Sunday, February 26, 2006

Two monkeys

Surprise: Curious George is a much better monkey movie than King Kong.

George: playful, innocent, sweet, short; full of the joy of life; and unashamedly for kids, with no ironic in-jokes winking and mugging at adults. (There is, however, one “you go, girlfriend” which already feels stale and which won’t age well.)

Kong: overwrought, overblown, overlong; full of the joy of a director with a near-unlimited effects budget and no self-control. A huge technical achievement, no doubt, but why?

Go see George: it’ll make you feel good about life.

(Oh, and Ebert & Roeper: where’s your sense of fun?)

Categories: Movies

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Shell Ridge Loop

No car yesterday; it’s in the shop until Monday. So, a circular hike from the apartment; a shortened, and reversed, version of a loop hike I did last August.

We start at Howe Homestead Park, on the edge of Shell Ridge Open Space. Climbing up on the Kovar Trail, and higher onto the Summit Ridge Trail, the views back over downtown Walnut Creek soon open up.

Narrow dirt trail through brilliant green grass; city buildings in the background.

The trail dips back down along the rim of a disused quarry. Footing is a bit rough here; but it’s a lot easier doing it downhill on a dry day than uphill on a wet and windy day

Rocky trail, falling away on both sides, above green hills dotted with oaks.

Overgrown rocky outcrop.

Rocky outcrop with oak trees.

Field of boulders.

Once we’re down we turn north, first on the Fossil Hill Trail and then on the Briones–Mt. Diablo Trail, which heads out of the Open Space along a short ridge.

Mountain view with cherry tree in foreground.

Branch of cherry blossom.

Single cherry blossom.

We cross Ygnacio Valley Road and head into Heather Farm; two curious ducks waddle out of the creek to check us out.

Two ducks leaving the water.

Two ducks climbing the creek bank.

Two ducks crossing the trail.

Two ducks facing each other.

Mallard in profile.

Two ducks; one pecks at the ground while the other looks on.

From Heather Farm, it’s a quick nip west on the Contra Costa Canal Trail before the final—and rather dull—stretch home on the Iron Horse Trail.

Categories: Hiking


Yes, I know. The images here have been broken for days. Not my fault.

Tips for ISPs: when you migrate to a new webmail system, try to do it without:
  1. Vanishing user’s webspace content without warning
  2. Making users migrate their content by hand from old to new systems
  3. Changing the URLs on the new system so no old links work any more.
I’m looking at you here, Astound Broadband. Poor show.

So, images in old posts will be coming back online gradually, as and when I get around to editing the posts with the new image URLs.

On the upside, though: it was nice to see that things really did degrade gracefully when all the scripts went missing. (For those that are counting, the following are scripted effects: category, citation, and info links; inline comments; linkblog items; reverse-chronological archives; and smart quotes and other typographical niceties in titles, posts, and comments.)