Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bricks and toylet paper -- the yard next door! :)

OUCH! I think anyone who owns a car dreads this. I first want to start of by saying -- I DID NOT DO THIS -- and I do NOT know who did. I don't even know who owns the car. I asked the many small kids in the area who were walking around if they knew what happened but they were very tight lipped about it. I spotted this relatively new car totally TP'ed from my apartment yesterday. You don't see this everyday so I had to go take some shots before the cops showed up or it got cleaned up. I was loosing daylight quickly so I had to go back to my apartment to get batteries for my flash.

For kids of all ages out there--DON'T TRY THIS--you might end up in jail because this is vandalism. Joke or not it could be very dangerous.

Less then 15min later I came back with fresh batteries in my flash and noticed that there was even more toilet paper on the car! Someone had not only come along and done this while it was still light outside, they did it while I was walking back to get batteries! I could have caught them in the act on video had I known! As for the post-it notes, I looked carefully without touching the car. No message was written on the post-it notes. And incredibly, the cops never showed up as far as I know. The car was cleaned up by a couple hours later.

It was not just TP! Although no serious damage seemed done, there were rocks, grass and post-it notes all over the car. Someone obviously wanted to tell someone something but did not write it on the notes! Either that or it was a practical joke. Somehow, I think the message theory is more likely. What amazes me is that they were still doing this when I was down there and I did not even know it.

This was the scene when I first got there without my flash batteries. Most of it had been done. I was surprised to see that the car had not been scratched, no tires damaged and no obvious serious stuff luckily for the owner--whoever they are.

In the end my presence here with my semi-large sorta professional camera and flash became a bit too noticeable and I got out of there. Someone clearly came back and did more damage in the less then 15min it took me to get back down and take the flash photos!

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After a nearby house burned down I thought it was a good idea that they tear down the houses next door. People were going in them and vandalizing them as well as using them to abuse drugs. But when they did, this excavator had an accident and I happened to catch it in one shot. I did a burst of pictures showing the situation. (below) The 60 year old home had a chimney which came down right on the windshield of the excavator! Here you can see the moment of impact almost exactly as well as the tempered glass shattering.

"Falling - - -"
The moment before the crash as gravity propelled the heavy brick chimney towards the windshield of the excavator. I was too shocked to do anything but keep shooting. I did not get this on video. However I took a very fast burst which captured each step of the fall. Don't worry, the guy driving this tractor was not hurt.

"Houses Revenge"
I have several other frames almost showing a movie of this crash but this is where it started. He must have moved something wrong and there was no time at all to move out of the way.

"Just another day on the job"
I was careful not to show his face here. You can clearly see the broken safety glass as well as a brick inside the cab! What a mess! What amazed me was not only was he not hurt, he simply cleaned out the mess quickly and got right back to work as if nothing had happened. This guy really is a hard worker and dedicated to the job!

Spider season

A small Jumping Spider (Salticidae) on a hedge near our apartment. Two of there eight eyes are stereoscopic like ours. They can judge distances and have the best vision of all spiders. They are harmless. Some species in tropical areas will bite if harassed but from personal experience the bite is not nearly as painful as a bee-sting. 99% of spiders are HARMLESS to humans and spider hysteria still grips the USA. Recently, a poor species of harmless louse spider was featured as a "brown recluse" on a news program. I was shocked but it was too late for me to say anything. They did not even have anyone on hand to identify a captured spider. The press showed it and the "bites" that the woman suffered were probably a skin condition aggravated by scratching. People get a condition or painful sore and often see a spider and that's it. It's not fair and ignorant. Without spiders, we would be knee deep in dangerous insect species, many of which carry truly deadly diseases. They way people treat spiders often reminds me of a witch hunt in the dark ages.

Another benfifical species I have featured many times, Araneus diadematus the most common species of spider in much of North America and the first species of spider known to build webs in outer space. Several of them were taken up in the Space shuttle and to the amazement of scientists they built perfect webs without gravity. Adapting by learning they soon figured it out by trail and error in this strange environment. This cast doubt on the idea that fixed programming--instinct--is the only thing even invertebrates know. They clearly can learn.

This male of the same species has his legs set on a nearby female. He will pluck out a code specific to his species letting her know he's interested and keeping her from seeing him as a meal. For this species, the male is not eaten by the female and the usually part ways without incident after mating.

The same spider from another angle.

"Hot Spider"
This spider is of the same species as those featured above. She is VERY hot. An interesting observation I have made all over the world is that many very different species of orb web building spiders change how they sit in the web on very hot days. It was about 90 F when I took this picture. They seem to attempt to get there body out of the sunlight at least to some degree by changing there posture. I am surprised she has not chosen to go to a hiding place in the shade. Maybe there is not one, or maybe since she is in need of a good meal she wants to be ready for any insect that comes by.