Wednesday, February 27, 2008

mccain, obama

McCain deserves points for apologizing for his "supporter" who repeatedly referred to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Admittedly, if McCain hadn't distanced himself he would have been accused of approving of this immature tactic. But I'd rather think he chose the high road. It returns a level of class to the Republican party that it lost in the decade-plus of dirty tactics led by Limpbowel, Rover, and the New Republicans. Attempting to scaremonger by connecting Obama's name with the that of Iraq's former dictator -- anyone can see right through that. McCain's apology announces that it's time to put away these childish things and behave like intelligent adults.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

a post about nothing

The weather's been all rain and lots of wind. I woke up around four this morning and listened to slapping, banging, whipping, creaking, and whistling for a little while. I felt the windward side of the house tremble a little when the gusts got bad, though this morning I see the tiles seem to have stayed on. NOAA said there would be showers today, which I hoped meant there was a chance of hawking, but with 25 mph wind and 40 mph gusts there's no way. I was lucky to fly three days this week and have two crows to show for it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

all's well

And in fact he made a terrific flight yesterday. We had about 3 slips and no catches, then spotted a trio on a greenbelt on a street to the right. I had to drive in a several block circle to get down this narrow, curving backstreet, but when we finally got to the end he had a good chance to size up the situation.

Three crows in a loose flat triangle and he took the one furthest away. It got up and started flying away and up, meaning to clear a brick wall. It was almost twice as long as the usual crow flight, and I was sure he wouldn't catch it. But he pumped on and caught it beautifully. A quick U-turn and he was chowing down a full meal a few minutes later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

hopefully okay

I'm hawking by Lake Larry and spot some crows, so I go into a parking lot to circle back. Drop the window, get the hawk on the glove, wait for an Explorer to pass, and pull out. Right as we get to the crows, the Explorer decides to bust a move and does a U-turn. WTF?! I don't have enough reaction to yank my glove back. P launches early and I can only watch helplessly as the Explorer accellerates and my bird accellerates toward the crow in the gutter. I can see these two vectors are on collision course. While I'm whipping the car around, I hear a thump, but I'm not sure if it's hawk into crow or SUV into hawk.

The next thing I see is my hawk in a tree and the crows having fits. P looks stunned as he did when he tried to take the goose. He doesn't want to come down to a tidbit. When I show him a better chunk, a whole crow leg, he eyes it but still hesitates for half a minute before coming to the glove.

While he's eating, I feel him all over. Nothing seems broken, although his right eye looks slightly less open than the left. As we drive home I keep checking him. For a moment I worry his left wing isn't folding up correctly, but then it does.

I'll keep watching him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[idea] video based on telemetry

Oh, the ideas that come out of carhawking...

If I was an engineer, here's what I'd like to design: a video camera mount that would use a transmitter signal to keep the camera pointed at the transmitter.

The transmitter would be mounted on the hawk's leg or tail as usual. You'd need at least two receivers to triangulate the signal to determine the angle to move the camera. Two would give you pan; another two would give pitch. Even with something as relatively level as carhawking (i.e. window height to ground), there's enough up and down to require pitch -- quarry usually flies up, and the hawk after it.

The transmitter signal would have to be constant rather than the normal bip every two seconds -- in car hawking time, two seconds is the time between release from the window and catch. The receivers and motors would have to be fast enough to keep up with the action.

And of course we'd also need a remote start/stop for the camera itself.