Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hiking in Orange County, CA

I've been doing a lot of hiking here lately. A favorite place is Peter's Canyon where I hiked earlier this week. I didn't take my camera, but I had my phone and took the following two pictures with it:

Today, the hike was at the James Dilley Preserve in Laguna Canyon. Within a few minutes of starting, we ran into this fellow:

I have a rule that all snakes I see on the trail are rattlesnakes and I give them a wide berth. I couldn't see the end of the snake - it was in the brush - so don't know if it had a rattle or not. There are signs at the trail head warning that there are rattlesnakes in the area. Anyone out there know what kind of snake this is? You can click on any picture to get a larger image.

There are only 3 natural lakes in Orange County and they're all here. This is a picture of Barbara's Lake. The other two lakes are named Lake 1 and Lake 2. Being in Laguna Canyon, home to a zillion art galleries, the signs here are pretty artsy.

I've also hiked at Irvine Regional Park, Santiago Oaks and another part of Laguna Canyon recently, but I don't have any good pictures to share of those. There are plenty of good places to walk and hike in this area and I plan to check out many more of them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Flipping Good Time

Well, yea, that's kinda the story of my life, but not the point here.

"A Flipping Good Time" is a game developed by a sophomore student team called "Mike's Plumbing and Tile: Media Arts Division" at Digipen Institute of Technology (THE place to go if you want to be a game developer, by the way).

The students create games without using existing game engines. Everything is programmed from the ground up, which is quite impressive, especially when you consider that the students also have a boatload of other classes they're (hopefully) attending.

This game has recently been selected as an official entry in the Extra Credits Innovation Awards. It's been nominated for an award in the category of "Most Unbelievably Awesomely Fun."  The other two nominations for the award are commercial games!

So, check it out. It's easy to learn and most unbelievably awesomely fun to play. You can download the game from their site here.

Oh, yea. I just happen to know the main programmer. He's my son.
(Good job, Mark!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Zion and Snow Canyon

A few weeks ago, I made a quick trip to the southwest corner of Utah. I'd driven past Zion National Park many times when I lived in Colorado and drove between there and southern California, but I never stopped to check it out and I've wanted to do so since the early 90's. What a great park! The hiking was particularly good. Of the few trails I hiked, I liked Watchman best. 

Below is a waterfall on another trail. There were a number of waterfalls going with all the snow pack melting. In fact, a few trails were closed, such as the Narrows, for all the snow melt.

I didn't hike Angels Landing this time. I'll have to check it out next time around.

On the way back from Zion, I stopped at Snow Canyon State Park. What a great little park!! Here's a view from my campsite in the dry camping section:

The hiking there was very good. I especially liked hiking across the petrified sand dunes. It was a bit of a challenge in places, but lots of fun!

Utah has loads of incredibly scenic parks and I'm sure I could spend months there hiking and exploring. I look forward to doing that some day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mission San Juan Capistrano

I was recently encouraged by my friend Kate to update my blog. I was planning to delete it, but figured I'd try once more to keep it up and post every now and then.

I'll have to go back and pick up where I left off.

In January, my sister and her new husband came to visit here in southern California. We took them out to dinner as a wedding present. We went to Pelican Hill and ate on the heated patio. We had a beautiful view of the ocean and the food was outstanding.

Later, we went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. This is a Spanish mission in San Juan Capistrano, California that was founded in 1776, long before California was part of the United States.

Here are a couple pictures.

You can read about the mission here. It's a beautiful place to spend a weekend afternoon.