Monday, August 29, 2011

Youtube Releases Stylish Cosmic Panda Makeover

The Google Aliens abducted my ChadSorianoPhotoBlog Youtube Channel and imposed their stylish Cosmic Panda redesign to my surprise this morning. This abduction phenomenon began like this. My 6 year old son woke me up from bed at 5am to alert me he had an "accident". After a quick load of soiled linens in my trusty Whirlpool Duet, I discovered paranormal activity on my "Canon1dm4" Youtube Channel before sunrise.

A rub of my sleepy eyes and a swig of my morning coffee did not lessen the shock of this obvious experimental redesign of my Youtube Channel. Doubt and disbelief filled my mind by this foreign intrusion of my ChadSorianoPhotoBlog.

A quick "Google" search of the subject revealed the truth to the conspiracy. Over a month late to the news of "Cosmic Panda", Youtube's fresh and stylish redesign has mixed reviews. The new user interface, playlists, templates and other undiscovered features give a cleaner and simpler look in my opinion. I embrace change, especially when my videos have better presentation with clearer thumbnails and an improved video player interface. Despite the lack of medical probing during this abduction, I am puzzled by Google's brief visit. My ChadSorianoPhotoBlog Youtube Channel reverted back to normal 2 hours later. Hmmm...secret cover up? No, just Cosmic Panda.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School 2011

The dog days of summer are behind us and the infamous first day of school hit the Soriano household like freight train. Up before sunrise, get the lunches packed and bulldoze the kids out of bed is just the short list of morning endeavors. There is something refreshing about this school season. It is Serena's introduction to her sibling's and cousin's elementary school. Consider it a precursor to her preschool days!

I remember six continuous weeks of preschool tantrums of year's past for my grown up son. Those days have come and gone. First grade complete with addition and subtraction tables is the new stubborn obstacle for my mini-clone. Wait! I take that statement back. Getting out of bed is obstacle number one.

A big whopping Fourth grade already! Social networking is now a required course for these up and coming Millennials. Without a doubt,my daughter is awaiting the arrival of the iPhone 5 with open arms of anticipation.

I am counting the days, hours and minutes when my youngest daughter Serena will join this first day of school portrait. They will have iPad 5's in their backpack for course books and iPhone 8's in their pocket to text each other about the latest cool App!

Monday, August 22, 2011

California Dreamin'

Visions of cooler weather and cravings of Jollibee fast food filled our California dreams for a final summer family vacation. Our west coast getaway included our newest addition to the household, newborn Serena. This is Serena's first out of state and commercial airline flight trip with the Soriano clan. With stroller and car seats in tow, our itinerary consisted of the San Francisco Bay area with car trip south along Pacific Coast Highway to Greater Los Angeles.

A hot and humid Florida summer led to a surprisingly cold San Francisco. It was winter apparel for northern California during the day and especially at night. Hot sugary fried donuts and Boudin Bread Bowl clam chowder at Pier 39 eaten while overlooking the salty Sea Lions kept us warm followed by Jollibee Chicken Joy at night in Daly City. Culinary traveler's are we, born to be free!

All roads do lead to Chinatown. From Cable Car, rental car or foot, the lure of authentic Chinese delicacies, culture and tourist trap souvenir gifts satisfies hungry adventurers. Large appetites are built from exploring multiple destinations such as the Palace of Fine Arts, California Academy of Sciences, Coit Tower, Alcatraz and the Presidio.

Our Food-cation to California had a hint of education. We headed south to the legendary Monterey Bay Aquarium with all of its oceanic sights and wonders on Cannery Row. From every type of Jelly fish imaginable to the large wonder of the Open Sea Galleries, you will not be disappointed or bored at this aquatic spectacle.

Live California Giant Kelp towered the 33 foot aquarium in the Ocean's Edge exhibit. Filled with a constant supply of raw seawater from the bay, this exhibit displayed authentic California coastal marine life with the added bonus of a live feeding from an aquarium SCUBA diver. Very brave fingers in a tankful of hungry fish, sharks and eels.

Our next stop of Solvang, California was a culture clash, of sorts. Busloads of Chinese tourists came in droves invading the Danish influenced countryside. Call it Chinatown in Denmark. The aroma of Chinese cuisine was replaced by the yummy goodness of Danish bakeries.

My son did not notice the culture debacle, he only noticed the closest origin to the Cheese Danish. With baked goods and souvenirs packed, we move on to southern California.

Warmer days in Hollywood, California bring out the stars like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber according to my daughter. All I see is 90 degree weather and In-N-Out Burger with my name on it. Of course, in L.A. nothing is what it seems. We really visited my wife's High School friends and my daughter's God Parents in the Hills.

Lookout Miley Cyrus and Miranda Cosgrove, my daughter's eyes are locked on the next audition at Disney and Viacom's Nickelodeon Studios. We headed to The Grove for some Hollywood Star sightings but all we encountered was a full parking lot and a crowded Apple Store. Bummer!

The Hollywood Walk of Fame did not bear one Call of Duty: Black Ops character name on Hollywood Boulevard to the grave disappointment of my son. He was content with life size dinosaur bones and live insects at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County next to the University of Southern California campus.

Serena had her own Paparazzi...Me! The hills of Mulholland Drive provide a glitzy backdrop for my highly photographed family. Watch out Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!

All good things come to an end. With luggage teaming with Goldilock's baked goods, we leave California with a smile of good memories and a frown to the kid's first day of school this week. Summer is finally over.

You can view more shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II in my California Summer Vacation 2011 Gallery.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pinoy Dragon Warriors Win Gold in 2011 IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Tampa Florida

The Philippine Dragon Boat Team won 5 Gold and 3 Silver Medals in the 2011 International Dragon Boat Federation World Dragon Boat Racing Championship over the weekend in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Pinoy Dragon Warriors of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation dominated the Premier Mixed 500 meters small boat race as well as the Premier 1000 meter, Premier 200 meter mixed and men's races.

Despite the Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team's astounding success over the international paddling competition held in the Sedona Channel in downtown Tampa, the "Water Dragons" are not officially sanctioned and recognized by the Philippine government.

This IDBF Gold Medal, 5 to be exact, symbolizes the bitter irony of the Dragon Warrior's plight back home in Manila. Without any support from the Philippine government, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation had to scrounge funds from private sponsors and donors just to attend the 10th IDBF Championship in Tampa, FL.

The exceptional performance of the Philippine Dragon Boat Team caused lawmakers in the Philippine government to probe and investigate the lack of official government sponsorship. Judging from the "Pinoy" turnout and support in Tampa during the international event, the Dragon Warriors honored their homeland with Gold Medals and worldly recognition despite financial and political drawbacks.

Meet the head coach of the Dragon Warriors, Nestor Ilagan. Local Pinoy support smothered the 2011 IDBF Racing Championship including my family. Food, beverages and gifts showered the Dragon Warriors during the race. Overwhelming is an understatement.

You can view more shot with the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D in my Pinoy Dragon Warriors Win Gold in 10th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship 2011 Gallery.

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