August 31, 2008
Elk Bugling - In August?
Believe it or not, the bull elk are already starting to bugle tonight, and it's still August. So, I guess they're getting a head start this year. And they are loud. I mean crazy loud when they're standing in your back yard. I'm trying to record one now with my laptop....hold the line.
OK. Got my laptop out and installed Audacity and the LAME MP3 encoder and hooked up my trick USB microphone to record the bull. I went onto the redwood deck and plugged the laptop into an outside wall outlet because I drained my laptop battery trying to shoot a timelapse video of the Casiopea and the Little Dipper up at Chinn's Lake last night.
After I recorded a few of the elk's bugle, I went out back and put a 2 million candlepower Cyclops spotlight on him to see how big he was and, I'm not going to lie, he's a beast. He's got one cow following him around. The light eventually chased him into the neighbor's yard.
To get him to come back, I hooked up some external speakers to the laptop and used Windows Media Player to play his own recorded bugle back to him, which drove him nuts. He came trotting back and is down there destroying the choke cherries. I mean, has torn the crap out of the choke cherries. I'm sure of this.
Then, I turned on my wireless LAN card, and shared my Audacity files to the network, and went inside to my home network. I copied all of my elk mp3 files from my laptop outside over the wireless network onto on of my desktops.
Then, I opened the .mp3 in Audacity and amplified it a bit. From inside, I opened an RDP session to my laptop outside, and remotely controlled it by alternately playing a random elk bugle, and then recording the response in Audacity. The elk was furious that there was another bull around, but he couldn't ever find him. Actually, I'm reasonably sure that he figured out that I was messing with him and left.
In any event, it's about 3:00 a.m. here. Time for my Obama wakeup call.
In the final analysis, I got some fairly decent bull elk recordings. Not great, but it gives you an idea of what a bull elk sounds like when he's trying to call in a herd of cows:
(Warning: Keep one hand on your volume control on these. They're safe for work, of course, but some of them are louder than others, so buyer beware.)
August 30, 2008
Chinns Lake - Continued
It's 80 degrees at my house, 7,500 feet above sea level and we're packing to go camping. Jennifer is packing her short and short sleeve shirts and we have to go through this every time.
"Baby, it's going to be cold up there. Dress as though you were going outside to play in the snow in February. You need gloves, boots, hat, and your winter ski jacket and pants. She packs them, but not without protest.
On the ride up to Chinn's Lake, Jennifer is scared. This is not a bad thing, though. This is a good thing. It means she's reasonably intelligent.
She's looking out her window as I'm picking a line, slowly, up a steep 4wd trail. And when she's looking out, she sees the tops of trees and a nice sharp drop off on the right. Not like in the Andes, mind you, but still a respectable 75 foot droop.
We didn't get away as soon as I'd hoped. It's 3:30 by the time we get up there.
By chance, some people had just pulled out of one of the best campsites on the lake and we unpack and set up the tent and pretty soon, we're wetting a couple of lines in the lake . Drowning flies, as it were.
After shooting the lunatics at the Democratic Convention all week, I needed a break. So I talked Jen into going camping and yesterday we hit a way cool camping spot on Chinns Lake, just this side of the Continental Divide. The location not too far from Alice/St. Mary's Glacier. It's a place I found about five years ago. She's actually camped up there before, but she didn't remember it. It's a pretty serious four-wheel drive trail going up there. I wouldn't recommend taking a mini-van up there or anything. We had it locked into four-wheel low for a few miles to get up there.
These images were captured with a Canon EOS 40D and two different lenses. One lens is an image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM). The larger lens is a Canon L-Series image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with a 77mm circular polarizing filter and an ET-83C hood.
I've posted some of the shots as a 11 Meg (3:20) Adobe Flash slideshow(chinns_lake.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above.
If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (chinns_lake.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, etc.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
The soundtrack is In This World, by Moby off of the album "18". Lyrics in extended entry.
A Brilliant Trap Makes Dems The Male Chauvinists
Oh, this is brilliant. I don't know why I didn't see this sooner. McCain has someone in his camp that's a genius - pure genius:
"She's just a beauty queen. She's another Dan Quayle. And ironically, the biggest criticism of Sarah Palin, John McCain's veep choice, is she has no experience. Funny, coming from the Barack Obama camp."
"At this point, Palin is so unknown, there's no way to make a clear judgment about her. But listening to Obama supporters take to the airwaves to shriek with indignation about her lack of experience is just a little too rich. Where were they when Obama, two years into the Senate, announced his candidacy for president?"
"On CNN, during a discussion about whether it was appropriate for Palin to accept this job when she has a baby, Dana Bash pointed out it's unlikely anyone would ask this of a male candidate."
"I can't help wondering if this is a trap. The McCain camp watched and learned as Obama supporters offended Hillary supporters by their treatment of her. The McCainiacs had to know that this group is incapable of behaving, that Palin would bring out their worst instincts."
So now, all the Hillary supporters are going to watch the Dems tear into a young, female with questionable experience, which is going to be very difficult. The Dems will be tiptoeing through a minefield from now to November, because if they come off as getting down on women, they'll upset their Hillary base, possibly causing them to switch their votes to the Republicans. And if they attack her for being inexperienced, then they're throwing rocks from glass houses. Oh happy day. Happy day. Brilliant. Brilliant. :)
Landscape and Portrait
I'm sorting through the pictures I took all week during the Democrat National Convention in Denver this week. After burning a set onto DVDs on my MacBook to give out to friends, I double-check that the DVD burned correctly by putting it into my other computer, which is a Windows PC.
The pictures I took in portrait mode -- by turning the camera 90 degrees -- display correctly in Mac OS X's Preview application, and after I upload them to the web.
But when I view the pictures in Widows Picture and Fax Viewer, the default viewer in Windows XP, the pictures are displayed in landscape mode on their side.
For example, see the picture I took of R.F.K.and R.A.K. earlier this week:
This happens to pictures taken both with the Canon XTi and Panasonic FX-33.
Windows Picture and Fax Viewer does have a tool to rotate pictures manually; see the fourth set of buttons between the magnifying glass and the red X on the toolbar below the picture. (See a demonstration in this video).
But even if manipulating pictures in Windows wasn't lossy, I still have to deal with going through over a thousand pictures to find the ones that have to be rotated, because most of the people I'm giving these DVDs to are using Windows, and Windows won't display them correctly by default.
I really don't have to do that -- and I've already made a bunch of DVDs before discovering this issue -- but I think it would be lame of me not to. Surely Microsoft could do better.
August 29, 2008
Barack Obama: Party Man
UPDATE: I've finally sorted my photos from last week, and posted the "best" of them here. They didn't all turn out as well as I would have liked, but it was definitely a learning experience in photography and photo-journalism. See "Day One," "Day Two," "Day Three," "Day Four," and "Day Five." I'll add some narrative as time and motivation permits.
You can also read Rob Kiser's posts and see his photos here (obviously, since this is his web site): "Green Sunday at Red Rocks in Morrison" (August 25, 2008), "Viva La DNCC" (August 25, 2008), "DNCC in Denver - (My 2nd Day in Hell)" (August 26, 2008), "DNCC - Tuesday August 26", "Democratic Convection Oven" (August 27, 2008), "DNCC - Photos From The Lunatic Fringe" (August 27, 2008), "DNCC - The Madness Continues..." (August 27, 2008), "DNCC - 2nd Place is the First Loser" (August 28, 2008), and "DNC 2008 Slideshow" (September 1, 2008).
In response to Rob's kind comment below, let me just say that I couldn't have done it without him. It was an honor being able to work with him.
August 28, 2008
DNCC - 2nd Place is the First Loser
I went down and shot a few pics from Invesco Field at Mile HIgh today. Obama should be speaking about an hour from now. I left before he came out because I had to pick up Jennifer, and I half wanted to take her down there, but with traffic as screwed up as they have it, I decided against it. They have I-25 shut down for 5 hours today. Not to mention, they'd already closed Auraria Parkway, Speer, and then they closed Colfax on top of that. So, at some point, I was like - why bother?
It's not like he's going to win anyway. And 2nd place is the first loser. ;)
More photos in the extended entry.
Economy shifted to higher gear in the spring
Shhhhh. Don't tell the Democrats:
WASHINGTON - The economy shifted to a higher gear in the spring, growing at its fastest pace in nearly a year as foreign buyers snapped up U.S. exports and tax rebates spurred shoppers at home.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product, or GDP, increased at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. The revised reading was much better than the government's initial estimate of a 1.9 percent pace and exceeded economists' expectations for a 2.7 percent growth rate.
The foaming liberals down at Civic Center Plaza were all giggling about how McCain's statement.
"He didn't even know how many houses he owned. Classic!"
"Did you know that Obama's house in California cost 1.6 million dollars?"
"Yeah. And that was after that criminal Tony' Rezko bought the adjacent piece of property. And Obama just took his family to Hawaii. So, it's not like Obama is exactly destitute."
They're all making him out to be like Ghandi and I'm like, "Not so much".
MSNBC - In the Tank for Obama
I just can't believe how deep MSNBC is in the tank for this guy Obama. Like, so much for objectivity. It's like watching a DNCC infomercial.
August 27, 2008
DNCC - The Madness Continues...
Well, today didn't go as well as I'd hoped. It started out well enough. I woke up at the crack of noon and went and ate lunch with Jennifer. Then, I went to try to find a bullhorn/megaphone thing-a-ma-jig. First, I went to Sportsman's Warehouse, and they were like...."Hmmmm. A megaphone...hmmm...what will you be using it for?"
I've never been good at thinking on my feet. I'm like "uh....ah....um...."
Of course, I can't really think of any legitimate use for it right off the top of my head like that. This isn't my forte. The incident remindes me of the time that game warden stopped me for passing on a double yellow and wanted to know why I had a rifle with a scope and a pair of bolt cutters in the trunk of my Malibu.
I wanted to say "Just because I can't think of a legitimate use for them doesn't necessarily make me a criminal," but then I just figured I'd invoke my 5th amendment right not to incriminate myself.
"You mean like a coach would use for coaching football maybe?" she asks.
"There you go. Good answer. Well done. It could be used for that, couldn't it? By jove that's a splendid answer. Do you have one?"
"No. Try Radio Shack."
DNCC - Photos From The Lunatic Fringe
Crazy crazy crazy busy. Here's some of the thousands of photos I shot yesterday. Just got a bullhorn from RadioShak, zipcuffs, gas mask, and and 50 9 x 12 lamination sheets. Got to get those floor credentials going for tonight. Ah...I can smell that the laminator is as hot as a belgian waffle maker and all ready to go. Have to run...I'm late to go meet Robert in Denver.
Democratic Convection Oven
What's so funny about the convention is that there are tons of people in the streets, but the event is taking place all over Denver. So it's kind of hard to figure out where the action is at any given point in time. If things are really heating up, of course, you can follow the helicopters or the police cars. But short of a full-scale riot, it's hard to know where the action is.
So when you hear a bunch of noise, you tend to want to go check it out. Because of this effect, a guy with a bullhorn has unbelievable power. Some idiot picks up a bullhorn and pretty soon, there's a couple hundred people gathered around, which draws in the police and the news crews. Fox. CNN. MSNBC. Adrenaline crazed police arrive on armored cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and horseback.
And, in most cases, the people with the bullhorn have very little to say. One guy was walking around singing "Go and tell your momma....You voted for Obama."
So, I'm obviously going to have to get a bullhorn.
The thing that's cool about the convention is that you can do pretty much anything you want the police won't hassle you. I'm driving my motorcycle down the sidewalk. Walking right up to the police and shooting pics of them. Stuff that would normally get you killed.
And the place is crawling with police. Make no mistake about that. There's as many police here as you can imagine, and then some. But the deal is that they don't want to go around harassing people over the petty things that normally fill their days. They're watching out for some terrorist to come rolling up in a U-haul truck full of TATP. Not some idiot jay walking with too many cameras.
People are posting up all kinds of flyers in the Civic Center and the cops just stand around ignoring them. This stuff would normally get you beat into a coma.
This is the same week as Burning Man. A lot of hippies are gyrating in the Black Rock Desert at this very moment. And a lot of the organization at Civic Center Plaza reminds me of the Playa in an odd sort of way.
Rob Kiser for President
In case you missed it, here's some new coverage of my presidential campaign. (You may have to refresh it once or twice as the site is getting hammered.)
August 26, 2008
DNCC - Tuesday August 26th
I just got my photo taken with Robert Kennedy Jr. I'm writing this post from inside of CNN private suite inside the Democratic convention. I'm a bit underdressed of course, with my Obama T-shirt and leather jacket, and I'm sweating like a whore in church, for obvious reasons.
I would take off my jacket, but then I'd only be wearing a Che Guevare T-shirt, and everyone in this teeny room seems to know each other. They're all pressing the flesh, greeting each other, and I'm sitting here trying not to be noticed, waiting for Hillary to speak.
I met Robert Kennedy Jr by chance. Robert and I were walking down the sidewalk in front of some fancy hotel and I saw a bunch of hybrid Tahoes and Yukons out front of the hotel. I started taking pictures of the trucks because I recognized that they had the special DNCC VIP license plates.
"Why are you shooting those license plates?" some woman asked me.
And I was like "those are the VIP DNCC license plates," I explained condescendingly. Like, she's so stupid that she doesn't realize the importance of the trucks.
"Well that's Robert Kennedy Jr. standing right behind you," she explained.
And I was like..."Oh". Boy, did I feel stupid. So, I did what any fool would do and asked him to take a photo with me and he did. :)
Robert and I were giddy. Both laughing and jabbering like jays in the sunshine.
Then, we ran into some people that Robert knew. I never run into anyone I know, but somehow, he runs into some of his peeps. And we chat with them for a bit and they're like "Dude...you have press credentials. How on earth did you get them?
"Well...I'll never tell."
And I turn to Robert and say "Well, I'm going into the convention. I'll see you later." And he follows me to the gate to get me shots of entering into the arena.
Right now, Mark Warner is speaking.
DNCC in Denver - (My 2nd Day in Hell)
There are more police in Denver than I've seen in some time. All the cops from the suburbs are working over the crowds downtown. They're wearing full body armor and carrying 46 oz. MK-46H Oleoresin Capsicum pepper spray - the "Riot Extinguisher". They're carrying arm-loads of blue plastic handcuffs. They're toting modified M4 Carbines with orange stocks, converted to fire pepper balls. Wearing full riot gear and carrying long black batons.
A tight formation of helicopters passes overhead. One is a Black Hawk Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). One appears to be a five-blade main rotor Russian Mil Mi-8 'Hip' helicopter. These are the same helicopters that infiltrated the city in June, when they lied swore it had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention.
"The training has nothing to do with preparations for the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Denver in August." - Special Operations Command Lt. Nathan Potter - June 18, 2008
August 25, 2008
Secret Service Impersonators
I was on Blake Street, between 14th and 15th, taking pictures of a security checkpoint at 14th Street.
Two guys walked up and asked "Would you mind not taking pictures of that checkpoint for security purposes?"
Although the war on photography is real, I'm pretty sure that the design of the gate was not classified. Nor had I traveled back in time to the Soviet Union.
"Who are you?" I asked?
"Secret Service," one of them replied.
"Really? Can I see your credentials?"
They flashed me the badges they were wearing around their necks, which mentioned something about the DNC, but did not resemble law enforcement I.D. in any way.
"Did you get those from a Cracker Jack box?"
Whatever interest they had in me was short lived, and they continued walking south-west down Blake Street toward the gate, while I yelled an obscenity at them and continued shooting pictures.
This wasn't the first encounter I've had with somebody claiming to be law enforcement; in fact, the other one was at the same intersection nearly 15 years ago.
In retrospect, I wish I had followed them, and informed the uniformed Secret Service officer manning the checkpoint about these two wanna-bes. A few years ago, 20 year old Lacy Miller was murdered by a police impersonator. Such behavior should not be tolerated -- it represents a threat to both officers and civilians.
If you know either of these two wannabe jack-holes, please report them to the Denver Police Department and/or the Secret Service.
The war on photographers is merely softening us up for the war on sketch artists,
followed by the war on people who can sort of draw,
the war on people who pause to look at things closely,
and eventually, the war on people who look up.
Quixotic on July 11, 2008 at 4:09 AM
Those Wacky Democrats
The nuts at the DNC have already arrested at least one person. When a hunter tried to check into a hotel in downtown Denver with his firearms in a case, they arrested him and charged him with possession of a concealed weapon. This is just a red herring of course. Do you think they would have let him check in with the weapon slung over his shoulder? No. Of course not. The 2nd amendment is as useless to the Democrats as tits on a bull. They don't believe in the right to bear arms and if they have to ignore the second amendment, then so be it.
Viva La DNCC
Last night, after his speech at Red Rocks, I watched Senator Ken Salazar climb into a 2008 black GMC Yukon Hybrid with a huge "HYBRID" sticker on it, lest you miss that fact somehow. But the curious thing that caught my eye was his license plate. At first, I thought it was a Cuban license plate, as it appeared, from a distance, to resemble the Cuban flag. Granted, it was dark, and I'd been drinking, but it was an eye-catching license plate.
So then, today, I'm trying to find out what sticker I need to have printed up for my fake press credentials, and I google the DNCC and suddenly I'm looking at that same logo. To me, it looks a lot like the Cuban flag. But what do I know? Click on the image above and you tell me if it looks like the Cuban flag.
Green Sunday at Red Rocks in Morrison
My neighbor told me that the Democrats had some special concert going at Red Rocks tonight and I was so stupid....I was like...I think I'll go.
She's like..."um...I don't quite know how to tell you this but...it's for Democrats...like...you can't get in. Security will be tighter than a frog's ass"
And I'm like..."Aha. A challenge. I love a challenge."
And she doesn't get it. Not many people do. But my deal is...I can walk into anything. Any event. Any concert. Any sporting event. I don't care how clever you think their security is...I can beat it. I've done it my whole life. I have Todd Wooten to thank for it. He taught me the secret.
I've walked into Stanley Cup finals games. Walked into professional baseball games...football games...air shows....it doesn't matter.
My deal is that, if you say I can't get in...watch out. Because I'm a' goin'.
So, I thought that I could get into the concert tonight at Red Rocks. Boy, was I wrong. I had no idea how tight security would be. But then, you have to figure...they're not going to let just anyone in.
August 24, 2008
Creating spherical panoramas
After playing with PhotoCoblle (Photosynth) this weekend, I got more interested in creating some spherical panoramas. So, I'm going to do a little research to try and create some. This web page titled Creating spherical panoramas looks like a good place to start.
Photosynth or PhotoCobble?
I spent this weekend playing with Microsoft's much ballyhooed Photosynth program, the first prototype of an application that uses Microsoft's Seadragon rendering engine to display images on the web. Unfortunately, Photosynth is a very rough Beta at this point and seems to be heading off on the wrong path.
There are a lot of comments that the product needs the following:
* the ability to specify a starting point image
* the ability to give app hints on how the images connect
* the ability to link one synth to another synth
* a preview before upload
* an option to abort the upload if synth% is too low
* more reliable upload/publishing
* better error handling
* an option to view the log file
These are all much needed, no doubt. But the greatest let-down in my opinion is that the app doesn't make any attempt to construct a virtual 3d world from the images. All it really does is show a progressive series of flat images that have been photo-cobbled together.
What I wanted, (since you asked), was to have the software assemble the images into a 3D virtual world that the viewer could spin around in 360 degrees endlessly, and then zoom to any point for a closeup. (Like this, for instance.)
What we get is something much different than this.
I made a lot of different photosynths this weekend. I followed the directions in the video tutorial and in the Photosynth Photography Guide (the directions are markedly different). I tried standing in the center of the room and spinning 360 degrees, taking a frame every 15 degrees. I tried standing in the corners and blanketing the room from each corner, and also from the middle of the walls, as instructed.
My hope was that the software would then seamless stitch the images together and create a 3D virtual world where the viewer could fly though with a mouse like they were riding a flying carpet. I was, of course, in for a Microsoft scale of disappointment.
Instead, (if it works at all), then for every position where you stood and pivoted to shoot pictures, you now have inadvertently created a unique physical location that a Photosynth viewer must navigate to in order to see those images. Argh!
The PhotoCobble team has managed to drag all of the limitations of meatspace into virtual world.
There should not be a separate movement from one "shooting position" to the next. Zooming in on a photo and movement should be one-and-the-same. In the virtual world, it doesn't make sense to separate the two. When I zoom into a photo, it is (or should be) the exact same as moving in that direction. Then, when I turn to the right, I should see what is on my right. I should be able to spin 360 degrees, and not hit the end of the photostitched panorama.
I find walking from point to point awkward, counter-intuitive, and tedious.
The goal should be to stitch the images into a viewable model using something like QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) . Until then, I'm going to look for something else. This Beta version of PhotoCobble is too aggravating to play with any further at this point.
August 23, 2008
Updated Photosynth of Jen's Rooms
I finished hanging the sheetrock in Jen's bedroom(s) tonight. Cleaned up in there a little as well so it doesn't look so horrible. I ran out of mud, so I'll have to pick up some more tomorrow. And I've still got some work to do on the corners. But I'll work on them some tomorrow. I wanted to do one outside corner and see how it turned out. (It's not like I know what I'm doing, after all.)
Obama Picks Biden
Obama has chosen Senator Joseph Biden (D-elawhere) as his vice-presidential nominee.
For decades Biden has been at the forefront of the war on drugs, supporting new prohibitions against methamphetamine, Ecstasy, steroids used by athletes, and other new drugs as they became popular. Biden wrote the legislation that created the position of a national "Drug Czar", and his Anti-Drug Proliferation Act provides 20-year prison sentences for club owners, concert promoters, and people who throw parties in their home, if "drug use" takes place in such settings.
He wholeheartedly supported the actions of federal agents in the Waco standoff, and visibly sneered at witnesses in Senate hearings who questioned agents' acts. He was a key proponent of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994, which banned some kinds of semiautomatic rifles, with a sunset provision that allowed these weapons to become legal again ten years later.
August 22, 2008
Microsoft has this cool new application called Photosynth. If you shoot multiple images of a subject, Photosynth will then magically stitch the photos together into a 3d world that you can view online. For instance, I've attempted to shoot some photos of the remodel I'm doing to Jennifer's bedroom.
If you want to create your own photosynth, read the Photosynth Photography Guide first.
If you have any problems uploading your photosyntch creations, check your log file located at:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp\Photosynther\filename.log
At the end of the log, I get the message "Collection completed (x% synthy), but isn't avialable for viewing yet". Hmmmm.
Update: I've posted some of my bugs here.
2008 Democrat National Convention Schedule of Events
7:00 pm OPENING FLAG BURNING
7:15 pm PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE U.N.
7:20 pm Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
7:25 pm NONRELIGIOUS PRAYER AND WORSHIP - Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton
7:45 pm CEREMONIAL TREE HUGGING - Darryl Hannah
7:55 pm Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
8:00 pm HOW I INVENTED THE INTERNET - Al Gore
8:15 pm GAY WEDDING PLANNING - Rosie O'Donnell
8:35 pm Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
8:40 pm OUR TROOPS ARE WAR CRIMINALS - John Kerry
9.00 pm MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SADDAM AND HIS SONS - Cindy Sheehan and Susan Sarandon
10:00 pm ANSWERING MACHINE ETIQUETTE - Alec Baldwin
11:00 pm Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
11:05 pm COLLECTION FOR THE OSAMA BIN LADEN KIDNEY TRANSPLANT FUND - Barbara Streisand
11:15 pm FREE THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS FROM GUANTANAMO BAY - Sean Penn
11:30 pm OVAL OFFICE AFFAIRS - William Jefferson Clinton
11:45 pm Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
11:50 pm HOW GEORGE BUSH BROUGHT DOWN THE WORLD TRADE TOWERS - Howard Dean
12:15 am TRUTH IN BROADCASTING AWARD - Presented to Dan Rather by Michael Moore
12:25 am Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST
12:30 am SATELLITE ADDRESS - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
12:45 am NOMINATION OF Barack Hussein Obama- Nancy Pelosi
1:00 am Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST To Obama
1:30 am Ted Kennedy PROPOSES A TOAST To Hillary Clinton
1:35 am Bill Clinton asks Ted Kennedy to drive Hillary home
August 21, 2008
Change You Can Believe In
Click on the eerie communist propaganda image above to see what we have today, and what change Obama will usher in.
Michael Phelps Returns To His Tank At Sea World
ORLANDO--Fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist and SeaWorld main attraction Michael Phelps returned to his seven-million-gallon water tank Wednesday to resume his normal schedule of performing in six shows a day for marine park crowds every day of the week.
Phelps, the 6'4", 200-pound aquatic mammal, and the first ever SeaWorld swimmer to be raised in captivity by foster swimmers (Mark Spitz and Dara Torres), was recaptured by trainer Bob Bowman in a hoop net baited with an entire Dutch apple pie following Phelps' final Olympic event last Sunday. Phelps was then tethered to the rudder of a container ship bound for St. Petersburg, guided down local waterways, and introduced back into his home habitat, the tank in SeaWorld's 5,500 seat stadium, known to park officials and visitors alike as "Phelps' Happy Harbor."
August 18, 2008
John sent me a link to the LiveScribe website today.
It looks pretty slick. I'll have to show it to Jennifer tomorrow.
August 16, 2008
Speeding Up Movable Type
Movable Type is so painfully slow that I can't live with it any more. It takes much too long to post entries, comments, etc. I'll see if I can get this to work faster, but this was one of my main goals in upgrading....to get MT to run faster, and I'm not there yet, obviously. Either it's got to get faster, or I'm going to jump ship and go with a different software program.
I went and deleted a bunch of my Index and Archive templates. I'm not sure if that was slowing me down or not, but I'll try anything at this point.
No, that didn't help. MT is still as slow as molasses in January any time I try to post.
Now, I've deleted a bunch of garbage out of my Main Index template, hoping that it would help. Nope. It still takes forever. Sucks.
I deleted my Apache logs, to see if that would make it any faster.
I cleared out the Movable Type activity log (Tools - Activity Log - Clear Activity log).
This person seems to be having some performance problems with MT as well.
Here are some benchmarks for the MT without fastcgi, with mod_fastcgi, and mod_fcgid. It looks like mod_fcgid is faster.
August 15, 2008
Upgrading Movable Type 3.2 to 4.2
Today, I'm going to try to upgrade to release 4.2 of Movable Type from 3.2. So the availability of the website may be a bit sketchy, but if it's down, I doubt you'll be reading this - none-the-less. Patience is a virtue. Good things come to those who wait, etc. etc.
First, I'll run another backup of the website because, my backups didn't run last night for some reason. I think that Allie is signing me off when she comes over, which prevents my backups from running. I'll have to discuss this with her at some point, but I digress.
August 14, 2008
Ignoring The Olympics
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one ignoring the olympics. First of all, I don't care about it. Not a whit. To me, the Olympics are less alluring than the state fair. When I did happen to skip across it on tv, they were playing Badminton for Christ's sake. Badminton! Like...Lord God that's not a sport, any more than say croquet or horseshoes.
When I lived in Dallas, this shyster came to town promoting how he was going to make croquet into a big, legitimate sport and have competitions played in big arenas with a national audience. He suckered all these businesses into giving him barrels of money and then disappeared and everyone was left standing around saying, "A croquet tournament? How in tarnation did we fall for that? "
I'm not saying whether they play horseshoes or croquet in the Olympics. I don't know if they do or don't and it really doesn't matter. There's nothing any gayer than athletes in training all around the planet for years playing badminton.
Aaron, Cindy, and I were musing on this somewhat last night. They were complaining about the uber-gay synchronized diving marathon and I mentioned that beach volleyball isn't a sport. We decided that any "sport" where most people would normally play with a beer in one hand can't be considered a legitimate sport. Downhill skiing, ok. Fair enough. But ping pong? Come on!
Unfortunately, I'm sure getting the Olympic committee to agree to drop the biathalon, ping pong, and badminton would be next to impossible so then I came up with the alternate idea of having the athletes compete in the raw. "Nude Olympics" would certainly draw a bigger audience, at least for women's volleyball. But then, I went home and discovered that someone else had already thought of the Nude Olympics.
C'est la Vie.
Books For Kids
If you're looking for suggestions of good books for kids, you might want to try checking out the Books For Kids blog.
August 13, 2008
Lynne Russell - Bone Ugly
Lynne Russell used to be an anchorwoman at CNN's Headline News. She was as ugly as homemade sin. I quit watching Headline News because every time I saw her face it made me cringe. I'd forgotten about her until I saw this smoking hot chick on CNN today named Robin Meade.
And I was like...thank God they finally axed that old hag. I'd totally repressed her memory until I saw Robin and then her old haggard face came back to me like a bad dream.
I figure that pretty much anyone can read a teleprompter, so I personally, would much rather watch someone hot read the news than some old battle axe.
Where I come from, they'd say Lynne wa's "bone ugly", as in "beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone". Ughhh. I'm still shuddering.
Canon EOS-40D for Astrophotography
This dude takes the 40D to the extreme with an trick astrophotography setup.
Bigfoot Carcass Recovered in Georgia
Some rednecks claim to have discovered a Bigfoot carcass in the woods of Northern Georgia. Logically, they then shipped it across the continental United States to the San Francisco Bay peninsula. No one knows crazy like the San Francisco Bay area, right? So, in any event, his body is under wraps but there will be a grand unveiling of the body at a press conference in Palo Alto on Friday. I'm betting it's some viral marketing campaign like the Montauk monster.
Jon Voight and Glenn Beck on Obama
In case you missed it, Jon Voight was on Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News show last night. He outs Obama for being a Marxist and skewers Hollywood for going along with it hook, line, and sinker.
Transcript in the extended entry.
I checked on Bud's bluebirds today. I checked them a little more closely to make sure that they are, in fact bluebirds. They're still in there, but I think that they'll fledge any day now.
August 12, 2008
Perseid Meteor Shower
Last night was the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower. I set up my Canon EOS 40D on a tripod with the Sony laptop driving the camera via a USB cable. I programmed it to take a 30 second exposure at 35 second intervals with ISO set to 1000 and the aperture wide open (f/4.0). I had the camera transfer the image to the laptop via USB. I ran an extension cord out into the yard to power the laptop, and for the camera, I just used a battery grip that doubles the number of batteries in the frame.
Then, I shared the laptop files over my wireless LAN and monitored the results from inside the house. I know. I'm a geek. Can't help myself.
Then, I set my alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. and went to sleep, praying that it wouldn't rain. I got up at 5:30 and broke everything down. Tonight, I looked at my images, and I did, in fact, manage to snap a few shots of meteors.
I used a program called JPGVideo to convert the .jpg images into a video. However, some of the deep sky photos seemed somewhat underexposed, so I created an action to increase the brightness and contrast on some of the images using Adobe Photoshop CS3 in batch mode. Here's a Photoshop Batch tutorial I found useful. Finally, I used Windows Movie Maker to merge the .avi files and add the Pink Floyd soundtrack.
If, for some reason, you can't get the YouTube version to play, or if you just want to see a higher resolution video than the one on YouTube, try this (10 megs).
August 11, 2008
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus).
The Choke Cherries are Ripe :)
When the choke cherries are ripe, the mule deer show up. I was down there today with my crow call when I spied this one. He's gorging himself in preparation for mating season, and then the long winter ahead. The photos I shot aren't great because he's hunkered down in the thick stuff, and I can't run him out, even with my ATV. I got very close to him, so close that I was afraid he'd charge me. Finally, I decided to leave him be, as I've been charged before, and it's not fun.
More photos in the extended entry. Click on images to enlarge.
My brother just got back from a trip to the Bahamas with sister and her family. Here's a video of him landing a stud bull dolphin which is a quite a beast. Not sure who was on the gaff, but they did a good job of getting a large fish in the boat. Believe you me, when a big fish gets up to the boat, a lot of bad things can happen. I've seen a man's leg after a gaff went through it, and when a big fish spits a hook, there's usually a lot of eyes and faces around.
Update: Apparently, it was Steve's cousin Bobby on the gaff. Jonathan was grumbling that Bobby double-gaffed it, but my thought is that Bobby got it in the boat, and that was a large fish. I'm not sure I'd want to be shoving a steel hook into the side of a 52 pound fish and then have to lift it 3 feet into the air to get it into the boat. I say 'Well done, crew. Good show!'
Obama Announces Choice for VP
Breaking news....you read it on Peenie Wallie first....Obama has chosen Reverend Jeremiah Wright as his Vice-presidential candidate.
August 10, 2008
Obama Channels McCain
Although Obama initially went with the can't we all just get along Demo-liberal drivel, apparently he heard what McCain said and decided to play follow-the-leader. Now, he's condemning Russia and supporting Georgia, our ally. To be fair to Obama, it's hard to be overly concerned about world affairs when you're hanging out on Kailua Beach on Oahu.
After his gloomy depiction of America, maybe he he should stay there and let someone competent run the country. ;)
August 9, 2008
Diana - Roman Goddess of the Hunt
Here's Jennifer with a bow and arrow she got one Christmas. She hasn't played with it much, but apparently they shot a bow and arrow at horse camp, so she had some renewed interest in the thing. The bow she's shooting is a Barnett Lil' Banshee 32" compound bow with a 21" draw and a draw weight of 18 lbs. The arrows are 26" fiberglass practice arrows with plastic fletching. Unfortunately, she needs some new arrows, so I may order these for her.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Colorado Chipmunk (Tamias quadrivittatus).
Update: Not a Colorado Chipmunk, as the lines don't go through the face. This is most likely a golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis).
August 8, 2008
Bud has a second nest of bluebirds that are about ready to fledge. The mother laid 4 eggs, but only three of the eggs hatched, and then one baby died last week when it was so hot up here. So, right now, there are two babies in the nest that look healthy and happy. My best guess is that the babies are approximately 18 days old, which means they should fledge within the next 4 days. Now, if only we could think of a way to keep the Corvids away...;)
Update Although I initially assumed that these were Western Bluebirds, I now believe that they are Mountain Bluebirds. The reason for this is that Bud discovered a deceased mature male Mountain Bluebird in his window well. Also, I noticed that there does not appear to be a father feeding the babies. This leads me to believe that the mortality of one of the chicks last week was possibly due to starvation, in addition to the extreme heat.
Obama calls for Peace In Our Time
Russia invaded Georgia yesterday, and Obama called for "All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.â€?
I love this. Columns of tanks are rolling into Georgia, and Obama's saying, essentially, "Can't we all get along?" It's like he's channeling Carter/Dukakis/Chamberlain all at once.
McCain, on the other hand, said Russia should should "immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.â€?
McCain could make some points here by telling the Russians to get out of Georgia or we'll cut off all trade with them on Labor Day, while Obama politely asks the French to draft a strongly worded resolution.
Jennifer is off at summer camp this week, and it's the first time she's been away on her own, away from home, as it were. Her letters to Timmy and me seemed upbeat, but apparently she told her mom that was sad at night and missed her parents, which is to be expected, I suppose. She gets back tonight, and of course, I can't wait to see her. I've not seen her since we got back from Florida.
August 7, 2008
Warning Spyware Detected On Your Computer
Lord God, I got ahold of a nasty computer virus yesterday. My desktop was changed to say "Warning Spyware Detected On Your Computer" and some nonsense like that. I followed the directions here and got it removed after much handwringing. At the end of the day, I have installed an additional software program called Spywareblaster, which provides additional protection against spyware. Spywareblaster doesn't have to be running as a TSR to work apparently. You configure it to protect each brower (IE, FireFox) and restrict site access, and then shut it down. It's free if you update it manually, or you can set it to update automagically for a fee.
Update: In response to Alice's question, I was never 100% sure what the name of the virus/trojan was that infected my PC. I know how and when I became infected, but I was never able to pin down the exact name of the beast.
I've posted more details in the extended entry.
August 6, 2008
The Cry of the Gray Fox
It's summertime in the Rockies. Since no one up here has air conditioning, we all sleep with the windows open. With the houses opened up, noises come out of the woods at night that will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Mountain lions and bears are occasionally uninvited summer house guests in the hills, so I keep several guns loaded in the corner.
Last night, I was half-asleep on the couch when I heard a gray fox crying in the distance; A haunting sound that reminds me of how lucky I am to be living this close to nature.
As the sound grew louder, it occurred to me that it was probably a female fox crying for her kits, and she appeared to be heading in my direction.
When I was younger and more foolish, I used to wade into the forest out back with a 12 gauge, a spotlight, and a camcorder. But it's hard to manage all of these at night with only two hands and after I was nearly gored by a mature male mule deer, I gave up such foolish ventures.
So, last night, I contented myself to leave the arsenal in the corner, and the camcorder on the shelf, and sweep the surreal matte of twisted nature out back with a spotlight from the safety of my redwood deck.
Mountain lion kills dog
This happened about 5 miles from my house, as the crow flies.
Mountain lion that seized dog is caught, killed
IDLEDALE â€” Sunday night was hot â€” so hot that Scout slept on the floor at the foot of Mack and Jacquie Anderson's bed while Sam snoozed in a nearby chair.
Scout, a 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, and her close buddy, Sam, a 3-year-old chocolate Lab â€” enjoyed the cool air flowing through the screenless, open French doors.
Sometime between 4 and 4:30 a.m., Jacquie Anderson heard a scuffling and got up to see whether Scout was having a seizure.
"I was a foot from something that was more than Scout," she said.
In the dark, she made out the shape and turned to Mack and said, "There's an animal in here. It's a mountain lion."
Her voice may have startled the mountain lion, which picked up Scout and ran.
The lion â€” a 130-pound male â€” ran through the yard and jumped a 6-foot fence with the 72-pound dog in his mouth.
August 4, 2008
Death of Pete "Bubba" Raiteri
I don't know what made me think of it, but I was wondering whatever happened to Bubba. The last time I saw him, he was living in Eugene, Oregon. This was in the fall of 2003. He was living in Section 8 housing and doing what he always did to try to make ends meet. At the time, he told me he was going to move to India, to stretch his Social Security Disability payments. He had researched it all...he was going to live in some little hippy commune in the south of India that is apparently a favorite place for westerners to go hang out if they're wanting to drop out and disappear and taste the Eastern religious influence.
Apparently, he did make it to India, but he passed away in 2004, so he must have been in India for less than a year.
Democrat Energy Plan
August 3, 2008
Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies at 89
Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who exposed Stalin's prison system in his novels and spent 20 years in exile, has died near Moscow at the age of 89.
The author of The Gulag Archipelago and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, who returned to Russia in 1994, died of either a stroke or heart failure.
The Nobel laureate had suffered from high blood pressure in recent years.
Odds are though, you've never read the Gulag Archipelago, never read the Puzzle Palace, never heard of the Con Son Island Tiger Cages, and you think the TSA is a fine organization. Go back to sleep, comrade. All is well.
August 2, 2008
We just returned from a vacation to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. I shot approximately 2,500 images over 8 days in July of '08 with a Canon EOS 40D and two different lenses. One lens is an image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM). The larger lens is a Canon L-Series image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with a 77mm circular polarizing filter and an ET-83C hood.
I've posted some of the shots as a 31 Meg (5:25) Adobe Flash slideshow(vacation.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (vacation.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, etc.
I had to ask for help in identifying the seagull. Turns out it is a "second winter Laughing Gull".
Click here to view the other slideshows.
The soundtrack is House Of Cards, by Radiohead off of the album "In Rainbows". Lyrics in extended entry.
August 1, 2008
OK, I admit it. I took Jennifer and ran away to see her cousins and visit the the beach. I'm back now, trying to dig through a pile of email.