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February 28, 2012

Albert, Robert, and Jonathan - March 1982

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

February 23, 2012

Wireless Remote Controlled Cameras

Scott picked up a pair of wireless remotely controlled cameras (Foscam FI8910W Wireless IP Camera). He called me tonight and we played with them a little to make sure they could be controlled remotely. They're insanely cool. You see what the camera sees from any PC on earth (that's connected to the internet). So, you can monitor your house from the office in real time. Plus, you can control the cameras. You can pan up, down, right, left, etc.

So, you can monitor your home remotely over a PC, or even over your iPhone. Plus, they have night-vision also. So, that's pretty slick, I think. I suppose I'll have to pick up a few of these things as well.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink


"The air will always be too filled with something. Your body too sore or tired. Your father too drunk. Your wife too cold. You will always have some excuse not to live your life."
- Chuck Palahniuk

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 23, 2012 at 12:57 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

February 22, 2012


If you have a child in your domain that learned to spell using a cell phone with a numeric keypad, I strongly suggest you start playing Scrabble with them. I've been playing with Jennifer lately, and I'm amazed at how much her spelling has improved.

Of course, it also helps to build vocabulary.

We bought an old-school Oxford English dictionary at a garage sale and we use this to resolve any conflicts, disputes, or confrontations.

She wins about half the time. I win about half the time. We're actually pretty evenly matched.

Plus, It's funny to see her learning to use a dictionary. Next, I think I'll teach her to write in cursive.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 22, 2012 at 1:25 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

February 21, 2012

Gun nuts

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

150' Corona Arch Rope Swing


Here's my shots from Moab Utah, last time I was out there (2010).

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

8 Interesting Facts About Famous Businesses


Posted by Rob Kiser on February 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 20, 2012

Mystery Object

Does anyone know what this thing is? (High res version in extended entry...)

Update: This appears to be a Federal Signal Modulator (basically a new-fangled civil defense siren).

Continue reading "Mystery Object"

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Anonymous Goes After a Canuck

Some Canuck sponsored yet another internet censorship bill and Anonymous are going after him in a big way with "Operation White North". I'm glad these guys aren't after me. They're hard core.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Russian scientists revive 30,000 yead old plant

So it looks like the commies stumbled onto a little ground-squirrel's seed cache in the permafrost. The seeds in the cache were reportedly 30,000 years old. But somehow, the commies were able to restore the plant. It's alive, producing flowers, and viable seeds. So, my guess is that this plant will now carpet the planet like the Russian Thistle. Thanks again, komrades.


Posted by Rob Kiser on February 20, 2012 at 8:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

From the mouths of babes...

Jennifer - "Daddy, where did everything come from?"
Me - "What do you mean?"
Jennifer - "Where did everything come from in the whole entire universe?"

August 30, 2002
San Francisco Zoo
Age: 4 1/2 years old

Now, my answer to her is lost to the sands of time. But if I answered her honestly, I'd say "I don't know."

The truth is that I don't think we can know. I don't think we're capable of understanding how everything got here. Can a starfish understand how he got in the ocean?

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 20, 2012 at 2:14 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 19, 2012

Daily Photos

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 19, 2012 at 9:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 18, 2012

Abert's Squirrel

Above: Abert's squirrel (or tassel-eared squirrel) (Sciurus aberti). This particular subspecies of Sciurus aberti is Sciurus aberti ferreus. I once asked my neighbor, "Aren't those things endangered?"

He replied, "They are if they're in my yard." :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 17, 2012

Postcards from February

I've been splitting my time between Stockton, San Francisco, Morrison, and Madison over the last few weeks. I cobbled together a few images from over the last month or so. Some of these images were captured on my Canon cameras. Some on my iPhone 4S.

This slideshow features a song called 'Stop The Dams' by 'The Gorillaz' off of their D-Sides album.

The images are compiled into a 9 Meg (5:28) Adobe Flash slideshow (2012_02.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 (2012_02.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.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Postcards from February"

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 17, 2012 at 6:43 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

February 10, 2012

Albert R. Kiser 1938-2012

Sad to report that my father has passed away.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 10, 2012 at 3:42 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

February 9, 2012

A Pear for Sarah

Here's what I found in my mailbox. Looks like I'll have to hand-deliver her pear at this point.
Full letter in extended entry.

Continue reading "A Pear for Sarah"

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

You Can Rationalize Anything

A friend of mine once was pontificating out loud, I forget what the particular subject was, but he was sort of explaining his reasoning...laying out his logic...but then he caught himself short and said "Of course, you can rationalize anything..." and then continued on with his story.

But that little sentence fragment has haunted me for some time. It's a central focus of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In this book, the author ruthlessly deconstructs logic itself. And, although I couldn't really say that I shared many of his qualms or concerns, I did read through is arguments very carefully.

And now, here I stumbled into someone who also was expressing, in his own way, his concerns with the weaknesses of logic. And I've thought about this for at least a year now, and it's bothered me a good deal. But probably not as much as it should have.

If it's true that "you can rationalize anything", then doesn't that mean that logic is fundamentally flawed? That it is, at best, useless? And, in all likelihood, much worse than that? More probably, it's ill-conceived, poorly understood, and inherently, fundamentally flawed. At the same time, it is alluring, deceptive, and ruthless,

If it's true that "you can rationalize anything," then I think we need to find out if logic shouldn't be scrapped altogether. Something Robert M. Pirsig spent a lot of time going in circles, trying to ferret out. It bothered him so much that he spent a good portion of his life bouncing in and out of asylums, committed voluntarily and involuntarily until he wasn't even sure who he was any more.

But I wanted to avoid that part, of course. I like to think that I'm still sane, even though I'm not clear that I'm the best person to judge that. But I did want to dig a little deeper into this enigma...to pick at this scab on the surface of logic itself...this counter-intuitive enigmatic aspect of logic that allows for us to "rationalize anything".

So last night, I sort of held my breath and started searching and I found this article written just over 5 years ago that says "Smart People Can Rationalize Anything".

Now, I think that I was fortunate that this article didn't spend a lot of time attacking logic itself because a) I'm probably not intelligent enough to even follow these sort of arguments and b) I certainly don't want to end up in a padded cell rocking back and forth in my own feces.

But I did find some very keen observations on working with "very smart people". I've always been convinced that being born with an abnormally high level of intelligence is a special kind of curse. All that it means is that you have no idea what the people around you are thinking, because they don't think at all like you, so you're perceived as different, socially awkward, etc. If you're working for someone else, and you're smarter than them, well this is about as bad as it gets. You're not going to get promoted over them, because that's now how the system works. So you're just going to suffer until you quit.

So, very intelligent people suffer greatly I think. It's a difficult burden to bear. Maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am. That's entirely plausible. But I do suffer greatly when I try to communicate with other souls on this earth. That is well documented.

The article begins out like this:

Smart people can rationalize anything

One of the things we were able to do at Electric Communities was to attract one of the highest density collections of scary-smart people I've ever seen gathered in one place before. There are a lot of nice things about working with smart people. For one thing, they're not stupid. Working with stupid people just sucks. Smart people are good if you need to do a lot of really hard things, and we did a lot of really hard things. But it's not all upside. For one thing, smart people tend to systematically overestimate the value of being smart. In fact, it is really valuable, but they still tend to weight it too heavily compared to other virtues you might also value, such as consistency, focus, attentiveness to the emotional needs of your customers, and so on. One of the problems with really smart people is that they can talk themselves into anything. And often they can talk you into it with them. And if you're smart yourself, you can talk them into stuff. The tendency to drift and lack of focus can be really extreme unless you have a few slower people in the group to act as a kind of intellectual ballast.

I see a lot of myself in this. Now, my sister warned me, as my Abnormal Psych teacher warned me, not to project yourself into every illness, every diagnosis that you read. This is a very fundamental human tendency. But in this, I can't help myself. It's like the guy has been following me around my whole life.

Continue reading "You Can Rationalize Anything"

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 9, 2012 at 12:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 8, 2012

Starving deer eating a pear

Sarah, I'm sorry but the deer ate your pear. The mailman refused to deliver it, and the deer finally came around today and they looked so hungry. We got 4' of snow over the last few days and when this little herd came up in the front yard they were so hungry they were eating the pine needles and mullen...stuff they only eat when they're starving...so I gave them your pear. Do you forgive me?

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 8, 2012 at 10:26 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Obama - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?

My neighbor once told me that the Republicans possessed "a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory", which really got my attention. It stuck in there really good. Not may things do these days, but that stuck. And it's easy to understand. To grasp. They have a knack for messing things up when they should be able to get their guy into office and turn the country around.

Obama is, IMHO, the worst president in the history of the United States. He's overseen the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

But the Republicans, for whatever reason, seem completely divided and unsure of how to capitalize on this economic malaise. The party is completely divided and seems nearly incapable of producing a single candidate that the party can get behind to drive the divisive Obama from office.

But oddly, Obama seems to have a similar knack, as well. By running deficits of 100 billion dollars a month for 3 years, he's managed to hold on long enough that the economic slide appears to have slowed, at least momentarily.

But instead of hanging onto that glimmer of hope and loudly proclaiming that the worst is behind us...instead of capitalizing on that singular piece of good news, he opts for a change.

He announces that the Catholic church will have to hand out birth control. Or abort fetuses. I dunno what exactly he said, but it makes his little Christmas Tree tax look downright brilliant. He's an idiot, and he's stepped in it this time, and if he's not careful, he may end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory come November.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 8, 2012 at 9:52 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

GoPro Camera


The footage from this camera is pretty good, and it certainly makes me want to get out of the country. No doubt about that. But of course, what they don't show you is that it's impossible to actually see what you're filming.

I have a helmet camera already. But the trick is to get it mounted onto your helmet, and then video the trip, with absolutely no idea of what is being recorded. What you need is a heads-up display inside your shades/helmet so that one eye can see what is being filmed. Without that, you're just filming a bunch of stuff and who knows what you'll have until you download it into a computer and view it. Then, you'll be like...holy sh1t...instead of filming a ride across mexico, I filmed the sky over mexico. Very difficult to know what's being recorded. Too hit or miss, IMHO.

However....give me a real-time video inside my helmet, and now we've got something.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 8, 2012 at 6:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Timmy and Purrrrrl

Here's the first photo of Timmy and Purrrrrl together. There were some issues initially. Lots of caterwauling, hissing, scratching, bleeding. But I don't feel any shame. The cats didn't handle it much better.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Remembering Roger Boisjoly: He Tried To Stop Shuttle Challenger Launch

Remembering Roger Boisjoly: He Tried To Stop Shuttle Challenger Launch

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 8, 2012 at 6:02 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 6, 2012

sitting on the river bank

"If you sit down by the river bank and wait long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by." - unknown

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

February 5, 2012

Trio Survives Week in the Wilderness

So these three idiots were lost in the Oregon forest for a week. They were cold and hungry. So hungry, that that talked openly of eating their dog. They were 10 miles east of Gold Beach, Oregon. So, walking 10 miles west would have put them at the coast. And they had a week, mind you. It's not like they were pressed for time. Helicopters searched for them overhead the entire time. When they were finally found, they had never moved. They were only 500 yards from a road. That's like 1/4 of a mile. They were only a mile from their Jeep. Seriously, people? You're that stupid? I think people should be charged for their rescue. I'm sorry. But this is pathetic.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 5, 2012 at 10:14 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Famous Photographers with their most iconic images


Posted by Rob Kiser on February 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Man packs stun gun in his 'carry on' luggage

So they caught this guy with a stun gun in his carry-on luggage and he still managed to make his flight? I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, the TSA has zero reason to search us, and this is in clear violation of the 4th amendment. However, if we're all disarmed, and this guy tries to take a stun gun on the plane, well that sort of changes things, doesn't it?

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 5, 2012 at 5:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 3, 2012

Neal Cassady gets his Denver East diploma

Neal Cassady was one of the main characters in Jack Kerouac's book"On The Road". The high school he attended in Denver finally decided to grant him an honorary diploma, albeit posthumously.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 3, 2012 at 12:48 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 2, 2012

Junk Science Double Fail


Posted by Rob Kiser on February 2, 2012 at 10:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

February 1, 2012

Saxon Math

From Jennifer's Algebra "Saxon Math" textbook tonight:

"The ratio of withs to withouts was 3 to 11. If 5600 were huddled in the forest, how many were withs?"

If you think you know the answer, you're wrong. There is no way of knowing the correct answer because not enough information is given. Who is huddled in the forest? The "withs", the "withouts", or both?

I assume that the "withouts" are huddled in the forest, and this is another white-guilt, income-inequality lesson they're trying to pump into our kids. The "withouts" are huddling in the forest because the "withs" are in their fat-cat 1-percenter mansions overlooking the ocean.

Jennifer assumed that the "withs" and the "withouts" were huddled in the forest. The book doesn't say.

If they count off for Jennifer's answer, I'm going to go down there and raise holy hell.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 1, 2012 at 9:24 PM : Comments (5) | Permalink

Slow motion video of bird landing

This is a pretty interesting video. It shows that, as the bird lands, it folds and retracts its wings more than once which surprised me, anyway.


Posted by Rob Kiser on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink