Play ball!

Image

After another long hiatus, I’m back with a post. Lots of things have happened since then; I’ve switched companies, moved house and another year has passed. Last week,my company had an event in Boulder, Colorado.

I’m not much of a baseball fan, but I do like sports. Baseball games for me, have always been a social affair (unless its the playoffs), but I do understand and enjoy the ambiance these games offer. The picture above was taken at the Rockies vs. Giants season opener series at Coors stadium. The Giants unfortunately lost this one on a wild affair 8-17, but it was just nice attending a event that signals the start of spring. I really only start watching baseball during the playoffs when every pitch, every at bat counts. I guess that puts me in the Type ADD fan, which explains my interest in football. Someday maybe, I’ll be into baseball. For now, bring on the brats, the hotdogs and the beer 🙂 .

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Our New (sort of) Distraction…..

Natalie

While reading my blog, my wife said, ” It’s missing something.”

“What is it?” I responded.

“You have no mention of Natalie” was the rejoinder.

True, I admitted to myself. I started it out more as a blog by me, just to write about topics that came to mind. So here’s my post about her. We welcomed her last year and she’s been occupying most of our attention and almost all of our energies during our spare time.

When friends or my mom tell me” She’s so cute!”.  I tend to deadpan with the response “Cuteness has a price”.

But when I really think about it, I think we have it easy. She’s pretty low maintenance, smart (she figures things out pretty quickly) and she rarely goes into tantrums. We love her to death but there are days where things feel stretched and we’re just happy to get her to bed so that we can wind down.

That’s not to say that bringing up a kid is easy. The first six months were a blur of exhaustion and activity. The round the clock feedings, the diaper changes, the doctor visits, the change in your free time can really be change the dynamics of your relationship with your spouse and are serious game changers to your “world”.

But we’re rewarded daily, just seeing her develop and if its really possible, get cuter everyday. It’s such a huge responsibility, to bring up a kid. We look around us and see kids hanging out at malls, coffee shops probably skipping class, wasting their life and looking lost while life passes them by. I probably would have done the same thing except that in Singapore, if you did that as a kid, you would bring shame to your family in no time with your plummeting grades. Asia has one thing right; its focus on education (though this can go overboard). For me, I am competitive in nature and at some point, I treated it like a game that I’d play to score points and be measured so everything began to click.

Life is tough, and adult life nowadays is a pretty competitive landscape and we wonder if we can bring her up the right way. The right way? What’s that you ask? I currently have that summarized as the end goal being a responsible and contributing member of society, who is wise enough to know what really matters in life . Too often kids nowadays appear to be chasing the latest fad, star, icon, trend that in the end is a hollow quest to fulfill some unseen need.

So here’s to Natalie, our first kid. Hopefully when she reads this at some point of her life, it’ll bring a smile and a surge of emotion to know how much we love her.

Of Flowers and Bees

Been a while since I posted. I’ve been quite busy with a new kid, a new house and decompressing after the CFA Level II exams. Anyhoo, the picture above was taken from my living room with a 70-200mm L IS Canon lens, shooting through the window glass. Funny how perspectives change relative to where you’re situated. If I was outside, I’d be trying to avoid or shoo the bee away, but in doors, I’m almost cheering it on to hover closer to my camera lens and the flowers.

With the new house, I’ve been busy with the following workout regimen every two weeks:
1) Wake up early
2) Take green refuse bin and head to backyard
3) Take out pooper scooper and ground walk the yard systematically picking up piles of poo in various stages of biological breakdown
4) Make sure to breathe through mouth when nearing green refuse bin.
5) Drag power mower out
6) Cuss at tool when it doesn’t start (technical adjustment)
7) Start mowing lawn
8 ) Realize that some piles of poo slipped through step 1
9) Sidestep said piles and mow them over, rationalizing that the chopping motion of mower would vaporize poo.
10) Finish up, head to front lawn and mow lawn
11) Take out edge trimmer and edge both front and back lawns
12) Take out blower attachment and sweep pathways clear of debris
13) Spend about 10 min checking garden paths for weeds and eliminate with vengeance.
14) Do a cursory look for snails in shrubs and eliminate if seen.
15) Tell myself that I’ve saved about $75-100 in the process (per month).

About Flowers and Valentine’s Day

I’m tired of staring at study material for the CFA and decided to whip out (i.e. procrastinate) this post.

As I mentioned, I work in Downtown SF. Valentine’s day just passed (for those of you not under a rock, you might have noted the usual commercial assault of ads touting jewelry and flowers etc).

My wife and I have been happily married for more than 10 years, so V-day to us is usually not much of a big deal. We do try to do things on that day, but we’re aware of the price premium and the commercial craziness that happens on this particular day. Anyways, I was leaving work and thinking of just grabbing some flowers. Mind you, I am not really price sensitive but when I hit a florist that was attempting to charge me $100 for a dozen roses without tax, I thought that was too much.  Needless to say, I didn’t get my flowers from that shop. I’ve always felt that days such as V-day, Mother’s day, Father’s day are really commercially manipulated and abused. Does it matter that much that you send flowers on that particular day or show your appreciation for your parents on that particular day? If you do that just nice thing on just that one day to make up the other days, I’d sign up for hypocrites anonymous.  I did get my flowers, but at a much less elevated price. Flowers are a commodity and these florists are arbitraging folks who are desperate at that hour.

Well, I’ve been busy with work, prepping for the CFA LII and just plain stuff.  Here’s hoping that you had a great V-day and that it’s V-day all year for that special someone and you.

Christmas Musings @ Union Square

I work in downtown San Francisco, which to me, presents lots of interesting photo opportunities. The only issue to me, is lugging my gear downtown and having the time to take the shots. Part of the trick in photography is knowing when to shoot and when to just kick back and wait.

Christmas is always interesting to me. It sends that jolt of excitement through me, partly because of fond childhood memories of waking up on Christmas day and running screaming downstairs to tear into the presents. Part of it recalls the numerous caroling sessions with my sunday school choir, the public performances and the home performances on Christmas eve. They were part of a truly magical time of the year for me.

Anyway, back to the post. I went lugged my gear downtown and left a little early so that I could get to Union Square before the light disappeared entirely.

After a few minutes spent scanning around the crowds and trying to get a feel of the place ( and being chased out of others by rink personnel who told me I couldn’t stay where I was), I went up to the Cheesecake factory and took these shots. I had fun taking them, but as I was trekking back to the BART station and seeing all the revelry around me, I had an epiphany. The thought was really nothing new; but it never gets old with me. We celebrate Christmas around the world and here in America, yet, why do we truly celebrate it? Because Macy’s has a sale and has a motto “Believe”? Because everyone buys gifts for each other and treats each other nice at this time of the year? It truly saddens me that the true meaning has been suffocated by our skill at commercials, pop songs singing about everything but what they should be reflecting upon. Listen, it’s called “Christ-mas”, not Giftmas, Party-mas or anything like that. Christ is the reason. I am a victim of this candy floss at times.

Most of us of truly forgotten the reason for the season, strangled by the tide of commercials, sales, Santa Clauses, reindeer, trees and tinsel.  I can admit that I sometimes am guilty of this. However, I always spend some time reflecting on the events of the past year and I remind myself of the true reason I’m celebrating it.It was the arrival of the baby Jesus in a lowly manger many hundreds of years ago, not a pagan figure like Santa Claus with his reindeer and bells. It was the gift of God to sacrifice his Son for the sins of the world. Sometimes, a part of me gets critical of folks who miss this crucial meaning of Christmas, because without understanding and comprehending its reason, its celebratory revelry rings hollow.

So as you celebrate this time of the year, even if you don’t believe, do me a favor and give a nod of thanks to that baby in a manger, born in Bethlehem so many years ago.

The rest of my shots from my excursion can be seen my smugmug site at:

http://hohakuna-photo.smugmug.com/Galleries/Travels/Union-SquareXmas-2010/15186295_Xn9A6

Finally back….

I’ve been gone for quite a while and haven’t updated this blog much.

Lots of things have happened since…

1) My wife and I welcomed a baby girl in April (hence the absence)

2) I didn’t show for my CFA Level II exam as a result  (haha!)

3) I changed jobs

4) Our parents and in-laws visited

5) I’ve been creating a new proper site for myself.

This blog will still exist and will tie in with my new site.  The new site is wwww. hohakuna-photo.smugmug.com. I’ll add a link. Please visit and vote on the pictures!

That’s all for now.

Magazine shot

Since summer is here, I guess this picture fits. This was taken in back in February @ the Ritz Carlton. I’ve always seen these shots of in golf magazines (the one with golfers in mid swing and ball in the air) and I saw this fellow about to try to hit the green. So I stalked the shot.

Not too bad if I should say so myself. I actually was going to post this to commemorate Tiger Wood’s return to golf ( not that I support his actions). Maybe if I can get my butt down to Pebble this year… .

Is it here yet?

The ‘it’ I’m referring to is the end to the heavy rains. I enjoy a good rain but these heavy rain storms are wearing on me. Yesterday was a beautiful day (high 60s) and it nudged us to take a walk around the neighborhood.

So my wife and I plus the 3 musketeers (dogs) went for a stroll and brought the camera with me. I almost missed the cherry blossoms and some bradford pears , but was able to get some shots of them ( it was interesting trying to steady myself with 2 irritated Shibas with me : )).  Been meaning to take pictures of them earlier, but we just never had the chance. Glad to get them before they’re gone :).

These Chilly Mornings…

Last year, this time,  I swear I don’t remember this much rain falling.  It’s been raining pretty heavily this winter/spring. San Francisco mornings are freezing I tell ya.

Well, how much you say? Check these rain tables out . We have a wine barrel that’s filled with herbs. All those herbs are drowning because the barrel is completely filled with water (I’ll probably try to drill holes in the barrel to save what we can of the herbs).

Some areas are getting more than 120% of the normal rainfall, which is great I suppose, since California was/is under drought pressure as recent as last year.

You folks living in the East Coast, look out, more snow headed your way (Sorry Philly and Baltimore).

Rain Table