February 28, 2010

Morro Bay

Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a little south of Hearst Castle, lies Morro Bay, a quaint fishing village with an ugly power plant (not pictured) and a very photogenic harbor. Morro Rock, an ancient volcanic plug, is the town's landmark and a protected State Reserve.

February 26, 2010

Dr. Innovation


Among Silicon Valley pioneers, Dr. Thomas Fogarty is in a class of his own: Rather than pushing the boundaries of bits and bytes, the Stanford professor helped many patients avoid open-heart surgery by first inventing the balloon catheter and later the “stent graft”, a tiny implant that strengthens weak arteries to keep them open. Today’s New York Times article about stents potentially being as effective in preventing strokes as surgery reminded my of my own interview with Dr. Fogarty for Earlybird Magazine (page 16 here). And if you prefer a glass of wine over worrying about health issues, the good doctor can help out, too – as he happens to be not just a renowned surgeon but also the owner of Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards. Here’s to good health!

February 25, 2010

Palace Under Palm Trees


Back in the 1920's, when newspapers still made money, a publisher who owned a few of them decided to put some spare change into building “a little something” where he used to camp out in the open, under the California sky: voilĂ , Hearst Castle! The man behind it, William Randolph Hearst, never called his sprawling estate near San Simeon a castle, actually, because he owned a real castle in Scotland. But that one probably didn’t come complete with Roman bath and a few other extras. Well worth a visit if you ever happen to be in the area.

February 24, 2010

The Sound of Money

A trio that keeps brewing up hits: Apple boss Steve Jobs, turning 55 today, brought in British singer K.T. Tunstall and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz to present the newest generation of iPods at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, back in September 2007. (More here.) Since then, Apple has added some $12 billion in revenue and made the iPhone almost as ubiquitous as the green Starbucks mermaid. (Who got a chastity makeover long before Apple decided to do the same with the App Store.)

February 20, 2010

The Gates

Five years ago, the art installation “The Gates” added a little color to New York’s  Central Park, usually wintry-grey in February.

February 17, 2010

Wing on Wing

Just a couple of pelicans flying across the horizon, perfectly in sync. Nothing special, and yet it’s one of my personal favorites – the colors, the silhouettes, a couple of clouds adding texture to the background. Works even as a t-shirt...

February 16, 2010

Harbor View

Santa Barbara - a pleasant place to spend some time at any age...

February 15, 2010

Carnival in San Francisco

Why celebrate carnival when everybody else does? San Francisco likes to pick the Memorial Day weekend instead – the weather tends to be better, too... (More photos here.)

February 14, 2010

Golden Gate Flowers

I was looking for a good spot to take Fleet Week pictures when I saw these flowers lying on a picnic table with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seemed like an appropriate photo for February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

February 13, 2010

Bodega Birds

Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s PBS-on-steroids lesson in ornithology, “The Birds”? Here are the winged protagonists' descendants, photographed, like the film, in Bodega Bay, about 2 hours north of San Francisco. More here.

February 11, 2010

Giant Dipper

Among roller coasters, the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz, California, is a senior citizen – built in 1924, but still going strong.

February 10, 2010

Let Others Run

Funny, that’s my favorite way to enjoy sports, too...

February 9, 2010

Her Royal Highness

Please meet Squelly, Queen of Oakland. Being a cat, she’s royalty. Naturally.

February 8, 2010

In Transition

Some airports make changing planes a pain (thinking of you, Frankfurt and London Heathrow) – and others actually make it fun. Here’s the tunnel that connects terminals at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, complete with colorful light show.

February 7, 2010

Truly A Golden Gate

While New Orleans and Indianapolis were duking it out at the Super Bowl, the Golden Gate was bathing in all its sunny glory. It looked something like this.

February 6, 2010

Shadow Play

Nothing fancy here, but I liked how the afternoon light was casting a nice shadow on the wall when I walked past this lamp on a nearby street.

February 5, 2010

Revisiting The Donald

Remember the real-estate boom? At one point, Donald Trump was touring the country, collecting $1 million per evening from the Learning Annex to speak about “how to get rich”. Here’s a fake Donald with two “fun girls” at San Francisco’s Moscone conference center, which was packed with wanna-be millionaires that day in the spring of 2007.

Shortly after the “Real Estate & Wealth Expo” moved on, the bubble burst, but the Learning Annex is still at it – offering classes on “how to make money in real estate today”. Not taught by The Donald, however, and the most popular offering right now is actually a course called “how to start your own t-shirt line”. My, how the dreams of a nation have changed.

February 4, 2010

Turning Point

The Cable Car turnaround at Hyde and Beach St. near Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the best spots to catch San Francisco’s famous trolleys in all their glory – especially on a sunny afternoon when soft light streams in via the Golden Gate. More Cable Car photos here.

Way Out West

A train waiting by a gas station in the middle of nowhere - somehow, this image symbolizes America’s Wild West to me, the modern version. Taken near the Salton Sea, about an hour’s drive from Palm Springs. More images from California here.

Edgar and the Kindle

What would Edgar Allan Poe think of the Kindle? This picture was taken last year in New York when Amazon unveiled the Kindle 2.

February 3, 2010

Welcome to the Golden Gate

Here’s what it looks like to approach the Golden Gate by sea. I was treated to this view when I got a ride on the Frauscher 757 St. Tropez, the world’s first motoryacht with a hybrid engine. See more here and there’s a video, too, if you like (with German soundtrack).

A Taste of Summer

It’ll be a few more months before the little village in Northern Germany feels as summery again as you see it on this photo. Right now it’s cold, dark, and grey – and I’m happy to be in California...