Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm still here...

Yes, I am still here in the blogging world, still trying to figure out the intricacies of blogging photos on the iPad. I've been meaning to post more often, tell about my birding trip to Sax Zim Bog with Lynne, my reunion with high school friends I hadn't seen in years. Et cetera. But what matters most to me, this morning, is that I am alive and well. And I am reminded that I am not invincible. Last night, when I was driving to the activity bus stop a mile and a half from home to pick up Nina and her friend, I skidded straight through a "T" intersection and ended up well beyond the ditch. I'm fine, the car took some serious hits from tree stumps and saplings and is not drivable. It all happened so fast, I am at a loss to explain what went wrong, why such an ordinary drive I make all the time ended up that way. I was a half mile away from home, approaching the intersection which is the north end of my road. I stepped on the brakes as usual, and...nothing happened. I kept going. There was fresh snow on the road, but nothing I'm not used to. I think my brakes failed. The whole thing was kind of a blur, but I don't remember hearing the anti lock brakes grind, I don't remember feeling any slowing down when I stepped on the brakes. I know I didn't accidentally hit the accelerator because I was pressing down hard and the engine didn't rev. Whatever it was, and I'm willing to admit I probably was not concentrating as much as I should have, but STILL...anyway, I'm pretty lucky to be alive and unhurt, except maybe for my ego. I am humbled and reminded that anything can happen, anytime, and life can change in an instant. I'm still here, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Testing BlogPress

I got a nifty Apple wireless keyboard for my iPad yesterday. It is so small it could fit into a backpack, and the keys have just the right amount of action so it feels good typing. The iPad screen is okay for typing for a short time, but I want to be able to use the iPad for writing longer things. Like blog posts.

The problem with that is, apparently Blogger, WordPress, and other platforms have not kept up with the rapidly evolving world of apps. I can do limited writing and editing on the standard Web interface on Safari, but it does not want to add photos or hyperlinks. Blogger has an app for iPad, but again the functionality is very limited. So this morning I spent the $2.99 and downloaded BlogPress (thank goodness apps are cheap). It has tools to insert HTML so you don't have to write your own, and there is a tool to upload photos that are stored on the iPad. Apparently if I want to add a photo from Picasa I have to copy the location and insert the proper HTML. The downside is, there is no WYSIWYG interface, no previews. And when I went back and tried to complete a draft of a post I am working on, for some reason I could not start typing.

My prediction is that by the end of 2012 someone will have come up with an app that solves these issues. After all, if we can put a man on the moon...

Now for a test photo:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Monday holiday

I am sitting here in my rocking chair by the wood stove with a cat in my lap, another one on my shoulders. The third cat tried to get on my lap, but since Frisky takes up most of my lap space that was not possible.

I like it when holidays fall on Sundays, because that means I get the following Monday off work. Whatever observance of the holiday is behind me, and I get a "bonus" day to relax and regroup before getting back into the normal routine.

A week ago I spent my Monday holiday doing what has become a tradition for me: the Pine County Christmas Bird Count. It was the warmest count day ever, with temperatures in the 40's, and with the lack of snow it felt more like late October than the day after Christmas. There were also strong winds, which made birding more challenging. Nonetheless, my group came up with 24 species, including a rare treat for this area: a golden eagle! Bald eagles are fairly common around here, even throughout the winter now, but I had never positively identified a golden eagle in this area. Even the expert birders I was with had to consult their field guides, and they ended up having a lengthy discussion about what features distinguished it from a dark morph rough legged hawk. In the end the wind helped them make the distinction. Since a golden eagle is considerably heavier than a rough legged hawk, its flight is less buoyant. A rough legged hawk would have hovered more and soared more lightly in the wind. It was a good learning experience for me: good birders never assume anything and consider all the details.

This Monday holiday will be a bit more home-based. I will finish cutting up the turkey we had last night, maybe making a soup from the leftovers. Maybe I will finally make the time to play music, like I keep telling myself I will. At least I've already blogged, which is more than I can say for most days last year!