Not much going on the past few days…although it’s really been raining almost every afternoon for going on 2 weeks…but that’s late summer in southern FL I guess.
The hurricanes passed us by. Marco was well to the south over by the Yucatan peninsula as it went into the Gulf and Laura shifted left and passed just south of Cuba, over the Keys east of Key West and on into the Gulf. We had some rain bands from it as it passed yesterday with some occasional heavy rain but winds only got to the mid 20s. Both will hit along the TX/LA coast in a double whammy tonight or tomorrow…but one will just be a tropical storm and the other a minimum hurricane as they come ashore according to the forecast. So they’ll get some rain and wind but overall it should not be too bad…although this morning’s news says Laura might be a category 3 by the time it makes landfall. The media is hyping the danger but looking at the actual Hurricane Center data forecasts a minimum category 3 at best and almost immediately down to tropical storm strength after landfall. Of course…Katrina was supposed to be minimal as well until the last 24 hours before landfall so anything is possible I guess at this point for eventual strength. Once it makes landfall it makes a right turn through AR and then will speedily head east departing the coast near MD only 3+ days after landfall which should minimize the amount of rain and flooding in the mid Atlantic states.
We continue to stay at home with limited outings…Mass on the weekend, takeout pickup for Thursday date nights, grocery pickups from Walmart and produce runs we do ourselves. We keep remarking to ourselves around here that while we’re suffering from a lot of things under the lockdown situation…good eating isn’t one of the things we’re having to do without as we keep making really good meals pretty much every night.
Neil did a bunch of camera stuff this week…mostly a deep cleaning on the sensors on each of our DSLRs. That involves locking the mirror up and the shutter open and then using specially sized single use cleaning swabs and some very volatile cleaning solution to get the gunk off of the glass covering the sensor. I am going to post a couple of the after shots further down…mostly so I’ll have them easily available for review down the line if necessary…there’s nothing really super about any of the images but I was really trying to just check and make sure all of the gunk that was causing spots in the images was gone.
Our new grill and Neil’s new bike shoes/cleats/pedals came in so we’ll probably get all of that set up this morning before the rain starts…
~~musical interlude here as he goes out and does that and Connie replants one of her spider plants that grew an offspring~~
OK…we’re back with mixed results.
- New grill hooked up and original burn in to get rid of all the leftover manufacturing oils. The automatic piezoelectric lighter didn’t work but that might be (a) because his 20 pound LP tank is almost dead, (b) it had some of the aforementioned leftover manufacturing oil on it so it piezo’ed but didn’t spark, or (c) it’s broke. We are due to go refill our tank tomorrow so we’ll try again before doing any further troubleshooting or complaining to Dickinson Marine who makes this brand of grill…I know we’re not using it in a marine environment but since the whole thing is stainless steel it will hopefully last longer. His buddy Clarke had one he recently replaced that he said came as original equipment with their 1992 Newell so that makes it 30something years old. The old one is out with the garbage for pickup since today just happens to be garbage day.
- Spider plant transplanted into a new pot…it is still connected back to the parent plant via a stem…kinda like a plant IV bag I guess…that she will cut once the new roots get started.
- New bike shoes fit perfectly…but the new pedals only had a single (left) pedal in the box, the right one was missing. The box was in a sealed plastic bag and should have had 2 each of pedals, cleats, and mounting bolts but the right pedal was missing. Don’t know if never made it into the box from the Shimano factory, was taken out and the package resealed by somebody along the line who needed a pedal, or taken out for some legitimate purpose and accidentally resealed. The plastic bag didn’t look like it had been resealed so I guess it was either not there from Shimano or whoever needed a pedal was really neat about sealing it back up. In any event…he did the live chat thing with Julia T from REI out in WA and got the confirmation for the replacement order before he disconnected with her. In the interim, he’ll just keep using his previous 2 bolt pedals and basically worn out shoes.
Speaking of bolt pedals…way back before he bought his current Cannondale bike and we went on the road he upgraded his previous bike from the toe basket type of pedals to cleat pedals. Since it was a hybrid bike designed for both on road usage and some off road/gravel usage, when he asked the REI guy what cleats and pedals to buy the tech recommended what he now knows as 2 bolt mountain bike cleats, shoes and pedals. The advantage of 2 bolt ones is that the cleat is metal and hence lasts longer, and the pedal is open so that gravel or dirt won’t get trapped in it. The disadvantage is that a 3 bolt road bike pedal, cleat, and shoe make for more efficient energy transfer. He rides almost exclusively on the road (paved surfaces) even when he had the hybrid bike…but didn’t know enough to get the 3 bolt road bike cleats and pedals at the time. The 3 bolt cleat itself is much larger than the 2 bolt one is…and it has some ability to rotate a few degrees either way without coming unclipped as compared to the 2 bolt one. The much stiffer sole on the new road bike shoes also helps with power transmission from the leg to the pedal crank and he’s told it’s more comfortable for long rides…although even his long rides of about 15 miles would be considered merely a warm up by the serious biker crowd.
OK…a couple of actual images I wanted to share before the “just put them online to find easier later” ones.
A new bird for us…an Eastern Kingbird. He (we think) was sitting on the tree right outside of our lanai and he’s demonstrated that he is pretty skittish so this one was taken through both our glass door out to the lanai and the lanai screening…and he also had his 18-300mm lens on the camera instead of the 150-600mm bird lens so he had to crop a little more than he would wish to…but he wanted to get the shot before the bird left. After he got this one he shifted to the bird lens but it was too late as either he left on his own or saw the reflection of Neil’s movement in the glass. It took us awhile to figure out what it was…when we searched in Peterson based on location and date the drawing showed a small red crest on top of the head and it wasn’t until we read the detailed description that we saw the note that the red crest was rarely seen as it is small. This is the same tree we thought the Shrike pair was nesting in but we haven’t seen either of them in awhile, Neil has searched the tree for a nest, and we don’t hear any chicks peeping so maybe the Shrikes we saw were just passing through.
Taken on an early morning drive out in NE this past summer…it was foggy and we were out on a birdwatching driving loop thing…didn’t see many birds except for some wild turkeys but we did get a shot of this tree through the fog. It’s got a kind of eerie dust bowl sort of vibe. I’ve previously put in a similar shot that Neil took but he found this one un-imported into Lightroom on Connie’s memory card when he was getting the before and after sensor cleaning images off of it to verify that he had in fact gotten the sensor clean. Turns out that on both of their cameras it took 2 cleanings (and 3 on one of them) to get it clean. The cleaning swabs have a flat piece covered with liquid holding cloth of some sort and exactly match the width of the sensor (you need to get the right size for your camera when you buy them). You are cautioned not to scrub with the swab…just put the cleaning liquid on both sides then start at one side, put pressure on the swab and go once across the sensor, then flip it over and go once back with the other side. This means that you might miss stuff on the first swab and have to do it again. He used about 8 or 10 bucks worth of swabs to get it done but you don’t need to do it real often, maybe annually or so and neither of these have ever been cleaned this way in the 3 and 5 years they’ve had the bodies. Normally he just uses a lens brush and squeeze air bulb to clean them but the really stuck on stuff doesn’t come off that way very well.
This is Neil’s Nikon D7500 after shot with his 18-300mm lens…you’ve seen this framing of the pond out back before but as I said it’s just for documentation purposes.
Connie’s Nikon D7100 with 18-55mm lens.
And a couple more taken by Neil with his 7500 and 150-600mm bird lens to round out the set of post cleaning images and re-verify the autofocus fine adjust tuning for that lens…they are at various focal lengths and focusing distances to verify accurate autofocus.
Our bougainvillea plant out front.
Mockingbird across the other side of the pond.
Water plant out in the pond.
Our neighbor 2 doors to the left has a hummingbird feeder hanging from his tree.
Interesting things found on the net.
This is the Kjeragbolten rock in Norway. It is a piece of stone about 15 cubic meters that is stuck in a crack suspended over a 948 meter (3,110 feet) vertical drop down to the fjord below. I can most definitely state that crawling out on this is something that Connie will never do…it’s right up there with bungee jumping or leaping out of a perfectly good airplane for her. Neil would hike up and see it…it’s only about a mile and a half from the parking lot so a pretty easy hike…but he would have to look at it before he decided to crawl out on it or not…on google maps it looks like the top is only about 5 feet by 8 feet so I’m thinking probably not. He would take a look at it and get photos but crawling out on it might not be the smartest thing…it’s a long, long way down.
Here’s a hint if you ever think about getting yourself or your kids a pair of rabbits for pets/companionship…get them fixed if you do. We’ve all heard the expression “reproduce like rabbits” and this is why.
This guy probably got a ticket…but he’s not wrong and if he fought it in court he would probably win.
And a few design/thinking failures.
Indian television show props.
This submarine captain.
An article on how to avoid needless monthly subscription fees…located behind the paywall of needless monthly subscription fees at the Wall Street Journal.
Whatever city this is had the right idea but their execution was sorely lacking…putting a solar powered streetlight under a highway bridge means that…ummm…it ain’t gonna work very well.