Thursday, January 05, 2006

San Francisco Daily Photo


Just a little advertising to announce that I started a photo blog on January 1st, in line with Eric and his ParisDailyPhoto, the idea being to publish one new photo of San Francisco each day. So, feel free to advertise it as well, the more visitors I have, the more motivated I will be.


And, a little advertising in direction of Brussels that has its own Daily Photo Blog as well since January 1st: http://brusselsdaybyday.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006!!!


Happy new year everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2005

I found Santa Claus!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!


It's Christmas! part three...

... of my series of snapshots.

In my previous snapshot, I had started to mention those house decorations that are more "pronounced". So, here's a good example:

Each year, this house, located in the Castro area, is a big attraction during the Holiday season. Knowing the sense of humor of the inhabitants of this neighborhood, according to me, this is a provocation towards those who over-decorate their houses simply out of bad taste and a way to tell them: "see, we did even worse than you did!"
click on the image for the bigger format


It's Christmas! part two...


... of my series of snapshots.


Christmas ornaments have started to appear on houses. Some of them are discrete and tasteful, like this one:


But some other ones are more "pronounced" (see for example today's post by Geneline).


click on the image for the bigger format


It's time for the new year's resolutions...


January 1st is getting closer and it's indeed time to think about the traditional new year's resolutions. I already have a short list that I'm planning on completing within the next few days, but here's where it stands right now:



  • open my mail more frequently (currently, this is a monthly activity...)


  • quit smoking (as far as I can remember, this resolution was first established last century and reconducted ever since, each year)

  • purchase a decent photo camera and make more photos


  • drink more water (I'm being told I'm dehydrated)



I even found a web site providing advice on how to keep one's resolutions, so no more excuses...

What about you, do you already have a list?


It's Christmas! part one...


... of a series of snapshots that are here to remind us that it's indeed Christmas time (well, in two weeks as far as I'm concerned).


This is the Christmas tree on Union Square, which, by the way, looks smaller to me this year... but maybe it's me who grew up.



click on the image for the bigger format


Vote with your wallet!

No, this time, it's not another google product, it's just a way to shop while expressing your political preference. This can be useful especially for those who don't have the right to vote, like us expats (well, for now anyway).

After the 2004 presidential election, the site buyblue.org appeared on the web. The site offers a list of companies and the detail of their political contributions: how much they contributed and to which party.

You will learn this way that the following companies are among the most generous contributors of the republican party: SBC, Fedex, Mobil, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Sprint, Chevron, Dell, Target, Citigroup, Home Depot, Wendy's, Oracle, Pepsi, ...

And among the most generous contributors of the democratic party are: Progressive Insurances, Costco, Walmart, Gap, Hyatt, Google, ...

Here's a link to the list of companies sorted by contribution amount (but the site also lets you choose other search and sort options): http://www.buyblue.org/

So, don't forget to choose your side before going shopping!


Smile, you're being filmed!

Have you tried google's new toy, google earth? I just installed it and once again, google smashes hard with a tool that is indeed not very useful but yet very impressive. It allows you to visualize satellite images in 3 dimensions all around the globe and also offers an option to fly in 3D from one place to another. The demo for instance takes you to the grand canyon, the eiffel tower, etc...

Nice, I love to travel!

The level of detail is astounding... hmm, there aren't many cars on google's parking lot today, maybe they're celebrating the release of their new tool:


In any case, if this amuses you as much as it amuses me, here it is: http://earth.google.com/


And of course, you've got to wonder: if the general public has free access today to such level of detail, what do the "officials" have access to? So, smile while you're looking through your window. And come on, fix your hair, it doesn't look serious, especially if you're waiting for your green card!

Long life to fresh products... well, I mean, freshly defrosted products!

It would appear that in U.S. restaurants "fresh products" is a denomination that has more to do with temperature than with time. Let me explain: when you're told about "fresh fish" or "fresh vegetables" for example, from I have witnessed so far, what is meant is "freshly defrosted"...

I again experienced this last week while having "freshly defrosted fish" at the restaurant Catch in San Francisco. This restaurant had been recommended to me multiple times and I was told about "fresh fish" and that it was from far the best fish and seafood restaurant in the city, and that I had to go, etc, etc... And let me clarify that people who know me a litte know that I am "somewhat picky" and therefore, recommending a restaurant to me is not a small matter and is always a risky thing to do. Anyway, before going, I checked out the restaurant's website which mentions in its first sentence: "Catch serves fresh, affordable seafood and landfare in a casual, cozy atmosphere". Sounds good!


So, here I am at Catch in a decor that I have to admit immediately reminded me of those new corporate-looking restaurants that you can find in the Palo Alto area for example: everything is new, everything is clean, everything is fake and insipid. I'm being seated next to a fake fireplace (which when I walked in, looked very real), I open the menu and everything seems fine... that's until I hit the Atlantic salmon and the Prince Edward Islands mussels. I close the menu immediately, which causes a big "clap" that incidentally fits my mood of the moment: exasperated, not to say upset. I look around me looking for the waiter. Exchange of information:

- waiter: "do you have a question?"

- me: "yes, this is my first time in your restaurant and I wanted to ask you, all the seafood is from the area, right?"

- the waiter doesn't answer, looks at me with big eyes as if I had just landed from another planet. Well, that is something that I'm used to, so I'm staying cool, while I realize that my question was inappropriate (since I already knew the answer), so I quickly add:

- "I mean, which is the local seafood on the menu today?"

- the waiter glances at the menu and answers: "everything is fresh, but we don't have any local seafood on the menu"

- after a 5-second pause, which I needed to interpret his answer and to realize that telling him "c'est du poisson d'avril alors?" is a joke that would not work in English, I finally manage to say something: "oh, I see, thanks!"

Clap! I'm closing the menu again, time to re-concentrate. It's not the end of the world, I just need to calm down a little. Oh, let me order a bottle of white wine, that should help!


-------


I think the waiter summarized the situation perfectly when he said: "everything is fresh, but we don't have any local seafood on the menu". I must admit that I'm not really surprised, since I have had a similar conversation with a work collegue who was recommending a sushi restaurant to me and explaining that it was the best in San Francisco because the seafood was fresh (as in: freshly imported from Japan). That being said, I'm still hoping to find fresh seafood in San Francisco one day. There's always the fresh crab at Fisherman's Wharf but I can't see myself eating crab every week, plus it's only available on certain seasons. And... it's at Fisherman's Wharf... (well, let me save that topic for a future post...)