October 31, 2007

Amtrak through Alviso

This shot didn't quite turn out the way I would have liked. I was trying to get a fair amount of the bridge and the reeds from the slough in the picture. However, in doing so I cropped the top of the picture just close enough to where the top of the locomotive is nearly out of the picture. It almost looks like a mistake which I guess in my book it IS! I like the early morning lighting and the soft color it lends to the picture.

This shot is from El Dorado St. near the curve where it becomes Moffat St. The roadway is about 12 feet or so below the track level so it gives an interesting perspective.

This is the end of that same train sporting cab car number 6965. On the eastbound return trip this car will be the head end of the train.

Here's another early morning shot with a nice warm hue to it. Unfortunately my digital camera is not the most up to date so in lower light situations I get some blur in the pictures. I'm hoping to remedy that siruation this coming Christmas (hint, hint).

October 30, 2007

Long Time No Post

I have been chastised by Joe for my lack of posting hence this post.

Here is a picture I took near the NUMMI plant in Fremont. Waiting for the next batch of new Toyota's to be completed.

The entrance to the "Ghost Marina" in Alviso.

The former Laine's Grocery Store. Abandoned since the floods of the 1980's El Nino's

I don't think these boats would even float at high tide.

October 09, 2007

Painfully Cute

We found a ferrel kitten in the backyard about five weeks ago. Actually our dog did. She normally goes outside to take care of business and bark at the squirrels that run across the fence and the power lines. She came inside and seemed much more out of breath than usual. I looked out the back door to see what may have agitated her so, and there in the middle of the grass was a small animal moving quite slowly. My first thought was she caught one of the squirrels she loves to bark at and then mauled it. Watching for a moment, I didn't see a bushy squirrel tail. Hesistantly, I walked out to the grass to see what actually was there. I was in no mood to dispose of a partially dismembered animal. To my surprise, it was a kitten. It's eyes were not even open yet.

Stephen and his friend Meagan were inside on the computer. I knew I wouldn't have to expend any extra effort but tell them there was a kitten in the yard. As expected they both ran out back when I told them. Stephanie was out in the garage with a load of laundry. I told her in a "disappointed" tone that there was a kitten in the backyard. Knowing of course, that nothing good can come from finding a helpless, little tiny, furry, adorable kitten. She went to survey the scene as well.

We Google'd "kitten care" because it was obvious that this kitten was much too young to be away from her mother. After the reasearch was over it was determined that we had to feed this kitten every four hours with kitten replacement formula from a bottle, keep it warm with a heating pad, wipe it with a towel to make it pee and poo and tend to it's every need just like a human baby, yay!

We had the discussion of what the fate of kitty will be. Stephen said he would take care of it. That would nean feedings, clean up, etc. He said yes. We knew that if we took it to the pund they would more than likely euthanise it unless they could find a foster home. They don't have the resources to deal with newborn kittens so they rely on volunteers to foster kittens until they are old enough to be adopted out. I, of course, really wanted nothing to do with this kitten other than to keep it alive until we could give it up for adoption. We already had a thirteen year old cat that was the perfect pet. His only desire was to be in a horizontal position all day. Other than the litter box issue, you couldn't ask for a better pet.

We went to the pet store and picked up the bare minimum of supplies for care. Not knowing if the kitten would live through the next couple of days we didn't want to break the bank for naught.

Undoubtedly over the next several weeks we all became attached to this kitten since we all had to provide the most basic care for her. During this same period of time my daughter and her boyfriend moved in with us and we had to put the thirteen year old cat to sleep. This cat was my daughter's. She had adopted him from the pound and spent nine years with her. That was nearly half of her lifetime. The cats urinary tract had become blocked by crystals and he was unable to eliminate. His bladder had enlarged and was very painful for him. It got to the point where he couldn't even walk. The vet said it would cost about $1500 dollars to take care of the problem. However there was no guarantee that it would not occur again due to his age. He may also already have had a toxic buildup of potassium in his system from being unable to eliminate. We made the difficult decision to have him put down.

This led to a sense of renewal with the kitten. There was a reason the kitten arrived in our backyard, the timing with my daughter moving home. Now we felt it "necessary" to keep the kitten. We've had her for about five weeks now. She is completely converted from ferrel to family. She hops on your lap and gives kisses. She will curl up and go to sleep on your shoulder right against your neck. Here's some "portraits" of the cutie.

With her big sister, Misty, the dog.


October 03, 2007

CalTrain, Union Pacific and Amtrak

This was taken from the top of the CalTrain parking structure in Sunnyvale, CA. at 6:55 am Thursday October 4, 2007. It is about one half second exposure. Unfortunately I don't have a digital SLR to get super informative with. This is a shot looking east at the Sunnyvale Ave. crossing at Hendy Ave. In the background are buildings belonging to Westinghouse. Westinghouse currently uses the plant to manufacture steam generators, marine propulsion systems, and missile launching systems for the Department of Defense. Westinghouse purchased the original site property in 1947. Previous owners of the plant had used the property to manufacture ball mills, mine cars and hydraulic equipment in the early 1900's, and defense products such as torpedo tubes and mounts after 1940. Westinghouse also expanded the site by purchasing adjoining property in the mid-1950's from companies that manufactured heavy machinery and cable

This was an interesting picture to take. I was trying to get the time exposure but with my "basic" digital point and shoot it's difficult to get fancy. This was about a three second exposure on a southbound out of Sunnyvale at 6:45 am Thursday October 4, 2007. I actually set my camera on rail for this shot. I found a piece of scrap metal and set the camera on it to stabilize it since the rails are not a flat surface. Because of the length of the exposure, the sky appears as if it's nearly daylight. It was actually quite dark at this time and it was difficult to tell the actual frame of the picture since the display didn't register any image other than the dots of street lights and the headlights of the train.

Union Pacific number 4400 heading up a southbound load of Toyota's that just came off the assembly line at the New United Motors Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, CA. Passing through the Santa Clara, CA. station bound for southern California. It's a rather bland, run-of-the-mill shot but I can give a little background on the motive power. UP 4400 is one of two hundred and thirty one SD40T-2's originally owned by Southern Pacific. These units were in service for SP from 1996 to 2001. The second locomotive UP 9229 is one of two hundred and fifty six C40-8's in service since 1987.

This is a shot of the Amtrak Capitol Corridor passing the abandoned Agnew Station in Santa Clara, CA. on Saturday September 29, 2007 at 3:04 pm on it's way to San Jose. It's being pulled by P42 DC number 164. This site has other shots of # 164. There's pictures of it from Washington state to Washington D.C. It's been around the block a time or two.