Friday, August 06, 2010

14 seconds=5 hours

See the humming bird approaching the feeder?
See Hart chattering at the hummer who is now about 20 inches from his face? (the little blur between the green candle and the porch post is the hummer.)

Oh yes, Hart had a lot to say about THAT cheeky little bird.

But that was nothing compared to what I was saying later.
I actually filmed this encounter. I was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking my morning coffee and fooling around taking bird pictures when I noticed Hart was bird watching. His head, ears, eyes and tail reacted to every bird that flew to our bird feeder.
Just for fun, I switched over to the camera's video mode.
Clicked "record" just as it happened that Hummer made his appearance.

I caught it all, all 14 seconds of the encounter, including the sounds of Hart's chatter.
Naturally I wanted to share the video.
Umm...not so sweet.
It turns out that since my camera videos in HD (which, by the way, does result in achingly beautiful film) I will not be able to share my HD videos.
Of course I didn't really, really know that fact until after I spent FIVE hours yesterday trying to do the film upload.
First I did web research on help sites. They offered a variety of uploads to make HD loadable into Picasa.
Next I made sure I had loaded the software that came with my new HD camera onto my computer. Oh how happy I was to see a Picasa Web album upload button for video!
This was at 5:30 pm. I promised myself I would stop working on this upload project at 6 pm.
Then I promised myself I would stop at 7 pm...8pm....9pm.
I went upstairs and got ready for bed
Went to bed.
Got up again at 10pm.
Worked until 10:30 pm.
Got up at 7 am...and finally found the PMB (the program for media management that comes with a Sony camera) help with sharing HDV.
Small print: It can't be done.
(I proceeded to chatter, chatter, chatter like Hart was doing in the photos above, which by the way are frames saved from the AMAZING video. I want to share that at no time did I swear in a human language.)
Supposedly I can get my camera video setting changed so videos will no longer be in HD, and therefore will be shareable.
Decisions, decisions.
Do I change the setting so I can share less than HD caliber videos, or do I keep shooting in HD, trusting that is will only be a matter of time before this detail is resolved in Techi-land?
(And yes, I did download TWO programs that supposedly would "fix" the M2t file setting on my videos; nothing is being fixed that I can see.)

I did upload the video to Youtube; it is so pixilated that you can hardly tell there is a humming bird in the film.
I wanted to upload it to Facebook, but that didn't work either.

Over the years I have observed that when confronted with technical issues, women say "I must be doing something wrong" while men say "There is something wrong with this program."

Right now, I'm going to be "mannish" about this and say it is the programs fault.
If anyone out there can clue me to a different conclusion, I will be happy to hear all about it.
Until a fix can be found, either be satisfied with seeing the Youtube version or drop by and I'll be happy to play all 14 seconds of the clip for you on my HD television set.
Or on my camera playback.

Or you can simply use your imagination, and imagine how scene must have looked.

Five hours of work over 14 seconds for nothing.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My Daughter is a Cover Girl!

Two posts in one day?
Check this daughter is a cover girl of a serious publication!
(Thank heaven, I would disown her if she was on the cover of the typical supermarket tabloids.)

That's her in the yellow tee shirt.
More details on her blog.

I wonder who now owns the surf board.

She prefers to ride a long board, but I'm sure she wouldn't quibble if she could catch a wave on that one of a kind ride!

4 am in the neighborhood

Update: I did get up at 4 am, and spent a half an hour trying to find an ideal lookout site. The city lights (see prior post) are pretty bright, there was a crescent moon, and Neighborhood Watch has had great success at encouraging everyone to have a glaringly bright light turning on outside all night long.

I travel up Mill Creek Canyon; it didn't take long for me to realize that an East-West canyon floor means the North-South views are blocked.

Since I was traveling in my pajamas, I was hesitant about parking where a helpful soul or "LEO" might pull up and ask if I needed help. (LEO: that's shorthand for Law Enforcement Officer, I picked that up from watching NCIS. Who says you can't learn anything from prime time television?)

Anyway, it was a lovely early morning for a little drive. No, not a bit of green or red Northern Light to be seen. I really stared hard to the north before finally deciding that even if I did see a faint hue, I really want the National Geographic/Weather Channel/Google Picture kind of Northern Lights display to be the kind that gets seeing Northern Lights checked off my bucket list. Plus I think they probably are even more amazing when seen hovering over a snow field.

Back to saving for a once in a life time trip someday!

Unless, of course, NASA is right and the sun is going to be burping up some hum-dingers solar flares in 2011-2013. If they are right about that happening, then quite possibly Northern Lights may become so common that people will be ignoring them like they so often ignore sunsets nowadays.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Keeping an eye peeled.

At last we've had a huge rainstorm with thunder and lightening, and it dropped the temperatures here twenty whole degrees!
I took a moment at 9 pm to step outside to catch the last bit of sunset after the storm, focusing across the valley and down about 5,000 feet to our state capitol.
We can see the capitol building all lit up if we stand in the middle of the street in front of our house.
Again, standing in the middle of the street and looking straight down the hill the valley floor. (One day I've GOT to take these pictures using a tripod and timer.)
The capitol is on the other side of the tree on the right.
After ten years of living on the flat sea level land in Texas, we find having such views to be enough to make us crazy enough to stand in the middle of the street to get our "view" fix. Luckily, we do live on a pretty quiet street....
Overhead the lightening was still flashing and the clouds were glowing with the sunset's rosy hues.
The sky will be clearing: I will set my alarm for 4 am and take a peek outside. I'm not ready to give up on this Northern Lights possibility quite yet!

Modest and Pretty

Well, I have to confess, I didn't stay awake through the night to see if I could see the Northern Lights last night, and there wasn't anything in the local news that said they were visible here.

Oh well, there is another chance of seeing them tonight. Minnesota apparently got an eyeful though. Anyone out there see anything?

Meanwhile, I have decide to let myself go through another "phase" in life. Awhile ago I realized that going through "phases" were what made being young so much fun. Some of my phases have included listening to Country Western music, growing scented foliage plants, baking bread, doing macrame and collecting vintage silk lingerie.

My newest phase: Kurti!

Kurti is the feminine form of Kurta, which is simply a collarless, straight sleeved tunic.

The sleeves can be anywhere from wrist length to sleeveless, but they don't have fitted cuffs.
Kurti can be worn with leggings, capris, or knee length shorts, and usually are made from silk or fine lawn like cotton embellished with embrodiery, beads, mirrors, sequins, or metallic ribbons.

I bought a white shirt with a beaded neckline a year ago, and liked it so much I went back to the shop to get something similiar. They were just expensive enough that after I bought another blouse, I went on line to see if I could find a source with a more reasonable price point.

My first favorite on-line shop: Ria Fashions.

I looked through their KURTIS/TUNIC link, and found two tunics that I liked in my size. I figure they will be nice and cool to wear to work with dressy sandals and tailored bermuda shorts and capris during the summer, and then I can dress down with flip flops at home.

Now for me, I don't want to look like I suddenly went boho hippy, or like an over the top India wanna be, so I tried to picture myself in each outfit before deciding (for summer) on this one

and this one.
(They promise that they would sue if anyone poached their pictures , so I am just linking to them here.)

Then I found this site:

I haven't ordered from them yet; they said they would combine shipping costs so I will wait until they confirm what shipping would be.

I can totally imagine this top in winter over an orange or navy turtleneck and denim or navy narrow leg slacks at work. And jeans on the weekends.

Maybe this phase will pass quickly, or maybe not.
I am seeing similar items being promoted as part of the movie "Eat, Pray, Love", and a few name brand stores at "pricy-price" prices.

So...what do you think? Too Indian? Too "wrong side of the Middle East"? (Some of the Kurti stores out of Pakistan sell primary to Muslim; I'm more interested in companies based in India. I am kicking myself that I didn't wake up to this idea while I was in Houston where there was a HUGE Indian clothing store.)

It is quite interesting that the sites promote their kurtis with phrases like "You will look beautiful and modest."

Isn't that a refreshing thought, instead of our typical American advertising that has a "Hot and Sexy" promise? Frankly, except in the privacy of my own bedroom, I studiously avoid looking either hot (I have enough trouble with hormonal temperature surges) or sexy. I have always thought "classy" or "cool" or "charming" were much better looks to aim for.

Well, here's some more eye candy if you want to indulge in a bit of Bollywood daydreaming and fabric envy. I would be thrilled if the long tunic kurdi style caught on, if only to cover witless young ladies with a thong strap peeking from the tops of their tight fitting legging covered backsides.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bucket list check off opportunity?

My "bucket list" includes "Seeing the Northern Lights."
Bernie and I agree that if necessary, someday we will travel far north, either to Scandinavian countries, Iceland, or Canada to see them.

But maybe...just maybe...I will get to see them from home, tonight?

Our sun had a HUGE solar flare yesterday, and a twin one as well. The flares were so big, they flipped the sun's magnetic field!Both flares are aimed right at earth, and the scientists are saying the Northern and Southern lights could be putting on a really big show Tuesday night.

I'll be watching, and my hope is that if I don't see them, then some fellow bloggers might, and post pictures.

Here's one article about it:

Solar flare heading to Earth may create spectacular aurorae

Earth Sun aurora Posted On: Aug 03, 2010 WASHINGTON (BNS): Skygazers in the coming two days may expect some spectacular celestial display in the evening sky when charged particles ejected from the Sun enter Earth’s atmosphere to create magical aurorae.

Earth orbiting satellites have detected a C3 class solar flare, which according to astronomers, is smaller than X and M-class flares. The flare, originated from the Earth-facing sunspot 1092, has spawned a coronal mass ejection (CME) heading in Earth’s direction, according to NASA
The CMEs are large clouds of charged particles ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. They expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days.

When a CME reaches Earth, it interacts with the planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. Solar particles stream down the field lines toward Earth’s poles and collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, which results in spectacular auroral displays.

On the evening of August 3rd/4th, skywatchers in the northern US and other countries should look toward the north for the rippling dancing “curtains” of green and red light, NASA said.


Supposedly a "Really Big Show" is due to happen in 2013, when the sun "awakens" from a slumber, and starts shooting out flares like crazy. That's about a technical as I can write about what is to happen. I do know that the sun has consistent cycles, the scientists track them, and the last time the sun was at a cycle like the upcoming one was back in the late 1800, and people in Hawaii were seeing the Northern lights.

The saying "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects" really applies to me in the field of science and astronomy. Trying to get a tiny grip on the subjects, I have been reading NASA's space weather site. They post space weather alerts'm really not sure who needs to know about solar storms (like do the folks up in the space station read the space weather page and discuss it over their morning coffee?)

Anyway, in case you are interested, here's the LINK to that weather page. Go ahead, take a look. It does show the Northern lights as overlaying all of Canada and down to the top of California.

The only thing I am sure of is that if a solar flare of a certain size goes off, it can take out power grids. And the repair of a solar flare damaged power grid takes weeks and weeks. I guess that is why I casually check the cite. If Space Weather Page says a flare of a massive size just happened, I'd be inclined to mosey over to the grocery store and stock up on a few things.
Just in case.
You know what I mean?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Canadian Blogger, Coming Through

Gotta love it when you get to head out on an adventure via blogdom.
Judy of "My Front Porch" has been delighting me for awhile now with her far ranging gadabouts photo coverage.
I've ridden shotgun with her (via my computer screen) as she has traveled about visiting Switzerland (which I have also visited; it is great to have another go to a place through a fresh pair of eyes.)
She has headed to Texas, and made me a tad homesick with her fabulous eye for scenic views.

When she announced that she and her hubby were going to Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, I yelped.
Brazenly I commented that I would be deeply hurt if she didn't swing by SLC to see ME at some point during the trip.

Secretly I felt a little guilty after I did that. After all...Judy and I have never met in person.
Just because I read her blog and feel like I visit with her and her gorgeous grandkids daily is no excuse for presuming a sense of kindred spirit is being felt by her as well.
What kind of crazy person asks someone that they have never met to swing by to say hello during their holiday travels?

A blogger, like me, of course.

Saturday an email popped up:

Hi Jill..

Well, we toured Zion yesterday...Bryce today...and we are heading to Salt Lake City. We will arrive there tomorrow afternoon...and were wondering if you and Bernie would be free to meet us for dinner...either Sunday night (tomorrow) or Monday night. We'll do some touring in the city on Monday and plan to leave for home Tuesday morning.
Hope it works out to meet up!

TOTALLY that would work out! A couple of emails and a phone call later, and....

Judy from "My Front Porch" was sitting on My Back Porch!
Now I have a rule: the first time someone comes to my home for a visit, I want everything to be just perfect. After that, I expect my friends to drop by whenever, and I don't worry about everything being "just so" because the have seen it "just so", and understand that in the real world, laundry gets folded on the couch, mail lingers at the kitchen table and the towels maybe hanging rumpled in the bath. (or even worse...there are THOSE days....)

This was Judy's first visit. Suddenly I realized that actually Judy has been in my house since the days when the kitchen was painted red and Bob Marley's image held sway in a downstair's room. This was going to be a dream come true for me: I could have a first visit that could be, would be, a visit from an old dear friend.

And from the moment they came in the door, that was exactly how it felt: Like I had known Elmer and Judy for years.
Elmer shared that he has laughed at my posts; at once I felt just as much at ease with him as I did with Judy. Isn't it just cool when you like both the wife and the husband equally?
Bernie got right down to chatting with Elmer about guy stuff as Judy and I took spin to see the house's "after" in person.

Since it was a warm day, and I knew I could never hope to outdo a Mennonite Constant Cooker, I kept the dinner menu pretty simple. Bernie marinated and grilled salmon, I made some rice, a tossed salad and then gave a watermelon salsa recipe in the Sunday paper a try.
I was so interested in visiting with Judy and Elmer that I was glad that the dinner practically made itself. I would have really hated to have been hovering over the stove instead of sitting in the living room talking.

The time just flew. The whole time I was thinking "Dang! I wish they lived closer. They are just a great couple!"
Since Judy is my favorite travel journalist, I had to ask what their next adventure will be.
They shared their plans; and as luck would have it, I had something on hand to add to the dessert to celebrate where they were headed.
See if you can figure it out!
(I wish I had also toasted their anniversary at dinner: Happy Anniversary plus 1 day, Judy and Elmer.)

Good bloggers remember to take formal pictures to mark the occasion...

And we got our guys together in a picture too.
Judy and Elmer: Thanks so much for coming by!
I can't wait to see lots and lots of your travel pictures as soon as you have time to post them.
Can't wait to see you and Elmer again too.
It will happen someday...and that's a promise!