Mount Diablo: rock of Doom

They say Mount Diablo got its name from a WTF moment in local lore, dating back from the early 19th century. In 1805, a small contingent of Spanish troops encircled a group of Native Americans, who managed to disappear without a trace using their evidently superior knowledge of the land. It’s only natural that the people who brought us the Inquisition decided the Devil was at play, and so they named the place Monte del Diablo, which some translate as Thicket of the Devil. Later, monte was mistakenly translated as mount and thus the mountain gained its current name.

As the crow flies, we now live about five miles or so from Mount Diablo, which makes it a semi-regular destination for us. On weekdays, when most folks are at work, the drive to the top is fairly relaxed and fun. I say fairly relaxed because you still have to pay close attention to other traffic, bicyclists in particular, especially near blind curves. As well, along some stretches, the road drops off abruptly, which causes fearful drivers to wander across the median dangerously.

The fun comes from spotting wildlife and the play of light on distant hills, which offers quite a spectacle on overcast and stormy days. On the drive to the top, there are many spots where to pull over and take in the sights, some with tables, benches and grills, even. From there, it is easy to see how much concealment the terrain offers wildlife or the unfortunate injured hiker at times. As close to “civilization” as Mount Diablo is, and as unimposing its elevation may appear at 3849 feet, the park’s 20.000 acres is deceptively smooth and tranquil. But just as Mount Tamalpais and its potentially treacherous Cascade Falls trail has risks, so does Diablo. And this is due in large part to both traffic and complacency.

Some of the photos in this blog post were taken as a storm system was moving through the area, giving you a sense of the textures the park offers and why it has become one of our favorites. It never fails to remind me of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”…

Increase your website traffic with


Aging gracefully? Hahahahaha &$#@ that!

I remember mom telling me to act my age. It was really silly as she said that when I was two, five, ten and so on. The fact is, I WAS acting my age. 🙂 Now, not so much. There comes an age where we have to be responsible adults and that’s understood. I see absolutely no reason to leave childhood joys behind though. If I had one, I could still entertain myself for hours with an Erector Set.

Men (and women) do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

My dad, for one,  has never lost his joy of playtime. He’s had to adjust a bit over the years and his toys have changed, but he still finds time to play. I had that confirmed when I went back home to the desert for a visit recently.

The Sonoran Desert in Southern California
The Sonoran Desert in Southern California

Continue reading “Aging gracefully? Hahahahaha &$#@ that!”


2012: JBoD’s year in review

Happy New Year!

Now is the time to take a minute and look back on this past year, and the ways it affected the JBoD microcosm.

We spent much of 2012 watching sunsets and wildlife (fins!) from local beaches, but in April, we chose to visit the neighboring hill known as Bernalwood where stunning California poppies in full bloom awaited. On another more recent trip, amazing clouds treated us to an ‘air show’…

California poppies on Bernal Hill
California poppies on Bernal Hill

In May, we finally managed a trip to see the California Academy of Sciences. The albino alligator named Claude is a real beauty.

Academy of Sciences
Claude on his warming rock. He’s quite a handsome devil. Photo by Ron DeCloux.

I took a lot of photos, so it’s in four parts. One, two, three and four.

In May, our glorious Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 years old. I’ve lived here for ten years and I never get tired of seeing her.

Golden Gate Bridge

In June, a contractor working a few doors down from our home base cut into a gas line, resulting in a gas explosion and fire. Purely by chance, prevailing winds minimized the spread of the damage, a very good thing considering how long it took to shut off the gas. The kind of scene best left in movies, not real life. The Pointy Eared people weren’t amused…

Gas fire and explosion on San Bruno Ave
Firefighters in action. The tan and brown building on the far left is where the construction was. The dentist office was in the white building.

Then in July, we lost our sweet, comical tyrannical food thief Kitsy to FIP. It was sudden and awful and I still haven’t been able to write a proper post for him. As for Lastech, he is still coming to terms with the possibility that the virus which took him might have been introduced by Miss Jenny. So little is known about FIP and no test being available, it remains a painful mystery.

Kitsy narrating LOL woman in black
“… Don’t go chasing shadows, Gigadoon…”

In August, we went to the park on a foggy morning and came across some wildlife with a pissy attitude.

Belligerent crayfish Hey stupid

In September, Miss Nightshade Jenny brought me a most bizarre gift.

Miss Nightshade Jenny
Don’t let those innocent blue peepers fool you

Later in September, we got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over the Golden Gate Bridge. Incredible!

Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech

In November, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden and Arboretum for a bit of zen. We wound up having a wonderful surprising encounter with a hawk.

The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.
The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.

A week or so later, we went exploring the Coastal Trail near the Golden Gate Bridge. We encountered another hawk, a couple of hummingbirds, a slug and a wonderful sunset.

Anna's hummingbird
Did I mention that hummingbirds like the pretty purple flowers?

We finished off the year by exploring the cliffs around Battery Mendell, a coastal battery that was built before WWI.

Battery Mendell
Photo by Rudha-an

That was our 2012 for the most part. Some was good and some was bad. Hopefully, 2013 will be an even better year.

Happy New Year from JBoD

Rudha-an, Lastech, Tito, and Miss Nightshade Jenny

Increase your website traffic with


Moody Tuesday: silver skies and grey waters

Counting down to Halloween on this gloomy Tuesday morning, let’s stroll through Autumn, Ray Bradbury’s country.

I hope you’ll enjoy these photos as I do, taken between the beaches of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park and the Shoreline at Mountain View, CA.

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”

― Ray Bradbury, The October Country

Gulls over Baker Beach

Continue reading “Moody Tuesday: silver skies and grey waters”


Traveling with pets: additional musings

Ah, San Francisco… We fancied a trip to Baker Beach yesterday and took a long walk barefoot through the edge of the surf, having the enchanting experience of watching porpoises breaching the waves just offshore.

Baker Beach, a week ago

At one point a sea lion pup watched us before slipping back under the water, while dogs chased birds and each other, a perfect jellybeansofdoom kind of day.

Continue reading “Traveling with pets: additional musings”


Midnight Movie Madness: “The fall” (2006)

The fall” – (117 minutes, India/USA, 2006 – rated R)

In a Los Angeles hospital of the 1920s, a 5 year old Romanian girl named Alexandria (Cantinca Untaru) is recovering from a broken arm she suffered picking up oranges with her migrant workers parents. Relieving the monotony of long days in this adult world is her accidental meeting of another patient, Roy Walker (Lee Pace), a young movie stuntman.

"The fall" title
Opening title

Roy is bedridden after performing a stunt he intended to impress the film’s female lead. The opening sequence of “the fall“, a gorgeous black and white montage using Beethoven’s 7th symphony, reveals what happened after Roy plunged off a railroad bridge on horseback into the river below, killing his horse and wrenching his back.

The fall iron horse
… And the Iron Horse

As it turns out, Roy is not only just as bored as Alexandria, he is contemplating suicide, the hopeless romantic…

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: “The fall” (2006)”


Traveling with pets: cats in cars or Lastech’s traveling circus

Recently, Rudha-an posted about traveling by air in winter by air and its dangers. We know of a Sphynx cat who died from exposure in the cargo hold of a plane, a devastating experience for its new humans.
It’s said cats don’t travel, they are creatures of habits and the risk of escape is just too great.

grand auto theft
Grand Auto Theft

On the other hand, I also remember watching this guy on the main road to Yosemite, stopping to take a picture (on timer) of himself with his cat next to the park’s entrance sign.
He was driving a Subaru Outback wagon, so if this sounds familiar, give us a shout, this was sometime around May 2008, and dude, you got me thinking…

Half Dome

Yosemite Falls

The notion of hitting the road with three cats may sound nutty, but we do live in strange times… And I love road trips, which kind of limits how far we do go, and for how long since we can’t leave the Pointy Eared ones home alone too long. Three hours into our day-cation, one of us will ask “I wonder what [insert cat name] is doing?”
A few chuckles later, thinking about their antics, the next question will be slightly more serious: “I did close the front window, didn’t I?”, “did you refill the water dish?”, and on and on.
It’s not exactly paranoia, but well yes it is. Not enough to ruin the enjoyment but spoils it just that little bit.
I’m not sure when the notion occurred to me, maybe after watching Tommy Lee Jones in “the fugitive”: it should be possible to select the right vehicle and secure the rear compartment to transport our precious cargo in comfort and safety without possibility of escape. A little bit like Scooby-Doo and the gang but with a cage in back, draped in velvet, and probably with a DVD player playing “Winged Migration” in a loop.

Beyond the fold is NSFW due to a profanity in the video title.

Continue reading “Traveling with pets: cats in cars or Lastech’s traveling circus”


San Francisco has hills…and rocks

I meant to post this sooner, but life got in the way. 🙂

San Francisco has been called The City of a Thousand Hills. It has been called other names, but please don’t call it Frisco (that’s in Texas) or San Fran. It marks you forever as a tourist.

Our geology is interesting thanks to earthquake and volcanic activity. Our area has quite a variety. I’m not a geologist, so I won’t bore you with the details. However, if you are interested, the USGS has a good bit about it. You can find it here.

Grand View Park
This is a huge rock near Grand View Park

Continue reading “San Francisco has hills…and rocks”


Military Batteries and the Golden Gate Bridge

On March 31st, I posted Walking Fort Point and its seven feet deep walls.

This week, we went back to enjoy the sunshine. Here are a few pics of the military Batteries in the vicinity and a few shots of Fort Point from the bluff and bridge above.

Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge
Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge
Fort Point
Fort Point
Fort Point
The Barbette tier on Fort Point
Fort Point
Fort Baker from the Barbette tier at Fort Point
Battery East
Battery East
Battery East
Battery East
Battery East
Battery East
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge from just West of Battery East
Golden Gate Bridge
Detail from the Golden Gate Bridge

Increase your website traffic with


Walking Fort Point and its seven feet deep walls

Standing at the entrance of the Bay for 150 years, Fort Point is a great example of military architecture, of a design made obsolete by advances in artillery and ordnance. The masonry, shape of the fort and its surroundings all contribute to a pretty singular experience, and make Fort Point a great place to practice with a camera.
In fact, it seems almost impossible to take a bad shot.

Fort Point

Continue reading “Walking Fort Point and its seven feet deep walls”