Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Glimmer of Hope

One stormy weather sometime November 2015, a disaster came to our backyard brought about by the strong winds. A tree that we planted over two (2) years ago was damaged by the storm. A major branch was split from the main trunk but fortunately with the help of its thick foliage, it was kept hanging to its dear life.

Our tree is an African Sumac (Rhus lancea) and its characteristics are its lush and long, thinnish, hairless, dark-green, trifoliate leaves with smooth margins. The tree can reach up to 8 meters in height and about 5 meters spread on its branches. it's slightly thinner trunk has a graceful, weeping form and dark, fissured bark. I would say that I was a major contributor of this accident because I never realized that its lush leaves and branches is much heavier than it's trunk could carry. I neglected it for a long time of not trimming the branches down.

In order to save the tree I have to reattach the split branch in some ways. I trimmed down all its branches to a minimum so that binding together the branches is much easier. I went online to get some ideas how to save trees with broken or split branches caused by storms and found some ideas that might be applicable to our tree. The most common is to attach back the branches together with a washer, bolt and a screw. This will make the tree look more cyborg. I also asked our gardener who gave us the tree and helped us plant it and he also suggested the same process. At first we bound the branches together and he said that if this branch would propagate some growth after like 6 months, then we can go ahead and permanently join the branches with a washer, bolt and screw.

This is how our tree looks like after binding the branches back together.

Overall, this is how our tree looks like right now.

It actually survived the Las Vegas winter (no snow so far) and the leaves on the fallen branch were still green. Looking closely on the affected branch, I noticed some buds coming out. I told myself then that this tree will survive.
Here are some growth that I saw this morning:

You can actually see the small sprouts that came out from the branches. If this will continue to grow like this then probably in a couple of months, I will permanently attach the damaged branch to its main trunk.
If we'll be lucky enough, the tree would look like this after attaching the bolt and screw:

I'm learning some new interesting things about trees and plants. Just like humans, if you break a limb, you bind it back with braces. Crossing my fingers that we will have a cyborg African Sumac tree in our backyard. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Main Events in New York City

In actuality, this is my second visit to New York City. The first one was in 2003 (if I'm not mistaken). I did visited the Ground Zero of the World Trade Center and they already started cleaning up of what remained of the ruins of the Twin Towers. I also went up to the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.

On this second visit, I booked for a walking tour of the New World Trade Center including the 9/11 Memorial for all the victims on that fateful day including those who died on the 1993 WTC bombing. All the names of the nearly 3000 who perished were inscribed in bronze around the perimeters of the two pools. These two pools were actually the footprints or the exact locations of the North and South Towers who collapsed on that day. The new Tower 1 of the New World Trade Center is almost finished and is now the tallest building in the United States at 1776 feet.

The next tour that I booked myself in was for the Empire State Building. The difference this time was, I went up to take a breathtaking view of New York City at night.

I spent this day going to these tours by myself using the subway system. I have to admit though that I got lost a couple of times, mostly I took the wrong direction of the same train number. Fortunately I just got off on the next stop and went to the platform going the opposite direction.

Overall, this was quite a long day for me and my legs and feet were hurting. I need a very long sleep.

Traversing the NYC Subway System

Fortunately, my good friend Alain Ramos showed me how to use the subway of New York City. Its kind of a crash course for me. At the LaGuardia Airport, I purchased a 7-day Unlimited Metro Card that I could use for the subway trains as well as the public buses. Next he showed me how to read and interpret the subway map. I have read some tips online for first time NYC visitors and it said that bringing a subway map around really made you look a dumb tourist since in every station there are huge maps posted around as well as inside the trains. I actually downloaded the subway map app for me to use. The trick is to read and re-read the signs so that you will now where you're going. Of course its given that you know your destination. My "guide" went with me through the system and brought me from my hotel in mid Manhattan all the way down to Brooklyn where he lives. After having dinner in his house I went back to my hotel alone. He told me that I would never be a real New Yorker if I dont get lost in the subway system. That's a big NO for me. I dont want to get lost on the subway and end up in a dangerous place of the city, if there's such a place.

First Day in New York City Adventure

Touchdown at LaGuardia Airport. A good friend of mine picked me up and accompanied me to check into my hotel. My hotel is on the east of 51st Street between the 2nd & 3rd Avenues in Midtown Manhattan and its called The Pod Hotel or Pod 51 to identify its location. This is a cool and hip hotel and the downside though is its room is quite small and I have to share a bathroom down the hall. It doesn't matter to me because I am alone and besides I only need a safe space to sleep and leave my things. I have the option to get a private bathroom but the daily rate is quite steep. What I love most with this hotel is its location. There are a lot of shops and restaurants and the Empire State Building and other tourist attractions in Manhattan are just a few blocks away.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Have a Bypass (burger)

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I visited the downtown area yesterday to meet up with my friends & cowokers. We had lunch at the Heart Attack Grill along Las Vegas Blvd & Fremont Street. Being a Guinness record holder of the world's most unhealthy restaurant, we've got to try their products out of curiosity. By their menu offering of outrageously named burgers like the single bypass burger which is actually a regular single patty cheese burger, one can just imagine how a quadruple bypass burger would look like. Their butterfat shake has the world's highest fat content. Their french fries are advertized as being deep fried in pure lard. The rest in their menu are all dangerously unhealthy. After finishing my double bypass burger, my verdict is that it just taste like an ordinary cheese burger that I can find in my work's cafeteria or the burger that you can make at home. I found my own spinach cheese turkey burger much better than the bypass burgers. Their gimmick of hot nurses as waitresses, doctors as bartenders, all customers in surgical gowns and the perception of death after eating their food items are the big attractions for the tourists. Their caloric contents?....these are no different from McDonald's, Burger King, In-N-Out burgers and other burger joints out there.  Of course you'll drop dead one day after eating these burgers everyday, breakfast, lunch & dinner. By the way, if you could not finish you food, your sexy nurse would spank you with a paddle, just like mothers do.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


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Every time I go to my favorite Starbucks Cafe, I always use their free Wi-Fi connections. Logging into their free network, you will get some perks like free music downloads and free Apps. They always have these credit-sized cards with access codes that you can use to redeem these "goodies" from the Apple iTunes and App Store. If you don't like these downloadable "goodies" you can always delete them from your Apple devices. Most of the free music downloads are from Indie artists and upcoming artists. If you are also in luck, the App pick of the week might be the one you've been looking for. My latest downloaded App was called Over, where you can put texts in different fonts, color and sizes into your photos before sharing them online. They also have several templates that you can use for additional in-App purchases.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Morning Starter

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What a way to start the morning. On my way to the gym, I dropped by Starbucks for my favorite hot mocha with soy instead of milk. Coupled with a piece of banana walnut bread and some morning news over my iPad, life is still that enjoyable.