April 30, 2009
April 29, 2009
And you thought you were having a bad day...
Saw this driving into work this morning.
Windows Explorer Search Bug
I never could figure out why Windows Explorer Search worked intermittently. All I knew was that sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't. I quit using it years ago because I knew it was unreliable, and it bugged me, but not enough to ever figure out what was wrong with it. I used the UltraEdit search instead. Or, in a pinch, I'd use MS Word to search for files (File - File Search). But today, the client had me painted into a corner. I couldn't install UltraEdit on my desktop and I couldn't find a file that I needed on their server. The bug had already bit me once last week and I decided I'd had enough. The time had come to solve the problem once and for all.
Open your registry and find or create the key below.
Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value:
and set it to 1.
Value Data: (0 = default, 1 = all file types)
Exit your registry. The change will take effect immediately.
I did this and it fixed my problem immediately. The post I found is from 5 years ago. Microsoft sucks.
April 28, 2009
I talked to Scott tonight as he lived in San Diego for years and he said I should go to Del Mar, which I did.
April 27, 2009
When most of the world is running scared and freaking out about the "Whine Flu", I walked across the border into Mexico to check things out for myself.
The photo above is kind of funny with the border fence going into the ocean. This was one of the main reasons I went into Mexico. I wanted to see if the fence went into the ocean. Logically, it sort of has to, but obviously, it had to end somewhere as well. So, this is sort of the compromise of where the wall meets the ocean. I've actually never seen a photo of this before. So, there you have it. A photo of where the U.S. border fence meets the beach.
Note the old fence on the immediate shoulder of the road. Note the new border fence in the background that zig-zags up the hill. The new fence is much more substantial, obviously.
Birds on the Feeder
Saw these birds on Wendy's feeder this weekend. The birds shown are a a male Evening Grosbeak (above),a male Crossbill, and male and female Downy Woodpecker.
Weekend Soccer Games
Jennifer had soccer games on Saturday and Sunday. (Notice she got her hair cut.)
I took Allie and Jen to the Denver Zoon on Friday. They didn't have school because the teachers needed a day of rest, apparently.
April 26, 2009
This red fox came trotting through the back yard while we were preparing dinner Friday night. Somehow Slinky sensed that he was out there and she ran outside through Timmy's cat door and scared him off.
April 25, 2009
Old School Candy
Jennifer is going to Texas in a week or two for a much needed vacation. I told her to look closely at the candy for sale in the south, as it's somewhat different than what we're offered here in Colorado. What started me thinking about it was when Roger tossed a Longboy in with our beer purchase on Manor street in Austin last week. So, I was trying to tell her the candy I used to eat as a kid and told her to be on the look-out for the following:
- Bit o Honey
- Mary Jane
- Slap Stix
- Sugar Babies
- Sugar Daddy
April 23, 2009
I went to La Jolla today to try to go into the cave, but they were already closed when I got there. Bummer.
According to this site, the flower above is a Red Desert Flower, but just for clarification, it's a bloom on a tree. What's wild is that many of these trees have no leaves on them at all (at least not yet). So you see these bare trees everywhere in San Diego covered with these enormous bright red flowers. Looks like something Dr. Seuss would have drawn.
April 22, 2009
The Mexican Border
Tonight, I drove down to the border with Mexico to see what I could see. I really wanted to get a shot of where the Mexican border fence goes into the Pacific Ocean, if such a place exists. I'm not 100% clear if it does or not. In theory, it should, but for some reason, I have a hard time imagining a beach with a razor wire fence across it, dividing the world into the have's and the have not's. I'm not an open border advocate. Don't get me wrong. But it's just hard to imagine a place where people are drinking margaritas on the beach, and behind them is an 18 foot high razor wire fence where they're auctioning off children in a 3rd world bazaar just a few meters away.
But maybe that is the case. I'm not clear.
So I drove across the Coronado Bridge, past the North Island Naval Air Station, and south along the peninsula on State Highway 75. Past Hotel Del Coronado. Past the US Naval Amphibious Base Coronado to the south end of Imperial Beach where the Black Hawks were swarming like horseflies at a swimming hole.
At this point, the road ended and although I was technically at the beach, I found myself on the north side of the Oneonta Slough (pronounced 'oh-nee-AHN-tah slew') and the Tijuana River estuary.
I asked some surfers how to get to the Mexican border and they suggested that I drive south on Hollister. So, I skirted along the northern border of the Imperial Beach Naval Outlying Field, and eventually found Hollister and headed south.
Presently, I found myself at the edge of the Border Field State Park. The signs said "No Vehicles Beyond This Point". So, I got out and started walking. I saw lots of border patrol, of course. And the helicopters were swarming overhead like bees on a crab apple tree, I kid you not. But, I figured that I wasn't breaking any laws and I just proceeded like I knew what I was doing. The road I was walking down made a big loop and basically took me right up to a group of 4-5 border patrol agents on four-wheelers around a campfire, believe it or not.
The skies are really gray here because the "May Gray"/"June Gloom" has set in where the clouds roll in off the ocean. So I guess they had a fire for warmth. Either that or to warn the illegal immigrants of their position so they wouldn't have to waste a lot of energy chasing them through the Oneonta Slough.
So I walked up to the Border Patrol and told them I wanted to get a shot of where the border fence goes into the ocean.
"They haven't finished that part yet. It doesn't go that far." One of them replied.
"Well, not the secondary fence, anyway," he clarified.
"How far do you reckon it is down to the beach?" I asked.
"About a mile."
"Well, I probably wouldn't make it before dark then. I don't suppose you'd give me a ride down there on your four-wheeler, huh?" I asked.
But they said they couldn't so I returned to my car without getting the shot I wanted. I did snap some photos of the border fence, with Mexico in the background, but it was pretty low light and the focus is pretty soft.
In this last shot, notice how the international border divides the image almost down the middle. The lights on the right show all the development on the Mexican side of the border. The darkness on the left side of the image shows the lack of development on the U.S. side. Which side of the border you're own when the sun goes down is up to you.
April 21, 2009
La Jolla, California
Probably I'm the last person on Earth to figure it out, but "La Jolla" is pronounced "La-HOY-ah". Who knew?
For those of you playing the home game, these are sea lions (not seals). Sea Lions have visible external ears. Seals do not. Thanks for playing.
April 20, 2009
I escaped the blizzard and made it safely into San Diego today. This morning, while I was booking all my travel, the power went out again and I was like "ARRRGGGHH!" I was ready to get out. I drove to the airport and two hours later, I was in San Diego, perched on the Pacific Rim in 88 degree weather. Nice. :)
April 19, 2009
The Blizzard of 2009
Power has just been restored to my house (approximately 6:30 p.m. MDT Sunday April 19th, 2009). We got 4-5 feet of snow over a 48 hour period and have been without power for 2 1/2 days.
I returned from Austin a day early because I didn't want to get trapped in Texas and be away from my home. So I flew back Thursday afternoon and picked up Jennifer at around 5:30 p.m. We ran to the grocery store and stocked up on food and then headed up to the house as it started to snow.
Thursday evening, Wendy came over with Sydney and Meagan as the snowstorm settled in. We cooked dinner and the kids played, but of course, we had idea how bad the storm would get. The power went off on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. But what saved us, if anything, was that we had the following:
- plenty of food and bottled water
- lots of flashlights
- lots of spare batteries
- lots of candles
- lots of matches
- lots of lighters
- a wood burning stove
- lots of firewood
- a propane grill
- lots of propane
- two four-wheelers full of gas (one with a snowplow)
- two jerry cans full of gas
- two trucks full of gas
I drug the gas grill from the redwood deck, through the house, and onto the front covered patio (out of the snow) and we were able to cook meals on the gas grill outside. The wood-burning fireplace kept us warm enough.
We melted snow in pots on top of the wood-burning fireplace and poured the melted snow into a large plastic bin and siphoned it into the the back of the toilets with the aquarium siphon so the toilets would flush. We took all of the food out of the freezer and the refrigerator and threw it out in the snow.
I ran the ATV to plow some driveways for four hours on Friday, but it was hard to keep up with the snow and eventually, I gave up.
All day and all night, we heard the sounds of mature ponderosa pine trees groaning, creaking, and finally snapping beneath the weight of the heavy spring snow. During the day, you could hear snow mobiles driving around the neighborhood, but no snow plows were running. Or if they were running, they weren't running anywhere near my house.
The hardest thing about not having electricity is that I can't walk by a light switch without turning it on. Can't stand in front of a sink of dirty dishes without trying to turn on the water. It's really amazing how little we can do up here without electricity. You can't open the garage door. Can't flush the toilets. The cat's electric litter box doesn't work. My Vonage Join-The-Revolution Voice-Over-IP-Phone doesn't work. The pumps that circulate the hot water through my baseboards don't work. No phone. No computers. No refrigerator. No freezer. No email. No faxes. No cell phones (cell phones have to be charged and the cell towers only worked sporadically). No internet access.
And without all of that, you sit around and think - People used to live like this. It really is hard to imagine. I mean...you could do it, of course. But I felt so isolated. So cut off from the outside world. The kids ended up building forts and playing back gammon and playin in the snow, of course. They were fine.
And I'm not sure that the experience hasn't taught us something. I'm not clear that having a generator would make things any better. The kids learned how to siphon water. They learned how the commodes work. They stepped away from their computers for a few days.
Jennifer's mom called and the conversation went something like this:
Jen: "Did it snow there?"
Mom: "Yeah. We got a lot of snow. About 2 1/2 inches."
Jen: "We got 6 feet up here and the power is out."
Mom: "Do you want to come down the hill? We have warm water and heat. You could take a bath. We can cook a hot meal inside."
Jen: "No. I want to stay here and stick it out."
So, overall, although we suffered some small inconveniences, the Blizzard of 2009 was a grand experience that few of us that experienced it will soon forget.
Update: This says we got 56 inches of snow, which sounds about right.
April 15, 2009
Austin At Sunset
Happy Tax Giving Day
Let Us Prey
"And quit bringing up our forefathers and saying they were civil libertarians.
Our founding fathers would have never tolerated any of this crap.
For God's sake, they were blowing peoples' heads off because
they put a tax on their breakfast beverage. And it wasn't even coffee."
If you're looking for a Tax Giving Day gift for a right-wing extremist, check out Bill Branon's Let Us Prey.
A friend of mine gave me a copy for my 25th birthday.
Looking for something easy to read earlier this month, I picked this up again after nearly 15 years. A sub-plot of the novel is a tax revolt, which -- minus the terrorist acts depicted in the book -- seems appropriate today. Except that Branon didn't predict the tax rebels would be appointed to high-level government positions.
April 14, 2009
Right-wing Extremists Against Obama
In case you missed it, Obama's Department of Homeland InSecurity released a hit-piece today warning about the dangers posed by unnamed "right-wing extremist" organizations recruiting war veterans returning from Iraq.
Of course, CNN snapped it up and ran with it, breathlessly gasping over images of McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing. They were talking about Ruby Ridge and wondering aloud how the "right-wing extremists" had stayed out of the spotlight for so long.
Fox News was just laughing at what a joke it was that the DHS was attacking conservatives. Unfortunately, I don't consider the politicization of the DHS to be a laughing matter.
I for one, am not hiding. I'm conservative. I supported Ron Paul in the caucus. I voted for McCain in the general election. And I own guns. Lots of them. I'm right wing. You might even say I'm an extremist. So, DHS, let's see what you got. Let the illegal investigations of private citizens that own firearms begin.
See you at the Tea Party, komrade.
April 13, 2009
I'm back in Austin. I just can't tell you how much I like this town. But I like it a lot. I drove around a little after work to try to re-orient myself with the town as I've not been here in about 5 years. I went by Quack's and ate dinner at Hoover's with John, Roger, Randy, and their dad. I can't believe I've been away for a half a decade. Life slips by so quickly.
April 11, 2009
Jennifer won her soccer game today, 4-2.
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) incubating eggs near Morrison, Colorado.
Second winter Laughing Gull(Leucophaeus atricilla) on Pensacola Beach, Florida. August 2008.
View other bird photos.
April 10, 2009
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) near Morrison, Colorado.
View other bird photos.
I'm rereading Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. It's a nonfiction book written by Edward Abbey while working as a park ranger in Arches National Monument (now Arches National Park) back in the early '60's. Although the book is largely a tree-hugger eco-friendly tirade against development and commercialization, I remember reading it and enjoying his description of the desert around Moab. Now that I've actually been there, I want to go back and reread it while the experience is fresh in my mind.
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) near Morrison, Colorado.
Looks like Instapundit has finally discovered Conjugal Harmony where "The nagging stops when the bars slam shut." Haha. Classic. I found it over a year ago when the UN was investigating MedicalAdoptions.com, but it's still funny.
April 9, 2009
I took Jennifer to soccer practice today and a lot of the kids weren't there, so I played goalie for a while. Then the sun touched the mountains so the kids were bathed in that low-angle sun and I grabbed my camera and shot this photo of Keely.
April 8, 2009
A banded Canadian Goose (Branta canadensis) stretches his wing on a small island in Lake Evergreen.
Yes We Can Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia
April 7, 2009
Use Axe Responsibly
Apparently, kids are using the Axe Body Spray as a flame thrower. Apparently, they haven't tried using cans of Off or spray paint. I think it will work with any aerosol can. But don't sue me if it blows your hand off. I'm not saying it's safe. With all the stunts we pulled as kids, I think that it's a miracle we lived to grow up.
Apparently, Axe is taking this seriously. Click on this link and then click on Use Axe Responsibly and then click on Huffing. Classic.
Debunking Old Wives Tales
Male Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).
View other bird photos.
Rare megamouth shark caught, eaten in Philippines
Fishermen in the Philippines accidentally caught and later ate a megamouth shark, one of the rarest fishes in the world with only 40 others recorded to have been encountered, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday.
Hmmm. I think I see a trend here:
Extremely Rare Bird Sold for 20¢ and Eaten
April 6, 2009
Windows Update Problem
Every time I turn off my laptop, it indicates that it wants to apply a Windows update before it shuts down. The message I get when I turn off the computer is "Click Turn Off to install important updates". But I have no clue what it's trying to install, and it's obviously not working because it tells me this every time and is never applied.
I downloaded Qfecheck.exe.
To look at the windowsupdate.log. I clicked Start - Run and windir%\windowsupdate.log.
I found the following message in the log: "Update is not allowed to download due to regulation."
Not sure what this means. So, I went to the Microsoft Updates website and tried to manually apply the critical updates.
Update: This worked. I clicked on Start - Microsoft Update and applied the critical patches manually and this solved the problem.
Obama: I don't speak Austrian
Yeah. Well, no one speaks Austrian, as it turns out. Because the Austrians speak German you idiot. At least, the vast majority of them do and it's their official language. If you were a student of history, which you clearly are not, you'd know that Hitler annexed Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia under the premise that they were Germanic countries - that is - they all spoke the same language - German.
If Bush had said something this stupid, the press would be having a field day with it. But instead, Obama-the-idiot gets a pass because well - he's the media's darling savior and even claiming that you've been to 57 states in the United States doesn't garner any media attention.
This guy came to my front door today. He claimed he was selling magazines for a company in Golden. I saw him through my peephole first. Then, I noticed there was no car in the driveway. So, I'm not clear what the game is here. I've seen stories about vans of people going around the country selling magazine subscriptions, however, so I'm wary of them.
Especially since the guy is selling them in the middle of the day and people up here work for a living. Everyone I know is down the hill busting their butts trying to make ends meet. Either that, or they're retired. So, my role here is neighborhood watch.
I went after the guy with an AR-15 and a 30 round magazine and a Canon EOS 40D with a 400 mm lens.
"Shouldn't you be in school?" I asked him.
"I'm through with school," he answered. That's gangster-speak for "I dropped out." I learned that living in Mississippi. When someone graduates, they say "I graduated." When they dropped out, they say "I'm through with school" or "I'm not in school any more."
When I tried to take his photo, he immediately turned away and put up his hoodie, which obviously makes me more suspicious. If he's legit, then why does he keep turning away from the camera and putting on his hoodie?
He went to Bud's house and Mark's house and eventually, I cornered him at Bob & Vaunne's. I got some good shots of his face and told him to clear out. Neal came out and saw the guy and spoke to him also. I told Neal I thought it was a scam.
The stranger told me to call the cops or leave him alone. I'm sure he saw my AR-15 and I told him: "We don't call the police, buddy. We take care of things a little differently up here. Now you'd best get your @ss back down to Aurora. Pronto. Comprende?"
The stranger started dog-cussing me and approached me to instigate a fight, but Neal shouted at him to leave and the guy reconsidered and left. I was very glad to have Neal there to back me up.
The stranger stormed away and lit up a cigarette. He started walking up the road toward Karl and Ruby's house, but it was too steep for him and he got winded and turned around and walked back downhill toward Jan and Len's.
I don't know what he got out of all of this but hopefully he understands that this is not a good neighborhood to be casing out. Note to criminals - I will use deadly force to protect my property. Stay out of our neighborhood.
Update: This is probably the scam in question: Great Lakes Circulation, Box 1833, Golden, Colorado 18333. Note that the address is a P.O. Box, not a street address.
Update 2: Apparently, this is a nationwide scam that operates under various aliases and local addresses.
Update 3: I think we have tentatively identified this guy as someone that grew up in the general area, but isn't in school and is possibly having a difficult time finding his way. If I'd known who he was, and if he was dressed in something other than a hoodie and baggie jeans, I might have been inclined to help him. Under the circumstances, however, I was not comfortable with him wandering through our neighborhood. If the kid is who we think he is, then I sincerely hope he finds his way.
(High res version of photo in the extended entry.)
April 5, 2009
Postcards From Moab
Wendy and I were trying to figure out a place to take the girls for Spring Break. We were thinking either the Great Sand Dunes National Park or possibly Moab. Moab had a better weather forecast so we ended up going there. I'm not clear how I've lived in Colorado for 15 years and never made it out there before, but Moab is a cool place. As in extremely cool. Think of the background of every Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner show you've ever seen.
Of course, I couldn't imagine going to Moab without the ATV's, so we trailered out two Honda ATV's. Now...for the record...I've ridden ATV's on the dunes at Pismo Beach in California and St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho and I promise you I didn't have any more fun than these girls did at White Wash Sand Dunes in Utah. The place was deserted so they could just ride until they were sick. Jennifer was actually singing as she drove around the dunes. She was singing "All around the vinegar jug the monkey chased the weasel..." Both girls agreed that driving the ATV's in the White Wash Sand Dunes was the highlight of the trip.
I shot most of these images in or around Moab, Utah from the seat of a Honda Rancher or a Chevy Tahoe with Wendy holding the wheel as we towed an 18 foot dual axle trailer. The photos were mainly shot in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Gemini Bridges, and White Wash Sand Dunes, although some of the photos were taken in other locations in western Colorado and eastern Utah.
The images are compiled into an 31 Meg (5:05) Adobe Flash slideshow(moab.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above.
These images were all captured with a Canon EOS 40D with a Canon BG-E2 battery grip. The short lens is an image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM). The long lens is a Canon L-series ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with an ET-83C hood.
If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (moab.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
The soundtrack is Where The Streets Have No Name by U2.
Lyrics in the extended entry.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
April 4, 2009
Home Again...Home Again...
We made it back from Moab today. Weather was fine all the way to Idaho Springs where we encountered wreck in the tunnel which shut down I-70. Only delayed us about 1/2 hour though. We made it back in about 6 hours, due to the delay. We're really getting socked in here at the house, but we got everything unloaded and it's good to be home, even if we are in the middle of another spring blizzard. :)
April 3, 2009
Canyonlands National Park
Today, we drove through Canyonlands National Park. We did a short hike in to view the Upheaval Dome, but then it got cold and started to rain and then started to snow really hard so we fled like battered women. Back at Moab, it cleared up though. Yesterday the weather was nicer than today, but it was still in the 50's most of the day.
April 2, 2009
More Moab More Better
Today, we drove through Arches National Park and hiked in to the Delicate Arch. Really indescribable. Breathtaking. After Arches, we trailered the ATV's to White Wash Sand Dunes where the girls (Jennifer and Sydney) had a field day.
April 1, 2009
We Made it to Moab
Here's a shot we took today on the way to Gemini Bridges on the ATV's. Our first trail ride went really well. The instruction I gave Wendy went like this:
"Have you ever driven a four wheeler?" I asked.
"This is the key to turn it on. This is the starter. This shifts up. This shifts down. It won't start unless you're in neutral. These are the brakes. Shift down to go up or down steep slopes. Got it?"
"What gear are you in?" I asked her.
"Zero. Right. We call that neutral. Follow me."
And, with that, we started up the trail. Basically, we took a dirt road up the face of a red butte. With no guardrail and a 1,000 foot drop on one side, we drove up the face of the mountain for about a mile. But then the trail dropped down into a valley and we rode in to the Gemini Bridges (a distance of about 8 miles). Occasionally, we'd stop for snacks or water. It snowed intermittently on the trail, but it was a nice ride and we all made it out alive.