Why are Cloudy Days Blue?

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why are cloudy days blue?”  Probably not, because it seems to not be an important question to ask yourself.  Unless you’re me.  I love deep-diving the trivial things, it seems.

Blue light scatters, and red light is absorbed.  Actually, some blue light is absorbed, and some red light scatters, but it’s more often the other way around.  So, on a bright sunny day, all the light comes from one spot in the sky, right?  But on a cloudy day, it seems to come from every direction.  That’s because it IS coming from every direction, as a result of scattering.  When you take the red and yellow out of the color spectrum, what is left?  Well, green and blue are what remains – but it’s the blue we mostly see, because there’s not much in the clouds to reflect green light.  Water reflects blue light pretty well.  So, now you know the answer, and I’m sure you feel much more fulfilled.

Read more about cloudy days …

Favorite Books

Favorite Books

I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to my reading.  I find a little here, and then a little there, and maybe sometimes something in between.  Here are the latest things I’ve read for education or amusement:

The book of Ginsengauth Sarah Harriman, pub Pyramid Books, NY, first ed 1973.

Cinematic Wilmington, Making Movies on the East Coast, auth Jean Nance, pub Tidal Press, NC, first ed 2000.

 

Philosophy Made Simpleauth Richard Popkin, pub Doubleday, NY, first ed 1956.

The Backpacker’s Handbookauth Chris Townsend, pub Ragged Mountain Press, Maine, first ed 1991.

Read More of the Booklist

Antique Glass Hunting

Figure 1: Etched Glass from 1870 – 1925  ( click to enlarge )

We wander around in flea markets and such places as that, looking for that glint of light that sometimes reveals glass artwork from a bygone era.  In particular, the hunt is targeted to Tiffin glass, something that was made during the last part of the nineteenth century, and the start of the twentieth.  It’s a collection process that never ends, because there are pieces that are thought to be no longer in existence.  The idea that we’d land the Sasquatch, is part of a motivation I guess.  The glass heralds from a place close to where we grew up, and so it makes sense that it’s interesting to us.  In spite of the fancy glass, it’s not at all an expensive hobby. For some more pics of the antique etched glass, see my photo repository at:

https://stormofphotons.smugmug.com

On the photo site, you’ll have to click the “Antique Glass” menu item towards the top of the page.  I have a bunch of other photos on the site, as photography is another hobby of mine.  While the other half is on the hunt for her glassware, I keep my eyes peeled for the antique woodworking tools that I sometimes use.  Use for what, you ask?  Why, of course, I use them to build cabinets for the glassware! For details of this endeavor, see the woodworking subsection of my blog at:

https://woodworkingmiscellany.wordpress.com

 

Water Swept Grasses

Figure 1: Water swept grasses.  Click to enlarge.

The Pentax has seen better days.  The mirrorbox has been torqued such that focus is difficult, but once in a while I still manage to get a shot with it.  The focus issue is more difficult at infinity focus rather than closer … and the shot in figure 1 was the latter.  It’s an area where (not very long ago) – a swift current rushed through the grasses, leaving an almost surreal sculpting of the top of the grass.  It looks like a scene out of one of my old 3D viewer slide machine slides – with leprechauns  just off to the side of the photo no doubt!  Click it to enlarge it – it’s an interesting natural bit of mother-earth art IMO.

For those wanting a direct link to my smugmug nature collection, here it is (just click picture):

Walking Rhythms

Every year I experience the same seasonal rhythms of walking.  I’m so used to walking at a level just above the friction point (where it starts to become more work than walk) – that I forget to notice how fast I’m going.  I take in the scenery, engage in my inner and outer thought processes, and don’t pay much attention to the engine gauges.  The engine is usually silent.

But at the change of seasons, I notice that my speed changes.  I don’t consciously walk any faster when fall comes around, but my body goes faster.  I have so consistently trained it to walk at the friction point, that it does so without any help.  I notice I get home for lunch sooner, and I more quickly get to the local convenience store that I use as psychological motivation (soda, sweets, etc) – so as to take walks on days I otherwise might skip.

In the summer, the opposite thing happens.  As the temperature rises, the inner automatic engine governor cuts back the throttle, and the speed goes down.  Once again, I take no part in the decision, because I’m just along for the ride.

Speaking of lunch, my internal calorie meter on some days might look like the graphic shown above, if not for that  convenient little store at the end of my walking itinerary.

Buggy for Bees

Figure 1 : Bee shot taken with K5, Pentax 50mm /f1.4 vintage lens

Recently I started to take macro tube shots of bees in my area.  This is quite an addicting facet of photography, I must say.  So far I’ve managed to shoot a few semi-interesting shots.  The picture in figure 1 is one of my favorites thus far (clicking on the photo will show it enlarged on smugmug).

The Amazing Mr. Mouse

This story is one I’ve been meaning to write for a long time, but other things have been serious distractions from writing, especially in the recent past. Sometimes, ya gotta do what you want to do, in the present, because tomorrows have the habit of being used for other things.

This story is quite a few years old, but it’s one that makes me rethink the nature of nature, and of our animal friends.  “Friends” is a conventional word that often doesn’t really apply to both parties in man – to – animal relationships.  It’s most often the human who’s the fickle friend.

Read More …

Potato Onion Fry

Figure 1: Potato Onion Fry, tasty!

So, I had some potatoes and onions fresh from my daughter’s organic farm.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I tossed them into a skillet and fried them.  The onions seem to impart their flavor to the potatos – such that it wasn’t necessary to add salt or pepper.

 

 

A White What?!

Figure 1: An Albino cucumber?

I recently had the opportunity to try this new (for me) vegetable, compliments of my daughter’s organic farm.  Being a cucumber lover, one would think I’d have run into this little number before.

Tastey! – Especially with tomatoes, cilantro, salad dressing, and a dash of pepper.

Click the photo for larger view.

Bigger, Bolder Pictures

Figure 1:  Just one of those photos that needed more space

https://stormofphotons.smugmug.com

I’ve been dabbling in the realm of Photography for the past couple years, after a hiatus of about thirty-seven years.  I wasn’t a very knowledgeable photographer even back then in the eighties, and have only incrementally added to my repository of things to know in this realm.  Most blog sites are (well, of course they are) – meant more for blogging than for photography.  So, I finally realized how tiring it is for viewers who can’t really see my photos in high detail – due to size or layout or navigation restrictions, all the while I talk or write about those photos.  Subsequent to this epiphany, I set up a photo repo (on a photo site designed specifically for photos) in order to remedy that situation.  Don’t get me wrong – this blogger platform is great for blogging, but for photos it works in a more ancillary mode.

Technically, I could switch to another theme more suited to the photo.  But in that case I’d lose the nice textual format that is the mainstay of the blog.  It’s a bit of a catch-22. Anyway …

I kept shooting my casual pics with the Canon Sureshot style of camera throughout all of those years, but such casual shooting doesn’t necessarily qualify anyone as a photographer.  The whole idea behind such a consumer camera is that one can know absolutely nothing about photography and still, at least some of the time, take reasonably usable pictures.

Read More …

Hutch, RIP ‘Ole Buddy

Figure 1: Hutch, RIP ‘Ole buddy …

We all get pretty attached to our canine friends.  But, sometimes there is more attachment than other times.  Hutch recently passed away, at the human-equivalent age of 88 years. I was with him for the entire 88 equivalent years (excepting for the first six months of his wonderful life).

Read More …

Watermelon or Radish?


Figure 1: Watermelon radishes.

Recently I had an opportunity to taste a variety of radish that I hadn’t previously known about – the so-called “watermelon” radish.  They do look like little slices of watermelon, don’t they?  These came from (Kristen and Jason’s) Red Root farm, and they are tastey.  I rarely come across a radish I don’t like, but then again I’m fond of turnips and rutabaga as well.

 

More Deer Pics

deer1012AFigure 1: Procession of Deer

It’s always so hard to catch a deer in a photo.   They move around so much, that every other picture is a blur.   I guess it’s the same as with my dogs.  Anyway, here’s a shot, taken out of the back-yard window, showing the start of a procession (four deer altogether) – parading through my little nature preserve.

Read More

Canis Lupus Familiaris

hutchy2-06182009

I guess I’m a dog lover rather than a cat lover. In this world, you are one or the other. Cat people will take this badly, but IMO, cats aren’t cuddly. When I come home and am greeted by 209 pounds of slobbering, panting, grinning, and jumping canis lupus familiaris, I know they like me! Now, some scientists have measured the “love” chemical in dogs, and officially endorse what I already know …

Read More …

More Talk about Coffee

kaffeespritz49

We love to talk about coffee, don’t we? Well, we love our favorite crutch, and its faithful ability to get us through all the otherwise groggy mornings. Recently, I’ve been spending time on some of the internet coffee forums, learning things that (as a person whose habit runs well over four decades) – I was surprised I didn’t know. It was a good break from the usual forums-to–visit list, and the much more droll postings I put on my https://programmingmiscellany.wordpress.com site.

Read More …

Hutch for President 2016

huthforpres2016

With great enthusiasm and fanfare the announcement was made today at the Canis Lupis party headquarters near Raleigh, North Carolina. Hutch is running again!

With the party’s financial woes still lingering from the last failed attempt, some frugality has been necessitated with reusing the 2012 placards. Yet – the party hopefuls are up beat about the chances, and are reorganizing the platform to appeal to the squirrel as well as the cat demographics. Hutch, quoted as “Wot Wo!” – meaning “We will have a broader voter appeal this time around …”

Cherry Pie

cherrypie1

What makes a good cherry pie? In my opinion, it’s the starch that does it. Substitute tapioca flour for about half of the cornstarch you would normally use, and forget about the cornstarch altogether. It makes the cherry pie good even when it’s cold. It’s not too runny, not too gelatinous, and very tasty. I’ve found that cutting the sugar back to three eighths of a cup (rather than the half cup often suggested) – really brings out the cherries, without making them too sugary-sweet.

Hutch has a birthday

hutch2-1024

 

Posted April 3 2015:

Happy Birthday Hutch!  Can he already be seven years old? (Well, he’s forty nine in dog years, but a good looking forty-something, dontcha think?).  Time really flies for a dog. He’s wondering why it’s picture day, and his sleep’s being interrupted.  Knock off the flash, would you?

 

hutch3-1024.

 

Trying to look handsome!

 

hutch4-1024

 

OK – I’m going back to the important stuff that you interrupted!

hutch5-1024

C’mon! Can you leave me be!?
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And – since Starsk is Hutch’s litter mate – it’s his birthday too!

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I’m handsome too!

stars-3-1024

Peripatetic

comp5

Published 01/11/2015

If there’s ever been a word that’s underused, wouldn’t you say it’s peripatetic? You should see clurichaun in any decent story that spans more than a couple pages, and what sermon would be good enough without a reference to thaumaturgy thrown in?  They’re damned good words.  You can look up thaumaturgy if you want, and no – I’m not going to tell you what it means.

Really, this is part of what you buy when you invest in a really good thesaurus.  The words at the top of the story are so obscure that my WordPress spell checker doesn’t know about them. Well, maybe that’s not saying much.

I use a thesaurus regularly, but I’ve never used any of the words I wrote into the first paragraph.  I use a thesaurus not to find obscure words, but to find simple ones that do a better job of explaining my stuff.

At one time I possessed fifteen different thesauruses and dictionaries.  All but thirteen of them were a waste of both the shelf space and the time I spent thumbing through them.  I definitely have a strong opinion on this matter.  The only thesaurus I think is worth the occasional hangnail is a book that’s not even called a thesaurus.  Notwithstanding the name, it’s the best “thesaurus” you’ll find, if you count my opinion for anything.

I use the J.I. Rodale Synonym Finder.  It’s inexpensive (18.99 is what I paid, which is a lot less than many other books of lesser value.  Again, my opinion may not cut much ice for you).  No, I’m not connected to the company, in any way.  I’m just relaying hard-learned lessons won by hard earned money.  You can spend yours as you like.

Forget the “Collegiate this/Collegiate that” thesauruses.  I found them to be of little value.  Just my opinion.

Never mind the online thesauruses.  They are so weak as to be maddening.

The Rodale is the better part of three inches thick, just big enough to facilitate banging yourself on the head with it, while experiencing writer’s block. It’s intemperately versatile. 🙂

 

 

 

Name that butterfly

butterfly2

Posted 08-03/2013:

Today, taking my usual walk (my forspent feet took me a mere three miles), I came across a butterfly (deceased) – lying on the pathway.  I’m not the neighborhood Lepidopterist (expert on all things butterfly), but I have a suspicion that the specimen I found could be classified as a common variety.  It’s unusual to see them (butterflies) in Cary, so I scooped the little winged creature into my empty coffee box, and slid it into my carry pack.

Any Lepidopterist care to comment about the identity?

Dog Days (of Summer)

hotdays2

Posted July 22’nd 2013:

As we teeter on the edge of the dog days of summer, I bathe in the appreciation that once again I will have survived to see the start of the Days of Sirius.  It’s a time that, for me, is a favorite season and time of year.  Some like it hot.  I do.  Simmer my bones at eighty nine or ninety Fahrenheit, and count me happy.

Wikipedia’s expert on such things, writes that the dog days of summer historically marked an evil time, brought on by Sirius, the god of hot.  The ancient Romans sacrificed dogs to Sirius, to appease him in order to ward off the blazing heat.

The dog days officially start on July 24’th, and end on August 24’th.  These dates mark the old calendar for such things, but recent almanacs place the start date in early July, and the end date in early August.  The old Roman “dog days” schedule is more appropriate for the southern United States, as those weeks hold the hottest days of the year for the southlands.

The Wiki description points to Clavis Calendaria, from 1813, and takes a dog days quote from it.  I liked it well enough to repeat it here, plus or minus my paraphrase:

"The sea boiled, Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad,
and all creatures became languid
... 
causing to man - burning fevers and hysteria..."

Update August 12th, 2013

As the end of the dog days is less than two weeks away, we might compare this year to last year.  I’d reckon that Sirius has given us a break this time around.  I’ve yet to consult the local meteorologist for the numbers, but I’m thinking that my walking ritual could tabulate the averages almost as well.

It’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of broiler days hot enough to poach a Londoner. But, this year he’d have been only soft poached. Yesterday,  I took my usual walk, cut to four miles in light of the 96 degree heat. Before stepping outside, I availed myself of the umbrella, as per my normal practice.  Many days, it has served to deflect the steamy hot breath of Sirius, and on more than a few dog days it has managed to keep my head dry too!

There is a thing I thoroughly enjoy about walking in the midday heat – and yesterday it was my happy fortuity to enjoy this treat, once again.  I dropped into a low spot on my path, partially shielded from the breeze.  Here the lazy air slowed even more, and I was at once enveloped by the strong scent of flowers and other things, floating along in the hazy slow swirl of the sultry air, and topped off with lingering notes of hot, sublimating pine sap.

The summer’s simmering aromatic delights, the best of nature’s potpourri, had been presented to me … for being the one willing to brave the dog days of summer, and a walk in the midday sun …

Wine of the Bean

wineofthebean

Posted Saturday, June 29’th 2013

I’ve always had a weakness for the wine of the bean (Arabic to Dutch translation: Kaffee). Early in the morning, the original Arabic word was seemingly too long gone to recall, but I was able to remember that it derived from the phrase “wine of the bean.”

As I poured the aromatic little beans into my grinder, I was taken with a thought.  My olfactory sensors, in spite of the dimness brought on by age, seemed to be transporting me into another space altogether. The early hour combined with my natural grogginess to make the transport swift and easy.  Suddenly I was in one of my favorite places, an old bookstore, with its lode of old novel pages.

Coffee and old books: my nose wanted to sense those two things as similar, or the same.  Methinks it’s because I so often have them in combination!