Servers Upgrades


Upgrading 5 linux servers in one day is not for the faint of heart. Since I was sick last year, and it’s really hard to take down our servers for any length of time, 4 of the servers had been running continuously for 575 days. The last time they were rebooted was in June of 2010 when we upgraded the electrical service on the building.  Curiously enough, the oldest server in the rack and the newest server in the rack upgraded without major issues, but the other three servers gave us various problems from network drivers not getting installed, to running out of space in the system partition, to not recognizing passwords coming from Windows machines. The second oldest server in the rack had one of its 8 year old drives fail from all the attention the RAID was getting, but since I was smart enough to have tracked down and purchased spare drives for that server, I popped in a new drive, and my Tech from SWCP got the RAID to rebuild the new drive after we got all the other issues addressed and the server running properly.

The cats like to support Laurie with her studies, and today Stretch was being a “reference” cat, laying in the shelf ready to hand Laurie books.


Hairy Woodpecker


I’ve been chasing this hairy woodpecker all week. It’s been staying in the branches, which makes it almost impossible to focus on through the thickets, plus it never holds still for more than a second or two. While I was out following it around, it disappeared into the neighbor’s yard. I started photographing the juncos and goldfinches flitting about the roses by the wall that separates our yards, when I heard  the woodpecker pecking on the neighbor’s tree. I looked over the wall and saw it not quite so covered. I got a shot of it, it glanced at me, then flew back into our yard and landed on golden showers not too far from me as I walked from the wall, behind the car in pursuit. At that point I got the opportunity to get the unobstructed photo of it on a rose cane show below.

The pair of ducks were swimming in the clear water ditch, and I got the lesser goldfinch dining on sunflowers and the junco on a rose while following the woodpecker around the yard, as mentioned above.





Crescent Moon

The photo of the crescent moon is handheld at 600 mm, ƒ5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO 320 for those who care. The detail is not bad for hand held. One of these days I’ll dig out a tripod and see if I can get a really clear shot of the moon. The other photos are silly kitty shots.

Eagle Eye

When I went out to the river at 4:30 this afternoon to see what the critters were up to, the bald eagle flew past heading north, which allowed me to get a nice clear photo if it in the light from the setting sun. It was eyeing the crane that is gazing on its reflection in the second photo. A duck came floating by and when I pointed my camera at it it took off like a rocket. It apparently doesn’t care much for the paparazzi.

Birds and a Plane

Sharpness test on Beaker

I spent a little more time with my new lens today. I got out to the river at 7:00 am, 40 minutes before sunrise. The temperature was 5 degrees F when I left, so I didn’t see any critters on my way to the river. However, just as I got the to edge of the water, I saw the silhouette of a large bird flying north to south high above the bosque on the other side of the river. Thinking it was a crane by its size, I started snapping photos, but as it came into profile, I realized it was an eagle, but it was still a small shadow in my viewfinder in the pre-dawn light (even with a 600 mm lens), so I couldn’t tell what kind of eagle it was — I suspected it was a golden eagle. Only after I blew up the image and added enough fill-light in the post processing to get some detail in the bird, I discovered it was a bald eagle. Since the light was low, and the eagle kept its distance, I had to do a lot of post processing to get to the images of the eagle, which are still fuzzy. The first two eagle photos were taken just after 7:00 am, then just before sunrise it made another pass south of where I was photographing herons and cranes, which is the 3rd eagle photo.

While I stood on the west bank of the river photographing the cranes and geese, a couple of herons flew in and landed directly across from me on the other side of the river. I stood in the same spot observing and photographing the herons, cranes, ducks and geese until 8:45 am.  The herons moved little most of the time I was there, but as a couple of cranes walked by, they got a little riled and strutted a bit. The photo of the heron and crane together shows how big the cranes are compared to the herons, which are large birds.

I got the photo of the sparrow about 11:00 am, used beaker as a sharpness test — since he holds still for me — and photographed the lesser goldfinch when I took out the trash around 2:00 pm. The jet was photographed around 4:00 pm. I was surprised how much detail I got in the jet given its altitude; however, since it appears to move slower and is much more reflective in the late afternoon sun than an eagle is in the pre-dawn light, its details came out much better than the eagle’s.

Bald Eagle flying over the bosque before sunrise
Profile of Bald Eagle flying over the bosque before sunrise
Bald Eagle making a pass at sunrise
Heron strutting
Heron & crane

Merry Christmas


Santa gave me a 140-600mm lens. I didn’t have time to really test it today, but here are a few quick photos of a sparrow, the Devil’s Thumb on the Sandias and the towers out in the yard.  The sparrow was taken through the window and was strongly backlit, so I had to pull the contrast way down to get detail in the bird, so the image is a little soft. I’m really happy I was able to get the lens to focus on the bird through the branches. The detail on Devil’s Thumb and Towers is very good for hand held.




I spent all morning cooking a NM jambalaya for Christmas eve. If we were traditional types we would have posole and tamales, but neither one is our favorite. Beaker is a little more of a traditionalist and had to have a hot tamale on Christmas eve. Lucky for him I bought a package of  3 Alarm Hot Tamales for a stocking stuffer.

We had a grand time writing bad haiku and ROFLing about it this afternoon. I’ve come to the conclusion that haiku doesn’t really work in English. In my quick search for examples of really good haiku in English, I failed to find any.

I installed my new amplified “old guy, super simple” weather station yesterday. The normal weather station on the left is simple, but didn’t quite cut it for easy viewing through the kitchen window. The temp was 11 degrees in this pre-dawn photo.

I got a couple of bouquets of flowers yesterday, which Laurie used to make a very nice arrangement that’s giving me lots of colorful photo ops.

Shopping In The Snow


One thing nice about going out Christmas shopping late in a snow storm is that there are only a few other shoppers dumb enough to be out late shopping in the snow, as well.  By the time we headed home about 10:00 pm last night, Corrales Road was snow packed and we had two inches of snow at the house. I ventured out late this afternoon, and once I got out of Corrales, I couldn’t tell it had snowed last night.

Parrots are known for their longevity in captivity, but their average lifespan in the wild is around 6 years. They say it’s because of predators, but I think it’s because they don’t get regular breakfasts of cereal, milk and caffelatte, and other staples like green chile enchiladas, carne adovada, chocolate covered coffee beans, toast, cheese, eggs and filet mignon in the wild.

Puck was up to no good, threatening to knock stuff all over the floor if we didn’t let him out. He often knocks the pencil box on the floor, scattering pencils all over when we don’t let him out. What’s even sillier than Puck knocking the stuff on the floor, is that we simply pick up everything and put it back in the same place so he can knock on the floor again.



More Polish Ornaments


Tristan and David had a solstice party tonight, so I photographed some more of their Polish ornaments. The mountains had clouds all over them this morning on my way to work. Laurie asked if I was going 75 when I did the photo, which is was a good guess; however, I have to confess I was only doing 50 when I snagged the photo.