July 29, 2010
Parting Shots from Rocky Mountain National Park
Above: Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja linariaefolia).
Above: Aspen Sunflower (Helianthella quinquenervis).
Above: Mountain Harebell (Campanula lasiocarpa).
Above: Little Pink Elephants (Pedicularis groenlandica).
Above: Tall Chiming Bells (Mertensia ciliate). Family: Borage.
Above: Dwarf Sunflower (Helianthus pumilus).
Above: Colorado Blue Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
Above: American Pipit (Anthus rubescens).
Above: Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina).
July 28, 2010
More photos from Rocky Mountain National Park
Above: Mule deer fawn near Morrison, Colorado.
Above: Stellar's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) near Estes Park, Colorado.
Above: Golden-mantled ground squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis) near Estes Park, Colorado.
Above: Golden-mantled ground squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis) near Estes Park, Colorado.
Above: Male Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides).
Above: One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon virgatus asa-grayi). Figwort family.
Above: One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon virgatus asa-grayi). Figwort family.
Above: Looking west toward the Continental Divide from Moraine Park near Cub Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Above: One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon virgatus asa-grayi). Figwort family.
Above: One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon virgatus asa-grayi). Figwort family.
Above: Sulphur Flower (Eriogonum umbellatum). Buckwheat family.
Above: Fireweed (Chamerion danielsii), formerly Chamerion angustifolium. Evening Primrose family.
Above: Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia ampla). Aster family.
Above: Russian Thistle (Salsola tragus). Chenopodiaceae family.
July 25, 2010
Rocky Mountain National Park
Above: Bee Balm (Genus: Monarda).
Above: Male Mountain Bluebird in breeding plumage.
Above: Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia ampla). Aster family.
Above: Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis).
Above: Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium).
July 24, 2010
S.L. said she wanted to go up in the mountains so we drove up Mt. Evans today.
July 23, 2010
"Little Bird, Little Bird" Performed by Elizabeth Mitchell
At the end of a new Futurama episode released this week, they had a clip of this song and I liked it, probably just because I'm not getting enough sleep lately.
July 22, 2010
Linksys BEFW11S4 Router
I can't get port forwarding to forward incoming RDP requests to Jennifer's new computer. I told her computer to allow incoming RDP connections. Turned off her firewall also, even though I shouldn't have to.
And when I go to this website, it says the port is closed. Just maddening.
Oops. I remember now. I have to change the listening port on her computer.
1. Start Registry Editor.
2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
3. On the Edit menu, click Modify, and then click Decimal.
4. Type the new port number, and then click OK.
5. Quit Registry Editor.
I had to reboot it after this to get the port to open up, but it's open now, baby!
Above: Foxgloves (Genus: Digitalis).
July 21, 2010
Above: Male Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus).
July 19, 2010
There are no stars in the sky
A Russian poem:
One can bear anything - the plague, hunger, misery, and death.
But one cannot bear the German.
We cannot bear these fish-eyed oafs, snorting contemptuously at everything Russian.
We cannot live as long as these grey-green slugs are alive.
Today there are no books.
Today there are no stars in the sky.
Today there is only one thought -
Kill the Germans.
Kill them all and dig them into the earth.
Then we can go to sleep.
Then we can think again of life, and books, and girls, and happiness.
We shall kill them all, but we must do it quickly -
Or they will desecrate the whole of Russia and execute millions more people.
Russian Poem - http://www.kislenko.com/resources/russianpoems.doc
July 18, 2010
Woody Allen's "Annie Hall"
Book Suggestions for a 12 Year Old Girl
Jennifer and I just finished reading "Watership Down", aka "The Bunny Book". She really liked it, primarily because it was about rabbits, I think. She also liked "Freddy Goes to Florida", "Runaway Ralph", and "James and the Giant Peach".
She liked the book "Holes", and we read a lot of the Narnia books together. She recently started reading "The Hunger Games" on her own, and loves it.
I'm kicking around for a new book we can read together and open to suggestions.
Whitewater Rafting and the Death of Scott Lancaster
Jennifer and went whitewater rafting today down Clear Creek in Idaho Springs.
Every time we go, I'm reminded of the tragic story of Scott Lancaster. In 1991, at age 18, he gained notoriety for being the first person killed by a mountain lion in Colorado in recorded history.
"Scott Lancaster, 18, was killed while jogging just a few hundred yards from his high school in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The lion dragged the 130 pound boy 200 yards uphill before killing him, evidenced by the uprooted vegetation along the way. The lion was found feeding on his body three days later. This is the first death ever in Colorado from a lion attack."
This time, however, our guide told us about something I'd missed in the news. Apparently, Arkansas Valley Adventures had a pretty major incident last month. Some female was guiding a "Beginner" rafting trip down Clear Creek in high spring runoff in June and missed the takeout point at Kermit's Roadhouse. By missing the takeout point, they then entered the most challenging section of the canyon (from Idaho Springs to Golden along US Highway 6).
At some point near mile marker 259 (near Tunnel 6), they went over a pretty serious rapid (reportedly a 15' to 8' drop depending on who you believe), flipping the raft. One 13 year old girl was swept downstream approx 1/2 mile, missing for some time, located, and eventually rescued. Guide Ryan Daniel Snodgrass was arrested in the process for either rescuing (or attempting to rescue) the girl.
You can't really imagine how cold the water was. They said it was 42ºF. It was cold.
I don't think we went last summer, but it seems like we went in 2008. I dunno. Hard to recall. The photo above is from 2007. The photo today didn't look much different, and at $45.00, I decided I could pass.
The Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit
Kenosha Pass and the Fort Pitt Tunnel
Above: Showy Penstemmon (Penstemon spectabilis).
Jen and I took the scenic route back from Breckenridge yesterday, crossing over Hoosier Pass and then Kenosha Pass. It just fascinates me how she's not managed to figure out the names of the mountain passes yet. Yesterday, I asked her the name of the pass we were crossing (Kenosha) and she had no clue. Wasn't sure if we were on the continental divide or not. So, I laid it all out for her (again). But this time, we stopped, got out, and took some photos.
The thing that's unique about Kenosha pass is that, when you cross it heading toward Park County, you suddenly explode out of the mountains onto this enormous plain. It's a singular experience. In fact, the only thing I can think of that's even remotely close to it is going through the Fort Pitt tunnel on the way into Pittsburgh. And if you've never done that, well you should. That's all I can say about that.
So, yesterday, we stopped and got some photos and hopefully next time she'll remember Kenosha pass.
Above: Fairy Trumpet (Ipomopsis aggregata).
Above: Jen and I saw a few American Coots (Fulica americana) swimming around up on Kenosha Pass yesterday. These birds are not technically ducks, as they don't have webbed feet.
July 15, 2010
More Bees in the Hood
Is it too long now?
Yeah, so...I don't have a of photos of me recently. I'm usually the one behind the lens, as it were. Here's a shot that Carol pointed out to me from when Wendy and I went to Santa Fe. Seems like a long time ago now, but as brother says, "fun flies when you're serving time".
Anyhoo, I was turned down for a local contract because my hair was too long and I "look like a hippie". Kinda funny because I thought Denver was supposed to be a pretty hip, "laissez faire" type of environment. But, it won't be a problem any more.
I did it myself because I'm too cheap to pay someone and I'm like...how hard can it be?
Besides, half the time I'm outdoors I'm wearing some sort of helmet (motorcycling, chainsawing, weed-eating, you name it.) And, if I have a helmet on, you can't even tell.
OK. So it doesn't look great. I'm no Telly Savalas after all. It'll grow out. I hope.
More Canon Repair
Today, I finally broke down and called Canon and told them I had some equipment I had to ship them. They thought I was a dealer for some reason. Here's what I'm returning this time:
1) Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens [Serial Number: 94002817]. Purchased 11/17/04 from Cameta Camera 8400 New Horizons Blvd Amityville NY 11701. I'm getting the following errors on this lens with my frames:
• EOS 20D - "Err 99"
• EOS 40D - "Err 99 Shooting is not possible. Turn the power switch to
and again or re-install the battery."
• EOS 50D - "Err 01 Communications between the camera and lens is faulty. Clean the lens contacts."
This lens has been repaired three times before by Canon. If y'all can't fix it, then please just throw it in the trash because I'm tired of sending it back. I returned this lens to Canon for repair twice last year (in May 2009 and and November of 2009). It has been giving me errors since I got it back from the factory. Was told by Canon it would be repaired under warrant since it has been repaired every six months since I've owned it, practically.
2) Canon EOS 40D [Serial Number: 0820511950]. Purchased 10/29/07 from PCNation425 Huehl Road Bldg 5 Northbrook IL 60062. I'm getting the error message "Err 99 Shooting is not possible. Turn the power switch to
and again or re-install the battery." I get this message with the EOS 40D and all three of the following lenses:
• Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens [Serial Number: 305394] (This lens works with my 20D & 50D).
• Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens [Serial Number: 4112910645] (This lens works with my 20D & 50D).
• Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens [Serial Number: 94002817]. (This is the broken lens (see above). It won't work with my 20D, 40D, or 50D)
3) Canon Speedlite 580EX. [Serial Number 562135]. Purchased from BuyDig.com on 4/7/2007. There is a piece sheared off of the base where it mounts onto the camera frame.
Of course, it sucks because, not only will it cost me a lot of jack, but now I'm without the use of a lot of my equipment for an undetermined period of time. Bummer.
I write like Kurt Vonnegut
There's a link going around called I write like.... I put in one of my short stories ("The Unsung Hobo") and it said I write like Kurt Vonnegut. :)
Defeating Adobe Updater
I've tried many things to get rid of Adobe Updater. It's constantly nagging me to update something that I care nothing about. I'd like for it to shut up. To go away. But nothing works. Now, I'm going to try this.
- Open Adobe Reader by clicking on its desktop icon or selecting it from your Start menu.
- Select "Edit" from Adobe Reader's menu.
- Click "Preferences," located at the bottom of the "Edit" drop-down.
- Choose "Updater" from the menu on the left to open options specific to the Adobe updater.
- Select "Do not download or install updates automatically." Click "OK" to close the "Preferences" screen. Adobe Reader will no longer check for updates.
Oh for the love of God I hope this works.
July 14, 2010
Nice Driving, 004PYM Colorado
Vaunne called me today and told me some genius had run off of High Drive in broad daylight in ideal weather conditions, so I hustled down there and got some shots.
I dunno how stuff like this happens. In the snow, I might could understand something like this. But in broad daylight in ideal weather conditions? How? Somehow, she got all of the Cadillac Escalade's airbags to deploy (front, side, you name it). It has expired plates, for whatever reason (April 2010).
I'm not clear what the story was, but JeffCo Sheriffs department was first on the scene, then the Highway Patrol. Three tow trucks showed up, but the cops waved them all off. Apparently, this person is well-connected and they "lawyered up" when the state cops showed up, so they weren't letting just anyone tow the vehicle. They wanted the vehicle and they got it. I managed to snap a few shots without going to prison.
Update: This looks like a late model Cadillac Escalade. This is the Third Generation GMT 900 (1997 - 2010). The MSRP on this vehicle ranges from $62,000 - $85,000. This one looks pretty tricked out
Nightmare on Blue Jay
Well, that was fun. Not. I decided to convert my home network over to the new Cisco Systems Catalyst 2900 XL switches, but I got a little confused in the process. What should have taken me about an hour ended up taking about 6 hours.
Partly the problem was that I wasn't clear where the cable from the modem connected into the Linksys BEFW1154 wireless router. The cable was labeled "Uplink", so I hooked it into the "Uplink" port on the back of the router, but it needed to go into the "WAN" port instead. Probably I just didn't pay close enough attention when I tore it all apart. Also, the "Uplink" port is shared with "Port 4", so if you use the "Uplink" port, you can't use Port 4, and vice-versa.
For several hours, I was completely down. As in...no email...no internet access...my web site was down...and my VOIP Vonage "Join the Revolution" phone was down. So, that kinda sucked. Not how I wanted to spend the day.
Eventually got it all sorted out, of course. But the day was a complete waste and I didn't get done hardly any of the things I wanted to.
July 13, 2010
Cisco Catalyst 2900XL Switches
I was tired of never having enough ports on my hubs, routers, and switches, so I picked up four of these Cisco Catalyst 2900XL Switches. (Technically, they are the WS-C2924M-XL-EN model.) And, now that I'm looking at them, I have no idea how they work. Wow. Not exactly plug-and-play I don't think.
These things have "24 fixed autosensing 10/100 ports".
SYSTEM LED - "The system LED shows whether the system is receiving power and functioning properly. Green = System is operating normally."
Hmmm. So far, the System LED is green. So far, so good.
RPS LED - "The redundant power system (RPS) LED shows the RPS status.
Off RPS is off or is not installed."
So, no RPS LED. Not a big deal. I'm not clear I need a redundant power supply at this point.
Port Mode and Port Status LEDs
Use the Mode button to change the meanings of the LEDs above each port. There are four
STAT The port status. This is the default mode.
UTL The current bandwidth in use by the switch.
FDUP The port duplex mode: full duplex or half duplex.
100 The port operating speed: 10 or 100 Mbps.
Changing the Port Mode
To change the port mode, press the Mode button (see Figure 1-6) to highlight in sequence
each of the possibilities. Release the button to enable the lit function.
Hmmm. Right now, the only Port Mode LED lit up is the STAT light. Hmmm.
OK. So, pushing the MODE button makes it change from STAT to UTL to FDUP to 100.
For STAT, FDUP, and 100, none of my 1X - 24X port lights are lit up.
For UTL, the 1X port lights up green.
I should mention that this switch has a large sticker on the front that says "10.251.1.5", which makes me think I'm going to have to change the switch's static IP address at some point.
There is an RJ-45 Console Port on the back of this thing. Hmmm.
I finally took a Cat-5 ethernet cable and just plugged it into the 1X port on the thing. At first, the 1X light turned orange. But now, it's green. It blinks occasionally. Interesting.
Actually, I have two lights that aren't described in this manual. They are above the STAT/UTL/FDUP/100 lights. They're labeled "1" and "2". At first, when I turned it on, the "1" LED was lit up green. Then, after a bit, it went off, and the "2" LED lit up green. Why? Dunno. No clue.
Then, I took another Cat-5 ethernet cable - the one that runs upstairs to my bedroom and plugged it into 2X, and at first, it didn't light up because I didn't have the laptop upstairs powered up. But I went upstairs and turned off the wireless card on the laptop and hooked up my ethernet Cat-5 and then booted up the laptop and was able to surf the internet.
I went back downstairs and looked at the switch and I see that 1X and 2X are both blinking green. So, I was worried I was going to have to reconfigure the switch, but it looks like it's working fine to me. Woohoo!
Is Bruce Webster Drinking the Kool-Aid?
Bruce cobbled together a little politically expedient list of emergency preparedness. It includes, among other things:
- At least two battery-powered or hand-cranked radios.
- At least one flashlight for every room.
- Several complete changes of batteries for the radios and flashlights.
- Buy a good-sized first-aid kit and pick up a practical book on first aid.
- But (sic) a book on home treatment of illnesses and other medical conditions.
It goes on and on. But it doesn't include some obvious things...matches, lighter, compass, knife, hatchet. OK. Granted, you could say "well, you can't expect him to get everything in a one page disaster preparedness guide." Well, true enough. But what about a gun?
A firearm is something that no person should ever leave off of an emergency preparedness list. You need, at a minimum, one 12 gauge shotgun and 10 boxes of ammo for it (250 rounds). An improvement on that would be to have 1 rifle, 1 shotgun, and 1 pistol, and a thousand rounds of ammo for each.
The gun can be used for self defense, for hunting, or just for peace of mind. There are a lot of valid reasons to have a gun on any day of the week, let alone in a disaster or an emergency.
This one critical element is so vitally important that you can't make a disaster preparedness list without it and expect to be taken seriously. If you leave the gun off, then there's no point in making a list. This glaring omission means that either:
a) Bruce is being politically expedient at your expense or
b) Bruce is a glassy-eyed liberal who truly doesn't understand how critical a firearm is in a disaster.
Either way is unacceptable. And it isn't like he shouldn't know better. He wrote an emergency preparedness book for Y2K, of all things: The Y2K Survival Guide: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem
I hope that I live near some liberal tree-hugging suckers that follow Bruce's advice. Maybe I should add a few things to his list like a bacon-stretcher, egg-popper, and a left-handed smoke-shifter and then distribute it to my neighbors. I'll stuff copies of "Bruce Webster's Official Emergency/Disaster Preparedness" lists into their mailboxes by the light of the moon. Then, I'll know for sure that if things ever do go south, my neighbors will have everything I need except guns and ammo. ;)
Recovering Data From Wiped Drive
I'm trying to recover data from a drive which has been "wiped". Presumably, it was reformatted, repartitioned, etc.
So, I stuck it into my desktop. This is an IDE drive set to use Cable Select. So, I put it on the cable connection a a few inches from the end. The master drive is on the end of the cable. I hit F2 and went into the BIOS and tried to enable the drive. Then, I booted into XP, but the drive didn't show up in Windows Explorer.
I went to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management. I see it there as "Disk 1", "Unknown", 74.5 Gig, "Not Initialized", "Unallocated".
I downloaded and installed Belarc Advisor, but this did precious little.
I downloaded and installed the trial version of DiskInternals Partition Recovery. It launched some wizard. I selected the 75 gigs of unallocated space. I selected "Full Recoryer" of "NTFS". It scanned through the 75 gigs in about 40 minutes and it found nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Then, I downloaded and installed Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery and started scanning for any lost drives in the un-partitioned space. It ran and ran but didn't seem like it was getting anywhere.
Then, I downloaded, installed, and executed Rebuild Partition Table. Right away, it told me that the lost partition format was not UNKNOWN, but FAT16. Surprising, but possible I guess. So, I let it go forward searching for lost partitions in the "interactive" mode.
Hmmm. Now I see...The first drive had a little 32 MB FAT 16 space in it. It's technically mapped to the G: drive, but It's not active. Dunno why its there. Also, at the end, it had a little 7 MB space hanging out there. Also not active. But now, I see that this is all on Harddisk 1. When I change to Harddisk 2, it says "Bad disk" and "Partition Table Error on Harddisk 2". Bummer.
Facebook Account Disabled
For some reason, Facebook disabled Jennifer's account. I'm trying to understand what happened, so I start trying to contact Facebook. Hahahaha. Good luck with that. Facebook does not have a customer support team, apparently. I looked everywhere on their website. It's not possible to contact the little hermaphrodites. No online chat support. No email address. No phone number. Nada.
Today, I broke down and called their corporate headquarters. The first option in their phone tree is "Press 1 for Customer Support" and I press 1 and I'm thinking...that's more like it. And, it tells you, "We don't offer customer support. Goodbye." I'm not making this up.
So I googled for about 2 days and finally found this.
If you go here and click "Expand All", you'll at least see where they admit it's possible they secretly deleted your account for no reason and without any notification. Nice.
July 11, 2010
Oddly, we ran into my sister Molly at the Renaissance Fair event. (That's her in the photo above. She's sort of in a soft focus, but she's the one with the coke bottle glasses and the smart little Fidel Castro army cap.)
I'm not clear how old these fawns are, but they're not weaned yet. I can tell you that much. I saw them both nursing on mom tonight. I actually jumped the fawns out of some very deep grass. Nearly stepped on them when they both bolted, ran up to mom, and immediately began nursing.
Above: Saw this bird perched today over Highway 85 near Sedalia, Colorado. I'm thinking it's a Red-tailed Hawk, but not certain. He appears to have a light colored belly with reddish-brown streaking "belly band". Dark eye probably would indicate a mature bird. He never flew, so I'm not clear what the wings look like (shape/markings). The tail does not appear to extend very far past the wings, so I'm thinking Buteo as opposed to Accipiter. The tail looks a little off to me, though. I don't see the prominent sub-terminal black/white band, and it does appear that there is some banding in the tail. Could still be a Red-tail though, I suppose, as they do have more prominent banding when immature. Even mature birds can have a light banding as well. I dunno. Based on the location, I'd say it's more likely to be a Red-tailed or Swainson's, as opposed to a Sharp-shinned/Cooper's/etc.
Update: Confirmed that this is a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).
July 10, 2010
Above: Male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) in breeding plumage.
Above: Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) near Larkspur, Colorado. Although the Prairie Falcon looks similar to the Peregrine Falcon, the facial "whiskers" on the Prairie Falcon are much more slender facial markings on the Peregrine Falcon. The bird has dark armpits which indicate it is a Prairie Falcon.
Above: Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii).
Above: Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica).
Fawning Over Fawns
Above: Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).
July 9, 2010
Above: Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).
Above: Male and Female House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus).
Above: Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis).
Above: Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).
Above: Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus).
BP Spills Coffee
Immature American Robins?
Jen and I saw these two birds today sitting on a barbed wire fence in a field near Morrison, Colorado. There was an American Robin nearby, which made me notice the resemblance (i.e. beak, wings, overall size, etc.) Are these birds possibly immature American Robins?
Update: Confirmed that these are young American Robins. :)
Maintain Zoom Level Across Multiple Photos
"Does anyone know of any software that runs on a PC which will allow me to zoom in on a photo, and then change photos while maintaining the current zoom level?
For instance, if I take 20 photos of a small bird, I'd like to be able to zoom in on the bird, and then flip through the series of photos without having to re-zoom in on each picture. Sounds simple enough, right? But you can't do it with Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
I shoot a Canon EOS 50D, and I have this functionality in the camera. I can zoom in, and then scroll through all of my photos without ever losing my zoom level. Why can't I do this in Windows?
Each time I change images using Windows Picture and Fax viewer, I have to zoom in all over again which kills me. I tried installing Canon's Zoom Browser, and I figured out how to zoom in on about 4 photos at once, so I can zoom in on 4 at the same time, which is slightly better, but again, if I click to go the the next photo, it throws away my zoom level and I'm zoomed out again when I change images.
If you know of any software that will do this, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks."
Update: Thanks to Ludvig, we have a winner! Ding! Ding! Ding!
I shoot a lot of images (26,000+ so far this year), and if you're shooting birds, you want to know "how does this image look, compared to the other 20 I shot of the same bird". With the other software I've found, this is impossible to know. I want to zoom in very tight on the beak or the eye and blow through 20 images, without having to rezoom in on each image.
The answer is Cam2PC: http://www.nabocorp.com/cam2pc/
I downloaded and installed the freeware version of Cam2PC and it does exactly what I'm looking for. I did a Right-Click, Options, Viewer, Display Properties, Uncheck "Auto-Center", Select the "Zoom Lock" radio button. Then, zoom in/out using +/-, drag photo around with the mouse, and go through the images with Page Up/Page Down. I'm surprised people aren't screaming for this feature in other browsers, especially in the age of digital photography.
Update 2: We have another contender. You can also do this with IRFanView as follows:
1. Open the first image.
2. Zoom to the desired level.
3. On the IrfanView menu, Select View - Lock Zoom (Shift+L)
4. Select View - Keep Scroll Position (no keyboard shortcut).
5. Browse other images.
Update 3: OK, well, now that I've tried using both IRFanView and Cam2PC to view multiple photos with the zoom locked, I have to say that Cam2PC beats IRFanView hands down. Why? Because it's faster. It zooms faster. Changes photos faster. Cam2PC is the way to go. It's insane. I can't believe I lived this long without it. Kicking myself now.
Immature House Wren?
Jen and I spied this little critter near Morrison today. I think it might be an immature House Wren (Troglodytes aedon).
We saw this tiny perching brown and white bird this evening near Morrison, Colorado. It has a long, thin, straight bill (presumably for catching insects). The bird appears to be light brown on the back with a white/buff breast. Now that I look at it closer, it appears to have light banding across its tail. Is this possibly an immature House Wren?
Update: This is an immature House Wren (Troglodytes aedon).
July 8, 2010
The Birds and the Bees
It's another rainy, cold July morning when I step outside at one in the afternoon. I come out onto the patio and birds just explode from the feeders. Why? I'm not clear. It's still early yet. I'm trying to focus. Trying to pull my thoughts together. Trying to separate dreams from reality.
I couldn't know what flavors of birds they were. I saw at least one woodpecker, which is odd as I don't have any suet cakes up just now.
And now something comes back to me. A dream. A memory. I can't be sure but it settles on me quickly. Last night there was something at the window. Something scraping the feeders and knocking over the trash.
I remember it now. And it wasn't a dream at all. Not really.
Something is scratching at the window and I roll out of bed with a Colt .45 in one hand and a flashlight in the other. I throw on the outside lights and swing open the front door to confront lord knows what. Come on, you bastard. Let's go. Stop tearing down my bird feeders or I'm going to shoot you so full of holes I could read a newspaper through you by the light of the moon.
Something's moving out there. The trash cans are turned over and the feeders are swinging. Are those eyes looking back at me? Or an illusion. Am I awake or am I dreaming?
The flashlight starts to fade. Why is it that the flashlight or the gun never works right when everything really hits the fan? Why is that?
July 7, 2010
"America: The story of us"
"America: The story of us" is described as "an epic 12-hour television event that tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented". I dunno about that, but there are parts of this television series that I like. It uses computer generated graphics and re-enactments to bring a lot of stuff in the history books to life. Plus, it sort of takes inventions and shows how they impacted history. It's fast moving so you don't get bored by all of the little trivial details. It does a good job of painting the birth of America with a broad, albeit somewhat liberal brush.
It's widely panned for the quotes from celebrities explaining U.S. history. Like, just because they're on the cover of Cosmo...I'm not clear that that qualifies them to tell me about history. Would prefer to hear it from historians, not a bunch of glassy-eyed liberals.
They pretend that the War of Northern Aggression was fought over slavery. It wasn't the Civil War was a war over the rights of the states. Abraham Lincoln said the South could keep their slaves if they'd just stay in the Union. The Civil War started in 1861. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn't issued until 2 years later in 1863, freeing the slaves in the South - where Lincoln had no jurisdiction, but not freeing the slaves in the North, where he clearly had jurisdiction.
So, a bunch of hogwash around the civil war.
Then comes the Trail of Tears. Much hand-wringing over this, of course. I'm not saying what we did was right, necessarily, but everything has to be judged on the merits at the time that it occurred. The Native Americans were a Stone Age primitive culture of savages. They fought each other tooth-and-nail over territory all of the time. They'd just never been up against an adversary that was packing gunpowder and small pox. So, they lost. As they say, war is hell.
In WWII, they demonstrated that they clearly don't know the difference between an M1 Garand and an M1 Carbine.
But, if you can get the Hollywood celebrities foaming-at-the-mouth pacifist, apologist, revisionist propaganda, there are parts of it that are fascinating. The creation of the Bessemer steel mill in Pittsburgh by Carnegie. How we used the steel to build Manhattan and the railroads. The invention of the telegraph. All fascinating and fast paced. Very cool when they stick to the facts and don't editorialize.
Rebels / Revolution - Episodes 1 & 2
Westward / Division - Episodes 3 & 4
Civil War / Heartland - Episodes 5 & 6
Cities / Boom - Episodes 7 & 8
Bust / WWII - Episodes 9 & 10
Superpower / Millenium - Episodes 11 & 12
Above: Clustered Penstemon (Penstemon confertus procerus).
Above: Great Mullen Or Velvet Dock (Verbascum thapsus)
Above: Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor).
I got a couple of shots of this fawn and the mom before they climbed into the teleporter and disappeared. I went down there in camo again and followed where I saw them go and they'd vanished, once again. The bucks are down there, chewing their cud. Just looking at me like I'm retarded - out walking around on a cold July morning. And I'm like...."I know you saw them...where did they go?"
The Ghosts of the Forests
"Deer appear, and they disappear. Yes, I do believe they have mastered teleportation." - Russ Chastain
I'm with Russ on this one. As improbable as it may seem, I think deer have mastered tunneling through the time-space continuum. Jen and I went out back looking for the fawns today, and it is truly maddening. Deer pop up and then disappear again like a whack-a-mole at the county fair. I dunno what's going on here, but I suspect it does involve time travel, worm holes, and the Black Hole of Calcutta.
We found 2 bucks and a doe or two out back, but no fawns. I suspect that, in addition to mastering time and space, the fawns have the added power of being invisible as well. Just maddening.
And Jen and I out there driving around on the four wheeler and I'm like...whatever you do, don't turn toward them or we'll be gored. I've been charged by one of those precious creatures and let me tell you...when they lower their racks and charge you, your life will flash before your eyes (assuming you live that long).
We've got a lot moving around up here this time of year. Elk, deer, bears, mountain lions, foxes, coons, skunks...I'm scared to open the door without a firearm. And somehow, Timmy moves through this world like he owns the place.
I'm out back mowing with a bushhog and Timmy comes marching out of the elephant grass with some prize in his mouth. I go after him because he's killed more animals this year than BP. He runs up under the 18 foot dual axle trailer and I dive underneath to try to save whatever he's captured. I'm thinking it's another chipmunk (he's killed two this week), or another Mountain Bluebird (he's killed 6 and counting), but it's just a ginormous field mouse so I leave him be and scamper back out from under the trailer.
Wendy assures me that he'll be killed, but I don't buy it. Timmy moves through the woods like he owns the place. He's two years old and hasn't ended up in another animal's digestive system so far. He's been treed before, but he's never been eaten. I think that says something. I think he's a winner.
July 6, 2010
Bluebird Trail - 7/6/10
Above: Male Western Bluebird from Box 3.
Box 1: Empty.
Box 2: Empty.
Box 3: Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana).
Box 4: Abandoned House Wren nest (Troglodytes aedon).
Box 5: Empty.
Box 6: Empty.
Box 562: Empty. The single Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) chick has fledged. I've recently noticed a Western Bluebird investigating this house. Apparently, this is now prime real estate since the field has been mowed.
Box 7: Five baby Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor).
Box 8: Empty. The six Mountain Bluebird chicks (Sialia mexicana) have fledged.
Above: Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis). This shy dimunitive bird prefers pines and coniferous forests. They've apparently built a nest or two out back this summer, as I hear his distinctive call every day. I hunted for them for sometime before I spotted them, as they're so small. When Jennifer finally spotted one, I took her for ice cream. I spotted this one on my own today and got a fairly decent shot of the tiny bird just before it flitted away.
His song sounds like this: Cordilleran Flycatcher song
Canon EOS 50D's Auto ISO sets ISO to 400?
This has been driving me nuts. On Canon's EOS 50D, when you're in the Manual (M) mode, you set the ISO speeds for the camera. Unless you use the ISO expansion, your options range from 100 ISO to 1600 ISO. And then, there's the old "Auto ISO" setting. If you choose that, then Canon sets the ISO to...wait for it....400 ISO. Seriously? WTF, Canon? Are you truly that stupid. That's what "Auto ISO" means? 400? Arrrgh.
Apparently I'm not the only one that's driven batshiat insane over this.
"As with the 50D, the 5D II's Auto ISO feature has taken a big step forward from previous implementations - toward what I've really been looking for. The lowest ISO setting this feature will choose is now ISO 100 - down from ISO 400 - in all modes except portrait, when flash is used and - in M (Manual) mode. Auto ISO selects only ISO 400 in these modes. As I've said before, the big remaining step is to make auto ISO work in M mode which would give us "Aperture and Shutter Priority" auto exposure. I want to lock in the aperture and shutter speed and let the camera determine the ISO setting needed to correctly expose the images. In the auto ISO functional modes, the camera attempts to select a shutter speed that is handholdable for the focal length selected. Image stabilization and subject motion is not accounted for - a limitation to be aware of.
MS Outlook Rules "on behalf of"
This was driving me nuts. I'd get these stupid spam emails into my MS Outlook 2003 inbox and they're always from some random email address "on behalf of" someone else. Total spam, and I could tell at a glance that it was junk email, but I could never figure out how to write a Rule in MS Outlook to tell it to ignore these stupid messages. Why? Because the email address was different every time and I just couldn't figure out how to write the rule and I wanted to start killing strangers.
Then, I found this site and they said how to do it.
Go to Tools - Rules and Alerts - New Rule - Start from a blank rule - Check messages when they arrive. Click Next.
It will say "Which conditions do you want to check". Step 1: Select condition(s).
Scroll down until you find "with specific word in the message header" (15th item down for me). Check the box beside "with specific word in the message header".
The bottom box is labeled "Step 2: Edit the rule description". Click on the hyperlink "specific words" and enter the text "on behalf of" (without the quotes). Click next or finish and you should be done. :)
July 5, 2010
The Rocky Mountain Barracuda
I'm out back on the redwood deck drinking coffee in my underwear, staring over the dying gasps of a mortally wounded campfire. We got a good rain last night and the birds are flitting about like mad in the 68 degree morning.
This is my dawn.
I'm out here watching and listening to the birds. House Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, Western Bluebirds, Cordillera Flycatchers, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Crows, Ravens, Magpies, Stellar Jays. Many others I'd don't recognize.
The woodpeckers and nuthatches scramble up and down the forest's trunks, picking at the insects that would infest the pine trees.
The shrill scream of a Red-tailed Hawk shatters the morning air. Only it's not a Red-tail, but a Stellar Jay imitating the hawk for reasons only he can know. A bluff to run off the songbirds? One can only guess.
As the piercing cry of the faux hawk fades from the land, a reddish brown blur flashes across the forest floor. This animal moves through the trees like nothing I've ever seen and now it's gone and I'm wondering what I just witnessed.
Nothing moves through the woods like that, really. The closest thing I can think of was reeling in a Strawberry Grouper in the Bahamas when a lightning fast Barracuda ate my fish. Seeing that fish moving through the ocean at 50 mph left an indelible impression.
That's the closest thing I can think of. The rare and elusive Rocky Mountain Barracuda.
July 4, 2010
4th of July
Here's a slideshow of some shots from the 4th of July at the neighbor's place.
The images were all captured with a Canon EOS 50D with a Canon image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with a Canon BG-E2 battery grip on a tripod with remote shutter release.
The images are compiled into a 9 Meg (4:26 Adobe Flash slideshow(2010_4th.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. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (2010_4th.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
The soundtrack is "Trip Like I Do" by The Crystal Method.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
July 3, 2010
When Words Escape
When words escape, flowers speak.
- Bruce W. Currie
Bluebird Trail - 7/3/10
Above: Box 1. I was surprised to find a White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) squatting in Box 1. I'd seen him hanging around recently, but this bird was just hunkered down in the birdhouse and did not appear to be building a nest. This box previously contained a decoy House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) nest, which I removed.
Not shown: Box 2. This box is currently empty. It previously contained a decoy House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) nest, which I removed.
Above: Box 3. A breeding pair of Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) are currently building a nest in this box. Today I moved this box to a separate post wrapped in tin to prevent predation. The Western Bluebirds were confused at first, but quickly resumed nest building. Previously, this box contained 5 baby Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides) which were killed by a predator.
Not Shown: Box 4. This box has an empty House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) nest. According to the neighbor's kids, these chicks were killed by our cat Timmy,
Not Shown: Box 5. This box contained a Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) nest with eggs, but was abandoned, possibly due to predation. Today, I removed the abandoned nest and eggs.
Not Shown: Box 6. This box is empty. It previously contained a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) nest with 3 eggs, but was abandoned. Possibly due to predation.
Above: Box 562. This box contains one healthy happy Mountain Chickadee chick (Poecile gambeli). The other eggs in the nest did not hatch for whatever reason.
Above: Box 7. This box contains 5 healthy Tree Swallow chicks (Tachycineta bicolor).
Above: Box 8. This box contains 6 healthy Western Bluebird chicks (Sialia mexicana).
July 2, 2010
Above: This photo shows Jennifer driving Michelle through the jungle out back on a four-wheeler. The grass is so deep you can't see the ATV.
When Jennifer's here, she's here, but when she's gone, she's gone and it's hard to get out of bed when I wake up early someday morning. I lie in bed trying to think of a reason to get up. Eventually, I tell myself that I'll get up and mow the grass. And it needs mowing. It is July, after all. The grass is 3' - 4' high and, if I'm going to mow it, there's a fair argument to be made that now is the time.
So I crawl out of bed and shuffle out to the barn and start moving things around to get the mower out for the first time this year.
I blow out the air filter with some compressed air and check to make sure it's got oil in it.
I check the blades and they're so dull it's hard to know which side to sharpen. So I pull the blades and sharpen them on the bench grinder. I'm no blacksmith, but I can put an edge on a mower blade and after a few minutes, I've sharpened them fairly well but when I go to reattach them, I remember that there's an issue with one of the blades.
I'm hard on the mower. Let's be honest. I'm pulling it behind an ATV in 1st gear and the mower tends to find stumps that the ATV never knows. Last year I managed to actually bend one of the spindles so that one of the blades is sort of cock-eyed and spins at an angle outside of the normal parameters.
So I decide I'll go ahead and tear it apart and see if I can fix it. I pull the part and put in in a bench vice but eventually I convince myself that it's damaged beyond my ability to repair it so I call Hank.
44" Swisher Trailmower
I finally decided to try to mow the back. Last year, I hit a stump which threw one of my blades out of whack pretty good. It bent the bracket that holds one of the blade spindles onto the bushhog. So, today I decided to pull it off and take it up to Hank to see if he could fix it.
He fixed it and I slapped it all back together but then my belt broke, which is another deal altogether. So, I'm going to have to order a new belt I guess.
My mower is the 44" Swisher Trailmower with the 11.5 HP B&S engine (Swisher Model# T11544 Serial # L107-136120) that I ordered from Northern Tool & Equipment in June of 2007. (It was shipped it on June 18, 2007).
Looks like the T11544 parts I want to order are:
Part No: 4220 "Belt 74" ($26.40). This is a 74" x 1/2" belt.
Part No: 9018 "BLADE DRIVER"
Additionally, I may need the following:
Part No: B98 'BEARING'
Part No: 9076 '4.25" SHAFT'
Part No: B99ECTK 'BEARING HOUSING'
Update: I picked up a belt locally which seems to be a perfect fit. It's Oregon - Outdoor Equipment Parts - Premium Aramid Cord Belt - Part No. 75-474 - 1/2" x 74".
Update: 0n 6/27/14, I decided to order new tires. Northern Tool and Electric doesn't carry them. They told me to call Swisher at 1-800-222-8183 and tell them it's for
Item Number T11544. Well, I guess....that's the mower number. For the tire/wheel assembly, it's Item Number: 15 for the TIRE/WHEEL assembly, or Part Number: F44157LV.