, I spotted a pair of Western grebes going through their mating dance! Very cool! There were white pelicans, too!

There’s a couple of new hires at work that will be taking some of the work load off of me and M____, but they don’t start until after the first. Worse than that, my boss has moved my days off to the craptastic Wednesday and Thursday again. As you recall, I had my worst week at this job with those days off. I hope it’s just temporary until the new guys get trained and have their driver’s tests. Especially if the new guy who has the same days off as me winds up staying in the other unit in my trailer.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the foot of the Motorcycle Hill Trail in El Cerrito:

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It’s a kind of funny story about how I arrived here. I had intended to go hiking at Boring Old Wildcat, which due to my absence, didn’t seem so boring after all. But when I arrived at the parking lot, I saw a trio of shady characters leaning against the railing, just loitering. Clearly they were “casing the joint,” and as I’d already had my car broken into here once, I had no intention on repeating the experience. Instead, I drove on down to Canyon Trail Park and went from there across suburban streets and up the Motorcycle Hill Trail. And I was glad I did. First of all, I love the Motorcycle Hill Trail and trails like it, hidden away in easement land, with many folks not even knowing they’re there. Second, I got this photo of a butterfly while I was out and about:

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Now I ask you, would I have found that if I were out at Boring Old Wildcat? Well, anything is possible, but my gut reaction is to say “no.”

Bad thing about Motorcycle Hill: there used to be a park bench at the top (with a bas-relief sun with a face; neat!) but it’s since been removed. Oh, and the trail’s a bit overgrown and needs pruning. Bring out the goats!

Had [ profile] albadger and [ profile] bigjohnsf drive down to take me out to birthday dinner on Sunday. We wound up at this Hawaiian place in Santa Cruz. I had loco moco, which I’ve not had in quite a while. It was a great time. Thanks, guys!

Got my tax return. I’m going to buy new shoes and have the rest to go towards my outstanding credit card balance. I was actually supposed to get new shoes on my day off, but time got away from me. Oh well!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Beanery, my other, other favourite Oakberkeleyland café:

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Finally got a much-needed cash injection this past week, which was a great relief, as February is turning out to be a very expensive little month. I only have myself to blame. I have to think of my taxes pretty soon; hopefully I’ll see some kind of return.

Got some hiking done before the deluge of rain we got over the weekend. February is looking a bit more like January usually is. I hope we get more rain like this until at least the end of April, though the break in the rain today was welcome. I went out to Point Isabel as I had a yearning for shoreline views. Lots of shorebirds to see, notably avocets which are probably my favourite shorebirds.

[ profile] albadger and I watched the aforementioned Claudelle Inglish, the Southern-fried potboiler that was supposed to catapult TV starlet Diane McBain to the Hollywood A-list (it didn’t). It turned out to not have been worth the wait, but it did have its moments (and, I must say, its plot was anything but predictable).

Fans of my Random Video Finds feature rejoice: I took a bunch of screen-captures from one of my old videotapes, so I have a pretty big update coming up. Watch this space!


Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:19 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Selbstporträt aus Jay Camp. My handlebars achieved an abnormal degree of symmetry on Saturday, and I had to commemorate the occasion with photos. Post delayed a day, because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best:

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October 12th is D-Day, i.e.: the last day of my working season. So I’m already in the process of moving my stuff back north. I also need to think about filing for unemployment and reapplying at Marin District. I’m expecting my house-mate to be gone by the time I get back to the park tonight. In fact, most of the seasonals are leaving. Both Portola maintenance aides will be gone by the end of October. I imagine they can handle all the day-use problems from Big Basin itself during the off-season.

There’s been some “insect drama” at the park of late. These little bugs with two pairs of wings in V-shaped formation across their back have been turning up everywhere, in the picnic areas and all the campgrounds. I’ve found them on my window screens, in the bathrooms and showers, all over the place. Their wings keep falling off, and I’ve been sweeping up big piles of them everywhere. I’m told they’re winged termites, and after looking at pictures of winged termites, it looks like that’s what they are. I think the off-season this year is going to involve fumigation at some point (reminds me of the whole “carpenter ant” business on Angel Island).

I’ve been having weird, vivid dreams of late. Behind the cut, if you don’t care )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Natural Bridges State Beach.

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Visited Santa Cruz this week. I had no idea it was so close, so it’s a very feasible thing for me to do. Took advantage of my State Parks employee parking pass at Natural Bridges (see above) and then popped into a hipster-y café south of Downtown. I used to come to Santa Cruz every summer for family vacations as a kid. It’s odd, parts of Santa Cruz haven’t changed at all, others are completely different. I don’t remember the downtown area being like that at all!

Exciting work incident: M____ and I were driving back to the maintenance shop for an early lunch (we had two ladies from community service helping us, so we finished way early, the fact that it was a slow day on account of the rain only sped the process up more) when suddenly, there was a large thud on the hood of the truck. We both thought it to be a tree branch or other large piece of tree debris. As it turned out, it was a squirrel, which was stunned but not dead. It promptly scurried off to the side of the road and back into the woods.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait from Beanery, Inc., “Look-alikes” series #3, in the style of George Westinghouse:

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Sorry, I forgot to inform you guys of Pizza Night, which did indeed happen last week. I’ll try to be a bit more on the ball next month.

On the plus side, I finally got the latest Movie Explorer review up. I am already working on the next and definitely hope to have it up much sooner. There will be less juggling with other folks’ schedules in this (my sister was supposed to be the hand model for Liza in this episode, but she’s working midnights right now, and we couldn’t get it together. Also, Cal got sick and the Doctor voice-over was delayed.).

Speaking of which: beware of what is said in jest, someone just might take it seriously. Ben Minotte, host of The Oddity Archive, has requested I actually do review You Light Up My Life. If I get enough requests, I might consider it, but I have a huge backlog of more interesting films I’d rather review.

Friday night, [ profile] albadger invited me to the opera. He was right about two things: a) as long as it is, there’s not a note of music out of place that can be taken out and yet b) there’s no reason a silly romantic comedy about two guys pranking their fiancées needs to be three hours long. The lady playing Despina was a comic delight. Everyone else was...adequate. They needed to have greater demarcation between the sisters; the only way you could tell them apart was their colour-coded dresses and the fact that one was slightly taller than the other. Both were brunettes with similar hairstyles and similar voices and I kept mixing up who was who; they should have made one a blonde or redhead.

Recently found in the yard: a gopher snake. Good. We have a bit of a gopher problem and the more anti-rodent predators, the better.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Went to North Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park yesterday afternoon, enjoying our Indian summer. I came across this little guy in the woods there:

Oh my, was he friendly. Walked right up to me. I didn’t want him to get too close for obvious reasons, but I was surprised how fearless this little fella was. So cute. And obviously had a tough life; you can’t tell from this photo, but his right eye was seriously damaged (Signs around the lake say that coyotes have also been spotted, but it could just as likely be a neighbourhood dog or cat or even another raccoon that’s responsible).

6 more photos, with accompanying text, behind the cut )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

Small snake, spotted in Briones. Not sure what kind it is. It was about 3 feet long.

I did see a baby rattlesnake on the same trip.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Spring critters, photographed yesterday:

Some sort of little snake, probably a garter snake. He showed me his tongue!

2 more behind the cut )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

A blue spotted at Crockett Hills. Note that “Blue” is the technical (but not scientific) name for this type of butterfly.

Flora and more creepy-crawlies! )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Went to Tilden on Monday. Had lunch at the Blue Gum picnic ground. Just look who my lunch companion was:

And I was eating a ham and turkey sammitch. Shh! Don’t tell him!

More turkeys behind the cut )

He spent most of the time pecking at the spigot below the drinking fountain, hoping to extract more water apparently. My presence seemed to not bother him one bit, and he was still there by the drinking fountain after I finished my hike an hour later.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

So I went to Avocado Alvarado Park/Wildcat Canyon again on Wednesday. Saw everyone’s favourite perky lesbian park ranger Bethany (mentioned in this post) again. I was rather surprised, I thought she only worked at Briones. Ate lunch at the same place I did last time I was here, but had to cut it short as I was harassed by a hornet who had designs on—no, not my orange juice, but my bag of potato chips. I think I would have preferred a hawk-imitating Steller’s Jay. Walked to the old parking lot (at the foot of what used to be Wildcat Canyon Parkway, a hike of roughly 1½ miles) and finished my lunch there.

[ profile] albadger treated me to the opera last night. It was Lucia di Lammermoor, which was certainly spotlighted by a stellar performance by the leading lady, though it was the instrumental passages that impressed me most. The glass harmonica bit during the “mad” scene was memorable (often substituted for a flute, though I think, say, an ondes Martenot might make a more suitable substitute) but I was especially impressed by a ravishing harp solo that announced Lucia’s entrance. It kind of pissed me off the way people are oh so eager to applaud the arias they wind up stomping on the orchestra. If you concentrate on just the singing, you’re not getting the whole experience.

Prior to the show, we went to Mandarin Villa, a nearby Chinese restaurant. Considering the Yelp reviews, it was better than either of us expected. Still, not fantastically exciting food, but decent and for a good price. I was amused by our waitress, who wore a very amusing T-shirt featuring Snoopy, Woodstock and lots of Engrish. Which reminds me, I must go back to Japantown one of these days.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

Went out to Pt. Reyes yesterday, with the intent of climbing up the Mt. Wittenberg trail again. Here’s a photo essay of my trip:

Many, many annotated images behind the cut! )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

A few weeks back, I went out to Tomales Point. Here’s a bit of a photo essay on my trip.

Tons o’ images and annotation behind the cut )

And we’ll conclude this episode of Mutual of Omaha’s™ Wild Kingdom with one of the most amazing wildlife sights I’ve seen in a while: a raven going after a snake!

Click to see the carnage for yourself! )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

The dogwood is in bloom! This is right off the main (Wildcat Creek) trail in the Tilden Nature Area, beside Jewel Lake. This is the Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), which has bigger and whiter/less pink blooms than the Eastern species (Cornus florida) probably better known to most. It’s very accessible, so if you can go I recommend you do go.

More photos behind the cut )

Oh, and for those keeping score on my wildlife viewing (i.e.: [ profile] hardybear), I did see a bobcat on this hiking trip!


Apr. 24th, 2007 10:02 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default) Tilden Regional Park, just off the Lupine Trail. I orignally thought it to be a swallowtail of some kind, but I think I was wrong:

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