The end is nigh … for 2018

Pink. (Nov 21 6:39 a.m.)

Winter’s approaching fast, and the snow is… significantly evaporated since the scene above.

(Dec 10 9:09 a.m.)

Dirt is exposed once again.  Freezing rain and sleet made for something mushy then icy.  But days of precipitation in southern Maine have been few.  Brine has been put on roads as a precaution.  But unlike other states, we just haven’t seen any more snow.

(Dec 10 9:15 a.m.)

Blue skies.  The kind of blue & sun that makes the snow look purple.  Sunny all week.  But cold.

(Nov 21 6:44 p.m.)

Visually, the snow— while it lasts— can make for some remarkable photos.  There are days where the mixture of snow and moonlight make for scenes you have to see in person… especially if the camera can’t handle low light conditions very well.

Dark at 6 o’clock at night. (Nov 21 6:48 p.m.)
(Nov 20 7:50 p.m.)

Maybe you can see a bit of what I mean by remarkable moonlit snow scenes.

(Nov 20 7:52 p.m.)
(Nov 21 6:47 p.m.)

First snow was on Nov 16.  Nothing over half a foot, so far, as measured by the yard stick.

(Nov 22 4:07 p.m.)

First pumpkin pie was on the 22nd.  And it was one of those store brand pies that had a bit of pecan and coconut in the flavoring… which makes it kind of special, come to think of it.  Mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a bird… an understated Thanksgiving that went by too fast.

(Dec 3 7:27 a.m.)

The days are still for the most part ordinary, but colorful sometimes.  Last Monday morning was foggy/misty.  When the fog lifted, the overcast sky had a bright tint of blue until the yellow of sunrise.

Red-headed woodpecker, just below center of frame. (Dec 8)

Some animals are still out.  I saw and captured a woodpecker on video; I’ve seen a chipmunk using our stick pile as shelter; and today, I saw a herd of deer from our kitchen window, before they entered the woods.

(Dec 2 8:37 a.m.)

As for the holiday season, the tree is up.  First ornament, from a close friend.  See if you can spot it. 😁

(Dec 3 10:24 p.m.)

A few more ornaments added since.  The basic cellotape doesn’t do a good job of holding up the star.

(Dec 3 10:30 p.m.)

The lights went up first.  And as always, bright light sources don’t pick up well with most cameras.  The little incandescent bulbs, for example, aren’t very bright, but a basic camera will make their light a big bright blur.

Low ISO, higher exposure time. (Dec 3 10:27 p.m.)

To the naked eye, the hot filament in a clear bulb looks like a hot filament.

Low dynamic range… but low noise. (Dec 2 8:34 a.m.)

Adjusting for the outside in LDR (so the out isn’t washed out in blurry whiteness), you get the opposite effect: the foreground is too dark.  For conventional cameras, the required dynamic range is too high for an accurate photo.  (It’s even more difficult when the sun is in frame— a much higher DR.)  Long exposure is necessary to reduce noise with the iPhone SE… not a professional camera… so I digress.

(Dec 10 9:15 a.m.)

The climate has been dry.  The kind of dry that you get static shocks when you least expect them.  Even with faucet water.  (An odd sensation.)  Skin has cracked and fissures have formed.  My hands don’t look too great right now.

The cold has all but kept me indoors.  And the fact that it’s now the last month of the year, that had gotten me to look at 2018 in review.  But since the restoration of our cable— as Spectrum killed off the analog channels in our area, forcing us to replace the degraded line to get any channels at all— much of my indoor time has actually been spent watching BBC America… which reruns Star Trek: TNG and The X-Files.  I’m a fan of those shows, so… yeah, the TV has been on in the overnights.  I even checked out some Dr Who with Doctor #13, played by Jodie Whittaker.

Uneven LED backlighting decay. (Oct 13 12:23 p.m.)

And this increased use of the TV comes despite backlight discoloration.  The photo above was taken in October; it’s worse now.  LED backlighting isn’t so great after all— at least during this crappier stage of LED panel design to lower prices.  Two color temperatures for balance and control …and two temperatures that decay unevenly.

…On the matter of lighting, incandescent light bulbs may make a comeback.  Using infrared trapping, MIT has managed to make an efficient tungsten bulb.  Nothing commercial as of yet.  But imagine the natural light of classic light bulbs, but about as efficient as LED. 🙂

(Dec 2 6:01 p.m.)

Well, that’s it for now.  It’s been kind of a struggle to write as it is.  Writer’s block… or vegging out with the TV and/or YouTube… it seems I need to get back to nature to write anything.  And sleep.  I can never seem to get much done, and I always need more sleep.  We are addicted to our screens, and so are our kids.

Having gotten up at 2-something in the morning, I am a bit too tired to continue to stare at screens right now.  So I will bid you all adieu.  Have a good night, morning, or afternoon— wherever you are in the world. 🙂

Until next time…

(Nov 20 11:28 p.m.)
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Mid-autumn update

(Oct 25 1:47 p.m.)
Broken branch ahead was dangling in the trees until I took it down. (Oct 28 3:10 p.m.)

The trees have shed, and the oranges and browns are setting in.

It’s the last day of October.  And on some calendars, this marks the end of harvest season.  In Celtic tradition, this end is celebrated with the festival of Samhain; tomorrow on the Gregorian calendar is the beginning of winter on their calendar.  In the U.S., however, we recognize … Hallowe’en.

(Oct 28 7:37 p.m.)

This is about as All-Hallows’-Eve as it gets around here.  (A crude face has since been drawn on this pumpkin.)  Fun fact: before pumpkins were used for jack-o’-lanterns, turnips were used.

This year, analysts say consumers will spend some $9 billion on Halloween candy and costumes in total.

(Oct 25 3:58 p.m.)

But I’d rather look at the leaves.  The reds, in particular, come and go fast.

(Oct 23 1:05 p.m.)

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest.  And free.

Back Cove. (Oct 23 11:50 a.m.)

The tidal waves can be mesmerizing.

Fall colors. (Oct 23 1:08 p.m.)

And as far as weather goes, there have been strong rains…

Uprooted. (Oct 25 4:29 p.m.)

And there have been strong winds.

Another uprooted tree. (Oct 25 4:30 p.m.)

And soon enough, maybe as early as this Sunday, there will be the white stuff where I live.  It’s already snowed north of here; on the 24th, cars slipped off the road in Bangor due to early snow fall.  In Canada, snow fell almost as soon as fall began.

(Oct 23 1:15 p.m.)

There always seems to be grass at Crescent Beach.

Dog season. (Oct 23 1:15 p.m.)

And with signs taken down, at least one person hasn’t picked up after his/her dog.

(Oct 23 1:18 p.m.)

…Nevertheless…

(Oct 25 3:59 p.m.)

You gotta take in the sights before they’re gone.

(Oct 25 4:34 p.m.)
(Oct 25 1:44 p.m.)
(Oct 25 4:27 p.m.)
(Oct 23 1:04 p.m.)

Some flowers and berries remain.

(Oct 29 2:36 p.m.)

Imagine seeing a double rainbow behind the supermarket right after you parked.  I don’t remember see the fainter rainbow, above, until I reviewed the photos.  I take it that the camera picked it up because digital cameras are more ISO-specific sensitive than the human eye when it comes to direct light, whereas we see a high range mixture of ISO somewhere between 25 to over a thousand.  Our HDR vision enables us to see texture on the moon versus a typical ISO blur with the iPhone, but it can make it more difficult to see some fainter light sources.

Anyway.  It turns out this may have been the double rainbow over Old Orchard Beach, in the distance.  It’s certainly not the first one of the year over there.  Within a few minutes, this double rainbow began to disappear with the clouds.

(Oct 29 11:46 a.m.)

It was a downpour earlier in the day, Monday.  Saco Island Deli helped lift my spirits a bit.  (At least until I fell asleep in the car because I hadn’t gotten enough rest before the day began.)  I tried their Mainah-as-panini special: romaine, Cabot cheddar, pan-seared chicken, uncured bacon and their famous maple aioli.  And I gotta say, they make quality sandwiches!

Downpour. (Oct 29 11:51 a.m.)

The good news is I’ve finally seen a dentist.  The bad news: three cavities, and an eye-popping bill.  Cross my fingers that I’ll get any kind of insurance this year…

At home, the mice have returned.  Sometimes, they’ll brave running around in the house… lil’ bastards.

Big rock. (Oct 25 4:09 p.m.)

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope your Halloween night is a good one! 🙂

Until next time…

(Oct 25 3:54 p.m.)

The leaves, the leaves

(Oct 9 12:16 p.m.)
Everyday, I’m shufflin’… walking through leaves. (Oct 9 12:21 p.m.)

It’s autumn, a.k.a. fall.  And the leaves are falling in large numbers.  And that means anywhere there’s a tree, they are sometimes landing on people like arms of a jacket; they’re not as small or dry as you might think this time of the year.

(From driver’s side window, hence the glare.) (Oct 6 1:36 p.m.)

What was mostly a green landscape began to gather browns, then reds…

(Oct 6 1:24 p.m.)
(Oct 9 12:22 p.m.)

…then yellows and oranges. Continue reading The leaves, the leaves

Summer update

(Aug 4 5:44 p.m.)

Yes, I’m still alive.  I’ve been busy with … stuff.  Making progress in digital signal processing (and not quite doing it right); watching YouTube videos —er, learning about my world; in an online relationship; engaged in long-overdue cleanup, insomnia, and various other real-life things.  In all, I’ve lost some interest in blogging.

(Aug 4 2:42 p.m.)

Mostly, I’ve been on twitter.  It’s a bit of an Orwellian nightmare out there.  “The truth isn’t the truth,” says Rudy Giuliani.  “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” the President told his crowd.  The corruption, the appalling and illegal undermining of democratic norms and ethics, and the increasingly twisted defense of it all.  The American public is being scammed in so many ways.  It takes a toll on me as I want to help people, but I am unable to.  (…Don’t feed the trolls.)

I digress.

(Jul 20 3:16 p.m.)

In July, I walked the path that runs by the house.  The trails were very green, and full, and… full of flies.  You get used to how green it is here in Maine, but sometimes you notice the green light pouring in thru the windows… or notice the greens in the gutters.

A patch of sunlight is rendered pinkish due to the fact that the digital camera picks up infrared as a purplish color instead of a very faint red to the naked eye. (Jul 20 3:20 p.m.)

I can imagine the woods are still green, thick and uncut.

Continue reading Summer update

Verdant in May

(May 28 1:58 p.m.)

Living out in the woods (not quite, but bear with me), we’re pretty close to nature.  Lots of bugs during the summer, but also lots of fresh air— nice and “inviting” for a walk… when it’s not too hot.

Today, it only entered 60s Fahrenheit. …I don’t want summer, yet.

(May 28 1:58 p.m.)

Entering late spring, the leaves have gotten large.

(May 28 1:59 p.m.)

Even the leaves on the “porch plant” are full. Continue reading Verdant in May

Spring update

(May 18 3:23 p.m.)

Between sunny days and rainy days.

(May 21 3:23 p.m.)

It has gotten pretty green out there.  Compare to nearly two weeks ago:

“Porch plant” forming leaves. (May 10 1:53 p.m.)
(May 2 3:58 p.m.)

It also got a bit purple in the sky.

(May 3 5:03 p.m.)

So let’s start from the turn of May, and observe the progression from there. Continue reading Spring update

A rose is a rose

Rosaceae. (May 8, 2018 10:42 a.m.)

So I was asked to do a post on the life or progress of the pink roses in the living room.  And as you can see, it has developed quite a bit.  There are three new blooms, and a fourth bulb on the right (out of frame) that may bloom as well.

(Feb 11, 2017 4:17 p.m.)

But let’s start at the beginning.  This is the earliest photograph I have of the roses.  If you’re not familiar with our plant, they were a Valentine’s gift from my aunt to my mother last year.  The delivery person apparently left it in the snow— a snowbank, perhaps; our neighbor to the north saw it, and brought it to our house with a note.  Luckily it survived.  Upon becoming part of the home, it’s been watered daily. Continue reading A rose is a rose

Lost in the woods

(Apr 21 2:53 p.m.)

Saturday marked the first day of spring where zero snow could be found on the property of our house.  Little bits lingered in the driveway for a while… and then— poof— it was gone.

That isn’t to say none remains in other places around these parts.

(Apr 21 3:10 p.m.)

So I ventured down the nearby trail to survey the current conditions of the season.  (And to get better photos than last time’s journey down the trail.)  The animals are out, and nothing made that more clear than a massive ruffling of leaves ahead to my right at one point… or more unclear as I couldn’t find any cause of the disturbance.

Down the southward path of the intersection, I presume (the longer, denser end), I saw a chipmunk to my left and a squirrel to my right… both of them scared of my presence, of course.
Continue reading Lost in the woods

Warming up

(Apr 4 2:21 p.m.)

The spring season is visibly underway… save today’s snow.  The greens are rising, and the flies are out. …And so are the ants.  It’s ant season.  I’ll spare you photos of those little bastards.

(Apr 4 2:22 p.m.)

Not only are we seeing sprouts but plants in early stages.

(Mar 29 11:28 a.m.)

And new grass.

(Mar 29 11:24 a.m.)

The tulips just outside the USM Portland library entrance are coming along nicely.  The cigarette butts littered around the bench are the opposite of nice.  (Read: No Smoking!)

Continue reading Warming up