Saturday, December 06, 2008

Parlez-Vous Français?

Some years ago, in preparation for a two week sojourn to France, I decided to take up studying French. I had more than six months and a lot of drive. Obviously, fluency wasn’t a realistic goal, but I wanted to be able to carry on a simple conversation, such as “How much is the room?” “We’ll arrive on Thursday” and so on.

My quest was successful and since making another trip, I decided to brush off the cob webs and reacquaint myself with the cadence and vocabulary of this singularly fascinating language.

By revisiting some of my study materials, I’m able to look at the language from a fresh perspective. Had I known then (when I first started my French studies) what I know now, I would have saved myself some grief by investing in a bit of conditioning. I did not realize what a physically demanding language French is to properly pronounce. By physically demanding, I mean exactly that. American English is so relaxed, so lazy if you will, that we Americans are not prepared for the extreme physical demands that enunciating French requires of us. To be able to speak French properly, you must train. Here are a few basic exercises to get you started.
Note: Before beginning any new physical exercise program, please check with your physician, especially if you have any concerns about your current physical condition.

Let’s begin. Sit upright in a straight-back chair. Put your feet flat on the floor, about six inches apart and place your hands on your knees in a relaxed position. Make sure your back is straight and your shoulders are back, but relaxed. Tuck your chin slightly, close your mouth, and close your eyes. Relax all the muscles around your mouth. Think happy thoughts. This is the “base” position.

Now, slowly purse your lips together into a nice pucker. When you think you have it, push yourself past the pucker point into a downright pout. I know you guys are thinking “Wait . . . guys don’t pout.” And you may be right. But French guys pout, so just give it a try.

Here’s the tough part. You need to really strain your whole mouth here. You should feel muscles straining around your mouth, upper lip, and all over your chin. You should feel tension along your jaw line up to your ears. Your mouth will be slightly open. Take your hand and feel the tension in your lower face. This is the “pucker-pout” position.

Return to the “base” position and relax.

The next exercise starts at the pucker-pout position and morphs into a half-open “whee” form. Your tongue should be up against your pallet and a soft aspiration emits from your lips. Your mouth is in a half smile and there will be tension, this time in your tongue and chin. This is the “whee-smile” position.

Your training regiment should consist of several cycles starting at the base position, then alternate between the “pucker-pout” and the “whee-smile.” After a half a dozen reps, relax and return to the base position.

Serious Francophiles will want to build a workout routine to condition themselves before attempting to pronounce any words in French. I’m not sure how 3- and 4-year olds have the strength to speak French, but it just goes to show you that maybe we can learn something from the French after all.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's Obama!

Obama Yes We Did PosterThis historic election is still sinking in. Every morning I wake up and pinch myself.

Did America just really elect Barack Obama president? Did America really just demand a change? Did America really just do the right thing? Or, is it all a dream? (You see, we all have a dream.)

We spent the last two weeks traveling in London, around Belgium, and in Paris. We were in Paris for the election.

In Belgium (see here for my Belgian connections), Paul predicted an Obama victory and said that after the election he would wear his Obama for President hat and get his picture taken at the Arc de Triomphe. Our Belgian friends were rooting for us all the way. And even though we believed that Obama should win, we wondered what election irregularity would occur that would steal Pennsylvania like Ohio was manipulated in 2004 and Florida in 2000. We were cautiously optimistic.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

On November 4th Paul donned his Obama for President hat. We went up the Eiffel Tower (it was a sunny day) and then over to Sacré-Coeur Basilica to get a great view of the city. A few people shot encouraging comments and smiles our way. It is an understatement to say that all of Europe longed for an Obama victory. They have been watching this campaign with intense interest. After all, what we do affects them. A lot.

We heard that Harry’s New York Bar on Rue Daunou in Paris was a gathering for those interested in the U.S. Presidential Election. Ha! It was a veritable block party! The police barricaded the street, the bar was packed, and a long line of election watchers waited to get in. We met three young men from Paris who peppered us with questions about American politics. They were interested in our thoughts of Obama, would he prevail?Three Parisians watching the U.S. election results

As it turns out, Harry’s holds a straw vote every presidential election (Obama won). We stayed at Harry’s until 2:00am and when we left, there were no results yet.

Harry's New York Bar in Paris

Back at the hotel, we watched SkyNews and CNN. When Obama won Pennsylvania at 3:00am, we felt we could go to sleep.

The next morning, we turned on the TV just as Barack was giving his acceptance speech.

People will continue writing about this election for weeks. Where were you? What was it like? What were you doing? (My friend Tom hosted a poll in his garage in California and was just barely putting things away when the election was called.)

Sandy Banks, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, printed the following text message a man sent to his mother, Margaret Kean, during the campaign.

Rosa Parks sat, so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our children can FLY.

And we all voted so Obama could win. Yes we did.Paul celebrating the Obama victory at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Laura,

Laura's Empty ChairRemember that evening in November of 2006 as we watched the election returns and the Republicans were stripped of their majority in Congress? We (you, Fiki, and I) marked it as a moment of change, a moment of hope, a moment of demarcation, when better leadership would improve our country’s standing at home and abroad. We both embraced Barack Obama as someone who might make a difference.

In January 2007, you left this earth. I mourn your departure—my loss. You are at peace. You didn’t see how this promise is yet not fulfiilled. The thin 51-49 margin was not enough to change around our country. We continued to spend millions in Iraq. The sub-prime mortgage industry blossomed into a toxic cloud, raining pollution on our housing industry, leaking fumes to our traditionally steady financial institutions. We don’t know how it’s all going to turn out.

But tonight, Laura, I thought about you. I thought about how you said you’d vote for Barack if given the chance. You thought he had some good ideas, that he made sense when he spoke. In your rural North Carolina foothills—not the most progressive area in the country—you and Joop were shining flickers of forward thinking. Your involvement in your community, in education, in theatre and dance, imported from that city of all things artistic, New York, made you both respected citizens.

I thought about you tonight Laura, because, for the first time, I am truly hopeful that the dream we had that November in 2006, that pearl of inspiration that formed that night, might really happen. That ray of hope we saw may give way to a flood light of strength and decency and change. I wish you could see this.

When I vote, in my mind I will cast only ½ my vote and somehow delegate the other ½ to be from you. Because I know that’s how you’d want it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

You Betcha

Obama supporter sighting in California
In the parking lot of our local Seaside Market, I spied this wonderfully decorated RV spouting Election '08 catch phrases. Hockey Parents for Obama. You Betcha.

Get out and vote!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Rubik's Guy

Brooklyn BridgeHe held the Rubik's cube easily in his hands, his long slender fingers wrapped around its edges, twisting first one way then another. He moved fast, his eyes focused on each new pattern, quickly seeing multiple sides. When he got close to solving the puzzle, he paused to look at each side before launching into a new series of twists and turns. I watched him surreptiously from my seat on New York City's Uptown 5 Express metro. I watched him because he was so engrossed in the process. He wasn't playing video games. He wasn't listening to music. No. He was the Rubik's Guy. Young. Slender. Confident. Absolutely intelligent. Kind of like Obama, only younger.Grounds outside New York Public Library

Before we reached 42nd Street - Grand Central, he solved the puzzle. He held it momentarily, a pause of satisfaction, then proceeded to completely randomize the cube before stuffing it away into his pocket. All ready, presumably, for the next subway ride. How fun!

Friday, September 12, 2008

This ol' trailer ain't goin' nowhere

Cactus-laden trailerThis trailer caught my eye. I love how something that is suppose to move is obviously not going anywhere. The cactus blocking its way is sprouting new growth.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beach Scenes in Leucadia

Beach Scenes in Leucadia on Labor DayLate afternoon clouds cleared as the low rays washed the beach in that dreamy lighting. Low tide, warm water, an occasional good wave: it could hardly be better. All the Labor Day crowds were gone. We had the beach to ourselves.
Beach Scenes in Leucadia on Labor Day
Beach Scenes in Leucadia on Labor Day

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Olympic Pick ‘Em Facebook App

During the Olympics, Facebook users could participate in predicting gold, silver, and bronze medal winners for every event. To play, you picked a country to represent and then you made selections. The game gave you an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface for selecting the medal picks for each event (there were a lot of events). You were awarded 8 points for correct gold medal predictions, 4 points for silver, and 1 for bronze. In the end, there was an individual winner (the most points earned) and a country winner (the most points earned representing the same country).myPicks Beijing screen shotWell, I joined the fray a bit late (sort of like starting a marathon when the leaders were already at mile 8 or 9) and I fumbled about a bit before I figured out a good strategy. (For example, I quickly realized that, just like horse racing, predicting the actual gold-silver-bronze winners in the correct order was a lot harder than just identifying favorites. You get 0 points if you pick the top three in the wrong order.)

A game is meant to be competitive, so I wanted to give it a go. However, I couldn’t afford to spend hours researching the top 20, 10, or even 5 candidates. Well, after a few missteps (my pick rate was a dismal 20%), I developed a system that worked pretty well. I finished 22 overall and my pick rate improved to 31%. My country, Gabon, finished in 26th place. (I was the only player representing Gabon. Why I picked Gabon is a topic for another post.)

First of all, the quickest way to determine the top competitors is to use the online betting sites. Here you can see the odds. Of course, not all events have odds and I used 5 or 6 different sites. Now, here’s my system. If the top candidate was a clear favorite, I put the top pick for gold and the second pick for both silver and bronze. If the top candidate’s odds were only slightly better than the second-best odds, I put the top candidate in all three slots. There’s nothing worse in picking the top 2, but switching their order. So, I easily sacrificed the possibility of getting 12 points (all correct), by assuring I would probably just get 8, maybe only get 4, and possibly just get 1. And, sometimes, I still got 0 points.

For the tournament medals, such as soccer or basketball, you could change your final picks up to an hour before the medal matches. So, for basketball, for example, you already knew the gold medal match was between the U.S. and Argentina, and the bronze was also down to just two teams. In that case, I went ahead a made predictions for each medal. (Even a 50% choice wasn’t always good enough and some of them I chose the same team for both gold and silver.)

All and all, the system worked well and now I’m ready for myPicks London in 2012. The application was build using zembly. Here’s more about the application on zembly. Let the games conclude!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The San Diego Chicken

The San Diego ChickenWhen the baseball boys disappoint (and the Padres have truly disappointed their fans this season), what reason is there to go to the ballpark? The answer is easy: when the San Diego Chicken is in the lineup. No matter how excruciating the play-by-play becomes, the Chicken can take away the pain and replace it with laughter. The Chicken kept up the visual antics, parodies, and skits throughout the game where the San Francisco Giants prevailed, 3-2.

How painful was the game? you ask. Here are several low lights.
  • Giant fans to the left of me, Giant fans to the right of me, stuck in the middle with you (not you, it’s just the song).
  • When the score was tied at 1-1, the Giants scored the go ahead run on a passed ball.
  • When the score was tied at 2-2 in the 10th, the Giants scored the go ahead run with our hall of fame-bound closer who really should retire on the mound, trying to preserve the tie.
  • In the bottom of the 10th, the Padres get 3 consecutive hits but can’t score. Note to Bud Black: When the game is on the line in the bottom of the 10th and your lead base runner isn’t fast enough to send home from scoring position on a hit, consider putting in a pinch runner. Oh wait! Do the Padres have anyone that could be used in that capacity besides Greg Maddux?
Wait a minute? Why did I name Greg Maddux? How many bases did the San Diego Padres steal in July 2008? The answer is 1. Who stole it? The answer is Maddux. Aaaaaaaah!

Monday, July 28, 2008


zemblyFor the last eight months (eight? has it really been that long?) I have been working on a book that shows how to use a new site: I am really excited about the project and have had great fun (fun? yes, creating is very fun) building widgets and social applications. The book will be available first on Safari Rough Cuts and then in traditional print form. If you sign up on zembly, you can read the tutorial chapter right now (zembly Basics). (zembly is still in private beta, which means you need an invitation to check it out. You can get an invitation below.)

What is zembly? zembly is a social programming site that lets you build (and host!) applications for Facebook, Meebo, OpenSocial (such as Orkut and MySpace). zembly also makes it easy to build services, widgets, and web applications for the iPhone. I have embedded 2 example widgets on my blog (look on the right side bar). The flickr slide show widget randomly displays my flickr photos with titles and the mlb scores widget gives you today’s baseball scores. Both were built and are hosted on zembly (and are featured examples in the book).

One of my favorite widgets lets you plan a journey on the London Tube. The widget is built with data from extracted with dapper, then finally a mashup on zembly brings in Google maps. Try it out.

You can view the widget and see how it's built on zembly here (after you sign up).

Do you have an iPhone? Here is an iPhone-friendly version of the London Tube widget.

How difficult is it to create and build with zembly? If you have even a little bit of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge, you’re set to go! Since zembly is collaborative, you don’t have to start from scratch. Go to the samples section, see what others are doing, and if you like something, clone it. You can then modify it to suit your own requirements. And, it’s fun. Here's the sign up:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Artichoke Flower or Sea Anemone

Artichoke FlowerNaw, it's an artichoke flower. My neighbor's beautiful yard was blooming on July 4th, but this gorgeous plant, uneaten, rewarded us with color.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Visiting with Old Friends

One of my favorite museums in Washington D.C. is the National Gallery of Art. While other people flock to the International Spy Museum, the new Newseum, and the Holocaust Museum (all of which cost more than $15), I cherish the renewal of my mind, spirit, and soul as I absorb the masterful works of art on display—and pay only the $1.35 metro fee that lands me a few blocks away. (Correction: the Holocaust Museum is no charge.) This past weekend, with the weather hovering at a “Comfort” Level of over one hundred degrees (Comfort? Who are they kidding?), the museum offers the added bonus of a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.

This is the third time I’ve visited the National Gallery of Art in the last 3 years. When I go, it’s like visiting familiar friends. With each visit I renew my friendship and understanding, say “Ah, yes, this is why you appeal to me.” The playful French, the passionate Italian and Spanish, the precision of the German and the life-like images of the Dutch—I love them all. Here’s a smattering of some favorites. I took all of these photos two years ago with a point-and-shoot, hand-held digital camera using natural light. It’s tough to get sharp images, but you’re not allowed to use a tripod or a flash.

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, National Gallery of Art
In a nod to the recent shark attach at our beach, I was pulled instantly to this sensational oil (John Copley Singleton, Watson and the Shark, 1778). The painting is based on a true event, the 1749 attack on 14-year-old Brook Watson while swimming in Havana Harbor.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo,Two Women at a Window, National Gallery of Art
Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo painted Two Women at a Window (c. 1655/1660). It is unclear whether or not the scene depicts a young woman with a laughing chaperone in innocent play or a young courtesan attempting to lure a customer. I love the expression on the young woman's face.

Osias Beert the Elder, Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, National Gallery of Art
The incredible still life by Flemish painter Osias Beert the Elder (Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, c. 1620/1625) is a rich and gorgeous depiction of 17th century food. I love the detail.

Orazio Gentileschi, The Lute Player, c. 1612/1620, National Gallery of Art
Orazio Gentileschi's The Lute Player (c. 1612/1620) is more about the woman than the lute. The detail of her dress, how it’s constructed, and the rich folds of the heavy cloth and the warmth it exudes are pleasing.

Canaletto, The Square of Saint  Mark’s, Venice, National Gallery of Art
The Square of Saint Mark’s, Venice (1742/1744) is by Italian painter Canaletto. I love the grandness of the square, the open sky, and the people going about their lives.

Mary Cassatt, Girl Arranging Her Hair (1886), National Gallery of Art
Finally, I must choose at least one Impressionist painting. This one, Girl Arranging Her Hair (1886) is by Mary Cassatt, an American. I love the colorful, playful, and vibrant tones of impressionist painting.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two Stories Made Me Smile

“They say” that you shouldn’t read the front page of the newspaper because it causes stress. And normally I would whole-heartedly concur. Today’s freebie news rag that greeted me at my bed & breakfast table space was The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia).

The story that caught my eye, “Stafford school lets kids start becoming bilingual early on,” reported that a popular elementary school Spanish program will continue next year. Hooray for the good guys! As a linguistics major, I am a huge fan of early bilingual education. For a whole bunch of reasons. One, it is well-known that early second language learners are more successful at actually learning the new language. It’s just plain easier to acquire a second (or third or … ) language when you’re young (I’m talking under 10 here). Two, people who learn more than just their mother tongue learn more about the world, languages in general, and more about their own language.

(If you’ve ever studied German or Russian, you appreciate English’s non-existent noun declension system. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, there you go. But in German, for example, when you say
I give you the books.
I am carrying the books.
I didn’t read the book.
This is my book.
I hit you with the books.
The books are red.
the word “book/books” changes according to how it’s used in the above sentences. The noun (book/books) inflects based on its number (plural or singular) and case (nominative, accusative, dative, or genitive). Russian has all this plus two additional cases: prepositional and instrumental. In English, the noun inflects on number only.)

I think learning a second language is one of the most mind-expanding experiences (along with learning to play a musical instrument). For those of you who say “it’s too difficult”, a 5 year old child knows the grammar of her native language (the child might get a few exceptions wrong, but mostly she has internalized all the rules). Children learn by hearing in context. They abstract. They generalize. And then they learn the exceptions.

Okay, enough linguistics. The second story that made me smile was “It’s Official: Obama Has Won”.

Friday, May 30, 2008

As You Follow Your Dreams

Butterfly Wings
A discarded shoe and its mate lie forlorn and forgotten.
The empty, neatly made bed belies the traditional chaos of your room.
You’ve left some clothes brightly brimming with yesterday’s styles
And photos with yesterday’s smiles still pegged to the wall.
Your room is expectant, holding its breath for tomorrow’s guests.
Who are these transient shadows who filter the light but fill no spaces?
Who are these empty voices whose laughter emits a wordless breath?
These visions echo your flesh and blood but hide your essence in dust-filled memories.
Oh, do not stay away too long as you follow your dreams.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Waves of the Season

I welcome the swirlThe first wave-catching outing of the season is always dicey. Trepidation infects you; your arms are a bit out of shape, your lungs haven’t been recently tested, your fins might not fit perfectly, and your body board goes its own happy way. The waves look bigger now than in late summer when you’re used to reading the swell.

An early big set puts you off guard. One after another, the rollers dash against you. When you come up for air, you can’t see. Your hair is over your eyes, your board is pulling against the current, and your legs are kicking madly to propel you outside. There is no rest.

Here comes a large roller—do I swim towards it and avoid its heartless crashing over my head? Or, do I stand my ground and take it like a woman? I swim towards it. I always do that. No question about that one. There’s something smug about swimming hard towards the swell and just in time catching the pre-break arc, curving up, catching air, and feeling the forceful waters drawing everything just inches shore side of you to the washing machine.

This weekend was cooking: air temperatures in the 80’s and water temperatures in the mid to high sixties. Add a bit of a swell. Outstanding for May. I am not a year-round body boarder. But I thoroughly enjoyed my outing. Catch a wave. Take a left. Woosh down and yell. When it takes you ten minutes to get back outside, it’s a pounding day. Get another ride and swim upstream for ten minutes.

Two days later, I can’t lift my arms.

Friday, May 09, 2008

JavaOne and Me and Architecture

Java and MeIt’s May in San Francisco and that usually means one thing: it’s time for JavaOne. JavaOne is a chance for me to connect with people I’ve been working with but have only an email relationship with. How fun to shake a hand and share a moment! There’s the inside view (the talks, the booths, the lunches held in the deep caverns of Moscone Center) and the outside view (the City, the hang outs, the street). So, here’s the outside view.

Last year at JavaOne I walked past the future home of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Each day I saw changes as the cranes and other heavy equipment constructed the beginnings of this most interesting building.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum under construction (May 2007)
This year at JavaOne, while still not yet complete, I witnessed progress and marveled at the transformation of this cube seemingly balanced on one of its corners.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum under construction (May 2008)
The area around Moscone Center and Yerba Buena Gardens has cityscapes that play with shapes and architecture that melds old and new.

Our hotel, the Union Square Hotel, is a stone’s throw from the Powell-Market cable car start—the turntable. The hotel just finished a major renovation; indeed, they finished laying carpet in the lobby the day we arrived. Right next door is a great greasy spoon breakfast place: Tad’s Steaks.

Tad's Steaks
And what about JavaOne (the inside view)? Each year that I attend I’m in the middle of a project that pulls me into different parts of the technology. In previous years it was Sun’s web application platform (JSF) and Ajax. With Ajax came JavaScript.

This year, I was focused on scripting languages in general, JavaScript in particular, and social networking. There were two talks that were stand outs for me.

First, Chris Schalk from Google and Paul Lindner from hi5 gave an engaging talk on the OpenSocial container. (OpenSocial is a set of APIs for building social applications on the web. A social application built with OpenSocial should run in any OpenSocial-compliant container. Social networks currently supporting OpenSocial include Orkut, MySpace, hi5, LinkedIn, and others.) Both Chris and Paul were excellent speakers and provided lots of architectural-level information.

The second talk I thoroughly enjoyed was given by Todd Fast of Sun Microsystems. Todd is in the Social Networking area at Sun and has been looking at the changing dynamics in application building. He proposed that a new paradigm for building applications fits into the social networking culture—how people want to easily construct “disposable” or “situational” applications. These applications fill a need for the right here, right now. Tomorrow brings a new situational application that replaces it. Engineering as we know it is changing, but engineers will still have a role to fill—and that will be enabling the masses of application builders lurking out in the social networking space.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wavamai or Palomar Mountain

Apple tree blossoms in the old abandoned apple orchardThe Luiseños Indians called this area Wavamai. When the Spanish arrived, they named the area “Palomar” (place of the pigeons). Renaming the mountain was the least of the ill-effects wrought by the Spanish on the Luiseños. The disruption of their way of life and European diseases devastated the Luiseño population. But not completely. Today gambling casinos extract the long overdue payment to the Luiseños for past wrongs. (I know. I know. I just like to look at it as some sort of poetic justice.)
Last year's Palomar Mountain fire burned acres in this area.A visit from Boston-area Scott and Don provided the perfect excuse to escape the city and hike the Palomar Mountain area. Palomar Mountain is home to the world-famous Palomar Observatory at its 6,100 foot peak. Hot in summer and snow-capped in winter, spring is a great time to explore the area.
Doane Pond (stocked with trout)We hiked the Thunder Spring-Chimney Flats loop which starts at Doane Pond and climbs through some nice oak-shaded woods. Last October’s fire reached this area and a portion of our hike was through stark remains of burnt oak and pine trees. An abandoned apple orchard was nonetheless blooming. The four-mile hike was a perfect mountain stroll. On this hot weekend (the valley below was in the 90’s) the mountain air was only 75.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Shark warning sign at Grandview

It hits a little too close to home when a local swimmer becomes a shark attack victim. Training with fellow swimmers 150 yards from shore in Solana Beach, Dr. David Martin, a retired veterinarian, died after being bitten by a shark that was between 12 and 17 feet long.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pretty In Pink

Pretty in pink on the cliffsLeucadia is bursting forth with flowers after a moderately rainy winter. Everyone's garden is showing blooms, except mine, which has lots of weeds. But no where is the color quite as vibrant as along the cliffs down at the beach.
Pretty in pink on the cliffsStairway to heaven.
Pretty in pink on the cliffsHere's a closeup of these lovely pink ice plant flowers.
Pretty in pink on the cliffsPink is spilling down the steep cliffs.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Old VW Bus

Old VW Bus on KauaiI guess I'm somehow collecting photos of old cars. This VW bus circa 1967-1968 is iconic representation of a laid-back hippie lifestyle. And where was this picture taken? On Kauai on Alealea Road, just a few miles before the road deadends at the Kalalau Trail.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert - Part 2

Brittlebush displayThe brittlebush creates splashes of color on hillsides all over the desert. Descending via Montezuma Valley Road (highway S22), we saw brittlebush all along the road. These wildflowers were also numerous along the Palm Canyon Trail (especially the alternate trail) and Little Surprise Canyon Trail.
Voracious caterpillar, bane of the bloomsBesides heat, these caterpillars are a reason why wildflowers disappear.
Unidentified field of white flowers glowing in the late afternoon lightIf I were a botanist I could tell you the name of this unidentified field of white flowers glowing in the late afternoon light at Little Surprise Canyon.
Brittlebush closeupCloseup of a brittlebush bloom.
Broom-rape, a parasitic wildflowerBroom-rape, a parasitic wildflower.
Desert chicory closeupCloseup of a desert chicory bloom with its etched petals.
Desert poppy closeupCloseup of a desert poppy bloom.