Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baseball talk

After work today, we had dinner in a restaurant in one of those malls that has been revamped a number of times, but still hasn't really gelled. After dinner, we stopped in a sports memorabilia store. I picked up a few San Francisco Giants cards and had a nice conversation with the owner. I asked him if this was his dream job. He said that it was actually a way of life. He has been doing it for 30 years, since retiring from his job as a linoleum layer. He said that he knew he wouldn't do it for his entire work life, since it is so hard on your body. Flooring is in his family -- he proudly told me that his grandmother was the first female member of the carpet makers' union. She worked in San Francisco. This was back when carpet was sewn by hand -- a job that was very hard on the hands. The stuff lasts 50 years. There are still people around who hand-repair (and maybe still hand-produce, I'm not sure) that old type of carpet.

I am not really a baseball card collector, but I do like baseball and tchotchkes, so who was I to resist? Of course, they were out of Lincecum cards. I did get a good one of Ray Durham (I was sad to see him traded; he had such a sweet disposition), a couple of so-so ones of Omar Vizquel, an OK one of Bengie Molina, a really good classic black and white of Rich Aurilia, and one of Willie McCovey. I only meant to get one of Dave Righetti, but the sorted piles of cards on the counter at the store got mixed up, and I ended up with several of him.

You know how some players have a signature song that is played when they come up to bat or when they take the mound (for closers)? Rich Aurilia is from Brooklyn, and they used to play the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn" for him. For Mariano Rivera, they play Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Someone uses "Iron Man." The only reason that I am not a major league baseball player is because all of the good tunes are taken -- that, and I hate participating in sports, and I'm not a guy, and, and, and. Players at certain positions tend to have certain dispositions, at least on the field. Pitchers are an eccentric lot. Catchers have to be stable and keep the pitchers centered. Since I have so many anxieties and am anything but calm, I would be a pitcher. Is "Crazy Train" taken?

Ta ta for now,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Funny Pitch

Randy Johnson throws an accidental Eephus pitch to Fred Lewis. I saw this during the game (I was watching it on TV.) Funny! Listen for the horn at the very beginning of the video.

Definition of Eephus is available here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Loney Meadow, 7-19-08

On 7-19-08, we went on an Audubon trip to Loney Meadow, which is north of Grouse Ridge near Bowman Lake in the Tahoe National Forest. See the west side of this map. I continue to love The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. It was a good day (although I had hoped that it would be cooler, since we were at elevation). Anyway, on to the photos ...

Less cowbell, please.
A herd of cows kept showing up throughout the field trip.
EVERY cow wore a cowbell, and they seriously disturbed the peace.
This calf is cute, though :-)

Alpine Lily

Clodius Parnassian. See the bright orange spot in the last photo.


Butterflies -- scandalous!

Bee on lupine


One of those tiny secret worlds that enchant me

Unknown flower

Silene sp.Ta ta for now,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Placer County, 6-29-08

On June 29th, five of us from the local Audubon Society went birding in the Sierra in Placer County. We visited Paige Meadows and Squaw Valley Ski Resort [yes, we saw the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches (quite different than the ones we saw in Alaska) that were nesting under the Silverado ski lift]. It was one of those impossibly beautiful days. It was great to be with people that are interested in everything -- all-around naturalists.

A couple of folks brought The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, a book that I raved about in this post. (We now have our own copy, and we took it on a trip earlier this month.)

Most of the "lusher" photos are from Paige Meadows.

Crossing a bridge

Monkshood. Neat!
Its petals twist as they dry (just like the Laws Field Guide says!)
Shooting Star
Red Belted Conk. Note the droplets of liquid on the underside. This thing was huge! Did I mention that I love fungi? Did I mention that the Laws Guide is awesome?

A member of the Malvaceae
A different member of the Malvaceae
Did I mention that I love lichen? These lovely clumps were hanging from a tree 15 or 20 feet in the air. Interesting.
Meadow -- note the cool bathtub rings of different shades of green
and all of the pale purple flowers. Ahhh....

Another meadow
Western Wood-Pewee
An Allium
Bee in Wyethia?

Elephant's Head. I LOVE these flowers. It is always a treat to see them!
See how the flowers are nicely framed by the leaves of the Corn Lily?

Common Checkered-skippers
A Lady?

Beetles on Pussypaws
Penstemon -- note the insect on the upper right in the first photo.

Ta ta for now,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Walk by the River on 7-6-08

We came upon a Common Merganser and her chicks. When they saw us, they all ran after Mom and climbed on her back. What could be cuter? Nothing!

Look at that tiny foot!

Moth Mullein

Good night,