Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
The last days of May trigger the beginning of the painting of Miami in hues of red, orange, yellow by the royal poincianas. Unfortunately, it is also that of the new hurricane season which officially arrives June 1st, in 2 days. In order, these nasties will be named: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred. Sally is my favorite name among these. Did you notice the names alternate in gender? Which one is more ferocious? Boy or Girl, I wonder? I do hope I won't have to blog about any of these babies this year.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
There is a price to pay for living in Miami's permanent warm weather: termites swarming! Once in a while, a house can be invaded by termites and it needs to be tented. This is a big nuisance and it costs money too. The preparation team comes early in the morning to tent the house. The professional exterminators come to fumigate the tented space. They return the next day to remove the tent, inspect the interior and certify the house for safe occupation again. Now the house is a mess that needs to be cleaned inside and outside. I told you, it's a big nuisance!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Gardenia is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. Gardenia Jasminoides, a common gardenia that has delightfully and strongly fragrant flowers, grows in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan and Japan. Of course, this is in Miami, and this plant flowers late May, every year, as sure as the sun rises every morning.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This is a dessert mango from Thailand and rare to be found elsewhere. This tree is fruiting very nicely in my backyard. When ripe, the fruits fall from the tree and they are intensely sweet. In Thailand, Okrong Tong dominates the local fruit market and is eaten out of hand on the street. Here, my friends would kill for the fruits off my tree. They all love this mango. They are too sweet for me. I much prefer the Zill.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Back for a visit to my friend the "Orchid Man" of Banjong Orchids. Here is his private and well guarded personal collection of award winning stud plants that he uses to create new high quality hybrids of vandaceous orchids. Lots of experience, skills and patience, some luck and lots of anticipation. Of course, there are no names on the stud plants, only secret codes. Is there such a thing as a black orchid? No, not dark brown, BLACK!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Miami is beginning to see these "Smart" cars in its streets. Can you imagine this car in a head on collision with the "Guzzler-in-Chief?" Here is some math for you: If you were to lose $15,000 when you trade in your gas guzzler, then you can afford to keep it and lose $200/month in extra gas expense for 7.5 years. Would you trade or keep your beloved "guzzler?"
Friday, May 23, 2008
To make my point, here is a typical traffic scene in Miami's streets: while driving around town, you are always surrounded by huge gaz guzzlers. Owners of these SUVs are having a very tough time to unload these vehicles. Many of these cars are losing up to 50% of their value and their owners lose a fortune trying to trade them for smaller cars.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Here is one of the many the foreign competing answers to the American full-size pickup truck: The Toyota Tundra. Miami's streets are full of these "monster" trucks. The biggest Tundra comes with a 6.0 liter V8 engine. The sale ads all claim these guzzler trucks have decent mileage driving in the city, until you learn the hard way by really owning one. Not me!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is the biggest, blackest and baddest of the Ford trucks that I see around Miami. It also looks brand new. This is a 5.4 liter Triton V8. Depending whether it has automatic or manual transmission, the proud owner is lucky to get more than 12 miles to the gallon of gas, which is costing on the average $ 3.80/gallon in Miami (lowest octane gas, and more if the octane content is higher.) Me? I get 22 mpg with my car and I am paying $4.10/gallon for the highest grade gas. I am going broke. Rumors have it that the price of a barrel of crude oil may almost double in the near future. Too bad I am not an Arab prince!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Some Vanda orchid species are fragrant, but not too many have this desirable genetic trait. Vanda hybrids created from species are almost never fragrant. This one is a V. hybrid (V. Tessalata x V. Mimi Palmer.) The fragrance is strong sweet "je ne sais quoi" that could vaguely be attributable to vanilla. The purple throat may have been from V. Mimi Palmer that again came from V. Tan Chay Yan and V. Tessalata. This smells oh so good... Don't you wish you could move to Miami?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
In Miami, trees are born to grow! Trimming them is a chore that can hit the pocket book hard, especially during this current recession. This is a man working on a large oak tree this morning. Oak trees are protected and heavy fines are levied for those who dare to skirt the law and illegally cut them down. Oaks are a keystone species, functioning much like the hub of wheel. Over 5,000 species of insects, 58 species of reptiles and amphibians, 105 species of mammals and over 150 species of birds rely on oaks for some of their life cycle. If the oaks are gone, so are these associated species. In addition, oaks are held dear by many people, admired for their beauty, strength and longevity. I love the two oak trees I have in my back yard and this photo is not one of them.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Today, the Sunset Place in South Miami is teeming with kids from middle schools. They are brought by bus loads and delivered to the Gameworks where they invade to have a good time eating lunch, playing video games and visiting shops. They are being picked up to return to school in this photo.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I went to visit my friend the "Orchid Man" today at his nursery: Banjong Orchids. His web site needs some help, but if you find yourself driving around Miami and you love flowers, especially orchids, you must stop by his nursery at 17720 SW 218th Street, Miami, FL 33179. He has some of the best orchids anywhere, some exclusively. In this photos, the huge vanda plants with huge round purple flowers of 7 - 8 inch in diameter are descendants of the famous "Gordon Dillon" vandas. These plants fetch upward $200 each at flower shops, and they all come from here.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I know Tog will never set foot in this pub in Coral Gables so I am taking this for him. This is inside the John Martin's Irish pub in the heart of Beautiful Coral Gables (which is part of Miami.) John Martin's sponsors a beer fest during St. Patrick's Day every year so of course, they serve Irish beer here. Unfortunately for me, I don't drink beer! Never liked it, never will!
Monday, May 12, 2008
This is a scene of an annual music recital at a Miami bookstore (Barnes and Nobles in Coral Gables.) This is a 10th grade high school student showing his musical talent. He did very well huffing and puffing his baritone saxophone, the largest of the sax horns to produce very lovely musical sound. I love his low frequency notes. So resonant! This photo may look strange to you. I used the long focal part of the Canon's lens and this camera's zoom stability circuit did not perform well in low light, so I processed the photo a bit to make it looks like "oil painting art." Not a very convincing job, I'd say!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I got a pleasant surprise today seeing RibIt again. My first blog of her was on April 30th of the year 2007. One year later when I thought she was "departed," I replaced her with a ceramic counterpart "Kiss Me Again." Not so fast! My Miami toad is still alive and well to show herself again after an absence of about a year. She came out and hopped around my patio, and I am happy to see her again. She has gained quite a bit in size and weight, and I hope she would not try to mate with "Kiss Me Again." Should I set up my infra red webcam to spy on her in the dark of the night? Hmmm, interesting thought!
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
This is a charming old house in my neighborhood that is scheduled to be demolished today! It sits on a 3/4 acre of prime land so it is quite a valuable asset. If it were up to me, I would keep it as it is. Sadly, another monster mansion may soon be built on this land. So goes the neighborhood!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Summer is approaching. This means another college semester is coming to an end. With it comes the intense pressure of final tests, graduation and the trepidations for some to face finding real life jobs in the market place. Here is a reminder of some of the pressure: Tests! I still have nightmare and shudder when I have flashbacks of my final exam days!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
This is the Southernmost Metrorail station of Miami Dade Transit system: Dadeland South. The elevated rail is parallel to US1 and this station is at the Dadeland Blvd intersection. The Shorty's on the left. The trains usually carry advertising on them, but not today.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
This morning, at 7 AM, the traffic on the Palmetto Expressway going North came to a stand still for about 15 minutes. It wasn't clear why the traffic was stopped because the huge accident was on the South bound side. Life is so mysterious at times! The end result was that I was 15 minutes late to where I was supposed to be going. So much for being always punctual and always arrive exactly on time!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it's the Flying Cavemen! You probably only know about this joke if you live in the United States of America. GEICO is a large insurance company here. The GEICO Cavemen are fictional characters made popular by GEICO insurance company that advertised that using their website is "so easy, a caveman could do it." Then Neandertal-like cavemen start to appear on the airwave to bitterly express their deep unhappiness about the stereotype.... There is now even a situation comedy on the TV, which I never watch so I don't know anything about it. Today, the Cavemen are flying high in the Miami skies. You can see one of them on the banner selling GEICO in this photograph.
GEICO is my car insurance company. They took good care of me when I had an automobile accident in LA end January this year. Not my fault, I must say!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I always wanted to show off the Butterfly Alphabet posters in my office and now I have a good excuse. The posters have the alphabet AND the numbers as markings on butterfly wings from all corners of the world. This collage is from sections of photos of two posters edited to only highlight the NUMBERS, which is this month's theme.