Some photographs

A good trip to a part of Maine that I’d never visited before – down east/Grand Lake. A cottage in Pembroke is sounding pretty attractive; you’d have the ocean, upland bird covers, trout fishing – don’t know if stripers get that far north. We saw moose, bald eagles, Canada – with that kind of foreign policy resume, it’s only a matter of time before the State Dept. calls. Lots of walking for not too many birds – I think the woodcock flights are still north of us.

I think this is Pink Earth (Dibaeis baeomyces).

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Superior Scribblers

Wow. I get back from a multiday bird hunting trip to find that Steve has tagged me as a superior scribbler. To say that I’m emproudened would be an understatement. I’ve been reading Steve since the mid-80′s, when A Rage for Falcons first came out and the other bloggers he tags are damn high quality reads – I feel like the odd guy out. Hasn’t stopped me from doing a little (internal) swaggering around, though – I plan on continuing to enjoy the recognition.

My five picks for Superior Scribblers:

  • Lord Whimsy’s LiveJournal. Sartorial splendor, yes, but also plants, carnivorous and otherwise, wunderkammeren, the Pine Barrens and the Philly scene. He introduced me to Adam Wallacavage’s cephalopod chandeliers and has recently been seen dancing with danger girls. Beware – that well-dressed man on the pennyfarthing is much more than he seems!
  • Xtinpore. I found Xtin via Pluvialis/Fretmarks (they are friends IRL) and what a find it was. She writes like a thrush sings. Xtinpore has been on a bit of a hiatus recently – I’m fervently hoping that regular posting will resume. If you haven’t been there, go and read the older posts; if you have, add Xtin to your RSS feed so that you’ll know immediately when new posts go up.
  • The Glyphblog. One of the nice things about the medium (web stuff/blogging) is that it can be a substrate for various forms of expression – words, drawings, photographs, sequential art, moving images, you name it. You’ll find just about all of the above (and some things that defy categories) over at Lex10′s place. The Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn and trading card mashups? C’mon, what more could an old psychedelician want?
  • Indexed. Visual haiku. Teh awesum. Jessica deserves a chapter in Edward Tufte’s next book.
  • Signor Marcello Poletti’s Flickrstream. Ok, so not much scribbling – mostly pictures – but I don’t care! One of my reading metrics, especially when it’s non-fiction, is how many other books does the tome in question cause me to read? How many tangential paths do I set off on? By this measure Poletti’s stream is superior – keep an eye on it.

Halloween movies

This year’s Halloween movie picks?

I read (ages ago – it may have been when American Werewolf in London was first released) a review in the Boston Phoenix that slotted the three big horror subgenres into corresponding childhood trauma. Frankenstein calls out the fear of parental rejection, the werewolf evokes the loss of control attendant upon adolescence, and I’ll be damned if I can remember what vampires linked to. As a result, I’ll be without critical foundation as I watch Brides of Dracula – ah, well – I’ll just have to enjoy it as entertainment. Orgy of the Dead is another matter altogether – will it be good-bad or unwatchable even with the promised !Topless Dancers!? Time will tell.

AV Gadgetry

Over the past six months I’ve picked up a few pieces of hardware that have changed my media consumption habits a bit. Brief descriptions/reviews:

Sans Digital AccuNAS AN2L – network storage. I bought one at work to use as a quick and dirty data bucket (the fact that it would mirror 2 disks was the big draw) – once I got a first-hand look at the other things it could do, I bought myself one to use at home. Web server? Check. FTP server? Check. BitTorrent client? Check – you can grab a .torrent on your PC, copy it over to the NAS box and the NAS box will handle downloading the file. Nice power saving opportunity – turn off the honker PC and let the low power AN2L run 24/7. UPnP streamer? Check – a nice and reasonably standardized way to access content on the NAS box (think audio and video) without needing a Samba client (see Archos, below). Update – just realized I’d used a potential confusing TLA – NAS = Network Attached Storage.

Popcorn Hour A-100 – media player. This little box lets me play all kinds of stuff on the teevee/stereo. It can access the NAS box using standard Microsoft file sharing (SMB/Samba) or talk to any UPnP streamers it sees (another way or getting at the NAS box). One very cool feature? It will play .iso images of DVDs – I can rip one of my DVDs to iso format, store it on the AN2L, and replay any time – no loading the DVD player necessary, and you get everything – menus, special features, etc. It doesn’t upscale – my DVD player does – I’m not sure if my TV will and I’m pretty sure I don’t care enough to fiddle. If you throw a hard drive into the PCH it will do torrents and UPnP just like the NAS box, but without a drive, it is dead silent (good thing). It doesn’t mirror (out of the box – someone has probably tweaked it), so the AN2L is where content lives.

Archos 705 – personal media player. I wanted a media player that I could use in the house and on the road – I also wanted a screen that I could see. This gadget hit both targets – it will not fit in your pocket, but it will store a bunch of eps of The Prisoner, Deadwood, Venture Bros. , etc. along with hours of tunes (though if music is your primary focus, it is too big) and you don’t have to squint. I also picked up the base unit that allows it to become a mini-DVR. Copying files to/from it is a PITA – Archos have apparently killed it’s file sharing capabilities, so to get files off it you need to connect it via USB to a computer. As a be-all and end-all convergence gadget, it’s lacking – as a satellite screen, it works like a charm.

In action, the sequence of events might look like:

  • I hear about an interesting torrent (I know – ancient example). I find the .torrent file and fire up the AN2L. Time passes.
  • Download complete! Now it’s evening and a little light entertainment sounds like just the thing. I use the PCH A-100 to play the downloaded file (physically on the NAS box in the basement) back on the living room teevee.
  • Phone rings – dang. I pause playback and talk talk talk on the phone. “KTHXBAI”, hang up phone and look at the time – late! “I think I’ll watch the last 10 minutes of the show in the master bedroom suite [massive exaggeration]“.  Grab the 705, queue the show up to where it needs to be and watch and/or go to sleep before the show is over.

I’m not there yet, but my bog-standard teevee watching is so minimal at this point (weather, amurcan football and F1 when I can find it) that my cable feed may have a limited life span.

Hawking

The dogs and I spent the day yesterday serving an assortment of Harris’s Hawks – the local Red Tails are not at flying weight yet.

Dog butt (not one of mine), Harris’s and Pheasant.

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Good reds this year.

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Make honey while the sun shines.

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The getaway.