Tag Archives: pic a day

May’s End

So, May has come and gone, and with it, the Pic a Day challenge. Unfortunately, life has been a bit of a grind lately, so I’ve not managed to take too many cool new photos. The brick wall behind my PC is hardly an interesting enough subject. The good news is that there were a few that were almost good enough to post, so here they are.


These bronze statues got a marble faux finish. But, they seem to be hollow, so the eyes couldn’t be painted. A creepy effect.


A weathered sign spotted during a hike at Mission Trails Regional Park.


An obelisk with, apparently, a speaker grille.


A somewhat sympathetic emoticon.

Mythbuster or Impostor

Then, of course, there was that time I thought I saw Jamie Hyneman on the sidewalk.


The past few weeks have been a little hectic, what with people wanting help with all sorts of things like technical literacy, moving, and basic transportation. Yesterday was the first day that we here a la Casa de los Replicantes have been able to get back into a semblance of our normal leisurely routine. Usually, this routine involves visiting various secondhand shops in search of books, boardgames, and whatever else may catch our eyes. Usually, little does, but I did spot this item outside of one shop:

sundial stamped into concrete

It appears to be a sundial, stamped into the concrete of the sidewalk. Its presence is mysterious. Why a sundial? What is its purpose, other than the obvious? Are there others? If so, where? If not, then why this particular street corner?

Senor Smoke

This being California’s dryest year on record, it’s inevitable that a few fires break out. This week, at least ten wildfires rampaged across the countryside. Some suspect arson, others just blame the hundred degree weather and the Santa Ana winds.

Most of the fires were in the northern part of the county. A large one threatens the city of San Marcos, where evacuation orders are still in effect.


This is not San Marcos. On the same day the original fires broke out, a  smaller fire started about 30 miles to the southeast, off Interstate 8. The plume of smoke was ahead of me during my entire evening commute. That’s what’s above. Fortunately, that fire was contained rather quickly.

While the fires to the north will probably be contained soon, we will probably see others, sadly. It’s still a long way to winter and any chance of moisture.

Bubble Gum

Today’s picture was snapped during lunch at one of the many taquerias in San Diego. This one just happened to have a giant gumball machine.


To be clear, the machine was the giant part. The gumballs were normal sized. I suspected they were there mostly for decorative value, as the pink ones looked a bit sun-bleached. How old could they be? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. According to the International Chewing Gum Association, chewing gum doesn’t spoil and isn’t even required to have an expiration date in most of the world.

Perhaps the reason for chewing gum’s shelf life is because it is made mostly of food-grade polymers. The polymer family of molecules is wide and varied, running the gamut from cellulose and nucleotides all the way to vulcanized rubber and Perspex. But that part’s unappetizing without the addition of the minty or fruity flavorings we know so well, and the colorings to tell us which flavors to expect.

The flavor compounds will probably break down after a few months. Dyes break down a bit more slowly, though Red #3 is said to fade quickly when exposed to light. Some bakers have added this dye to icing and found it to fade away as quickly as overnight.

That would explain why only the pink ones look sun-bleached and the other colors look fine. So perhaps those gumballs haven’t been there as long as appearances may suggest.


On my most recent game night, I was fortunate enough to get to try Firefly: The Game. This is a board game based on the short-lived TV series, Firefly. In this game, players take on the role of starship captains, and must hire crew and find work, whether legal or illegal.

Jobs are dispensed by four contacts, and usually involve taking some sort of cargo from point A to point B, or just heading straight to point B and plain misbehaving.

The goal of the game can vary, but in this case, it was simply to be the first to collect 12,000 space bucks.

Firefly Board Game

This game manages to feel a lot like the TV series. For example, I was ahead in money and needed a high-paying job to win the game. So I had accepted a job to deliver some contraband to the Alliance capital. Unfortunately, on my way there, I was intercepted by the Alliance command cruiser (the green spiky thing), and had my contraband confiscated.

Fortunately, as one unit of contraband is indistinguishable from another, if I were to find a replacement unit of contraband, I could still complete the mission. So, in the meantime, I launched a bank robbery mission in a nearby sector and fortuitously gained possession of three units of contraband in the process. I launched my ship back toward the Alliance capital, to try the original mission.

In the TV series, the switcheroo would have been close to perfect and the day would have been close enough to saved as to make no difference. In my case, however, my ship was intercepted by the Alliance cruiser yet again, and the contraband was confiscated yet again.

I managed to find one more unit of contraband through sheer luck and blasted a trail to the capital at maximum speed, only to bungle a critical roll. The mission failed. My crew members were killed (one by the mission’s sponsor) and my captain ended up with a warrant for his arrest.

But although I suffered some bad luck, and totally failed to win, this is certainly a game I’d consider playing again.


There’s this place called The Donut Bar. It’s a tiny little shop that sells fancy doughnuts, somewhat in the footsteps of the cupcake craze of a few years ago. Normally, when I pass by at lunchtime, the lights are out, and the window proudly displays a bold “Sold Out!” I normally then make a disappointed sound and move along.

Today was a little bit different. The window instead proclaimed “Happy Hour!” Fearing some trick or miscommunication, I stepped inside only to find piles of decadent doughnuts still behind the glass: apple fritters topped with bacon, doughnuts topped with crushed Butterfinger bars, and what looked like s’more doughnuts topped with mini-marshmallows.

“Just the chocolate one with the sprinkles,” I requested conservatively. But somehow I walked out with that and three freebies…

Donuts, Box Of, Fancy

You will be relieved to hear that I did not wolf all of them down at once, delicious as the chocolate with sprinkles was.
Oh, no. I brought the rest home, ostensibly to share. So now this box of temptations now sits on my countertop, biding its time. For sooner or later, I will indeed enjoy the next one. And I’ll probably help myself to the one after that, since I predict that nobody else here will dare touch it. And probably, because it would be a shame to let it dry out and become inedible, I will stuff down the one after that, too.

Tomorrow’s picture ought to be of an elliptical machine.

Fluff Trees

We now prepare for the annual blooming of the fluff trees.

Fluff Tree

Once a year, a pair of innocent-looking trees at the west end of the parking lot suddenly begin to spew tons of downy white fluff into the air. Obviously, an attempt to spread its progeny far and wide. Sadly for the trees, most of the airborne fluff ends its journey in inhospitable locations: piled high in the corners of my porch, embedded in my window screens, and (on damp mornings) plastered all over my car.


This is either the third or fifth installment of Pic a Day, depending on whether you’re counting the photos or the dates.


This is the inside of the glass ceiling of an atrium in an office building where I had lunch. It was actually a rather nice day, but putting the image in grayscale made it much more interesting and dramatic. Let’s hope that something that’s genuinely interesting without photo-trickery throws itself in front of my camera.

Epic Spell Wars

What better way to spend a Saturday evening than blowing your friends up, repeatedly?


The latest addition to my game collection, Epic Spell Wars, is a mix-and-match spellcasting game. Players take on the roles of coked-up leprechauns, enraged genies, and princess-mounted unicorns in something that can only be described as a heavy metal pro wrestling cage match. Each player will attempt to form a legal spell from cards in his hand. The spells then go off, inflicting damage on opponents (and sometimes oneself), and sometimes causing other effects. The last wizard standing wins the round, and winning a second round wins the game. 

It’s not a complicated game, and could make a good opening act for an evening’s gaming.

Horton Hears…

… an iPhone.

He's So Tweeting This

This statue of Alonzo Horton stands outside Horton Plaza, a shopping mall named for the nineteenth century real estate developer responsible for the location of downtown San Diego. Like his other statue at Balboa Park, this statue has been vandalized by scrap metal thieves. Horton was once depicted holding a map of downtown San Diego, but that’s since been sawed out of his hand and (presumably) melted down for scrap.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s ever had the uncontrollable impulse to put an iPhone in his empty hand. Or to make the horrid “Horton Hears…” quip.