#417 and 418 at Santiago Oaks

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

It took so long for me to finish writing up my China trip that I’ve fallen behind in reporting other sighting closer to home. After returning from China I missed the Audubon trip to Crystal Cove State Park because I wasn’t sufficiently recovered yet. However the next weekend (Sunday, May 4) I headed off to Linette Lina’s monthly walk at Santiago Oaks. It wasn’t the warbler explosion you could expect on the East Coast this time of year, but it was a very interesting trip nonetheless.

The usual suspects were out: Common Raven, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Western Tanager, etc. However the prize of the day was this Lazuli Bunting, #417. This is a small bird that has the sme basic plumage as a Western Bluebird, but different shape. It was fairly far away. This is the best picture I managed:

Lazuli Bunting perched in tree

Then, shortly after we saw that one, we spotted a Hermit Warbler. I thought I’d seen one of these before, but after getting home and checking my records, I didn’t see it listed so that makes it #418. This was even smaller and less cooperat5ive than the Lazuli Bunting, so no pictures of that one. However it was very distinctive with its round yellow face, black throat, and black eye.

Shopping for a Gaming PC

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

So I’ve decided I’n Bored of Warcraft, and want to play Age of Conan. That means a new PC with some pretty hefty requirements (2GB DDR RAM, 2.4 GHz dual core or better, and an NVidia 7950 or better). Anyone want to suggest something?

I would like to pay under $1000 for the rig (monitor, keyboard, etc. not included). I will not pay over $2000 and I probably won’t pay that much. I prefer XP to Vista. I don’t want to build my own system (though I might resort to that if I have to). If I order off the web, I definitely want one that ships fast. Otherwise I want to buy off the shelf at Fry’ or some other local dealer.

Greater Roadrunner

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus
Desert Hot Springs, California, 2008-05-17

Warcraft Jokes

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

What’s the difference between an Undead Male and 150 pounds of cow plop?
One’s a disgusting, malodorous pile of disease-ridden filth and the other’s just manure.

Why did the Gnome cross the road?
A mage polymorphed him into a chicken.

Reverse Mystery Bugs

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

For a change this is about software bugs, not insects. :-) Ever have a reverse mystery bug? This is not one that’s hard to find or understand, but one that’s brutally easy to understand and fix. The mystery is how the code ever worked in the first place. I had one of those this morning.

The AppleScript I use to manage the quotes of the day on Cafe con Leche stopped working mysteriously. Running the script with the result log open made the problem obvious: it couldn’t find the file index.html in my cafeconleche directory. Well, that’s an easy fix. The file isn’t named index.html and hasn’t been for many moons. It’s named index.phtml (because it uses PHP to include some files). I changed the name of the file the script was trying to open to index.phtml, and all was well.

But here’s what I don’t understand: why didn’t this break yesterday? and the day before that? and the day before that? It was working just fine until this morning. was there a symlink from the old index.html name, and if so why did it vanish? Was my script updated previously, and somehow got replaced by an older version? And if so, how and why?

Green Heron

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Green Heron on rocks in harbor

Green Heron, Butorides virescens
Dana Point, 2008-05-10