Archive for the ‘Davis’ Category

My Portfolio   2 comments

The slideshow below contains some of my favorite images.  All were taken in Yolo County — most inside  Davis city limits, or on the UC Davis campus.  What strikes me is that one does not have to go far to find the completely exotic.  All that is required is truly seeing and a little patience.

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I am pleased to say that some of these pictures have been requested by local galleries, and have been hanging for local showings.  To my pleasure, at the last show, I even sold some .  This has encouraged me to begin marketing my work.  I have listed some of these images in my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dragonbreathpress?section_id=8049977

If you are interested in prints of any of these images, please feel free to contact me at sdttds@yahoo.com

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Posted June 29, 2012 by dragonbreathpress in Davis, Nature, Photography, Winters, Yolo County

Happy Fairy Day   Leave a comment

Or, perhaps, it is Faerie Day.  This is just a reminder that, if we choose to see it, every day can be magical.

As is my habit, I took the opportunity for a long Sunday morning bike-ride into Winters.  I do this every weekend that my son is with his mother.  It began as a way to distract myself from the what-ifs and similarly productive thoughts.  In time, I grew enamored of the ride itself, twisting gently through the beautiful farmlands of Yolo and Solano Counties.  But, maybe, I have come to take it for granted. I usually take this ride alone, but today I was joined by a friend, who was repeatedly stunned by the beauty of the farmland and crossing an old, converted rail-road bridge into the town of Winters.

After meeting with other friends for e second breakfast and our choice of morning beverage (green tea for me), my friend and I went to explore Putah Creek from the property of a local land-owner friend (see my previous post for more info on that).  We saw few dragonflies, but perhaps, appropriately for Faerie Day, many, many damsels (whose wings must have inspired many an image of faerie wings), including the lovely American Rubyspot (again, see previous post for picture).  Another damsel — a female Tule bluet — hovered in front  of me for half a minute, at a distance of less than six inches.  It moved up and down, and seemed fascinated by my reflective, fluorescent yellow tech-shirt (I prefer to be seen when biking).  Perhaps it was thinking, “Whoa!  That’s one f”ing huge flower!”  Or, could it have been wishing me a happy faerie day.

If not, it was a good one in any case.

Cheers,

Stephan

Posted June 24, 2012 by dragonbreathpress in Biking, Davis, Musings, Winters

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Bike-powered one-man Yolo County Micro-Odonta-Blitz   1 comment

A weekend spent chasing dragons and damsels (of the insect variety)

Day 1: 05.26.12

Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area: (1300-1430)
Low 70s, partly cloudy, becoming mostly cloudy
SW wind 15-20mph
I biked here and hiked in a couple of miles, but dragonfly-wise, it was very quiet, even by edges of still-wet pools
Common whitetail:1 immature male
Black Saddlebags 1
Both in wind-blown flight (no photos)
Also spotted:
dozens of great and snowy egrets
1 green heron
5 red-tailed haws
Wildhorse Ag Buffer (a trail and some grasslands between the golf course and the ag land)
Black saddlebags: 7 or 8
Blue dashers: 2 males
Darner spp. (possible California or blue-eyed — hard to tell as they came zipping by
All in wind-blown, sideways flight (no photos)
Also seen (non-Odes):
2 burrowing owls

Day 2: 05.27.12

Putah Creek, Winters, Private Property
1200-1430
Mid 70s – Low 80s, few clouds
Light SW Breeze: approx 10mph, but the creek is largely sheltered
American rubyspot (my first sighting ever) 1 male; 1 female (verification for female appreciated)
Tule Bluets
Exclamation damsels (also a first for me)
Vivid Dancers
Pacific Clubtail
for photos, see:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36618387@N06/sets/72157629927356662/
Not photographed, due to the fact that they were not landing:
Western Pondhawk: 1 female for sure; several possible males, but could not get a good enough look, so they could be Blue Dashers
Flame skimmers
Widow Skimmers
Common Whitetails
1 unknown brown and tan dragonfly with a skimmer-like body
Possible variegated immature meadowhawks (far bank, so hard to tell)
One likely darner species (I’ll get you yet, my little pretty…)


North Davis Pond
1430-1445
Low 80s, sunny
Light SW breeze

Numerous Blue Dashers (scores)
Common whitetails (a few)
Pacific forktails (a few)
Widow skimmer (a few)

This is a different mix than previous years.  Blue dashers are by far the most abundant species this year (and most, by far, are male).  No flame skimmer visible. No bluets visible.

Day 3: 05.28.12

Today I decided to bike out to a location on Cache Creek where I used to go rock-hounding with a friend.  It is located behind the Wildwings golf course and housing development, just off state highway 16.  It is kind of an interesting place.  The Creek is a public access area, but you have to go through a private housing development to get to it.  The entrance of the development says “No Trespassing.”  Luckily, I have a standing invitation from a resident.  Oddly, every street in the place is named after a species of duck, but I haven’t seen a single duck any time I’ve been in the Creek.  A private airport, gravel pit and the Cache Creek Conservancy all border the place.
On the ride in, I had a nice push from the wind.  I stopped and inspected the well-flooded irrigation ditches along Co Rd 99 where it looked like that would not piss anyone off.  Only Pacific forktails were seen.
The ride from Davis is mostly good, with nice bike lanes for most of it.  Highway 16, though is kind of scary, with microscopic paved shoulders and psychotic drivers (the most courteous drivers are those in odd-looking farm-vehicles).  My previous theory that those who bike up to Clear Lake have a death wish stands reinforced.  The gopher snake body count on Yolo County Roads is becoming distressing.
Cache Creek
Behind the Wildwings Housing Development, outside Woodland, CA.
upper 70s to lower 80s, very few clouds
SSW winds 15-20mph winds, but the creek was sheltered
Tweleve-spotted skimmers
American rubyspot (M/F)
Western pondhawk (M/F)
Emma’s dancer (thanks Ray Bruun)
California or Aztec dancer (verification appreciated)
Flame skimmer (1M)
All IDs made from Kathy’s http://southwestdragonflies.net site.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36618387@N06/sets/72157629942807108/
Not photographed, since they would not hold still:
Black saddlebags
Some sort of mostly blue darner (blue-eyed, California?)
Tule bluets
Not photographed because I have plenty of photos:
Pacific forktails
Common white-tail
Other critters seen:
jackrabbits
lots of lizards
red-winged blackbirds
mockingbird
red-tailed and Swainson’s hawks
Common buckeye
Honeybees
Sweat bees
deer


Riding back, I got to understand that 20mph wind is more than it sounds like, especially when you bike directly into it for 16 miles.  

The drainage ditches that had held only Pacific forktails in the morning now also boasted Black saddlebags.

Rest in Peace, Buddy   Leave a comment

On Tuesday morning, Buddy, one of our “portable” wiener-dogs passed away, at the age of 13.  On Christmas day, he became ill, but seemed to recover nicely.  A phone consult with a vet didn’t raise any red flags.  A scrounging-related illness or some back trouble seemed most likely, neither of which are unusual for dachshunds.   The next day, at the vet’s he seemed himself and quite energetic.  However, by the next morning he was having trouble with his back legs.  When I called the vet to describe the symptoms, she became concerned that perhaps he’d had a stroke, and wanted to do some blood work.  I went home, but he had passed away.  This has been rough for me and my son, Justin.  During the divorce, the dogs were often a source of serenity and unconditional love.  Dogs seem to be one of the few species capable of that grand gift.  Buddy’s “brother,” Buster seems to be having a truly rough time with it.  In the past, when we left the house, Buddy and Buster would curl up together.  Now Buster just cries pathetically….

Buddy and Buster came to us in the summer of 2006.  At the time, the family was still, by appearances, intact (but unraveling).  Justin had just finished first grade, and we decided to get him a dog, since he was really wanting one.  One the way to the pound, Justin said, “I hope they have a dachshund.”

I have never seen a dachshund at the pound, so we cautioned him not get his hopes up.  When we got there, they had not one, but two, doxies.  They had been given up together, and it was requested that we adopt them together, which we did.  We quickly realized that Buster was completely neurotic, but Buddy seemed to go with the flow with most things.  His only complaint was that he was promptly put on a weight-loss regimen.

Within a year, my marriage truly came apart at the seams.  In spite of my efforts, it could not be salvaged.  Since I initially had full custody of Justin, I also kept the dogs.  Justin is an unabashed animal-lover, and the dogs (as well as our cats and geckos) provided the stability he needed.  Buddy and Buster have been our beach and camping companions for numerous trips, providing for additional joy on the outings.  In their minds, they, no doubt, also kept us safe from squirrels.

It comes as a great loss to have our pack reduced by one, but I do not want to dwell on the sadness, but celebrate the life of Buddy.  In that spirit, I have put together a collage of pictures in which he appears:

Other/full-sized pictures can be seen at:

What?!

This reminds me not only of the good times he gave to us, but that we also provided him with extra years of love and comfort.

I am sure that I will meet Buddy again, but I wonder when and in what form.  I can only hope that I will recognize him.

Fare thee well, little dog.

Namaste,

Stephan

The Joy of Portable Dogs   Leave a comment

It’s been a while, so here is a little something.  This past weekend, Justin and I decided to take Buddy and Buster,the wiener-dogs, for a bike ride.  As they are little, they fit nicely into my son’s bike baskets, which he loves.  I think the best part for him is watching people for their reactions.  When they notice, it is usually a smile or a grin.  We were not disappointed this time.  Smiles all around.  One person kidded that the dogs needed helmets.  I think he is right.

Well, enjoy:

Note the dog-ear turn signal:

For higher res see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36618387@N06/6539507885

Namaste,

Stephan

Posted December 21, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Biking, Davis, Uncategorized

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UCD sees massive protest over police brutality   Leave a comment

Well, it’s official.  By utilizing ham-fisted crowd-control responses, the UC Davis police department took a minor situation and made it far, far worse.  Turns out people don’t like it when protesters get pepper-sprayed for… well, umm… sitting down.  Nor do they appreciate having guns pointed at non-violent protesters, or just general excessive force.  And Chancellor Linda Katehi is in hot water for sending the police in the first place.  She now says that she takes “full responsibility,” but that resigning at this time or be held accountable are not options.  How is that taking full responsibility?  Typical politician!

Well, Chancellor Katehi and the UC Davis Police Department have accomplished a major thing.  They have gotten thousands of people off the fence.  Until recently, I had mixed feelings about the Occupy protestors.  I agreed with their anger about the massive fee increases (people should remember that the University of California system was designed to be free) while the richest one percent are shielded from any pain in the current recession.  I wasn’t, however, sure that protests would win them a lot of sympathy.  I now support them fully, and it seems like thousands of others do as well.

I attended the rally on the UC Davis Quad at noon today.  Thousands of others did as well.  I cannot really say how many thousands, as I am lousy at estimating crowd sizes, but somewhere in the neighborhood of  5,000 would not surprise me.  The East Quad was a sea of people, with probably three-quarters of it densely packed.  Many more people drifted on the periphery.  And it wasn’t just students.  Faculty, staff, retired staff and other “adult” Davis residents were plentiful.

I was pleased to see news vans of all the major networks present.  The BIG vans with the BIG dishes — not the ones they usually send to Davis for a “local” piece.  While I don’t watch TV, I think it is important that people see the size of the crowd, feel its anger and see it behaving in a peaceful manner.

And people were palpably angry.  Justifiably so. Calls for Chancellors Katehi’s resignation and a wholesale liquidation of the University of California police were constant and everywhere.  While the UCDPD still refuses to release the names of the two police officers who have been suspended, data mining on the internet has brought to light the name of one of them: Lt. John A. Pike.  I guess one of the videographers or photographers at the scene got a decent shot of his badge.  His name was on more than one sign.  The pepper spray victims spoke on stage, about how the pain and nausea lasted for hours… about how they could not help but breathe in the lingering clouds of pepper spray.  One young lady related how people were sprayed under their shirts, another was sprayed directly in the mouth and vomited repeatedly.  One young man could not see for twelve hours….  Another was roughed up and seems to have sustained nerve damage to one of his hands….  It was heart-wrenching and sickening.

The only potential fireworks I saw was when a ROTC became upset with a protestor holding an upside-down American flag and tried to take it away.  Hey!  Remember freedom of speech?  Private property?  And upside-down flag signifies a state of emergency.  I’d say than when we have a situation such as this, the protester may have a valid point.  In any case, it is not for the ROTC man to decide.

There were no (uniformed) UC Davis police officers visible at the protest, which was probably wise.

And through it all the chancellor refuses to resign or be held accountable.  She claims to be “sickened,” but then says we should “move forward.  Right.  Sure, two officers have been suspended.  With pay.  Sure UC Davis campus police chief Annette Spicuzza.  With pay.  Sure the Yolo County DA is investigating.  But we are talking about Jeff Reisig.  The man has personally failed me twice when I needed help.  He is so damn busy with his single-minded crusade against West Sac Norteños that other things seem to fall through the cracks.  He also doesn’t like going after cases where the conviction will be “difficult” (as with, say, a police officer).  Maybe enough people are angry this time, and we can get some due diligence.  I am not holding my breath.

See below for some of my pictures

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Peace,

Stephan

Update on UC Davis pepper spray incident   Leave a comment

First of all, here is another YouTube video which shows even more clearly the brutal pepper-spraying of peaceful protestors:

The video also shows the crowd chanting, “Shame On You!”  They are clearly angry, but remain peaceful.  I am proud of their bravery and their restraint, as the video also shows guns leveled at the crowd.  Unbelievable!

The news as of today is that two UC Davis Police Officers (who are not named) have been placed on leave “pending an investigation.”  Knowing how these things usually go, it is likely paid leave.  Unacceptable!  They need to be fired, fined, arrested and publicly named.  I would hope that after this they are never permitted to work in law enforcement again.  A public apology would be nice as well.  But things don’t usually happen this way.  A good example is BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was only convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed, restrained man in the back.  We cannot continue to accept this.  The police needs to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Chancellor Katehi: do not fail the campus and the city of Davis in this!  It is your responsibility to bring these brutal officers to justice.  They do not deserve anonymity nor a job in law enforcement.  The officers who stood by must be disciplined as well.  Perhaps a new battery of psych tests on all University of California police officers is in order as well.  There are clearly some unstable individuals who slipped through the cracks.

Let’s see how this plays out…

At the same time, I want to give kudos to the City of Davis PD, who seem, to date, to have left Occupy Davis protestors in peace.

Peace,

Stephan