Monday, March 31, 2008

Where Are Your Men?

This is the biggest meal for a Spiny Orb-Weaver (Gasteracantha Cancriformis) that I have ever seen. These female spiders are spinning webs everywhere in my yard so it is difficult to walk around them and not to destroy their hard work. With such a big catch, I wonder if this gal is going into hibernation for a while to enjoy a break from working. I also wonder why I never see a male Orb-Weaver. Don't they work?


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Blues

It's dark inside this skating ring of Super Wheels in South Miami. On a Sunday afternoon during Spring Breaks where the kids do not have schools, I'd say business is not so hot. In happier times, this place used to be alive with kids, but not today. There were only a couple of birthday parties. Bring in the clowns!

Dark Skating Ring

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Every mere mortal in the US is feeling the pinch of the global economic downturn. This may be a good trade in for me to use around town. However, I am not sure it is licensed to be used in highways. Also, I am afraid to guess what would happen if this goes into collision with the huge USVs or power trucks guzzling gasoline as kings of the road in Miami. This is seen in the new Dadeland village in front of the brand new condo/office buildings painted yellow.

Mini Wheels

Friday, March 28, 2008


A team of high school girls preparing for a swim meet today by listening to their swimming coach's instructions just minutes before a vigorous competition in an olympic-size swimming pool. Lots of splashes.

Swim Meet

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Swim Or Sink

I am in front of this swimming pool today, but decided to skip getting wet. I probably will not be able to do even one lap, giving that I am in a deplorable state because of lack of any kind of exercise except that of my fingers used when I type on my keyboard.

One Lapse

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NJoy Lif

Recession or not, Coconut Grove says Life Is Worth Living! This sign is on US-1 at SW 27th Avenue intersection.

Meaning of Life

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seven Ants

Now that the sun is shining today, so do the ants. They are coming out to get a sun tan and work on the yummy nectar. Can you see all the seven ants on this heliconia?

Ants Outing

Monday, March 24, 2008

Prelude to Cold

A damp early Miami morning preluding a cold front's arrival. I wonder where do the ants that feed on the sweet heliconias' nectar go when it rains?

Wet Heliconia

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Alarm Clock

This fellow is my personal alarm clock, but not a very reliable one. This bird lives somewhere in the bushes on the side of my bedroom window, and it usually picks a fight with its reflection off my window, knocking and waking me up early mornings. The duration of the fight is unpredictable, and it is as elusive as elusive can be. This morning, I went outside at 7:30 AM after the first few knocks and staked it out in vain. This is my best shot from inside at this bird for the few seconds it was resting on a branch. It is as gray as the gray sky this morning, and I forgive its trespassing. No problem! Come wake me anytime you feel lonely.

Gray Bird, My Friend

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Get a BlueTooth

For about 15 minutes today in traffic, I was trying to stay away from this man and his car. He was glued to his cell phone and did not pay much attention to the traffic around him. He even put down his convertible roof in the middle of traffic. Here, I snapped a photo of him and his car at a red traffic line crossing US-1 in South Miami. I am now quite experienced to know that when I see a car being driven like by a drunken sailor, its driver is on a cell phone. I wish we had a heavy fine for this crazy behavior, but the cell phone companies are too powerful for such a law to pass. So, my secret wish is to have a photo of a collision between the cars of two cell phone operators. That will be fun to blog.

Get Off the Phone

Friday, March 21, 2008

Greek To Me

It's that time of the year in Miami again, the "Golden March" month. Here is a snap shot of a "Tabebuia Chrysantha," Greek for Golden Flower that I blogged March 29 in 2007. Yes, a year has gone by. Every March, come here to see one different photo of this species that is a permanent fixture of the Miami landscape.

Golden Tree

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barren As Brick

Despite all of my hopes, it does not look like we'll have any longans this year. All the new growth of all my longan trees look barren as in this photo. All leaves, no fruits! Nature works in mysterious way!

Only Leaves

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Giant Paella

Paella is a typical Valencian and one of the most famous rice dish from Spain. The name paella is the word for "frying pan" in Valencian (from Latin patella meaning small pan). Paella is usually garnished with vegetables and meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil. Looking at this chef's happiness showing off his chef d'oeuvre, I am sure many lucky souls will have a great lunch today. I smell fish and see green peas garnishing the top. Yum!

Spanish Rice

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Muscle Factory

Exercise, anyone?

Muscle Builder

Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Beer

Today is the annual "green" day of St. Patrick, the Irish man. In Coral Gables, the annual celebration starts at 4 PM to go until midnight, live band performing among the flowing of beer and food in the streets. Beers are selling like hot cake. Each beer costs US $6, not in cash, but in purchased tickets. The light beer you see is the "Harp" and the darker ones are "Guiness" or "Smithwick." Green is the color of the night and you can't tell there is a US economic recession looming from looking at this crowd.

St. Patrick

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Honda vs Honda

Here is a view of some Americans' favorite means of transportation, ideal for Miami's weather: a Honda convertible S2000 and a macho big Honda "Superbike" CBR.

Sport Vehicles

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Special Olympics 2008

Every year, Special Olympics of Miami Dade County organizes a Summer competition. Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.

I always come to cheer the special athletes from Miami Southwest Senior High School who compete in the soccer matches. Two of them are seen here in the purple soccer uniforms posing with the University of Miami's mascot Sebastian the Fighting Ibis. The man with the #1 shirt taking the photo is their soccer coach. It takes a lot of dedication and good hearts from many persons to make these events happen year after year. My hat's off to the athletes, to the organizers and to the volunteers.

Special Olympics

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lunch Break

This is the cafeteria inside Miami Dade College Kendall campus where students, faculties and employees come to get lunch. The food is just so so, not too expensive and not too cheap. Selection is banal, but it beats driving around looking for food. As the cost of a US gallon of gas is hitting record high of US $4 per gallon and the economy is in the toilet, even eating here hurts the pocket book.

Campus Cafetaria

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Airboat in Tow

In the United States, I think that you can only see this in Miami, an airboat on a trailer hitch. Airboats are mainly used in the Everglades National Park West of Miami. Tourists can visit the park and ride the airboats touring the national treasure that is this grassland, which is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US, home of many rare and endangered animal and flora species.

Dry Airboat

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March Old Faithful

Every year, about this time, I can depend on this faithful old, old, old timer orchid to give me many spikes of blooms. This is a Dendrobium Mousmee, its flowers are beautifully delicate, and its clusters of flowers are oh so gracious.

March Beauties

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tropical Park

Miami's Tropical Park on a week day. This is a large artificial pond just to break the monotonous scenery of a flat park. People come here on weekends for picnic or watch football games played by local high schools on Friday nights.

Tropical Park

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Massage

On a health awareness day in this college campus, students line up to get a free massage to rid their bodies of stress from academic life. I was tempted to try but gave up because I remember how ticklish I am. Can't let these people touch me. No way!

Back Rub

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Miami Continental Breakfast

Just about every morning, I am awaken by a blue jay fighting with his/her reflection on the window outside my bed room. I have yet to take a shot (no, not with a bibi gun) of this bird and its brain! This morning, I came out in the cold air (a cold front arrived yesterday) but the bird was gone. I heard noise above my head and watched this squirrel having its breakfast high up in this coconut tree. Look closely and you can see there is still enough food inside this nut for at least a few more days.

Free Coconut

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No See Ink

On weekends like today, big and small kids enjoy video games while celebrating birthday parties with pizza, ice cream and soft drinks at this Chuck E Cheese in West Kendall. I don't know why, but the workers there stamp everyone's wrist with an invisible ink upon entry. I thought the ink was purple, but can't see anything on my wrist. I sure hope it's not radioactive.

Invisible Ink

Friday, March 7, 2008

High Hill

This place probably has the highest elevation in Miami. I would say about 30 feet above sea level? This is inside Tropical Park which is a very pleasant and spacious public park between Bird Road and Miller Drive just West of the Palmetto Expressway. On this late Friday afternoon, there is hardly any one enjoying this place. On some windy weekends, I like to go fly kites from the top of this artificial "hill" where you see this lone runner. I'd caution you have to be careful running down this modest slope. I fell on my face once and was thoroughly embarrassed.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Flags of the Nations

How many countries can you name? Are they in alphabetical orders? Who decides which flag goes where?


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Miami Pinus (Not)

Pines are evergreen and resinous trees growing to 3–80 m tall, but these branches are touching the ground as seen in this photo.

Pines have four types of leaves:

1. Seed leaves (cotyledons) on seedlings, borne in a whorl of 4-24.
2. Juvenile leaves, which follow immediately on seedlings and young plants, 2-6 cm long, single, green or often blue-green, and arranged spirally on the shoot. These are produced for six months to five years, rarely longer (and also produced later in life after injury in some pines).
3. Scale leaves, similar to bud scales, small, brown and non-photosynthetic, and arranged spirally like the juvenile leaves.
4. Needles, the adult leaves, which are green (photosynthetic), bundled in clusters (fascicles) of (1-) 2-5 (-6) needles together, each fascicle produced from a small bud on a dwarf shoot in the axil of a scale leaf. These bud scales often remain on the fascicle as a basal sheath. The needles persist for 1.5-40 years, depending on species. If a shoot is damaged (e.g. eaten by an animal), the needle fascicles just below the damage will generate a bud which can then replace the lost growth.

As usual, TOG corrected my sometime careless research, and pointed out that the photo is not that of a "pinus." Of course, I need to double check what he says. This time, he is right, so here is the correct narration:

Casuarina Cunninghamiana

Casuarina is a genus of 17 species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australia, southeastern Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean. C. Cunninghamiana and C. Equisetifolia have been introduced species in several countries, including Argentina, China, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa and the southern United States; in the United States it was introduced in the early 1900s, and is now considered an invasive species. The species has nearly quadrupled in southern Florida between 1993 and 2005.

May be I should post a real photo of "Pinus" but I would hate to climb all the way up "there."


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Academic Reading

Students in this college campus like to read in the shade outside on a pleasant day like today. The huge tree trunk you see is that of a large royal palm. I am not sure what they read, hopefully that's academic material and not tabloid magazines. But it's just too impolite to ask them.

Deep Readers

Monday, March 3, 2008

Money Sink

Here is a look at the 16 theater complex in West Kendall, a bubbling community Southwest of Miami. This place used to be farm land with tomato, strawberry, vegetable fields and fruit tree groves as far as the eyes can see. Now it is a daily commuter nightmare with traffic congestion a standard way of life. But you can find anything your heart desires here, from fast food to shopping of all sorts. Of course, all the banks are here to make cash withdrawals easy for deficit spending.

West Kendall

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Island Style

This is an interior view of a very pleasant Miami casual restaurant on West Kendall Drive: the Bahama Breeze. The food is typical of the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands. I had lunch there today, and it was an excellent grilled salmon with rice. Yum! No rum, please!

Bahama Treats

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Greenboard Graffiti

The wall is used both as a mural for artist and a blackboard (greenboard here) to teach little kids in this day care center named St. John Tot Center in one of the poorest communities: Overtown of Miami.