Yummy camera

This morning we received an alert from the security camera in our back yard. The footage was… interesting.

Yes, a bear cub actually ate our camera! He and his little buddy (who you can see briefly) were apparently bored on a Saturday morning and felt the need to grab it and carry it around the yard a bit.

We managed to find it later, and after wiping off the bear drool and putting the case back together, I was able to actually get the camera working again! Here’s what it looks like, cleaned up with the case back on. Notice the bear tooth mark on the front.

I have some issues with this brand of camera, but I guess I should cut them a little slack since their hardware survived a bear’s mouth…

Password reset FTW

I’m registering for an account on a web site, and something went wrong so I requested a password reset. This was the message displayed:

If that email address corresponds to an account, you will have been emailed instructions on how to achieve truth, enlightenment, and broader awareness of all that is just in the universe. Or, you’ve gotten a method of resetting your password. Gosh, what a disappointment if you only end up with the latter.

Clever! I love when web sites have fun with mundane things like password resets…

Lost but not found

A few days ago, someone lost a nice hat at the bottom of our driveway. It’s in great shape, and it’s unclear exactly how it got there. Did it blow off someone’s head as they drove down the highway in a convertible? Did someone drop it out their car window as they sped past at 60mph? Did a bear eat the owner and just leave the hat?

We brushed it off and set it on our mailbox, where it’s clearly visible to anyone driving past. We left it there for a few days, but no one’s taken it. So Pepper has decided to claim it for her own.

“It’s adjustable!” she said with glee just now. So she cinched it down for her noggin, and maybe she’ll wear it on our next hike.

Jewel Basin, mission accomplished

Last summer we went hiking with our friends up to Twin Lakes in the Jewel Basin area. Since it was early July, there was still a lot of snow up in the hills, and we didn’t make it to the lakes. Now that it’s late August, we figured the snow would be clear. Indeed it was, and we were able to get to the waterside.

I saw on a hiking web site that Jewel Basin has a total of 27 lakes within its 15,000-acre boundaries. The handful we’ve seen have all been gorgeous.

It was a beautiful day to hike. When we arrived at the trailhead, it was a nippy 43 degrees (in August!) but of course you always want to start your hike a little chilly and then shed layers as you warm up. I don’t think the temperature got above 55 the whole time we were out, but it felt great in the sunlight. The only downside of the cool air was that we had absolutely no inclination to jump in the ice-cold lake water.

Jewel Basin has so many trees and awesome views of the mountains and the valley.

Naturally I have to add a photo of my awesome wife, too!

Ollie at 0.42 years

When our grandson Ollie was born in March, it was a weird feeling to think that I’m a grandpa. We visited him in Utah a couple of times, but it was only for a few days. Well, we were thrilled to welcome him to our home these past couple of weeks. It was a blast to spend so much time with the little guy.

I forgot how much babies drool. Holy cow. His chin and hands and shirt collar were always damp, as were any shirts we were wearing while holding him.

Now that he’s five months old, he’s much more interactive. No longer is he like an inert potato who cries occasionally. He smiles and laughs, flops around on the floor, flaps his arms, and makes faces when he’s fed strange food like avocados mixed with bananas (yes, Kaitlyn really fed him that!). He tried some sushi:

Alex kept joking about feeding him a bit of wasabi, but Kaitlyn was having none of that. Ollie did seem to enjoy some ginger. He loves “riding high” on his dad’s shoulders:

He seemed confused at times, but I guess that’s normal for someone who’s just discovering the world.

All in all, he’s an awesome little guy. I’m excited to see how much more he’s grown when we see him again in a month or so.

Rooftop work

Now that I’ve confirmed our Starlink system will provide great internet service, it was time to move it from its place sitting in the courtyard up to the roof, where it would not only be out of the way, but would have a better view of the sky. I bought a mounting kit– really just a big metal frame that sits on the ridgeline of the roof– and Alex and I went to work. Our roof is crazy steep: it’s at 45 degrees everywhere, which is surprisingly difficult to climb on. I went to the local hardware store and picked up a couple of ladder hooks, which we attached to the top of our extension ladder. They hook on the far side of the ridgeline, basically turning the ladder into something you can use to scale the roof.

From this view, it doesn’t look all that dangerous, but the roof on the far side (behind Alex) not only slopes down at the usual 45 degrees, but then drops off to the front porch. It’s easily a three-story fall. Luckily Alex enjoyed being on the roof, and I was happy to hand up the parts and tools. With some concrete blocks to weigh it down, the ridgeline mount seems firmly in place and we were able to slide the dish into its new mount:

It took us about an hour, but all’s well that ends well, and now Starlink is happily watching the satellites whiz overhead.

Starlink FTW

For many years, I was spoiled by gigabit internet speed in Longmont. The city’s fiber network was inexpensive, screaming fast, and amazing all around. Then I moved to the sticks, and I was faced with only two internet options: CenturyLink with a 10Mbps download speed and a 768kbps upload speed (what is this, 1998?), or an $18,000 investment to have Spectrum run a coaxial cable from the highway at the bottom of my driveway up to the house. I’ve limped along with CenturyLink for almost two years now. To be honest, it’s not completely awful; I’ve been able to have video calls (albeit choppy) and do most everything I want on the internet, albeit much more slowly than I’m accustomed.

But today, I set up my shiny new Starlink antenna and connected to the satellites whizzing overhead. Suddenly I’m using the internet like a civilized man:

At one point I was seeing 140Mbps download speeds, but it’s well known that Starlink’s speeds vary quite a bit because the constellation isn’t finished yet. Technically the entire system is still in “beta”. But wow, it’s so much better than before!

Now I just have to figure out how to mount the dang thing on my roof, instead of having it sit in the middle of my courtyard…


There’s a wildfire burning just a few miles south of our house. It started yesterday morning, and has grown significantly since then. Here are some photos of the mountainside last night:

We’re much too close for comfort. The highway has been closed, at least 20 houses have been destroyed, and the area’s been evacuated. Although we haven’t been ordered to evacuate yet, the updates we’re seeing online indicate the area under evacuation orders is expanding. The dry conditions and wind aren’t helping, although we’re hoping the rain forecast for this evening rolls in.

It’s one thing to read about wildfires burning throughout the west. It’s quite another to have one literally down the street.