Sunday, August 13, 2006

Windows Live Writer

I've only been on this for about five minutes but this is looking very, very promising indeed.

Can't tell how everything works just yet so let's just play around.

First, let's see if we can make Windows Live Writer beta a working hot link. Looks like that may have worked. I was given the option "Open in New Window" but didn't select it. Will next time if the above doesn't work.

Insert picture? Why not.

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Hmm...a panorama, which you can pretty much resize at will.I don't think Blogger would let you do that. Probably won't link to a larger view when you click on it, but neither would Blogger if memory serves.

You can also insert a map but I'm not going there tonight. Kid starts school tomorrow and all that...

So let's publish and see what happens.'s telling me the weblog doesn't support image publishing. Could be a format thing, though. The pano I was trying to publish was a tiff file which WLW shows as a png.

I'll try a standard jpg.

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Nope. No go. Still telling me the weblog doesn't support image publishing, but we know that ain't right. Blogger does let you publish pictures.

So what gives?

Casio Panorama

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Monday, January 09, 2006

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Burn Nimitz in the Desert!

That was the plan anway. On the way out to West Texas we stopped in Del Rio and picked up a hundred dollars worth of fireworks for New Year's Eve, including a genuine made-in-China USS Nimitz. Unfortunately, Nature had other plans. For the whole four days we were out there the wind blew in what can only be described in apocalyptic Biblical terms. It blew in the morning and it blew at night. It blew left and it blew right. It never stopped blowing.

Did I mention that the wind -- the sere, unforgiving wind -- blew the entire time we were out there?

Well, it did.

So no fireworks. The adults understood -- Texas and Oklahoma were inundated with grass fires at the time -- but try explaining the lack of a sound and light show to eight pre-teens.

Even if you could mouth an excuse the wind would have blown your words away.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

D'Alamo Redux

Here's a little bit better composition from the same quick shoot. Gives you a better sense of scale, too. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but the alleged "complaint" reportedly made by many out-of-state visitors goes something like this:

"I can't believe it's so small!"

I guess maybe they expected a cathedral or something. Fact is the Alamo chapel was only a small part of the besieged compound, the perimeter walls of which have long since largely disappeared.

Picture taken with the Olympus E500, 14-45mm kit lens.

D'Alamo: Christening a Camera

I thought it was a stupid idea when I had it. I even thought it was a stupid idea as I drove downtown and executed it. After all, we're talking photons and quantum mechanics here.

My thought was that I should christen the photovoltaic cells -- at least that's what I think they are -- of the CCD of my latest digital camera -- an Olympus E500 -- with an image that would somehow characterize (and mystically influence?) its future career as a consumer electronic product.

In other words, I wanted to set a...tone.

And when you live in San Antonio, there is one tone and one tone only -- the Alamo.

Alas, it was a fairly crappy day for pictures. Cold, dank and gloomy and late in the day by the time I got there, approx 4:15. So as a picture, it's not all that much. But the camera has indeed been duly christened. May it live up to its eventual subject matter.

The photo below, by the way, is of a Barred Owl, not a Bard Owl. I blame the faux pas on my wife's speech patterns, she blames my lack of hearing.

It was taken with a Panasonic DMC-FZ20.

Save for the Owl and the Alamo, all the other pictures here have been taken with a lowly Casio Z750. Both the Panasonic and Casio, I should probably add, were unconsciously christened by whatever was at hand at the time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bard Owl

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Monday, December 12, 2005

The Derelict Grounds

Bathers and babes could always retire to the beach at right.

Near the saucer-house itself was a now dry reflecting pool. (Below) Next to the swimming pool filled with rusting auto body parts. The only animate inhabitants I saw was a native lizard with a curled tail.
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Upon Closer Inspection

The saucer reveals itself to be an abandoned abode, albeit with intriguing hints of what it once was.

The 360-degree view speaks simultaneously of openness and paranoia. One rumor we hear is that it was a prominent drug runner's palace, another that it belonged to a Florida insurance man whose company went belly up. A third says that KVW himself once bestrode its airy bedrooms.
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The House on the Hill

From a distance, the structure does resemble a flying saucer, or at least a geodisic replica of same.
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Kevin's Welcome Mat

Not exactly encouraging but it's impossible at this point to tell if anyone is at home. The trail leads uphill so we take it.
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By Boat From Here On

At the end of the landing strip two skiffs await. The one on the left would later mysteriously erupt in flames. Really!
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Next Choice

This looks better. At least the propellers are in the front where they're supposed to be.
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Search by Air

I needed an airplane but not this one. No way was I flying into some tiny island landing strip backwards!
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The Search Begins in Earnest

Well, in Great Exuma, actually, to which I've been directed by an inside informant's tip. My contact is Cecilia. She sells seashells by the seashore.

Cecilia tells me that a man fitting KVW's description -- or at least someone with a first generation iPod -- has passed this way not so many moons ago. He was circumspect, she says, apart from smoking Cuban cigars and letting it be known that he was in the market for some isolated real estate.

What else could she tell me I asked as I bade her good bye.

"Look for the house shaped like a flying saucer," she said. "And one more thing..."

"Yeah, what's that?"

"Don't make palm plants grow out of people's heads."

I took her advice and made for the airport.
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The Search for Kevin Van Winkle

KVW was the handle of a legendary poster over on the AAPL board at Investor's Hub. The guy used to trade more shares of stocks during his lunch break than I ever thought about owning in my lifetime. Here's an almost typical post just to give you an idea of the kind of volume he was dealing in:

"What a mistake! I sold my 65K shares of AAPL two days ago and moved the money into another stock. I got $24 for my shares. Today, I could get $25 so I lost an opportunity at increasing my account by $65K. Worse yet, the stock I changed into is down a dollar (I have 50K shares of it) so I'm down $50K on that trade.

"So, in two days I've managed to mess up to the tune of over $100K...

"Why did I do it? I was fed up that AAPL didn't move more on the Merrill Lynch report. I was also fed up at all the political rants on this board by the left. It left me wanting to get out of all my AAPL and that is what I did.

"Anyway, congratulations to those who are long and strong AAPL. The theory that iPod has transformed Apple and that the stock should be trading much higher is just starting to play out. I hope things pull back a bit so I can get in again, but this may be the breakout.

"Too bad I wasn't patient just two more days..."

That post was dated March 4, 2004. Obviously not one of KVW's better days. (AAPL closed today above $75 a share.)

Then one day -- well, 4/30/2004 to be exact -- KVW stopped posting altogether. Given his posting history, however, speculation continues to this day as to his status and whereabouts. Did he ultimately strike it rich in AAPL and retire to some tropical isle? Or did he lose everything in SUNW and SGI?

I decided to pick up the pieces and follow what few clues I could.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Earl Says It Ain't So

Yesterday a local TV station said that Earl Abel's was being sold to make way for a 25-story condominium tower. This morning the story broke above the fold in the city's only daily newspaper.

Groans ran north and south along Broadway, east and west down Hildebrand. We're talking a cultural -- if not necessarily culinary -- institution here.

When I moved to San Antonio in 1972, there might have been another eatery open 24 hours, but if so it was probably an Interstate truck stop on the outskirts of town. If you wanted grub after midnight, Earl's was where you went. It was also where the town's more colorful characters adjourned to after the bars and theaters closed down, colorful being 1972 code for the city's gay and transvestite community.

During the daytime Earl catered largely to the elderly; it wasn't unusual for my waitress to be older than my mother. But you'd get a cross section of citizenry, too, although it probably wouldn't be a first-date choice unless you were financially strapped, which I routinely was in those days. It was this smorgasboard of San Antonio freaks and norms that institutionalized the joint.

Architecturally speaking, I dare James Lileks to drive by without stopping for pictures.

Finally, I shouldn't leave the impression that Earl's isn't worth actually eating at if you're ever down south. Its take-out fried chicken is legendary and has anchored many a picnic blanket at nearby Brackenridge Park. In a word, Earl's menu is as American as apple pie. Chicken fried steak, liver and onions, turkey and dressing, meat loaf, fried catfish and your sides of mashed potatoes, green beans, corn or fried okra capped with butter and hot rolls.

In fact, some fried chicken would be good tonight. Just in case the denials of Earl's demise turn out to be only temporarily delayed.