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Showing posts from January, 2018

Animal photography, winter 2017–2018 edition

Since the Hanuman langur incident (in which I spotted the monkey but only had my iPhone 6 with me), each time I go outdoors, I bring my Canon Powershot SX720 HS just in case I find myself an opportunity to take photos of animals. 
For my trip this winter, I had a bit of a chance to take photos of a few animals. I didn't go out too much because I got hit by bronchitis; a shame, really, because I wanted to go outdoors before I had to go back to my daily grind. There were wild animals in this collection but most have learned to live in proximity to humans. 
Anyway, here are some of the animals I encountered along the way...

I'm always confused whether the black bird I see is a raven or a crow. Same thing happened when I found this black bird up on a lamp post one afternoon in Concord. Based on it's size, I'm willing to bet that it is a crow. There are many of them roosting in the trees in the city. With the grey skies of winter, these birds just add to the eerie atmospher…

Visiting Facebook HQ

I have always wondered about what it feels like to be a visitor at IRRI because I've been giving lab tours for more than a decade now and I haven't been in on a facilities tour in a long time... the exception being the Plant Growth Facility, which was inaugurated just a few months back. 
So aside from my curiosity at what the Facebook HQ holds, I was excited to be a tourist for a change. Daddy's classmate from high school, Dom, invited the whole family on a field trip to the social media giant's offices in Menlo Park. His son works there as a chef; he could give us a guided tour during his downtime (before he had to be back in the kitchen). Our trip was supposed to have been scheduled way earlier; but I was benched by bronchitis so we had no choice but to delay it. 
On the day itself, we were welcomed by the famous thumb's up sign that signifies "liking" posts and photos in the social media site.

We were given instructions where to park; as we neared the…

A short visit to Stanford University

Die Luft der Freiheit weht (The wind of freedom blows) That is the motto of one the world's most prestigious universities. One afternoon, Mommy, Daddy, Anna, and I found ourselves on its campus, doing what tourists typically do: Mommy and Daddy were seated near the bus station, watching campus life go by, while Anna and I were exploring the more touristy spots on campus.
... Like this corridor of palm trees leading towards the main quad. Just being here brought back memories of my days at the University of Queensland. In Anna's case, she was comparing this scenery with what she saw in San Diego, a city I haven't visited yet.

To find the quad, we checked out a map posted near the parking area. The bench on the other side of the street was where Mommy and Daddy sat down because Mommy's feet were quite painful that day. While Mommy was already exhausted, Anna and I were just warming up.

The quad is very photogenic and Instagrammable. There were so many sights to see and t…

The long walk back to the Embarcadero...

Walking in San Francisco in the rain (in winter) made me think of Elsa defiantly singing, "The cold never bothered me anyway." With the big grins on their faces, Anna and Vernon also appeared to be impervious to the cold and to the rain. 
While we were at the de Young Museum's view deck, I was mulling whether we should do the Golden Gate Bridge trip; after all, we were just a bus ride away. I decided that we should go for it when the top of the bridge broke through the fog... at least we could have a look if we won't be able to walk on it.
So we braved the cold rain and disembarked the bus at the Visitors' Centre, where Anna and I were able to get our National Parks Passport stamped again. From here, we started our long and winding walk back to Embarcadero, where we were to catch the BART going home.

One of the highlights of our walk was getting this view of Crissy Fields. It's difficult to imagine now but this used to be a military airfield. I'm still w…

Cracking the Shakespeare Code (2017)

I was poring through the choices of videos to watch while I was stuck at home with bronchitis when I came across Cracking the Shakespeare Code. I thought that this documentary would follow the footsteps of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and somehow link Shakespeare's works with the Knights Templar. Over-reaching but intriguing, nonetheless.
When I started watching, however, I was surprised with the premise: Shakespearean expert Dr. Robert Crumpton was very upset that some obscure organist, Petter Amundsen, was able to get a book about Shakespeare published. After all, academicians are hungry for publications; while this guy, which he viewed as a mere enthusiast, actually could lay claim to the title "author".
These two guys started their "fencing match" by visiting Shakespeare's First Folio, a 1623 compilation of The Bard's plays, grouped into Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. I have had the enjoyable time of reading his works in high school (thanks t…

Homesick? Eat at Jollibee!

"Isang araw na lang, Jollibee nanaman. Ang araw lulubog; bukas mabubusog sa ChickenJoy manok at YumBurger bilog. I love you, Sabado, pati na rin Linggo! Antay ka lang Jollibee, andyan na ako! Panlasang Pilipino, at home sa Jollibee!"
Biboy was craving for some langhap sarap goodness because he's already missing it. We met him at Seafood City's Jollibee branch for dinner. Anna didn't join us because she's reviewing for her certification exam at the time.
When we entered Jollibee, the company's jingle when I was a kid suddenly started playing in my head. It reminded me of the time when Saturday and Sunday were exciting because that's when the whole family went to Manila to eat out... yes, back in the day, fastfood chains hadn't penetrated my hometown yet so eating at Jollibee was a whole-day affair in Manila. 

A post shared by Rochie Cuevas (@rochiecuevas) on Jan 19, 2018 at 1:09am PST

I guess that's the staying power of the Bee... it plays on o…

Foskett and Elworthy Building

There's a building near the car park in Concord which has a very colourful mural depicting a scene from the city's earlier days. This building is the Foskett and Elworthy Building, the city's first modern stone stucco structure, according to the Concord Historical Society. It has always been a commercial building, with the Foskett and Elworthy First National Bank as its first occupant. Daddy says a pizza place currently occupies a prime spot in the building. 

I don't think we'll see anything old with this building because establishments come and go. So, I just contented myself with taking a picture of the mural and then continued walking past.

Mac and cheese at Homeroom

Anna graduated from her training course with the American Red Cross recently. To celebrate her achievement, Daddy and I had lunch with her at Homeroom, touted to be Oakland's best place for mac and cheese

It's a popular place, judging by the fully occupied tables and the waiting time for the customers who arrived later than we did. We picked two dishes because Anna warned us that the serving portion is huge: a white cheddar mac with broccoli and a smoky bacon mac. Both dishes were yummy! I didn't feel umay while eating the mac and cheese because the chef has found the balance between the creaminess and the other flavours found in the dishes. No wonder people line up to eat here!

Alas, we weren't able to finish our food... again, the servings were huge. It's a good thing because we were able to share the delicious macs with Mommy later in the day. 
Oakland proves to have a treasure trove of dining opportunities. I look forward to being introduced to another resta…

Visiting the Don Francisco Galindo House and Gardens

One way of knowing a city is by visiting its historic sites and museums. In one occasion, Anna, Daddy, and I walked around the city of Concord to see some of its interesting places. While searching for the Concord Historical Museum, we landed at the Galindo House and Gardens. It used to be owned by Don Francisco Galindo, one of the founders of the city (then called Todos Santos). Now, it is maintained by the Concord Historical Society.

Unfortunately, the house was closed when we visited so we weren't able to explore inside. Instead, we just contented ourselves with looking at it from the outside.

Although it's not as grand as the John Muir house in Martinez, it also had an old world charm. IT reminded me of those houses always featured in period movies and series. It was quite interesting to see it just beside a modern apartment complex. The garden appeared to offer some calmness and quiet from the fast pace in the city... a relative notion when compared with the hustle and b…