Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Filler- like all KINDS of things…

IMG_2570 Bird Whisperer and I had a great weekend down South. But I got home late, had work to do, no time to blog. So I won’t post about it till tomorrow.

But here’s the thing. Monday’s the highest traffic day on this blog, and I always feel bad not having a Monday post for regular readers. So today I’m going to post some pics from rides last week, and a couple of teaser photos from this weekend.

Tangent: How do I know Monday’s the highest traffic day? Because I have one of those little visit counter thingies set up.

Nested Tangent: So why is Monday the biggest day? Are people procrastinating getting to work? You’d think Monday would be the lightest day and Friday the heaviest, but it’s exactly the opposite.

Here’s my advice for any new blogger: don’t get a counter-thingie. Really, the only people who need them are people with hyper-popular ad-supported blogs that need them to calculate hits and readers and such. But for the rest of us, why bother? What does it matter if 3 or 300 people stop by today? When you have a counter, you end up checking it, and then you inevitably end up thinking things like:

I wonder why no one’s reading my blog today? I thought I had a good post and all…

If 300 people read my blog today, how come no one commented?

I’m having second thoughts about that post I put up. Maybe people will think I’m weird or something. I better go change it before… oh crap, 200 people have read it already…

Wow, look at that guy. He spent 8 hours straight on my blog. Maybe he’s stalking me…

Hey 300 people read my blog today. That’s great. Wait a minute… 99.4% were directed here via the Google search phrase “Selma Hayek photos”… What the…?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter how many people read this blog, because I already know who’s reading it- my mother, that’s who. That’s right, my Mom found out about my blog over the weekend (Hi Mom). Not that I was keeping it secret or anything, but I wasn’t going out of my way to mention it either. Because honestly, is anything that’s really enjoyable in life quite as much fun when you know your Mom is watching? Think about it.

Nested Tangent: Actually, I’m totally fine with Mom reading WTWWU; she’s very cool. Really, my only significant disclosure-remorse has been telling a co-worker about it way back when. Today about 1/2 dozen coworkers are regular readers, which- tragically- has forced me to pass up countless wonderful work-related tangents. Ah well, like I always say- my next blog will be anonymous. And fabulous.

Quality Monday Filler, Right Here

OK, but here’s some seriously great filler. Yesterday reader “Pierre” posted a comment to my Cougar* post from last summer, saying that he spotted one yesterday behind This Is The Place. That’s basically across the street from the zoo, about ½ mile from my house (and a place I frequently ride at dawn- yikes!)

*Yes, yes , I’ve heard all the “cougar” jokes, so you don’t need to comment about how you spotted one yesterday as well- at the mall. Har har. “Mountain Lion” is a mouthful, so I’m sticking with “cougar.”

IMG_2377 Next filler topic- foliage. Yes, everybody knows the leaves are turning, but I think it’s a law that if you have a bike-related blog you have to post pictures of your friends riding past pretty leaves. Here’s Coryalis (pic left, shot 1-handed, over shoulder while climbing. I am a crazy photo-stud.) and Vicente (below, right) riding up in Pinebrook last week.

IMG_2363 Note Vicente’s goofy helmet. I asked him about it, and he told me it’s his 8 yr-old son’s, which he’s wearing while his new helmet’s on order, having cracked his old one in a crash*. Now I know Vicente’s kid, and he’s really smart and all, but next time I see him I’m taking a closer look. I mean, really, how big is that kid’s head?

*Actually the crash that occurred a moment before I snapped the center photo in this collage.

IMG_2357 Anyway, if you want some “real science” about foliage, you can go back and read the 2-part post I did last Fall about why leaves change color. While I’m posting goofy foliage pics, here’s a goofy foliage video, also from last week. Something else about this video- it gives you a feel for why I’m always destroying electronic equipment- is it any wonder I dropped my last camera? Maybe I should invest in a helmet cam.

Speaking of electronic equipment, I lost my bike computer this morning before work, probably on one of the brushy unofficial side trails up around Dog Lake- if anyone finds it this week, you’ll get a fabulous prize*.

*I have no idea what. But I’m noodling about coming up with some sort of prize-type WTWWU-related item I can give away when a reader does something really great, like explain song lyrics or find and return stuff I lose.

Anyway, this loss, and my subsequent, fruitless, made-me-late-for-work search for it has required me to revise the previously posted Hierarchy of Findability of Things, below:

Revised Findability

While I’m posting videos, here’s another (slightly less goofy) one from last week, which I post so non-night-riders can get a feel for it.

And last on the filler schedule, teaser pics from the incredible weekend Bird Whisperer and I had down South, and which I plan to blog about this week:




And very, finally, finally lastly, one more pic from this weekend. Look closely. There’s a large carnivore in this photo. No, I’m not kidding. Another “fabulous prize” to the first commenter who spots it (what it is and what part of photo.)



Dyno said...

looks like there might be something brown and fuzzy between those two trunks forming a V in the upper left?
Did you see a brow bear?
Either that, or the shadow in the foreground is cast by a Tyranosaur overhead?

Dyno said...

Well, likely not a brown bear there (which is what I meant to type, not 'brow'), but a bear nonetheless?

Watcher said...

TheGuth- you got the location, but not the carnivore. It's not a bear. Blow it up and look closer... check out the ears...

The T-Rex shadow is either a big aspen or a 2000 Toyota 4Runner.

KanyonKris said...

Entertaining grab bag post today.

I enlarged the photo and squinted and the best I could do is imagine I saw a cougar face in the dark trees upper right. I guess that makes me large carnivores food.

I got a good laugh from the dry leaf stuck in the fork.

Looks like the Pink Cliffs along the Virgin River Rim trail.

Watcher said...

KKris- you are SO CLOSE- on both counts!

You are almost there on the carnivore... you have the family right, just look at the coat a bit more closely. And it's rump- yes it's partially obscured, but you can still tell what *isn't* there...

Great guess on the Pink Cliffs- but not quite there. Right aspect, wrong plateau.

29er said...

I read blogs on Monday because I love weekends and it's my way of imagining the weekend is still going on...

KanyonKris said...

Whoa! It's a bobcat in the location TheGuth described. It's broadside (perhaps walking away) with it's head to the right in front of an aspen. I can't tell, is s/he looking at you or away? Wow, way cool.

I starred at that photo for several minutes and saw nothing. I dismissed that brown patch as a branch of dead leaves or something. Then all of a sudden I recognized the shape. Our visual systems are freaky.

Watcher said...

KKris- you got it! (Although TheGuth got the location 1st). It was a bobcat and it actually walked/cantered across jeep trail we were climbing, maybe 40 feet ahead of the car. I yanked the emergency brake, jumped out and snapped 2 pics. In this one it's looking off to the right (direction of travel.) I have another where it's looking right at us, but harder to make out.

Let me tell you, this sighting completely made the trip for Bird Whisperer.

OK,now I just have to come up with a fabulous prize (for both of you)... working on it... working on it...

KanyonKris said...

I'll take a pair of Monarch binoculars so I can watch the moons of Jupiter and other such wonders of nature. ;-)

I've only seen a bobcat once, long ago. That's cool you and your son got to see one on your trip.

Eric Wright said...

I couldn't have been further off. I had it open in Photoshop at 600% trying to dicern whether the stump in the upper right was a Sasquatch or a Yeti

Rachel said...

"I wonder why no one’s reading my blog today? I thought I had a good post and all…"

You do realize that if no one reads the post, they won't know you had a good post, so this is pointless self-deprecation.

To make yourself feel better, you should think about the thousands that read your posts on a feed, like google reader, that don't get counted.

joe said...

speaking of helmet cams, I just ordered a ContourHD today from
It looks awesome - it's an all-in-one camera, super simple to use, with a multitude of mounts and mounting options, and the sample videos look stunning. I should get mine this week and be recording by this weekend!

John said...

I'm guessing Powell Point. Is that where you were over the weekend?

Watcher said...

John- you got it. The “we camped here” photo is Powell Point seen from the West at sunset. The “OK this might be…” photo was taken from Powell Point just after sunset the following evening. The first pic though, the “seriously how beautiful…” photo is not from Powell Point.

My post BTW is delayed till tomorrow. My choices this morning were: a) get up @5AM and blog, or b) get up @5AM and ride. Given the storm expected in tonight, I chose b.

Anyway, great job. Now I really have to get on that whole prize thing…

Watcher said...

Eric- What? Sasquatch is a carnivore? Oh great, that's all I need...

Rachel- I feel great just knowing you're reading it. :^)

Joe- thanks for the link. That's a surprisingly reasonably-priced unit. I'd be curious to get your impressions after you try it out.

Aaron said...

The other tragedy of co-workers reading your blog is that it makes blogging about rides you did when you were supposed to be working a little bit harder. Not that I ever do that.

KristenT said...

Eric W, I thought the same thing, sort of. My eye was drawn to the shadowy figure on the upper right, but without blowing it up I thought it looked like a gorilla or a chimp.

Which would have been weird, to say the least!

Then I saw the kitty in the upper left part of the picture, and was going to be cheeky and suggest TIGER, to go along with my ape theory. At least I knew it was a feline! :)

Why so many people read blogs on Monday: work avoidance. Weekend prolonging.

joe said...

hey Watcher -
I mentioned in a comment earlier that I got the ContourHD helmet cam a couple weeks ago. I’ve used it now and have a good demo-video of what you can expect. Check out this compilation of some dirtbiking I did a couple weeks ago outside of Boise. I took about 4 hours of footage (I got a 16GB MicroSD card, that can record up to 8 hours of HD, although the battery dies after about 3 hours, so you would need an extra batter) and whittled it down to 13 minutes, and exported in full-quality HD from iMovie. To see the full-quality, turn on HD and view in full screen. If you have a account, you can download the .mov file and watch it on your computer directly to see the quality (it’s over 900MB though…)

Overall, I am super happy. The form-factor is outstanding, and it’s really easy to clip onto goggles or a bike helmet. You can put it up there, flip the record switch and forget about it. The video quality is great, although it’s not as good, understandably, as a good fullsize HD camera. The camera does some compression directly before it’s stored on the Flash memory (otherwise even a 16GB card would fill up very quickly). When I took some demo videos walking around the house and imported them to my computer, I was a bit disappointed because there were visible compression artifacts and it was clearly not “real HD” – it has HD resolution (720p), but much higher compression than you’d get for an HD TV signal. However, once I got outside in good lighting and used it on my helmet, the compression artifacts were much less noticeable. I viewed the video above on my 50” HDTV, and it actually looked outstanding.

Other limitations – you need good lighting. It does automatic white-balance adjustments, but it just doesn’t pick up very good quality in low-light. But, like I said, when you’re outside in good sunlight, it works great. Also, it has a very wide-angle lens, which is good for getting a nice, wide picture, but it tends to “fishbowl” the edges of the picture. This annoyed me in my initial indoor-testing because the distortion was very noticeable, but again once I got outside, the distortion is much less noticeable and the extra viewing angle is appreciated.

It has a rotating lens (so you can mount the camera vertically or horizontally, or anywhere in between) and laser sights for leveling, which is nice, although the lasers are a bit hard to see in full sunlight. I realized, also, that you need to angle the camera up more than you suspect. At least when it was mounted on my dirtbike helmet, and I thought it was pointing straight forward, it ended up angled much further down than I thought, probably just because of how I hold my head.

Anyway, this is a must-buy if you want a helmet cam. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than HD, and this appears to be the easiest, a cheapest option. I got the ContourHD 720p, 30fps model. But it looks like they just recently came out with several more models, like a 720p 60fps for fast action (although the 30fps seemed like enough for my dirtbike video), and now a full 1080p model…. Those weren’t available when I ordered mine, or I might have gone with the 1080p.

Hope we get to see some videos soon!

Watcher said...

Joe- Many thanks for the follow-up review. I watched your vid and it seems that the unit is working out well for you. It’ll be on my Xmas list!