This week I spotted a coyote near my work in Sunnyvale. I was exiting 11th Street on Tuesday, January 22 and saw the coyote run past me. I was shocked, but honestly not as much as I might have been had I not thought I saw a coyote run past our house a night a few weeks ago.Â Luckily, I could see that the coyote was running along the light-rail tracks and I could pass him and park to take a picture. He was too fast for me to get good video, though.
The coyote likely headed southwest down Mathilda Avenue and then turned right onto Moffett Park Drive where I encountered it. The coyote ran past me and then headed north on Enterprise Way heading back toward the bay mashland where it presumably came from.
I am really fascinated by seeing wild animals in this sort of context. As you can see from the map below, there are no residential units anywhere close to the location where the photo was taken, and given the look and visual appearance, this is most certainly a coyote. I am also pleased, not afraid, that mountain lions are seen more frequently in the hills around the Bay Area.
Here’s my ranking of the nine albums I purchased in 2012.
1. Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
A huge comeback for the band, who seemingly disbanded after 2005’s poorly received Bleed Like Me album. The band’s signature mix of guitars and keyboards is back in a better ratio this time, and there’s some incredible songwriting here too. Lots of great grooves and riffs on this album.
2. Metric – Synthetica
Not as good as their last effort, but Synthetica proved to have lots of great material in any case. I like the new-wave influence with Metric.
3. Tenacioius D – Rize of the Fenix
Gotta give the band credit for addressing in song their 2006 film flop as well as the different kind of celebrity status between Jack Black and Kyle Gass. The sound on this records is incredible with the band overall taking a heavier approach than previous albums. Funny songs and bits and some great drumming by guest-drummer Dave Grohl.
4. The Killers – Battle Born
A strong effort that feels at time very epic. I like the mix of keyboards and guitars and even the country-tinge to some of the songs.
5. Don Tiki – Hot Lava Holiday Songs EP
Another great effort by the Exotica stalwarts. Fun Christmas record that had the quality been represented across an entire album might have topped this list. As it is, the six-song EP is loads of fun and well worth adding to your Christmas collection.
6. Madonna – MDNA
Bonus rating for the deluxe version that includes my favorite song from 2012, “Beautiful Killer.” I’m not a fan of the cheerleader stuff on “Give Me All Your Luvin” but otherwise there’s a lot of good dance material. An “average” Madonna album is still pretty good.
7.Â No Doubt – Push and Shove
Most disappointing comeback of 2012. Despite working on the album for over three years, the end result is a confusing mish-mash of styles with many songs offering several different style and melodies. As with the Gwen Stefani solo albums, I tend to prefer the “album material” over the singles (especially the awful lead single “Settle Down”).
8. Soundgarden – King Animal
The album would get a higher rating if the standout track from The Avengers “Live to Rise” had been included here. Definitely a good album overall, and it’s nice to see the band back together after 15 years. Just a little light on hooks and riffs compared to their best work (and singer Chris Cornell’s band Audioslave).
9. Men without Hats – Love in the Age of War
Last place on my list but given this is the first album I’ve ever purchased from the group I don’t think they’ll mind. At least it’s on the “puchased albums list” eh? Actually, it’s not a bad album – very retro-oriented with swirly keyboards and choppy lyrics. I still love the New Wave sound and apparently so do the Men.
Some fun photos from our recent trip to Disneyland. We ended up only getting a day and a half in the parks, since it was raining on the Sunday getaway day and we wanted to avoid the snow on the Grapevine. For this trip we purchased a PhotoPass+, which includes photos in the parks and restaurants along with some stock photos. It also includes ride photos, which we took advantage of.
For Space Mountain, Quinn was the one who came up with the two poses. Thanks to Julie’s parents for playing along and everyone had lots of fun.
Nobody in our family likes to ride Splash Mountain except for me, so I took a solo trip. It’s actually really fast and easy for solo riders to get onto the ride. Just walk up the exit and enter the single-rider line where I waited all of one minute before boarding. They usually seat you in the back seat, which is nice because it’s the driest. In this case, I moved up a spot so a mom and daughter (who you can’t really see) could ride together.
You’ll also notice that the front seat gets the most wet… so if you don’t like getting wet then get seated in the back.
Lastly, here are a couple photos from Disney California Adventure. Julie and I rode Radiator Springs Racers in the single-rider line but we still got to be in the same car. This was something we would have done on Sunday with the entire family, oh well. Â The Tower of Terror is a ride I’ve enjoyed more and more each year, though I do always like to “hang on for dear life.”
Here are my most played songs of 2012, according to iTunes. A total of 1479 songs were played at least once, with Madonna‘s “Beautiful Killer” taking the top spot. That song was also my alarm chime for most the year as well. If you count plays across all different song versions, Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know” was played 84 times.
A big disclaimer, however. Shortly after installing iTunes 11 the playcount for a bunch of songs was dropped to zero. I knew the totals for some of them but I seem to remember that I was up over 1800 songs with at least one playcount back in November so much of this data is suspect.
A few other notes: with Davy Â Jones’ death I listened to a lot of Monkees, hence the high rank for “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow”, one of Jones’ best tracks (written by Neil Diamond). “Secret Journey” by The Police invariably makes my list since it’s on a “sleeptime” playlist.