Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: May 2009
I’ll get this in before the series counts, so people don’t think I’m doing anything funny…
Picked both conference finals, which puts me over .500 (6-4) for the playoffs, and guarantees I’m over .500. that and $5 will keep you happy at Starbucks for a bit…
Now, I’ve been pushing the western conference as the dominant conference all year, since before the season started. I still think so. And that’s why I’m picking the Penguins to win the cup in six.
Make sense? No, not really. But…
I think Fleury is playing very well right now.
Detroit’s got some injuries, adn they seem weak on depth on defense. Look at how they’re playing Chelios (very sparingly) — not sure if it’s dinged up or at the end of the road, but this is a relative weaknesss.
I think the Hossa factor, while blown way out of proportion by the media (as usual), benefits Pittsburgh. Except Hossa to try to elevate his game to prove his going to the Wings was correct. But if ten of the Penguins all elevate their game a bit for the opportunity to say “nyah!” in the handshake line, that can be a benefit for penguins. On balance, this benefits Pittsburgh.
It should be a close, fun, interesting to watch series. And then it’ll be the offseason, and everyone will start complaining about no hockey….
It’s a bully pulpit his fellow sports commissioners wish they had. Every Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hosts his own private klatch on The NHL Hour on Sirius XM Radio. For the most part, Bettman has played harmless interlocutor on his program, hockey’s version of Art Linkletter asking, “Don’t players say the darnedest things?”
But with Jim Balsillie at the door, Bettman has used the unfettered radio access to talk over the heads of conventional media to fans. Bettman plays the reasonable fixer, the man who only wants solutions, not conflict in Phoenix.
Horrors! That evil nasty Gary Bettman is taking his message to the fans, rather than doing what he should do, which is allow the media people like Bruce Dowbiggin take the message and reshape and filter it so that it promotes the opinion wants us to hear. The scum, that Bettman.
He had me at “bully pulpit”, folks. Dowbiggin’s primary gripe here seems to be that Bettman’s bully pulpit is making it harder for people like Dowbiggin to use theirs.
Oh, and hint to other sports commissioners: any of you can do what Bettman did. Point it, Bettman did it. And, of course, the people who don’t want the fans to hear Bettman’s message directly and want to be able to spin it and alter it before you hear it hate this idea… Evidently in the mind of some, the only people allowed to talk directly to the fans are people like, well, Dowbiggin. Who, I guess is trying to convince us he would never, well, spin an opinion at his fans. He’s purely objective. Just like in this article.
(phhhttt. yeah, right).
(hat tip: Kukla)
well, after going 3-1 in the first round, I went 1-3 in the second, so I’m 4-4 for the playoffs. Not impressive, I only caught Pittsburgh. Even if I include in m real picks for the first round east that I never posted, I’d only be 7-5, not a good year for my picking.
The hockey, however, has been awesome.
For the conference finals?
In the west, I’m doing with detroit in 6. Chicago is up and coming, but I’m just not convinced it’s their year. Great run, but Detroit just keeps impressing me.
In the east — pittsburgh, also in 6. Too much firepower for the Canes to overcome.
Mostly, though, I’m going to sit back and enjoy watching it…
I went up to visit the bald eagle nest yesterday to see how things were going. I spent about an hour on site, from 1PM to 2PM.
For the first visit since they started nesting, both parents were absent. I saw no sign of them while I was there. One chick was visible, and spent the first 20 minutes or so up and sitting easily visible (mostly, it insisted on keeping its head behind a tower support), moving around a bit, stretching and preening. it seems to be feathered. I didn’t get a view of whether the flight feathers are coming in, but the body is dark brown and the wind was showing feathers fluttering, not down. I’d estimate the size about 1/2 the size of dad.
After that, it hunkered down and took a nap, basically invisible. I hung around to see if one of the parents would show up, but of course, they didn’t.
I saw no sign of a second chick. I think we should presume there’s a single live chick now unless someone finds evidence otherwise. the one chick seems to be growing nicely compared to my visit 2 weeks ago, and is active and seems healthy. (this is generally typical for bald eagles, 2 chicks to maturity is somewhat rare, three is almost unheard of, from my research)
While out there watching — nothing — I did some exploring and found an acorn woodpecker grainery in one of the mature oaks. Later on, I had an acorn woodpecker fly in that was half brown (the back half), which I’m presuming is a young bird. I also was visited by a gorgeous male western tanager, as well as the usual suspects. Overall, it was fairly quiet.
Being rather boring up there today, I decided to try to start up a conversation with the tanager, so I hauled out my birdjam. it ignored me. After that, I experimented a bit. A western screech owl call seemed to annoy a distance red-tail, who screamed back for a bit. Trying eastern screech owl merely got me a visit from four very curious magpies who sat and watched me the rest of the visit. I’m not sure I recommend that…
Other than that, pretty quiet today.
Yesterday, I visited the hairy woodpecker nest at Cooley. I didn’t see the female, the male was busy bringing food, but never entered the nest and I never saw the chick(s). AT&T was working on something on the road and using the entrance area as a staging for trucks, so it was busy and noisy, so I didn’t stay overly long. I did have a couple of singing black-headed grosbeaks in the trees but otherwise, nothing notable.
The only mid-week birding I did this week was a quick run out to Alviso hoping to get lucky with the YHBB; no lucl, Driving past the magic fence one direction showed me one burrowing owl, but no blackbirds. The small black birds on the fence were all starlings. The return trip showed a burrowing owl but not the same bird that I saw on the way in, but no starlings. or any other black birds.
Chuq, your note is great! Could you give me more info about calaveras road so I can look it up on my map and possibly could plan a trip there for birdwatching.
I had a couple of questions like this, so I’ll post the answere on list as well.
The Calaveras Reservoir nest is easy to find. Take 880 or 680 to Calaveras Road in Milpitas, and head east into the hills towards Ed Levin park. Keep going out past Ed Levin. As you head into the hills, Calaveras road will go left and head north. If you continue straight, you’ll find yourself on Felter. Take Calaveras. It continues to wind along the side of the hill for a few miles. You’ll start flanking the reservoir. the eagle’s nest is in one of the power towers in the water, so if you look, it’ll be hard to miss.
Parking is limited. The safest spot to park and watch: you’llÂ along the side of the hill, go through a stand of mature oaks, and then go downhill a bit. You’ll see the nest and tower on your right, and a pasture gate. Beyond the pasture gate is a turnout on the hill side of the road good for about three cars; from there, you can walk back up to the pasture gate where there’s plenty of room to view. If you keep going back up the hill there are other (better) vantage points, but less shoulder room to stand on. There are a couple of small pull outs that can hold a total of 3-4 cars up that way for the more enthusiastic birders. I’ve been watching from the higher lookouts the last few trips; definitely better viewing but not as safe.
You really need a scope. Binoculars help, but this nest is far enough away that to get good viewing requires some magnification. For photographers, 400mm is barely adequate, 600mm would be better, and best light is after 3PM. Be aware that a lot of the viewing is obscured, don’t expect an easy NatGeo cover from this location…
Another nice aspect of this site is that the nest is both easily visible and very isolated. You could throw a rock concert there and not annoy the birds, so there’s not a lot of need for discretion on guiding people there, and from what I’ve seen up there, it’s a great way to generate interest in birding. I’ve rarely been up there where we haven’t had impromptu educational sessions, so I’ve tried to bone up on eagles so I don’t sound quite so stupid.
By my guess, we probably have another month before the chick leaves the nest. That should happen sometime in June, if I’ve counted from hatching properly. Which of course could be completely wrong.
Begin forwarded message:
Date: May 10, 2009 3:30:32 PM PDT (CA)
Subject: eBird Report – calaveras road , 5/10/09
Location:Â Â Â Â calaveras road
Observation date:Â Â Â Â 5/10/09
Number of species:Â Â Â Â 16
Turkey VultureÂ Â Â Â 11
Bald EagleÂ Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â 1 chick in nest seen. Neither parent seen during hour watching, first time since the eggs laid there wasn’t a parent on the nest.
Red-tailed HawkÂ Â Â Â 1
gull sp.Â Â Â Â 200
Acorn WoodpeckerÂ Â Â Â 2
Black PhoebeÂ Â Â Â 1
Steller’s JayÂ Â Â Â 2
Yellow-billed MagpieÂ Â Â Â X
American CrowÂ Â Â Â X
Tree SwallowÂ Â Â Â 2
Oak TitmouseÂ Â Â Â 1
Northern MockingbirdÂ Â Â Â 2
European StarlingÂ Â Â Â X
Western TanagerÂ Â Â Â 1
Western MeadowlarkÂ Â Â Â 1
blackbird sp.Â Â Â Â X
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
I hit a milestone today that I’m rather happy with — finally. My weight today was under 370; 368.5 in fact.
That’s still a lot, way too freaking much, but to put it in perspective, my weight was stable between 375 and 379 from early 2005 until late 2007, I wasn’t getting it off, but I’d finally stopped the gains. Then as 2008 started, dad got sick, went into the hospital, and then in June he died and we had the burial and wake, and then there was the lawyer stuff and helping mom get back on her feet and get the estate settled, and all of the stress and crap that goes with that.
I’ve literally lost count of how many trips to SoCal I took in 2008, but it included about 27 days in hotels, 12,000 miles on the Subaru just going up and down I-5 and highway 101.
To make life even more fun, in November while out birding and trying to get some walking in, I stepped in a gopher hole and twisted my knee, badly. I rehabbed it, but it didn’t get better, so I finally went to an Orthoped, who told me something I already knew (torn meniscus) and something I didn’t: arthritis. What I was hoping was an easy scope job moved quickly into “inoperable, we are trying to delay knee replacement as long as possible”. This was made even more fun when, because I was compensating for the knee, my achilles tendon froze and I ended up with a nasty case of tendonitis, which my doctor told me would probably take a year to fully rehab (so far, he’s been right on; sigh). So for most of the time dealing with mom and dad, I was doing it one-legged. it’s the right leg, so you can imagine the fun of 6 hours in the car with your foot on the pedal (thank god for cruise control).
So a good chunk of 2008 involved running around LA during the day, running around the laptop at night (I did in fact have a job, after all, and they were very supportive and cooperative, but stuff had to get done) with the knee AND ankle in ice wraps trying to get the cramping and swelling down so I could spend the next day running around dealing with mom and dad and all that other fun stuff — because it all had to be done, and nobody else was going to do it.
Did I mention I’m a stress eater? And that life in 2008 was a bit stressful? So I ballooned; the highest weight I documented was 394 in September, about the time we finished up with the lawyers and estate. I think my final high weight was higher, but all weighing myself did was piss me off and add to the stress, so I stopped.
2008 couldn’t disappear fast enough for me, as you might imagine. Not a demo reel year. I did finally decide I was sick and tired of being what I was; and having added another 20 pounds just reinforced to me I had to stop making my weight a “one of these days” priority. The only way to solve the weight was to solve the stress equation and retrain my habits. I got a big boost moving to Palm here — not that it’s a stress free environment, but the reduced commute makes life a lot more tolerable, and the stress here isn’t so nasty to me because I enjoy my work and co-workers so much.
Mostly, though, my stress reduction program involved finding the stress I was piling on myself — artificial deadlines and things that really didn’t need to worry about, whether it was blogging, setting up my photography business, redesigning the blog, etc, etc. Lots ofÂ “deadlines” that only meant something to me, and — in reality — nobody would die if I ignored them.
It’s very easy — trust me — to get into the mindset of “I really need to get this weight off — and I will, as soon as I finish painting the bathroom!” I finally stopped kidding myself that (a) someone else would magically make the stress go away, that it was up to me to figure out how to make it go away, or manage it. So I did, and put as much on hold as I could — I still am, actually — and stopped spending the evenings multitasking doing things like watching TV while working on stuff, and I stopped worrying about setting up the photo blogging or the image store, and in fact I started turning off the computer and instead I just watched TV (instead of sort of watching while doing something useful), or I read, or I started using the Xbox more.
Over time, my attitude started improving and I started moving past the negatives that piled up in 2008; Over time, I started relaxing and thinking more positively about things — and the weight started coming off. I was able to focus on stopping the stress-driven snacking, and I started seeing the weight drop. It took me from September until late April to get ten pounds off, and then it finally clicked, and I’ve dropped another ten in the last three weeks.
That weight loss meant 3 inches off the waist so far. If you want to try to imagine what it’s like being this heavy, go find a bowling ball and strap it against your belly button. Then reach down and put on your shoes. Or reach forward and grab something off the table.
Still plenty of work to do. I have up to ten more of those bowling balls to do away with. It’s one of those things where you don’t look too hard at the long-term goal, because it can be so intimidating — but the next ten pounds? If I can lose another 20 pounds, I’ll weigh less than at any time in this century. That’s a good next goal. Ultimately, I need to get somewhere south of 300, and then we can figure out what a goal weight might be.
This isn’t about dieting; it’s about habits and triggers and responses. My response to stress was to chew. My focus the last few months has been to rewire that response. There’s lots of good research that it takes weeks to rewire a habit to the point where you can override the habit, and it takes a good six months until the habit is actually changed. That CLICK happened about three weeks ago, and since then, the weight’s been dropping — over ten pounds in the last month.
It doesn’t mean the urge to grab a snack is gone; instead, it’s merely something I can recognize and dismiss. The habit is changed, and now it’s about reinforcing that change and making the new habits feel more natural. The period where I have to consciously push myself to behave is gone, now, it feels natural, which means I can start adding things into life again and start looking at moving some of the projects forward.
I think you’ll start seeing more blogging again, and I’ll start working on moving the blog and photo projects again, and we’ll see how it goes.
Of course, I just got a copy of Fable II for the Xbox….
Here’s a quick thought for people to chew on and discuss.
Right now, the Ducks/Detroit series has (at least to me) some interesting similarities to the Sharks/Ducks series; Detroit outshooting Anaheim but behind in the series, and Babcock saying things that sound a lot like what McClellan said.
If — and I’m not saying this will happen — the Wings go on to lose in a way that looks similar to the way the Sharks lost, does that reduce the “these guys are losers” feeling I hear among some parts of sharks fandom? If they take out the Wings as well, doesn’t that make this more about what the Ducks CAN do and not what the Sharks didn’t?
A meme that’sand other places…
I have to toss in that I think Nabby needs to go too — it’s not that he’s the “problem” per say, but I just don’t see him ever playing consistant enough for a 2 month stretch to win a cup.
I said upfront that Nabby wasn’t the problem. I still think Nabby isn’t the problem. It’s easy to say “he has to go” — it’s not so easy to improve the team. So, we do away with Nabokov, how do we replace him with a goalie that makes the team better? As opposed to just being a different team… In the system? Greiss isn’t the answer. Nobody in the system is ready — not remotely, as far as I can tell — to step into the NHL and be a potential Vezina candidate? Nabby didn’t make the finals, but to be honest, he wasn’t far from it.
Take a step back for a second and look at the first round:
- Anaheim 2-0
- Anaheim 3-2
- San Jose 4-3
- Anaheim 4-0
- San Jose 3-2
- Anaheim 4-1
two shut-outs, 1 one-goal game, two two-goal games. In reality, what Nabby did DIDN’T MATTER. no goalie can win a game where your offense scores zero. The Sharks only scored 1.5 goals a game. Even if Nabby had a 2.00 GAA, they’d have lost that series. The number of goalies in the playoffs right now that would have a chance of winning a series when the offense is only scoring 1.5 goals a game is — two: Thomas and Varlamov. Put Hiller (1.83) or Luongo (2.06) backstopping the Sharks in the first round, and this team goes down.
So let’s forget about “fixing” this team by swapping out goalies. Nabby wasn’t the problem.