September 29, 2010
September 26, 2010
Thirteen Minutes from Madison
Badger - Three Weeks Old
At this point, Badger is able to fly somewhat. He can get off the ground, and his wing feathers are much more pronounced, but I think he won't be ready to release for another couple of weeks, I'm guessing.
September 25, 2010
The girls played a great game today. I think that we were ahead like 4-0 when Jennifer fell and injured her wrist/thumb of left hand. That took us away from the game and to a Doc-in-the-box for x-rays. Everything seems to be fine. Sprained is all. So, in a splint for two weeks and then she should be as good as new.
September 22, 2010
Even a broken clock is right twice a day
"Even a casual reader of this space knows my view of George W. Bush. He backed illegal amnesty, deemed the middle class a rumor and spent money like a drunken sailor -- except, as Ronald Reagan said, "That would be unfair to drunken sailors." By any honest measure, Bush was our age's worst president -- till now."
"In 20 months, Barack Obama has outbottomed W. His 75 percent approval rating is barely 40. Like "stimulus," "health care" is such a dirty word the Left dare not proclaim its name. A Rasmussen poll asks Ohio who it wished were president: Shockingly, W. beats Obama, 52-44 percent. One cause is policy. Another: Increasingly, Obama seems cheap in a rude and snarky way."
Vintage BASIC is an interpreter for a programming language of days gone by. A time when every home computer had a simple language called BASIC, and every kid who owned a computer learned it. It is implemented in Haskell, a modern language very unlike BASIC. I constructed it as a way to demonstrate how Haskell's monads could be used to implement BASIC's dynamic control structures. This odd marriage has now produced a fully functional implementation of that old favorite.
Vintage BASIC is open source software, provided under the BSD license. It will run on any platform that supports the GHC compiler, including Windows, MacOS X, and Linux.
September 20, 2010
Andrew Breitbart Calls Out The Astroturfers
Photoshop CS5 Edit - Transform - Perspective
In Photoshop CS5, "Perspective" and "Distort" are grayed out under "Edit - Transform" if you're working with a Text layer. Maddening, of course. Makes me want to start Killing Strangers. Eventually I figured out that you have to rasterize the text layer. This sucks, of course, because now you can't work with the text anymore, but this is what Adobe thinks makes sense, apparently. So, just Right-click on the Layer and select "Rasterize Type". Then you'll be able to work with the text using Distort and Perspective.
If you're going to be dragging the text in using Perspective or Distort, you may notice some degradation of the text. Try changing from the default algorithm of Bicubic to Bicubic (Sharper). Go to Edit - Preferences - Bicubic (Sharper).
September 18, 2010
Sunflowers and Cosmos
Badger - Two Weeks Old
Above: Jennifer's pet quail flew today for the first time. He only got a few inches off the ground, but he did get airborne.
Obama's Recovery Summer
September 17, 2010
This is Insane
A climb up the tallest tower.
September 16, 2010
White House: Global Warming Out, 'Global Climate Disruption' In
This sound like a joke, but I think it's actually serious:
From the administration that brought you "man-caused disaster" and "overseas contingency operation," another terminology change is in the pipeline.
The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming
" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.
White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a "dangerous misnomer" for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.
September 15, 2010
I'm not clear how they got it, but the city of Shelbyville, TN is using one of my photos on their web page. The photo is from Shelbyville - it's a shot I took of Marty's barn taken on May 13, 2007. But I'm not clear how they even got the image. I'm trying to get them to give me photo credit, at least.
Above: Paul Filipowicz of the Madison Fire Tribe. Performances on Wednesday nights on the Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin Campus, weather permitting.
September 14, 2010
The Fortune Teller
Tonight, we went to a local Chinese restaurant and after dinner they brought a couple of fortune cookies to our table. My dinner guest opened theirs first, leaving me without any options, as it were. So I opened my fortune cookie and I was like "ah....I think you left me the wrong one there, genius."
September 13, 2010
The Chocolate Shoppe Mural
I was hanging out down on State Street tonight with some friends and after dinner we wandered into the Chocolate Shoppe at 468 State St. The place has crazy good ice cream, but tonight I noticed the huge mural on the back wall for the first time. It took the artist a year to paint it. It's a pretty cool mural.
September 12, 2010
Above: Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors).
Above: Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis).
Above: Dark morph of a mature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).
September 11, 2010
Morrison Speed Trap Claims Another Victim
The pigs in Morrison, Colorado have a little racket going. They expanded their city limits just enough so that they could fine people for driving at safe speeds going up US 285 into the foothills. They sit there every day when the weather is nice, writing tickets like there's no tomorrow.
Of course, if it's dangerous out (i.e. rainy or snowy) then they're nowhere to be found. Even though the roads are more dangerous then, suddenly the pigs disappear and your safety becomes much less important than it was when the sun was shining, apparently.
One of the things pigs love to do is make little "emergency vehicles only" access between the opposing lanes of traffic so that they can turn around and go after people going the other direction.
This is the achilles' heel of the Morrison piggy speedtrap - that they could only get people going southbound and couldn't access the northbound lane due to a Jersey barrier that divided the traffic safely.
So, of course, the pigs got their way. They somehow convinced CDOT to cut a gap in the jersey barrier last week so that they could menace even more innocent citizens. Of course, what they didn't consider was how dangerous it would be to open up a gap in a well-placed jersey barrier without bothering to install crash attenuators.
Unfortunately, today their little cash-cow speed trap appears to have claimed another casualty. Someone coming northbound ran into the concrete jersey barrier.
Very sad day for humanity. Of course, the pigs of Morrison couldn't care less.
Aerial Photos of Wisconsin
I hardly have time to breathe I'm so busy these days. Every Sunday they're paging me at the Denver airport and every Thursday they're paging me at MSN (the Madison airport). Days are getting shorter, and very little free time to go out to shoot any more. Here are some shots from the plane. We tend to come in from the North of Madison over Deforest, WI. These photos are from that general area just north of Madison.
September 10, 2010
I learned this week that Georgia O'Keffeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. I was driving through town and saw a large plaque explaining this. Surprising to me because I'm just so naive, I think. In any event, I called up Brian out in Oahu and informed him of this. Just because, I thought he should know these things.
Brian wasn't aware of her roots in Sun Prairie, but he went on to explain that she was married to photographer Alfred Stieglitz and spent time with him up at Lake George in New York. Just over the phone, he's laying all this out. I'm like "how does he know this stuff?"
Oh man I wish I could try one of these....
America - The Story of Us
FYI - they're rerunning this series on the History channel starting on Sunday.
This is a very cool series. You should check it out if you haven't already seen it.
September 8, 2010
Fourmile Canyon Fire Consumes 135 Houses
Wildfire west of Boulder, CO has burned 6,800 acres and 135 houses so far.
JFK Debates Obama on Income Taxes
September 5, 2010
Hungry Bears Plaguing Towns
We've certainly seen a lot of bear activity this year, although I'm not clear that it's necessarily worse than previous years. They know when trash day is and they knock over the trash cans. They pull down the bird feeders. Break into the beehives. You know what they say - "Bears will be bears."
My Dog Skip
Jen and I are reading My Dog Skip, which I believe SL sent to us. Can't believe I've never read it before. I saw the movie when it came out a few years back. The book is a pleasant stroll down memory lane. My accent gets even heavier than you can imagine when I read this to Jennifer, as I'm reading it to her in dialog, using the accents of the people I grew up around. It's a brilliant book and if you haven't read it, you should pick up a copy.
September 4, 2010
Half-pint Weenie Roast
The girls wanted to roast weenies tonight, so I started them a fire in the fire pit out back while they rounded up some weenie-roasting sticks. They both said they'd never roasted weenies before, which is hard to imagine, but probably true somehow.
The Apple Store - Hell On Earth - Part II
"The Apple Store is to computers what Uganda is to space exploration." - Rob Kiser
This will be the final chapter on the Apple Store, as I will never set foot in that miserable store again, nor will I contact them in any way.
The Apple Store assured us that they'd have her iPod in the store by Tuesday, so today (Saturday), I told Jennifer to call them and see if we needed an appointment to pick it up. We have no way of knowing if they called her, as her phone is broken and we're working on fixing that as well.
She called the Apple Store and they asked if she took it to the "genius bar". Now, just so you know, there are no geniuses in the Apple Store. Only morons, dunces, and herds of Apple groupies. If they were geniuses, they wouldn't be working in a indoor stockyard beneath flourescent lights for $6.50 an hour. So let's start with that.
Eventually, this is what the "geniuses" on the phone told us (if you can believe it):
1) They don't know if they have her ipod in the store or not.
2) They don't know if they called her to say her iPod was available or not.
3) Without the little piece of paper that they handed to a 12 year old last weekend, they have no way of knowing that she even exists. They can't look her up by name, address, or phone number.
4) They have no way of seeing that we even came in the store for an appointment less than a week ago.
Then, the genius on the phone has the gall to say this..."if she didn't break her phone, she would have known if we called her" And I was like "Oh no. Don't you even. Don't go there. Her phone is broken. She didn't break it. It quit working. Don't assume that she broke it. I know that's the Apple way, but please don't go there."
They train those Apple minions well, don't they? These people don't know up from down. Can't look up and see if the sky is blue or not. But they know how to blame the customer for every single glitch in their miserable little world.
So, at best, driving to the Apple Store was a wasted trip.
So then, I take the phone from Jen and I'm like...I'll handle this from here.
"So what's the plan then?" I ask the guy through the phone. "I have a broken iPod. Tell me what I need to do to get it fixed."
"Well, you could make an appointment at the Apple Store..."
"Oh, no. I'm not doing that. I'll never set foot in an Apple Store again. To me, that place is Hell on Earth. Think of another plan, genius. Let's assume I live in a state that doesn't have an Apple Store. What then?"
"Well, you could call Apple Care."
"I'll do that then."
"The number is 800-APL-CARE."
"OK. Thanks. Now, just so we're clear...I want you to know that the Apple Store to me is nothing short of Hell on Earth and I would never set foot in that store again, so help me God."
He says "OK," and I hang up and that was the last time I ever attempted to contact an Apple Store.
Looking back, I feel the same way about the Apple Store that I felt about Detroit when I left that abandoned city at the end of 1995. I swore that I'd never return, not even to fly through the city, and I never have. In 15 years, I've never been back and I'd rather lose my house than return there. Nothing will ever change that.
I feel the same way about the Apple Store. It is, to me, the single worst retail experience I've had for as far back as I can recall. And I think of all those mindless Apple groupies out there, drooling and salivating over how great that store is and I think that they deserve everything they get. They pay twice what a real PC would cost to get a brightly colored computer and a pack of pasty, foaming, liberals to support it from a "genius bar" in a mall sandwiched between Sodom and Gomorrah.
But I am through with them.
September 3, 2010
A Quail Named 'Badger'
Jennifer ordered a dozen quail eggs in the mail and, unfortunately, one of them hatched. Just what I needed - one more mouth to feed. (Granted, it's a fairly small mouth, but have you seen the prices on corn meal lately?) This is a 1 day old Coturnix quail, aka Pharaoh's quail, aka Japanese quail. Scientific name is (Coturnix japonica).
Update: The quail's name is "Badger".
Lakeshore Nature Preserve on Lake Mendota, Madison, Wisconsin.
Above: Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
September 2, 2010
That's right. My website has been down for days because the nimrods at Skybeam are as dumb as a bag of hammers.
Not only are they inept, but they're also liars. Every time I called them I got a different story. Lies. Lies. More lies. Stay away from Skybeam!