Sunday, November 16, 2008

Surfboarding for dogs!

These collies are cool in more ways than one!

As San Francisco swelters in an Indian summer, Jack and Kelly took to the water at Mission Creek this afternoon.

They cruised serenely and comfortably on their surf boards past the row of houseboats, leaving their owners to do the dog paddling.

The dogs enjoy surfboarding and are often out on the boards, their mum called out across the water, adding that they have a sailboat moored nearby.

The pics were taken at about 4 pm as the weather website,, were posting a temperature recording of a high of 73F and 'feels like 77F.'

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Giants' Christmas Tree

At the Giants' baseball park, this sparkly tree is filling the entrance of their store, the Giants Dugout.

The tree is covered in gold and orange baubles and bows, and draped in a rich orange organza reflecting the orange of the orange and black team colours.

Fisherman's Wharf Christmas Tree 2008

The city may be basking in a heatwave but that doesn't stop preparations for one of the most important visitors of the year: Father Christmas.

This morning, with a cheery wave, one of the city's workers was finishing the task of decorating this
enormous tree at the Entrance Plaza at Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf.

By this afternoon, hundreds of huge red and gold baubles were twinkling in the sun.

In all, the tree has 400 ornaments, 500 bows and 2,000 sparkling LED lights, and is decorated around its base with 'presents' wrapped in red, green and gold paper.

The lighting ceremony originally set for tomorrow has been changed, as the poster shows, to next Sunday, November 23.

It will be a grand family occasion with musical entertainment reflecting traditions of Christmas, the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, and Kwanzaa, the first African American holiday which was formed in 1966 and, according to Wikipedia, has its roots in the black nationalist movement.

There are free activities for children including face painting, letters to Santa, crafts and photos with Santa.

The afternoon's events start at 1 pm and continue to 6 pm with the lighting ceremony taking place at 5.30 pm. This year's guest who will light the tree is NBC Bay Area's Chief Meteorologist, John Farley.

The tree and entertainment is sponsored by the local newspaper, The Examiner, and companies Coca-Cola, Crystal Geyser ALPINE SPRING WATER, Telemundo, Intera and Crocpond.

Record Temperatures

San Francisco is basking in a record-breaking heatwave. Yesterday a 102-year-old record was broken as San Francisco's temperatures soared to 80F, according to a report on NBC11.

This was four degrees higher than the 76F recorded in 1906, the year of the Great Earthquake.

Today at 3 pm the temperatures were being recorded at 78F by the weather website, and it showed!

Thousands of people have flocked to Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach and along Crissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge
to take advantage of this Indian summer.

They are strolling, cycling, sunbathing on the grass and beach, with a few hardier ones taking a dip in the cold waters, and packing the ferry boats that tour the Bay.

Overhead, too, some have taken the opportunity of a cruise aboard an airship.

Temperatures tomorrow are forecast to reach 76F and to remain in the seventies until Wednesday when they will drop back into the sixties, and fall to 61F by Sunday of next week, according to

pics show: a summer idyll looking across Fisherman's Wharf with Alcatraz in the background; sunbathers packing the beach at Crissy Field; a few bobbing heads in the water at North Beach and an airship overhead.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Paris Hilton Launches New Perfume (2)

Paris Hilton appeared like Fairy Tinkerbell in Macy's to promote her new perfume, Fairy Dust. She signed autographs and posed for pics with the first 300 people to purchase a gift pack for $135 dollars but many more went just to glimpse her...see previous blog. Here are more interviews and a further report of the event.

'Im just here hanging out and seeing Paris Hilton as an extra!!!' said Bryson, tongue in cheek. He was standing with friends Doug and Kambiz.

What does he really think of her?

'She's hot! Good looks! Very beautiful! Sexy! he said.

The trio of lads had travelled across

the Bay in order to be there.

Agreeing with all of Bryson's epithets, Kambiz said, 'I just really came to see her.'

Likewise Doug. 'I came to see Paris!!' he said.

But the lads were in a side aisle rather than in the queue to buy perfume and have their photo with her.

'It's too expensive!' said Kambiz.

Life had indeed dealt them a cruel blow!

Near them, Liliana patiently held her chihuahua, Peanut, with the crowds pressing in all around her. Had she or Peanut come to see Paris?

'Both!' was the answer.

In another side aisle, Gwendolyn shone like the sun in a radiant yellow outfit. Describing herself as a 'singer, actress and sculptress,' she said, 'I'm here because I was so impressed at her perfume. I have lots of her products and I'm not allergic to it.'

Gwendolyn is such a fan that when Paris was jailed for drunk driving, she said she wrote to the prison to ask them to let her out.

'I think she has a lot of heart and she keeps going on despite every day ups and downs. None of us are perfect!' she said.

Paris' appearance was scheduled for noon but the hour came and passed with no sign of her. The crowd kept peering in anticipation round heads and on tiptoe waiting for her to emerge at any second. As the hands on the clock drew closer to 1 pm a voice behind me suddenly launched into a derisive tirade on Paris and the world of celebrity.

I turned round to meet Steven, a young employee of Starbucks within the store, venting his anger at Paris' late arrival and what he saw as 'keeping stereotypical images.'

'It''s interesting how society builds people up to be someone everyone looks up to, and she's just taking her delicate time. She has a priority to sell her product and she's slacking,' he said.

Had he smelt the perfume? He had.

'It smells too much like flowers,' was his opinion.

In a scornful parting shot he said, 'Look at everyone standing round just waiting to see her!'

He obviously wouldn't be impressed by the online advertising blurb: 'It (the perfume) invites women of every age to believe that with a sprinkle of Fairy Dust dreams really can come true.'

Minutes later there was an announcement from the mini platform:

'She'll be here in 15 minutes and she's really, really excited to meet you guys!'

I wandered through to the back of the department. Staff were readying a table which was the collecting point for the celebrity photos. Close by, a perfume counter strategically sited opposite another entrance to the store displayed her perfume products.

Blanca stood at a small round table, bottle of Fairy Dust in hand, offering free squirts onto outstretched wrists and an explanation of what was going on.

She works for Parlux, the company who make the perfume.

'I am very proud to represent Paris Hilton. We are very happy to have her here today. We are thrilled,' she said.

'It is a very big compliment for Macy's.'

And then it was back to the crowd to finally await the appearance of the celebrity heiress herself....see previous blog.

pics show: Paris delighting a fan;Doug, Bryson and Kambiz; Steven; Blanca
For an album of pics click here

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Paris Hilton Launches New Perfume

Looking like Fairy Tinkerbell herself, Paris Hilton enchanted hundreds of fans yesterday in Macy's store.

There to promote her new perfume, Fairy Dust, she was signing autographs and posing for pics with the first 300 people to purchase her gift pack.

With an hour's late arrival, she emerged at about 1 pm from behind a curtain in the perfume department to
applause, the excited clicking of cameras and frantic waving of cell phones as the crowd strained to capture a glimpse or an image of her.

The queue of people filled several aisles and stretched almost to the doors.

Paris was introduced by Macy's West President, Harvey Harrison. He described her as an artist, actress, author and clothing designer and said she had produced a scent to 'capture her fairytale life.'

Wearing a dress with a low-cut white bodice, sexy centre peephole! and pale sea-green skirt, Paris welcomed the crowd, gave a coy little wave and sat down at her desk to begin signing autographs and posing for pics.

Around her was a troop of security men and two police officers.

First to step forward was Katie.

'I'm nervous. I really like her,' she said immediately afterwards, and you could see her trembling. She clutched a print of the Fairy Dust promotional poster which Paris had signed and the gift pack.

For the privilege of the occasion, Katie had paid $135 dollars. Inside the gift pack were three small bottles of Paris' perfumes, Heiress, Can Can and Fairy Dust, that retail at $45 dollars each, but also there were free bottles of Paris for women and Paris for men, two little black bags and a soft toy, Tinkerbell the chihuahua, modelled on Paris' pet.

What did Katie think of the new perfume?

'I love it!' she said, and she was led by staff to the far end of the department to wait to collect her prized photo with Paris.

Not far behind Katie was Regan. 'I love her! She's my favourite!' she enthused. Of the perfume, she said, 'It's the best perfume ever! It's great!'

Karla, carrying Bella the chihuahua, thought so too. 'She's hot! she said of Paris, and the perfume 'smells really, really good!'

But it seems not only were the young enamoured. One elderly lady queued in a wheelchair and when it came to her turn to have her photo taken with the heiress, Paris hopped down from the desk and posed with her arm around her.

Seeing Paris there, she looked prettier than in the heavily made-up posed shots of some of her videos and model pics, and with her blonde hair - and perfect teeth! - she did light up her signing area.

She chatted to her fans with a natural vivaciousness and I'm sure put some at their ease, and yes, she pouted for a few shots with the guys!

For Paris fans, they had a day to remember.

For more reports, see next blog.
For an album of pics, click here

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey

Thousands of tiny, wooden Remembrance Crosses were planted this week at Westminster Abbey, London, in preparation of Britain's annual commemoration of those who sacrificed their lives in war.

This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday when there will be a parade and service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
Ceremonies will also be held across the nation, with other events taking place over the week.

But on Tuesday morning members of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory were on their knees in front of Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church hammering the crosses into the ground.

Each cross had a poppy attached and on the crosses are the names and sometimes a message in tribute to those who have died in the two World Wars and later conflicts. Some crosses simply read, 'Unknown Soldier.'

The crosses are provided by the Legion to ex-service men and women who wish to remember fallen comrades, and also to members of the public who wish to commemorate a loved one.

The Legion set out the crosses in plots representing 250 Regiments and Associations, and while they deal with most of the crosses for people, individuals are also able to go to the Abbey to write and plant their own cross there.

Watching and taking photos were tourists milling around the Abbey and church. Nearby, a yeoman in full red regalia stood in the entrance to the Abbey.

The Remembrance events mark the end of the working year for the Poppy Factory, a charity employing 50 people who are mostly disabled and connected to the Services.

During that time they make 38 million Remembrance poppies,
5 million Remembrance petals, 900,000
crosses and 100,000 wreaths.

Last year their Annual Poppy Appeal raised £30.6 million and they been sole poppy makers since 1922.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, opened the Field of Remembrance on Thursday.

Other events include a Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and the annual observance of The Two Minute Silence.

The Silence is held across the nation on Armistice Day, the day which marks the end of the First World War, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which this year falls on Tuesday.

A special event surrounding this has been organised in Trafalgar Square as this November marks the 90th anniversary of the end of The Great War. Taking part will be actor John Hurt who will read, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep.'

At the end of the event, members of the public will be invited to put poppies into the fountains in an act of remembrance.

In honour of the 90th anniversary, the Legion are also planting a Flanders' Field of Poppies.

News of the work and events of the Royal British Legion is on their website:

A report of the ceremony of the opening of the Field of Remembrance - there is a similar Field in Cardiff - can be read on the Legion's website and also on the Abbey's website: