terriko: (Default)
Some of you may not be aware, but long before I became a web security researcher, I was a naturalist. I used to go out hiking every other week, could identify a large number of common plants, animals, lichens, etc. I still am a naturalist: it's not something you give up. I was reminded of this most recently when I went to see Jane Goodall speak at the writer's festival, where she said that although she's gone on to get PhD and become a world renowned expert in animal behaviour... she still thinks of herself as a naturalist. So do I, even if I do something else professionally now.

One side effect of my current job as a security researcher is that I do a lot of travel. And the minute you drop me out of my native Canadian Shield and surroundings, I no longer know very much at all, so I find myself itching to know what that plant is, and that one, and that one... I invest in a lot of small folding guides when I'm going to have time to wander around.

But I've realised I've never bought one for Northern California. Because, of course, I know lots of people there who I can ask, right?

Unfortunately, my boyfriend, although formerly an adept boy scout, doesn't do any better than I do in northern California's habitats (he didn't grow up there either). We had some fun guessing, "Well, that seems to be a spruce... but which one?" and I got lots of help from friends when I went to identify the Monkey Ball via social media, but it's probably time to accept that I need a field guide before I drive myself batty.

But a brief look at the bookstore reminded me that most folk are interested in identifying birds and mammals, so the small tourist guides available didn't really have much in the way of trees and plants. I could just buy a tree book and a plant book, but I'm hoping for a smaller guide to general common stuff first.

Can anyone recommend a pocket book or even a tiny folding guide that's got plants? I'm looking for something that will fit in my camera bag (or if need be, John's car) and help me out with the common stuff.
terriko: (Default)
Here's a very scattered account of my trip thus far, told in the photos that I finally took off my camera yesterday:




The first week was in this lovely hotel/resort with a view. There's a lot of cool papers I should probably write about, like the awesome-if-terrifying car-hacking stuff. (You know what would be handy? If anyone who broke into your car could reprogram it so hitting the brake pedal caused the windshield wipers to go on. And no brakes. And then the code could reboot the computer and leave no trace? Yup, they can do it. I'm now suspicious of any important person who dies in a fluke car accident.)




John and I went to this awesome diner that I spotted on our drive from the airport. It was tasty tasty (I love brunch, especially when it comes with a pile of fruit) and there was a model train running through the place over our booth and the kitchen. And old radios, and other trains, and... totally awesome.

Bridge from Foster City


Then came maker faire and a week of hanging out and seeing friends here, but I haven't processed those pictures yet, so let's skip ahead to the day where I got to see my friend Valerie in Gypsy! I'd been hearing her talk about auditions, rehearsals, and wishing I could go... but it wasn't till I actually sat down after the conference that I realised I *could* go see her. The show was great, and she was excellent as the snooty receptionist who is one of the few folk to stand up to Mama Rose in the whole piece.

After the show, we went wandering because the weekly photo assignment this week was to go somewhere you'd never been and take a picture. So the bridge in the photo above is from our first wandering.




Although I'd been in to Japantown in San Jose a few times for sushi, I'd never walked around the corner from my boyfriend's favourite sushi joint... until yesterday. We walked by just at the beginning of the golden hour, and it was perfect.

I'm irked that I'd never visited before. The area's quite interesting. I found a monument on one corner that read simply "Feb 19, 1942" and looked around at the plaques nearby trying to puzzle it out. I figured it had something to do with the war, but it wasn't a familiar date to me, so Google had to provide the answer: February 19, 1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, commencing the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans. A fascinating (if disturbing) piece of history to me, as half of my family underwent much the same in Canada.

I've insisted we go back for sushi and wandering at lunchtime this week, so there may be more pictures and exploring before I head home.


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