Friday, November 30, 2007

AT&T Baseball Park, Part 1

On the bay next to the stadium is "McCovey Cove" named after the famous San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. During a game, tons of crazy fans in canoes, kayaks, or boats would sail into this area hoping to catch a ball hit outside the park.

"O'Doul Gate" named after the famous 1920's left-handed pitcher and Japan basball manager, Joseph Lefty O'Doul. To the left is a statue of the former 1960's San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal.

Stadium Interior - you probably can't see it very well, but on this particular afternoon, an ice skating rink was set up on the infield. Anyone who bought tickets can enjoy time on the ice.

103 Foot Wide High-Definition Scoreboard

This ballpark opened in March 2000 and it has really revitalized this once rundown part of San Francisco. Due to the flagship sponsor of the park changing its corporate name over and over again, the park has been named "PacBell Park", "SBC Park", and now "AT&T Park".

I have never been to this stadium before, but it is opened certain hours during the off-season to visitors. To me, there is always something exciting about a ballpark. Maybe because of its vastness - 6700 seats and 68 luxury suites.

When I visited this stadium, I took quite a number of photos so instead of bombarding you all at once, I thought I would break them up in palatable chunks.

- AV

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

S is for Soviet Submarine on ABC Wednesday

Cold War B-39 Soviet Submarine

Submarine's Sail

Steep Stairs Decending Into the Submarine's Interior

Captain's Quarters

One of Three Toilets Onboard for 78 Sailors

Torpedo Room

Inside of a Torpedo Tube

This Cold War B-39 Soviet Submarine was on loan to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The docent mentioned the Soviet military was selling their old submarines at the end of the Cold War and an American living in Seattle purchased this one. It was towed by tugboat to San Diego to be part of the museum's exhibit until early 2008.

- AV

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. Antwan L. Walker
Sgt. Antwan L. Walker

22 years old from Tampa, Florida
2nd Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division
May 18, 2005

Sgt. Antwan Walker was excited about coming home from Iraq to celebrate his 23rd birthday with his family and friends. His mother, Andrea Pringle, was busy planning the party when an Army official unexpectedly came to her house.

She said he told her Thursday that her son was killed the previous day by a bomb blast in Ramadi. The Department of Defense hasn't publicly confirmed his death.

Sgt. Antwan Walker, known as Twan to his friends and family, joined the Army in 2000. Pringle said her son joined to earn money for college.

"Twan had a lot of goals in life," She said. "He was very ambitious and very smart."

Sgt. Walker had been in Iraq for about a year. He called his family often but didn't want to talk about war. Instead, he talked about starting a real estate career and his three children.

"He was such a good dad," his mother said. "All he wanted to do was make a good life for his kids."

In April 2005, Walker wanted to talk about the fighting. He told his mother five soldiers he was traveling with were killed. His phone calls became more frequent after that.

Pringle said she had days when she couldn't eat or sleep because of her worries. But she never forgot to give her son her support.

"I always told him I'm proud and be safe".

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Structures Along the Waterfront

Yin & Yang

Placard behind the structure reads:

Robert Arneson was born in Benicia, California, where he lived most of his life. As a founding father of the contemporary ceramic sculpture movement, he used humor, satire, and confrontation to explore moral and ethical concerns in clay, bronze, and other media. "Yin and Yang" is one of five sculptures known collectively as the "Egghead" series. The series was commissioned in 1989 for the University of California at Davis, where Arneson taught from 1962-1991 and retired as Professor Emeritus of Art.

Cupid's Span

Steel and fiberglass structure 60 feet in height and 140 feet across created by renowned artists, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Revealed in 2003, this structure anchors the top of a berm with the arrowhead buried underneath it.

What is this? Does it have something to do with navigation? Does anyone know?

- AV

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Watch Where You Sit

As I walked from the train station to the Ferry Building about 2 miles, I encountered these interesting cement benches along the way. From a distance, I thought what was wrong with these seats, but as I got closer, I could see they were decorated with turtles, octopi, and clams. Watch where you sit!

This is a continuation of my photographic journey through San Francisco this past weekend with more similar postings to come.

- AV

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Java House

Took a train trip to San Francisco this weekend and had breakfast at The Java House located on Pier 40 of the marina. I heard of this famous landmark many times, but never was able to find street parking or wanted to pay $6 per hour just to eat there.

I love breakfast and a place that serves breakfast all day is my kind of restaurant. My french toast and coffee hit the spot before I continued on my photo journey along the embarcadero.

- AV

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Shopping

Mr. Chippy all decked out today to welcome shoppers into Fry's Electronics

Today was my first foray into the Black Friday shopping chaos. After studying the local newspaper circular's all week for the best pricing on a GPS system, we headed out at 5:30 AM to Staples, the local office supply store, which was selling a state-of-art GPS for under $100. Of course, by the time we arrived, there were already 100 people ahead of us. Once we set foot into the store a few minutes after it opened at 6 AM, we were informed all the sub-$100 GPS were already sold out as only those people who were at the front of the line received tickets to buy them.

We quickly left and headed over to Radio Shack which was also selling the same GPS system for $50 more, but still less than its regular price. Luckily, the lines here were shorter and we bought the last one on the shelf. We gave the GPS a spin after we got home and it works like a champ!

Here's our new Navigon 2100 GPS so hopefully, we'll never be lost again...

Let me know if you have any Black Friday stories to tell or were you smart and stayed in bed this morning.

- AV

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating this U.S. holiday otherwise it's Happy Thursday to all my non-U.S. blog friends. I thought this photo was somewhat appropriate as it was the Pilgrims who learned how to cultivate corn from the Native Americans and thus bringing about Thanksgiving to celebrate their bountiful harvest.

I have always been intrigued by The Corn Palace. Here is this 20-acre farm in the middle of the Silicon Valley. Homes and high-tech companies surround the area, but as you look at this fruit & vegetable stand, it brings you back to the 1920's when the Francia family first bought it for $11,000 US.

Although farming is a dying art, the Francia's still own it and they still sell fruits and vegetables grown on the land behind this structure as well as from other farms they own in the area. I should drop by one of these days and have a closer look.

- AV

R is for Randomness on ABC Wednesday

Fountain of Rings at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Kids and adults alike love to guess when the random jets of water will spout upward. This was still open in September when I visited, but has since been closed due to the severe drought in the area.

I guess these are seagulls all staring in random directions while sunning themselves on the beach.

Random flames shoot up into the air as this cook cleans the grill before the next barbeque.

These random sets of rails of a rollercoaster intrigued me with their complexity.

- AV

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wednesday Hero

Spc. Roger G. Ling
Spc. Roger G. Ling
20 years old from Douglaston, New York
Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team
February 19, 2004

When Spc. Roger G. Ling's Humvee was struck by a homemade bomb in October of 2003, he survived the attack and he worked to keep his superior officer, Lt. Matt Homa, alive. Spc. Ling was riding in the backseat of the Humvee when it was hit. It destroyed Lt. Homa's door.

"It almost killed me. From what I've been told, Roger helped keep me awake until my medic arrived." said Lt. Homa. "Ling was a good kid. You could count on him to do anything."

Spc. Ling was killed, along with Second Lieutenant Jeffrey C. Graham of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, when their unit came under fire from insurgents in Khalidiyah, Iraq. Only two miles from where he'd survived the attack just four months earlier.

Leona Ling said she was grateful her brother came home in August of 2003 just before leaving for Iraq.

"He had to have his tonsils taken out," she said. "It was a blessing in disguise because we got to see him again."

In phone calls home, the soldier spoke wistfully of returning to New York and going to college. "He wanted to hear about what was going on at home and all the latest family gossip," Leona Ling recalled.

Survivors include his father, Wai Ling, a U.S. Army veteran.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

City Hall

This is San Jose's City Hall Rotunda. Designed by Richard Meier, this structure and the city office building next door was opened in 2005. The glass dome is 110 feet high and makes use of natural light. I always thought this was an interesting looking building and more so at night.

- AV

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nothing But Cheeks

I had an all-day finance class today which was well attended at the local community center. Finance, how exciting is that so my eyes started wandering around the room to avoid yawning. Lo and behold, I spotted two butt cheeks of a woman a few rows ahead of me. I had to do a double and even a triple take to make sure I was seeing this correctly. Believe me, it wasn't pleasant.

My eyes wandered around to see if anyone else noticed too. I couldn't tell so I must've been the only "lucky" one. She was wearing one of those elastic pull-up pants so as she moved back onto the chair, her pants and underwear start to slip downward. After some time, she must have noticed a draft and she pulled her underwear back up, but not her pants. Right before we broke for lunch, I noticed her pants were now down to her thighs. She nonchalantly pulled it back on as she got up from her chair.

So, at this point, you would think she learned her lesson. NO! During the afternoon session this happened once more. Luckily, her underwear stayed on this time, but her pants slipped off again.

- AV

Friday, November 16, 2007

Disaster Preparedness Drill

When the drill scenario started, these firefighters came to investigate the situation.

Since I was a "victim", I was required to wear this triage tag. My "injuries" weren't very serious, so I was classified to be "Delayed" in getting treatment.

Evacuees lining up for the buses to take them to the evacuation center.

Waiting in line for lunch.

I was 1 of 500 volunteers at a statewide disaster preparedness drill on Wednesday. The drill was suppose to simulate a terrorist attack at a concert which in reality was a small baseball stadium. Since my friend and I attended the event early, we were assigned the roles of being "victims" and be triaged based on our "injuries". Mine was being pregnant and a history of seizures.

Halfway through the exercise, we took a break for a BBQ lunch which we ate with lightning speed before all 500 evacuees were transported by a score of buses with 5 police motorcycle escorts to the evacuation center. Once at the center, we were required to wait in line and fill out a form so we could be interviewed and be medically treated. From a victim's point of view, I can't say it went very smoothly, but I hope the different agencies learned something.

- AV

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Success - What Does It Mean To You?

The poster reads "Success - Arriving at our destination may be the aim, but how we make the journey is the measure of success."

This morning my husband and I were engaged in a philosophical discussion about how a person thinks he or she is successful. After some deep thinking, he came up with living a happy and balanced life. I think mine is having the opportunity to do almost whatever I want. In other words, my destiny is in my hands. Of course, being happy and healthy are up there too.

Success means different things to different people. Some might say being wealthy, others might say raising healthy and productive children, whereas others might say having lots of friends.

What does being successful mean to you???

- AV

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Q is for Quiet Places on ABC Wednesday

This is the Friendship Bridge at the local Japanese Garden. A nice calm and quiet place to reflect.

I spied a couple sitting at the quiet and fairly deserted Coronado's Ferry Landing Marketplace pier overlooking the San Diego skyline.

This is the famous Old St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco and a quiet place to worship although it is well visited by tourists.

This is my sleepy dog Maverick who is getting ready for a nap during a quiet afternoon.

- AV

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wednesday Hero

Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle
Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle
21 years old from Los Angeles, California
Company L, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6 ("Darkhorse" Battalion)

Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle takes time out of leading his squad in a patrol through Fallujah's Nazaal district to spend some time interacting with local children. Moehnle, who is on his second tour in Iraq, said the changes he has witnessed since he was last here in 2006 have been dramatic. "The city was like the Wild West, we'd put our heads and and drive down (the middle of Fallujah) and hope not to get shot," he said. "Since we've been here (this year), we can stop and shoot the breeze."

You can read more here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Historic Streetcar

I was in San Francisco on Sunday visiting my parents. After lunch, we were hoping to see the Veterans Day Parade march by the restaurant. We waited and waited, but no parade. I verified the information beforehand and knew I didn't have the wrong date or time. I also saw a few parade participants in costumes earlier rushing towards the starting point a few blocks away.

I figured my information from the internet must have been incorrect plus my parents didn't want to walk to find it. Well, the parade did take place as seen on the local news, but I never did verify the route.

I was hoping to post some parade photos. But instead, I have a picture of one of the many historic streetcars that were passing me by along Market Street - the main thoroughfare in downtown San Francisco.

I remember riding these beauties as a kid and now they are back. I look forward to riding one again and that will be another adventure some other day.

- AV

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is It Monday Again?

It's too early to be a Monday! Let me snooze for 5 more minutes!

- AV

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pirates Codes

There was a small exhibit I saw a few weeks ago called the "Pirates of the Pacific". It showcased the exploits of a few pirates back in the 1600's. But the thing I noticed was these oaths called Pirates' Codes of Conduct each member must adhere to in order to become part of the crew. Some are pretty severe, but I guess to become an adventurous swashbuckling buccaneer, one must be bold.

- AV

Friday, November 09, 2007

Something Other Than Photography

What, no photos today? I thought I would give you a break. Photography is definitely my favorite hobby and I can spend the next 50 years trying to perfect it. However, recently, I decided to add a few new skills to my toolbox that can turn into hobbies.

About a month ago, I signed up for an online class called “Publish It Yourself: How to Start and Operate Your Own Publishing Business”. Although I don’t have a life story or fiction novel to write, I thought it was something fun to learn and so far it hasn’t been that bad. If only blogs would sell.

Almost 30 years ago, every female student was expected to take a Home Economics class during their junior high school years. The curriculum taught 14-year-olds how to cook and sew. I liked the cooking part, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of sewing. I was notoriously bad at it and had to have my mother do my final project for me. Shhhh!

And, what did I foolishly decide to do last week? I signed up for a sewing class and headed straight outside my comfort zone. With the money spent on buying bedcovers or having clothes altered, this skill can save me money in the long run. As our first project, I chose to make pajama pants like the other 2 students. I’ll show you what it looks like in a few weeks if I ever finish it.

Lastly, I saw a preview of the new upcoming movie based on the Stephen King book called “The Mist”. It looked pretty scary so I purchased the book and in the midst of reading it. The last Stephen King book I read years ago was “The Shining”. I’m typically a Dean Koontz suspense novel reader so I’m interested to hear from you if you are too.

Thanks for reading this far and now you’re all caught up. Have a nice weekend.

- AV