Monday, May 31, 2010

Japan 19

  This Golden Pavilion is covered in gold leaf and is one of the most popular spots in Japan. It was originally built in 1397 and was badly damaged by fire in 1955. It is the one of the main buildings of a Zen Buddhist Temple.  Any trip to Kyoto is incomplete with a visit to this beautiful place.  This area looks just as it did over 700 years ago.

Ginza, a very popular area of Tokyo, is know as one of the most exclusive and luxurious shopping areas in the world. Many famous stores and restaurants are located here.  The property in this area is some of the most expensive in the world.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Japan Color 05

for best viewing, click to enlarge
Lot's going on in this pic, but the tree was awesome. It looked like a giant bansai.

part of an ancient retaining wall. I thought the textures and colors were great

The main part of Kyoto is in the distance.  gotta love those cherry blossoms.

Most of the ancient temples and shrines are in these hills above the city. Kyoto has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It was once the capital of Japan, before it switched to Edo. At a later date that city's name was changed to Tokyo.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Japan 17

Please enlarge for best effect

a river (Gawa) cutting through Tokyo

not exaclty a trout fishing spot

Multi-color Cherry tree blossoms

Japan 18

click to enlarge

Friday, May 28, 2010

HB 001

Huntington Beach Pier
PLEASE enlarge this one

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Can't Get 'em Just Anywhere

I received several awards lately. I greatly appreciate them, but I'm going to break the rules, by handing out some "new" original awards.

I only ask that folks who receive these things, display them with my link attached.  No questions to answer, no five of this, or 10 of that.  Pass them on if you like, keep them to yourself if you like, or shit can them.  My own link isn't even printed on them.  No strings...

The "Shutter Bug" Award is for photography or combo blogs. I've noticed that almost all the blog bling goes to "text" dominated sites. I follow some excellent photo blogs and would like some of them to get in on the action.  A couple of them even manage to combine excellent photos with great writing. Not an easy task...

The initial folks receiving the "shutter bug" award are:

Nat at "Just Nat."
Betty at "Bossy Betty."

The "White Russian" Award is for my favorite blogs. I'm sure it's no coincidence that they all have something unusual about them, are a bit quirky, or totally  offbeat, and I like them as folks. Some of them are mega-popular and some are undiscovered.  I'm sure I missed some, and I'll soon correct that.  If you're not on this list and I follow you, that means I like your blog.  My hope is that each person I give it to, "get's" the spirit of this award. If you get the award, but don't "get" the award, then you best be doing some google work and "getting it" soon. If you have to ask me what it means, I'm going to send the award revocation team out to your neck of the woods. (hint: "the big lebowski")

Once again, very few strings attached. In fact, there are only two. Attach my link to it and only pass it on to blogs the "dude" (who is  not me), would appreciate. 

 The initial group of folks (in no particular order) receiving the "White Russian" award are:

ASBLACKASOBAMA at "I think it's Interesting."
Ashley at "Stupid Girls."
Illustrious D at "Fleekin Floygn."
Why don't I know your name by now? at "Soft Nonsense."
Bendigo at "Bendigo's Rage."
Katherine at "TocaLaBocina."
Margaret at "Margaret Benbow."

If you don't already follow the blogs (above), in both categories, please check them out. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1949 Buick Roadmaster as WMD

I've used this photo for something else, but I needed it again

It's been a while since I've posted a family story. I still have a bunch of them, so I better get to steppin'...
The car in this photo is a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. It was given to us by the county of Los Angeles in an effort to "help" my mom get a "legal" job and to get us off of welfare. Up until that time we hadn't had a car since I was in Kindergarten. That's a period of eight years.  The car was in pretty good shape considering that it was free.  It was as solid as a Sherman tank but she very seldom drove it.

It was rare that we saw our mom at all on weekends.  Usually she took off on Friday and we didn't see her again until late Sunday night, or Monday when we got home from school.  

One Saturday morning, my mom was already home when I woke up. That was rare enough in itself and I was very surprised.  When my mom told me to get in the car, because we were going for a ride, I was flabbergasted.  As we were walking out the door the phone rang. My mom answered it and had a pretty intense conversation with whomever was on the other end.  Just before she slammed the phone down she yelled into the mouth piece, "I told you, I'll take care of it!"  She then nodded me towards the front door.

I had no idea where we were going. Maybe a Saturday morning breakfast? Not a chance, I honestly cannot remember a single time that I ate with my mom in a restaurant before the age of 16. Maybe a little shopping?  Nope! Remember, I was on my own financially as of 7th grade. I was baffled, so I asked her where we were going. She responded with all the motherly nurturing I was accustomed to, "don't fucking worry about it, just get your ass in the car!" I know this is nothing new to many of you, but I've picked up quite a few readers lately.  So to you new folks, say hello to my mother...

We drove down Atlantic Avenue and turned left into a shopping center. Near the rear was a bar called "the back door."  My mom drove around the lot as if she was looking for something. She finally pulled into a parking spot between two other cars. I started to get out, but she told me to sit tight.

She unlatched her door, but didn't open it. Instead, she slowly swiveled her head around, as if she was looking for somebody. Then, much to my surprise, she slammed her door into the car next to us. I wasn't expecting it and jumped in my seat.  She looked around again. Then she REALLY slammed it into the car. She did it again and again. I could see that the door of the car next to us was getting badly dented.  She must have done it 10 times as hard as she could!  I'm sure a lot of you (who've been around for a while) aren't surprised by this. I wasn't either; the lady was violent and crazy.

My mom surveyed the damage as if it was a work of art, put the car into reverse, and with a smile on her face, backed out of the parking spot. We were just about to pull away when she put the car back into neutral.  She took another look around the lot and when she was apparently satisfied nobody was watching, pulled an ice pick out of her purse and got out of the car. She calmly walked around the other vehicle and stuck the ice pick into all four tires.

I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers when she got back in and closed the door. She put our car in gear and drove away, but not before admiring herself in the rear view mirror...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update - Human Directionals

Only in SoCal

Do you think he might be high?

A little while back, I posted a story about how my wife and I used to "twirl" signs as second jobs. I'm pretty sure that the company we worked for would not have taken this account.
Paul, thanks for the pic...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Japan 16

click to enlarge for optimum viewing
Kamata Station, Tokyo
Auntie Kiku, buymebarbies, and Oba-chan Kazuko

Cousin Tetsuya
You don't see many Harley's in Japan

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monday Minute 5-24-2010

1 - Do you *snort*?
I'm not here to talk about drugs. Or did you mean, snort "out?"

2 - Our friend, has a nickname and it's Daffy.  What's your nickname?
I'm usually referred to as that "A-hole!"

3 - Do you know sign language?
Sort of, I used to work with a deaf guy and he wanted someone to talk sports with, so he taught me how to finger spell and some appropriate sports related signs.

4 - What's a sample convo from your hood?
him: "I say sir, that's a smashingly handsome ascot you're sporting today!"
 me: "you bastard, that's my neck skin!"

5-  Do you sleep with electronic devices - i.e. laptop, Blackberry, iPhone, etc?
Is a cattle prod considered electronic?


click to enlarge

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Japan Color 04

click to enlarge
Good thing I'm not shy. I climbed on top of something for this.

Always conservative

Caught in the rain in Asakusa

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Road Trip to Utah Part 2 - Zion Canyon

We couldn’t get to where we wanted to go because the roads in the high country were closed due to snow. The weather was nice the day we were there, but the snow storm occurred the night before and they hadn’t yet cleared the road. I guess they weren’t too worried about it, because it isn’t officially the tourist season yet. We were on a very tight time schedule, so we couldn't wait around. We stuck to Zion Canyon. It's pretty lofty itself, at an elevation of about 4000 feet, but nothing compared to where we wanted to go. I was still able to get shots that show the enormity of the rock mountain formations and their colors.

for a better view, click photos to enlarge

Entrance into Zion Canyon

Further down the canyon

Window in mile long tunnel through solid rock

Tunnel entrance

View out of tunnel window

Amazing colors

Amazing textures caused by erosion

Formation called a "Hoodoo"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Road Trip to Utah

This past weekend,

my sis-in law, her husband, buymebarbies, and yours truly

went on whirlwind drive from southern California to St. George, Utah and back. We went with my wife's sister and her husband. Our ultimate goal was to visit the father of my bro-in-law (where the above pic was taken) and then make a quick daytrip to Zion National Park. The best part of the drive, was that I didn't (drive, that is). That makes me happy because it frees me up to take pics without always pulling over.  The four of us have a good time when we're together and this time was no exception.

The trip involved about 900 miles of driving. Of that 900, about 700 was desert, or high desert. In the Mojave desert in California, we saw

abandoned cars
abandoned cars, trailers, and mobile homes

When you pass through the desert town of Baker (one of the hottest places on earth) you always see

the worlds tallest thermometer

and you always stop at
Alien Jerky
It's so good that even aliens stop there.

(this car is always in the lot)

We ran into a group of about 20 "outlaw bikers." Except they really weren't. They are policemen who look like outlaw bikers. They are a large southwest biker club, they all ride Harley's, and they are all armed. It's an odd site to see. They call themselves the "Choir Boys." Many times they have trouble with local law enforcement because the three tiered colors they wear brands them as an outlaw gang. Only this gang is armed. They really aren't outlaws though, they are honest and devoted policemen. The outlaw motorcycle clubs don't like them because they're cops. Poor guys, they don't get any love.

"Choir Boy"
(note the PD patches on the right)

There are no Las Vegas photos on this trip, because we didn't stop there. First time ever! So to keep the continuity going, I'm gonna insert one from an earlier trip.

Taylor falling down the hall at the Mirage (remember?)

We bypassed the strip and saw some


and some
interesting billboards.

At a gas station I possibly ran into one of Dr. Reefer's patients;

this guy. (check the nails).

Or maybe he'd had enough "reefer" and graduated to stronger drugs like his


He was obviously down on his luck, maybe he lost his
desert oasis two-story,

or his

 beautiful A-frame home.

After we left the deserts of California and Nevada, we entered the
Arizona desert!

After we drove through the Arizona "strip" we entered the (yep, you guessed it) Utah desert.  The desert in Utah was different. It was either
red sandstone

black lava.

We then entered a beautiful high desert area around St. George, Utah. We saw beautiful
sandstone formations like this and

beautiful desert homes.

We then arrived at our bro-in-law's Dad's house. We ate, drank several cocktails, and sat around a

7 foot tall Mexican chimenea.

The next morning I watched their cat drink out of a huge Koi pond. His name is

The next day we drove to Zion National Park. On the way there we saw
mountains made totally of stone and

mountains made of eroded stone.

We finally approached the
entrance to Zion.

The good pics are next, but I'm just too tired and this post is getting much too long. I'll pick it up from here tomorrow...