… A little bit of everything

Although Colorado is synonymous with beautiful Mountain vistas, the Great Planes have their beauty as well. Many of the old farms, now worn down and in shambles, bring back a haunting simplicity to the way life use to be. Desolate, arduous and lonely, they are relics of a time long past, yet captivate the modern day imagination of how things used to be.

IMG_0466_v1_sfw About 40 or so miles east of Colorado Springs on one of those unnamed roads is an old corral with what appears to be an worn down home in the background. The windmill is somewhat new (perhaps built in the last 50 years), so it appears the farm may still have some “functional” use. I can only imagine what the winters must have been like back then.
IMG_0476_v2_sfw This photo gives better insight into what life must have been like back in the day; lonesome! There was nothing within miles of this old building. Perhaps the rest of the homestead has deteriorated to the point it’s no longer visible. Or maybe this wasn’t a home at all, but rather a stopping point for a bit of rest on the trek westward.

The above photos were taken with my new Canon 6D. Big difference from my old Canon Rebel XTi.

Colorado has some of the most beautiful vistas in the country, especially in the Autumn when the Aspens leaves transform themselves into a shimmering gold blanket that coats the mountains. Some years are better than others, but rarely do they disappoint. If in Colorado Springs, it’s but a short drive into some great areas that yield fantastic results. Woodland Park isn’t too far away and Upper Gold Camp Road will never lead you astray. Mueller Park is just over an hour away and it too has some great Aspens groves.

IMG_3721_2_3_v1_sfw A few years back, the family and I took a drive into the Rocky Mountains and came across some great scenes. I took these with my older Canon Rebels XTi, but even still, they turned out pretty good. If I remember right, this was somewhere along Gold Camp Road about 45 minutes from Manitou Springs, CO.
IMG_3727_8_sfw This too was taken along the same road, but a little later in the day on our way back. The storm clouds were starting to build, which was a bit rare this late in the year, but it was a warm day.

Every time I search the internet looking for an answer to the ubiquitous question of “How much money do I need to retire?“, the answers are always just about the same; “It depends“. Yes, it does depend on many things, but very few articles give the details needed to even give a person a starting point. So, I’ll attempt to do just that.

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It was around 10 O’clock at night when we first heard what sounded like kids screaming in the wetlands behind our house. Intrigued, and knowing that couldn’t be the case, I managed to capture the sound on my phone and compared it to animal sounds on Youtube. As I suspected, the screams were not from kids, but rather a small pack of coyotes, probably four or five in size. Having lived in Falcon, Colorado since 2002, this was the first time we had ever heard coyotes. We did have a fox living in the area that would scream on occasion, but for the most part, the only animals in the area were rabbits, bullfrogs, and the seasonal ducks and geese.

While kind of cool, coyotes do present a problem, more so than balls of rabbit poop in the yard. Especially to household pets who mysteriously disappear in the night. And while somewhat rare, even adults and children have been attacked by coyotes, but I’m not too concerned about that. What I am concerned about is our beloved cattle dog. We have a rather large 1/2 acre backyard surrounded by a split-rail fence with chicken wire to keep her from getting out (and to a lesser extent, keep the kids in), but that can be easily circumvented by a determined and hungry pack of coyotes.

This begs the question: What can I do? The last thing I want to do is freak my kids out so they don’t want to play outside. It’s hard enough to drag them away from the Xbox (Mindcraft in particular, AKA: Mindcrack) so the last thing I need is for them to throw down the coyote excuse as a reason to stay inside. The dog needs to run outside otherwise every piece of furniture will turn into her chew toy.

My first idea was to wander into the backyard and make a ton of noise in the hopes of scaring them off. However, after doing so under a full moon, the slow walk back inside suddenly turned into a sprint as I conjured the mental imagery of a Stephen King book cover depicting a dark silhouette (me) being chased by a pack of blood thirty coyotes.

So, the next time I went heavily armed, but then I read I can be fined and even jailed for shooting a coyote unless provoked, and I’m certainly not looking to provoke a fight. It seems as though the coyote has diplomatic immunity of sorts in El Paso County, unless you happen to be a rancher who can shoot them on site, which I’m not.

Animal control isn’t an option, because there is no such thing outside city limits. There is the Department of Wildlife, but they won’t do anything until someone has been attacked. They won’t even respond for missing pets suspected of being killed by wild animals.

I think I’ll lay low for awhile and just keep an eye on things. It’s kind of cool hearing the coyote victory cry on a rabbit kill, and the neighborhood is much quieter in the evenings. Let’s just hope it’s because responsible pet owners are keeping their dogs inside at night, and not that they’ve gone missing.

UPDATE: I haven’t heard the Coyotes for about two weeks. I suspect they may have exhausted their food source and moved on to more bountiful lands.

This example is by no means meant to substitute a well-thought out backup and recovery strategy for an Oracle Database, but it will show you how simple it is to backup an 11g Database using RMAN on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Bit. At the very least, it will point you in the right direction and give you a working example from which to base your testing from. Also, I feel silly saying this, but please don’t try this on an operational database!

Let’s change a couple of the default settings within the RMAN console. We want to make sure the control file is always backed up, and we want to change how many backup sets will be retained.

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