Napa Stone

In the weirder hills of the Bay Area, back yard detritus falls alongside stones pulled into position by ancient glaciers.

Napa Stone


Visiting Palmaz Vineyards

Very late last fall, we left the already-frigid upstate New York for a weekend in Napa.

Driving Through Napa

During that trip, we visited the Bond-villain-esque Palmaz Vineyards. Almost the entire winery is underground in an 18-story cavern, using gravity to feed grapes and nascent wine from level to level. These enormous fermentation tanks are on a 24-tank rotating rail system so that each can be filled.

Palmaz Wine Processing

Even the dormant vines in “winter” give the setting an idyllic, “classical landscape” look.


Morning Light Through Napa Hillsides

I’m very sad to share that my graduate advisor, Prof. Charles B. Harris, passed away yesterday. He discovered the quadruple bond and he taught me how to be a scientist and a mentor. Charles was always so proud of the achievements of his students; we spoke last year after I received tenure and I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that he could add yet another successful faculty member to his list of accomplishments. I miss him.

Looking at this picture from the mossy hills of the Bay Area on a misty morning, I’m reminded of his house in hills of Orinda.

Morning Light Through Napa Hillsides

Man’s Geometry

Today’s shot has some pleasant symmetry to it: the careful lines of the trellises, the interplay between the blue of the sky and the creamy colors of the gravel, and the complete contrast of the curving and unruly hills running behind it all. There’s something personally satisfying about the way humans carve out little areas of neurotically-aligned geometry, but in the end, it’s nothing compared to the scale of the randomness produced by plate tectonics.

Man's Geometry