Monday, November 30, 2009

Another butterfly

I've been trying to photograph this butterfly for a while now--finally got it on Wednesday at work:

I didn't get any shots of his wings open, but they're very bright orange. The undersides are more yellow, as seen in the photos. Any ID help?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And we're back

Sorry for the blackout--AB came to town for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I was pretty much away from the computer most of the time. Unfortunately, I had to work Monday through Wednesday, but I got the holiday off and took Friday off (without pay) as well. It'll hurt next week when I get a tiny paycheck (even tinier than usual!), but it was so worth it to spend time with my babe.

Meanwhile, birds are getting a bit scarce around here other than the usual winter residents. I see a lot of spastic little Ruby-crowned Kinglets, fussy Bewick's Wrens, and plump White-winged Doves. This past February, you'll recall I made a trip here in the winter cold to see my family and also saw some good birds. I figure the early migrants will begin their trek back north sometime around then.

In the meantime, I've been seeing some nice butterflies and moths. I need to go outside and stake out the garage door under the lights to get some cool moth pics like I did back in PA this past summer. There should be some pretty interesting moths down here.

I hope to update soon, and to make some time for checking out your blogs. In the meantime, take care and good birding.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Phone-cam pics!

I've been forgetting to take my camera and binocs to work lately, but I have been looking for photo opportunities all the same. Here are a few of the pics I've taken lately with my phone-cam, a 3.2-megapixel camera on my Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, the model number of which I cannot recall right now.

Here's a butterfly I saw today:
I don't know what it's called, but it's pretty. Reminds me a bit of a Gulf Fritillary but it's got more spots on the wings and the undersides are very odd, as seen (kinda) in that first pic. You'll note that part of the underside wing area is just a dusky gray. Pretty. Hap or John, what is this butterfly?

I spent a lunch hour last week driving some Bewick's Wrens bonkers with my BirdJam calls, but all I got for my trouble was this shot of some Bewick's Tocks:TOCKS!

On one of the first days of my temp job, I went out the front door and found this Tarantula on the porch:Mom said she sees them all the time! Needless to say, I'm quite certain to stick my head out and look around before stepping onto the porch now.

This last pic is of a piece of (ahem) "art" in the building where I work:I'll just stop typing now and let you sit with that for a while.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lapping it up on the wireless internets

Thanks to my dad and my fairly new status as an employed person, I now own my first laptop computer! Already, I'm loving it.

I've long watched others do their mobile blogging and stuff from their laptops, but I always had a job that included computer access so I never bothered to learn much about laptops or consider buying one. Since leaving my old job, moving in with the parents, and being without almost constant access, my online life has suffered!

I suffer no more. This is an HP G-60-513NR. In regular lingo, that's a nice big 15.somethingorother wide screen, a keyboard with a ten-key pad, and wireless internet access to my dad's home network. No more weak signals, interminable upload times, or lack of computer access. I still won't have all day to play on the blogs (I have to pay for this thing somehow!), but I'll be able to work in my room anytime I want and get online to look for jobs, play on the blogs, and finally get to check out new friends on Facebook. Wheeeee!

Birding's been a bit rare these days, but there is a nice wooded nature trail at work so I plan to take some of my lunch hour and watch birds out there. I saw a beautiful warbler the other afternoon, probably an Orange-crowned which are plentiful around here, and a bunch of Black-crested Titmice, and some other birds that I haven't been able to ID. It's very woodsy out there around my workplace, so I'm expecting some good birds, especially if I'm still there during the spring migration.

That's getting a little ahead of myself at this point, however, as we are still temps with no clear end-date to our assignment. I've gotten pretty comfortable in my job, so that's good. I do have a few tips for those of you with debit cards:

1. ALWAYS use your card as a credit card, not a debit card. When you do a signature transaction, you have all sorts of rights including dispute rights, return rights, etc. When you input your PIN number, you're stuck with what you get.
2. DON'T sign up for free trial memberships to ANYTHING online like Google Millionaire, NetMillions, credit report crap, etc. One minute you're clicking on an OK button for a buck-forty-nine, and the next minute they're hitting your bank account (through your debit card number) for like $79.95 per month. Ouch.
3. ALWAYS check your bank statement carefully. I never did--until now! You wouldn't believe how many people are double-billed for things, or overcharged, or whatever.
4. Restaurant employees sometimes add tips onto a receipt when you've left the money on the table; if you leave cash, be sure to write "LEFT TIP ON TABLE" in the tip field. Don't leave it blank! Draw lines through it or write NO TIP or whatever.
5. If a merchant accepts VISA, he is NOT allowed to set a minimum (or maximum) charge amount for you to use your card. You could swipe your card for five cents if you wanted to; merchants who set limits--or who charge a different price for cash transactions than they do for credit ones, like many gas stations do--are violating the terms of their agreement with VISA. They can be fined $10,000 or more per violation for doing these things. If you find this happening to you--the minimum charge or the credit-is-more-expensive charge--tell that merchant he can either charge your card for whatever purchase amount you want/sell you that gas at the same price as if you were paying cash, or you will file a complaint with VISA. You can call your bank to report that merchant, and VISA takes these reports very seriously. Usually, the merchant will back down and let you charge that 49 cents or give you the gas at cash price. If not, report him!

Anyway--I hope to do a little birding tomorrow at work. For now, I've got to get on the old job search sites and see what's new out there since I last looked (night before last)....