Snow covered mountains lit up by the sun, with clouds above them.

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I looked over and saw the San Gabriel Mountains practically glowing with the morning light of the sun. A layer of cloud blocked the sun where I was, making the distant peaks look that much brighter. I stopped at a spot where I knew I’d have a good view of the mountain range.

It turned out to be a really interesting view, as you can see from the panorama below.

Wider view of the same snow covered mountains lit up by the sun, with clouds above them.
District Mountain Panorama

By lunchtime, the sky above was mostly clear, and clouds were bunched up against the mountains, completely blocking them. I was indoors most of the morning, but it seemed as if the cloud layer had just blown northward until it hit the mountains, then stopped.

Click on either image to go to its Flickr page.

Side Note: Stitching

Since Canon’s PhotoStitch no longer works on Snow Leopard, I’ve tried out Hugin again. It’s come a long way since I first tried to use it and spent hours just getting a panorama to break up spectacularly and went hunting for PhotoStitch on the disc that came with the camera! I can’t get it to automatically detect control points on Fedora, but it does a surprisingly good job even when I’ve only marked around 10 or so. The ability to customize things like which pieces appear in front of others, or which projection to use, has turned out to be useful as well.

Panda Express as it stands today. (Literally, today, 20 minutes before posting this.)

When I lived in Lake Forest during the year 2000, I used to frequent a place called Panda Panda. It was your basic steam table Chinese restaurant, but it was good. I remember the occasional evening on which I’d think, “Do I go to the store, buy ingredients, come home, then spend time cooking just for one person, or do I go out and grab some fast-ish food?” Panda Panda was a frequent winner of these decisions.

It was located at the corner of El Toro and Raymond, near the library. Panda Panda shared a building with a Quizno’s sandwich place and was one driveway away from a Wendy’s.

I don’t know if they were a small chain or a solo restaurant, but they were eventually bought out or otherwise assimilated by Panda Express, which I’ve never particularly liked. (Though Panda Inn, a table-service restaurant owned by the same company, has been consistently good.) Naturally they homogenized the menu as well.

That was the end of that.

A few years later, as part of the big project to renovate the area, both buildings were bulldozed to make way for a new strip mall segment. Panda Express got the prime spot in the new building, but all traces of Panda Panda are lost.

For the record: I’m currently sitting in a Wahoo’s taco place roughly where the driveway used to be.

The south end of Santa Catalina Island as viewed from Newport Beach this morning around 9am. The winds have cleared out a lot of the haze that would normally obscure the island, and I had a great view of its entire length.

Interestingly, while the sky seemed clearer at 8am than at 9am, by which time a thin layer of gray haze clung to the horizon, the photos taken at 9 are sharper. It’s almost as if the dust settled during that hour, clearing above the layer and obscuring below it.

There was also a definite mirage caused by that same layer. You can tell the lower 1/3 of the island is distorted.