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August 29, 2012

New Contest! You'll Probably Hate My Guts...

So here's the prize...

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Yup, it's every bit 'American Folk Art Cheesy' as it appears in the image... We're talking scrap pine 'Birds Whimsy' held together with drywall screws and sold at a flea market for $10 (which in turn might buy a bottle of fortified wine like Mad Dog 20/20 for the creator... Just kidding... just kidding...). Here are the details of the contest:

  • Contest question: What popular music duo produced the finest version of 'Ave Maria' ever? (Hint: their roots lie in classical and jazz...)
  • The correct answer to the contest question is entirely subjective, and will be decided by me, CapeCodAlan...
  • You must be a resident of the continental U.S. to enter...
  • Can of 'Diet Coke' not included...
  • Winner should expect delivery of prize when CapeCodAlan and the Mrs. get around to shipping it...
  • Winner must provide 'YouTube' link to actual performance of said finest version of 'Ave Maria' via email to CapeCodAlan@ebirdseed.com...
  • Only constraints on entrants are that you can't be 'doing time' and you can't be an immoral reprobate... Also, zombies and cockapoos are ineligible...
  • Prize comes directly from CapeCodAlan and not eBirdseed.com...
  • First correct answer with link wins...

Waiting by the feeders... (Told you that you'd hate my guts...)

CapeCodAlan


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August 28, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse and General Preparedness...

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.gov

There! Do you see that?!? Do you see that?!? I've been warning you for years that our society has been going to Hades, and our economy has been lilting down the River Styx, but you wouldn't listen would you??? Oh, all the signs were there: 'Bad Moon Rising' by CCR... Reality TV... Lady Gaga in her meat suit... William Shatner singing 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'...

The world has become little more than 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', but for real... And now there's this from the CDC (a dot gov site BTW). Zombies! I'll bet those beggars can't even dance like the ones in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video... (At least Tim Curry could wear high heels... but I digress...) So, it's time to get ready for some disaster, and it might just involve that undead schmuck to your right, or just something like Hurricane Issac...

You've been warned...

By the prepped feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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August 27, 2012

Strange Serendipity...

Old_420_.JPG

Hi,

Sorry I've been away... I'll post a few times in the near future to make up...

The pic above is sublime -- an old crow reaching his end of days.... It was simply a coincidence, a synchronicity of events that I got this shot today,... Bot it does speak volumes... There is some strange melancholic beauty (or at least irony) to the passing of time. In his day, this corvid probably chased off hawks, foxes, cats, and even coyotes... Now he's content politely asking for Goldfish crackers. There's something magnificent in graceful decline...

Hanging in there by the feeders... Onward!

CapeCodAlan


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August 19, 2012

Sunday Hummingbirds

For you viewing pleasure, a few minutes of hummingbirds at our front feeder.

Notice the difference in the way the various birds approach the feeder, and then how they hover, and the way the camera captures their wing beats. It really is amazing.

This is our most popular feeder; I end up cleaning and re-filling it pretty much every other day, if not oftener. Note the level of nectar in it at the beginning of the video versus at the end. Those little birds can suck down a LOT of nectar!

Of course, it helps that the feeder is stationed next to a pot of very red geraniums, and that the vine growing up the post is a lovely honeysuckle. No wonder it's so popular!

Enjoy.

Mrs. CapeCodAlan,
By the feeders...


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August 18, 2012

Picture Window Revisited and LED Lights...

Hi,

As promised, here's our new picture window (hidden behind the new tab top curtains...)

homestead 420 IMG_4566.JPG

The window doesn't have all the muntins of the old one, so the look is much more open and airy for the room. We're going to have to do something about the glass in that we've already had two bird hits... But time, dirt, and sun catchers should speak to that.

As for the living room itself... Eventually, we'll get rid of the over-sized furniture and replace that with less obtrusive fodder. One new feature we already love are the new LED lights. They use nine watts of power, have the illuminating power of a 65 watt incandescent, emit a soft white light, contain no mercury, last a gazillion years, and perhaps best of all give off extremely little heat. We paid $16 for each of ours, and will never go back. While $16 sounds like a lot I'd guess that they'd pay for themselves within a couple of years in electricity savings. To find the right LEDs for you, I'd recommend searching Amazon, checking out the products with the most good customer reviews and then taking action. like I said, we'll never go back...

By the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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August 16, 2012

Zippy Hummingbird

Hi,

Here's a quick post...

Thought you might like to see a curious hummingbird checking out our new picture window!

Note the slightly visible bubbling birdbath fountain in the background...

Stay tuned for a later post where the actual window is discussed in full...

By the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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August 12, 2012

Twilight Sky, Replacing Tile...

Hi,

420 pretty_IMG_4543.JPG

Thought I'd throw in this twilight shot... Sad reminder of the diminishing of summer and time in general... Sigh... In no time many of us will be freezing and blowing out our backs shoveling snow so long as we're lucky...

Onward...

The bathroom tile still has to be replaced, and here's the start of a replacement...

420 wood IMG_4547.JPG

The plan is to sand the hardwood blank to shape, and then prime with something like Bin. (I really don't think I need to seal the pores of the wood -- it's is just too dense to fuss over with sealing putty.) Once the primer is secure, we'll color match the tile and fiddle a semi-gloss poly into a not-too-embarrassing replacement.

Here's an earlier tile fix...

fixing tile_420 IMG_4563.JPG

A smidgen of 'White Out' and that puppy disappears...

Resigned by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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August 9, 2012

Curiousity... Looking Good...

mars_420_2012-08-08_122438.jpg

Well, there's the whole shebang... It's a stunning, audacious achievement. (For once, speaking as an engineer, I can opine with some degree of authority...)

As you probably know, NASA just lowered a one ton rover onto Mars. Its job will be to look for the telltale signs of the components of water and life. The ramifications of this mission are nothing short of stunning -- if the evidence is found, it means that life can exist beyond earth. And that speaks volumes to the existence and nature of God... God might indeed be the "Benevolent Giver of Life" of all forms everywhere. Think about that...

But beyond that, there is the engineering marvel itself and how it speaks to American boldness, and indeed, to American exceptionalism. No other country on this planet -- not China, not Japan, not Russia -- would have dared pull an engineering stunt like the American NASA Curiosity Team did... That was just insane... They hurtled a rocket carrying a an SUV-sized rover 350 million miles through space at 13,000 per hour for 18 months, and then slowed it down to a hover within seven minutes in an atmosphere 1/100th that of earth. Then they lowered (by cable) the plutonium-powered rover at 2 mph exactly where they wanted it. Stunning... Only Americans would try such a thing, especially when NASA is facing a 20% cut under Obama.

That rover will continue to beam back high def pics for years... And all at a total cost of about $8.00 per American (if we all paid federal income taxes...)

So there's some good news for you...

By the feeders and feeling good!

CapeCodAlan


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August 5, 2012

NASA's Curiosity and Money...

By now, you probably know of NASA's Curiosity, the one-ton Mars explorer... If NASA pulls this one off, we should be getting mind bending pics of the 'Red Planet'...

Is that cool or what!?! Come 1:20 AM tonight, you might want to hit the news channels... But what does it cost, and how does that cost compare to our current national fiscal situation?

Here's the pecuniary answer short and sweet... The Mars Curiosity program cost $2.5 billion -- that's 2,500 piles of money, each of which contains one million dollars. So, if our republic of ~300 million folks paid for our space program on a per capita basis, that boils down to about $8.30 per person. I'd say that's the cheapest, most long-lastingly educational, and most enthralling show in town... But to put a minuscule $2.5 billion dollars in a horrific perspective... Our country racks up $4 billion in interest on our debt each day...

By the feeders, looking up, and hoping for the best...

Go NASA!

CapeCodAlan


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August 2, 2012

Broken Tile... It Never Ends...

broken tile 420 IMG_4526.JPG

This is how it begins...

Well, above be the challenge fellow homebodies and wood butchers... Replace a tile damaged in the recent home renovation/window replacement. "No problem!" you say? "Quick fix!" you say? Yeah, well, not so fast Skippy. These tiles haven't be in production for 40 years, and for good reason -- they're ugly. And even if I could find them, just buying one probably would be cost prohibitive. So what's the plan Stan? (Funny, I thought you were Skippy... Anyway...)

My plan is to reproduce the tile in hardwood, and then paint it to the appropriate ghastly color. It will take careful milling, then priming, painting, and finally, some sort of varnish/polyurethane/lacquer/shellac, etc. After that I'll stick the sucker on the wall and woe be to he who questions it.

Of course, the other option is to tear the entire bathroom apart and remodel it, but that will involve not just tile work, but also plumbing, and I prefer my disasters one at a time. Let me fix the busted tile, then move on to the curtains, then re-shingle one side of the house, then remove the old wheelchair ramp installed by the original owner, then replace the deck, then replace the back door, then rip out the main bath, then re-paint all the ceilings, then publish my first sci fi book, then finish my Emily Dickinson book, then build my bucket boat (the 'Surf'), then build an airplane, then start my book on Karen Carpenter's tragic life, then...

You see... This is why little things like replacing a tile are such humongous deals -- everything is so intertwined with everything else. Whether it's the shingles which have to be replaced, or the books that must be completed, it's sort of an all or nothing package.

Make it all happen or die an abject failure... It really never ends...

By the bathroom and the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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