Thu Apr 27, 2006

It might be Sun

In California, we have two seasons. Rain and Sun. The rain season has been particularly harsh this year, with March being the wettest month in recorded history, and even some falling snow. It looks like now, at the end of April, it might be the start of Sun season again:


Posted by: jav on Apr 27, 06 | 2:57 pm | Profile

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Sun Mar 12, 2006


Friday night I was in San Francisco seeing Jake Johannsen. I was driving home on I-280 at about 10:30. It was rainy weather. At one point, the traffic slows down to a crawl. There is a police car ahead, blocking traffic and ensuring it only goes 15 mph. I had no idea why, but after about a mile, I see all the snow piling up on the road. Californians in this area have no idea what to do in snow, so it was probably a good idea to keep all the cars going at 15 mph.


Snow on the freeway. (Not actual photo from Friday night)

People never believe me, so here's an article from someone more reputable.

Posted by: jav on Mar 12, 06 | 3:21 pm | Profile

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Sun May 08, 2005

The U of Life on my Balcony

There's almost a circle of life happening on my balcony, but it's too soon to tell if the circle is closed. So I will call it the U of life for now.

The U starts off with my bird feeder. I have a bird feeder that dispenses bird seed to all the birds who decide to make the trek to my balcony. Seed is dispensed for about a week, and then stops until a weekend that I motivate myself to refill it and have planned far enough ahead to have bird seed on hand.

Only smaller birds feed at the actual bird feeder. The larger pigeon-sized birds look too shy, and instead walk around on the railing of my balcony or walk around on the floor of my balcony. The floor of my balcony is where the next important stop in the U of Life of my balcony. Much of the seed that the smaller birds try to get at from the bird feeder suspended from the balcony ceiling lands on the floor. This is where the larger birds get the bird seed from.

And then there's another animal. The squirrels. I like squirrels. Some people hang their bird feeders so the squirrels cannot reach it. The squirrels cannot reach mine, but this is in no way intentional. The squirrels visit constantly during the day (I see them almost solidly throughout the weekend when I am sitting in my living room during daylight hours). They eat all the seed off the floor. Sometimes when they look up, they have bird seed smeared all over their face. I predict this is what rock stars look like right after snorting a whole bunch of cocaine.

The squirrels are not happy enough just eating the seed off the floor. They want to get to the bird feeder. And I'm really rooting for them. A squirrel will sometimes stand on the top of my DirecTV satellite dish stand, and look longingly at the bird feeder about 2 feet to the right, and 1 foot in additional altitude. By looking at him you can tell he's measuring the pros and cons of jumping in his head. The squirrel never jumps, but I think it would be fantastic if he did. I'd have a front row seat to seeing a squirrel leap through the air, try to catch hold and stay onto the bird feeder which is gently swaying in the wind, and watching the bird seed scatter in all directions from the shock. Some people pay good money to see Cirque Du Soleil do this kind of stuff. It would be worth the couple of dollars I've been investing in bird seed over the years.

The squirrel has a plan B. The bird feeder is about 3 feet away from my sliding screen door. On a couple of occasions, I've seen a squirrel climb straight vertically up the screen to the same altitude as the bird feeder. Again, I root for the squirrel to attempt the fling. I've seen squirrels fling themselves much farther than three feet. This fling would be particularly spectacular since it would have to involve a back flip. The squirrel is facing the wrong direction as it climbs up the screen. Again, the spray of bird seed flying in all directions is a climax I can't wait to see.

The cats seem especially interested when the squirrel climbs up the screen. They paw at him through the glass window. The squirrel has learned to ignore everything that happens on the other side of the glass window. I can knock on the window or just take pictures for minutes on end. But as soon as I start to open a door, the squirrel flings himself about 6 feet to a nearby tree.

I've witnessed some of the fallen bird seed that has fallen into the dirt start to grow into plants. I'm not sure what kind of plant - a bird seed plant? As soon as one survives and starts producing fruits, the circle of life will be complete, and I will no longer have to invest money into seeing potential squirrel acrobatics. But harvesting the bird seed tree might be more effort than its worth.

Posted by: jav on May 08, 05 | 7:13 pm | Profile

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Mon Apr 05, 2004

Quack Quack

I now have my very own baby duck!

I love baby ducks. I have been going to the park every weekend for the last month since I know the babies hatch about this time every year. So I was at Memorial Park in Cupertino on Sunday, and the baby ducks finally arrived!

But alas, my joy soon turned to sadness. The city decided to pick this time to drain the pond. All the ducks look like they are in misery when the pond gets drained, and now was particularly bad timing with the new ducklings just coming out.

I could only see what looked like one family of ducks. There was about 8 baby ducks and a mommy and daddy duck. Later, I saw a little duck all on its own. No apparent mommy and daddy, and duck families usually stay together.

This poor little guy (or girl) was stuck on his own. Because the pond was being drained, he was often stuck in the mud and kept falling over. At one point, the mommy duck who was mommy to the other ducks came close, and then appeared to attack it. I can only imagine that this mommy duck was being territorial, or this baby ducks was the mommy duck's, but the mommy had disowned it or something. What could a poor little baby duck do to get disowned.

A couple of us witnessed this poor little duck getting stuck in the mud, and we all wanted to help out. I volunteered to take it home, although if I didn't, someone else would have.

The pond is a very dangerous place. Here are some pictures I took "by accident" of a seagull snatching a baby duck:

Here's a picture of "Quacky" with his or her rubber ducky:

Which baby duck would you rather be?

Posted by: jav on Apr 05, 04 | 7:03 pm | Profile

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Sun Dec 14, 2003

Nature keeping me up at night

The other night I was in bed and I was awakened by a squeaking noise outside my window. I thought it might be a bird or a squirrel. The sound sounded like it was coming from right outside my window. I leaned over and looked outside my window. I couldn't see anything. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I noticed that there was a snail on my window. It would slither across the window, but whenever it changed direction, it would make a squeaking noise.

So there are snails outside my window keeping me up at night.

Posted by: jav on Dec 14, 03 | 2:40 pm | Profile

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Mon Jul 07, 2003

Caught my Squirrel Burying Nuts

I have a pet squirrel I named Buddy. I keep him outdoors. Occasionally, I'll scatter some peanuts on my deck for him to find.

Sunday I left out some peanuts, and then walked to Starbucks. I got back just in time to see him with one of the peanuts, burying it in one of my planters.

Planter's Peanuts!

Posted by: jav on Jul 07, 03 | 12:25 pm | Profile

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