Monday, September 22, 2008


Worn out from the past week's banding efforts. I think what affected me the most was crowd control, especially on Saturday with 75 first-outside Boy Scouts. Otherwise the overall effort went well, yielding 80 birds of 28 species.

Trying to get back into cross-stitch, with Christmas approaching quickly. It really shows how my eyes have changed; working with 32-count fabric is now OUT without magnification. Getting (and today feeling) old...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mid-vacation, mid-migration

Very nice to be away from work for the next couple weeks, especially considering the calls I got from friend and co-worker Susan about a situation there. All I will say is I almost got to travel to Vermont after all...

It's being very difficult to judge the state of the southward avian migration thus far. Wednesday was a nearly incredible day, with feathered friends of varying dappling everywhere. Yesterday not as many, then today barely a peep anywhere. Then to hear from Ma in Nisswa that her driveway is covered by Yellow-rumped Warblers. Crazy!

Hopefully not contracting a bug, almost called off banding today. Probably should have, for the sake of the one bird (a Ruby-crowned Kinglet) we trapped... Hopefully the public programs tomorrow at Carver and Sunday at Ritter Farm go better than that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Migration days

Probably as much as it's going to be, the southward avian migration is in "full swing" now. At least that is the impression the last couple days, with short (necessitated by attention to "real life") banding sessions yielding 21 birds of 14 species. Beginning this Wednesday I will be in the field for eight days straight (weather permitting), so this will hopefully be a varied, fun time.

Had a wonderful day yesterday with friends Susie and Jessi, watching old movies and being silly. I'm not sure if I can handle this new thing called a social life...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Latency and meat cleavers

OK, now that I have your attention... Actually two totally unrelated subjects tonight, hopefully a trifle more logical than yesterday's when I was operating on fumes. Nothing like at least a partial night's sleep!

With the first, I begin with a wit-bit from Mediocrates:

Adding more lanes does not solve the traffic jam.

The above, according to traffic management theory, is true. If the same bottleneck exists before and after the lane addition, you solve nothing. A similar situation is potentially true at work, where a major system realignment might be forthcoming. This will in effect give us two servers instead of one. However, these servers must communicate, and thus we create a bottleneck where one did not before exist. When these systems can't communicate, the traffic between them wants to go but can't. In techno babble the waiting time is called latency. With enough latency built up, communications just stop. Adding more bandwidth won't cure it, either, in fact it could make the situation worse. And yet we are just plowing ahead, as I sit on the sidelines saying "But, but, but...". I guess my head is up my but.

With the second, sweet friend Jessi and I yesterday began a wild tangent of a conversation about authors, books and the hideous movie translations to be endured. As we finished up, she said she might dedicate a book about the subject to me. I was flattered and honored that she would think such. As an addendum, and entirely appropriate to our conversation, I told her to add at dedication's end: "Sorry about the meat cleaver." I know it's one of those "you had to be there" moments, but the laughter on both phone ends was rollicking.

And now to get out of work-mode thinking by frying my brain with an extreme-level Sudoku. 'Til we meet again, everyone!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hit me with lime Jello and call me Lutheran...

...because that would actually make sense after my day today. I'm totally addlepated so if none of this is coherent to the reader please forgive me. The day started at 4am (3:15 actually) to begin yet another software upgrade (have to be done during the business "lulls"). The rest of the day was pretty much fielding calls about minor after-effects, but that still made for a full 12 hours. I'm wiped.

A shout-out to friend Lucy, whom I saw for the first time in three weeks. May your health improve, dear friend. Another shout-out to friend Nora, I will pray for you and family in this trying time. And one last shout-out to friend Susan, whose sense of humor and sense of fashion helped me survive today.

Sleepy time... well, maybe not until 7:30 purely because it's otherwise too early. Hard to believe in a couple months it will be extremely dark right now. ISH...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saving grace

My avocation of bird banding is truly my saving grace from the stresses of "normal" life. Yesterday at Ritter Farm (20 birds of 13 species, about 50 visitors) and today at Menomonie (53 birds of 9 species, Sharon and Amber presiding) were absolutely wonderful. Amber was again true to her "good luck charm" role today, with our captures and releases of an Eastern Tufted Titmouse, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush and Great-crested Flycatcher. The topper was a second foreign retrap of an American Goldfinch, this one numbered (I hope I remember) 2200-14660. With luck we will hear about this quicker than our previous, which has still not been determined after a year's wait. The government (or those who report to it) can take its time sometimes...

Another grind of a week upcoming, with my annual review tomorrow and yet another software upgrade early Tuesday. Awaiting on Saturday, I hope, is a fancy-free day with Susie and Jessi Henderson. I hope I make it that far; goals do help...

Friday, September 05, 2008

A long week... slowly drawing to a close. With bird banding planned both days (Lakeville tomorrow, Menomonie Sunday) and the fall migration kicking in, with luck I will have good reports and good photos soon.

Meantime, another bit of average wittiness from Mediocrates:

Some take initiative. Some take credit. Some take the money and run. Some take the cake. Few accept responsibility. No-one wants blame.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This mortal sin...

Yes, I was a bad boy today. And I suffered for it. Well, OK, maybe just a teeny bit. I'm not sure if this falls under greed, gluttony, sloth or another one of life's main baddies:

Did a little shopping at the local grocery. Had my usual small basket as I tend not to get that many items at once. As I stood in the Express line, I realized I had 11 items and the line had a 10-item limit. Not a big deal, I thought; I've seen others do the same thing (some with nearly double the magic number). So I continued. I got to the checkout, had my check ready, and the clerk started tallying. 7 items. 8. 9. 10. 11, and then the total...

Just then the 11th item, a small box of blueberries, burst open and scattered.

10 minutes passed before a replacement blueberry box arrived...

Not just a coincidence (or as Josh Groban would say, "kwinky-dink"), I'm sure...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Our State Fair...

Wow, post #100! At least that's what Blogger is telling me, even though only 97 show as published. Never thought I'd last this long... Many thank yous to dear friends Tom and Sheri at SABO for getting me started on this journey.

Also, many thank yous to the Henderson family, with whom a journey is underway and the destination of which is not known right now. Well, OK, their physical destination is near Durango, CO, but I'm talking something beyond that. OK, maybe I'm weird and have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyways, that's not the subject of this entry.

The four Hendersons I know (Susie, Randy, Jessi and Kevin) and I met at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday. It was my first visit in 15 years. That's seems about the right interval for me, when in 2023 or so I can pay the senior fare. This is not a knock against the fair, just an expression of my need to be there. Everything was in place yesterday: beautiful weather, people everywhere (my people-dodging skills need tweaking), myriad things to see and do, and of course nearly any food variety one would want, presented in skewered ("on a stick") form.

My personal favorite food, as recommended by my work boss, was the "Australian Battered Fries". This was presented as a long slice of potato, deep fried (of course! This is the fair, after all.) in a unique batter and semi-smothered (thankfully not fully smothered) in a ranch-style dressing. And not on a stick! A very interesting combination of flavors. Randy bought some and shared with the crew; very generous of him! I also enjoyed a to-die-for strawberry shake; has to start thick enough to be unslurpable, and mine truly was. I hope Jessi's chocolate shake was as good. How I managed to avoid the staples of Pronto Pups (fair-speak for corn dogs) and mini-donuts is beyond me.

Later yesterday I rejoined the Hendersons for a spaghetti dinner, quality dish-washing time and the movie "Glory" which they had not seen before. The latter seemed to impress them, which pleased me; one never knows if one's own likes will translate to others.

On another note entirely, for the first time in I year a have an inquiry on the Ancestry web site. Always neat to hear from extremely-distant relatives (are they relatives if that distant?). So I best respond, probably later today. A shout-out to Vermont friend Jackie (sorry we missed connections earlier) for her aid in family research.

Whatever journey my life is taking will be documented here. At least the shareable parts. Thanks to all who contribute, your friendship and love mean everything...