Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower was the first place I went to see soon after I touched down in Tokyo many years ago. I was hoping to get there before it got too dark.  It was the around this time of the year or around starting of summer. The day light should  last a bit longer but on that day it got dark a bit sooner.  I thought would miss the opportunity to see the tower during the day time but I guess the near dark scene itself was worth seeing.

I have not put much thought about the tower at the time but remembering it from seeing it from old movies or TV series that had big monsters (Godzilla, etc.) came to destroy the city. I just read about it later that its purpose is for communications (television and radio broadcasts) and observations.

There are elevators to carry tourists up to the observatory decks. The elevator was decorated with colorful lighting fixture inside. I really like it when I stepped in. It gives feeling of cheerful and fun.

There are two main observatory decks. You can have good views over Tokyo from the decks. Tokyo was a busy place but one of the street below did not look too bad at the time.

Among modern tall buildings there are interesting Japanese style buildings into the mix. I wished I could ask some one about those buildings.

Part of the observatory deck floor stretches out a bit and was made with glass. They are looking windows. You can step over and see the ground right below your feet. It gave strange feeling that you stood on air and could fall at any moment (at least it is for me 🙂 ).  I noticed that the ground below do seem to have a playground (a little train track there).  You can also see a small antenna attached.

There is a shrine on the observatory deck. It is “Great Shinto Shrine of the Tower”. From what I read briefly that it is the place students come to pray for their success in entrance exam.

On the way back down,  the returning elevator places you on the floor that have small exhibition, souvenir and snack shops. The exhibition showed small models of old houses. I am not sure what the exhibition was about but only guess it probably shows the houses around the area a long time back (about the tower was built?).

The details of the model houses and the items that made up the place are incredible. I always love  seeing the small models since I was young. This exhibition is just  a great eye candy for me.

I could spend a lot of  time exploring this small world;  following this street,  that street looking at the shops, houses and be absorbed by their realistic details.  I hope you get a feel of them too.

This is one last snap – the queue lines to elevators to the observatory deck.  I hope you enjoy the tour of Tokyo Tower. Have a great Summer.

 

There you are!

This is an American green tree frog. I recall seeing them only a couple of occasions at night. They came to get their evening meal (those insects flying around the lamp). I am quite sure they are out there more often than I can count. I do not like to go out and check things out at night (I am afraid to run into another kind of fellow that has no leg and also loves to eat frogs).

This time was not even at dusk yet and this fellow showed up. He must have heard about this 4 star rated restaurant and wanted to make sure he has a good sitting place or perhaps he had a date and wanted to show his date that he was punctual.  For me, I do not really plan to make any profit out of the restaurant for tree flog population nearby but I was glad to meet this early bird customer during the day time. He was patiently waiting and did not make any fuss or sound. The best part to me was he did not mind me taking pictures of him.  He simply hung there smiling happily at me. In return, I gave him and his date to dine without any charges. Good deal 🙂

Peacefulness In Darkness

I love to go into work quite early if I could. I really love it when no one is there and the work place is still quite dark. Of course, the place is not in total darkness. The hall way lights and and the faint blue early morning light from the glass windows around are the sources of light that keep the place from complete darkness. The main light that lights up my desk is the light from the monitor sitting in front of me. It comes alive when I wake up the computer routinely in the morning.  For a good while until others arrive and all the lights are turned on, I’ve found temporary peacefulness in the dark and from the place that I would not normally imagine would be possible. For such days, I feel I have immunized myself against any craziness from the rest of the day.

I hope you find peacefulness in some way in your daily life from time to time.

Leisurely Sunday Morning

Leisurely Sunday Morning

Basked by soft and warm sun light

Touched by gentle breeze

Muffled by the sound of small waves

 Lost by limitless ocean in front

New thoughts lessened

Raging mind slowed down

Content and joy slowly raised

What a Leisurely Sunday Morning..

Sunday morning is the time that I usually feel there are little less things on my mind (not always though :)). Actually, that is a also true for Saturday but it is rather a starting of winding down feeling (and that is another story).

Epilogue:

Ooops! Wait a second, what ? There is a thing to prepare for tomorrow. .. arggg..”

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Wintry Days

 

Wintry Days

Last weekend was the first snow days of this year here. The weather stations predicted 6 inches to 7 inches of snow accumulation. That was considered quite high for the typical wintry days in the area. Fortunately, the weather pattern changed the last minutes (ha! even mother nature changes her  mind the last minutes too). The snow accumulation was only about a couple of inches. Whew, that was a relieve for me. I am sure  that disappointed many many young kids who were excited about snow and were looking forward to have  fun days in the snow and school closes. At least they were not disappointed about the school closed on Monday after.

For me, I was glad and secretly thanked the nature’s last minute decision for not pouring pile of snow in the area. I was still nervous regardless. The temperature were near record low (it dipped into single digit degrees Fahrenheit) and reported near zero or actually zero on Sunday night. That raised any concern for not too young houses. Being stuck in the house during the time also made me felt like doing a jailed time from a rebellious mind. If power went out things could be worse. I think that could be quite the opposite for young kids who felt free from being off from school and just having fun… hmm.

Our nature is always strange, under the same situation some can be cheerful while some are dreadful.

Wintry Day - Color

Can we always have a cheerful mind in any situation we are in?

Stuffs from A Nightmare

A Stuff from A Nightmare

When I saw this tree, the first impression I had was it was a scare looking tree. It could be a thing that you ran into in your nightmare. The surrounding thick fog and still early morning light were probably the major factors contributing to its scariness. I saw it again not too long ago in a clear broad daylight and it is just a poor looking tree.

I do not remember that I’ve ever dreamed of any trees before. When I was a boy growing up, I recalled dreaming about ghost chasing me. Ghosts have not visited me in my dream for a long time now. I guess that is because I now feel that they are like you and me. Would it be nice to befriend one? 😉  My nightmares recently were more of getting caught in a repeat loop of thoughts that I was unable to break out. They are not scary (not at the surface anyway) but cause tiredness and restlessness later. I do not like that.

I hope this does not cause anyone a nightmare. The Halloween is coming soon. It is around the time we can talk about scary things a little bit. 🙂

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest

I am always fascinated by things that fly or airborne. Hot air balloon is one of them that I had not seen in real life. I often see them in the TV news. I know there are some activities in the state where I live but the places are long drive away. They are probably also private. Seeing a real hot air balloon was on my wish list.

WRAL Balloon Fest 2014

I guess it was my lucky day a couple of year back to hear  WRAL (a local TV station) organized the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest at two locations. One of the locations was just about 30 minutes away. I normally do not pay much attention for what is going around. I was glad to hear about the event. Yeah!

WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival - 2

The WRAL Balloon Festival is free for public. They even provided free shuttle bus rides from the nearby mall parking lot to the site that year. There were sponsors and volunteers to help running the event. Since I was aware of the event, the festival is a yearly event around Memorial day weekend.  It is really a nice idea that WRAL, sponsors and volunteers to organize and run the event for the community.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 3

The near location is not a really big open field but there were a fair number of balloons at the event. The event started early in the morning and ran to dusk. My plan was to get there in the evening to avoid hot sun and hoped to see balloons in the night sky.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 4

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 8

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 5

If you do not already know the process of how to get the balloon started airborne, the process to get the balloon airborne is interesting. It starts by putting air (“cold inflation”) using a fan to fill enough air into the balloon. Once good amount of air is inside the balloon, the frame is lit to make the air inside hot and that creates lift. Too bad, I did not recall this activity to look for during the event.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 6

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 7

I believe the word “Freedom” part of the festival name is relating to freedom as freedom of the nation. Seeing a man can float up in the air makes me think it is also another kind of freedom. It is the deeper desire of human to be free to go anywhere possible. It is the freedom from being tied down by this earth.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 9

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 10

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 11

Today we have much better ways of air traveling than by hot air balloons but I can imagine the slow and gentle floating up the air will give you a different feel. No rush to get somewhere, look around for views from the high up, enjoy breeze and fresh air.  Definitely, it is quite less complicate to get airborne than other means. It works with the same concept as we most already familiar with – boat floating on water! No, I am not at all trying to say it is an easy thing as making things float on water. The balloon may look simple but things that let it flyable are by far not simple.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 18

I saw this long rope on the grass . The rope looks pretty strong and fairly thick. It suggests to me that once the balloon is airborne it needs quite strong rope to hold it.  Hmm, it though it is supposed to be lighter than air 😉

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 12

I did not touch the fabric of the balloon but it looks so light and thin. I am quite certain that entire balloon can be folded into very compact. The fabric are so colorful. I think it is the part that draws most attention when we seem them in the sky.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 13

It was a very fun event for everyone. I spot this young lady posing to her husband. I could not help taking a picture of her at the same time. I was wondering how she looked in the picture taken by her husband. I love sneaking taking picture of people being taking pictures 🙂

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest -14

Everyone looked relax and just enjoyed the afternoon summer time among in this fun event.WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 15

This picture is just to tell that I am not only a cat person. I also like dog a lot too 🙂

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 17

I just love this scene, life full.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 16

The sun was low but it was going to be a while before the sun went down completely. I forgot that the day was long during summer time. I could not wait that long. Surprising, many people were still coming to the festival as I was leaving.
WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 19I hope you enjoy the balloon festival with me.

Washed Away Sand

Washed Away Sand

Last waves have just receded.

They washed away sand.

Leaving behind streaks.

Streaks are like scars.

Scars that won’t last long.

Just  like anything built on sand.

The next waves could heal the scars.

Or create new scars.

When I was young, I remember that I loved building sand castles (who does not like to do that?). I learned that waves would wash it away. I tried hard to protect my castle from the water, the waves. You can guess that it was fruitless efforts but as a young child it was fun. It was fun building it and protecting it.

Summer has peaked. It was hot and sunny this year.  People have taken time off to the beaches or elsewhere.  I hope you find some time off and have a great summer time (or winter time for those who live in the southern hemisphere) 🙂

‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’ banner star.

I would like to introduce the ‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’ banner star (above). I met him (may be her) some time ago when I visited Historic Oak View County Park in Raleigh NC. I am not sure the park hires him to greet visitors or he just felt the place is his. I spotted him around first. He eventually came to greet me as a good host would. He even walked along with me when I was around at the park.  I felt warm welcome by this fellow.

I used a picture of him for the ‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’ banner from the beginning and have not changed since. It was a fond memory and I just like show few better pictures of him.

Historic Oak View Country Park Host

Here is the good look at the star of ‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’. He just posed nicely for me to take picture. He is a pure smoky cat (smoky color is one of my favorite color for cats). I hope you agree that he is quite handsome in this picture.

Historic Oak View County Park - Host walking along

You may recognize the picture above as it is the banner of the ‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’. This is a bit better version than the banner. Here he was walking along side me around in the barn house. That made me feel special 🙂

I think it is good to remember a long time friend once in a while. It is too bad that I did not get his name. Anyway, I hope you like the ‘A Bit of Wiggle Room’ banner star 🙂

A Bench on The Lawn

For some reason I like seeing benches. I am a little bit drawn to them. This bench on the lawn of the neighborhood was arranged in an interesting way. The family seems to have a great imagination for having the bench with the duck and the ducklings figures near the bench on their lawn. When I see it, I can imagine the bench was near a small pond under the big tree. I would see myself setting on it in a warm summer afternoon. There would be waves of gentle breeze coming from the pond time to time. The tree provided just a perfect shade for only soft light through.  I would break bread in my hand into small pieces and throw them to feed the duck and the ducklings and watched them busily feeding the pieces of bread on the ground… A bench near the pond, it is.

A Bench on the Lawn

Have a great day.

We are Ground Covering Flowers

Ground Covering Flowers

We are Ground Covering Flowers.

Near the ground, we grow.

Among debris and fallen leaves, we live.

Together and humble, we are.

Those are our beauty.

Many only look for beauty from high up.

Perhaps, when you’re down and look low.

You may find us down by your feet.

Our beauty can cheer you up from below.

Don’t be afraid to look low.

Remember us when you are not down too.

We are Ground Covering Flowers.

Changes We Love

Changes are part of the nature. Everything is changing but most of the time we do not care about them. The notable one that we often notice is when unexpected changes occur and they lead to unfavorable result to us.  We have tendency to resist changes; we want things to keep on doing as they have been doing.  They yet keep on changing on us.  We do not welcome these sort of changes. “Agg, my car’s engine just quits!”.

Spring, Changes We Love 1

Of course, we also often heard people suggest “you need changes”, “go take a break for a while”, etc.  These are changes we create to have certain out come one form or another. They are somewhat controlled changes. We need this kind of change from time to time to make us better. Even when thing has been doing so well for a long time, we sometimes need to add change to see if it can be better, to improve or just to keep us happy (we are bored).

Not all of these needed controlled changes are liked by everyone in every situation either. Sometimes the results can not be clearly predicted. Sometimes, we need strong courage to make such changes.

Spring, So Alive.

Are there any changes we like and in particular the changes that we do not even introduce? I am sure there are a number of them.  The very obvious ones that are occurring everywhere here are Spring changes.  I am quite sure that everyone love changes that it brings.

Spring, beautiful changes.

Changes in Spring are amazing, beautiful and so alive. They are the work of nature. We may not recognize or look at changes in Spring from the perspective of changes but they are for certain changes. They are not only just beautiful but they are also absolutely needed, not just for us but for every living things around us. Changes we love, Spring.

Happy Easter

“Take it easy .. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy..”

Take it easy

I am an Eagles fan. I always like most of their songs and a few I keep coming back to listen again and again. I even went to see their live concert 5 or 6 years back which was not typical for me. It was great even sitting up high and far far away from the stage.

For some reason, I feel like listening to “Take It Easy” song again this weekend. I know the lyrics before but perhaps just have not paid much attention to it (or just paid attention to just fun and music part of it :)). The theme was light and for sure gives you feeling to keep thing easy. But this time around, I feel something different about it.

Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can

I think “take it easy” is hard to do. The sound of your own wheels is your own thought that can really drive you very crazy. It often time drives you to take thing too hard and forget to “take it easy”… I think this part of the song is a good reminder of that we should step back and take it easy sometimes. Of course that does not mean to be careless or less attentive.  I also think taking thing easy but with careful and attentive can be blissful.

By the way, you may not know Glenn Frey who was one of the band lead just died on January 18, 2016. Glenn was the co-author of “Take It Easy” with Jackson Browne. I have been listening to Eagles’ greatest hit album all this weekend. “Take It Easy” is again repeating one more time …

“Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy
Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me”

A Little (not) Fun on My Flight Home

I was returning home from a half way around the world trip last week. The trip was not bad. Things needed to be done got done. My spirit was high from finishing the nice trip. I  was looking forward to return home for a nice weekend rest. The returning part of the trip did not go so well when the agent at Bengaluru airport in Bangalore informed me of my last fright out of JFK airport to my city was cancelled (it was a multiple-leg flight).  I somewhat knew there were a snow storm on the way from the south to NYC.  I pressed on. I wanted to get at least to JFK airport.

The nice agent finally said,

“Oh, it looks like your flight is not cancelled.”

“But I could not give you the boarding pass for the flight out of JFK.”

“You will have to get it when you get there”.

Did I hear it right ? I thought to myself,

“Yeah, it is ok to get the boarding pass there.  It is not uncommon”.

I immediately checked in. I had a high hope!

Over Heathrow airport

My last international flight before getting to JFK airport from Bengaluru airport was from Heathrow airport. The news about the weather in US at Heathrow was about the same that snow was continuing on to NY.

Finally, my flight left Heathrow and I caught a sight of Heathrow airport below. Good bye Heathrow. I still had hope that my flight out of JFK airport was still good.

The flight from Heathrow was smooth. I forgot any thing about the snow storm and my potential cancelling flight out of JFK airport.  As I walked out of the plan, my name was called at the gate.  I thought that was a good news thinking the airline knew me and tried to get me on the soonest flight.  I was wrong. The agent at the gate told me my next flight would be on Sunday. It was Friday night and that would be about two nights in NY city somewhere.

So much for the high hope of returning home that weekend. I was sure that the snow storm could not be that bad. But I was again wrong about that. It was quite severe that I could only stay in the hotel room and my flight out on Sunday was cancelled too. The next available one would be on Monday night or Tuesday. Aggg…

Jonas - Window view from a hotel in NYC

Well, it was not all that bad. I had good rest and probably better than if I were home. I was quite enjoy watching the entire series of “Resident Evil” , a few from series Star Trek the Next Generation and some other movies. I was busy finding the soonest flight out of JFK. I was even considering plan to rent a car and drive home myself (Yeah, not a good idea) or take an Amtrak train out of Penn station in NY city. It seemed like making a plot to get out of prison.  I also learned that snow storm has name too. Jonas is the name of the storm. A cool name 🙂

Looking down from my hotel room in NYC during Jonas storm

Once in a while, I took a break to take a peak out of the window to see what it looked like outside.  I hoped snow stopped and hoped the road was clear.  I really appreciated those who kept the road clean. It was cold, very cold. Jonas dumped 30.5 inches at the JFK airport. It broke the record of 26 inches during Feb 16-18, 2003. That was a lot of snow!

Look out hotel room in JFK.

Now at home listing to “Ain’t Got Far To Go” by Jess Glynne which I came to know on the airplane during this trip gets me thinking differently about the meaning of the song.

It rains and rains…

Rained on Knock out rose bush

It rains and rains. For many days it rains and rains. Not pouring down heavy but long and lasting, it is torturing.

Day and day of grey skies, my thirst of sun light increases. If I were a vampire, I would be a vampire of light.

At night, my mind was unsettled from uncertain of tomorrow.  At least, it was calmed down by the sound of the soft rain outside.

Fell asleep, hoping tomorrow would be brighter.

A Little Brown Rabbit

A Little Brown Rabbit

Little brown rabbit, I see you and your friends when I go out and walk around. You are so cute. You look so gentle.

Your eyes are wonderful. They can see nearly all around. You are so quick and can jump high. I cannot get close to you every time I try. I’ve never found where you live. You just pop here and there.

You do not hibernate in winter but that is no problem for you.  You just switch your foods to barks and twigs that they are easier to find.

Oh, your teeth also do not stop growing but that is not a problem for you too.

Little brown rabbit, you are amazing but yet are so vulnerable. No wonder you are a symbol for being kind to animals…

Summer Time and Few Moments of Coolness with Hydrangeas

Faint blueish Hydrangea

I always find hydrangeas refreshing to look. To me, they are summer time coolness flowers. Part of the name (hydra) means water. Although it means Hydrangeas need plenty water to glow well but they produce cool and refresh blooms in return.

I do not know that was because of their color tones or what else but I always feel refresh and coolness when I look at Hydrangea. The feeling may just be a flash of a moment or two but I know it is there. I guess I am biased because I love the flowers. They are just irresistible to me.

Hydrangea - gentle coolness

I hope these hydrangeas give you the fresh and coolness even though it is not Summer where you at 🙂

Mr. Copperhead Visit

Mr. Copperhead Visit

It was about this time last year that I had a surprised visit. Mr. Copperhead visited me.

This Mr. Copperhead thought he has found a nice cool and safe place for a summer afternoon rest (he could actually be “she” but in order to find that out I believe I needed to get more intimate with him/her — let’s better assume “he” for now 🙂 ). Well, unfortunately for him (and for me) the place happened to be underneath my garbage can.  Not so good idea for both of us but I did not blame him a bit.  The cool and peaceful place was no longer a peaceful one as I pulled the garbage can out for a weekly pick-up.  I was sure he was disappointed while I was so …. freaked out. Mr. Copperhead was less than few feet away from my feet. Aggrrr! … jumped … brain froze etc …

Mr. Copperhead was calm and perhaps was only a bit surprised by a sudden exposed to sunlight and saw a real scared looking man standing a few feet away. We looked at each other for a couple moments. Mr. Copperhead remained calm. He looked like a gentlesnake.  Good! That helped me calm down (but not by much) to allowed me quickly got on my feet to run … ah, hmm … to get my camera from the house 🙂 .

I am definitely a gentleman as well but in this case I had to be a bit less and took few pictures of him without I asking his permission.  I do not know snake’s language. I would if I could 🙂

We parted in a good way. I am sure I will see him or his kind again (as usual around here) but I hope not to get too close as with this visit again… 🙂

Note:  I can understand now why people call “copperhead”. The head of the snake is bright copper color.  I think Mr. Copperhead here is quite handsome. Don’t you think so?

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

The official summer of 2015 starts today.  Travelling is probably on many people mind now. I feel like going somewhere too but for now I would just like to take you for a small tour of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Meiji Shrine is the one of the two shrines that I visited Tokyo a while back.

Meiji Shrine is located in Shibuya area which is quite busy place in Tokyo. The Harajuku subway train station is just in front of one of the entrance to the shrine. That is so convenient to get there from the subway.

Meiji Shrine front gate.

This is the main entrance of the shrine. I guess many probably have seen this Japanese style gate of temple before or even this gate in particular. This style of gate is called “Torii”. The Meiji Shrine’s gate is very large and made of wood.

Meiji Shrine long entrance way.

The entire area is in the big dense evergreen forest. The actual temple part is small relative to the entire area. There is a long walk from the entrance gate to get to the main temple.  The path is surrounded with tall green dense trees. I found the long walk along these trees gives you tranquility.

Meiji Shrine's forest

The above is the scenery of the well preserved forest surrounding the temple. The forest was quite dense and moist on that day but I think that accentuated the serenity of the place even further.

Meiji Shrine's irrigation.

I really do like the drainage design along the walkway.  The wide but shallow duct made of rectangular shape stones and the green mosses grow on the high wall is a great design. The man made structure blends in with the surrounding green so well.

Meiji Shrine's lamp post

The above is one of the lamp post. The style just matches with style of the temple there.

Meiji Shrine's sake barrels

These are sake barrels. They are for decoration.  I found this link to give information about the barrels and the shrine – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2007/10/16/reference/sake-barrels-at-shrines/#.VYaPbvlVhBc It is quite interesting.

Meiji Shrine's inner gate

There is another inner Torii before entering the temple main ground. It was a welcome sight as the main ground opens up as you walk deeper. I think it gives subtle happiness feeling that you have accomplish some goal.

Meiji Shrine - washing place.

You will find a place to wash your hands before entering temple. This is a Japanese tradition that you can see the setup for washing before entering a temple. The place provides running water and small ladles to scope up water for washing your hands. I had one picture in the Hase-Dera temple post awhile back.

Meiji Shrine's gate door.

This is the wooden door before entering the temple. It made of big thick solid pieces of wood (this one made of 3 big wood panels). The carving looks like a flower. It uses many gentle curves and circles enclosing straight lines in the middle – very eye pleasing.

Meiji Shrine - main temple.

This is the main ground of the temple. There is no picture taken allowed beyond this point.  My memory is so vague now to remember what I saw there beyond this point. I am sorry about this.  I can only just recall peaceful feeling. I guess that is more important than the visual memory of the details.

Meiji Shrine's "Ema" wooden wishing plaques

On the temple ground there is a place setup for hanging wooden wishing plaques (“Ema”).  I wished I could read Japanese language. I would like to read some of these.

Meiji Shrine -  doors.

I exited the main ground through the other door. The door panels here are the same structural style but with different wood carving pattern. The design keeps gentle curves design theme however.  The carving appears to represent leaves. Still, they are gentle, simple and eye pleasing.

Meiji Shrine's resting area.This is the last picture of this post. I  like this view a lot. It just gave me the sense of real peacefulness. The building just stood there and there was no people near or close by at all.

Hope you all have great plan for this Summer.

 

I got a PhotoBomb! But I like it..

Handsome Lizard Photobomb

When I was in a park somewhere in southern part of Thailand along time back, I came across this beautiful vines that grew on the base of a very very big tree there. The shape of leaves and how the vines formed looked so gracious. It drew my attention. I took the picture. I checked the camera to see if picture has focus where I pointed to.  The picture was great; I thought. I was happy.

When I got home and viewed the picture with normal size computer screen, I was so surprised.  There was Mr. Lizard handsomely stood few inches away from my main subject. Aggrr!! I was disappointed but not because of Mr. Lizard planted a photobomb on me.  I was disappointed that I did not see him and I could take a picture of him instead. He did such a great job blending with the surrounding (he was designed for that). He could be my supper star in that picture.

I like the picture nevertheless 🙂

Pink Azaleas

I saw few wonderful blogs about pictures with pink color in them for fun. I am not officially joining the weekly fun theme but they inspire me a bit to follow along with pink azalea pictures.

Azaleas are another spring flowers that you will hardly miss around where I live.  I would say most houses around here have them in the yards. Pink azaleas seem to be most common but they can come in white, blood red or other shades too.

Pink Azalea

Azaleas are not the early bloomer in spring and they are not the late bloomer either. At this time, the flowers already turned brown and are falling off.

Azalea peeking

Azalea has meany meanings depending culture. In China, azalea is a symbol of womanhood and the whole plant means “the thinking home” bush.

Azalea - symbol of womanhood.

I can relate to a symbol of womanhood very easily.  I think many people would agree with the symbol of womanhood especially the pink ones. Aren’t they pretty?

Azalea - closer.

I have a bit of trouble relating azalea to the “the thinking of home” meaning. The bush can be quite dense and could be trimmed into nice shapes. That could make good decorating plants around perimeter. I guess these characteristic of azalea make them suitable grown around houses as bushes. I guess the “the thinking of home” could make some sense this way.

Azalea - temperance

In the west, azalea represents temperance. This is also a very good meaning.  I quite like this meaning. The meaning that reminds you to take thing in moderation or to be self-restraint.  We can use good reminders from time to time from pink azaleas 🙂

A Green Room In The Back

Back Green Room

 I read an article recently. I do not recall what it was about now but I recall the author mentioned that when he sees pictures he took he re-lives those moments again.  I think he is right.

It was in July. The weather was hot and humid in Bangkok. Going outside from the air conditioned room was a far thinking.  But when I saw this green room at the back of a souvenir store. The room was outside but for that moment I forgot about the hot and humid air. I just wanted to be in it. I stepped out. It was pleasant. I was not disappointed.

A Visit to NC Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art has a long history. Its history begins in 1924 and was located near Raleigh capital. I did not pay much attention to the place until NCMA moved to the new place and got modernized. That prompted my visit to the place during the first opening week at the new place (current) in 2010. I visited the place only few times after that. Lately I have been thinking about going back and see new exhibition and the other parts of the museum but have not gone there yet due to my forgetfulness, cold weather and many other excuses etc. This Sunday morning, the thought of going back came back to me again. I am not sure that I would visit the place again today or not but a least I bring the old experiences of the place to share here.

NCMA - Painful flightsI was fascinated by this art piece. I was wondering what it means (I sure there was a written up about her but I did not read it and any pieces here too :)). I feel the lady pilot was it pain;  mental than physical even there are planes plunge into her body.

NCMA - a swordThis sword handle and the sheath are beautifully decorated.  It looks quite old and worn out but those beads are still bright and colorful.

NCMA - Wall of heads

This wall is full of sculpture of human heads or faces. Each head piece is not much of interest to me but how all of them are put together on the wall makes up a completely different experience.

NCMA - Mona Lisa

This Mona Lisa piece is what I think where art meets science. The art part is the actual Mona Lisa image made by putting different colors of thread spools and put on the wall.  At close distance from the wall, one may not realize what it is but with the glass crystal ball acting as a wide angle lens the Mona Lisa picture appears. Cool.

NCMA - Viewers

A couple enjoyed one of the art piece.

NCMA - Another one of viewer

The painting portrays a very happy family and a very perfect one. At least that how I felt from the colors tone, members of the family interacting with each other and a family pet. I believe the man felt the same.

NCMA - Cafeteria

In side the museum has as section that set aside that looks like a cafeteria or perhaps more of restaurant. The tables and chairs arranged nicely in rows.  It is interesting to see that only table for two are their default setting.  I guess visiting an art museum is considered as a romantic outing. Oh, each table had two fresh tulips as well. Nice.

NCMA - Animated tree

This is an animation of a tree. The animated picture of a tree is projected on a blank wall near the cafeteria. You can stand and watch the tree swaying and changing its colors. It is very creative.

NCMA - King?

I was so amazed by seeing the details of the fabrics in this painting – surreal! I am wondering how much time the artist took to create this. One must have an amazing passion for such creation.

NCMA - A Beautiful woman

I would say this is my most favorite piece there at the time. Simply, she is beautiful.

NCMA - A man on the wall

This man can glow in the dark. He was placed near the entrance.  I spotted him as I was about to leave. An interesting piece and I also like it.

NCMA - NCMA

This is the last picture from NCMA that I have for this post. Hope you have little of fun along.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

I was shocked or heart broken when I learned that these flowers are named “Bleeding Heart”.  How could people do this?  My mind opened up a little bit, yeah its shape is a good match of the name.  Still, I did not want to give up fighting back my disappointment about naming to such charming flowers.  My good friend Google shows me the site that gives a bit of story about “Bleeding Heart” flowers. Here is the content from “http://flowerinfo.org/bleeding-heart-flower“:

Because of its characteristic shape, the bleeding heart flower is at the center of many folkloric tales. One of the best known stories – which has many variations – is generally told directly through the anatomy of the plant itself. This story tells of a prince who tries to win the heart of a beautiful maiden by giving her gifts. With each gift, two of the petals are removed. Despite his attempts, the maiden continues to refuse the prince, and so he pierces himself through the heart – the heart having been formed with the discarded petals, the knife with the green stamen. The essence of the bleeding heart flower is said to open up and strengthen the heart chakra, which in turn causes a person to feel emotionally soothed and open to the possibility of new romance. It is thought to be especially useful after a heartbreak. These blossoms are also frequently used in love spells. One such spell includes braiding the flowers into your hair, lighting a white candle in honor of the goddess of love, and reciting a poem or incantation.

I felt better after reading the story. “Bleeding Heart” name is not so bad. I like it better now. I think this is also a good story for today, the Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Flights Over To Las Vegas

About a year and a half ago, I had a chance to go to a convention in Las Vegas. It was also the first time for me to join any convention in Las Vegas.  Although I had been to the city before but it was a long time ago. One of my most anticipated about the trip other than to learn from the convention was the scenery during the flight over canyons from the east. I was having a different anticipation about the flights over than before.

My luck was with me. I had window seats on all the flights over to Las Vegas (I love window seat). The flight was also during the daylight . The schedule and the seats were perfect as I could hope for.

Waiting on the plain to take offI was settled in my window seat and waiting for the plan to take off.  There was not much interesting things out side my window except for there was another sister plane getting ready to take off as well.

Ground crews working

I believe there was one connecting flight somewhere before the last leg to Las Vegas. I saw the ground crews was working on luggage. I was glad that I did not have to worry my luggage for this flight that the crews had to work on. It was only few days trip and my belongings were with me.  I was delight that I was truly traveling light 🙂

Headed To Las Vegas - By the Window Seat

Looking out the window and anticipating… While I was keeping eyes on the views below I was also enjoying the view above – deep blue sky and the warm sunny afternoon.

Headed To Las Vegas - first sight of ground below

As anticipated, I had the first sight of an interesting ground terrain below.  It started to change from flat to mountain ridge.

Headed To Las Vegas - big patches of clouds

The ground terrain continued to change below. There were less trees on the ground now. There were also low patches of cloud covering the view.  I guess my luck was getting a bit weakening. I was hoping to get some clear views of the ground before the flight ended.

Headed To Las Vegas - an interesting ground view.

Finally, I got few clear views of the ground below and the view that I was hoping to see. The terrain was fascinating.  It made me think that I could be on Mar if there was not the river there.

Flight Over To Las Vegas - Another Ground View

This is another interesting view of the terrain that could get before the flight ended.

I hope you enjoy the flights over to Las Vegas with me.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you all…

Happy Thanksgiving Flowers

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.

Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window,
Saying “welcome, welcome, share this feast
Come in away from sorrow.”

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless;
All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness.

Grateful for what’s understood,
And all that is forgiven;
We try so hard to be good,
To lead a life worth living.

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless;
All together everyone, let grateful days be endless.

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.

(From Thanksgiving Song Lyrics – Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Red Leaves on The Ground

Fall, Fallen Leaves

One thing that I like about Fall is its beauty can extend down to the ground. Fallen leaves that scatter around on the ground can also be so pretty. Those still bright and colorful fallen leaves help amplify the beauty the scene.

Some say Fall is the second Spring.  I think I agree to that but I also feel Fall moves at a faster pace, is more dramatic and has a bit of sadness. Perhaps that is how a great thing should end, likes a great firework show that ends with quick bursts of grand explosion…

Del’s Freez and Good Old Time

Going back to the place where you had good time always brings back the old happy feelings. The place does not need to be anything extraordinary.  It could just be a plain, simple local store down the street, any place at all. The relationship you had with the place is all that matter.

Dal's Freez sign

Del’s Freez is one of those places for me. I used to go to Del’s Freez for a scoop of cold ice cream on Saturday night during summer time. It is not a fancy ice cream place. It is rather old fashion than most common ice cream places in town. They just have a serving booth.  There are tables and benches in the open next to the booth just for those who want to sit there.

Del's Freez people lined up

The place is just right on the US 1 highway. People can pulled in their cars from the highway and park next to the place. Some folks order the ice creme and go back to enjoy their ice creme in their cars.

Del's Freez parking lot

I visited Del’s Freez again a few years back on Saturday night in summer again. Del’s Freez is just the same; plain, simple and still very affordable. The new paint job seems to be the only thing that keeps the place going along. I was there at the right time and was able to enjoy the fantastic Florida’s summer sky.

Del's Freez menu

The items on the menu look about the same. They are just common items; nothing fancy. I like the slogan “Del’s, The Ice Cream Man. The Sweetest Man in Town”.

Peaking inside Del's Freez serving booth.

I think I agree with the slogan.

Del The Ice Creme Man

It was like the old days. I enjoyed a small ice creme cone, relaxed and watched families with cheerful children hanging around…the good old time.

Do you have such a place?

A Morning Over Atlantic

It was a morning flight across Atlantic ocean from UK to US.  The Sun was already high in the sky but it was still giving its soft golden light over the clouds and the sea below.. I was sitting by the window seat watching this beautiful scene slowly passing by. I felt so refreshing and peaceful. The sight wiped out my sleepiness and tiredness from the trip.

Behind the wing

The cloud opened up to show the calm water below.

Over the open cloud

Nothing lasts forever, the show was ending.

Leaving the trail behind

I could not resist a cup of coffee to complete the morning.

A morning cup of coffee

I am not sure now what the rest of the flight was. I was probably picking up an easy Sudoku problem from the airline magazine to solve and finishing the coffee 🙂

Banana Leaves

I have just recently heard a joke. “What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?”.  The answer is “Banananaaaaaa!” (symphony #5).  I thought it was funny. That reminds me that I have few banana leaf pictures. It is also the summer time where banana trees thrive with fresh green leaves.

Banana leaves are quite useful and they are still used in certain parts of the world where banana trees thrive year round. They are good for food wrappers (so natural), serving plates or decorating. Bananas are good for you too. The “Banana Leaf” is also a common restaurant name. I went to one in CA and probably more in other places too.

For me, I like the yellowish green color of the leaves when they are young and turn deeper green as the leaves get older. They are signs of summer for me. Too bad, this year summer has just passed its peak. This year was mild and pleasant in particular.

Banana Leaf - 1

A second look at the leaf.

Banana Leaf - up

A bit of closer.

Banana leaf texture

I hope you enjoy your summer time where you are. I know for some, this is not summer (it is strange to think about it). These banana leaves can help warm you up 🙂

At King’s Cross St. Pancras Station

King’s Cross St. Pancras Station is the biggest interchange station in London. It is also where you can go to other countries from London by train. The station is beautiful from outside to inside. The architecture is well blended of modern functional train station serving fast trains and the English style building from the outside.  No wonder that the place is often seen as part of advertise or movie scenes.

The station has another significance than those conventional senses. The thought did not occur to me before until I got there. How could I forget.. The station is also the famous train station that Harry Potter got on a train to Hogwarts school of wizard! The place is real! It must be the same feeling of a child that sees Disneyland and thinking the places and characters from fairy tales are real.

It was too bad that I was a bit groggy from travel far the day before when I was there to catch a train. I missed doing a bit more looking around or searched for the famous platform 9 and 3/4. I wanted to try to get through the  magic wall there. However, I was looking for wizard families there and I think I saw one or two 🙂

King's Cross St. Pancras Station from outside

 A street view of the station. I like that back taxi.

 King's Cross inside wall.The transition of the roof structure meets the red brick outside wall.  I like the well blend of the modern construction and older style.

King's Cross roof structure

The roof has clear opening to let the natural light into the station below.

King's Cross's roof structure another view

I could not help taking a closer look at the roof 🙂

King's Cross - two ladies walking along the train.

A couple of lady muggles walked along the Eurostar train. This was on the upper floor of the station.

King's Cross - Eurostar train

The famous Eurostar train.

Searcys St. Pancras Grand

Searcys St. Pancras Grand is a fancy restaurant. I did know about this place when I was there otherwise I would have taken another closer look.  Beautiful doors!

King's Cross - Travelling family

Now, I think I spotted wizard families having breakfast.

King's Cross - A flower shop.

A lovely flower shop at the station. I like those flowers in the paper bags placed on the floor.

King's Cross - Fruit store.

This is a fruit store. It makes the station different than any airports that I have seen. It made me feel more of inside a supper market or a mall rather. I wanted to try one of those apples.

King's Cross - Police

A gentle police was helping a traveler.

King's Cross - family looking around.

The lovely young girl and her mother seemed to be looking around. Definitely a wizard family 🙂

Hope you have a little fun at King’s Cross St. Pancras station with me.

A Lost Balloon

A Balloon StuckWhen I saw this scene, I could not help imagine a young child’s feeling of shock from losing the grip of the strange object called balloon. It was probably the child’s first experience with the balloon. The object is fun. It does like many other objects that are heavy and want to fall down the child used to. The balloon is light and wants to get away from the hand any possible way. The only way to hold on to it is its tiny string. Finally, the little hand let go of the string and the wonderful object floated away… in just one quick moment.

I also got lost in time imaging the story of the lost balloon 🙂

Simple Message

I just looked up the “Calla Lillies” and learned that there was a flower language boom during Victorian period in 19th. century.  Someone can send flowers to another person as a mean for sending a specific message with pre-arranged meaning. It must be really cool during the period of time.

It is coincident that we just have another even simpler message to send than flowers.  You may already have heard of  “Yo!”, a recent smart phone application that is gaining popularity. It took me a bit to comprehend what it is. Once you know what it is, it seems cool.  “Yo!” is the only word to send. It is simple but can mean different things to different people at a given time. It is efficient and can be a heart warming to see someone say “Yo!” to you.  It is also be a secret message without any information in the message itself (cryptographers may not have job left – just kidding).

I am still an old fashion, sticking with flowers. I am sending these Calla Lilies  – with a good meaning 🙂

White Calla Lillie - simple message

A bit of the story that I found around Calla Lilies. Calla Lillie has been associated with “Holiness, Faith and Purity”.  They have become a symbol of “Youth and Rebirth”.  Reference: http://www.teleflora.com/flower-news/post/what-do-calla-lilies-represent-570744.aspx

White Calla Lillie - another message

“Please have a nice day!”

Fun Inside A Restaurant

I often find restaurants as places that are intriguing. The restaurant owners usually want their places to have personality and delightful. I guess this probably holds true for any restaurants – expensive or ordinary (for everyone) ones. It can make you feel excited as taking a trip to a different place when you first step into one.

This is a local Japanese restaurant. It is rather small but the place makes me feel as if I am in Japan, in a Japanese people house (this is just my imagination as I have not been into a Japanese people house in Japan). I could not help to sneak few pictures as I am a tourist. It was fun.

A small local Japanese restaurant - private section

 I think is for more private or for you to really feel more at home. I really like the shoe rack and the coat hanger at the front.

Japanese paper lantern

The paper lantern style is used for light figure. A nice touch for the ordinary table.

Painting of a Japanese lady

Japanese painting on the wall.

Chopsticks - fun time

Food about to come – playing time stopped 🙂

Sunset Park – Indialantic Florida

You probably do not hear Sunset Park in Indialantic Fl. anywhere before. The place is small and is just a park for the locals. Nevertheless the trees in the park can provide good shade from hot Florida sun and makes you feel elsewhere.  If I recalled it correctly there are a couple of benches facing west for looking over Indian River. That is where you can sit down relax and let your eyes gaze over the expansive river or find a far away horizon where the land and the sky meet. That makes this place a little gem and its name (I believe). It is a great place to watch beautiful sunset.  I was glad I took a short walk one evening and discovered this little gem.

Sunset Park - Indialantic Fl.

Sunset Park- North Riverside Dr. Indialantic Florida. US.

Dogwoods

If you have seen dogwoods blooming you know how pretty they are. Around here I see white dogwood trees and pink ones. Both are so pretty. I cannot choose which one I like more if you ask.  The individual flower is quite simple with strange petal shape even. Perhaps these make them pretty – I say less is more in this case.

  Many places have dogwood festivals. I do not know how the tradition started and what it is for but I guess because of their beauty (or perhaps people were just looking forward to have fun anyway). I have never been to one but I think from now on I will try to attend one when an opportunity permits.

Here are some for you to see and I hope you enjoy them as I do.

Dogwood flowers

A pretty dogwood tree.

A dogwood - simple but nice.

A single dogwood flower.

Dream of dogwoods

“I dream of dogwood”

Dogwood and Insects

Dogwood and Insects (Insects also enjoy dogwood and even more delicious way)

Dogwood and The Insect (one more)

One more with the insect (the other pesky friend has gone – now this is all mine)

One more time dogwood

The last one.

Spring is Frolicking

Sometimes to enjoy something, you need to slow down, you need to see how it progresses on its own, you are in the back seat and just observe. That is how I see Spring this year.  I see Spring is moving, unfolding. I see how she organizes herself.  Her first playful work this year is Daffodils. So refreshing…

Daffodils the early Spring raiser

Daffodils - Bright yellow of spring

Daffodils - Emerge from the darknessSpring is frolicking

Young Roses And Not Too Young Roses

Spring started here, I meant not by calendar marking but the actual nature markers. Colors, sun light, longer days, and the mild weather are the real markers.  I recalled… an afternoon. It was not an afternoon in spring but it had most of those spring signs.

This was a bright afternoon. Roses were budding and blooming. Not all of them were, however. Some were already in full bloom even worn and fade. Nevertheless, they made the afternoon so great.

Budding Roses and Torns

Budding Roses

Blooming Rose

A blooming young rose.

Not so young roses

Not so young roses

Someone once pointed this part of the poem to me:

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying…”

 By Robert Herrick, To The Vergins to Make Much of Time

Temple of Emerald Buddha

Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Prakaew) is a great place to visit in Bangkok Thailand. It used to be the Grand Palace of Thai Royal family. There are so many things to see around the temple and palace. One of my favorite is murals around the inner wall that surround the main hall where the Emerald Buddha is housed. I had a bit of chance to take few pictures of them here (oh, by the way you cannot take picture inside the main hall). I believe it is the only temple in Thailand that does not have any resident monks. The place is opened for visitors and for royal family tradition visits and ceremonies only.

I wished I had time to go around and take time to see the these paintings and stories they tell. Not only the main story lines were told, the artists included daily lives, humors and even naughtiness. The work of art is second to none, in my opinion.

A bit of brief introduction (Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Phra_Kaew):

” The Wat Phra Kaew (Thai: วัดพระแก้ว, RTGS: Wat Phra Kaeo, IPA: [wát pʰráʔ kɛ̂ːw], Pronunciation, English: Temple of the Emerald Buddha; full official name Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, Thai: วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม, IPA: [wát pʰráʔ sǐː rát.ta.náʔ sàːt.sa.daː.raːm]) is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. It is a “potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thai society”.[1] It is located in the historic centre of Bangkok (district Phra Nakhon), within the precincts of the Grand Palace.[2][3][4]”.

Wat Prakaew - main hall out side ceiling

The outside of the main hall of the temple.  Beautiful wall and columns.

Wat Prakaew - view of the near by buildings.

Roof structures of the near by halls. The roofs are covered by painted clay tiles. The bright orange color is pretty much tradition.

Wat Prakaew - more of the architecture.

I am a bit fascinated by the architecture of the roof designs. You may notice there are small bells or wind chimes hanging along the overhangs.

Wat Prakaew - Along the main hall

This is a view of the out side main hall. I could not resist sneaking a picture of place with the lovely couple 🙂

Wat Prakaew - Doctor.

This is a hermit who practiced medicine. The stone in front of him for symbolized grinding stone for mixing up ingredients.

Wat Prakaew - Stupa

The based of of the “Stupa”. Those figures at the based show their incredible strength supporting the sacred structure. They are characters from Indian epic Ramayana.

Wat Prakaew - mural (1)

This is one of the section of mural in the inner wall. I think it is about the confrontation of the two small troops from the Indian epic Ramayana.

Wat Prakaew - inner wall murals (2)

The power full figure in this section has many arms.  It is a palace where the leader listens to his commander report or gives the order to his commander (I am guessing here).

Wat Prakaew - inner wall mural (3)

I believe this scene depicts a major battle. There are so many detailed actions in the painting.

Wat Prakaew - Ramayana character

This is a close up of one of the Ramayana character. I believe he is a powerful soldier (not a human).  This one was painted on the door entrance to the inner hall. I guess that he is for protecting the place.

Wat Prakaew - Royal palace section.

This is the Royal palace off the main temple hall. There were many tourists there that day.

Hope you like the little tour of the place 🙂

A Church Window

When you look at a church, I think one thing that probably may catch your eyes among many things about the church is church windows.  The designs or architectures of church windows have long history of how they (according to the wiki page I found) come about. They continue on with the tradition till today.

Church Window

This church window is from a very small church that I pass by daily.  The window follows the tradition. It is rather simple as the matter of fact. Yet, I think the simplicity in it is attractive.

Afternoon in Umstead Park

“Tucked between the growing cities of Raleigh, Cary, Durham and the corporate world of Research Triangle Park is an oasis of tranquility, a peaceful haven.”

William B. Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park is one of the area I have not visited as often as I would like to for some reason. It is so close but it seems like other so close things in life that are often overlooked. This was one fall afternoon awhile back that I went and walked deeper than the skin depth of the park (picnic area). I agreed on the above comments completely.

Afternoon Umstead Park

Fall Is Slipping Along

I do not feel like fall has started. It seems like summer does not want to leave and fall does not want to come.  Fall actually has been moving right along.  Leaves are falling everywhere but they do not quite remind me of the season. I was expecting to see more of flowers of fall – Mums. They seem to be in hiding or actually seem to not strive well (or at least around the neighborhood here) this year.  Fews still try, however.

Daisy Mums - Into The Darkness

Into The Darkness

Daisy Mums and Busy Bumble Bee

Daisy Mums and A Bumble Bee

Daisy Mums!

Daisy Mums!

Hope you find small enjoyment of changing season wherever you are.

Boo!

Halloween is about here. To me it is the celebration for young kids. I love seeing those (not so) scary decoration items that people put around their homes. People bought candies in preparation to give away on the Halloween night (and for themselves too 🙂 ).  Hearing young kids sweet voice saying “Trick or Threat” and seeing them in costume are so delightful.  It is such a joy.

Halloween Decorating Item - Boo!

The happy Mr. Jack O Lantern and the cute Ghost (and a bat too).

Halloween - Scarecrow

I am not sure crows will be scared by this cute scarecrow. I wouldn’t.

Halloween - Skeleton needs help

I feel this skeletor needs help getting up from being buried too deep in the ground.  Too bad, I was handful 🙂

Halloween - Angry bird pumpkins

These are my favorites pumpkins – Angry bird characters.

Halloween - Lester

Poor Lester who is not in peace.

Halloween - Forgotten staff

A witch must have forgotten her staff.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Fun at SPARKcon 2013

I have heard of SPARKcon activities for awhile but I have not had a chance to see what they are all about. I did not have any interest about the event when I first heard of it a few years back.  I thought it was just some artists getting together and have their works displayed. There are many art show events around the area every now and then and thought this event just like others. I just left it at that.

This year, I happened to be in the area at night and did not expect the event took place early on.  Although there are no activities by most of the artists at the time except for performances but their works were there.  I learned one of the SPARKcon activities was artists came to create and showed their works live at the event.  Their works are incredible. I was impressed. I changed my early thinking about the event and wished I could see these artists early on and watch them creating the works.  Perhaps that is for next year. These are few bits from SPARKcon 2013.

This is the first piece of work that came across. She was my first impression. She was beautiful. The snake around her neck is a colorful accessory though I am a concern of its squeezing her neck 🙂

SPARKcon 2013 first lady

This is a view of canvas the SPARKcon artists put their work down.

SPARKcon 2013 - Long street arts

Beautiful long rainbow hair lady.

SPARKcon 2013 - Rainbow hair lady

Lively Octopus.

SPARKcon 2013 - Octopus

The mid way along the Fayetteville street hosted live performances where people circled around to watch. Kids and adults were enjoying the show.

SPARKcon 2013 - Street peformings

There was not much of a private back stage. The lovely lady was preparing to take the stage (street) next.

SPARKcon 2013 - Performer prepared for the show.

The performers just finished their turn.

SPARKcon 2013 - Performers walked out.

I am not sure what the role this man at the event but he stood there and kept people out of the way for the performers. He spot me with my camera and gave me a good pose for the photo.

SPARKcon 2013 - Guard?

These audiences enjoyed the events their own way…

SPARKcon 2013 - Fun along the side.

Another photog was getting some shots of the show.  He was more serious than  me.

SPARKcon 2013 - A photog.

People enjoyed the art works on the street.  I like how the young lady holding a form box and was trying to take a picture at the same time.

SPARKcon 2013 - People enjoyed art works.

You can also ride around in this. Looks like fun to get on one.

SPARKcon 2013 - Riding tour

I walked pass one of the restaurants on Fayetteville street. The menu looks interesting.

SPARKcon 2013 - Restaurant menu.

Some people must got there by bicycles.

SPARKcon 2013 - Bicycle parking.

I think I froze these people.

SPARKcon 2013 - Frozen

A SPARKcon sign

SPARKcon 2013 - Sign

This is how a restaurant keeps the chairs at night.

SPARKcon 2013 - Chairs.

This one isn’t related to the event. The object was just interesting to me.

SPARKcon 2013 - Fire hoses

I hope you have a bit of fun with me 🙂

Feathered Friends

These are ducks living in the park nearby.  I like to watch them. They look happy and live their lives without worries. They even seem to be living in harmony with each other like good feathered friends (I am sure they do fight sometimes 😉 ).

Feathered Friends

This one gives me a handsome look.

The Three Company of Feathered Friends

“The three company”

Stay off from others

Need a dry time.

Tagging along

Tagging along

A good bye look.

A goodbye look.

Hope you enjoy these happy feathered friends.

Peek-a-boo Skink

Skinks are lizards. The kinds around here (NC, US) are colorful.  I often see them in shiny blue color or in orange color.  They are fast and seem to be shy. They will scurry away quickly when they see you. I think they are kind of cute.  I found this one a bit more brave or was curious of me. I had a little chance to take pictures of it. This was a rare case for me.

Peek-a-boo Skink

Hase-Dera Temple (Kamakura)

When I visited Japan a few years back, I had a chance to go to Kamakura. Kamakura is about an hour on a train ride from Tokyo.  Hase-Dera temple is one of the Buddhist temples in Kamakura. The temple sits on the mountain hill surrounded by gardens and especially is  famous place for Hydrangeas.  I was lucky to be there at the time of the year that these lovely flowers are blooming. I have not seen so many Hydrangeas in one place.  There are so many kinds of Hydrangea (I believe over dozen kinds).

The entrance to the Hase-Dera Temple in Kamakura. There were quite a number of visitors on that there.  There were many young children on that day. It could be the off school season at the time as well.

Hase-Dera Kamakura - Front

The Japanese style garden at the ground level of the temple. I felt relax and at peace from the well arranged garden.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Garden

I was lucky to visit the temple when all flowers were in the blooming season.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Flowers

I believe it is a Japanese tradition to wash or clean off oneself before entering a temple.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamkura - People washing

The visitors are walking up from ground level to the temple level.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Visitors walking to temple.

Before reaching the temple level is small intermediate level.  I believe the small statues are placed by parents morning their offsprings lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - second level.

Seeing these small smiling statues make me feel happy.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - 3 Smiling Statues

The day was very silver over casting sky. That helped shielding the heat of the sun quite a bit.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Temple

Visitors paid respect by burning candlesticks in front of the temple. Children and grown-up were so cheerful.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Burning candlesticks

A young lady gracefully paid homage to Buddha stature inside. I really like the design and the craftsmanship of the donation box. It is a beautiful piece of work.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Donation box

Visitors walking up from temple level to mountain view. You can see Hydrangeas were blooming along the path.  It was a long line.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Walking up to the mountain.

I like this Hydrangea that I spot along the path. Its flowers formed in a very nice shape.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Hydrangea 1

Another lovely Hydrangea.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Hydrangea 2

A view of the temple from the higher level.

Hase-Dera Temple - Kamakura - View over the temple.

OK, one more picture of Hydrangeas a long the walking path. You can also see people in line down below. It was a busy day.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Hydrangea 3

I spotted this statue on the way back down to the temple level again. The statue looks a bit funny with the Hydrangea.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Statue with Hydrangea

Very beautiful temple’s roof structure.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Temple's roof.

I think I was back to the ground level now. This is another view of the garden.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Garden

Hase-Dera temple also have an underground level.  These statues were placed in the underground tunnel.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Statues Underground

These candles were in the underground tunnel. I do not know the meaning of them.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Candles

As usual, I hope you enjoy the tour of the place. They just bring good memory to me.

Sky, Sea, Waves and Sand

This weekend is a memorial day weekend in the US. It is a three day weekend. That is nice. It is also a mark of summer time is coming soon. Traditionally people around here go to  the beach on this holiday. I am not one of them but I feel like  I also need to feel the bright open sky, the wind, the sea and the sand on the beach.  If you feel the same then I hope this picture helps a little.

Sky, Sea, Waves and Sand

Sky, Sea, Waves and Sand – Indialantic, Fl.