Carolina Wren

Finally, after 2 months of searching for this beautiful song bird in our new home in Texas, we found it. We were expecting something a bit larger and gaudy, but it turns out that this humble looking wren is the noisiest bird in the neighborhood.

My wife and I spent a lot of time going through recordings, looking at birds while they were singing, and could never find it. We finally got a glimpse a few weeks ago, but could only tell that it was a smaller bird, which narrowed down our search field.

Well today, I caught one serenading his mate on the fence, and was able to get a few low quality images that gave me enough clues that I could track it down.

So this wonderful bird is the Carolina Wren, and is loud enough that it’s beautiful song penetrates deep into the house every morning to let you know the day has begun. And a step outside into his territory let’s you know that every other bird is alive and well too.

Problem solved, now let’s see what other new critters we can identify :)

Summer Tanager

I feel very blessed to have been serenaded by a Summer Tanager the other night while on a walk with my wife the other night.  It was high up in a tree, and couldn’t get a picture of it, nor a very good look at it, other than it was a bright red, and had a beautiful song. I’m 99% sure this was what we found.

Texas Hornet

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I’m not really sure of what kind of hornet or wasp this is, but he was comfortably resting on the beautiful smelling avocado saplings they were selling at the nursery.

Another Theme Update

wordpress addiction

As many of you know, I’m a self described WordPress addict.  I preach it, I live it, I love it! And with that comes the constant need for trying new plugins and themes, just to see what’s new and interesting.

And this week is no different. I’ve changed themes again.

This time, it’s to fit a whole new concept for this blog.  It will no longer focus on technology, but rather, is going to be an personal blog that I can post family pictures on.

It seems that family wants to see more pictures, and I really want better control of the layout, so I decided that this is the best place to do that.

I’ll still post a link to my Facebook profile, but I really like the idea of having more control, and the ability to “change it up” from time to time.

So I’m using the free theme from the WordPress.org repository called Ryu, and it was really close to what I was looking for… it’s not perfect, and I still have my out out for the update to the Manifest theme I was using previously, but he’s a bit behind on delivering… I really wish he’d drop the code in GitHub for others to clone & fork…

Anyhow, let me know your thoughts, and if it’s got any quirks or bugs I didn’t see.  I didn’t test the contact form or comments yet, so they could be broken, but I doubt it… feel free to check em out for me ;)

Welcome Home, Tex!

Welcome To Texas

I got the most wonderful email this morning that said, Welcome Home, Tex!  OK, so it didn’t really call me Tex, but I really did recieve a “welcome home” email.

It’s an email I’ve been anticipating for the last few days, and was an invitation to move to Texas.

Not many knew that I had traveled to Austin, TX just before Thanksgiving for a quick interview, but I took a quick trip with a connecting flight through Dallas.

It wasn’t my first interview, but it is my last.  I took the job.

It was a fun trip to Austin, but it was cold. It was expected to snow when I landed in Dallas.  I never saw any snow in Texas, but they said that flights were cancelling because Dallas isn’t equipped to handle large amounts of plane de-icing.

I figured it was just a warm welcome for a Coloradoan… just wish they understood that I was really more interested in the warmth they had to offer.  :)

The interview was interesting. It was a mixture of friendly and interrogatory at the same time. A lot of calculated questions and answers to vett each other to make sure I was a good fit for them and vice-versa.

The interview was split into two sessions. The first was with management, and was designed to make sure I had a good personality, and would be a good culture fit for the team. Ironically, this was the easy part of the interview, which is usually the really hard part for techies like myself.

The second part was the technical portion. There were four guys that had a series of tests and questions to make sure I would be able to handle things.  And oh boy did they grill me. I passed, but I sure was sweating bullets. They are a challenging group of individuals, and weren’t about to accept just anybody.  I had to prove myself.

So in the coming months and years, I will be writing here about my experiences with this new company, what I do for them, and what they do for businesses.

Oh, and the company that hired me?  Rackspace.

Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of them, I’ll fill you in over time on what they do :)  Just know that they are a great company, are growing by leaps and bounds, and will be taking great care of me.

So for all my Grand Junction friends, colleagues and clients, this is goodbye. I will miss you all dearly, and I’m thankful that the Internet exists, and all the apps and services like Facebook and email to keep us connected, even halfway across the country.

Be safe, and have fun.  I know I will.

PS – As I’m finishing up this article, it’s about to snow something fierce, and is likely the beginning of our cold inversion settling in.  I’ll write up a story about me traveling and snow storms in a future article, but just know that when I travel, the weather has always gotten really active.

 

My Favorite Book

Harper Collins Mathematics Dictionary

Yes, this is a math dictionary.  And yes, it’s my favorite book.

OK, this may sound a bit strange to some, quite normal to others, and hopefully intriguing to a few others

So it started out in college, while I was working on my computer science degree.  I had a few extra curricular credits to use up, so decided to minor in math as well.  It only makes sense because computer science is so math heavy anyhow, that a few extra classes are good on the resume, and a good dose of Alzheimer’s prevention.

What I didn’t know is that along the way, I’d have things thrown at me that were completely over my head, and so I did the most embarrassing thing in my life – I got a math dictionary.

And it turned out to be the best $19 investment ever.

My classmates were always borrowing my book because they had questions too, that were easily, and precisely answered.  I can honestly say that this book saved my GPA.

So I then moved on to Raytheon, where I was a software engineer programming satellites, and we were using math that was never taught in school!!  So yet again, my math dictionary came to the rescue.  And I’d have colleagues come from all over campus, just to borrow my book.

Sure they could have gone out and gotten there own, but geeks need some social time too, so it was a good excuse to drop by and say hi!

Now I use it as a reference for my high school son, to show him what the teacher is talking about, to reinforce points, and to double check definitions that he doesn’t have handy.

And as my other children grow up, they too will benefit from this handy little book.

I know, a math dictionary isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a handy resource, and a social talking piece as well.

What can I say, I’m unique – just like everyone else.