My favorite #PhotoOfTheDay sites

I haven’t written much on this site because I’ve been concentrating mostly on the site I created for Nanci’s Naughties, my Second Life store. If you follow me on Twitter you know there has been some good news lately that I need to post here.

Something else you may know from Twitter is that I have some websites that I hit every day for a Photo of the Day rotation, and I wanted to share them with everyone here so you can have a place to find my list if you find you want to join me in checking out some pretty pictures every day.

I originally found these sites thanks to the Photo of the Day widget created for KDE 4 on Linux. The widget doesn’t work anymore since I upgraded my laptop to KDE 5 on SolydK Linux but I have a page of links I created for my start page so I can continue checking them out every day.

The first site is the Astronomy Photo of the Day. If you love looking up at the stars you need to visit this site often, and they even make it easy for folks who follow them on Twitter.

Next comes Steve’s Digicams with their Photo of the Day contest. Every day you get a picture from around the world. I use a slideshow of photos I find online as my desktop wallpaper (I generally have my laptop busy too often to set up a screensaver) and there are a lot of photos from Steve’s contest in the mix. I could also include them in a screensaver but my laptop is in use so often that I don’t use a screensaver.

Another great compilation comes from National Geographic, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. NatGeo is known for their gorgeous photography, and their Your Shot program is the source for another folder of amazing photos in my wallpaper rotation. They also have the pictures in their NatGeo Photography Twitter stream, giving you another reason to follow them.

A site that used to be in the app is Wikimedia Commons, but a change to their site broke their part of the KDE app a couple of years ago. They make it easy to check a month worth of pictures, and one of these days I need to get in the habit of checking their site often again.

A non-photo site to hit daily

There’s another site I hit every day, but not to see pretty pictures. was created by a then 11-yeard old Mimi Ausland as a way to provide food to animals in shelters. Simply answering fun, one-question quizzes about dogs and cats provides ten pieces of kibble to our furry friends, and there’s even a way to provide litter for the kitties. My bookmark starts with the kitty quiz, and after feeding the felines I provide them with some litter I give the doggos some food, too. Plus you get to learn a little something about our furry friends. It doesn’t cost me a dime, just a little time, and they regularly have double days where you can double the amount of food you provide without doing anything extra.

Mimi recently launched a new site, Free The Ocean, to help clear our oceans of plastic. Every day answering the quiz helps remove one piece of plastic from the ocean. Yeah, it’s not much, but as I write this, people on the site have helped remove over 77,000 pieces of plastic from our oceans. And I’ve learned a little more about the planet I live on, which is always a good thing.

Do you have a Photo of the Day site that you check often? Let me know in the comments and help us all find more beauty to add to our lives.

New Year, New SL Digs

In addition to buying a new motorcycle, I decided I’d start the new year by getting new land in Second Life so I have the room to use the Novatech Smith II Console Room. I’d prefer to use either the Capaldi version of the room or Jody Whitaker’s new TARDIS, but neither are available for Novatech’s Type 100 TARDIS as of yet. I could use it on my land in Gilum, but I don’t have the prim allotment to use it and a house. (My land in Gilum is for sale, and at what I feel are pretty reasonable prices. I’ll add SLURLs below in case you’re interested.)

The new land is a pair of parcels in Oppeano so I have almost 900 prims available, and it’s right on SL Route 12 so I can ride my motorcycle easily. I tried flattening the land, but my new Key West house from InVerse would either have land poking up in the back or I’d have to rotate the house, which I really didn’t want to have to do. The property faces south, so I’ll get the morning sun in the windows. Between buying the land and buying my new house someone bought the parcel directly to the east of mine, but once I finished setting up my house and finished dinner they realized someone was actually going to use the two parcels west of them and abandoned the property. (Sorry!)

I was going to put a driveway between my house and Temple North, the property to the west of mine, but I couldn’t get it to work very well. Luckily I discovered I have access to the highway on the east side of my property.

The inside of my new house is even nicer than my previous house. Unfortunately, my felines won’t be able to climb the stairs so access to the bedroom and bathroom are all mine. I ended up parking the TARDIS in my entryway, but I may move it to the living room if adding a room to the TARDIS needs more space on my parcel. Directly opposite the TARDIS is a cute fireplace with some plants beside it. There’s no chimney, which I think is an interesting design decision, but I can turn it off if I don’t want to use it.

The sofa’s not much to look at, but I have a free TV to watch once I find something to program into the set. I’m guessing the columns on either side of the TV are cabinets, but I can’t see how to open them so they’re just decoration. It’s ok because they’re pretty just like they are.

At the top of the stairs is my bedroom, complete with a tub behind a screen. I may have to either darken the windows completely when I get in the tub or either put another screen between the tub and window or put up some curtains. I’m not sure how often folks use Temple North but I’d hate to give them a free peep show. The pictures so far have the windows on the Mid Opacity setting, but I realized I needed to turn off opacity completely for the next pictures.

This is the view form my headboard, and you can see how nice the view can be through that big window on the front of the house.

If I move to the railing you can see there’s water not far from my house, and you can see it even better from my front door.

It turns out the beach is just a short flight to abandoned beachfront property in Quilassito, the next region to the south of Oppeano. I may keep my eyes peeled for when it goes on sale or up for auction, but I may just install my pool on the current property.

As I said earlier, I’m selling my two parcels in Gilum since I no longer need them. The smaller parcel on the left is 512 ㎡ and I’m asking L$1500. The parcel on the right is 1024 ㎡ and is L$3000. The property to the left and right is owned by other people so they may want to buy my land when they realize it’s for sale. (When I get notified that either or both parcels have been bought I’ll edit this post to reflect the change.)

If you’re in Second Life feel free to give me a shout. My avatar’s name is Nanci Barthelmess and I’d love to hear from you.

Exploring in Second Life

Nanci with Eliza in the Firestorm Dew ForestToday there was a party for users of the Firestorm Second Life viewer and afterward, I did some exploring of Firestorm’s sims. Joining me was Eliza, my new feline from We Love Pets. This Eliza is a tuxedo kitteh just like the Eliza stuffed animal I have in my RL home. I’d originally named this kitteh Sarah Jane, but I realized that my RL Eliza is a tuxedo cat, not a black cat, so I swapped their names.

The picture doesn't do these waterfalls justiceWe started off in the Firestorm Dow Forest, where we found these beautiful waterfalls. The picture doesn’t do the view justice, and a little farther down the path, we found a nice place to just sit, chillax, and enjoy the view for a bit.

Chillaxing by the waterfallsI know I should probably make Eliza a little bigger, but it seems her size changes between being on my shoulder and being on the ground. Yes, where the landowners allow it I can set Eliza down and she’ll explore the area. I can even set a distance so she never gets too far away. I can also change the color of her collar, and I can change her sunglasses to coordinate with my wardrobe. I can even take them off her completely, but I love having my cool kitteh. Her future’s so bright, and all that.

Firestorm Dow Forest - A kickin' padI shared this picture on Twitter because it’s such a great shot. I don’t see the old woman who lives here with her gaggle of little ones, but of course, she’s a grown-up flower child. But can we get a cobbler out here? Her home could use some TLC.

Firestorm Dow Forest - Firestorm Remembers 1I found a great memorial to some of Firestorm’s support team members. I had to ask in the Firestorm Support channel in SL but I love that there’s this area for people to find. I’ll post more pictures in the slideshow below.

Firestorm Dow Forest - Is it real or is it SLAs I walked around the sim I saw this island, and if you didn’t know it’s all code you might think it’s a real place somewhere. I love how the clouds reflect off the water. I considered changing the atmosphere settings, but it looks so good why mess with it, right?

The abandoned carnival at Firestorm Ghost Town. Wheeeeee!I also came across the ghost town with its abandoned carnival. Unlike most ghost towns, though. all the games still work, including the swing. I’m really glad Eliza doesn’t get motion sickness. That would have gotten messy in a hurry.

Firestorm Ghost Town Outer Limits - You Will Eat BurgersI have one more picture from our excursion because I saw this sign and had to take a picture. How well it knows me, right? This girl loves her burgers, although she usually just cooks one a week. There are so many other things to cook each week, you know?

I wandered around a bit but I know there is still a lot more to explore. One of these days Eliza and I will pop back over again some time now that I know some of what’s here. You can use a teleport board to move around, but I really like walking around. It reminds me of the days I’ve spent walking around the Franklin Park Wilderness.

Finally, pictures from the 2016 Franklin Park Coalition Kite and Bike Fest

[Sorry about taking so long to get these up. Things have been really crazy for me.]

A girl and her kiteOn Saturday, 14 May, the Franklin Park Coalition, the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, and Discover Roxbury put on the 2016 edition of their Kite & Bike Festival. I took some pictures last year and while I wasn’t able to start the day with them this year there was no way I wasn’t going to get some pictures this year.

This year’s fest was a little different from last year’s, due in part to changes at the top of both the FPC and Discover Roxbury in the months leading up to this year’s fest. There weren’t the number of food trucks we had last year and the FPC/Discover Roxbury table was on the opposite side of the Playstead from the last two years, but there was a DJ and TEMPO International Rhythm Section, a local Caribbean band to play for those who came out.

Music from Tempo International

We did have a nice crowd despite the parks  department running a Bubble Festival on the Commons. The one metric that I can use to easily figure the crown size is how the kite seller did, and while last year he had sold out of kites long by the 4 pm official end of the fest, but there was a line of people buying kites at closing time this year with a nice selection for everyone to choose from. I don’t know if they brought more this year or not though so my metric may not be as reliable as I’m thinking it is.

FPC BKF 20160514_160911_HDR End of the day but still selling kites

One thing I was able to do was to shoot a little video to post on Instagram of the fun and it gave a glimpse of the fun at about 1:30 in the afternoon. I wanted to post the video from Instagram but it wouldn’t display so I put it up on YouTube so I could post it here.

The only food truck we had this year was the ice cream truck, and with temperatures in the mid 70’s you know they were probably busier than a team of one-armed paper hangers.

FPC BKF 20160514_160810_HDR Ice Cream truck

The Boston Public Library had their Bibliocycle there again, and the Franklin Park Tennis Association was there, and they were even putting on demos. Boston Bikes and Bikes Not Bombs were there, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation had not only information but also free seedling trees for all who wanted one. I would have gotten one but I have nowhere to plant it outside and I don’t even have enough sunny windowsill to even put some small pots of spices or flowers on.

There was one really fun bike at the Fest, a highly modified ride turned into the Horse Chopper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my phone to work to note his name or the name he’s given to his valiant steed.

Of course, there was more than just kites, bikes, trees and tennis. As always there were families hanging out in the shade having picnics and just hanging out enjoying a beautiful day.

Picnics at the 2016 FPC Kite and Bike Festival

It was a fun day, and if you missed it you missed out. Pencil in next year’s Fest now. If I remember correctly it’s always the Saturday following Mom’s Day, which would make it Saturday, 20 May 2017.

I hope these have been worth the wait.

TestPics: 2015 Franklin Park Coalition Kite and Bike Fest

The Playstead is getting fullThe Saturday following Mother’s Day every year the Franklin Park Coalition, Boston Parks & Recreation and Boston Bikes host a Kite and Bike Festival and this year they were joined by Discovery Roxbury as hosts for this year’s fest on the Playstead in Franklin Park. It was the second year on the Playstead after moving to the Shattuck Picnic Grounds on the Resting Place while the Playstead field got refurbished.

Full Disclosure: I filled my phone’s storage room taking these pictures. As I was trying to remove pictures I knew I wasn’t going to use I accidentally deleted all the images by mistake. I was able to retrieve copies of my pictures, but they were smaller than the original images and lost the notes I had included in the filenames. For some of the images I also lost some of the very bottom of a few pictures and had to crop it off. All of the images are the usual size I post here, but this time the source images I started with weren’t the full size images I prefer to work with. I decided I’d rather post the pictures with an explanation than not post the pictures at all.
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TestPics: Schoolmaster Hill Terrace

Franklin Park: Schoolmaster Hill 24 - The plaque dedicating the structure to schoolmaster Ralph Waldo Emerson (taken 20150419)When I got to my local branch of the Boston Public Library last Thursday I found out the IT folks were updating all of the laptops available for loan. I go to the library every day and the first thing I do each day is to get one of their laptops to work on. When the techs were done updating the laptops I found I could no longer mount my external hard drive, which is something I had been surprised to be able to do in the first place. My external drive was formatted for my old Linux laptop and needs special drivers to be mounted on Windows computers like the library has available for patrons to use. Not being able to install the drivers essentially destroyed my daily workflow because I can no longer access any of the files I used every day to get things done online. I’m still trying to figure out how much I can and can’t do, but if it weren’t for the WiFi-only Android phone a friend is letting me use I wouldn’t even be able to take new pictures, let alone post them.

When I walked out the door Sunday morning, 19 April, I wasn’t planning on taking any new pictures, partly because I don’t have a memory card for the phone so I’m usually short on space for new pictures. As I was heading to the clubhouse for Franklin Park’s William J. Devine Golf Course to use the free WiFi to check my email, I took the turn off Circuit Drive/Jewish War Veterans Drive to go to Schoolmaster Hill, only planning to see how things looked now that all the snow has melted.

When I finally left the Schoolmaster Hill Terrace to go to the clubhouse there were 26 new pictures on my phone. As I started writing this post I realized I had missed taking some pictures so I went back yesterday and took five more pictures.

Just a note before the jump: Most people refer to the area as simply “Schoolmaster Hill,” but I found out the original name is “Schoolmaster Hill Terrace” so that’s the name I’m going to use most of the time. I’ve also found there are other names for the Forest Hills Corner and the hill where the Wilderness Scenic Overlook so I’ll be going back in the next week to update the posts to show the proper names of the sites.

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TestPics: Forest Hills Corner

Location of the Forest Hills Corner trail where these pictures were taken.  Screenshot taken in the MyTrails Android app.If you walk into Franklin Park via the Williams Street entrance you’re in my favorite part of the park. You’re in the Wilderness, Frederick Law Olmsted’s replication of a typical New England woodland (despite the blacktop on the path) with a forest to explore on your left and a stream on your right, with two benches for you to sit on to take a pause if you’ve been walking a while or even just to sit on and enjoy the area. Of course, you also have the Ellicott Arch as the path cuts under Jewish War Veterans Drive, but right after the benches you will find a path cut off to the right. Christine Poff of the Franklin Park Coalition tells me the historic maps call it Juniper Hill, but she calls it Forest Hills Corner so that’s what I call it.

These pictures were taken on 4 April 2015, shortly before a combination of a warm stretch and some rain got rid of just about all the rest of the snow that Mom Nature dropped on Boston during our record setting winter.

(The screenshot on the right was taken in the free version of MyTrails, the Android app that I use to track my walks through Franklin Park, as well as to note where I take some of my pictures. The placemark on the right of Jewish War Veterans Drive is where I take pictures of the white oak in Ellicottdale, and the one above it is the Wilderness Overlook where I took the first TestPics. .)

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