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January 31, 2011

Federal Judge Strikes Down Obamacare

Suck it, tree-huggers.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 31, 2011 at 6:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 30, 2011

Return of the Potato Monsters: An Eye for an Eye

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 30, 2011 at 5:07 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Colorado Springs Zoo

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 29, 2011

Postcards From a Dream

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Excitement at the Compound

We had some excitement today at the compound. I woke up early in the morning and saw that something had gone for my bacon in the trap. I knew what it was but figured I'd wait and deal with it in the morning.

This morning, Jennifer and I slept in until about 9:00 a.m. I asked her to check outside and see if we caught anything. The animal was asleep, though, with its back to us. So all you could see was some grey fur. Could have been a fox, or a coyote, or a coon. Hard to say.

Suddenly, she didn't want to kill it. Just wanted to live and let live. Then, she runs down the stairs and bolts outside. Promptly returns and says "Oh...it's just a raccoon....you can shoot it."

But then, once we got outside, the neighbors showed up with their signs "Save Cooney" and "Coon Rights", etc. Apparently they'd spotted him earlier in the morning and set to making signs.

So I agreed to relocate the varmint (not in the metaphysical sense) and we loaded him up in to the back of the Tahoe and drove him to an undisclosed location. When we let him out of the trap, he swam across the creek and wandered into a cave just like a Disney movie, happier than a pig in slop.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 29, 2011 at 6:56 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

January 28, 2011

The Potato Monsters

Jennifer made this "stop frame animation" tonight. I converted the .jpg files to a video using JPGVideo. Then we added the audio with WIndows Movie Maker.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Stop Frame Animation

Jennifer did a little stop frame animation project tonight, and I'm trying to animate the jpgs. I've done this once before with a time lapse video project I did about 6 years ago. But I can't recall what software I used. Hmmm.

Some of the images were shot in Colorado on 12/19/2004 with the EOS 20D. Apparently the San Francisco images were shot in November - December of 2004.

For some reason, I didn't post the timelapse on my website until 2007 though.

It looks like I may have produced the timelapse video in December of 2004 with Windows Movie Maker.
Update: Actually, I think that I used a utility called JPGVideo to create and AVI file from the .jpg files, then I used WIndows Movie Maker to add the audio.
Update 2: That's exactly what I did.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 28, 2011 at 7:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 27, 2011

The Bird in the Bush

It's official. I'm going back to Cali, baby! Woohoo!

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 26, 2011

Postcards From Nowhere: Pittsburgh

Here's a slideshow of some shots from Pittsburgh, and a few aerial shots along the way.

The images were all captured on one of the following:

The images are compiled into a 6 Meg (2:44 Adobe Flash slideshow(its_all_right.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 (its_all_right.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.

Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro.

The soundtrack is 'That's Some Dream' by 'Good Old War'.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

Continue reading "Postcards From Nowhere: Pittsburgh"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 26, 2011 at 9:54 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 23, 2011

Good Times Bacon Spoonbender

Believe it or not, Good Times makes a "bacon sundae" and a "bacon spoonbender". I haven't tried them, but they do sell them. The guy asked me today at the drivethru if I wanted one and I was like..."are you serious? are they any good?" and he was like "not really." So, I didn't try them, but they do sell a bacon sundae and a bacon spoonbender at Good Times.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 23, 2011 at 7:01 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

A quote from Robert Heinlein

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there, now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty."

"This is known as 'bad luck.' " - Robert Heinlein

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 23, 2011 at 10:26 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 22, 2011

Desperate Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The economy is the worst it's been since the Great Depression, and half of my family is in Spain. Unfortunately, Jennifer and I have been pre-occupied with work and school and all sorts of peripheral things like this and then today, Jennifer mentioned that we haven't been to Hawaii in 5 years and I'm like...are you serious? Like...how does that happen? How is it that you blink your eyes and suddenly 5 years have gone by without a trip to Hawaii?

I feel for her because, as a child, I too went many years between trips to Hawaii. Often times, as a child, I didn't find myself inside the first class cabin of a Boeing flying across the Pacific.

So we snapped up a few tickets today to go spend a few days in the Sandwich Islands. Hopefully she'll find it in her heart to forgive me for letting so much time pass since our last visit.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Critters at the compound

I woke up around 3 a.m. and couldn't find Timmy, which is unusual. So I went downstairs and found him growling and hissing at the window.

Earlier in the evening, he was growling and caterwauling at something outside, so I set the trap and set up the game came, locked the cat door so Timmy couldn't go out. It's really not safe up here for cats, or anything else, really.

I peeked outside and saw the fox trying to get at the remnants of our rotisserie chicken. I was like...oh yeah...come to papa. But he'd somehow sprung the trap without getting inside of it and I couldn't find the AR-15 because it wasn't where I normally keep it.

So I went outside in the snow in my underwear and bare feet and reset the trap. I'm not sure if I'll catch him tonight or not, but I'll probably have some gamecam photos to post
in the morning.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 22, 2011 at 3:43 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Obama Refuses to Release Birth Certificate

Obama continues to refuse to release his birth certificate. Some people say he wasn't born in the United States. I'm not even clear he was ever born. He doesn't rise to the definition of a primate, in my opinion. I'd say he's more closely related to a Komodo Dragon, and was probably "hatched" instead of "born".

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 22, 2011 at 3:32 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 21, 2011

Postcards From Nowhere

Above and below: Mature Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in Coraopolis, PA.

Some of the towns I've been in so far this year.

Madison, MS
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Milwaukee, WI
Madison, WI
Pittsburgh, PA
Charlotte, NC
Phoenix, AZ

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 20, 2011

Eddie Would Go

The Eddie Aikau may be on today. 24-35ft North Shore Waves.... If it's on it will be webcast live.



Posted by Rob Kiser on January 20, 2011 at 10:49 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

White Deer of the Great North Woods

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 20, 2011 at 3:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 18, 2011

The Duquesne Incline

Rosemary told me to go up the incline to Mount Washington. I was sort of lost and driving around Pittsburgh. Finally, I broke out the GPS and ended up at the bottom of the Fort Duquesne Incline. I rode it to the top and pounded a couple of Yuenglings at the Georgetown Inn. Very impressive view of the city.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 18, 2011 at 9:14 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 17, 2011

And another thing...

Dinner in Denver.
Breakfast in Charlotte.
Lunch in Pittsburgh.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 17, 2011 at 7:55 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Stanley the "Global Warming" Snowman

Here's some shots of the girls playing this weekend. The snowman on the trampoline is named "Stanley" apparently.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 17, 2011 at 7:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 16, 2011

Coming Soon to a Zoo Near You - The Extinct Wooly Mammoth


Previous efforts in the 1990s to recover nuclei in cells from the skin and muscle tissue from mammoths found in the Siberian permafrost failed because they had been too badly damaged by the extreme cold.

But a technique pioneered in 2008 by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama, of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, was successful in cloning a mouse from the cells of another mouse that had been frozen for 16 years.

Now that hurdle has been overcome, Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University, is reactivating his campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago.

"Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," he told The Daily Telegraph.

He intends to use Dr Wakayama's technique to identify the nuclei of viable mammoth cells before extracting the healthy ones.

As a general rule, I'm constantly amazed by our lack of progress on the biology front. The most important breakthroughs in biology, in my opinion, were made before the advent of computers. They invented Aspirin in 1889 and Penicillin in 1928. They were doing blood transfusions in 1625. Yet, the "War on Cancer" seems to have been a glorious failure.

This, to me, seems to be what we ought to be doing. One of the rare cases where we seem to be making progress on the biology front.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 15, 2011

Global Warming/Ice Age/Climate Change - Failed Climate Predictions

1974 - Monday, Jun. 24 - Time Magazine - "Another Ice Age?" Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

2000 - According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event". "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

2008 - "North Pole Could Be Ice Free in 2008"

Continue reading "Global Warming/Ice Age/Climate Change - Failed Climate Predictions"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 15, 2011 at 8:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Checking in on the gamecam

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The horrible mismanagement of Washington

"The horrible mismanagement of Washington has taught us a useful lesson and we must be worse than stupid if we do not make proper use of it."
George Douglas, Baltimore merchant, 1812
Source: First Invasion: The War of 1812

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 14, 2011

The Trees of Misconsin

In the morning, I wake up with a massive charley horse. My left calf hurts so bad I've got tears coming out of my closed eyes and I'm hitting my leg trying to make it go away.

The alarm goes off and I knock a full, open can of Diet Pepsi off the night stand and the clock starts ticking.

In the darkness my hands search for the can. I can hear it regurgitating Diet Pepsi all over the rug. I find the drink and set it on the night stand.

Sometimes it's good to be in a hotel.

This is my last day in Wisconsin.

In the parking lot, I search the synonymous turtle-shaped humps of snow for my rental car. I don't have keyless entry, so the game is to try to figure out which snow-covered mound most closely resembles a Toyota Yaris, whatever that is.

I pull up to a gas station to top it off and of course you can never know where the gas tanks are on these things. I've never even heard of a Yaris before. I'm looking for the gauges. They're not in front of the driver, like every other car ever made. Eventually, I find them between the driver and the passenger, squarely in the center of the vehicle.

The gas gauge has a little arrow pointing to the driver's side so I pull up expecting the gas tank to be on my side and it is. Probably that's the only trick I ever learned on the internet that actually works.

I gas up and drive to the airport and I make a couple of turns before I realize that I'm not following the signs to the airport which surprises me for some reason. Not that it should. I could probably find the Madison airport with my eyes closed.

I drive past the southern airport boundary gazing across the bare woods and open fields. I know there's a frozen little canal that runs south from here toward the lakes - I've seen it from the planes when I'm landing. Flying over a place gives you a very different perspective.

I'm studying the bare trees very closely...looking for hawks or kestrels and I realize the trees here are very different from the trees of Colorado. These aren't evergreens. They're bare, but the ends of the trees are very different. They seem to go on nearly to infinity so that overall, the trees retain their shape very well, if not perfectly. I'm studying the trees and nearly drift into the car beside me and I'm sure he's furious and reloading his gun but he just smiles and waves. Maybe he's looking at the trees also. Maybe not.

I want to go back and take photos of the trees but I have a flight to catch and maybe this is just the curse of being alive. There's so many things to see and so many places to be that it's just impossible to capture everything.

At the airport, I see the corner of the parking garage where I used to park my motorcycle before the cold became too much.

This will be my last time here and I park my car.
I park my car and walk past the Enterprise Car Rental agency. I want to walk up to that little faggot and tell him that I'll never rent from enterprise again as long as I live but he's not there so I just keep walking.

When I walk through the metal detector, it sounds an alarm and I'm thinking..."wait a minute dude...I know I didn't set off the metal detector...I walk through them twice a week...there's no way."

"Sir, you were randomly selected to go through additional screening. The machine is set to randomly select people."


So she swabs my hands with little cloths...and puts them in this ginormous computer...and the TSA terrorist tells me I'm free to go.

Gravy biscuits and coffee at the Great Dane and the trees of Wisconsin fall away beneath the clouds - a fading memory. I'll miss the trees of Misconsin.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

January 11, 2011

Dick Winters: 1918 - 2011

Dick Winters, Of 'Band of Brothers' Fame, Dies

Published: Sunday, January 09, 2011, 6:25 PM

Dick Winters, the former World War II commander whose war story was told in the book and miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died.

Dick Winters led a quiet life on his Fredericksburg farm and in his Hershey home until the book and miniseries "Band of Brothers" threw him into the international spotlight.

Since then, the former World War II commander of Easy Company had received hundreds of requests for interviews and appearances all over the world.

He stood at the podium with President George W. Bush in Hershey during the presidential campaign in 2004. He accepted the "Four Freedoms" award from Tom Brokaw on behalf of the Army. He was on familiar terms with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, producers of the HBO mini-series, the most expensive television series ever produced.

Winters was always gracious about his new-found celebrity, but never really comfortable with it. He never claimed to be a hero and said that he had nothing to do with the national effort to get him the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor.

When people asked him if he was a hero, he liked to answer the way his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney, did.

"No," Ranney said. "But I served in a company of heroes." That became the tag line for the miniseries.

read the entire story at
www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/01/dick_winters_of_band_of_brothe.html and


Major Dick Winters in December 1945

Dick Winters introduced President George W. Bush to a crowd of about 20,000 during a rally in 2004 at Hersheypark Stadium in Derry Township. The Patriot-News, 2004

Posted by Robert Racansky on January 11, 2011 at 5:52 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Postcards From Nowhere

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 11, 2011 at 3:01 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Wheel of Game Shows

I saw this tonight on Late Niight with Jimmy Fallon. It's pretty funny. Very similar to 'Is Something Three Coins' and 'The Smelling Bee'. Part 2 in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Wheel of Game Shows"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 11, 2011 at 1:31 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 9, 2011

Missing San Diego Family

Watched this show tonight about a family missing in San Diego. They found the family SUV in a parking lot just this side of the Mexican border in Chula Vista. It's not that uncommon for people to park and walk across the border. People do this because the lines to get back into the U.S. are so long.

But they never came back and Tijuana isn't necessarily a place you'd want to take your family to hang out. I drove Jennifer down close to the border last year and she started gagging from the smell. She was like "What's that nasty smell?" and I was like "That's Mexico, baby!"

So, it's hard for me to imagine a scenario where you'd want to take your wife and two kids down there. It's a far cry from say, Cabo or Cozumel. When I was down there in Oct of 09, they found a bunch of mutilated bodies hanging from a bridge.

I'm not sure what happened to this family, but I have a feeling it wasn't good.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 9, 2011 at 9:03 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 8, 2011

American Kestrel

Above: Male American Kestrel. This American Kestrel is easily identified as a male by the blue leading edge on the wings and the very pronounced black spots on the chest.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 8, 2011 at 10:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

It Just Keeps Getting Better...

Obama, the president that never saw anything he didn't want to regulate, has now decided that Amerikans need a National User ID to access the internet. Apparently, he wants to do to the internet what he did to the U.S. economy.

"CBS News reports that the Obama administration is currently drafting the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which will be released by the president in the next few months."

If Bush had proposed this, the Dims would be falling all over themselves and pouring into the streets in protest. But, since it's Obama, they're pretty silent.

"White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt says that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. 'I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to,' says Schmidt. There's no chance that 'a centralized database will emerge[...]' "

Right. I'm sure. No chance of that.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 7, 2011

Thomas Leask Was Right

The government finally admitted today that there's too much flouride in the public water supply. So maybe Thomas Leask was right all along?

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Immature Red-Tailed Hawk

This is an immature Red-Tailed Hawk. Patagial markings (leading edge of the underside of the wings) make the identification as a Red-Tailed Hawk unmistakable. The yellow eye and tail banding indicate it's an immature hawk.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 7, 2011 at 5:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 5, 2011

Pennsylvania in January

Above: I'm thinking it's an immature bird due to the red eye. I'm thinking Sharp-shinned or Cooper's hawk mainly due to the coloration and distinct broad banding on the tail.
Update: I had the eye color backwards. The red eye indicates a mature bird. Immature would have a yellow eye.

Lack of distinct patagial marks appears to indicate it's not a Red-Tailed Hawk. The elongated tail appears to indicate it's an accipiter.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 5, 2011 at 9:27 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

January 2, 2011

Return to Steel City

Today, I returned to Pittsburgh for the first time in a long time. The first time I was here was back in August/September of 1994. I remember because I was working for a steel company and we drove all over western Pennsylvania and Ohio working on a Business Process Re-engineering study and, at the end of our project, they burned all of our notes in a ceremonial bonfire and we all dispersed like dandelion seeds in the wind.

In any event, while we were in a little town called Mansfield, Ohio, they held the world premier of the movie The Shawshank Redemption. This was because they filmed a lot of the scenes at the old state penitentiary there in Mansfield.

Also, USAir Flight 427 crashed on September 8, 1994 just a few miles from where Craig and I were eating dinner. There were 132 people on the plane and it killed everyone on board.

I've been through Pittsburgh a few times since then. I actually flew through the city one time on my way back from Delaware just to shop for underwear at the airport. I'm not making that up. It's a true story. They have (or had) some rule that says that the items offered for sale at the airport have to be "competitively priced". They actually had undercover shoppers go to price items at the airport and, if they're higher than the average retail price for the same product in other locations, then they fine the businesses and shut them down. Not exactly capitalism in it's truest form, but it seems to keep the prices down anyway.

It was clear and sunny in Pittsburgh today. No snow on the ground, but it's cold. Probably 31 degrees and 100% humidity. It's cold enough that when I found a scarf on the sidewalk, I picked it up and put it on.

It's strange coming back to a city you haven't seen in over 16 years. I remember the Fort Pitt tunnel, the rivers merging to make the Ohio River. The old 3 Rivers Stadium they tore down a while back. I remember we worked out of an office space in the PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) building complex, but I'm not clear why. They were not my client. These details get lost over the years.

So I drove straight into Pittsburgh, wondering what it would be like...if it would be like I remembered. Of course, I popped out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and it was just amazing. Just indescribable. Like being shot out of a cannon and suddenly finding yourself flying through the city in a jet car. That's about what it feels like I swear.

And I turned off my GPS cause I didn't really know where I was going any more. Now, it was all just sort of look around and follow my nose. Presently, I saw the old parking garage we used to park in and I pulled in. I climbed out and walked around and the city is really beautiful. I love this place. I walked around and found PPG and it's like this indescribable glass castle. Like something you'd see in a dream. Better even than I'd remembered.

And I stumbled around the place a bit before I discovered the ice rink with everyone skating around an enormous Christmas tree.

I snapped a few shots and then asked some people where I might could find a decent meal. They directed me to Primanti's on Market Square. I wandered over and instantly recognized the square with the clock tower where the Peruvian pan flute band had played in the summer of 94.

Primanti's serves all of their sandwiches topped with french fries and cole slaw. So I ordered an Iron City beer and a a roast beef and cheese sandwich and the bartender came and asks me what I was taking pictures of.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 2, 2011 at 5:01 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

January 1, 2011

Christmas 2010

In 2010, I shot just under 51,000 images. Last year I shot just under 58,000 images. So, I'm a little short for the year, but I blame this on the fact that I've been working pretty hard this year and I wasn't able to take as much vacation as I would have liked.

Be that as it may, here's a slideshow of some of the photos I shot over Christmas break this year.

The images were all captured on one of the following:

The images are compiled into an 8 Meg (4:25 Adobe Flash slideshow (2010_xmas.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_xmas.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.

Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro.

The soundtrack is "This Modern Love" by Bloc Party off of the Silent Alarm album.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

Continue reading "Christmas 2010"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 1, 2011 at 6:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink