Wikipedia picture of the day

Audio/video playlist featuring Wikipedia picture of the day. Each video is 1 minute or less. These videos are Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Clyde & Puddin (cat)

I didn't think I would be able to do a calendar this year but last week I decide I had the funds to make one. I uploaded my photos and placed my order with VistaPrint.Com last week. I wasn't expecting them to arrive until next week but they were delivered yesterday! They look great!

Twenty Thirteen was quite a year for me. In March I bought an electronic piano that was on sale. I've been enjoying it quite a bit but I haven't done much practicing since I moved.

I created 2 photo books from the photos I took on the motorcycle trips I've taken. They turned out very well. I want to make another one of general photos I've taken but am looking for a more affordable printing option.

I had my first art show this year. I displayed 16 of my better photos at a local sandwich shop last February. I don't have any immediate plans for another show.

The rents started going up in Denver last year and this year they simply priced me out of the apartment. I couldn't afford to rent in Denver anymore. I calculated I could pay a mortgage, insurance, utilities, and other fees for less than I was paying in rent, so I bought a small townhouse in Arvada Colorado. I'm no longer in Denver. It is much, much quieter here; I don't have fire trucks, ambulances, and cop cars racing past at all hours of the day and night. I do miss the quick access to the Denver parks.

In late May I took a day trip to Scottsbluff to visit the Scott's Bluff National Monument. It was a fun ride except for the tornado. I went to the Sturgis bike rally for the first, and only, time this year. Sturgis was a major disappointment but it was a beautiful ride there and back.

I had a heart attack on June 5th at 1:35pm. It was not the grip your chest and scream type, instead I developed strong pain in both arms from my shoulder to my elbow and pain in both jaws. I tried shaking it off. I started making a pot of coffee thinking that would make me feel better, but before the coffee had finished brewing I realized it was serious and got help. The fire department arrived within 2 minutes followed immediately by the ambulance, and 10 minutes later I was in the emergency room. They were actually standing by waiting for me. Five minutes later I was in surgery ( the cath lab.) They installed a stint into my Left Anterior Descending. I had little or no damage and they kept telling me how lucky I was to react and get in so quickly. I don't want to think about how things would have turned out if I was on the road.

Cardiac rehab was just walking on a treadmill or stationary bike while they monitored my heart. I bought my own treadmill after I finished rehab. I prefer to walk outdoors but I don't like walking on concreate or in the cold. That's what the treadmill is for.

I haven't had a cat since 1980 and I've really missed having one. Pets weren't allowed in the apartment but now I have my own place so I adopted a cat from the shelter. We get along fine.

I wasn't affected by the biblical flood of 2013. There was flooding in north east Denver, all along the Platte river from Commerce City into Nebraska, and in Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins, Estes Park, and Lions. Those are all places where rivers and streams come down out of the mountains. Greeley got flooded by the Platte. The farmers along the streams and the Platte lost everything.

I am very fortunate to be alive, have my own home, am warm and dry, and have food on the table. This year was quite a year for me but it has still been a good year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday afternoon

The temperature got up to 55F (12.7C) and most of the ice has melted off the streets, so I took the motorcycle out for a spin. I got lunch at Big Mama's Burrito (72nd & Federal.) After lunch I road north a few blocks to the Pillar of Fire Castle on 83rd. The view of Longs Peak was stunning from the hill top.

Clyde has arrived (animated GIF, as is the cat on sidebar.)

Longs Peak from Westminster, Colorado.

Pillar of Fire Castle, Westminster, Colorado.

Friday, December 13, 2013

An afternoon of lakes

Arbor Lake.

Foot bridge at Lake Mary.

Waves on sea? No, Ice on Lake Mary.

Red tailed hawk at Rock Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Maxwell Van Nuys

Maxwell Van Nuys
December 18, 1915 - October 31, 2013

Maxwell Van Nuys, 97, a long-time resident of Denver, Colorado, died Thursday, October 31, 2013 at his home. Max was born December 18, 1915, in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Claude C. and Laura (Bower) Van Nuys. The family later moved to Cranford, New Jersey, where Maxwell spent most of his boyhood.

Max earned a degree in civil engineering from Bucknell College in Pennsylvania. He served in an Engineering battalion during WWII, crossing the English Channel a few weeks after the 1944 D-Day invasion. After the war he worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the State of South Dakota, and as a hospital inspector for the State of Colorado from 1960 until he retired.

Max had a passion for the history of the American West, especially concerning his beloved home of South Dakota. He spent many years researching the life of the Santee Sioux leader Inkpaduta, the presumed instigator of the Spirit Lake Massacre in northwestern Iowa in 1857. In 1998, he self-published Inkpaduto-The Scarlet Point: Terror of the Dakota Frontier and Secret Hero of the Sioux, later republished as Inkpaduta - Sitting Bull's Predecessor. He also compiled The Daring Venture for Custer's Gold, published by Johnson Printing in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, he preserved and provided the diary of his aunt, Alice Bower, and letters between her and newspaper publisher Joseph Gossage, and wrote a chapter on the history of the Rapid City Journal for the book Sunshine Always: The Courtship Letters of Alice Bower and Joseph Gossage of Dakota Territory, published by the South Dakota State Historical Society in 2006.

Max also convinced his mother, Laura Bower Van Nuys, to write what became The Family Band: From the Missouri to the Black Hills, 1881-1900. published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1961. This volume recounted the Bower family's migration to western South Dakota and the local fame enjoyed by Laura and six of her seven siblings in organizing a touring brass band. In 1968, Walt Disney bought the movie rights and released the musical "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band." In 2009, Max was awarded recognition by the South Dakota State Historical Society for his life-long devotion to the history of South Dakota.

He is survived by his long-time friend, David Wang, of Denver, Colorado; his niece Laura Tonkyn and nephews James Van Nuys and Frank Van Nuys, and their families, all of Rapid City, South Dakota.

A memorial service was held at the First Unitarian Church of Denver on Thursday November 21, 2013. Inurnment will be at Mountain View Cemetery in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Max had requested that a recording of "The Pilgrims Song of Hope" (Batiste) be played at his memorial. The recording had been played at his mothers funeral and at his aunts funeral. They had the original 78rpm phonograph at the service. I found a YouTube recording of the music; I'm sure it's the same recording as the 78.

Note that the sign "Whole Soul" is attached to the lectern behind Max's photo, but Max was a non-theist and didn't believe in life after death.

Also see the related blog post: "Max and the missing railroad."


Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Will Never Forget

Matthew Shepard died 15 years ago today from injuries he suffered five days earlier during a brutal hate crime in Laramie Wyoming. I will NEVER forget !


Friday, August 30, 2013

Walking in circles

I completed the Cardiac Rehab program. It was mostly walking on a treadmill while they monitored my heart, pulse, and blood pressure. They also evaluated my eating habits and mental state at the beginning of the program and the end of the program. There was also instruction on nutrition and relaxation.

They recommend I get 30 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise 5 or 6 days a week. Walking works best for me. I may have to get a treadmill to get 30 minutes every day in the winter.

Today I got more than 30 minutes of walking. I walked to and around Arbor Lake, Arvada, Colorado. It is 0.7 miles to the lake and 1.2 miles around the lake. I walked 2.6 miles in 55 minutes; that's 2.8 miles/hour.

My route

Arbor Lake sunset
August 16, 2013.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My first and only time

The Sturgis Bike Rally was a big disappointment. I paid way too much money. There were a lot of bikes but the rally really doesn't have anything to do with motorcycles. The rally is all about drinking and looking at boobs.

I drank a lot when I was in high school and college. I don't do that now that I'm grown up. It's hard enough not to make an ass of myself without adding the affects of alcohol and drugs. Drinking responsibly is one thing but drinking yourself stupid is something else.

Though Sturgis was a disappointment the ride was not. The ride from Denver to Sturgis was great ! The Black Hills were magnificent ! Everything was green and lush - the prairies were even beautiful. We saw a lot of other motorcycles on the highway. We stopped at Orin junction (south of Douglas Wy.) for a picnic lunch, and took another break in Newcastle Wy.

We found a nice place to setup camp in the Buffalo Chip campground then got dinner at the amphitheater. I doubt the Buffalo Chip was 1/3 full when we arrived on Thursday but they were squeezing them in by Sunday. They don't admit RV's or trailers in after 7:30pm, but there continued to be a steady unbroken stream of motorcycles coming in for several more hours.

The concerts at the Buffalo Chip were a mixed bag; some sucked and some were good. Though loud, I liked Halestorm but ZZ Top bombed. You couldn't see the stage at all unless you elbowed your way to the front and even then they looked like match sticks. I don't understand why go to a live performance only to watch them on a big screen TV?

Saturday we made the obligatory trip down the main street of Sturgis. There were some cool bikes but most were stock or modified stock - only a few were out of the ordinary. Junk shops lined both sides of the street for four blocks each one selling exactly the same thing as all the others. I didn't encounter any vendors selling a new, unusual, or hard to find product. The leather goods on sale were very poor quality. I shopped for a new pair of gloves, but everywhere I went the gloves for sale wouldn't have lasted a month and I would have been out another $35.

Sunday I rode to Mount Rushmore, got my picture taken, then rode on to the Crazy Horse monument. They haven't made much progress on Crazy Horse in the last 20 years. The front of his face has been completed but you can only see it in profile. No progress on his arm or the horse. The art gallery and museum at the visitors center is free and worth the trip. I had a good lunch at the restaurant.

We broke camp on Monday morning. Those that had to work headed back to Denver while my riding buddy and I decided to tour the country side for a few days. We made a loop through Badlands National Park then took I-90 east as far as Mitchell SD. The colors and erosion features in the Badlands were pretty and interesting. I would like to see it during a sunrise and sunset.

The weather forecast and reports of flooding convinced us to cut our trip short. We stopped into the Corn Palace in Mitchell before heading south to Nebraska. We ate lunch along the Missouri river in Niobrara State Park, Nebraska.

We ate dinner in Mullen NB. before continuing west on highway 2. We got into a blinding rain after sunset only 15 miles east of Alliance NE. It rained buckets and a little bit of pea sized hail. We had to pull off and wait it out. Fortunately it didn't last very long, but we sure got wet.

All of the motels in Alliance were full so we had to ride another 58 miles to Scottsbluff NE. to get a room for the night. It was after 11pm when we got a room.

We pulled out of Scottsbluff about 10:30am and rode south to Fort Morgan CO. We had a very good lunch at Chef's DA Chinese Restaurant, 209 Main Street in Fort Morgan. It was about 2:30pm when I got back to the house. It was 1,652 miles round trip.

Sturgis was an obscene waste of time and money, but the landscape scenery and the time riding was fair compensation.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Turkeys at the lake [updated]

I've seen a large bird circling at Standley lake during the past week. I thought it might be a hawk. I got my big telephoto lens out this weekend, went to the lake and waited for the bird to appear. I didn't have to wait very long before the large black bird made its appearance and made slow lazy circles over head. I snapped several pictures with my 500mm lens. They all turned out reasonably well but are a little high contrast do to the bright sky.

What I assumed was a hawk turned out to be a Turkey Vulture!

I was also able to get a good picture of an American Goldfinch.

Prairie dogs are always ready to have their picture taken.
These are at Black Tail prairie dogs at Standley Lake Arvada. There is something unusual with their coloring. Some of them are grey/white/black and some of them have light grey head & front paws but the rest of the rodent is the normal reddish brown. I was curious about this so asked a biologist about it; here is his reply.
This appears to be an expression of albinism. Sometimes within small or isolated populations there are limited numbers of available mates except for close kin, promoting inbreeding which reduces genetic diversity; along with genetic drift, inbred offspring can also be more susceptible to diseases, parasites, and environmental changes. These factors expose rare deleterious alleles (variations of the same gene) and increases the possibility of genetic anomalies such as birth defects and albinism (Hoogland 2006, Tate 1947). I've seen this in other urban areas and I suspect this can be instigated by industrial an or urban development (sprawl) which fractures natural habitats and isolates coteries, although I have not seen specific data regarding this yet.

Biological Science Technician
US Fish and Wildlife

Monday, July 08, 2013

My new townhouse

I'm all moved into my new townhouse in Arvada Colorado and have met some of my neighbors.

Front door.

Two car garage!

Living room.

There's just one problem.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

I Survived the Widow Maker

Having a heart attack is not any fun. I know because I just had one!

At about 1:45pm Wednesday afternoon I developed severe pain in both arms from the shoulders to the elbows, I also developed severe pain in my jaw; the pain was accompanied by a lot of agitation. I was dancing around telling myself it was nothing and I could shake it off. I started making a pot of coffee thinking it would make me feel better, but before the coffee had finished I knew things were serious and I needed help. I grabbed my wallet and cell phone and headed down to the apartment lobby.

I walked into the apartment's leasing office sat down and said "I'm not feeling well." They called 911 for me. By now I was sweating profusely. The fire truck arrived in under 2 minutes and the ambulance was right behind them. The apartment is close to Denver Health Medical Center so the ambulance ride didn't take very long.

The Emergency Room staff were waiting for me when I arrived. I was immediately surrounded by 8 - 10 people including 2 doctors. I was in the ER for less than 10 minutes - just long enough to get me out of my cloths, gather basic information, tell me I was having a heart attack, and coordinate with the Catheterization Lab. Then off to the Cath-Lab we went.

The staff in the Cath-Lab were waiting for me when I arrived. They didn't put me under but they anesthetized my groin then gave me something to relieve the anxiety. I closed my eyes and listened to the proceedings. They took a lot of X-Rays then inserted a catheter into my right groin and snaked it through the iliac artery into my heart where they performed Angioplasty and installed a Stent. After a period of time I commented that I thought I was starting to feel better; later I said "I'm feeling a whole lot better." Near the end of the procedure they injected a chemical into my heart that felt warm inside my chest as it flooded through my body; the chemical is used to increase the contrast in the X-Rays.

I was one of the lucky ones - I survived the Widow Maker a 100% blockage of the Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery . The LAD is one of the major arteries that supplies the large pump of the heart with its blood. Everyone commented how lucky I was to have gotten to the hospital so fast. Had another 10 - 15 minutes passed I probably wouldn't have survived.

I spent 24 hours in Intensive Care then was moved to the Progressive Care Unit where I spent another 48 hours. They discharged me Saturday afternoon after 72 hours in the hospital. I feel fine except that I'm a little week and tire easily. I'm also on 2 blood thinners and 2 blood pressure medications, and they quadrupled the dosage of my cholesterol medication.

100% blockage of Left Anterior Descending artery

After Angioplasty & Stent

Don't ever speak poorly of Denver Health Medical Center (Denver General). With exception for the reason of my stay I had a positive experience. Everyone from first responders to discharge were very professional, cheerful, and competent. At least 100 people were involved with my treatment - true professionals everyone. How do I thank all those people?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Scottsbluff road trip

I rode the motorcycle to Scottsbluff Nebraska to visit the National Monument there. I left Denver at 11am which was two hours later than I intended. I took I-76 east to Fort Morgan where I stopped for lunch. From Fort Morgan I took HW-52 north to HW-14, then HW-71 to Scottsbluff. I waited out a storm in Kimble Nebraska. The storm produced heavy rain, large hail and a tornado. Fortunately I got into Kimble before the storm arrived. The storm passed north of town and didn't cause any damage.

Wind turbine, HW-71, 24 miles south of Kimble, NE.

Scotts Bluff is an 800 foot tall sandstone out-crop on the west edge of the great planes in western Nebraska. It served as a prominent landmark for native americans, fur trappers, wagon trains and the poney express. The North Platte river flows along the north side directly beneath the bluff, and the Oregon Trail passed through Mitchell Pass directly beneath and south of the bluff. President Woodrow Wilson established the Scotts Bluff National Monument by proclamation on December 12, 1919. The Civilian Conservation Corps completed work on the tunnels and summit road in 1937.

Scotts Bluff

One of the tunnels on summit road

Scotts Bluff from summit

Dome Rock from summit of Scotts Bluff

Sentinel Rock with Oregon Trail below

From Scottsbluff I continued east to Torrington Wyoming where I joined US-85. I scarfed down a cheeseburger and fries in Cheyenne before joining the heavy traffic on I-25 back to Denver. In Denver I got rear-ended while waiting at a traffic light. Fortunately I didn't get hurt and there wasn't any damage so I accepted his apology and we went our separate ways. I think he was fully stopped and let up on the brake just enough to tap the rear of the bike.

It was 9:20pm when I got back to the apartment. The trip took 10 hours and covered 432 miles.

I'm a little disappointed in these photos. Maybe it's just me but I think the color sucks in most of them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cherry Creek State Park

I rode the motorcycle to Cherry Creek State Park Sunday and hiked the wetlands trail loop at the south end. I took my big telephoto with me. I still have trouble handling it.

House Wren

Red Wing Black Bird (male)

Red Wing Black Bird (female)

White Pelican

A dramatic photo from Cherry Creek State Park

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grand Opening

I rode the motorcycle west on US285 early this morning to visit Colorado's newest state park on its grand opening day.

Staunton State Park has been 30 years in the making. Frances H. Staunton left the initial 1,720 acres to the state in her will; adjoining acreage was acquired over the years through land grants and funds from Great Outdoors Colorado. It is a beautiful park and one I will return to.

I went on one of the guided tours. The tour only covered a small portion of the park; that was a good thing because I was worn out by the time I got back.

Follow me.

Over the Hills and Far Away

The snow covered mountain in the distance is Pikes Peak
however, I may have heard her wrong.

Lions Head

I bought a commemorative pin
The color is off in this photo.