.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, January 20, 2017: Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

030 Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kelp Forest

The finest aquarium I’ve had the privilege of visiting is in Monterey, California.  Built alongside the old sardine canneries of Cannery Row (a site immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella of the same name), you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the underwater world when you visit.

There’s dozens of great exhibits, but there are two that are my favorites — the jellyfish, and this one, the Kelp Forest tank.  I’ve spent a lot of time watching this latter tank because there seems to be no end as to what’s going on.   A giant shape approaches in the tank, only to be broken into thousands of individual sardines as the school splits apart.  The moving light and shadows of the kelp, the sharks …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

John Steinbeck Country: 3) Cannery Row, Monterey, California

006 Cannery Row 05-2014

“Cannery Row…is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”
 John Steinbeck, from his novel Cannery Row’
 

Wow!  With a beautifully written introduction like that, who wouldn’t want to visit this place?  Cannery Row is my favorite novel by American author John Steinbeck.  It may not be his best book, but it’s the first of his I’d read and the one that made me a fan.  Published in 1945,  Cannery Row is set in Monterey, California during the Great Depression, near a waterfront street lined by sardine canneries.  The book’s setting is secondary to the narrative and the many colorful characters Steinbeck develops.  Steinbeck wrote a sequel to Cannery Row, called Sweet Thursday, some 10 years later, a much less interesting novel in my opinion (as …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 31, 2014: Disneyland, California

Fall 2009 075.  Disneyland at Halloween

Happy Halloween!

No one does it with more class than Disneyland.  The park is extensively and cleverly decorated during October, culminating with a big celebration Halloween.  Check it out sometime…see you at the Haunted Mansion.

 

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Getty Villa, Malibu, California. Classical Art and Architecture

Getty Museum 03-2014 012

I’ve previously discussed J.P. Getty and his great museums on this blog and today would like to focus on the first of his museums, the Getty Villa in Malibu.

While he was despised by many during his lifetime, J.P. Getty has left the world a wonderful legacy.  Getty was one of the world’s first billionaires who, like Bill Gates, was the richest man in the world during his time.  Getty, an unpleasant but highly successful businessman, was a passionate collector of antiquities and art.  Collecting art became the center of his life.  His view towards his hobby is summarized by his quote, “The beauty one can find in art is one of the pitifully few real and lasting products of …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 12, 2014: Sunset, Pismo Beach, California

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One of my favorite stretches of the California coast is that around San Luis Obispo.  Thirty years ago this was relatively undeveloped, but that’s much less true today.

This week’s photo is of a sunset in Pismo Beach.   It was a lovely fall evening.  We were just checking in to our hotel when I stepped out on the balcony and took in this beautiful view.  Fortunately I had my camera at hand and got a decent photo of it.

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, September 12, 2014: Sunset, Pismo Beach, California
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

John Steinbeck Country: 2) Salinas. The National Steinbeck Center

001a Steinbeck Museum, Salinas 5-2014 intro

John Steinbeck is one of the greatest writers in American history and certainly a favorite of mine.  This is the second installment in a series describing my visit to John Steinbeck country.  In part one we looked at John Steinbeck’s boyhood home in Salinas.  This post discusses the other significant Steinbeck attraction in Salinas, the National Steinbeck Center, a museum focusing on the life, times and writings of its most famous citizen.

The Steinbeck Center Foundation was established in 1983 and fifteen years later (June 27, 1998) the center itself was finished and opened to the public.  The center is the most significant archives of Steinbeck’s work anywhere, and presents Steinbeck’s life, its formative processes and significant events, and of course …

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John Steinbeck Country: 1) Salinas. The Steinbeck House

001 Steinbeck House 05-2014

I greatly admire and enjoy the writing of American novelist, John Steinbeck — in fact, you’ll see a quote from one of Steinbeck’s books underneath my blog’s banner.  Steinbeck was born and grew up in the small farming town of Salinas, California, in 1902.  His formative experiences in and around this community were extremely influential on his life view and future writing, including his Nobel prize winning novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” .

It had been decades since I’d last stopped in Salinas and I knew that a new Steinbeck museum had opened in town which I very much wanted to see.  So while doing an (all too short) California road trip with two of my Arthur C. Clarke buddies, electronics engineer Wayne …

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Mission San Juan Capistrano. The “Jewel” of the California Missions

040a Mission San Juan Capistrano 03-2014.

I love honesty in advertising!  When a place as historically famous as Mission San Juan Capistrano tells you it’s “Worth a Visit”, it’s not only a believable claim but likely one of the most understated in all of California.  Founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra, San Juan Capistrano is one of a string of missions in the state and home to the state’s oldest surviving buildings.  This is a much beloved place and is known as “The Jewel of the Missions” because of its beauty.   Despite severe earthquake damage in 1812, which collapsed the roof of the Great Stone Church (still in ruins) and killed 40 people, Capistrano has endured and still functions as an active church.   It …

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