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June 30, 2008

Female Drivers

Two Females Attempting to Drive

These two females were trying to drive an automobile today and somehow managed to crash the car through a barbed wire fence and end up in a field. This one-vehicle accident occurred in broad daylight in ideal weather conditions. Speed was not a factor. This was just two women trying their best to drive a vehicle down a paved road, and this is where they ended up.

My neighbors were out there talking to them. I told them to call the police as drugs were probably involved. Bernie assured me that drugs weren't an issue. I was like..."then explain to me how they ended up driving a car through a fence into a field in ideal weather conditions in broad daylight?"

Somehow, it all made sense to her. I suppose that females think alike. Bernie was probably looking at the car thinking "there but for the grace of God go I."

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 30, 2008 at 11:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Red-winged Blackbirds

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).

Male Red-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 30, 2008 at 10:55 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink


SeeqPod - Playable Search

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 30, 2008 at 7:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 29, 2008

WWII German Bunker in the Garden

This guy is in the process of excavating a buried WWII bunker from his garden. It's a pretty interesting read if you have the time.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 29, 2008 at 10:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Yellow Iris

Yellow Iris

Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus). Non-native inavsive species.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 29, 2008 at 9:14 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

American Dipper

American Dipper

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 29, 2008 at 8:51 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Dark-eyed Junco

Gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco

Gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 29, 2008 at 1:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 28, 2008

Great Horned Owl (Immature)

Great Horned Owl (Fledgling)

Fledgling Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) near Morrison, Colorado.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 9:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Yellow Pea

Yellow Pea

Photo of native wildflower Yellow Pea (Thermopsis divaricarpa) in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 9:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

US handgun ban challenge spreads

Suck it, gun grabbers:

A powerful pro-gun lobby group in the United States has filed legal challenges to handgun bans in San Francisco and Chicago.

The lawsuits come a day after the US Supreme Court ruled that a ban on the private possession of handguns in Washington DC was unconstitutional.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) says it wants similar bans in other states and cities overturned as well.

San Francisco's mayor says he plans to fight the NRA challenge.

The NRA lawsuit in San Francisco challenges the city's handgun ban in public housing; while in Chicago it challenges a ruling that makes it illegal to possess or sell handguns in the city.

"In Washington DC, or in any state, whether you live in the housing projects or a high end suburb, you have the right to defend yourself and your family at home," said Chris Cox, from the NRA.

"These laws all deny that right."

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 9:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Cool Video

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo


Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 4:43 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Western Wallflower

Western Wallflower

Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 12:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Common House Finch (Male)

Common House Finch (Male)

Common House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 11:57 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Female )

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird at Echo Lake Lodge

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 11:53 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

American Crow

IMG_8881b (Small).jpg

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 28, 2008 at 11:11 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 27, 2008

Rocky Mountain Iris

Rocky Mountain Iris

Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 27, 2008 at 11:42 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Northern Red-Shafted Flicker

Northern (Red-Shafted) Flicker

The Northern Red-Shafted Flicker(Colaptes auratus cafer) is a common bird up here in the hills. They're notorious for drilling into the neighbor's house. This one is digging in the dirt in front of my house for reasons not entirely clear.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 26, 2008


One unhappy skunk

A fox ate Jennifer’s cat the other night and I wanted to see if I could catch him so I threw some pork shoulder bones into a live animal trap and set it out back. I put the trap next to a pine tree out back, about 10 yard from the redwood deck and left it.

I checked it every day or so, but it wasn’t catching anything. I think the fox is too smart to fall for something that obvious. I began to doubt that I’d catch a fox, but I left it out there to see if I’d catch anything at all.

My house has recently become ground zero for a savage Corvidae war between the Crows and the Ravens. I don’t know what led to the contest over my property. Perhaps they’re battling for position for the when the bluebirds and chickadees fledge. They do eat baby birds, of course. But this is all just idle speculation.

I set the trap and maybe I’ll catch a crow or maybe a coon. Who knows?

Every day I or three I glance out the window and today I look out there and I’ve caught something but I’m not sure that it’s still alive. It isn’t moving and I don’t know how long it’s been in there. Possibly a few days.

I walk out onto the deck and the animal moves. It’s exhausted, from lying in the sun, but it’s alive. And now I see what it is.

I’ve caught an animal that I never wanted to catch. There is a live skunk in my live animal trap.

Now, a smart man would just leave it to die in the sun, which it inevitably would, in due time. Or, shoot it from the desk with a 12 gauge in a humane gesture.

But a fool would try to release it, unharmed, being as how it’s one of God’s creatures and all. Of course, I chose the path of the fool.

Continue reading "Skunked"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 26, 2008 at 11:41 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Live Animal Traps

I set a live animal trap out back to try to catch a fox. I went out there today to check on it and lo-and-behold...I had caught something. But not a fox.

Here's a hint: What's the last thing you'd want to catch in a live animal trap?
Hint 2: It's still in the trap, and I haven't gone near it.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 26, 2008 at 3:32 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Supreme Court Strikes Down DC Gun Ban

Quotes taken from http://www.alphecca.com/?p=833:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.


Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative? both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,? Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington’s requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks.

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.?

He said such evidence “is nowhere to be found.?

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, “In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.?

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Update: Excerpts from the opinion (via ScotusBlog):

“We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.?

“the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.?

“The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.?

“Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.?

“Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.?

“The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting.?

“It was plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense.?

Full opinion is here. Suck it, tree-huggers.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

June 24, 2008

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird at Echo Lake Lodge

I went on another long (113 mile) motorcycle ride today. This time, I went through Idaho Springs, CO 103 toward Mount Evans, then up Ute Creek to Lamartine, then across toward Saxon Mountain and then down Cascade Creek back to CO 103.

Once I hit hard top, I ran up toward Mount Evans, but detoured off into Devil's Gulch and ran around those 4x4 trails for a bit. Like yesterday, I spent a good part of the day dodging rain clouds.

I'm half-way looking for wildflowers on the trails. Mostly what I see right now is Yellow Peas. Tons of that. Other flowers are just starting to show up, like Lupines, Indian Paintbrush, and Western Wallflower.

Then, back to 103, up to the old Lodge at Echo Lake. I was afraid they'd be closed, as it was almost 6:00 p.m. when I got there and I was starving.

While I ate dinner, I shot the hummingbirds; They have these ginormous 72 oz. Best1 hummingbird feeders.

After dinner, I ran up to Mount Evans summit and back down.

Went across Squaw Pass and hit my reserve tank about 20 miles outside of Evergreen. So, I coasted most of the way back to Evergreen.

It was a nice day of riding, but I've really got to find something to do with myself. I'm getting tired of just fly fishing and riding my motorcycle all the time. I feel like I need to go to the airport.

Max speed: 74.2 mph
Total ascent: 13,294 ft
Max elevation: 14,045

Continue reading "Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 24, 2008 at 9:18 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Bike To Work Day 2008

Tomorrow, June 25, is Bike To Work Day.

Even global-warming heretic Bill Llewellin has been biking to work; probably more than Al Gore has. It's obvious that Bill is in the pocket of the Big Bike lobby.

Here's an interesting history of the Swiss Bicycle Infantry:

It gives a different meaning to Bike-N-Shoot.

PS - Speaking of Bill's bikes, be sure to check out his bicycle-powered air-cannon.

click on picture above for article

Posted by Robert Racansky on June 24, 2008 at 6:52 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mihov EXIF Renamer

OK. Canon farked me again last night when I uploaded my files. It started renumbering them from 0 again. Why? Sunspot activity, I assume. So, I finally broke down and installed and ran this Mihov EXIF Renamer that Robert told me to install over a month ago. I have to say it's pretty slick little utility. It also allows you to offset the time (like if you forget to change the time in your camera when you cross time zones or for daylight savings, etc.)

It creates a little log file when it performs the rename function, but the log file is so small it's illegible, and you have to copy and paste the text into something like notepad to be able to read it.

Surprisingly, when I use Microsoft's Image Resizer Powertoy, it apparently drops the EXIF data, so the rename fails on these files.

Also, when you attempt to change the input and output directories, you have to re-navigate from the root directory every time, which is a major pain.

The most serious problem that I'm seeing now, though, is that Resizer only works with .JPG files, and this is a problem because I shot a lot of raw images (.CR2) yesterday. So now I've got to figure out what to do with my raw images...

This webpage discusses some of the merits of the various programs available for renaming images with EXIF data.

The other problem that I'm having is choosing an optimum file renaming convention. This is not a small issue, as I shoot scads of images and even something as simple as renaming only the new files to be essentially a date time stamp introduces some new issues. For instance, I often want to upload several images to my website and post HTML links to them. The problem is that I don't have a batch upload link creator wizard for my website. It's possible that one exists for Movable Type....I have no doubt that there are several...but this means installing more software and screwing around with the website and, of course, what I really want to be doing is riding, not playing debugging web software on the PC.

So, if I'm going to post 6 images in the extended entry of a post, it's actually easier to create the HTML to do this if the file names are short and not overly unique. Introducing a time stamp means I have to do some fancy fingerwork to get all of the filenames right.

Before I go any further with EXIF Renamer, I'm going to use IrfanView to rename all of the files I shot yesterday.

Continue reading "Mihov EXIF Renamer"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Rocky Mountain National Park

Here's a short helmet cam video from my ride today. You can see my mad motorcycle skilz as I pass some tree-huggers in blind curves on Peak to Peak Highway. Then, I attempt to enter Rocky Mountain National Park at the Wild Basin entrance. Just for clarification - Rocky Mountain National Park is a tree-hugger paradise. You can't go four-wheeling or off-roading at all in the park or you'll go to jail. Some guy killed an elk near the park entrance and they threw him in prison. So, I was just jerking Ranger Rick's chain a little - asking him where the best places were to ride my motorcycle off-road in the park.

The audio is kind of soft, but if you turn it up, you should be able to make it out. Here's a transcript of our conversation:

"How much it costs to go in the park?"
"Ten bucks for the motorcycle."
"OK. Is there any trails up there I can ride?"
"Not on the motorcycle."
"Oh. Right."
"You mean just like hiking trails?"
"Naw...naw...like for riding off-road and stuff..."
"Not here. Rocky Mountain...."
"Are they gon'na open some up, you think? Like maybe later in the summer?"
"No. Not in Rocky Mountain...No..uh...no motorized vehicles on the trails."
"Oh. Hah. OK. All right. Hey I 'preciate it man."

And I rode away without entering the park, mainly because it was threatening to rain, though. Not because they didn't have any 4x4 trails.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 24, 2008 at 12:44 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

June 23, 2008

Peak to Peak Highway

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and Wild mustard(Brassica kaber)

Went for a looonnnnggg ride today on the XR. Garmin says I went 213 miles. I rode on the Peak-to-Peak Highway up to Rocky Mountain National Park and back. I was going to try to get across Trail Ridge Road, but it was rainy and snowy up there, so I turned around and bailed. Instead, I did a little off-roading in the national forest outside of Allen's Park. If you go up Ski Hill Road, it turns into a Forest Service road.

So, I poked around up there a bit. Shot some photos. Then, on the way out, I discovered a little natural spring where people refill their water bottles for free on the side of the road in Allen's Park. It was pretty cool. In Tennessee, I saw people pull over to the side of the road and refill their containers from natural springs. This was a similar setup, but it's the only one I've ever seen in Colorado.

Finally, I drove around Ward and shot a few photos. That town is...hmmmm...well...let's just say that it's eclectic. No...Nederland is eclectic. Ward is a dump. Yeah...that's the word I was looking for.

Nederland had an old steam shovel that was used to dig the Panama Canal. It's actually the only one left in the world that was used on the Panama Canal. All of the rest of them were scrapped.

I shot a few hundred pictures today, but they all suck. Always, when I'm shooting in the field, I think I'm a rockstar. The photos look great in the little viewfinder. Then, I get home and load them onto the PC and they suck in a big way. C'est la vie.

Odometer: 213.04 miles
Max speed: 74.4 mph.
Total ascent: 22,026 ft.
Max Elevation: 10,433 ft.
Gas Milage: 48 mph

Update: Added photos in the extended entry of Ward, Colorado.

Continue reading "Peak to Peak Highway"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 23, 2008 at 9:21 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

The Five Dollar Laser Show

This guy explains how to create a $5.00 laser show in the comfort of your own home.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 23, 2008 at 9:54 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink


FLIP Research Vessel - The most popular videos are here

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 23, 2008 at 8:57 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

June 21, 2008

Hunting Lions

Today, Jennifer and I went fishing in Georgetown with Charlie, Piper, and Hudson. On the way back, we stopped by this guy's place to pick up a dog that was trained to hunt mountain lions. I was like "I didn't know people hunted mountain lions with dogs...are you sure you want one around your kids?" But Charlie couldn't be put off and, in the end, we left the place with a mountain lion hunting Plott Hound in the back of my Tahoe. I decided to check out their website to see what kind of lions the guy was killing. He lives about 15-20 miles from my house as the crow flies. Check out the photos on his website from his mountain lion hunts. Makes me afraid to go outside.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 21, 2008 at 11:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

One Night in Peaceful Hills

So I went to my neighbor's house tonight for dinner, and I'm sitting around pounding drinks with some people I met at the party and suddenly it dawns on me that the people with whom I'm speaking are on a 14 month trip around the world. And I'm like..."Oh...you are the two that are bouncing across the planet like two ping pong balls in a dryer, right?" And they're like..."uh...yeah...I guess you could put it that way." And they're like the coolest most down to earth people you've ever met that don't have jobs and do nothing but travel incessantly. Like...believe you me...if I left the county, I'd tell you about it until you were sick, but these people had just returned from China and Vietnam and New Zealand; I'm reasonably sure that they've been to more countries than I've ever heard of. And they told me some stories, but you just wish you had more time to hear about their travels. Apparently, they have a website called www.onesweetearth.com where they posted some of their travel stories and I'll have to check it out if I can work it into my busy schedule.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 21, 2008 at 10:32 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

June 20, 2008

The Cry of the Red Fox

We have four different types of foxes in Colorado, but the most common one I see is the Red Fox. This time of year, they come trotting through, in the late afternoon, without even bothering to wait for dusk. They're pretty creatures, but if you have pets, well....let's just say they'd best be in the house when the fox comes calling.

In any event, I was out back drinking with one of my neighbors the other night and we heard this haunting exchange of wild calls in the darkness. It didn't help any that we were thoroughly inebriated, but it was just this wild, chilling call. And then another animal would answer it. It sounded a lot like this:


In the end, we decided that a mother fox had become separated from her kit. There's a lot more fox sound files on this site.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 20, 2008 at 11:35 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Western Bluebird (Male)

Mature Male Western Bluebird

Male Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana).

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 20, 2008 at 10:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mountain Bluebird (Male)

Mature Male Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides).

I shot this photo this evening of the daddy bluebird feeding the babies. They're such good parents. I'll be sad when the babies leave.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 20, 2008 at 8:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

How Gay Can You Get?

I'm sorry, but this has to be the gayest form of transportation ever invented. A man riding a pink segway with a bicycle helmet on is excruciatingly gay. I'd rather own a fleet of subaru's and priuses than be seen on a pink segway.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 20, 2008 at 5:53 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Nutria vs. Muskrat

There are some rodents swimming around in Lake Evergreen. The people there claim they are muskrats. I don't know if they are, however, as they look like nutria to me. I found this website that compares rodents:




The beaver has an easily recognizable flat tail. The most obvious difference between a muskrat and a nutria is size. Nutria look similar to muskrats (except larger: 15-20 pounds vs. 2-3 pounds for muskrats). However, it does also appear that the muskrat's tail is flat on the sides, whereas the nutria's tail is round like a rat's tail.

Continue reading "Nutria vs. Muskrat"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 20, 2008 at 4:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 17, 2008

The Ides of June

Rocky Mountain Iris

Here's some photos I shot in June. So far this month, I've mostly been riding my motorcycle and fly fishing. I've also been trying to shoot the local flora and fauna, as this is the best time of year for shooting wildflowers and baby critters up here in the hills.

Click on the Rocky Mountain Iris above to see a short slideshow of some of my photos from June. The audio track is "Supposed to Be" by Jack Johnson.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 17, 2008 at 11:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Rate Brian's Portfolio

My boss in Hawaii has an online portfolio. He goes around and shoots old buildings with an old-school large format camera on a tripod. He's won some awards and recently sold 9 prints to a museum on Oahu, if I'm not mistaken. If you get a chance check and his online portfolio and rate it.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 17, 2008 at 9:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Evergreen Lake

Jen with a rainbow

Jennifer and I went fishing in Evergreen Lake today. Somehow, she managed to catch four rainbow trout, while I caught zero.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 17, 2008 at 8:00 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

June 16, 2008

Father's Day - Take 2

Jen and Allie catching a German Brown trout

Jennifer had a golf lesson scheduled for 1:00 yesterday afternoon, so her mom's plans sort of superseded any plans I had. Jen liked her golf lesson and I'm happy she went, but the whole day was shot. Eventually, I just decided to let it go and I told her that today,we'd have a do-over for Father's Day. I gave her a couple of options and she chose to go fishing. So, we kidnapped Allie and went fishing up at Georgetown.

Jennifer managed to catch a fish on her first cast. She and Allie caught a lot of small German brown trout...I'd guess about 10. And I landed a few nice rainbows, but the girls made me release them all, because they looked so "cute", apparently. But it was a lot of fun and we had great weather. No place I'd rather be in the summer than right here.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 16, 2008 at 9:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 15, 2008

More Baby Birds

I went around today to put hinges on top of all of the birdhouses. I was having to unscrew the tops every time with a screwdriver, which was a pain, if nothing else. In the process, I discovered another clutch of baby birds. I think that the new nest is a clutch of Black-capped Chickadees. I'll get some shots tomorrow so that I can tell for sure. In any event, there are 7 baby birds and 2 eggs in the nest. Apparently, this is not uncommon, as the "average clutch size is 6-8 eggs but can be as many as 13 eggs".

So, for the record, we currently have the following:

4 baby mountain bluebirds and 1 egg
5 baby mountain chickadees
7 baby black-capped chickadees and 2 eggs

My neighbor bud has the following:
5 baby western bluebirds

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 15, 2008 at 10:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 14, 2008

Oklahoma Declares Sovereignty

Well, they didn't exactly secede from the union, but it does sound like the Okies a're trying to put the federal government on notice that the U.S. is operating extralegally - overstepping the boundaries of their constitutionally authorized powers. However, I wouldn't necessarily want to be the one to downplay the significance of this event. After all, when North Carolina was debating on whether to secede from the union in a special legislative convention in 1861, A. W. Venable of Granville County famously declared that he would “wipe up every drop of blood shed in the war with this handkerchief of mine.?

My point is that, at the outset, it's often difficult to predict how these things will end up. ;)

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 14, 2008 at 8:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink


Posted by Rob Kiser on June 14, 2008 at 1:35 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mule Deer Bucks in Velvet


I shot these three mule deer bucks in velvet out back this evening. I'm hoping that one day I'll get a nice shot.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 14, 2008 at 12:02 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 13, 2008

NASA Tests Lunar Rovers in Moses Lake, WA

NASA is playing with some of their toys at Moses Lake, an off-road vehicle park in Eastern Washington.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 13, 2008 at 11:13 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 12, 2008

Mountain Bluebirds

Mature Male Mountain Bluebird

Daddy feeding the babies.

The other egg has still not hatched yet.

Four Baby Mountain Bluebirds

Update: I don't think the other egg will hatch. The mom lays one egg a day, and normally lays 3-5 eggs. Only after the last egg is laid does she begin to incubate them. That way, they all hatch at the same time and they all mature at roughly the same rate. The chicks look to be a few days old, so at this point, I don't think the other egg ever will hatch.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 12, 2008 at 7:22 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Experimental Alzheimer's drug is 'astonishing'

An experimental treatment for Alzheimer's has been found to have a novel way of working that offers the hope of new, more effective, drugs to combat this devastating form of dementia.


Posted by Rob Kiser on June 12, 2008 at 8:16 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 11, 2008

New animals at the compound

Baby Mountain Cottontail
Baby Mountain Cottontail

Well, we lost kitty, and I was thoroughly bummed out by this. Today, I decided to mow as it's a fairly mindless exercise and takes my mind off having to tell Jennifer that kitty is no more. While I was mowing, I went by my bluebird house. It had five tiny eggs in it two weeks ago, but the parents had abandoned the nest when I built a blind in front of the bluebird house to get some better shots.

On May 31st, I had checked the bluebird house and discovered 5 little bluebird eggs in a nest, but I hadn't seen the birds since, so I was fairly certain that the eggs were non-starters. Probably they'd make a good omelette, but not much else.

Then, as I was mowing, something came darting out of the bushes, and I jumped off the mower and chased it down on foot. As it turns out, it was a teenie weenie little baby Mountain Cottontail rabbit. I was like..."Oh my god I so have to catch this rabbit. It will make a perfect distraction from the missing kitty".

So, I chased it down on foot. Neither of us could run very far or very fast, but I caught up to the bunny by Jen's little outdoor playhouse and then I sort of shooed him inside of the clubhouse and trapped him there. At least, I thought he was trapped until he squeezed out of a crack about the size of a dime and headed for Mr. MacGregor's garden. I caught him inside the garden with my hands (I was wearing a pair of gloves), but he didn't try to bite me or anything. So, I put him in a cooler with some grass and water while I make some much-needed repairs to the rabbit hutch.

Then, I went back out to mow and when I went by the bluebird house, I saw the mom and dad bluebirds flying continuously from the freshly mowed field to the bluebird house. I was like "oh my god....I bet I've got some baby bluebirds!" I was so excited, so after I finished mowing for the day, I set up in my blind to get some shots of the parents. Finally, when I could stand it no more, I opened the bluebird house to see what was inside and found four teeny weeny naked pink baby bluebirds and one unhatched egg. :)

Four Baby Mountain Bluebirds
Four Baby Mountain Bluebirds

Update: I discovered that another bird house has a nest in it full of baby birds. This second nest is a Mountain Chickadees nest and the babies are older (they already have primary feathers on their wings). There are a lot of them in there - at least 5 - possibly more. I'm pretty sure that they're Mountain Chickadees, but Jennifer will have a field day if I'm wrong. She knows the birds up here better than I do and finds great pleasure in correcting me.

More photos in the extended entry.

Continue reading "New animals at the compound"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 11, 2008 at 4:32 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Kitty is MIA

Kitty went outside Monday night and failed to come back inside the house. I went out and brought her back in several times, but she always liked to be outside at night and I wasn't in a position to stop her. She'd just run back out the cat door when I brought her in. I could lock the cat door, but I didn't want to do that so I just let her go out. She was out in the grass pouncing on insects in the dark when I saw her last.

But she never came back inside Monday night, which is unusual. When I woke up yesterday morning, I looked around the yard for her on the dirt bike and the four wheeler. I kept hoping I'd open the door and whistle and she'd come running in the door and head for her food bowl.

Finally, she came back last night. I heard her out on the deck scratching around. And I got up to let her in, but when I went out on the deck, there was nothing but loud noises emanating from the woods behind my house. It was only a dream that the cat came back. Standing on the deck, I realized it had only been a dream. She was gone. Still gone.

I wanted to kill what was moving through the woods. To kill what had killed my cat. I turned on a 2 million candle power spotlight, hoping to shoot a fox and save my cat. Or someone else's cat. But all that I found was a bunch of hollow eyes staring back at me. Enormous beasts with glowing eyes staring at me. Prepared to meet their maker.

A herd of elk was moving though, inexplicably. Trampling my woods. These were not the bad guys. Slaughtering a herd of elk would not bring back kitty.

My only guess is that a predator got her. Probably a fox, a coyote, or a lion. Hard to know for sure.

This is the last photo I took of her. Bye bye kitty. R.I.P.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 11, 2008 at 9:51 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Obama's Gun Control Agenda

Somehow, people seem to not be aware of Obama's alarmist statements relating to gun control. When I tell them that Obama wants to ban the sale and transfer of all semi-automatic firearms, then they just laugh and say "well I'd better get mine quick then" like it's a big joke. So, just so you can't say you didn't know what his views on gun control are, Obama wants to:

ban gun stores within five miles of schools and parks
ban the sale of guns (other than antique firearms) at gun shows
ban the sale and transfer of all semi-automatic firearms

So, if you want to defend your family with a stick (and I know people that re in this camp), then vote for Obama and see what happens.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 11, 2008 at 9:28 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 10, 2008

The Hybrid Illusion

Most tree-huggers seem to think that hybrid vehicles are the best thing since sliced bread. Mainly, I think they believe this because the car can run on electricity, which means zero emissions. This is true only if you're an idiot and stick your head in the sand like most tree-huggers. That is, you don't count the emissions from the coal-fired plant that produced the electricity. Most tree-huggers have no problem with this. (Watch the South Park episode about the "smug alert" if you're not sure what I'm talking about.)

However, if you think about it, it doesn't take a genius to see that adding a thousand pounds of weight to a car in the form of lead-acid batteries is a spectacularly bad idea. The law of conservation of momentum says that it takes more energy to get the batteries moving, to stop, and to turn. (I know - the Prius stores energy from the braking system - this mitigates the problem somewhat, but only partially and the car would still be more efficient if you took the batteries out of the car.

Finally, this guy comes around and says exactly that - to make cars more efficient, you have to get rid of the weight. This means - don't put 37 car batteries in the vehicle.

"A racing car is ultimately the most efficient vehicle on the planet. - Professor Gordon Murray"

If you're thinking "who is this guy Gordon Murray", well, as it turns out, he "designed some of the most successful Formula One cars ever built - as well as the McLaren F1, for years the world's fastest road going car."

Adding bricks (batteries) to the new car designs is not the answer. Plugging it in is not the answer. The solution to making a car operate more cheaply is making it lighter and using a smaller gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 10, 2008 at 10:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Vista Sucks

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 10, 2008 at 9:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Colorado Wildfires

I was doing some research on Colorado wildfires and found this document. It gives some pretty decent data on Colorado wildfires from 2002. But I'm trying to find data on fires that would have occurred back in 1996-1999 or so.



Posted by Rob Kiser on June 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Kidnap and Murder of Adolf Coors III

For some reason, this story has not gotten a lot of press. I saw a show on tv a while back about the botched kidnapping of Adolf Coors III. Some idiot kidnapped Adolf Coors III and held him for $500,000 ransom, but screwed it up and killed him.

On September 14, 1960, the body of Adolph Coors, III was found in a dump area
near Shamballa off Jackson Creek Road. Coors had been abducted and murdered
February 9, 1960 by Joseph Corbett, Jr. in an apparent attempt to kidnap Coors
and hold him for ransom of $500,000. Corbett was captured in British Columbia
in November of 1960, and served 18 years in prison. He was released in 1978 and
lives in Denver.


Posted by Rob Kiser on June 10, 2008 at 10:04 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Ski Run at Alice/St. Mary's Glacier

I found out last night that a member of the Coors family is trying to re-open an old ski area up between Alice and St. Mary's glacier. I've seen it up there while riding around in the Summer months many times. Never paid it much attention though. Apparently, one of the Coors kids is trying to get it re-opened as Eclipse Snow Park, a terrain park for snowboarders.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 10, 2008 at 9:20 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 8, 2008

Vending Machine Instructions

This vending machine note is pretty funny. I can't take credit for the note or the photograph, but it is pretty funny. On a somewhat related note, here's a sign that I found posted on an air-hose out in South San Francisco, California in October of 2004.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 8, 2008 at 11:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink


Yesterday, I took Jennifer and to an air-show. Then Jennifer and I met the neighbors down at Coors Field for a baseball game. They were shooting people at the game and showing them up on the giant screen. They happened to zoom in on Me and Rose with the two girls while Mark and Eric were off wandering around somewhere, so Rose and I had to play the happy couple with Jen and Allie.

Here's a slideshow of some shots that I took on Saturday. Music is "Everyday" by Carly Comando.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 8, 2008 at 7:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 7, 2008

Will Hillary Assassinate Obama?

Hillary suspended her campaign today, and is Jonesing to get on the Democratic ticket. Obama would never do this because it would mean that the only thing keeping Hillary from becoming president would be his breathing. As in, if he died, she would become president. He's not dumb enough to put himself between him and a Hillary presidency any longer than necessary.

None-the-less, this is the unfortunate position he finds himself in at this point. I seriously believe that Hillary is plotting Barack Obama's assassination. The reason I say this is because:
1) Hillary has "suspended" her campaign, which means she retains her delegates and she can continue to raise money. It also means she could reopen her campaign if circumstances change before the Denver convention.
2) If Obama stops breathing between now and November, the Democratic nomination would pretty much automatically go to Hillary Clinton.
3) I believe the Clintons were responsible for Vince Foster's death, and possibly others.

I think that Obama is in grave danger from the Clintons and their apparachniks and I doubt he will live to see November.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 7, 2008 at 10:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Freemeter Bandwidth Monitor

Freemeter Bandwidth Monitor

Robert R. emailed me today a link to a free bandwidth monitor for Windows called, appropriately enough, Freemeter Bandwidth Monitor.

Windows only: Keep a close eye on the comings and goings of your bits and bytes with the Freemeter bandwidth monitor, a graphing tool that shows your PC's upload and download activities in real time.

Additionally Freemeter bundles in some useful networking tools, like ping, traceroute, and IMAP and POP email notifiers. The graphs are highly configurable, show upload and/or download traffic, and can monitor any and all network interfaces (wifi, wired network, 1394, etc.) All in all a useful little bandwidth tool for seeing what kind of data volume you've got flowing in and out of your PC. Freemeter is a free download, Windows only. —Gina Trapani

I installed it on my web server and it's pretty slick. Basically, it lets me monitor the uplinks from my web server in realtime. Pretty cool.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 7, 2008 at 10:12 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 6, 2008

Global Temperature Dives in May

Don't look now, but the Earth is not getting warmer...in fact, it continues to cool.

"Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much cooler than normal May, such as late spring snows as far south as Arizona, extended skiing in Colorado, and delays in snow cover melting, (here and here), the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) published their satellite derived Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit data set of the Lower Troposphere for May 2008."

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 6, 2008 at 11:46 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Epson P-5000


This guy is pretty serious about backing up his photographs. But, you know what they say, 'the generals are always ready to fight the last war'. I think he's had a lot of drives crash, hence his paranoia. I back up all of my photos onto a 1 Terabyte Buffalo TeraStation configured to RAID Level 5. So, if a drive crashes, I can recover by replacing the drive. But, if the house burns, I'm hosed. My thought being that, if my house burns, the loss of my photos will be the least of my concerns.

In any event, he apparently is using one of these little Epson P-5000 gems, which looks way cool. The problem is, of course, when you're shooting in the field and your memory cards are all full. Normally, I carry a laptop for backup, but this is not ideal, as I'm often in an environment that is hazardous to a laptop.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 6, 2008 at 11:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Stone Age Culture Photographed in Brazil

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 6, 2008 at 10:30 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 5, 2008

Free Paint Program for Kids

Allie and Jen have always used MS Paint to draw pictures on their computers, but the program is lame. So lame that, today, I finally decided to do something about it. I searched for a "Free Paint Program" and found Tux Paint. It's an open-source free software program, so I downloaded and installed the software on their two computers. Then, I installed the "stamps" plugin and they are going hog wild on it today. They're creating these photo montages of stamp art with burning "evil roosters", toilets, tanks, and castles and applying all these crazy effects to their images and squealing with glee.

I mean, don't get me wrong....I have Adobe Photoshop Elements....I have Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended...but those apps are not designed for a kid with the attention span of a grasshopper. Tux Paint is a very cool paint program, and if you've never played with it and have a kid in the house between 3 and 13, I'd definitely recommend checking it out. You can download it for free here.

Continue reading "Free Paint Program for Kids"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 5, 2008 at 10:22 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

June 4, 2008

GTA IV Montage

Way cool video montage of stunts in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 4, 2008 at 1:19 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hillary Loses Race - Refuses to Quit

With the Democratic primaries over, at long last, Obama has cinched the Democratic nomination. Obama announced that he will be the Democratic candidate last night.

Hillary, as I have always predicted, refuses to concede the election that she has clearly lost. CNN's Jeffrey Toobin calls it "deranged narcissism". Her non-conession speech is here. Obama tried to call Hillary twice after his victory speech and got only her voicemail.

Instead, gives a speech that's clearly not a concession speech, in spite of the fact that she's already lost. She muddles on in a pathetic, sad charade. If she was once seen as a Machiavellian candidate, she's now viewed as Quixotean. They say 'quitters never win', and 'winners never quit', but if you never quit, and you never win, then you're a fool, an idiot, or worse.

It's possible, I suppose, that she's just holding out to get Obama to help with her campaign debts or possibly as a bargaining chip to get on the ticket as Vice-President, an office FDR's VP said was "not worth a pitcher of warm p1ss.? But it won't work. Obama won the party's nomination fair and square and he'd be a fool to choose her as his running mate. Jimmy Carter called it "the worst mistake that could be made".

What a sad spectacle for a political family that was once so powerful in the United States. How far they've fallen.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 4, 2008 at 10:00 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

June 3, 2008

Gold Medal Rivers

15 inch Rainbow Trout

So, the fishing guide and I head out to the South Platte River today and, it's not looking so good. Clouding up. Kinda nasty looking. We stop off in Pine Junction and buy some flies and gear. What are they hitting on? Caddis flies. So we buy some Caddis flies and grasshoppers, etc. Some gink and hemostats and tippet. Just standard stuff. Crawl back into the guide's truck and head on down the road. Down across Buffalo Creek and up the hill and down again until finally we're at the Gill Trailhead.

There aren't a whole lot of people in the parking lot. Just a few Jeeps with the ubiquitous "Orvis Certified Trout Guide 2008" stickers.

"Charlie, why aren't there more people here?" I ask.

"Well", the guide begins, "today is a work day, right?"

"Oh. That's right. I forgot. It's Monday."

"It's Tuesday," he corrects.

"Oh. Right."

Continue reading "Gold Medal Rivers"

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 3, 2008 at 9:54 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

Fly Fishing on the South Platte

I'm going on a guided fly fishing tour of the legendary "Gold Medal" waters of the South Platte river today. I've had a fly rod and reel for about 10 years, but I can't recall ever using them or learning to fly fish. So last night, I met up with the guide and he pointed out that my reel was set up for left-handed reeling. (Go figure). So, he fixed it for me over a few beers. Then we went out back and he showed me how to cast. I'm not very good, but I'm not expecting a lot either. My main goal is to stand in the river, practice casting, and try not to hook myself any place that requires another call to 911 for a helicopter rescue. (Those get old in a hurry, don't they?)

I dug around in my hunting/fishing room and found a pair of waders, a fishing vest, and a cap. I have my rod, reel, and line. I've got a fishing license and a few beers in a cooler. The guide is supposed to provide the rest - the important stuff, as it were. The flies, the knowledge about which flies to use, and, of course, where to go and how to catch a fish. I have no clue. As I say, I'm not expecting much. I just want to get out of the house, and I can't ride my bike any more as, after riding nearly 400 miles in 3 days, my hind-end is too sore to sit on the bike.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 3, 2008 at 9:34 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

June 1, 2008

Oh My God Road

Here's a little video segment I uploaded from my helmet cam. I shot this yesterday driving up Virginia Canyon on a road called "Oh My God Road" outside of Idaho Springs. The road is a dirt road with several switchbacks that climbs up the canyon, unimpeded by things like guard rails or road signs. It's dangerous on a clear dry day in ideal weather conditions. I can only imagine what it's like in the winter.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 1, 2008 at 9:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Apex, Colorado

Log cabin in Apex,CO

Went for another ride yesterday. This time, I went up "Oh My God Road" (yes, that really is the name of the road.) Then, dropped down into Arapaho National Forest in the Shadow of Bald Mountain, down Upper Apex Road, and up to Apex, Colorado. Tried to get through to Rollinsville, but the trails around Apex are all still snowed in. You can tell when you're fixin to have to turn around because the dirt roads are full of running water. When you see water running down the road, you know that it's melting snow and pretty soon, you're probably going to have to turn back.

But it was a nice day for a ride, and to say that it is pretty is just stupid really. It's just mind numbingly incomprehensibly breathtaking. To the west lies the continental divide, covered in snow. To the east, you can see to Kansas on a clear day.

I don't shoot many pictures, because when you're riding a motorcycle, it's hard to shoot. I have to stop, take off my gloves, pull out my camera, and hold the camera up to my helmet, which is less than optimal because you can't get the view finder close enough to see the full frame to shoot.

This assumes that I don't kill the bike, put the kickstand down, get off the bike, take off my backpack, remove my helmet, and then shoot. So, taking a decent photo is a fairly big ordeal. And, shooting on a running motorcycle doesn't exactly lend itself to great shots, but this is what I've resigned myself to do, mostly. To take a few pictures here and there while sitting on the running motorcycle.

One of the things that irks me to no end is that the Forest Service doesn't post the roads very well. And, so you're left sort of hunting around for access to the national forests. People that own private land near the forest roads post all these "Private - No Trespassing - Dead End" signs, and you have to drive past them to find the forests. So, it really sucks because the private land owners post these signs which are misleading, at best. And the forest service doesn't post any signs at all, hardly. So you just pretty much have to ignore all of the signs and just ride until you find the trails.

I'm reasonably sure that I can't post my GPS tracks without going to prison, but I have some helmet cam footage from the drive up "Oh My God Road" that I'm uploading to YouTube, and I'll post some still pics presently. (I saw a Western Tanager Friday in Hamlin Gulch. No photos, but here's some Western Tanager photos.)

For now, here's the stats on the trip:
Trip Odom: 107 miles
Max Speed: 69.5 mph
Total Ascent: 11,620 ft
Max Elev: 10,845 ft

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 1, 2008 at 11:26 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink