Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Photos And Super Harvest Moon

I was in Bismarck and some of the trees are so gorgeous I about went off the road gawking at them!
Crazy woman. :)
Some of the big trees are fully changed in color yet have all their leaves. Wow!

Here's a tele shot which captures the autumn splendor feeling I had.

Climbed the hill at Hillside Park for a city view.
(Can see the Capitol Bldg. from there.)

Virtual Tour

I'm at the dots furthest to the right, click on those, and it gives you panning views with skyscraper Capitol Bldg. (Made me a little woozy watching it). The park was redone summer 2009 and the only vehicle entrance now is off Boulevard Ave. Used to be able to drive up to that hillside view. Now you have to hike up there.

Still plenty green yet this year.
More color to come.

And further down the hill, tiny crab apples at my feet. (I think that's what they were.)

The moon was visible during part of the day, snapped that too.

Ah yes, a glorious autumn day, indeed.

How about some tunes with that:
Neil Young - Harvest Moon (1993)

What's up with the moon this time of year?

"Not since Sept. 23, 1991 has a full moon occurred on the same night as the fall equinox, and it won't happen again until 2029."

"...the Harvest Moon typically occurs a few days or weeks before or after the fall equinox. This year, though, the full moon occurs just six hours after the equinox, making it what Phillips called a Super Harvest Moon."

"The Harvest Moon gets its name from depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset."

(Quoting astronomer Tony Phillips.)

Why can I sometimes see the moon during daylight hours?
"The answer to your question has two parts: why is the moon VISIBLE during the day, and why is it even ABOVE THE HORIZON during daylight hours. ..."

"...there is one other object which is just BARELY bright enough to be visible in the daytime, besides the moon and sun: that's the planet Venus - the third brightest natural light source in the sky. ..."

Why does the Moon sometimes come out during the day?
"...think of the Sun as a large light bulb, and the moon as a large mirror..."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My First Falcon Pic

Backyard visitor. Grabbed my tele and got a few pics before he flew away. I think that's a bird he's chewing on. The feet are definitely bird feet.

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
"The American kestrel, nick-named the "sparrow hawk", is the smallest and most common of the falcons found in North Dakota."
"The American kestrel can be seen throughout North Dakota from April until late September."

Hmmm... late in the season already.

Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North Dakota
Lists 4 Falcons - Family Falconidae
1. Prairie Falcon
2. Merlin
3. American Kestrel
4. Peregrine Falcon

How to Distinguish Between Raptor Species (See pics at link.)
"Falcons have long, slim wings which taper to pointed tips. In flight the wings angle back at the wrists and wing beats are rapid. Falcon bodies are sleek; they have very round heads and long, narrow tails. Most falcons have noticeable patterns on their faces, such as the two cheek "sideburns" of the kestrel."

"A jay-sized falcon..." (Sounds about right.)
"Adult male has slate-blue wings. Female has rusty wings and back, narrow bands on tail."
I sure didn't see any blue color. Must be a female.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


This must be an Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra).
The whole tree looked lush orange. Up close the leaf colors ranged from yellow to deep orange. Yummy colors.

Here's a photo of the deep orange part:

The shell/nut seed reminded me of a hazelnut inside a prickly walnut shell.

A similar tree, the horse-chestnut, is bigger and doesn't grow here.

"Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) leaves have five to seven toothed leaflets arising at a common point (as the fans on a pinwheel). The leaflets are 3 to 6 inches long. The large showy flowers appear in clusters at the ends of the branches shortly after leafing in the spring. The fruit is a large, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, leathery capsule. It contains a large round chestnut-brown, shiny seed that contains a light colored spot at its base. Not native. New hybrid cultivars, medium-sized in stature, deserve greater attention for planting as residential and ornamental trees. Select 'Autumn Splendor' and 'Homestead' cultivars for leaf scorch resistance and reddish-orange fall color."

"The true horse-chestnut (A. hippocastanum) of the eastern and southern U.S. is beyond the range of hardiness in North Dakota.
If planted here it may suffer severe winter killing each year — if it survives at all.
The tree planted in North Dakota as buckeye (A. glabra) is hardy and also more variable.
Many hardy individuals are found growing well in North Dakota."


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Answer Man - Movie

Another ShowTime freebie movie worth watching.
This one surprised me, better than I thought it would be.
It's rated R because of the F word.

The Answer Man

The song that played at the very end credits:
Don't Wait Too Long
Madeleine Peyroux - (Live in Los Angeles 2009)

Get your answers here (HA):

Why can't I do the things I want to do?
There's so much I know I'm capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?
The trick is to realize that you're always doing what you want to do...always.
Nobody's making you do anything.
Once you get that, you see that you're free and that life is really just a series of choices.
Nothing happens to you.
You choose.

If God made everything, then why are some things bad,
like, for example, the whole pain-and-suffering thing?
without things that suck, you would have no idea what good was and therefore would be directionless.
You smell shit, and you walk the other way.
(That one makes me laugh every time. lol)

Do I have a destiny, or is it all free will?
Destiny or free will?
Free will... moving toward or away from a purpose.

I'm trying to stay sober and my dad won't stop drinking.
How can I love him even though he's selfish and he's scaring me?
Um, that's hard.
I guess what's getting in the way are your expectations...
If he would do "x", then you'd be happy.
It doesn't work that way.
I think you have to let go of that and maybe what you want will happen and maybe it won't.
Either way, you're better off.

How did "Me and God" come to be?
So one day I started to write the questions down.
And then some answers to those questions came to me and I wrote them down too.
Before I knew it, I had all these pages.
One thing led to another And that's how "Me and God" came to be.
That's it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Word 2010 - More Playing

More playing in Word 2010.

MySpace Charts - Music

Via MySpace

I found three songs/bands to check out:

The Catalyst, Linkin Park
From a new album, A Thousand Suns, Sep 2010.
Kinda U2 at the beginning. From what I can tell the band changed their sound and fans seems unhappy about that. Maybe that's why I like this song, lol. Kinda edgy, angry. The album is about war, thus sayeth Wiki.

Kings and Queens, Thirty Seconds to Mars
What do I know about this band, not much.
The song is from a new album, This Is War, Dec 2009.
Is it thirty or 30? I see both.
Here's Wiki.

And Breakeven, by The Script I found two versions that are good:
Live At Islington Academy
Official Music Video

Love the typography on The Script name. I wonder who designed it and what the story is on it.

Their new album (Sep 2010) Science & Faith, might be better than their previous album.
Track 1

(Hey, it's a nice place for links, if nothing else.)

I notice the ages of the band members don't seem to agree among the various sources.

Band Site Bios
Danny O'Donoghue (25), the "raven haired, handsome, sensitive keyboard player."
(Both imdb and discogs say born 3 Oct 1980.)

Mark Sheehan (27), "shaven headed production whizz and guitarist."
(discogs says born 29 Oct, 1976.)

Glen Power (28) "taciturn drummer and multi-instrumentalist, the funkiest white man in Dublin."
(No other source for age.)

Okay, let us do the math.
If Danny is 25, that means he was born in 1985. NOT. He's 30.
If Mark is 27, that means he was born in 1983. NOT. He's 34.
And Glen is supposed to be a year older than Mark. So he must be REALLY old, 35, lol.
Not that I'm going to lose any sleep over this, just noticed the discrepancies.

Everybody's Fine - Movie

We have free ShowTime movies for a while, so I'm recording away.
Most of them seem to be mediocre, but ya never know.

I just watched Everybody's Fine and liked it.
The trailers make it look like a funny holiday movie.
It's not a happy or funny movie at all.
It's sad.

There's not a lot going on—on the surface.
Robert De Niro was good at being interesting to watch without much happening.
To me it was about life not turning out as you want it to be and the dysfunctional communication between father and children. The children talked to each other and talked to Mom, but not to Dad. Well, Mom died.

Dad didn't seem like the kind of guy who would be hard to talk to, so what was up with them not talking to him? Maybe he was a little hard on them when they were young. Maybe it was just easier to talk to Mom, and they got into a communication rut like a person does in relationships, doing things the same old way, whether it is a good thing or not. They didn't give him a chance. Just assumed he wouldn't handle the truth well. And then it was just too late for at least one of them. Sad movie.

I don't think I'll watch it again, but definitely worth a watch once.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Native - Yucca

I'm pretty sure this is a Yucca plant.
I like them.

Agavaceae (The Agave Family)
Yucca (Yucca glauca)

Native Wildflowers of the North Dakota Grasslands


Dried Mud:

I don't know what this is for sure, but I thought it was interesting to look at. I think a yucca plant has fruit like this, but I just don't remember what the bottom area looked like. Should have paid more attention.


Autumn Palette In Photos

Finally got out for a photo walk, it's been a while, I missed it.

Autumn Palette:

Covert Affairs Season 1 Finale

Back at the cabin:

Oh Dahling, YOU are the most important thing...

Okay that did it...

Watch it online at USANetwork.

I sure hope they didn't kill off Ben (cliffhanger ending).
The song that played at the end was:
Be Here Now, by Ray Lamontagne
Blogged previously here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Blogger Header Transparency

Hey, my Blogger Header no longer has a transparent background.

It's not Picasa:

Must be a Blogger glitch.

Blogger doesn't recognize this semi-transparent with round edges in the Header either:

Header Preview is correct, but once I View Blog, it's incorrect. What's really strange is the transparency works on my test blog, but not on this blog. Same image, same template.

I give up. Went back to regular Header text because my Header image is ugly with a white background.


I bought these headphones mainly because that's all I could find with that color and style. I usually buy the really cheapo ones with the foam ear pads for exercise. It's the wire that wears out on my headphones, so why pay more.

But these have better quality wire and have noise canceling padded ear pads. When I use them, I have to turn the sound volume way down, because they are really loud.

Wow. What a difference in sound quality. Way better. And they aren't that expensive.

They did hurt my ears at first after I had them on for a while, but that stopped being a problem the more I used them.
I was hesitant to use them for exercise at first because they do muffle the environment sounds, but I got used to it.
They are great for at home use plugged in to my laptop which doesn't have very good speakers.

Amazon Link
JVC HAS150BX Light weight Flat Folding Headphone (Black)

JVC Flats Link
(They come in different colors: black, silver, red, purple, blue and pink.)

WalMart Has Them

Word 2010

Word 2010 has some really nice preset drop shadows with adjustable settings.

Here's a Perspective shadow that's a snap to create in Word 2010, but would take a lot a time and fiddling to create in something like PaintShop Photo Pro X3.

There's also a very nice Reflection effect.

MC900013143.WMF = plant
MC900012967.WMF = coffee
MC900326470.WMF = butterfly
Microsoft Images Online

I made a nice little calendar table in Word 2010 and then pasted it into a plain Text Box so I could add a Shape Style to it (gradient background and border with drop shadow).

There are just so many fun expressive things I can do within Word.


In Word 2010, I can use a Page Background Color in Print Layout View.
I usually color the background because it is easier on my eyes.
But in Word 97, I was stuck with Web Layout View only, which had its disadvantages.

4 Non Blondes - What's Up

One of my favorite songs.
I just happened to see it on a video site.

4 Non Blondes - What's Up - 1992
(Apr11: Link was dead, so changed it.)

Bass player Christa Hillhouse:
Linda's pretty organic in that way, she just sits down and starts singing what she's feeling.

...back then, she played acoustic guitar and all the songs she wrote she'd just sit there and here they'd come. A lot of people write like that. I write like that - a song is kind of there already and you're like the speakers. All of the sudden there's a song in my head and I don't know where it came from...

I remember when she was writing the verses to What's Up, she knew it so well, she thought she heard it before. I think that's why the song connects with so many people. What she was feeling she was able to translate. If you look at the lyrics, they don't mean anything. It's the way the song makes certain people feel.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Firefox Personas

Hey, I just got an update to the Firefox Personas plugin (version 1.6.1) and Customize Persona finally works.
Now I can get busy creating some nice personas for myself and get rid of the ugly Win7 blues, in Firefox anyway. I wish I could do that in all my programs.

My Persona in the above screenshot is just a simple diagonal yellow and green gradient I used for testing purposes. Nothing fancy, but I like it. You can see my nice Windows 7 Purple window theme too.

Personas blogged previously here.

Tidying Up Windows 7 Start

I was reorganizing the busy messy Start area of Windows 7...

Much better!

Things I learned:
I needed to change an incorrect icon, but could not find the target file path via the usual Right Click, Properties route.
I found out that if I load the program, Task Manager will give me the file path.

Windows 7 icons are located here:
Is that all of them? I don't know. Could be more.

With that knowledge, you can now use a nicer icon when you embed a file, video, music, etc. into a Word 2010 Doc.
Insert, Object, Object, Insert From File, Create From File, check Display an Icon and the Change Icon option appears.
From there you can select the above Windows *.dll files to choose your nice little icon.

Warning: Embedding a huge video file will seriously increase your Word doc size! I was just testing this out, so I embedded a video. But I'd probably just insert a YouTube hyperlink instead.

I reorganized Start via Windows Explorer, creating new folders and moving things around.

Start Menu Items are here:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\

The next step to tidying up Start:
Right Click in Start and select Properties.
Uncheck all the recently opened options.
Then go into Customize and uncheck all the display stuff.
I just display: Computer, Control Panel, Printers, Help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Major Tom - Shiny Toy Guns - Music

I was at MySpace listening to Shiny Toy Guns just to see what's new.
Major Tom 2009.
I LOVE their version of that song!

Which led me to all kinds of history on that topic.
From David Bowe in 1969 to Peter Schilling in 1983 to the 2010 Lincoln MKZ commercial, and more remixes, etc.
Wow, who knew.

First up, here's Shiny Toy Guns videos:

Shiny Toy Guns - Major Tom OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

Here's the Lincoln car commercial with their song:
Lincoln MKZ ad - "Major Tom (Coming Home)"

The Car

A Lincoln MKZ 2010.


Schilling 1984
Peter Schilling - Major Tom
Recorded at Montreux approx 1984

Schilling German
German version

Schilling '94
Peter Schilling & Bomm Bastic - Major Tom '94 (English Version) (Radio Version)

David Bowie- Space Oddity Original Video (1969)

Shiny Toy Guns

Major Tom1
Major Tom2

Friday, September 10, 2010

Word 2010 - Anatomy of a Text Box

I was studying the preformatted text boxes in Word 2010.
Boy, it took me a while to figure out the formatting.

The text box called "Alphabet Sidebar" was a good one to study because it has lots of different formatting settings.
Not only is the box formatted, but it also has *paragraph* formatting, including top and bottom borders and line spacing.
The paragraph border area is also where you can add horizontal divider lines in your document.
There are tons of things a person can do with shapes. Studying one gave me lots of ideas.

Paragraph formatting area:

Relevant Links from the "dummies" page:

Lines and Boxes
How to Add Lines and Boxes to a Word 2010 Document

Page Border
How to Put a Border around a Page of a Word 2010 Document

More Word 2010 Stuff

Here's a handy dandy pdf file I found Googling. It's for "Advanced" students. I feel better now. HA