Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sirens Just Sounded in Jerusalem

Sirens Just Sounded in Jerusalem

Sirens Just Sounded in Jerusalem

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 08:21 AM PDT

About 10 minutes ago, the sirens went off here in Jerusalem. We heard 5 separate explosions in the distance. Not sure where they landed. Here is a video of the sirens.

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Montreal Sculpture Garden Surprise

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 07:55 AM PDT

We spent a long weekend in Montreal, and decided to take advantage of the glorious weather and great bike path along Lachine Canal to René Lévesque Park.


We were pleasantly surpised to find a lovely scultpure garden in the park.  This scultpure is Hommage à René Lévesque, by artist Robert Roussil.

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The Thrill of World Cup Victory and the Agony of Defeat in Amsterdam as Argentina Beats The Netherlands

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Stormy weather matched the mood in Amsterdam's famous Rembrantplein on Wednesday after the The Netherlands lost against Argentina in a penalty shootout in the World Cup semi-final.


It was a very similar experience to the quarter-final match, held four days prior, when The Netherlands defeated Costa Rica in a shootout, as well. On that night the fans were filled with joy and excitement, thinking about the good times that might lay ahead against Argentina.


However, those good times did not last. After losing in the World Cup Finals four years ago, The Netherlands was hoping to defeat Argentina and return to the finals.


As you can see in the faces of the fans watching the final outcome of the match, the return to the World Cup finals will have to wait, at least, another four years.


All photos by Lulis Leal
Rembrantplein, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Fire at Fullerton Tuxedo Shop

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 08:26 PM PDT

Happening now as I type this iReport. I heard quite a few sirens going off around my neighborhood, I live pretty close to a major street so I thought it was another accident. But the sirens just kept coming, then I heard two helicopters flying over my block. So, I went outside to look around and saw this huge plume of smoke, I mean HUGE. I grabbed my camera and walked towards the smoke to see what it was that was burning. Traffic had come to a standstill, cops were blocking off several streets. The fire was at a Tuxedo shop. I was there taking pictures and this video (if it ever loads) for about 20 min. when the Fullerton cops started making everyone leave the area for fear of an explosion, there were at least 90 spectators there. Walking away I experienced one of Fullerton's finest yelling and basically bullying everyone while two other cops were being polite about the situation. I hope no one is getting married this weekend, this Tuxedo shop is gone..

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El Valley, Panama

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:06 PM PDT

A photo of the Anton Valley mountains with a layer of morning mist. The area is one of the last habitats of the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog.

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Panamanian Tamarin

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:00 PM PDT

During a river ride in the Chagres River, Panama, my husband and I encountered a family of red-crested or "Panaminian" tamarins. Seemingly used to people, they were friendly and even took a mango piece right from the boat.

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Wartime Routines

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 08:33 AM PDT

I live in the Western Negev, on a kibbutz (communal community) on the border with the Gaza Strip. We have been putting up with rockets and mortars for the past 11 years or so. This is a fact of life here. But since yesterday, over half of Israel is getting a taste of what we have been living with all this time. Not that I am happy that they are feeling what it is like - I am not. But it is what it is. So here is what my war-disrupted morning looks like.


Instead of sleeping in my bedroom, I slept in my specially reinforced safe room (meaning that if there are incoming rocket alerts - "Red Alerts" - I do not need to get up and run any place.) I was woken only once last night - around 2 am…. not sure what it was, but I checked my phone and tv for updates, then went back to sleep until around 6. I have always been an early riser - so no change from my routine there.


Then the dilemmas start: I need to walk the dogs and take a shower, both of which are activities that take me away from easy access to my safe room. Neither of which are activities which you want to be in the middle of when there is a Red Alert because when the radar picks up the incoming rockets we only have a maximum of 15 seconds to reach cover before the rockets hit and explode (often, it's less than 15 seconds.)


And as stressed as my day is about to be, it used to be 100 times worse before they installed the Red Alert radar in 2004. Before then there was absolutely no warning at all. We had no safe rooms until 2012.


Trying to predict when a "Red Alert" is going to happen is sort of like Russian Roulette. Since I have never been much of a gambler, you can imagine how uncomfortable that situation makes me feel. But the dogs need their walk, so out we go - making sure NOT to wear flip-flops…. I must have something on my feet that I can run in, if need be. As I walk I have my camera running and am constantly looking for the closest, safest place for where to sprint to in case a "Red Alert" surprises us on our walk. I'll be walking and thinking to myself: "Here, I could hide next to a wall. Here: in a doorwell. Here: in a bus stop shelter. Here…. well….no place to take refuge here - so I'll just lie down as flat as I can and cover my head if the Red Alert sounds."


Finally I arrive back home. Feed the dogs and time for a shower. Yesterday I did not get to take a shower - had intended to do so after going to the gym, but the roads were too threatening to drive the 7 kilometers needed to get to the workout and then the explosions were too frequent for me to feel comfortable taking a shower. Therefore, this morning, I will take my shower early. Do you get this? I have to time my showers according to the likelihood of attacks, rather than personal hygiene considerations!


Before I get into the shower, I set everything up. The towel goes on the floor to enable it to dry my feet if I have to jump out and run, while not slipping on wet feet, my hair and body towels get laid on the sink so that I can grab them more easily than if they were in their usual place, on the towel rack.


Clothing laid out on bed to expedite dressing process.


Hair-drying to be done in saferoom, not here. Why? Because the hair blower is loud and I'm worried I may miss the Red Alert and miss out on those precious few seconds I have to make it to the saferoom.


I was supposed to have gone to Tel Aviv today for a professional development workshop, but I already informed them yesterday that the roads were too hazardous for me to feel comfortable doing the hour and a half drive up, and then back, within the paradigms of today's realities, let alone the fact that there have already been several rocket attacks on Tel Aviv in the past 30 hours.


So I will stay home and work from here. Albeit, it is incredibly challenging to focus on any kind of work during periods like these.

In my house these days: TVs (all three) are usually on a news channel, so no matter where I am, I have access to what is going on. Meals are eaten at the table or by my workstation, providing it is quiet outside. Depending on Red Alerts, or the level of tank/aircraft noise outside, I either work at my PC workstation or in the saferoom. I try to do my work on Googledocs (as I am writing this CNN iReport) so that if I have to run to the saferoom (which I have done twice already while writing this iReport) I can have access to it from my computer in there. Bearing in mind, of course, that if I have to be in the saferoom with the heavy armored door closed my wifi access is spotty at best. For this reason, I close the door only during a Red Alert and then wait until a few minutes pass, before opening it again.


At some point in the day I will have to take my chances on another walk-about with my dogs. Dinner will be either soup from the other day (see yesterday's CNN iReport) or salad (I don't feel like going through the production of meal-under-fire again, so soon). Then, once again, I will forgo my bedroom for the bed of the safer reinforced saferoom environs and hope to sleep through the night.


And there goes another day on the border with the Gaza Strip - July 2014 - Wartime Routines. I'm really hoping the rockets stop and I can get back to more mundane routines very soon.


PS the photos included are of my saferoom (with the two laptops on the bed.... neither are mine- needed for different places of my work), the living room showing the path where I have to run, my towels set out in the bathroom, and my bedroom with all the clothing laid out to expediate getting dressed)

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Posted: 07 Jul 2014 05:33 AM PDT

Brendon Sher sits down with the cast of "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" to examine all the tough decisions Caesar has to make...

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River crossing at Mt. Sicapoo

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 03:11 AM PDT

Rivers… unusual and enchanting stories… amazing scenery… source of liquid for living things…

The one thing I love about rivers in the Philippines are the crystal clear waters in remote and far flung areas - like 10 hours to one day walk to reach the majestic beauty of every hidden rivers in our country….

Most civilizations in the world started in rivers – the mighty liquid coming from this body of fresh water is source of drinking and fresh water fish that serves as food for ancient people… But for mountaineer like me, fresh water coming from rivers quenches our thirst on a hot and humid trek, also a good camping ground - and when night falls - on bonfires, some strange stories unraveling…

A wanderlust who loves adventure will definitely found him into adrenaline rush when climbing Mt. Sicapoo… On the first day of trek to the summit, 9 rivers will be crossed… beating the rapids is too much fun I surely promise… Plus the stunning view of boulders, greens and dried grasslands of the mountains due to summer and clouds covering another peak is picture perfect. Browse photo 2 and you'll surely get what I mean…

Boating, rafting, kids having fun and dragonflies perching are some sceneries found in different far flung rivers in the Philippines….

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