Archive for December, 2007

Can WordPress be any easier?

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Today, WordPress, the killer app that I run this blog as well as my other blogs on, came out with an update.? I decided to use this as an opportunity to put the autoupdate feature through it’s paces.? I have upgraded once since this feature came out, but I did it step by step.? I had talked to a few other bloggers who had trouble.? Since I had two blogs to update, I decided that I would upgrade one step by step and one completely automatically.

The step by step process was just as I had remembered it.? It started by backing up my files and database and prompting me to download them.? It then pulled over the new version of WordPress, turned off all the plugins that were on, updated the files, prompted for any database update, if required, turned the plugins back on and finally, cleaning up the mess.? It did this easily and flawlessly, step by step.

I then went to the other blog and chose the completely automatic upgrade. ? With one click of the mouse and a slight pause, we were through everything up to updating the database.? After I clicked a link to execute this process, that was pretty much it.? Done in less than a minute.? Flawless.

WordPress just keeps getting better and better!

Taking photos at the zoo

Friday, December 28th, 2007

What did you guys do Christmas Eve? I took a little Photo Safari to the San Antonio Zoo! We’ve been zoo members for a long time, but we haven’t been in forever. I really wanted to take some cool pictures and thought this would be a great place. As usual, I was right. 8-)

I thought I would share a few of the pictures from the trek and a few of the lessons I learned while shooting them. First is this lovely Condor:

Condor (by enlighten-up)

One o the hardest things about shooting at the zoo is the wire on the cages. Here, with most of the rest of the photo opportunities at the zoo, the zoom is your friend. Interestingly, if you zoom all the way in and focus on your subject, the wire goes out of focus. Sometimes it will completely disappear. My point and shoot as a decent zoom, but nothing like a DSLR. If this had been taken with a DSLR, I think the wire would have completely disappeared.

Sometimes, depending on the size of the wire, this can present a different challenge, as in this photo of a Hyacinth McCaw:

Hyacinth McCaw (by enlighten-up)

Here, the mesh wire is dense enough that it was somewhat of a challenge to get the camera to focus on the bird and not the wire. The only thing I can really suggest here, short of going to manual focus (which is a real pain on my camera), is to try until you happen to get it.

Another suggestion, especially if you are a member, is to check the zoo literature and website for times that different things occur. The following, I just lucked up on, but there were some people there knowing what was going to happen.

Cheetah 2 (by enlighten-up)

Attentive Cheetah (by enlighten-up)

The way I was able to capture such an attentive look on the cheetahs face was the fact that it was play time. The handler was bringing out some plastic balls that she plays with. When she heard the handler, she quickly focused on her. The handler was nice enough to stand behind me and speak to her while I snapped away.

On this same ‘timing’ vein. Try to go early in the morning or late in the evening. Not only is the light much better, but those are usually feeding times. If you go in the middle of the afternoon, like I did, you get shots more like this:

Naptime Lion (by enlighten-up)

Yes, it was nap time for the lions. It was nap time for many animals, really. I was lucky enough to catch some of them just before drifting off. The Heyena is a prime example:

Heyena 2 (by enlighten-up)

Above all, have fun with the photos! Even when you get home from taking them. Oddly, this seems to be the most popular picture from the day. All I did was blur the back ground (depth of field) and turn it black and white.

Just Hangin' Around (by enlighten-up)

That’s about all the ‘tips’ I can offer. If you want to see the rest of the pictures from this excursion, check out my SA Zoo Set on Flickr.com. Enjoy!

And I thought I was having a bad week…

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I have had one of those weeks.? Not ‘bad’, per se, but no room to breath.? On Tuesday, I started a class, which is cool, but it’s pretty much solid class all day with a short lunch.? When I got out of class last night, I went straight to the center because I had a class to teach.? Again, it was cool, but I was there until a little after 10.? This made it a pretty late night.? On top of that, I forgot to set my alarm.

I awoke with a start, looked at the clock in disbelief and confusion, andmade a B-line for the shower.? I rushed out the door to head for class and was, of course, caught in traffic.? But I made it in time for class.? During lunch, I had to take a tire to the tire place so I could get a new one.? Since I was running short on time, I just dropped it off and paid for it and said I would be back to pick it up later.? At this point, I feel like I haven’t had a moment to catch? my breath in a day and a half.

After I get back, I try to call the house and the call is routed to my cell phone.? Since we have Vonage, this is my usual indicator that the internet is down.? Well nothing I can do about it now, I’ll have to deal with that when I get home.? I finish up class for the day and have been going from 5 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon.? Time to head for the tire place.? But before I get out the door, my cell phone rings and Chris tells me that the electricity is out at the house.? (Hmm…that would explain why the internet doesn’t work).? So I look up the number for the power company online to call in an outage.? I get them on the phone and tell them about the problem and she taps on a keyboard for a few minutes while I wait.? I am expecting her to tell me that, yes, there is a reported outage and they are working on it.

‘I’m not seeing any problems in that area so I’ll have to send a technician out.’

This throws me for a small loop but I thank her and head out the door as fast as I can so I can pick up the tire and get home to see what’s wrong with the power.? As I pull up to the tire shop, I of course notice the long line of people.? I park and hop at the end of the line and watch as the ONE SERVICE GUY is trying to help each person.? I finally get to the front, give him my tag and he sends someone to throw the tire in the trunk.? Now I head for home, which I am sure is cold as ice since we have had a cold snap and now we have no heat.

On the way home, I began wondering if maybe the circuit breaker inside had popped.? I got to the house and ran inside.? Since it was getting dark, I dug up a flashlight and then headed for the circuit breaker box.

‘Hmm…looks fine.”, I thought.? ‘But lets flip it just to make sure.”

This yielded no results so the next thing was the power pole by the house.? I went outside, opened up the box, but that breaker hadn’t tripped either.? Now my heart sank.? Since I had seen the lights on at my neighbors house, I knew the problem was going to be mine alone.? I was afraid a limb had fallen from one of out trees and broken the line.? I started walking in a path that the cable took to get out of my yard, trying not to trip over anything as I walked with? my eyes firmly planted above my head.

Oddly enough, I got all the way to the pole at the edge of the property and had seen no break in the line.? My eyes followed the line to the pole and then looked at it both to the right and to the left.? It all looked fine.? My eyes wandered down the pole to the fence line and…

‘YIKES!!’? I almost jumped out of my skin.? I was face to face with a squirrel who was on a bush at the base of the pole sitting at eye level.? I looked at him, he looked at me.? Then I became fascinated that I was so close and he wasn’t spooking.? I spoke softly to him and he still didn’t start.

‘Wow!? I wish I had my camera!’, I thought.

Then the whole oddness of this scene began to dawn on me.? I moved around to look at the squirrel from another angle, and the little guy still didn’t move.? It finally dawned on me that he was not among the living.? I thought he may have gotten his leg stuck and just died there kinda hanging, but then I look up again and notice what appeared to be a huge switch that was disconnected.? I looked back down at the squirrel then the switch again.

Yes, you guessed it.? He had crawled into the transformer to try to get warm and zapped himself.? This threw the circuit breaker on the transformer (open switch) and had thrown him off where he had plummeted to the bush and gotten stuck.? But he was stuck in such a natural position and there was no external damage that I thought at first he was alive and sitting there.

In the end the tech showed up, and confirmed what I had finally figured out and we have the power back again.? As I sit here and relax thinking how stressed my last two days were, I have realized that that was nothing compared to the day that poor squirrel has had.

Fall Colors

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Autumn Yellow

Stormy Red

Fall Orange

Yellow and Green

The Squirrel

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

I had to drive back into town to get dog food today (forgot to get it yesterday). Anyway, I took the camera with me and ended up shooting this little squirrel who I think was just showin’ off.

Just Hangin' Out

What do YOU want?

Peek A Boo!

I think this is my personal fave:
Startled Squirrel

Pictures from the weekend

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Just some pictures from this weekend

Bark

Saddle

Holy Holy Holy

Photos for Utata Weekend Project -’Bowls’

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

My Bowls Pictures

Spotlight Crystal Bowl

Crystal Bowl 1

Blue Bowls

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