This isn't a photography post, but I just saw that NYTimes featured Oakland, CA in their "36 hours" travel column.
Check it out! They missed most of the awesome Oakland sights, sounds, and smells, of course, but they did manage to feature the Morcom Rose Garden, which I used to live *right* near, and which I love. That's where I first started getting interested in nature photography, by taking pictures of the huge variety of roses, irises, and other assorted flowers.
So check it out, and feel the Oakland love.