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  • The new California Academy of Sciences

    Posted on October 27th, 2008 Jeff Keller No comments

    I made it over to the new California Academy of Sciences museum in Golden Gate Park last week. I signed up for a membership so I could get myself and a guest (my dad, in this case) in for free, and without waiting in the long ticket lines.
    While the building was interesting, it didn’t seem like there’s really that much to do there. The best things are the Rainforest Dome and the aquarium, though both have poor guest flow (dead ends, exhibits that only one person can view at a time). The planetarium show was blurry and wasn’t what I expected in a science museum — too Discovery Channel for me. The living roof is very cool.
    It was sort-of interesting, but I can’t see myself going back very often. It’s pretty cool architecture, though hard to photograph due to light coming from every direction (you’ll see what I mean in the photos).
    Click the link to see a ton of photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.

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  • Cruising Asia

    Posted on October 23rd, 2008 Jeff Keller 2 comments

    Finally, it’s going to happen! About a year from now, I’ll be taking a cruise from Japan to Hong Kong, with numerous stops along the way. My Hungarian friend Tibor and his wife will be joining me for the journey. I’ll be starting with a few days touring Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto, and then it’s onto the Volendam, which happens to be the sister ship of the Zaandam, which I was on this past summer. Besides Japan, I’m really looking forward to seeing Beijing, where I’ll probably have to take an overnight trip to see “everything” there.
    This trip won’t be cheap, but I’m going to make it happen. I’m totally excited about it, even though it’s still so far away!
    PS — Naha is Okinawa, and Keelung is Taipei.

  • Poor house

    Posted on October 22nd, 2008 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    Remember my house in Brentwood? Today I saw it again for the first time in a long time. I was out there on a wild goose chase caused by a camera company (which will not be named) and UPS. I ended up going to the old house to look for a package that was delivered to me there, instead of the house I’ve been living in for three years.
    I knew the house was back on the market, with an asking price $240,000 below what I sold it for three years ago (talk about good timing). Today I found out that the bank foreclosed on it in the last few days. The lawn in front of my old house was dead, with the only green being a patch of weeds (the photo above was taken when I moved in). Inside was totally empty. Two or three other houses on the street were in similar condition.
    It was sad to see what has happened… living here in the the Oakland Hills, I’m kind of shielded from the housing disaster. But spend five minutes in Brentwood and you’ll quickly see just how devastating it’s been.

  • Someone’s ship has come in

    Posted on October 18th, 2008 Jeff Keller No comments
    All kinds of high-tech electronics, as you’d expect
    The crew was busy swabbing the deck

    The Maltese Falcon has been hanging around San Francisco Bay in recent days. The ship, owned by gazillionaire Tom Perkins, was parked at Pier 35 today, so I took a few pictures. This is one of the largest sailboats/yachts you’ll find, and it’s pretty high tech, too. Did I mention that it’s on the market? I hear the asking price is $115 million.

  • Angel Island burns

    Posted on October 12th, 2008 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    Angel Island is the largest island in San Francisco Bay, and right now, it’s on fire. Amit popped on to ICQ to tell me that he could see something burning in the distnace, so I headed up the hill and took these pictures with my EOS-40D, 70-200 F4L lens, and 1.4X teleconverter (click for larger versions):

  • Are the glory days over?

    Posted on October 8th, 2008 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    I was flying home from my really nice trip to Maui today when I started putting together a spreadsheet. On one side, I listed my expenses: things like mortgage, property tax, insurance — you know, things that you can’t get away from. I threw a few other things on the list like the gym and therapy — things I could live without (though I’d hate to give up the latter).
    On the other side of the spreadsheet was my consistent income. It’s been dropping over the last two years, and really took a dive this summer, as the economy tanked. Advertising is about as mediocre as it has been over the years (though I did have a nice Casio campaign recently), with the real hurt coming from the huge decline in PriceGrabber clicks.
    I subtracted my expenses from my revenue and was shocked at the result. I have very little money leftover when all is said and done! And, if things continue to worsen (as I expect), I may have a big crisis on my hands.
    I really don’t want to have to dig into my savings — which have dropped by like 40% this year — so I may have to consider other things. Cutting all unnecessary expenses. Monetizing the website is new ways. If that doesn’t work… get a job? Sell the site, or shut it down entirely? I’d hate to give it all up after 11 years of hard work, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll even have a choice.
    Quite a sour note to end the vacation on….

  • Maui 2008 Photos: Part 2

    Posted on October 6th, 2008 Jeff Keller 2 comments

    On my final full day on Maui I drove the famous road to Hana. It’s 52 miles long, has 620 curves and 59 bridges (of which 46 are one lane),
    and it requires you to be on your toes. I haven’t been on the road since I was
    a kid, so I just had to check it out.

    It’s a long drive, taking 2-3 hours each way (from Kahului), depending on
    how often you stop. I took a 45 minute hike looking for a waterfall that didn’t
    exist, but I saw some nice views along the way. I also went to a black sand
    beach (though it was more rocks than sand) and had my lunch under a palm tree
    with a view to die for.

    I managed to make it back to Kaanapali in plenty of time for a sunset and
    a mai tai. Both could’ve been better. Alas, tomorrow I fly home… work is
    calling. One thing’s for sure: I’ll be back.

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  • Maui 2008 Photos: Part 1.5

    Posted on October 6th, 2008 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    I spent most of my second full day on Maui just sitting on the beach in front of the hotel. I rented one of those covered beach chairs and spent quite a few hours just staring at the ocean and people-watching. I also did some snorkeling, and the beach was perfect for that. Saw plenty of fish, with the most exciting thing being a small eel that I hovered over for a minute. I’m hoping to take a quick dip in the ocean before I fly home on Tuesday.
    I have just a couple of random pictures from the day, so click the link if you want to see them.

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