Day 12: Of Better Days

Weight: 217.0 lbs (kg)

So, after yesterday’s events, I ended up eating pizza and lava cakes. I gained pounds, but also gained some muscle as well. So, I’m not too worried about that. I’m more worried about the fat percentage, which has remained the same. 🙂

Today’s a two hour ride and I’m trying to get psyched up for it. As long as I’m left alone, I should be okay, but…

I still feel like I’m on edge after yesterday. Like moments away from snapping hard. Being out and taking photographs helped, so I’ll do that after breakfast.

Did some portraiture yesterday and I think some of it turned out well. Some pseudo-posed shots and some candid shots. Will have company over later. Just have to get the courage up to ask them if it is okay if I practice on them. It’ll be two adults and a child, I think. Excellent chance for action shots.

Some of the photos I took yesterday have been my best so far, I think… I’ll just do massive mosaic for y’all since I’ve no real story to tell with these. Some of these are just silly shots for practice that just ended up being pleasing in the end, other are artistic, and yet others are the typical nature photographs. 😀 Anywho, enjoy.

… click, click bloody click…

I’m on the ragged edge. I swear to bob…

No cycling today. Really, really going to try hard to make this photography work. -.- I need to get out of here. Out, out, out! >.< O. U. T. Out.

-sighs-

I’m okay, I’m alright. I’m A-Okay.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

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Day 10: Backyard Friends

Weight: 215.2 lbs (97.6 kg)
Ride Time: 1h — 9h15m
Distance: 15.0 mi (24.1 km) — 137.3 mi (~221km)
Food Diary: (Absent)

Getting back on schedule today. 😀 No eggs for breakfast, so I’m just adding another hamsteak. Should have enough time to cycle before we have to head out around 12ish… I hope. Just gotta stay on top of timers.

Now, I promised pictures of some backyard birds… I suppose I’ll start with the Mourning Doves.

Mourning Dove Study

I called this one Mourning Dove Study since we get to see the 3 primary identifying sides of the bird. These suckers used to not come by all that often, but now the finches have them as pets. Yes, I kid not. The little finches purposefully scatter food from the feeder onto the ground by flicking their heads back and forth. It’s an interesting dynamic to watch because the doves won’t bother the finches but will sometimes bully other birds (not often, but sometimes).

Finches are the most common visitor we’ve got. No questions asked about that. It’s probably due to the feed we use (a four season blend with lots of small things). But that’s okay. Small birds are just too adorable…

The thing about finches is often they’re playful. Yes. They’re even hyperactive. But… they’re also competitive. Squabbles over the feeder aren’t all that uncommon. Not a day-to-day occurrence, but, they do happen. As a family group, they have the capacity to bully other more aggressive and territorial birds like Jays and Cardinals. Though I’ve never actually seen the former happen, the latter I saw yesterday.

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This poor guy was being bullied by the family group. It’s a juvenile cardinal, a rather sickly pathetic looking one. But that appearance is about the norm. Lucky for him, his fellow cardinals wouldn’t have anything of the bullying and after a bit, 3 or 4 more flew in — with a juvenile of their own — and kept watch over the two juveniles as they ate! 😀

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This one was kind enough to give me the idealic Cardinal pose.

As a side note, if you see a lot of beaks open, it isn’t because they’re calling, but panting and trying to cool off. I’ve noticed that a lot of the best pictures I’ve been getting is contrary to normal convention — which says that dawn and dusk are the best times. All of these pictures were within 12P-6P. But, I suppose, conventions aren’t steadfast rules.

Cooper's Death Glare

Cooper isn’t amused with steadfastness though… predictability he enjoys. Since, after all, he can always rely on a cool bath. He does have a funny side though. It isn’t always about pecking out eyeballs and clawing backs.

“You want me to touch what? Uh, no. No, no, no. No. Ew. I just cleaned my claws, thank you.”

Maybe he wishes he were a flamingo. Or a stork. Or some other long legged water bird. Teasingly, I titled that photo “Cooper’s EW! Gay Moment” — and those who follow me regularly know that’s a joke since, well, I’m with a man… which kinda, you know, makes me gay too, I suppose, if you want to use those kinds of groupings.

This is the bird that keeps leaving little presents in the form of feathers. 😀 I saw him fly off yesterday out of tree next to the bird bath, so he does hang out here. Now that I’ve seen that, I’m going to try to capture him sitting in it.

The ride was definitely brutal, but finished it.

Also found a pair of books that should be interesting. 😀

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

 

Day 8: A Meeting with Destiny

Weight: 214.2 lbs (kg)
Ride Time: 1h — 8h15m total
Distance: 15.8 mi (~25.4 km) — 122.3 mi (~196.8 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 6, Entry 7 (EEP! Sorry guys! Didn’t link 6!)

Today was the day that I was scheduled to have a meeting with destiny. She said it would be no later than 10:30A, but she gave no other time. She likes to keep things open and flexible, y’all know how she is… Well… She arrived at 9:44A.

It took me a while to figure out what camera body and pair of lenses I wanted/needed. After some research on birding, I decided on the above.

Already have my first portrait job. It’s for a start-up non-profit. One of our neighbors is a highly motivated individual and has started it under her own power while 1) maintaining a family, 2) pursuing her M.S. and 3) holding down a job. She wants portraits of the board members and then a group shot. Should be interesting. I’ll need to get business cards made… Also offered other photographic services since her non-profit is perfectly placed for photojournalism.

Goodness… business cards. Business cards. This really is heading somewhere, isn’t it… *chuckles*

The package arrived while I was cycling so needless to say, be desire to finish cycling dwindled very quickly. But, in the end, it was completed. The saved data shows pretty clearly though that I didn’t want to though!

Waiting for the battery to charge. Not used to this size of DSLR — not to mention the weight. I’ve always fancied cross-body straps for camera since it’s out of the way yet easily accessible. I’ll need to get one.

I’ll tell the story and the idea at a later time.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 6: Fight the Lazies!

Weight: 214.8 lbs (97.4 kg)
Ride Time: 1h30m — 7h15m total
Distance: 22.6 mi (~36.4 km) — 106.5 mi (~171.4 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 5

Well, well… the hawk ended up leaving two more feathers after yesterday’s visit. One is very long, but rough. The ‘zippering’ is gone in a few sections. Still beautiful though.

My partner’s off today. I hate cycling on his days off. Fridays, I don’t mind because that’s always a short ride. But Sundays? These are the second longest rides of the week. Granted, only cruising, so nothing really difficult, but just a lot of time missed. When he starts working his new job, I might see if he can get Monday/Friday off. That’ll interconnect nicely. 🙂 (We don’t do the whole weekend thing.)

Not too surprisingly, I’m tired today. I’m sure I slept at least 8 hours. Heck, even slept in, really. Hoping breakfast will fill the energy stores. Yawning.

Okay. Refreshing combo? Lady Grey + Earl Grey. (Twinnings for both.) Brew in one cup boiled water for 4 minutes. (Use a 2 cup measuring beaker.) Add 2 Stevia then fill with ice to the 2 cup line. Stir until ice stops melting. Pour out tea (leaving ice behind) into a separate glass. Epicness.

Me thinks I’ll start a bird diary. The little cute finches are back. They’ve been MIA for the last 2-3 days. Wondering if there is a cycle. Avians are creatures of habit.

We’ll see if the flocks return. So far, I’ve seen maybe 4-5. Three at once on the lower feeder. Normally, the flocks are in 10-15.

Doves are fairly consistent. They seem to respect that the feeders are for the finches so they just ground feed off of whatever has been knocked onto the ground. They’re sneaky little buggers though. One feeder, they problem solved. They figured out that they could knock the feed out. One would sit on the hook above the rest on the ground. Every once in a while, that one would attempt to land on top of the feeder. The result was shaking it and sending feed everywhere. Was fun to see their strategy develop. This new(er) feeder isn’t nearly as easy since there is a more solid lip holding the feed in. The second feeder is a dedicated finch one with 6 perches for the little guys. Haven’t seen all 6 being used at once, but 4 or 5.

There’s a cute squirrel who is frequenting our yard now too.

I think I might splurge and just get that lens. Telling you guys all this and not being able to show you is torturous. xD

Now that’s over… Went pretty well. Again, started to get tough toward the end. I definitely lost some mph in the last 15-20 minutes or so.

Watched Disney’s original Fantasia while cycling since it’s over 2 hours long. Forgot how good it is. 😀 Being classically trained, I found myself humming along to the music even when, at times, I couldn’t hear it or conducting with one of my paws. xD

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 5: The Tell-Tale Signs

Weight: 215 lbs (kg)
Ride Time: 2h — 5h45m total
Distance: 31.2 mi (50.2 km) — 83.9 mi (~135km)
Food Diary: Entry 4

You can always tell when I’m feeling good because I don’t speed. I hover within a +/- 5mph range around the speed limit — only going in to the +5 range when I’m being passed like I’m not even moving. Today was a good example. I feel so relaxed and content.

Birds finally came to the feeders again. We had a small party the other day. Between that and the oppressive heat, they’ve been hiding in the shade. My partner finally got to see the hawk that has been frequenting the birdbath under the trees. It flew away though.

The cool thing is that it has been leaving feathers. Some downy under feathers, but some longer ones too.

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The biggest one I found this morning when going to check on the bath’s water level. The markings on these are just too beautiful and striking. Jokingly, I told my partner that I was waiting for a larger feather (after finding the middle one) to put in my hat. Well, apparently the hawk heard me and was like, “Thanks for the water. Here ya go.” xD

I haven’t positively IDed it yet, but my theory is that it is a Cooper’s Hawk. It ain’t small by any means. When bathing, it fills the bath. So, it’s beak to tail tip has to be close 18″. It’s big enough to see it’s haunches and feet from a distance. It’s not often I say this, but I feel graced every time it uses the bath. Never in a million years would I have expected to have such an amazing creature frequenting our backyard.

Everybody must be happy today. Just spotted a bright green (yay!) lizard doing push-ups and flaring its throat. Lately, they’ve been darker in color… Oh my god! It’s the one that had the messed up head injury! Wow! It’s doing really, really well! 😀

Well… near the end of the ride, it became quite brutal. But, I made it. And that’s all that counts. The ending mileage, I’m pleased with. Sitting above 15 mph for an average, but not my much. Hoping in 3 weeks time that it’ll start going up again. My butt isn’t hurting as much either, so my saddle butt is coming back. 😀 That’s always good.

I know I should be spending money on exercise stuff, but I really, really want a piece of glass for my camera.

Okay, so the hawk came back and I took down notes. It’s positively a Cooper’s Hawk. Definitely on the larger side of their size range. Very healthy. 😀 Also witnessed something truly awesome. I imagine it’s due to the heat…

The hawk always visits the birdbath to, well, get a good bath. It’ll stay there for a solid 30-45 minutes or more, just relaxing, preening, drinking, and bathing. I was watching it when suddenly this brown lump moved in and out of the visual range. I tracked it and it was a familiar squirrel! The hawk basically just shrugged it’s shoulders and kept relaxing at his (or her) personal spa. The squirrel went about its way, looking for food and drinking water and just being a squirrel.

I went about eating my lunch and chatting with my partner, as he had just gotten home from work, when something told me to look at the hawk again. Just as I did, the squirrel leaped from one tree to another, right above the hawk — no more than maybe 4-5 feet above it! The hawk completely ignored it.

Simply crazy witnessing it.

I’m going to be “bad” and probably get that glass I want… Shouldn’t be too difficult to pay off. Not all that expensive when comparing it to others with the same mount. It should be worth it. The f-stop isn’t all that bad. Could be better, but to get a better one would double or even triple the cost. Just means I need good light. *shrugs*

Anyway.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 4: Epic Life Changer

Weight: 214.0 lbs (97.1 kg)
Ride Time: 30m — 3h45m total
Distance: 5.9 mi (9.5 km) — 52.7 mi (84.8 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 3

Yes, indeedy-do, we did have something to celebrate. My partner just got a massive promotion. Like, huge. Big. Gargantuan.

He’s now a full blown manager. 😀 Sounds simple, but someone finally recognized him for his talent and abilities. Someone finally gave him a chance to escape the hell-hole of a company he’s been with for the last 15 years or so. We both were beginning to feel like he was “untouchable” due to the company’s name. But someone came around to his kiosk. For four days the guy kept coming back because each time he’d miss my partner. Until the fifth where my partner got his card and the man said, “I’d like to steal you.”

Want to talk about a compliment? In the business world, that’s only dreamt about, folks. Stuff that’s written about in fanciful happily ever after stories. For it to actually happen?

He was shaking when he was writing his two-week notice. I’ve still got to read it over and give suggestions n’ what-not. We’re both unbelievably shocked, privileged, and… in disbelief? It really hasn’t sunk in.

(Sorry, can you tell I’m proud of him? xD)

I got my new set of binoculars yesterday and I was having a total fan-girl “squeal” moment last night. I wasn’t expecting it, but their quality is good enough and their resolving ability strong enough that you can stargaze quite effectively with them. I was pin-pointing binary stars and star clusters that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye. 😀 This morning, I played with them a bit during the daylight and got some awesome views of an absolutely adorable squirrel drinking from one of the water dishes. Found out also that my camera cooperates with it well enough that I’ll be getting a tripod mount for the binoculars and an adaptor for my phone. 🙂 Expect pictures when that happens!

Vanguard's Spirit ED 8x42 Binocular

Vanguard’s Spirit ED 8×42 Binocular

This ride was one of those ridiculously easy ones. It feels like it takes longer to get dressed and set up than the time you’re on the bike! I’ve begun to term these rides “Form Rides” because they’re so easy going that you immediately notice your form failing so you’re always conscious of it. Obviously, went well. After a good shower, we’ll probably head out to do some things. 🙂

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 3: In the Right Direction

Weight:215.2 lbs (97.6kg)
Ride Time: 1h — 3h15m total
Distance: 14.9 mi (~24km) — 46.8 mi (~75.3 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 2

Didn’t go shopping yesterday for goodies. But I ended up getting a package yesterday: a new fountain pen. 😀 This one is unbelievably unique in my opinion. Really fun. Very nice in the paw and very pleasing to the eye.

The maker is Marlen, out of Italy. The pen itself is part of their Vitis line in the Rose color. (On the cap it says “Special Collection” but not entirely sure how special it may be…) I hadn’t heard of them, but with the pens construction, I’m impressed. It’s outfitted with a 18k gold nib, which is always nice. After owning my first gold nib, I haven’t looked back — steel nibs just feel too scratchy and stiff, they’ve no life or variation.

What makes this pen interesting is that it is inspired by the early 1900s matchstick fillers. With this kind of a filler, a lever isn’t used or a plunger or a twist mechanism or any other fancy thing, but instead a small, well, matchstick (or the like) is inserted into a hole on the side of the barrel. Within the barrel is a rubber sac which has a flexible metal plate upon one side. When the stick is pressed down upon the plate, the plate depresses the sac, expelling whatever is in it, and when released, takes in whatever is there (air, ink, water, etc). The theory behind the matchstick filler is that it is not only simple and effective, but safe — read: no accidental leaks or jets of ink!

In other news, my binoculars should be coming today. 😀 Can’t wait for those… There are tons of birds in our backyard. Never really noticed how much I enjoyed bird watching until very recently.

The ride wasn’t nearly as rough as yesterday. Yesterday it was psychologically draining due to monotony: solid “cruising” speed for over an hour. This time there was variance with “cruising,” “steady,” and “max” efforts. Made it more tolerable. Tiring, but more tolerable.

About to cook up some chicken tenderloins and have chicken wraps. Should be able to have lunch with my partner when it gets home. There is a chance we may be celebrating something too. 😀

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae