Saguaro and Moon

Saguaro and Moon

I had to go to the community hospital today to be tested for lipids (whatever that is) in my blood. The doctor will modify my cholesterol medication prescription according to the results.

On the way out of the hospital, I noticed a rugged old saguaro cactus just outside. I turned my camera on the cactus to get a photo and noticed that the half moon was positioned for me to get both it and the cactus in the same frame. This is the result. The cactus is in focus and the moon slightly out of focus, giving both aerial and linear perspective to the photo. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Making the Rounds

Patriotic Perspective

We’re in California tonight after making the rounds to decorate the grave sites of some of our fallen loved ones. There are two memorial parks that we visit when we’re in town (actually three, but one is way over in Orange County that we get to once a year or so). This array of American Flags decorates the entrance to the park where my Grandparents, an Uncle and my Daughter were laid to rest. The flags are flown on five staffs of graduating heights and graduating flag sizes. It’s a very pretty array of Patriotic Perspective.

We were earlier at the other park on this side of town where my Dad, a brother-in-law and a sister are in repose. I put decorations on all of the sites at both parks. This makes us feel respectful and lets have some closure about our losses. Click on the image to enlarge.

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No Hat Rack

No Hat Rack

When we come to California, we find several cultural differences from those in Arizona. One example is that when we go to a restaurant or even to the dentist, they have a rack for us cowboy types to hang our hats. Not so much in California, where sun worship and skin cancer reign.

The only hotel in this area where we can take our dogs is an antiquated property which, by all rights, should have a hat rack in the rooms, has none. Thus, I have to improvise with where I hang my hat when not in use. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Supermoon

Super Moon

Last night, we had the first of three so-called supermoons this summer. It is the phenomenon where the moon appears to subtend a larger angle in the sky due to it’s close proximity to the Earth. We’re due to have another, even larger supermoon on August 10th.

From Wikipedia

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.

The most recent occurrence was on July 12, 2014. The next and closest supermoon of 2014 will be on August 10.

The opposite phenomenon, an apogee-syzygy, has been called a micromoon, though this term is not as widespread as supermoon.

Although the reference to supermoons causing earthquakes is “held to be unconvincing,” I still remember the 1971 Sylmar quake which occurred the morning after a supermoon. I remain completely unconvinced that anything other than terrestrial tectonic plate movement had anything to do with that event.

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Bishop’s Cap Bridal Bouquet

Bridal Bouquet

I have never seen this many open flowers on our Bishop’s Cap cactus. My first thought was that the array of flowers resembled a bridal bouquet.

I think that this cactus is very happy in the courtyard of our Arizona home. Originally, we bought it in Arizona before we were married in the late 1990’s. It was in California for most of that time until we brought it here in 2011. Now, it produces flowers (lots of ‘em) all summer long, many more than ever seen in California. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Email Hacked

hacked.pngOver the past couple of weeks, I have been getting bombarded with a bunch of “Undeliverable Mail” messages on one of my private email accounts. Sometimes, I would receive hundreds of them a day.

At first, it seemed to be a nuisance that could be eliminated by setting up a rule for received messages in my email client. The rule would detect one of several senders and/or subjects that were common to the messages and would summarily delete the message on the server - I would never see them again in my inbox. But, as it turned out, that was not the end of it. My mail server then started rejecting my outbound emails with a message indicating that I had exceeded my daily limit of 500 emails.

So. it was not as simple as I originally thought. The returned emails were a product of some phishing spammers spoofing my email address to send their crap through my server. I was only seeing the rejected emails that did not make it to the intended address.

I did some research on-line and found that I needed to change the password for the hacked email address. I also ran anti-virus scans on my computer to see if malware here was originating the spam. Norton AV advised me that it found nothing.

Since there was no malware, I assumed that my address book had not been compromised. The spams had to be originating from a source that knew my email password. How was that compromised? I have to assume that at some time during our recent trips to PRK (Kalifornistan), someone monitoring the unsecured wifi at the hotel where we were staying picked up on the username/password transactions for the email address. I do have a private wifi device which is secure, but the 3G service it provides is pretty slow, hence the use of the hotel wifi.

Since I changed the password for that email address, the problem has gone away. From now forward, I will not be using the hotel house wifi on future visits for anything other than browsing - no shopping, no banking, no emailing - period.

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Flowing Water in Casandro Wash

Flowing Water

This is an image of lower Casandro wash just before it flows into the aqueduct under Mariposa Drive. If it were not for Casandro Dam located 1000 feet upstream, the entire property zone where we built our house would be flooded rather than just this trickle.

The dam’s catch basin stores most of the water flowing down upper Casandro wash when the monsoons come. There is a regulated pipeline that originates in the basin and ends with the pipe that slowly releases the trapped water at a point below the dam.

Just last Friday, Damsel and I were down in this part of the wash picking up bottles, cans and other unsightly debris to be recycled rather than be an eyesore to us and anyone else that likes to see our desert clean from debris like that. Click on Damsel’s image to enlarge.

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Sunflower

Sunflower

I bought some more sunflower stems at the flower concession in the supermarket today. I have had several of these over the past couple of weeks as they seem to be in season now. They tend to last in the vase for a few days and then fade away. This one was very pretty in this face-on view. Click on the image to enlarge.

I looked up sunflower season on eHow:

The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a warm-weather, summer-blooming annual characterized by large, showy flower heads, a stiff green stalk and broad green leaves. Flowers typically appear from May to October, or until the first frosts of autumn arrive. You may propagate sunflowers outdoors in the garden as soon as frosts have finished for the year. Sunflower seeds are mature and ready to harvest about four months after planting.

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Monsoon - Continued

Monsoon

We had a major downpour this afternoon as the monsoon thunderstorms descended upon Wickenburg late this afternoon. The skies darkened and the sheets of heavy rain came. It was raining so heavily at times that we could not see 500 feet. I braved the wind and rain long enough to get this shot of the RV drive flooding and the downspout from the gutter running off like a little Yosemite Falls.

We, and the dogs, were safe and sound inside while all this was going on. The dogs preferred to hibernate under their blankets through the worst of the storm. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Monsoon Season Is Back

Cumulonimbus

I took this photo of a towering cumulonimbus cloud forming over the Bradshaw Mountains north of Wickenburg earlier this afternoon. (Click on the image to enlarge.) At this time (~5:30 PM), clouds are forming overhead and we can hear the sound of thunder in the distance. Looking at the area radar, I can see precipitation moving generally toward us. I expect that we may be in for some more rain. We had showers two days ago that lasted late into the night.

Before we retired, Damsel and I would come to Arizona on vacation and would look forward to seeing the monsoons. We have been in them everywhere from Tucson to The Grand Canyon. Now, we can sit on the back patio or in the courtyard and see them when they come here. We love the smell of the creosote in the rain.

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