Random Pix – A New Asia

Walking near the Sutro baths during a recent visit to San Francisco, we came upon this sequin adorned young lady performing an entire regimen of poses for her husband.  My sweetheart offered to take their picture.  They thanked her for doing so and snuggled up close for the shot.  When asked where they were from they answered, “Vietnam.”  My curiosity was piqued and I quickly snapped a photo for myself.  It was my first interaction with Vietnamese tourists here in the U.S., and to me represents how much the world has changed in the last 40 years.

My first exposure to the country and people of Vietnam was during my childhood, watching the evening news with my father after dinner.  In those days, Vietnam was a war-torn, agrarian country whose population was predominantly peasant farmers. For most, the economy and social structure were not conducive of travel outside their immediate area, with even fewer venturing outside the country.  And while that is not entirely inconsistent with the country today, Vietnam is one of several Asian economies emerging into the developing world.  Southeast Asia is a beautiful, fascinating and rapidly changing corner of the world.  And I expect as its economies continue to grow, so will the prevalence of its people as tourists abroad.

~ Castaway

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Photo-walking San Francisco’s northern edge


Sailboat near Marina

Looking far across the bay, beyond the reach of my equipment and what any similarly equipped, self-respecting photographer would attempt to capture, I was doing my best to find a focus point on the Point Bonita Lighthouse.  A cute old man walked in front of me a second time, his attention fixed on a small radio clutched in the palm of his right hand.  An audio cord and ear buds hung loosely beneath his ears, the sound reminding me of transistor radios from long ago.  The old man wasn’t making particularly great time, but was steady and smooth, with the discipline I suppose any athlete could appreciate.  As he passed I was close enough to barely make out the tinny audio of a 49er game.  The 9ers’ were at home, and down a few points.

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All Hallows’, All Saints’, and the tale of jack-o-lanterns and boogey men


“I don’t celebrate Halloween.” 

Haunted face

It’s a comment I’ve heard a few people make, and one that confuses me considering the origins of the holiday.  Celebrate, observe, participate, avoidance.  Word choice has a way of inflecting meaning and tone, often with intention.  I’ve always been fascinated by how people think, their motives, and the underpinnings of opinion, including those I disagree with – and perhaps even more-so when I disagree……  It is my humble opinion that anything which challenges us to think, to justify our beliefs, to dig just a little deeper into the psychi of those around us, is always a worthwhile pursuit.

Growing up in a household which typically avoided strong religious overtones, I enjoyed participating in Halloween without ever knowing the meaning or purpose of the holiday.  I simply enjoyed creating a cool costume – or what I thought was cool, anyway – and being with friends and cousins, roaming the darkened streets trying to maximize my take of the candy bounty.  It was simple being a kid.

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My New Orleans ~ The City that Care Forgot – part un

A few nights ago I was with friends watching the World Series, enjoying a particularly smooth cigar.  I’m not an aficionado by any measure, but the occasional stick now and then suits me just fine.  Like so many of my other pastimes, this came to me by suggestion and curiosity.  It’s a very relaxing endeavor and, unlike drinking a smooth brown ale, which I also partake in every now and again, puffing on a rich aromatic cigar doesn’t require that I get a ride home afterwards, or sleep on a strange sofa.

Continue reading My New Orleans ~ The City that Care Forgot – part un

World Photowalk Day

I recently participated in the World Photowalk event for our area.  Worldwide, nearly 32,000 participants annually take part in over 1,300 walks.  After reading these numbers on the Photowalk web-site, I was surprised on the morning of the event to find that only six would be sharing our respective walk.  It would be easy to say I was disappointed with the low turnout, however, considering I live in a smaller community and nearly an hour away from the nearest tourist attraction, I suppose this is to be expected.

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International Heritage Festival, Modesto, CA

Mexiccan Dancers

On October 6th the 21st annual International Heritage Festival took place in Modesto, California.  It’s an event that I wish to have, and should have attended.  Allowing myself to remain buried, i.e., distracted, by other work meant that I failed to monitor event calenders.  So while I worked and remained comfortably oblivious, the 21st Annual Heritage Festival slipped into the history books without me ever knowing otherwise.  It’s a lesson learned, and reminder to always remain cognizant of those “must attend” events that are both informative and entertaining. Continue reading International Heritage Festival, Modesto, CA

Warm Lights over Bitter Wine

A few months ago, while standing in a grocery store check-out line, I listened on as an older gentleman ranted loudly and at length to his unfortunate cashier, espousing his colorful version of world events and political preferences.  I will say that I’m not the type of person to find these types of commentary offensive.  Everybody has their respective opinions and – hopefully – reasons for having them.  What I did find interesting, and incredibly rude, was that this gentleman thought it appropriate to speak his mind in a grocery store check-out line, where anyone within the adjacent five or six lines had no choice but to hear him. Continue reading Warm Lights over Bitter Wine