August 21, 2015

hiking to the Hollywood sign

Filed under: cali — SiKing @ 9:29 pm

While on vacation, we decided to hike to the Hollywood sign.

There are plenty of blogs out there telling you all about the hike, distance, bring water, etc. They all lie!!!

Here is what the hike could be like:

This is the “easy” route. Notice it says that it could be 3.2 miles. I found some blog that even claimed 3 miles round trip. Yea, maybe the second time, and only if you took notes along the way.

The problem is that while there, it’s like a giant ant maze, and none of the paths are marked in any way. The best you can hope for is to talk to the other tourists (they are the ones not crazy enough to be jogging here) and compare notes. “Is the sign that way?” “No, we came from there, it’s definitely not there! Where did you come from?” So you keep getting lost, going the wrong way, backtracking, all up and down hills. We were out there for good 5 hours. We actually got lucky in that more than half the day it was cloudy. We brought 3 litre bottles of water, several bottles of energy water, and some fruit. It was not enough! I have no idea how the tourists that were hiking there with one tiny bottle of water in their hand lived through it.

When you finally make it to the end, the sign is completely fenced off. This is the best shot you can get, up close:


Hollywood Hills

I’m not trying to look funny, I am breathing that hard!

Bring water, lots of water. Don’t bother with a map, they don’t help. Shorts, decent hiking boots not open ones, lather up sunscreen first, hat. This is place where you could die!


September 26, 2010


Filed under: cali — SiKing @ 9:01 am
WB tower

Famous tower at WB studio.

In case you’re not sure of the significance of this water tower, here is a hint.

November 11, 2008

Screensavers from Monterey

Filed under: cali — SiKing @ 12:00 pm

We took a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the weekend, just to get away from it all. The $65 admission was totally worth it! If you don’t hurry too much, it’s a great way for you and the kids to spend like 5 hours. I used my mobile phone to take some video. It looks like some mocked up screensaver or sumtin’, but all this were real flesh-and-blood creatures. 🙂

This first one were some jellyfish suspended upside down. As it was my first one I used the night-mode (it was dark everywhere), and hence the video is rather jaggy (is that even a word?).

Here are the same jellyfish, but this time I tried it with nigh-mode off.

Some more jellyfish; babi really liked these ones.

This is my favorite fish screensaver. I even tried some funny anti-trick photography. 😛

Here are some Sea Dragons – like really, that is what they are called. We thought Ray would have loved these!

And I have to include this. On the way there an back, there is a beach right next to the aquarium that is fenced off so that people cannot get in. As such it is also a favorite resting spot of … can you see them?

seals or rocks?
Click on the image to see it full size.

July 14, 2008


Filed under: cali — SiKing @ 3:42 pm

I spent this week in California. It was an (almost) all expense paid business trip, combined with a house-hunting trip. I will be moving here in the second half of August; exactly nine years after I left. Having lived in Europe for the past 4 years, I found I got somewhat desensitized to Americans. Politics aside, I think the one thing that Europeans dislike about Americans, is how happy and positive they always are. The further east you go in Europe, the more they hate this attitude; and the further west you go in America, the more positive they are. A lot of Californians are almost sickeningly happy. 😀 But all kidding aside. Americans are very patriotic. I used to say that they can’t possibly know what patriotism is, considering that majority of the current generation has never known war on their ground. After 9/11 I can no longer make that argument. Today I would say to all those that try to put them down: at least they are proud of their country! Majority of Europeans that I have met complain about something or other of their own country, or the Union as a whole. A lot of things in America are broken, but they are actively working on fixing it. Europeans just passively bitch about life.

Another thing that I like about the Americans is their ability to organize and streamline processes. There is a scene in the movie Transformers, when the soldiers first encounter Scorpinock (yes, I actually know some of the names, due to having kids and all) in the desert. The soldiers that encounter the robot quickly realize they are out matched and they radio for help. The next several minutes are a series of quick flashes between various ground and air support units coordinating, locating, targeting, and sizing up the enemy. In this movie this scene has been heavily beefed up for Hollywood, but from what I have seen and experienced, only Americans have the coordination, planning, and especially forethought to be able to pull off complicated projects down to an art. And this is not just in the military, but in everyday life the “user experience” is totally optimized to make things as easy and convenient as possible. Since I have been gone from the States, everyday common things have been a struggle compared with this past week – and I did have to deal with some shit this week; maybe in another post. The Irish, BTW IMHO, are exceptionally bad in this area. After the past 5 years I am quite tired, and am looking forward to just enjoying life again, that is, moving back to the States.

Although I was never good at politics, American politics are again starting to interest (impact?) me. Note that since I was 18 (that is, of legal voting age) I have actually voted only a handful of times. It’s not out of laziness. The excuse that I usually use is that I am not even in the country where I am allowed to vote, and I think that an uninformed vote is worse than no vote at all. Anyway, here is an article that I happen to read recently that hits right home. From that alone, McCain is my man. I would like someone who takes a stronger stance on net neutrality, and an increase in work visas will mean work for me. Waiting in anticipation how things turn out …

July 13, 2008

First pics from California

Filed under: cali — SiKing @ 7:00 pm

First off a warning: I am the worst photographer ever! I just do not have the eye, the patience, or even the equipment to be able to take decent pictures. But people want to see anything, however bad. So here goes…

First weekend I visited the exact same beach that was the first spot that I visited back in November, 1997 – the first time I moved to California. The beach is called Seabright; it’s hidden behind a cliff East of the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, so even on a particularly nice day there are not that many people. That day, the air temperature was 78°F, the water was 58°F, and the sand was about 100. Nice 3-foot waves, of course I took a dip. It was great!

Seabright beach
Seabright beach on a warm summer day.


Boardwalk beach. All the way on the right, out of sight, is where Seabright beach connects.


Second weekend, after finally getting all my crap sorted out, I headed to probably the nicest city in California: Monterey. That city just can’t do wrong. I parked on one end of Monterey and walked all the way to Pacific Grove on the other side. Here are some random shots of stuff from that walk.

Seals splashing in the water. Beautifully clean and clear water. Starfish and other ocean life is everywhere. Seals are more of a nuisance than an attraction.


End of the line?
This is my favourite grove of trees; love to just sit among them, and watch the world go by.

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