Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Woo-whoo! It snowed! (again)

January 18, 2008

So I either wasn’t paying attention to the weather dudes, or they once again screwed up another forecast because I was definitely not expecting this at all. It didn’t seem cold enough for it. It was nice though. It was the fluffy, cotton ball type snow. The 1st pic is of the leftover damage caused by the ice storm. The 2nd, although it may look like a pond, is really just a low spot where water collects. And the others are pretty self explanatory. If your wondering why all the trees (because of my tunguska post), fortunately the lumber-asses didn’t touch the ones immediate next to where I live, though you can see the clearing through the trees in the last two pics.

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Again, feel free to ignore this link (finepix f50fd). Like I said, I’ll get around to posting something on this later. Of course, I think I said something to that effect the last time so technically this would be later. But, eh, time is suppose to be relative, right?

I am quite loathed in posting this, but…

January 13, 2008

Only because these pictures make mine look sooo bad. Sure, they most probably have professional SLRs (I assume of the digital variety) and it is quite clear that many, if not all, of them know their way around the ole Photoshop-o-graphicis, so I shouldn’t feel too sheepish about my stuff, right? Still, though, I can’t help but sit here at my idiot box (my computer), sighing the sighs that come with that green color on your face. But hey, some of my images are pretty good. Yes, only a handful out of the roughly 7k I’ve taken with my Fujifilm FinePix F10 (a compact digital). But still… right? I suppose none of us should feel too envious, it’s just a matter of working within the strengths of your camera. Have a camera that just takes bad pictures? Use the same excuse that “artists” with no talent use and call it “a study in abstract”. Try to incorporate that into your work. When someone asks, just say, “Of course that’s how I wanted it to look!”. I ramble too much. I actually stumbled across this site on, oddly enough, stumbleupon (the social bookmarking site). The site it called, outdoor-photos.com. Load it up, turn out the lights, and be mesmerized. Oh, ps – for some reason when I was getting these ready in the Photoshopper, they came out darker than they actually are (if you were wondering when looking at the site).

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Horrible ice storm! Power out, trees down everywhere!

January 8, 2008

Ok, so may it happened about three weeks ago and I’m just now getting around to posting some pictures. Ya, I seem to have developed a bad habit. I have a lot of topical stuff to write about, but by the time I actually get serious, it’s no longer topical and who cares. So anywho, we got smacked by that ice storm that made the news. Fortunately, we were without power for only about three days. But still, pee-whew, three days, no power, below freezing temps, not comfortable. It was quite the glass paradise while it lasted. The pics here really don’t deliver. I really reduced the quality so it wouldn’t take forever and a day to download (some people do still use dial-up, me included). Here they are. If someone wants to see a high-quality one, just let me know.

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Tunguska all over again

December 20, 2007

Right next to were I live is a somewhat densely wooded area and just beyond that is a prairie-like clearing. Thick brush, raspberry and blackberry bushes, and honeydew draping off of everything. The place is truly unworldly. Especially when you can get there early in the morning to watch the mist ebb and flow. Some of my best pictures came from that area. Well, awhile ago it pretty much all came to an end. In an effort to control the undergrowth, a lumber company was hired to clear it all out. I assume that part of the deal was that they got to take the trees as well. An absolute massacre. Almost all of the old-growth trees were removed and, from the looks of it, any of the younger trees that were in their way were just mowed down with a bulldozer. It was like standing at the battle of Gettysburg or Omaha beach during D-day. The bodies of the dead and wounded were strewn about everywhere. There is actually a slope down to the prairie so you didn’t get the full scope of it all until you reach the crest. Even the most anti-environment Rush Limbauh Dick Cheney love child would be taken back at the contrast, from Lord of the Rings to the face of the moon. I’m all for proper forest management, but this is just terrible. Unfortunately, the dimension constraints of this here blog really doesn’t allow a good show of it all. But here are a few pics. The before shots can be seen in my early hop through the prairie post. Again remember, I am a grasshopper.

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Woo-Whoo! It snowed! (well, a little bit anyway)

December 7, 2007

So it finally got around to snowing, woo-whoo! I want to say that it helped with the humidity because my poor, dry stuffed-up nose doesn’t feel quite so painful, but eh, maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I’m not sure how the woodland critters feel about it though (actually, I think the footie prints in the picture below are of the stray cat who comes around panhandling for grub). And of course, it warmed up today just enough for a little melting today only for it to freeze into a nice sheet of ice for tomorrow’s drive. This should be fun.

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Cimicomorpha. So that’s what you’re called.

December 1, 2007

Back in July I wrote two little blurbs about me hopping around (again, I’m a grasshopper) and running (or hopping) into a rather suspicious looking bug who recently moved into the neighborhood. We exchanged pleasantries, but never really made a connection. I had a feeling I should keep my distance and it turns out it was with good reason. Looks like this mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodyte of an insect is a member of a large family of predatory insects. Bugs such the: assassin bug, ambush bug, masked hunter, and kissing bug. They lay in wait, then attack by stabbing their victims with their proboscis injecting a toxic concoction that liquefies the inerts. Tasty. There are also members that go after warm-blooded animals (including humans) by stabbing soft areas of the body such as lips, eyes, and inside nose. Sleep tight. Oh, and some transmit disease such as Chagas by passing along a lovely little trypanosome. A little late to learn of this now, but the good thing is that about a week after my last post, I found the little bugger dead in the bushes. Didn’t have my trusty camera at the time. First post is here, there-goes-the-neighborhood and the second is here, hey-punk-get-off-my-lawn.

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Knut says, "Do these pants make me look fat?"

August 6, 2007

So it looks like obesity isn’t only contagious among humans. Apparently it has found a way of jumping species and has now gone after cuddly Knut! After a life of lounging around, snacking on croissants all day (his most favorite delicacy), this ~132 pound, eight month ball of fur has, well, become quite worldly without the use of a passport. Yep. This polar bear is now a porker. To add insult to injury, zoo keepers don’t know exactly how heavy he really is because the scales in his enclosure don’t go up that high. It’s actually quite common for zoo animals to get a little chubby since they don’t face the rigors of having a real job, but I guess for Knuty, the double chin can’t be ignored anymore. So just how does one get a man-killer to shed some of his offending insulation? Atkins? South Beach? No, nothing so drastic. For now, all snacks are gone, just three squares a day (as oppose to four), and a diet of porridge, meat, and cod liver oil (hmm, cod liver oil).

Did you know that back on April 19th, Knut had a death threat hurled at him? Who knew he was a bear of international intrigue? Is he a Russian dissident? Perhaps a former KGB officer? The note sent to the zoo said, “Knut is dead! Thursday noon.” The police, while not looking for anyone specific, did take the threat seriously. The security guards were increased from five to fifteen and there was even an officer hiding behind a boulder overlooking the enclosure. Soo, it wasn’t the free flow of croissants after all. By the way, has anyone seen that guy recently?

A Lilly by any other name.

August 5, 2007

Would be called a dandelion, right?

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Hmmm, laminar reverse doughnuts (I mean, flooww)

August 5, 2007

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So have you ever wondered why those bands in Jupiter exist? More to the point, why they don’t go away? Shouldn’t they just mix together into one gaseous cloud? Well, the answer could be laminar flow. Laminar just means non-mixing flows. It actually does occur here on Earth. Flows of water, such as in rivers or oceans, where there is a difference in temperature and salt concentrations will barely mix. This can be demonstrated in the lab. The linked video actually shows laminar reverse flow. Basically three blobs of colored corn syrup are placed between two cylinders (one inside the other). The space between the cylinders has been filled with clear syrup. The inner cylinder is then turned to “mix” the three blobs in one direction, then turned in the reverse direction to un-mix. The video can be found here and a more detailed explanation can be found here. Warning to those of us who use dial-up, this vid does take a few minutes to download, but I think worth it.

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Early morning hop through the prairie

August 1, 2007

Recently I had an opportunity to hop (get it? I’m a grasshopper?) through a nearby prairie and enjoy the early morning dew. What made it even better was that first you have to walk a few hundred feet through woods. Along the way, an emerald canopy above, lush moss beneath, and a cool breeze lays a light mist upon your face (which can actually get a bit annoying if you are stuck wearing glasses) half expecting a hobbit to appear. Then, stepping through a small opening (briefly doing battle with a few, rather obnoxious, vines) you are forced to just stand there for a moment and take it all in. Like ocean waves, rolls of mist crash upon cranberry bush shores carrying with it the unmistakable scent of honeysuckle. A truly surreal place indeed.

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