More random photos of this year’s holiday vacation in the Bay Area…

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That is me, taking a photo of my older daughter, while she was taking a photo of the Christmas tree with her phone.

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I also stole a couple of her photos of the Christmas table off Facebook… HA!

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Mmmmmm…

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A sailboat on the bay.

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A statue down by the Berkeley Marina.

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It is a good luck archer god…

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…riding on a good luck lion god.

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I actually helped make that statue, and the story of how it ended up by the San Francisco Bay is quite interesting. You should Google it… or go back and read the old posts I did about it.

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And yes, I still have a bunch of pictures from the night I drove my mom up to the Berkeley hills to look at the sunset.

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I just hate to get rid of photos without posting them first…

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Even though I obviously took way too many…

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And a lot of them will look almost the same to you. But the amount of that huge bay you can see from there, the panorama… is incredible.

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Poverty among riches: Third-world living in the first-world…

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Was that picture taken in Bangladesh? Nope.

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I took these on the same day I took the pictures from the edge of the San Francisco Bay and the sunset photos from up in the hills.

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This is America. There are children living here. And veterans. Old people. Sick people. Hungry people. People with mental health issues.

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That row of hills in the far distance… that is where I took those delightful sunset photos I have been sharing from. The house I grew up in, that I still go back to, is up in those hills.

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I am thinking of contacting some publishers and offering… for an advance… to write a book, a book full of photos… where I live among these people, all over the country, for a year.

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Everybody knows these people exist. Nobody knows what to do about them. Most people just don’t want to see them so they don’t have to think about them.

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Yes, a few of these people are opting for this. They don’t want to work. But the vast majority do. How do you get a job if you have no phone, no address, no nice clothes, no shower?

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Where would you cash a check, or keep the money if you could cash it?

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That photo I took as I drove out of town a few days later. From the freeway. This encampment is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every month. And this is going on all over the country. All over the world. While some have more than they can ever use, and whine about high taxes, others starve and freeze and die forgotten.

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Those people are ‘living’, if that is the right word to use, within walking distance of this view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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That camp, as seen from the top of those hills, is just in the center foreground of that photo.

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Those people down there, they were under this golden sky, this sunset, a sun that set, for them, on another day of hopelessness.

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Seriously, Arthur, another post of random yet admittedly beautiful photos of the sun setting over the San Francisco Bay???… part 1…

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Yup. Pretty much.

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San Francisco, the light side and the dark side, the high and low, and the many moods of the mysterious Lady by the Bay…

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Okay, so I got carried away with the title. I could have gone with: San Francisco, from two points of view, or something like that. But the title sometimes lures unsuspecting victims into the clutches of my blog… so… yeah…

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What this is is a post about looking out over the San Francisco Bay at the city and some other stuff, from almost sea level, and way up in the hills above Berkeley… at two different times on the same day.

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You get to see the Golden Gate, back-lit by a beautiful sunset, from high above…

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And in afternoon sunlight, from the water’s edge.

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You get to see Mount Tamalpias from above, in the late afternoon glow.

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And gaze up at her from sea level.

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Alcatraz Island, the famous prison of yesterday, from the hills.

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And from much farther down in elevation.

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There is this thing that I used to do… I still do try to do it, when I am in the Bay Area, and people come from out of town. I take them, in the late afternoon, down to the Berkeley Marina, to see the view. Then, we hop in the car, and rush up into the hills, the catch the sunset…

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One minute, you are a Cheerio, floating in the milk-filled bowl of life. The next, you are on the edge of the cereal bowl, looking down at all the little Cheerios floating below.

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This impresses the crap out of most people, especially people from other countries. It is a great way to see the bay. The Berkeley Marina is that little clump of trees far below, with the broken pier jutting into the bay.

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Yup, that pier, right over there.

Stay tuned for more on this subject… I have a lot of nice sunset photos.

 

 

 

 

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Well, I am back in San Diego…

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Technically speaking, that picture was taken while I was still at my mom’s house in the Bay Area for Christmas. I took it with my laptop. I was setting up my new digital microscope for some pictures, and that reminded me my laptop has a camera.

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My younger daughter, Mollie, was seeing if she could reach both sides of the double doorway at my mom’s house. This is that weird moment when you realize your daughter’s arms are as long as yours, even though you are taller. I think my wife took these with her phone, and I had her send them to me. Hey, her legs look longer too. I must have one hell of a long torso.

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I had the idea of recreating that Da Vinci drawing, the one we sent into space on a metal plaque.

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The sunset, on that long drive up California’s Central Valley.

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As I neared the Grapevine… the pass leading through the mountains to Los Angeles, I spotted a weird optical illusion. In the center of the picture, the mountain in the background lines up with the mountain in front of it. It looks like a continuous line, like you can’t tell which part of which mountain is continuing on.

*** WARNING- Remember, kids, do not drive and take photos at the same time, unless you are a trained, professional driver and photographer, and a blogger with crack squirrels living in your head***

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That is my 95-year-old mother. She is sitting in the car, watching the sunset…

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This sunset, and this view, to be precise. I drove her up to my favorite view spot overlooking San Francisco and a large section of the bay… was that really only a couple of nights ago?

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So even though I am back in San Diego, and have to go to work in a few hours, don’t worry.

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I still have a lot of pictures to share.

 

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Up close and personal; fun with micro-photography… a closer look at an American 20-dollar bill… and don’t worry, this time I won’t try to make you play my game where you have to guess what the pictures are of… because when I did that earlier, nobody even tried to… sigh… part 2…

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See, I even told you what these pictures were of right in the title! No stress, no pressure, no games, just look at the pretty pictures.

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I am having so much fun with the little digital microscope I got for Christmas.

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I keep thinking of new things to look at… and feel free to make suggestions.

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This is an interactive blog after all. You get more out of it if you participate.

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So this microscope, according to the daughter that gave it to me, is not expensive. Makes me wonder what a really good one could do. Can I get a digital electron-microscope next year? I want to see cells… molecules… atoms!

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But for now, this is pretty freakin’ awesome! You can see the fibers in the paper. And look at the sparkly paint!

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The funny thing is… (Hey, thing, long time no see… look at you being all funny)… that when you are this close to things, you have no obvious reference points.

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Fortunately, to deter counterfeiters… (hey, I spelled that right the first time!)… the money is marked with some very small print. I mean really small. If that was a normal sized font, all you would see was a corner.

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So you might have guessed what it was, without me telling you.

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Is that where I went wrong with the guessing game? Too many single or double shots of too many objects? Would it be better to do ten or fifteen shots of one thing, and make you guess what it is? Or do you just not like the idea of the game? Too much work?

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No, it’s fine, I will get over it.

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I am here to make you life better with weird humor, not add to your troubles by making you think about stuff. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him think.

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That would have been a good clue, you must admit.

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See, on the other hand, I don’t ever want to talk down to you, or patronize you. I know how smart you are.

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That is one of those same tiny ’20s’… but I zoomed down to the next level.

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I told you I would get better at this!

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Up close and personal; fun with micro-photography… and don’t worry, this time I won’t try to make you play my game where you have to guess what the pictures are of… because when I did that earlier, nobody even tried to… sigh… part 1…

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No, don’t try to guess… it is too late for that. I will now post a photo of the things that I used my new Christmas present, a little digital microscope, on, and we can all just get on with the ‘being amazed at being able to take pictures with a small microscope’ part of our day.

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I already did some all natural objects in my failed guessing game posts. So I focused on some man-made objects this time. Be prepared to be amazed by a closer look at… a piece of tissue paper, a paper towel, a small Ziploc bag, one of my mom’s plates with a knight painted on it, a lined notebook that I used to make notes on how to use the little digital microscope, which is at the top of the picture, above the tissue paper, and the box the thing came in. I know, it is not a very exciting lineup. But wait until you see them a little closer.

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Since the very first picture was of the knight painted on the plate, let’s continue with that.

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What kind of paint do you use to stick to a porcelain or China plate? What do you cover the paint with to make it stay there through hundreds of washings and silverware being scraped over it? How hot do you have to bake it to make it last???

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What kind of tiny brush do you use, assuming these are hand-made?

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These are questions I never thought to ask, and I am a curious guy… who took glass blowing lessons.

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Maybe I should have taken a closer regular photo of the plate, so you could see it better.

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But I have to drive 500 miles back to San Diego tomorrow… so… oh, that might be the horse’s eye!?

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The piece of tissue paper. Not overly exciting, but different from the paper towel, which looks like this…

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It is a much rougher weave… or whatever you would call it.

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That is the Ziploc part of a Ziploc bag.

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And that is a little blue line, from a page of my lined notebook. It is really embedded in the paper somehow.

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And those are parts of something I wrote in the notebook, in black ink, to remind me how to use the microscope, and find the pictures in my laptop folders after I took them, so I could share them with you now.

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It is interesting to me that the ink isn’t bleeding and spreading into the paper more. Is it good paper or good ink, or both?

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More questions I never thought to ask… or Google.

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The amazing thing about the microscope is that you can actually zoom down to a whole, smaller level. That is what I did up there, which is why the blue line and my handwriting look even bigger. But at that level focusing is very difficult. I need to make the stand for the scope more sturdy. Any wiggle while adjusting the focus knob causes things to happen. Suddenly you aren’t on the target anymore. And you think you have it in focus, and then it self-adjusts for some reason. But I will get better at it.

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That is part of the metal loops that run down the side of the notebook, to hold the pages in.

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I liked it so much, I took another one. No rust this time.

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These last two are of the box my present came in… which reminded me…

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… that everything I was looking at in the microscope was actually turned upside down by the lenses… which explains why it was so danged hard to find things again if I bumped it.

 

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