Dave's Journal, August 3013

Hummingbird Hawk Moths

In the 1960's I was an amateur bug collector, and was pretty good at identifying insects, and that interest has stayed with me over the years, even if the knowledge has faded away.

So, on my visit to the local botanical garden, a bug caught my eye. It was big and flittered from flower to flower very quickly - I almost thought it was a small hummingbird, because that's how it behaved.

I did not have a long lens with me, so I grabbed a bunch of snapshots as fast as I could, hoping some would be clear enough to examine if I enlarged them on the computer. There were several of these bugs, as shown in the pictures.

jpg jpg jpg

jpg It was this next picture (computer enhanced over there on the right) that got me ! That coil is it's tongue.

After some scientific research (searching internet pictures while sipping on a Red Hook Ale and munching chips), I found that it's a Hummingbird Hawk Moth - a moth ! ! out there in the bright daylight sucking the nectar out of flowers !

Here is a neat video someone put on Youtube (turn your speakers down if you are at work !!):


A for-real conversation this morning. . .

Deb (leaving for work): Where are you going today, so I can be jealous?

Me: I have a magic wand here that will make you my age, make your fingers crooked, make you deaf, make you years closer to The Big Sleep. Would you like me to . . .

Deb: No thanks. Have a nice day (kiss kiss)


Here are some pictures from yesterday's
Italian Car Festival

Weeds and wackers

Add it all up and there's about 400ft of edging along the sidewalk and the center path; add in the cracks and you get to about 500ft, and today was the day to clean out the weeds and crabgrass.

This brings me to my main point - every weedwacker ever made is a piece of sh#t. But then what do you expect. You only paid $150 for it and you already used it 3 times - jees, fella, stop whining and just buy another one.

So . . . I took out my trusty old $19 manual hoe and the $12 weeding fork and went to work. These did not break, and they are ages old and very well worn. And . . . and . . . the exercise and bend&stretch movements that improve circulation, flexibility and joint lubrication come free with every hour of use.

I feel just great, if a bit tired, and the sidewalk actually looks neat and tidy.


Deb (who has Tuesdays off) took her neices shopping for the day, so I packed my bag and headed for Boston for a beautiful walk along the Charles "River".

There is a boathouse where, for free, they give kayak and sailing lessons to kids on summer vacation. Kind of incredible, I think.

Here's what the kayak class was doing this afternoon.


Hey, It's August 8th !


Crash class today in algebra

Dave: Okay, here's how you solve the quadratic equation.

Erynn: Um . . . don't you do it the other way?

Dave: Oh . . . um . . . yeh, actually you're right.

Dave: Okay, here's how you solve two simultaneous linear equations.

Erynn: Um . . . don't you do it this way [scribble scribble]. . . ?

Dave: Oh . . . um . . . yeh, I think you're right.

Dave: Okay, remember the solution to this equation is (a*b*c - d*e) / g*h

Erynn: Um . . . I'm pretty sure that it's (a*h*x)+ 6.4*Π

Dave: Oh . . . um . . . yeh, that Π term always confuses me. . . . Can I go home now?

Click this: Dave, can you take a nice family portrait for us ?

A quieter moment . . .


Okay, guess which half of this pizza is mine.


Hint: One side has no cheese. The other side is hotdog slices smothered in olive oil, shredded cheese and garlic.

Seattle, 2013 - There and Back

Well, we are back from Seattle, as of last night, and are chilling out (doing nothing) today. It's nice not to be walking walking walking for one day.

The 4hr45m flight home gave me time to throw out my bad pictures and clean up the pretty ones and wrap some words around them, and here they are:


This is for my cousin, Ron, in Florida


Hey, good buddy, I hope that you are still out there reading my blog here. This bumper sticker came in the mail today, but I am 99% sure that Hillary meant to send it to you, not me. So, please print this out and stick it . . . um . . . um . . . across your "rear bumper" is where the instructions said to stick it.

No, no, no . . . you don't have to thank me. ;))


Time to bottle the first vintage (will be 24 bottles), so I made a winerack (holds 60 bottles). Very tedious work, but could not find an affordable one that I liked, so designed my own. Not great cabinetry but it's pretty nice.
Next step (Sunday or Monday) is to clean and sterilize bottles and then fill and cork them. Then we wait until January ! !

Editorial Commentary: this damn thing was way too painful to make because it evolved step by step. Started out in my mind as some shelves under the basement stairs and ended up as furniture for my basement living space. Most painful of all was the very late decision to give it a coat of shellac (after it was all nailed together). It took me as long to shellac it as it took to actually make it. Be warned: anything with these many nooks and crannies needs to be stained or shellac'd , piece by piece, before it is assembled. But like I said, this thing evolved in the making of it.
I was supposed to bottle wine this weekend but ended up making furniture - not happy at all.

"I'm ready for my treats, Dave."


Monday, Aug 26

Today was the day. I put the winerack behind me and set up to actually bottle my first batch. Not without snags (tubes and pumper rods not fitting and the supply place closed until Wednesday) I plodded on and bottled 30 !



These will be ready to serve around Christmastime. But I did sample the bottom drippings and the stuff (dry, red, Italian) is pretty nice . In fact, I can say without any qualification that this is the finest wine I have ever made.

They Don't Sing 'em Like This Anymore
(Put those headphones on and crank up the volume)

Tom Jones: I'm Never Gonna Fall in Love Again

Camera and Coffee

One theme for our photo forum pictures is called "camera and coffee", and as you can imagine it was swamped with cafe table pictures with cameras alongside coffee cups and newspapers or maps or passports or aviator glasses and scarves, Ferrari car keys, etc etc. It was interesting for a while but the same old stuff gets tiresome and a few of us let our imaginations leave the cafe table scenario behind.
This is what I came up with . . .


We wrestle with this issue constantly - with the trillions of pictures taken and shared every year on the internet, TV, magazines, it is extremely hard to make a new interesting picture. Everything has been done a million times before. Most often a picture simply refreshes the viewer's mind for a moment, about some experience or emotion that he/she already had or it may entice them (yet again) to explore the world shown in the picture (a lakeside scene, an alleyway in an Italian village . . . ). This has been done thousands of times in a viewer's lifetime, and it gets harder and harder to be interesting, except that your picture can simply refresh how the viewer feels for the moment.

The only exceptions to this thinking are abstract or fantastical images, that show something never seen before. But most viewers don't like that. They get confused. They don't "get it" when they look at abstract images. They ask "What is that?". Viewers, ironically, want to be excited and refreshed by a picture but all they want to look at is the same old stuff over and over again (how boring for the photographer who wants to have fun and do something new).

Since the bottles are ready to be laid down in the winerack, I had to finally decide on a label this morning, and I did . . . .


File this one under "Too Weird to be True, But 'tis Nonetheless True "

North Korea leader Kim Jong's ex-girlfriend has been executed for making a porn tape !

Reports indicate the dictator had been to see his former lover sing in a concert just nine days before she was arrested and executed [ trial ? trial? . . . ehhhh, screw the trial - let's just shoot her].

Kim Jong's ex-girlfriend has been executed by firing squad along with a dozen fellow North Korean musicians charged with violating laws against pornography,

Jees, Kim, lighten up huh !

jpg Sold . . . in 19 minutes ! !

I'm selling off some excees stuff so I can buy more excess stuff. I put 3 lenses up for sale this morning.
This 24mm lens (from the 1980's) had a design flaw that I fixed by epoxy-ing a rubber band around the focusing ring, then painted the rubber band black with a magic marker.

Some guy from Seattle (coincidentally) bought it 19 minutes after i posted the ad.