Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mystery can

For years I have been begging vending machine operators to fill up one slot with random stuff and mark it "mystery", "random", or "guess". I in this morning's web browsing that somewhere someone finally did it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

1st easter egger comes online

First egg from the nameless, spazzy EE. We call her "brown chicken".

Her first egg is quite small and weighed 40.2 grams. This makes it a USDA Peewee (seriously, that's an official size). Perfectly fine for a first effort from a non-production bird.

Broke some eggs to make a cheesecake and thought you might want to see the coloration of the inner and outer shell. The brown eggs are white shell with medium brown pigment layer on the outside. The slate green eggs are pale blue with a light brown pigment layer on the outside.

The outer pigment, if any, is laid down near the end of the cycle. In some breeds with very dark (chocolate) coloration it can actually smear or wash off a bit. This is not necessarily evidence of nefarious chromatic tampering.


Whenever I pick up eggs from the nesting boxes I always thank the birds. Sounds silly but I think St. Francis was on to something.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Denouncement. Subset == headstomping libertarian

Hey there, pal.

Permit me to suggest you need to spend some time reviewing the non-aggression principle. It's fundamental to Libertarian philosophy. The good news is you may find yourself with some extra time to catch up on said reading in the very near future.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, planet Earth

You are apparently 6,014 yrs old today.

EE pullet doing "egg squat"

Birds are now at the 21 week mark.

Last week the smaller RIR started laying and she has produced an egg in the late morning for 8 straight days so far. Certainly more consistency than I expected.

This week the wilder of the EE pullets started doing the egg squat. This is a dropping-down movement maturing pullets do when approached by a rooster (or human).

It has three steps:
  1. get low, and (optionally) spread the wings a bit. Maybe 1".
  2. if touched more to the tail end than the head end, jack up the rear end (ie, present for mounting)
  3. afterwards, ruffle feathers using the same motion dogs use to shake off water. I assume this move is to get all feathers back into place after the rooster's interaction.
The most interesting thing is that not only is the full squat dance sequential, but so is the development of the dance. Our young pullets start with #1, then #1-2 a bit later, then #1-2-3 about a week before laying their first egg.

I tell you that to tell you this: went out this morning and our largest EE pullet did the whole 1-2-3 egg squat. She started 1 and 2 earlier this week. It's hilarious because she has been the most skittish of our birds: couldn't get near her since she's been about 3wks old. But now her hormones are cranking up and she's compelled to stop and accept physical interaction. I can just imagine her little pea-brain is saying "WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME! WANT TO RUN! CAN'T RUN! WHY AM I DOING THIS? ARGGHHH!"

It's ok, bird. Adolescence is difficult, no matter the species. I'd show you my yearbook photos but you'd probably just poop on it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

tech support hell

In my previous (pre-teaching) life I did technical support for about 15yrs. Long enough to see that sometimes situations can get hopelessly tangled and get worse from there.

Consider my experience today. Bought a refurb wifi extender to go in the back shed. This will provide better coverage in the back yard, but more importantly it will ensure a better signal for the video wificam that watches the back gate and alley.

  1. The unit works fine. Took some configuration gymnastics, but nothing that a tech dweeb couldn't fight through. It's working but in a suboptimal postion. The reason for this will become more clear in the next step.
  2. The device comes with two power adapters: one for mounting on the wall and one with a long cord for mounting elsewhere. Like in a windowsill away from the outlet, which is what I really want to do. Problem: the corded one will not power the device. Multimeter on the contacts shows no juice.
  3. I go online to get an RMA; it says for power adapter replacement they just ship; no crosship, no return. Problem: you can't get an RMA without a case number (ie, have to work with a tech first). Fine.
  4. I do an online chat, as I cannot always understand techies with heavy accents. Chat gets around that. Problem: chat support says my device is out of warranty. I looked down at the just-opened box and read the "90 day warranty" page on Linksys letterhead included in said box. No go. Call tech support. Fine.
  5. I call tech support and waited on hold. Got a pleasant tech. Gave her all information since they cannot see the info I put into the chat earlier (contact info, purchase info, model, serial, etc). Got 75% of the way through the call. Problem: I turned around to look at something on the unit, got tangled up in the headset wires and tore the mic wiring out of my headphones. I cursed. Totally my fault, which made me madder. Went to the geek store and got another set of headphones.
  6. Called tech support again, waited on hold again. Got a less pleasant but more savvy tech who figured out the problem immediately. Problem: tech says they can't ship just the power adapter, I have to return the whole thing. I protest, citing both the RMA page that specifically says they will ship the adapter seperately, and my reluctance to set up the danged expander again. Once was challenging; twice would be annoying. He says I can call customer service, but he will give me the case number I need for the online RMA. Fine.
  7. I plug in the case number into the RMA form and submit. Problem: it promptly craps the bed:

  8. Restart the browser and do it again. Problem: RMA stops in its tracks, displaying this popup about a backorder:

  9. The popup says "will ship" but does not give an RMA # and the page will no longer advance. I go to check on the RMA with the Status Checker to see if the RMA actually went through. Problem: you can't check status by any method other than RMA #, which was not shown on the page.

I'll watch for a while and see if it comes in the mail. If not I'll try to resubmit. If that doesn't work I'll see if I can buy a dead unit off eBay and take the power supply off that. Grrr.

My guess is that there are no seperate supplies, only the ones packaged with the extender. This would explain the 2nd reps inability to ship. I've seen that happen in the support world and it's not something the techs themselves can control.

Friday, October 15, 2010

First egg @ 20 weeks

First egg, found this afternoon after I got back from work.

This first effort is 2" x 1 5/8". It weighs 50.4 grams (1.78 oz), which makes it a "medium" egg according to the USDA. The math according to their formula works out like this:

Jumbo: 2.5 oz
Extra Large: 2.25 oz
Large: 2.0 oz
Medium: 1.75 oz
Small: 1.5 oz

My instinct is the RIR will start out with Medium and end up Large or slightly shy of Large. The EEs will likely start out Small and end up with Medium once they hit their stride.

I was feeling optimistic last week so I had already picked up this 25c egg-collecting basket from a thrift store in Plano. Baskets may look silly but experienced egg transporters know that eggs in hand, eggs in pocket, or eggs in pulled-up shirt will eventually result in tragedy.

It is common for egg production to be uneven in the beginning, so I'm not expecting much at this point.

Here are the suspects. It's got to be one of the Rhode Island Reds (pictured at rear) as they are the layers of brown eggs. The easter eggers (hogging the spotlight up front) will have blue and/or green eggs.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Even more MRI fun

Got a call from the VA asking me to come in again for more MRI action on the shoulder.

I am in the odd position of hoping this is due to image loss due to incompetence or carelessness, rather than some kind of alien life form or extra kidney hiding in the joint. I know the original MRI 'worked' because I visited with the tech afterwards. She reviews all the slices as they come out to make sure none need to be reshot.

I'm bringing earplugs this time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

chickens at 19wks

This is the microflock at 19weeks.

You will notice that when given the opportunity to free range they stood in or around a pot of [petunias? periwinkles?].

One of the RIRs and one of the EEs are starting to get reddening combs and wattles. Traditional wisdom suggests those two will be the first to lay. I'm betting on the RIR since they were bred for egg production and the EEs were not. Could be as late as the end of the year, but my reasonable guess is T-giving. An egg by Nov 1 would be a nice present from the girls to show their gratitude for all the grub and roof over their pretty, empty little dinosaur heads but I'm not holding my breath.

I've transitioned them from starter crumbles to Layena pellets (Purina chicken chow), which they really like. And there's much less waste from the pellets since when they drop/spill/fling a pellet they can find it and eat it.