Friday, August 31, 2007

Urbanism at UM

This photo is taken tonight inside the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center of the School of Architecture of the University of Miami. This is in the UM's main campus in Coral Gables. This lecture hall is a study of the new urbanism in person. The circular seatings for students have individual lighting with power supplies and network connections for laptops. The vertical columns with circular orifices disguise the air conditioning apparatus. The acoustics is superb and faculty members delivering lectures have a complete suite of multimedia equipment at their disposition. Very impressive.

School of Architect

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ferrari F430

I just bought this new car... Ha ha ha, you almost believed it, right? I wished!

Would you believe if I told you I know the guy who owns this car? That is true. Here is what this page says in this car's introduction:

The F430 signals the arrival of a brand new generation of V8-engined Ferrari berlinettas. Every inch of the car was inspired by the engineering research carried out at Ferrari's Gestione Sportiva F1 racing division.

The F430's light, compact 4308cc engine is completely new and gives the car its name. It punches out 490bhp and delivers a specific power output of 114bhp/litre and 343lb.ft of torque. Needless to say, performance is outstanding: acceleration from zero to 62mph (100km/h) in 4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 196mph (315km/h).

Last week, this car had some mud on the fenders, so that was my criticism: Foo, you have mud on your car! Today, it's spotless, so I am speechless, and drooling... I am glad we have speed limit here! There you have it!

Vroom Vroom...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baptist Health South

This is the waiting room of one of the many premier hospitals in South Miami, This used to be the South Miami Hospital, but it was swallowed by Baptist Health system. The acquisition of many hospitals in Miami by Baptist Health does bring a lot of financial resources as it is shown in this photo. The waiting room is newly refurbished and it is pleasant to sit and wait to be serviced (especially when you are not feeling well.) This is about 8 in the morning, and no one is present (except the staff, of course.) The Cymbidium orchids, unfortunately are fake.

Waiting Room

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Wild Parrots Of Miami

Whenever I am in my office, on the sixth floor of my building, the rambunctious noise in the sky outdoors always reminds me of a very special documentary about Telegraph Hill of San Francisco. It's about a flock of wild parrots, and Miami has one right here. They have been here for years, nesting in a tall tree in plain view of my office windows so when I get tired of looking at my computer screen, I look for my friends the very vocal parrots. They sometimes come park themselves on the window sills of the buildings, once in a while right outside my windows. Here is a shot of 16 of them on top of the building to my right. I am sticking a print of a colorful pair of parrots, one male and one female on my window, facing outward to try inviting them coming to my window for a hello. If they ever accept my invitation, they will be featured in my DP blog right here. Wish me luck! But please don't tell them that. They are kind of on the shy side.

Argiope Lobata

Monday, August 27, 2007

X-Spider Girl

I have an Argiope Lobata in my yard! Its ancestors dwell around the Mediterranean and the Iberian peninsula. Of course, we have everything in Miami, so why not her too? It's a her and I know for sure. Here is a tidbit I dug out for you:

Accurate identification of spiders often requires examination of reproductive organs and other minute structures under a binocular microscope (20x-80x) I bet you didn't know that, right? You will need to distinguish between male and female spiders. Whereas the palps of females and immature males are leg-like, each palp of a mature male is usually swollen at its terminal segment and is equipped with some complex structures where the semen is stored and subsequently discharged when it is inserted into the genital opening of the female during mating. The genital opening of the female is located on the underside of the abdomen just in front of the epigastric groove. The position is often indicated by a hardened (sclerotised) structure called the epigyne. The epigyne may come in the form of a simple or complicated pit, plate or hook.

If this completely stumped you, learn about spider body parts at this excellent page. If you click on the photo to see it in high resolution, you can distinguish parts of the legs, which, from the tip, are: Tarsus, metatarsus, tibia, patella and femur.

Argiope spiders make orb webs which are suspended vertically 1-2 metres from the ground. The web of mature female spiders of this genus can be easily recognised by the X-shaped zigzag bands of white silk in the centre of the web. The brilliantly colored spider with silvery hair on the carapace sits head down in the centre of the web, and holds its legs in pairs in such a way that they appear to be aligned to the four arms of the letter 'X'.

The males are dull in colour, much smaller and like the females, have the habit of pairing their legs. Their webs are, however, decorated by a lace-like centre, instead of white bands in the shape of the letter 'X'. So, definitely, my lady orb weaver is an established female. I'll call her "X-Spider Girl," and hope she'll hang around for a while.

Argiope Lobata

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Here is one way to grab people's attention. It did mine. This gimmick is to promote commemorative stamps for collectors. First, a vote was organized to decide the subject of interest to print new collectors' stamps, then after the votes are tallied, stamps are printed to sell. Guess who won: Star Wars! The web address is where you can go to buy these stamps on line. The next subject will be Yoda. I assume everyone knows who Yoda is.

Star Wars

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Too many books, too little time

This is the look of the toddler section in one of the many Barnes and Noble bookstores in Miami. I can spend hours in bookstores so I try to shy away from them. In America in general, and in Miami in particular, there are so many beautiful books on sale for so cheap (big discounts to clear their shelves) I tend to buy them at the spur of the moment, but never have time to read most of them. Too many things to do, too little time...

Barnes and Noble

Friday, August 24, 2007

The "Who?"

This could be members of a rock band. Good bet is that they play guitars. That's all I would venture to say because in truth I have not the faintest idea who these guys are. All I know is that this is a huge wall size poster outside the guitar store in south Miami. It's too bad one cannot "Google" using a photo.

Who's who

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Capsicum is a genus of plants from the nightshade family (Solanaceae), native to Mexico, and now cultivated worldwide. The fruits of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and type. They are commonly called chili pepper, red or green pepper, or just pepper. The original Mexican term, chilli (now chile in Spanish) came from Nahuatl word chilli or xilli, referring to a huge Capsicum variety cultivated at least since 3000 BC.

Red peppers grow so easily in Miami. I rarely use these, but have friends and relatives that will even pay me for them. When a kid, I was told that feeding parrots these hot, hot, hot fruits (yes, they are considered fruits, and they are readily hot when they turn red) would make them learn to talk faster. Never knew whether that's true.

Red Peppers

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Trichechidae Manatus

In Miami, there is a very beautiful ocean front park called Matheson Hammock. I go here as often as I can find time. Today, in Matheson Hammock, I caught glimpse of a big fellow who is a resident of Miami's waters: a manatee (Trichechidae Manatus.) Manatees inhabit the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This big fellow (may be 10 ft) comes to inspect a boat anchored at a boat launch and people was feeding him (could be a her, not sure, but it's big, leaning on being a her) lettuce. Half a manatee's day is spent sleeping in the water, surfacing for air regularly at intervals no greater than 20 minutes. It looks like life is good being a manatee. No work, all play. I would like to be one if I could, but I'll stay away from boats' propellers.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


What's that? You may ask. That is a wig studio I visited today. It is in the northern part of Miami. If you need a beautiful set of hair, this is the place to visit. There are all kinds of designer wigs that will be custom cut, styled and fitted to your heart's content. The wigs in display are so beautiful I had a hard time to only select one so I made a collage to show here. Want to be a platinum blond tonight? Call Pru-Dee's, the telephone number is on the door. No, I did not get a blond wig today but I think I will look good with a red head.

Wigs & Wigs

Monday, August 20, 2007

Remote Sensing

This is a 20 meter antenna used in the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS) program at the RSMAS campus (on Virginia Key, Key Biscayne) of the University of Miami. The modern building behind it houses a world class library as well as the dean's office. CSTARS is a state-of-the-art real-time satellite reception and analysis facility in southern Miami that provides data for environmental monitoring of the Equatorial Atlantic region; northern South America, Central America, the Caribbean Basin, Gulf of Mexico and the Southeastern US.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Vriesea Splendens

During the peak of the hurricane season in Miami, every year, my bromeliads all go berserk and they flower in all colors and shapes. Among many in my back yard, this is a Flaming Sword bromeliad of origin from the moist forests of southeastern Brazil. It is sensitive to other climatic conditions but is doing beautifully along this fence.

Flaming Sword

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rearview Mirror

Here is a look in my rear view mirror on Southbound US1 in Miami today. Northbound is a giant mess because they close the entrance to interstate I-95 for a second week in a row. The reason I took this shot is because my dear woman friend Sal is in the car behind and she is closely tailing me. Just want to make sure she's still there and doesn't hit me.

Sal tailing

Friday, August 17, 2007


This business has been around for quite some time. They are celebrating their 43 years in business. All kinds of guitars can be found inside.

43 Years

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Colors a'plenty

A very colorful place, this Jo Ann Fabrics store in South Miami is. I saw all the colors of the rainbow, and more here today. This is stuff clothes are made of.

Jo Ann Fabrics

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Big Buoys

At the University of Miami RSMAS campus in Key Biscayne, high quality and very advanced oceanic research go on non stop. Out in the sun, you can see some equipment used for these research. These are large buoys (about 4 - 5 feet in diameter) used to deploy measurement instrument in the open oceans. As they are quite expensive, you can see the instructions in case they are found on a beach somewhere. Yes, we do lose equipment, and they are quite expensive.

Ocean buoys

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Here is a view of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seen from the RSMAS campus (University of Miami) across the causeway in Key Biscayne.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center today released its update to the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, maintaining its expectations for an above-normal season. As we enter the peak months (August through October) of the Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA scientists are predicting an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season, with the likelihood of 13 to 16 named storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes (Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale). To be truthful, I really do not believe any of the predictions of the scientists because I don't think our science is capable of such prediction.

At the moment, there are two potential hurricanes, one in the Atlantic and one entering the Gulf of Mexico (not counting a Pacific counterpart named Flossie just South of the big island of Hawaii.) If named, they will be Dean and Erin.

Canes Season

Monday, August 13, 2007

Open Pit BBQ

There are two open pit BBQs here to cook up a storm for hungry customers. A bonus is that they are at the edge of the ocean at this restaurant. This is life at its more enjoyable moments.

Pit cooking is like cooking in an oven that is heated up and then turned off just before the food is put in the oven. The pit has to store enough heat to cook the food. A fire is built to heat the rocks in the bottom and the ground around the pit. The meat is then put in the pit and covered. The fire no longer burns but the stored heat cooks the meat. To be well cooked, both air temperature and the interior of the pit must remain at or above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. In Miami, roasting pig in this manner is a joyful party event, but the pit probably has to be larger than those shown here.

Roast pig

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All You Can Eat

I was at a Chinese "All You Can Eat" place today. I saw this: my most favorite blue crab dish. Unfortunately, this was after I have stuffed my face with all the other goodies and it has to wait for another day. Too bad!

Already Full

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Clerodendrum paniculatum

Pagoda flower is an erect, open semi woody shrub with large evergreen leaves and huge showy clusters of orange-red or scarlet flowers held above the foliage. Pagoda flower is native to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and much of southeastern Asia. You can see it thrives outdoor here in the Florida hot sun.

Pagoda Flowers

Friday, August 10, 2007

No Big Ben

This is no Big Ben, but only a clock outside the Datran center in Miami. I nonchalantly took this picture this morning, thinking I'd never use it, but here it is. I just noticed that it has the same defect as a wall clock I bought for my office, which is a beautiful clock displaying a Puccini's Turandot poster on its face. My Turandot clock also has Roman numerals like this one, and both have the same problem! Can you tell what it is? The time I took this photo? DCCCXXVII.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pink Clouds

This morning, I stepped outside and looked up to see this sight. I had to hurry inside and grab my camera to snap this photo before it goes away, and it did go away quite rapidly. Pink clouds reflecting the East rising sun. Trust me, it looked much prettier in natural than in this photo, but that's all I can show you.

Late Miami Sunrise

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Greasy Wings

On a weekday, traffic is light during lunch at Coco Walk in the Grove. On the top is my favorite chicken place: Hooters. Their chicken wings are fabulous, but a bit on the "too" greasy side. Underneath is the "Cafe Tu Tu Tango." Never tried it and I know I ought to, someday.

Coco Walk Lunch

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jeans & Jeans

Here is a novel way to display high price merchandise. This is the storefront of the trendy Armani Exchange (A|E) for jeans in the Sunset Place in Miami. Remember? No photos allowed! The reflection you see is the other side of the open door mall. I don't know how much these jeans are selling for, but they look like they came straight from the Salvation Army trucks.

High Fashioned Jeans

Monday, August 6, 2007

Big Black Eagle

After a scorching day of heat, heat, heat, humidity and heat... 93 degrees Fahrenheit feeling like 102, the afternoon thundershower is welcome today. At a red traffic light, this humongous towing truck pulls up and stops right next to my car, so close I can touch it. It's all black and it's BIG!

Big Tow

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Route 66

I was the first to sit down at the Johnny Rocket hamburger joint today as they open late because the manager didn't show up for work on time. Ordinarily, the row of seats at the counter is full of patrons to savor their very tasty hamburgers, immersed in the music of the '50s. My favorite hamburger here is the Route 66. Second only to Fuddrucker in Miami. Yes, the guy wearing no hat giving order is the "manager."

Nostalgia Eatery

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Alien Abstraction

This morning I came by a high rise modern office building in South Miami to walk around. This is the lobby of the One Datran building. It has this huge "thing" and I am not sure what it represents. What looks like a man in a red shirt at the bottom is not part of the structure. It's a real man who walks so slowly I didn't bother to wait until he gets out of the picture, so he became part of it.

Pablo Picasso, NOT!

Friday, August 3, 2007

It's my BD

I gave my camera a day off today. What you see is not a photo (you couldn't tell if I were not to tell you myself, right?) It's a composite of what I received, for, you can guess what it is, my BD! Well, it only happens once a year so why not?

Happy BD to me!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Power of the Camera

I have to pass through this construction site to get to my office, so I did some snooping around and took a few photos this morning. The photo you see is a composite of two shots needed to tell this story. The brand new building is at its completion stage and this truck is delivering the dry walls for the offices. The power lift arm is remote controlled by the man on the right, who does it from across the street. I first took the photo on the left, then turned my attention to the man with the remote control strapped on his belly. To my utmost amazement, he stopped and tried to avoid me. I had a hard time to make him understand that I am NOT a safety inspector checking up on their work. He was petrified, thinking that I am documenting their activities for something sinister, like a safety inspection! Do I look like a safety inspector? No way!

Safety Inspector, NOT!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Own Breakfast

I took the pain to stop by the Marriott hotel near my office and took photos of their breakfast service this morning, but that was quite boring. Instead of that, here is something more "personal:" My own private breakfast for today, just for you. I do not eat breakfast every day, but made an exception today. It's on the left side of the photo. A hot chocolate. It's instant hot cocoa mix so I do not need maid service to prepare it for me. A few miniature croissants... Don't let their size fool you, they are lethal with all the calories they contain... and one banana, which is too ripe for my taste! The cup is my favorite "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" cup! If you inspect my laptop, you may discover my "real" favorite book, not the souped up "Proust" kind that I cite in my profile... ha ha ha... To the right, you see my most favorite binary clock and my Nokia E62 cell phone. I love this phone! The photo you see on the monitor to the right is from Webshots running as a screen saver. It has some awesome breakfast photos, but I couldn't wait so you see a lunch photo instead... That was fun!

Spilling My Beans