Sunday, March 31, 2013

Meet Austin

Happy Easter to anyone who celebrates it!
No bunny or Easter egg photos here, but I do have a picture of a cute koala from the San Francisco Zoo named Austin taken last weekend.

Koalas sleep during the day.
Austin lives in this glass enclosure, but it can't be easy with people staring at you.
There is a sign on the glass to ask visitors not to disturb Austin by being quiet, not to tap on the glass or use flash photography.

Austin yawns.
I imagine he has to accustom himself to getting most of his rest at night.

- Karen

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Universal Child

Local meteorologists say it will rain in a few days, but it does not seem like it with such sunny skies.
Located on the grounds of the Santa Clara City Hall is an 85 feet rocket-like statue called "Universal Child" created by artist Benny Bufano in 1965. At the top of the tower is the face of the child and at the bottom are more children representing the races of the world.
I posted a picture of this statue years ago, but it is time to see it again. :-)

Visit other Skywatch Friday participants.

- Karen

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Farmer's Clock

Click on photo to see detailed description.

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Visit other participants at Wordless Wednesday Blogspot,
Wordless Wednesday Bloggers, and
Art of Retro Collage.

- Karen

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend at the Embarcadero

The San Francisco Ferry Building was opened in 1898 and the transportation hub for ferries and trains into and out of the city. Today, it is still a ferry hub, but not so much for trains. Many visitors come on the weekends for the Farmers Market outside...

And more shops and dining inside.

Across the street are additional street vendors under white tents selling their wares.

Behind the Ferry Building are the gates to embark onto the ferry boats.

Instead of flying, this patient passenger is waiting for his boat ride across the bay.

- Karen

Friday, March 22, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Train Ride

I am a little late with Skywatch Friday this week.
Having a little car trouble so I had to take care of that first and commute by train today.
Isn't it a beautiful day to be outside?
I hope you are enjoying your weather too!

Visit other Skywatch Friday participants.

- Karen

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Pets in a Parade

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Visit other participants at Wordless Wednesday Blogspot,
Wordless Wednesday Bloggers, and
Art of Retro Collage.

- Karen

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Happy St. Patrick's Day to anyone who celebrates it!
Yesterday, San Francisco celebrated St. Patrick's Day by holding the 162nd annual parade down the main thoroughfare of the city.
This group is called the Irish Pipers of San Francisco. Who doesn't like a man in a kilt?

The lady waving is the city's Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and grand marshal of the parade. Grand marshals usually ride in cars so I was surprised she was walking through the parade route.

This is something you don't see very often. Policemen in uniform pushing baby strollers.

These are some of the city's firemen. A few of them were smoking cigars.
I wonder if that is a tradition on St. Patrick's Day.

I was not aware that the Broom or Brush Dance is an Irish tradition and I was lucky enough to have it performed in front of me.
No one is sure how this dance was started. Some say because men outnumbered women, so men had to practice their dancing skills with a broom. Others say, peddlers enticed buyers to buy their products by dancing with their brooms.

Okay, the next few photos are not so traditional Irish customs...
During a lull in the parade, a clown wanders into the crowd and asks who wants a balloon.
Look at the kids raise their hands.

When the clown turns around, he looks surprised he was the center of attention.

I was not quite sure of the Cabbage Patch Doll upside down on her head, but she was happy to pose for pictures.

A "unicorn" rolls by on wheels and a passenger hops on in front of me.

Off she goes riding into the rainbow...

- Karen

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Taking Off

We have been experiencing really warm weather during the last few weeks of winter and the temperatures have really been taking off.

This small busy municipal airport in Palo Alto, California is where many pilots take off and store their planes as well as where many students learn how to fly.
You can walk to the end of the runway and watch the planes take off or land.

All pilots are asked to watch out for birds who reside at the nature preserve right to the airport.

Visit other Skywatch Friday participants!

- Karen

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Zoo Escapees

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Visit other participants at Wordless Wednesday Blogspot,
Wordless Wednesday Bloggers, and
Art of Retro Collage.

- Karen

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cherry Pickers

With very little rain this season, Spring-like weather arrived early in California.
Cherry blossoms have been blooming for weeks and the wild birds are just loving the little fruits they bear.

It is entertaining to watch from my kitchen window the various birds that arrive each day to feast here.
I think this is a California Towhee bird. Can any bird expert confirm?

From closer inspection, this one has berry juice on its beak.

- Karen

Friday, March 08, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Oakland Sky

Before the rains came, this was the sky in Oakland, California's Lake Merritt area earlier in the week.
The Children's Fairyland is a storybook theme park that has been making children and adults smile since 1950 before Disneyland was even open.

Across the park is Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland where the curved 28-story Kaiser Center office and retail building stands since 1960.

Happy Skywatch Friday!

- Karen

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Hummingbird Feeding

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Visit other participants at Wordless Wednesday Blogspot,
Wordless Wednesday Bloggers, and
Art of Retro Collage.

- Karen

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Computer History Museum

Last weekend I had the chance to visit the local Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley during a private evening function.
I have seen the Google Map car driving around the area, but never had the chance to see it up close or even sit in the driver seat.
This was neat in a nerdy sort of way.
Have you seen this unusual looking car mapping out your neighborhood?

There were rows and rows of computer displays. When the docent told me to take a map; otherwise I would get lost, he was not kidding.
It was like a maze in there taking visitors from the early beginnings to modern times of the computer.

This is the IBM Type 80 Card Sorter which sorted punch cards by numerical or alphanumerical order. It was widely used in the 1940's and even until the 1970's.

Another step back into the time machine with this IBM computer of the 1960's.
These are fun to look at and reminds me of nostalgic science-fiction movies.

Remember the old MAC versus PC computer commercials on television in the 1980's?
They are still in competition today although I think the tablets and smartphones are winning now.

I even found the first computer system I used in high school learning how to program in BASIC.

As I move further into the bowels of the museum, I came across a few robots on display.

I thought Officer MAC was the most impressive. It was operated by remote control and its duty was to be the ambassador to the police where it visited schools and help counsel abused children.
It looks a little intimidating to me and maybe a precursor to Robocop.

And who can forget the whacky sock puppet.
It's headquarter was in San Francisco where it sold pet supplies online during the height of the dot-com days, but went out of business after a little over 2 years.

- Karen