Archive for August, 2016

CB&D Website Changes Underway

Smartphone on WeblogNow that I have upgraded to a smartphone, it has become obvious to me that our websites are definitely not handheld mobile friendly. Shortcomings we have noted include small text size and flaky mobile application plug-in support for our various Flash® animations.

I have already taken the first step toward compatibility by replacing our animated banner with a static image. Next steps will be (as we get to it) replacing the little animated doodads with static images, or removing those that do not have a static equivalent, including the Never Forget animated tribute.

It troubles me to do away with this animation which has been a memorial to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on this site for over ten years, but the traffic count on the hit indicator at the right under the animation has been diminishing steadily. When the hit counter passed sixty million in February of 2010, the hits per hour were nearly 1300; when the counter passed ninety million, the hits per hour had diminished to 529. The current hits per hour is under 200, so it is time to phase the tribute out.

Image: How this site looks on my new Samsung Galaxy mobile

I will clean up the incompatible items on all of our sites over a period of time (read when I get around to it) and begin looking at ways to detect device type and to issue a compatible format. This latter effort may take a while since I use a very old version of Wordpress and I will have to customize things in the old code rather than upgrading to a new version incompatible with the current database structure.

It might just be too much work to convert the whole site, so I might incorporate a mobile only splash page that directs the mobile user to switch to a larger tablet or a full-size computer screen. I have only begun to research the changeover, so stay tuned.

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Black Bee Pollinator

Black Bee Pollinator

I did not have the camera handy when the hummingbirds and butterflies were browsing the red bird flowers in the courtyard, but I did manage to get this big black bee doing its thing. We have pollinators of all kinds including this guy, the afore mentioned hummingbirds, bees of all kinds and yellow-jackets that frequent these beautiful summertime flowers.

We saw, but did not manage to photograph more critters today. We had the usual little ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits, a bunch of lizards of varying species and one lonely coyote crossing the north property line eastbound. We hope he keeps moving on . . .

Click on the image to enlarge.

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The All American Eclipse is One Year from Today!

Commemorative Eclipse ShadesOne year from today, we plan to be in Casper Wyoming to observe the August 21, 2017 total eclipse of the sun. We have been getting ready for the event for over four years.

“Ready” includes making reservations at a campground near the centerline of totality, planning the trip to include some optional, scenic side excursions and purchase of a couple dozen commemorative eclipse shades from Rainbow Symphony. We are also preparing to use the camera and telescope to record this spectacular event.

Image: August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Commemorative Shades. Click to enlarge.

This post from May of 2012 has a map of the path of totality and some details about the eclipse. I also did some on-line research and found which forecast a 75% chance for clear skies in August. We’re hoping that it will be so.

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Road Closure

Road Closure

Damsel snapped this photo of one of the ADOT highway advisory signs a couple of miles south of Wickenburg, AZ on US 60/93 Northbound. I thought this was interesting since the section of I-15 that is closed is over three hundred road miles from this point. I presume the Interstate 15 closure is due to one of the California wildfires currently raging out there.

We were returning from a urology appointment in the Valley. The urologist had a little bad news when he inspected the interior of my bladder and found a small, non-invasive tumor. This is not as serious nor as invasive as the tumor he resected three years ago, so it will only involve an office visit down in Litchfield, AZ to resolve. Sedation, similar to that given to colonoscopy patients, will be applied during the trans-urethral procedure. This will not take place until October, since we have plans for much of September.

It’s a bummer that there is a recurrence, but we likely won’t have to endure more than the office procedure. Good thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

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Anti-Sunset Rays

Anti-Sun Rays

Late this afternoon, just before dusk, we took a walk down the road to witness this rare phenomenon of anti-crepuscular rays. This image is looking toward the opposite horizon from where the sun was setting. Clouds and atmospheric particles contributed to this glorious array of sun rays that had to travel from horizon to horizon to get this effect. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Tropical Moisture Headed for Arizona

TS JavierTropical Storm Javier, currently over Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California Peninsula, is sending lots of moisture northward in its wake as it slowly meanders north-westward along the Baja Coastline. The storm is forecast to diminish into a post-storm depression in a couple of days, but will continue to churn up tropical moist air which will find its way to the southwestern US.

Infrared image: Tropical Storm Javier (Credit NOAA)

The effect we expect here, according to the National Weather Service, is monsoon activity starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/9) and lasting through next weekend. The NWS has issued flash flood watch for our area over the next couple of days.

We have an appointment Tuesday afternoon in Sun City West with a specialist who is supposedly going to render a second opinion on an MRI test I had way back in April. Why I have to be present for that opinion is unclear, but we’re going to go. Besides, it gives an excuse to write off the IRS medical mileage which will conveniently include a stop at the Walmart in Surprise. Damsel already has a shopping list for that.

We think that we will be back home before any serious rainfall takes place, but if it does start up while we’re on the road, we know enough to find high ground and stop to wait it out.

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August Camping and Beyond

August Camping

We’re camped once again in the Sunny Southern California Desert to visit the yearling grandson. We have been doing these trips for a year now at about monthly intervals so the baby will know us from visit to visit. Of course, we also enjoy visiting with his parents and the other set of grandparents.

Next month, we are going to deviate from the usual back and forth across the two deserts to head out for a scenic road trip with the goals of:

  • getting away for scenic destinations
  • reunion with California family members
  • seeing our other little one, the two year old great grandson

We’re still trying to get the other family members to get on-board for the reunion and to get the granddaughter to bring her son to the reunion from the Bay Area to not-to-distant Stockton. This weekend we will get a go/nogo from the kids and grandson as to whether they can participate in the reunion.

Regardless of all the particular commitments, we will still be heading out for the scenic part of the road trip. We’re overdue for a trip like that, but when you live in a scenic and rustic town with lots of activities and attractions, you still feel like everyday is vacation. That last item may be why we haven’t felt the need to hit the road for a vacation from our permanent vacation.

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