September 25th, 2017
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:00pm on 25/09/2017 under

Cormorant_2


To allow them to move more quickly, some cormorants have installed outboard motors.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:01pm on 25/09/2017 under

African Lion_4


The lion’s share




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
ranunculus: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ranunculus at 08:40am on 25/09/2017

Saturday night Donald and I drove up to Ukiah. In the morning we checked the fence line in part of the Iris Barn Pastures. Carrie thought she had a problem out there. We found several minor things, but nothing that should have killed a battery. I suspect that the battery had been abused just enough to be at the end of its life anyway.

Moving on we checked the drip and spray lines at the Howell Creek restoration project. The ones that were chewed up, apparently by a coyote, during August. They had all survived intact for the 5 days since I’d seen them last. We left one set of sprinklers going just to give the little willows a boost.

Over at the winter shelter for the horses, our project was to finish cutting the 1 inch plywood to length and get some primer on it.

Apparently nothing gets done without painful preliminary steps. First thing in the morning I had loaded the generator into the car, hurting my back in the process. Yes, I know, I should have waited for help… Once loaded several of us tried to figure out how to siphon off the stale gas in its tank. All the ethanol in the gas may make it burn cleaner, but it also makes it go bad within about 3 months, and the gas in that tank was at least a year old. Unfortunately for us, the tank on the generator was designed to be hard to steal gas from. Eventually I got a siphon going and Donald held the generator at an angle until it had drained. We refilled it with “tool gas” which is wildly expensive but has a shelf life of 2+ years. Once at the shelter, getting the generator going was a comedy of errors since there was very poor labeling on the machine (I kept trying to start it in the “off” position, which wasn’t labeled), and the valve on the fuel hose works the opposite of the valves I’m familiar with, leading me to attempt to start the machine in the off position with no fuel!!

Thinking about doing this project at home I realized that I no longer owned any saw-horses, the last ones had disintegrated into compost some time before. At the hardware store I found some very nice metal ones that fold up and have a carry handle. Ideal. We set the two bright yellow saw-horses up, marked the first sheet of plywood and I began running my old skill-saw through it. It immediately became obvious that the old skill-saw was un-useable. Way back when Matt was working for us he had mentioned that the saw didn’t work properly and that he thought the shaft was bent. I went to town. An hour later my brand new De Walt skill saw was making short work of the plywood.

Dave, the deer hunter, happened to be on the place taking down their hunt camp for the season. I called him and he very obligingly came down and helped shuffle plywood around, giving my sore back a rest. We got everything cut, and Donald got quite a lot of paint on the plywood given that he kept being interrupted to help move things.

Once the plywood was cut I tightened the bolts that hold the rafter to the walls with a tiny ratchet wrench that was terribly annoying. I like my tools to work, not half work!  Here is the worksite. Note the black plastic on the right hand side.  There a lovely little frogs sheltering in its damp folds!

At the end of the day we walked past the new tents that are sheltering the various bits of equipment that no longer fit in the barn. The tents are getting quite badly blown around. Next trip I need to fix that problem. I know what I want to do, put big 4x6 runners under each side of the tent and fasten everything securely down to those.

Got back to SF about 10pm.

 

guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 25/09/2017 under

Cave Cricket (Ceuthophilus gracilipes)_2


Per NatureServe, this cricket can be found in AL, IL, MO, and OK.


The crickets speak of Tennessee only in hushed whispers.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
September 24th, 2017
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 24/09/2017 under

Giant Water Bug_1


The weight of parenthood is a lot lighter when you’re upside down.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:01pm on 24/09/2017 under

Cheetah


Cheetah pondering the phrase “to sow your wild oats”.


If the oats have been sown, then they’re not exactly wild now, are they?




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:00pm on 24/09/2017 under

Humbolt Penguin_6


I’ve posted a photo of a penguin tongue before, but I particularly like this one because it shows the cartilaginous barbs they use instead of teeth to hold onto the fish. You can see them at the top of the mouth and on the tongue, but they all point backwards, so slippery fish can be more easily swallowed.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
September 23rd, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 23/09/2017 under

Banded Flower Mantis


¡¡ʇuǝllǝɔxƎ




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
laurel: Picture of Laurel with Garibaldi cardboard standup (Default)
The sciatica returned for a bit, though less bad than it had been previously. Enough to be worrisome and annoying and with zaps of bad pain but not constant bad pain. I did All The Things and fortunately it went away after a week or so. Mostly. Was inspiration to keep doing the physical therapy stretches, that's for sure, which I'd skipped for a few days prior to this flare up.

+ + +

The new mattress is great so far, I think. I'm also sleeping with a pregnancy pillow at times (and no, I'm not pregnant and don't intend ever to be pregnant) and it seems to also help with the sciatica stuff. I think. Maybe. (It can be hard to tell.)

+ + +

We now have health insurance through MinnesotaCare! Hooray! Apparently from August onward and I'm still sorting out what we owe for various appointments in August and September and getting those paid for. Sadly doesn't cover the $600+ ER visit in July and I'm cranky about that but we'll cope. There were appeals and all manner of things we had to deal with to get this all sorted out. I think we should be covered for July too given our initial application (that was messed up by a Navigator) was made in June but it is not according to others. Harrumph. But we finally have health insurance we can actually afford and that is a great relief. Now I need to take advantage of it and get all the appointments made.

It works out that the local cheap federally subsidized clinic we've been going to is covered as well as my longtime psychiatrist at HealthPartners so that's excellent. (We went with the Healthpartners plan through MNCare.) I should be able to either go to HealthPartners for an eye exam (as I have my whole life) or to the aforementioned cheap clinic as both are covered. That reallllly needs to be my next appointment given my blurry vision which is blurry. (I really think it's just age-related changes to my eyes but it's trickier to tell for me than most given I'm already both farsighted and nearsighted, among other things. Trying to motivate myself to do that with the thought of new glasses plus, you know, seeing clearer.)

+ + +

I stalled for a bit in my Law & Order: Criminal Intent rewatch, ran into a couple of particularly gruesome episodes which surprised me a bit as I don't think of it as a gruesome show, it's not like Criminal Minds (which I gave up on because it seemed to embrace the truly grisly and gruesome). But that episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a cannibal of sorts? Ew ew ew.

Right after that comes "Great Barrier" which is the Nicole Wallace episode with two different endings. I'm in the midst of that one at the moment.

+ + +

The Minnesota Twins may make the postseason and this is exciting after several years of not very good baseball. Bad baseball. This year the team has been pretty great with all sorts of exciting things going on, during the first half of the season they had a lousy record at home so it didn't feel like the season was going quite as well as it actually was. They've done better at home in the second half so we've seen lots of wins and just plain exciting games.

There are also young players coming into their own, which is great to see.

And then there's Joe Mauer, back to being himself after a couple of years of not doing well due to concussions and changing positions on the field as a result. People were hard on him, but it was clear to those of us who've watched him his entire career that he had to have been struggling with post-concussion symptoms. Heck, in one interview Mauer basically admitted to playing major league baseball while experiencing blurred vision. Can you imagine? He was no longer great at baseball but was still above average. During chunks of at least one season with blurred vision. The big weirdo.

Mauer is my favorite player and it was hard watching him struggle. And certain members of the local media in Minnesota have done their best to make local baseball fans hate the guy. Seriously. Non-local baseball fans are stunned to learn Mauer is hated by a large group of people in Minnesota because honestly what on earth is there to hate about Joe Mauer? Okay, some grumble that he's overpaid but it's not like he's the only athlete who is and it's not like he didn't earn that payday by being the best player in baseball for a time. That's what happens when you award someone for an awesome season or two with a multi-year contract, it just is. And somehow these people who complain forget that Joe Mauer was playing for not a lot of money (as pay for baseball players go) during his first few seasons. The pay for athletes is weird. (Before baseball players make it to the big leagues, they often toil for years in the minor leagues where they are paid far less than even minimum wage and often have to room with host families and do ridiculous things just to find a way to eat. It's bad, you guys, and I get so cranky about this but fortunately there's real movement to improve the situation. I hope. Mauer didn't have to toil like this, but most others do.)

Some of the other things people complain about re Mauer are the sorts of things that seem Very Minnesotan. Minnesotans hating on Mauer for being reserved and Minnesotan is just . . . wrong. And yet many do. Ugh.

Anyway. Watching Mauer get back to being great is a joy, not just because I enjoy watching great athletes be great but because it's a good sign he's recovered fully (or mostly) from his brain injury. I like that. Brain injuries suck and are hard to recover from.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:00pm on 23/09/2017 under

African Lion_7


When he knows you’re lion.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 23/09/2017 under

Bateleur Eagle_1


Eagle wondering why there are green grapes but golden raisins.


Where does the blue go?




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
September 22nd, 2017
ranunculus: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ranunculus at 05:20pm on 22/09/2017 under ,
Worked a show at the Masonic Auditorium yesterday.  Singer named Kalid.  Very minimal load in after which I came home and slept solidly for an hour and a half.  Went back to run followspot on an utterly forgettable show.  No work now till Monday.
Planning a trip to Ukiah on Sunday with Donald. 
  • I want to check the drip irrigation and see if the coyotes chewed it up again. 
  • Carrie needs help finding a fault in the fence at the Iris Barn.
  • We plan to spend a bunch of time painting the plywood for the Shelter.  I want it done soon!!!
Got the garden watered today.  Tomorrow I should water again, it was really dry.
Called the Ranch insurance agent and reminded her that I need a breakdown of the insurance cost.  
Now I need to write an e-mail to the Union office about a couple of things. 





ranunculus: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ranunculus at 05:29pm on 22/09/2017
A flying trip to Ukiah on Tuesday Sept 19th was very satisfying.
  • The planning department gave me an extension to my permit for the shelter at the Red Barn.  It is hard to believe that it has been a whole year since we began trying to get that thing together.
  • Johnny came and helped me get the last 6 sheets of roofing onto the shelter. 
  • I purchased more paint primer (now there is 10 gallons) and 5 gallons of the tan top coat. 
  • I fixed a lot of problems on the Howell Creek drip irrigation.  Sadly a whole lot of plants had died of lack of water.  It looks like Mr Coyote got in and chewed up the drip lines so he could get a drink.  Even with the dead plants there were plenty of plants that survived, thank goodness.  Most of the damage was on the lower end, the upper end was relatively unscathed. 
  • I pulled the tarp back over the top of one of the storage tents.  The knots holding it had been tied by my helper and were clearly sub-standard.  Shouldn't be a problem now.  The tarp is to help reduce sun damage to the tent itself. 
  • Dave the Deer Hunter came by as we were finishing up the roofing and we agreed to have dinner together up at his camp.  It was very pleasant, if sad, since Dave's dad died recently. 
Altogether the day was beautiful and I got everything on my infamous "list" for the day done. 


guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 22/09/2017 under

Diving Beetle_2


It’s taken a lot of practice, but I’m finally getting decent photos of diving beetles mid-dive.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
dreamshark: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dreamshark at 01:36pm on 22/09/2017 under , ,
I'm sure I am not the only person whose favorite pictures of themselves were taken by Dave Romm. This one from 1990 is IMHO the absolutely best picture ever taken of me. Thanks, DavE.'
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:00pm on 22/09/2017 under

Dwarf Mongoose_8


It can be very hard to positively identify certain animals, particularly insects. For example, with dragonflies, you have to know the colour and patternings on their body, but you sometimes also have to know general size, where they’re located, and the time of the year you saw them.


Of course, it helps if they’re also not partially inside of a mongoose.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 22/09/2017 under

Andean Bear


Andean bear wondering if he can get away with selling “Asteroid and Meteor Insurance” and refusing to pay out for claims on the basis that those were all actually meteorites.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
September 21st, 2017
dreamshark: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dreamshark at 06:44pm on 21/09/2017 under
Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but my experience is that pretty much every one of Dreamwidth's "featured styles" is now broken in terms of being able to display very large images in such a way that they are viewable within the frame. I didn't try them all, but I tried about a dozen of them and the only two that worked were Ivory Alcea (the one that [personal profile] guppiecat suggested) and another one by the same designer called Starflower.

Customizing journal styles on Dreamwidth is not straightforward. I sort of half-figured out how to do it once before, and ended up with a customized version of Blue by Wiring for Motion. That's the one that abruptly stopped resizing large images and became unusable. I'm curious what other people are using and if large image display is working for you. Customizing styles is so freaking cryptic on this platform that I would guess most people are using whatever was the default when they signed up. But maybe I'm just stupid and everybody else finds it easy and obvious.

After trying style after style and finding them all broken, I switched to Ivory Alcea, but really hated the layout  (no sidebars, just a series of ungainly horizontal boxes with way too much useless white space around them). Then I realized that you can start with any style and then change the layout to one of 7 pre-configured sets of boxes, almost all of which I liked better than the "no sidebar" choices. That made Ivory Alcea more or less okay and took only a few minutes. What took 2 or 3 additional hours was figuring out how to tweak the various "modules," move them around on the page, and get rid of the ones I didn't want. So now I've got a format I actually like better than the one I had before. But I am not a fan of the editing procedure, to put it mildly. 

However, I now know more about it than I did before. So if anyone else wants to, say, use one of the pre-configured styles but rearrange/add/delete some of the optional features, I might be able to help.

guppiecat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 21/09/2017 under

Salmon Crested Cockatoo_7


“They put high fructose corn syrup in everything these days!”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
lydy: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lydy at 03:12pm on 21/09/2017

Dear Senator,

 

I know you have fought, again and again, for the ACA.  Thank you.  Please continue to fight.

 

Allow me to tell you about my personal situation.  I am fifty-five, female, and employed.  When I was a child, I was diagnosed with asthma.  These days, I’m mostly fine.  I have a rescue inhaler, but rarely need it.  But that diagnosis is a pre-existing condition.  That means that, if the Graham-Cassidy bill goes through, I could be denied coverage.  When I was in my thirties, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.  I was treated, and am currently just fine; I no longer even need drugs to manage this condition.  It is even possible that the diagnosis was not entirely correct.  However, that diagnosis is in my medical chart, and therefore a pre-existing condition.  Therefore, I could be denied coverage.  When I was thirty-five, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.  I have a CPAP machine which I use nightly.  It won’t last forever.  I need to replace the mask at least once every six months.  This is a pre-existing condition, and I could be denied coverage.  Any one of these conditions could kill me.  Any one of these conditions could mean that I can be denied coverage.  And not just denied coverage for this condition, but denied coverage at all.  This has happened to me before.  When I lost my job, no insurance company would offer me any coverage at all, because of the bi-polar diagnosis.  I was fortunate enough to live in Minnesota, which offered Minnesota Care.  Not every state has such programs. 

 

The holy grail, according to the Republicans, for health coverage is “choice.”  As if I, or most people, have ever had any real choice.  I get my insurance through my employer, who negotiates with an insurance company, and those negotiations don’t include me or my interests.  I may be offered a “choice” of tiers.  When my employer and the company they have contracted with parts ways, no amount of pleading will allow me to keep my doctor.  I will be subjected to transitioning care to whoever it is that my employer has contracted with this year.  This has happened to me over and over and over again throughout my working life.  The claim that the ACA has reduced choice is laughable.  Most of us have had no choice, anyway.  What it provided, what it guaranteed, was access.  I might prefer to see the doctor I have been seeing, sure, but I _need_ to be able to see a doctor.    I have preferences, yes, but access is much more important.

 

Health insurance isn’t like car insurance.  I can choose to pay a minimum amount to cover my old beater, because quite honestly, if it’s in an accident, there’s not much point in fixing it.  This is not true of my body.  I can’t just write off my aging body as not worth fixing.  I can’t decide to buy a new, better body.  Still, we are required to buy car insurance, if not for ourselves, for the people we might hurt if we run into them.  And in this sense, there is a similarity between health insurance and car insurance.  Health insurance means that I can afford to get vaccinated, and treated for serious, contagious diseases such as tuberculosis.  And that protects everyone I come in contact with, including those who are too young, or in too fragile health to get vaccinations.  This is important, and necessary, for all of us.  I really don’t want to die of bacterial pneumonia, and neither do you.  I don’t want to watch a generation of children be crippled by polio, or die of scarlet fever.  And yet, when you strip away the ability to get health care from the poor, this becomes a very real danger. 

 

Please continue to fight.  Please feel free to share any of the details of this letter with your colleagues or anyone else in this fight for my life. 

 

****

Sigh.  My senators are Franken and Klobuchar.  Maybe they can wave their numbers in someone else's face.  

I really don't want to die.  Why do the Republicans want to kill me?

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