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5.28.2006 - 31 comments 

What this photo I took shows is actually the bay at Avalon (the only real city on the island). I don't usually like to use manmade things as part of my photos, but I did find this one particularly interesting. This island is south of the Northern Channel Islands (Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel).

On a clear day, Catalina can be seen from many of the California coastal towns like Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo. In its early history, this semi-arid Island offered limited plant resources, so the Islanders traded sea products and, in later years, steatite for their other needs. The Islanders made the 20-mile voyage to the mainland (and to the other Channel Islands) in well-crafted plank canoes.

Steatite (an easily carvable rock that does not crack when put in the fire) from Santa Catalina has been found in both mainland and Island sites throughout Southern California. The material culture of these hunter-gatherer peoples would have varied with the environment throughout the basin, but the maritime adaptations on the Islands and the immediate coast had much in common.

At the time of first European contact, it is thought that the people living on Santa Catalina Island called their island Pimu and themselves Pimungans (or Pimuvit). They were excellent seamen and paddled their plank canoes skillfully across the sometimes treacherous channel to trade. After Spanish colonization, their apparently flourishing population declined drastically with the introduction of new diseases to which they had little immunity. As the mission system altered the economic landscape of Southern California, the Pimungans' trade and social networks were disrupted. In the aftermath of this enormous culture shock, their society could no longer sustain itself. By the mid-1820s, the few Pimungans left had migrated or were moved to the mainland.

The Pimungans, along with other Native American groups that were in the sphere of influence of Mission San Gabriel, came to be referred to in the European community as Gabrielinos. There are people living in the Southern California area today who have Gabrielinos among their ancestors. Some are actively involved in researching and preserving their traditional culture.



Here is a photo I took of Arlington National Cemetery in Washinton, D.C. For this Memorail Day weekend it seemed kind of appropriate. If you look toward the top left side of the shot, you can see the Jefferson Memorial and the Potomac River. A little history of the cemetery. Arlington Mansion and 200 acres of ground immediately surrounding it were designated officially as a military cemetery June 15, 1864, by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. More than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Veterans from all the nation's wars are buried in the cemetery, from the American Revolution through the Iraq and Afghanistan. Pre-Civil War dead were reinterred after 1900. The federal government dedicated a model community for freed slaves, Freedman's Village, near the current Memorial Amphitheater, Dec. 4, 1863. More than 1,100 freed slaves were given land by the government, where they farmed and lived during and after the Civil War. They were turned out in 1890 when the estate was repurchased by the government and dedicated as a military installation.

In Section 27, are buried more than 3,800 former slaves, called "Contrabands" during the Civil War. Their headstones are designated with the word "Civilian" or "Citizen." Arlington National Cemetery and Soldiers Home National Cemetery are administered by the Department of the Army. All other National Cemeteries are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the National Park Service. Arlington House (Custis-Lee Mansion) and the grounds in its immediate vicinity are administered by the National Park Service. The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day. Funerals are normally conducted five days a week, excluding weekends. Funerals, including interments and inurnments, average 28 a day.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.-- Abraham Lincoln, November 1864


5.23.2006 - 24 comments 

As you can see from this picture I took from the golf coarse in the valley. Beaver Creek is a feast for the eyes; a delight for the senses. Beaver Creek Mountain was originally designed to accommodate skiers of all ability levels. That design proved timeless and today the mountain is enjoyed by a variety of both winter and summer sports enthusiasts.

The influence of renowned resorts such as Switzerland's St. Moritz, Italy's Cortina and Spain's Val d'Aran has resulted in a unique combination of mountain excitement and village luxury. When George Townsend first settled the Beaver Creek Valley in 1881, he knew he'd found something special. In 1972, Vail continued the vision by purchasing the land and beginning a detailed planning process. Before the resort was opened, it was named as a site for the 1976 Olympics, but political pressure in Denver kept the Vail Valley from realizing this dream. Construction continued, and on December 15, 1980, Beaver Creek opened to the public.

Major events have always found a home at Beaver Creek. In 1989, the resort hosted the World Ski Championships. In 1997, village-to-village skiing opened as Bachelor Gulch was joined to the Beaver Creek, and construction began on a new downhill course. The Birds of Prey ™, respected as one of the three most difficult World Cup descents, opened in time for the return of the World Ski Championships in 1999.

Beaver Creek is also growing in popularity as a summertime adventure destination and more and more events - such as the Ultra 100 - are being hosted in the summer months. In December 2005, Beaver Creek celebrated 25 years of outstanding contribution to skiing, snowboarding and year-round resort excellence. There always seems to be a plethora of events - all continuing the rich cultural heritage of our high alpine resort.


5.19.2006 - 26 comments 

This was from one of my many trips to Niagra Falls (a place that no matter how many times you've seen it, is still impressive). This was taken in late Autumn. I took this particular shot from one of several towers that are in Canada overlooking the falls. It was taken from one of those revolving restaurants which goes around once an hour.

I had posted a shot of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls a couple of months ago. This is actually the OTHER half of the falls. There is a small island (which would be to the right in this picture) between this "The American Falls" shown here and the "Canadian Horseshoe Falls" (of the previous post).

The river that runs in front of the falls, is the actual U.S./ Canadian border. The town you can see behind the falls is Niagra Falls, NY. The area where I am taking the picture from, is in the city of Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada. If you look closely you may even see the plant that had made the first "Shredded Wheat".

Shredded Wheat was the first prepared cereal in the world and was created by Henry D. Perky to find a cure for a stomach ailment. Perky experimented with wheat and made it more appetizing by shredding the cooked wheat. He then discovered that toasting the biscuit greatly improved the flavour and stated that it was the "most perfect food that was ever devised for the nourishment of man".

At first Perky made machines for home-sale use but by 1893 he started to sell the finished Shredded Wheat biscuit in the New England states. When hydro power was first being developed at Niagara Falls, he built a model bakery on the American side of the river.


5.15.2006 - 20 comments 

Here is a shot that I got late one morning after riding one of the Explorer Buses from Circular Quay in downtown Sydney. Sydney really only has two sand beaches around it. They both happen to be on both sides of the Sydney Harbour entrances on the north and south sides of the inlet.

Bondi Beach is referred to as Australia’s most famous beach and it is located in the suburb of Bondi, in the Municipality of Waverley, seven kilometres from the centre of Sydney.

Bondi is believed to be an Aboriginal word meaning the sound of breaking waves. There are Aboriginal Rock carvings on the northern end of the beach at Ben Buckler and south of Bondi Beach near McKenzies Beach on the coastal walk.

I noticed that it was a VERY clean beach and enjoyed the visit there very much.


5.12.2006 - 23 comments 

~ To all of you ladies who happen to be mothers, let this be your Mother's Day gift post from me! ~ HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! ~

I took this shot, because, first I loved the flowers and second, I could not believe that they were just going to let them all go to seed. Centrally located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Lompoc (pronounced "Lom-poke") is an ideal location for traveling the coast of California.

Tourist meccas include the Central Coast Wine Country, the historic La Purisima Mission, pristine beaches, championship golf courses, the Central Coast Birding Trail, and much more. With more than forty professionally painted murals in their downtown area, Lompoc has been acknowledged as the "Most Successful Mural Community in California" by the California Mural Symposium.

This city was originally settled by the Chumash Indians who recognized the beauty of this region and made it the heart of their society. Incorporated in 1888, Lompoc continues to offer its citizens and visitors a quality of life that is the envy of many cities throughout the U.S.A. The small town atmosphere, balmy ocean breezes, and rich cultural history are prime attractions to this beautiful part of the world.

The Lompoc Valley has some of the richest agricultural land in the nation producing a wide variety of crops. The Valley is also known as a prolific flower seed and cut flower producing region. If you happen to be traveling through Lompoc in June, we hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to tour our beautiful flower fields, and help us celebrate Lompoc's annual Flower Festival. But do they really have to let all those plants go to seed?


5.09.2006 - 20 comments 

I took this picture from what was called Mountain Top (for the obvious reason). Looming 1,500 feet above sea level, this festive shopping complex offers unparalleled vistas showcasing the US and British Virgin Islands.

By the way, it’s also home to the World Famous Banana Daiquiri — made exclusively with Cruzan Rum of the Virgin Islands.

A well-known attraction on the other side of town is Paradise Point. It is of Magen's Bay in St. Thomas USVI.

A particularly famous stop for tourists is Drake's Seat — the vantage point where Sir Francis Drake himself used to sit and observe his fleet. Just below Drake's Seat is Magens Bay Beach, USVI, Magens Beach is rated the world's fourth most beautiful beach in the world.


5.01.2006 - 16 comments 

I know that you are probably asking yourself, "Hasn't LAZY already posted this one before?" Well the truth is "YES I HAVE!" But I don't ever remember seeing a place I thought was more beautiful than the Napali Coast of Kauai. I could literally post pictures of this place I took everyday for months.

This was another shot taken from our helicopter ride over the island. I had myself loaded up with two still cameras and one movie camera and was afraid that no matter which one I was using, it would be the wrong one to capture the beauty of this area.

Speaking of cameras… in the last couple of months of my blogging, I have had several requests about the type of photographic equipment I use in my travels. So for those of you who could care less, you can stop reading now. For the others, here goes: I have a Canon FT QT 35mm with a 55MM F1.2 lens, a Canon EOS Elan with a 35-105mm F1.4 lens and a Canon Digital Rebel with a 18-55MM lens. For a telephoto, I use a Canon 75-300MM lens on both the Elan and the Digital Rebel.

I like the simpleness and speed of the digital cameras, but as far as quality, (in my opinion) even the 20 mega-pixel digital cameras cannot capture the subtle differences in the sky and the clouds that film can. But for everything else... the ease of digital cannot be topped. Where else can you take 250 pictures in a day on one little memory card and then get immediate feedback on how your shots came out?