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Michael O'Reilly
Works at IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, TX
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Michael O'Reilly

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Laura And The Sword

Sometimes I have to explain to someone why I'd want to take their picture with the sword, and sometimes as soon as someone sees it they're excited and want to pose with it. Laura was definitely one of the latter. Pretty much the instant I showed her one of the pictures she got excited and said "I'm already thinking of ways to pose with it!" Then I pulled it out of its container, her eyes lit up, and she got right to it, hopping up on this picnic table next to a colorful wall of graffiti. That's the sort of reaction to it I really appreciate, I must say!
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Thanks, +Ana Pérez Páez, and you're quite welcome. :)
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Feeding Time!

I rushed home from the gym last night just in time to get out back with my camera at dusk. Mama Owl was sitting in the doorway of the owl house, but then within a couple of minutes Papa Owl flew past the house, landed in a nearby tree for about a minute, and then flew in to hand off some food for Mama Owl to give to the owlets. I just got this shot and then headed back in, as I didn't want to hang out there too long and potentially be disruptive. Still, I'm very happy to see evidence that we've got owlets in there and will keep a lookout for their fuzzy little faces peeking out to look at the outside world.

Also, now that I think about it, I need to remove the dead branch hanging down there in my field of view. :)
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Thanks, +Denis Labelle​!
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Good Owl News, Everyone!

No picture with this update, but I'm excited and wanted to let everyone know. This evening at dusk I lathered on some mosquito repellent and sat out about forty feet from the owl house (over by the chicken coop and run) to see if I could spot any activity. Sure enough, just as it was getting fairly dark the chickens made a noise indicating a predator was about, and I saw one of the parent owls heading into the house, followed a minute later by leaving again to head out back hunting.

I listened carefully and I'm pretty sure I could faintly hear owlets making their "Feed me! Feed me!" noises, which is super exciting. I do believe we have happy little owlets in the owl house! I'll see if I can manage to set up and get some feeding shots tomorrow evening. I love this time of year. :)
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Interesting +Michael O'Reilly​
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The Austin Sword

I was at a Drink and Click event at Spider House last week, and on the back patio they have this lovely neon Oz sign that they've modified to fit in with the Austin decor. +KayLorraine Oetting was kind enough to sit in front of it with the sword so I could take her picture there. They say we're supposed to keep Austin weird, so here's my little part to help out. Now I guess we'll find out what this weekend will bring as far as sword photography opportunities. I hope you all have a great weekend, too!
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🌘🌘📖🎩🎩
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The Happy Sword

While I was out at the park getting some shots a man and his daughter walked over to see what we were doing. He asked what the sword was from while his daughter shyly watched. I asked if his daughter would like to hold the sword, and after a minute or so she quietly nodded yes. She was very somber and serious when she first held it, carefully checking it out, but then she got this big, happy grin on her face. There's little more infectious than a genuine smile, I think.
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Artuš.
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The Statue And The Sword

I was down on 6th Street with my camera and my sword and ran across this lady earning tips posing as a statue. I asked if she did commissions and whether she'd be willing to pose with the sword, and she indicated (in a very statue-like manner) that she did and would. I think it made for the quite appropriate situation for the sword. It's funny the things and people you run across if you just look for them.
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Hi$
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Michael O'Reilly

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Papa Owl On Watch

The other day my wife spotted Papa Owl hanging out in a tree overlooking the owl house, but when I was out there later he wasn't there. Now that I know where he likes to hang out, though, I was able to spot him today when I was home for lunch. He's got a nice, shaded vantage point where he can keep a protective eye on things while Mama Owl guards the door.
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So I have since learned!  :)
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Creepy Crawly For Dinner

We had a break in the rainy weather yesterday evening, so we sat out and watched the owls feed at dusk. I managed to get a few pictures, but nothing great. However, in this shot I noticed that Mama Owl has something pretty crazy looking for the owlets to eat. I don't think it's a lizard (which is a common treat for the babies) and the legs look too thick to be a walking stick, though I guess it could be. I wish I'd gotten her a little sharper so I could tell. Maybe it'll remain a mystery.
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You too, +Loretta Soto​. :)
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We're Not Out Of The Drought Yet...

Due to the rains brought by the current El Nino, for the first time since mid-2012 Texas is no longer in the "Exceptional drought" category, which is welcome news. That said, it's not time to start ramping up water usage. Here's a chart of the water level in Lake Travis since 2010, showing that Austin's primary water source is a few feet higher than at the same time in 2013 and 2014, but is still 11 feet below 2012 on this date and, more importantly, is still 49 feet below full capacity of 681 feet.

With more people moving to the Austin area every day and further straining the water supply, it continues to look like current lake levels may now be the rule rather than the exception. I sure miss the full lake, and I hope to see it again sometime. Time will tell, I suppose.
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Oh, another example of that - developers in NJ wanted the state to let them start doing mass development up by the area that is responsible for most of the states water supply. NJ (at the time, this may have changed) wisely told them to get bent. So they went on a PR campain...I'd see these huge billboards of young, attractive, concerned looking yuppies, saying "I can't find anywhere to live in NJ". I was like, alright, move somewhere else, then. Is it that hard?
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Protective Mama. My What Big Claws You Have.

I made an attempt to discover if the owlets have hatched, but Mama Owl was awake and discouraged my attempt. I don't want to make her mad or bother the family, so I won't use this method any more. Hopefully soon we'll be seeing Mama sitting in the doorway as the babies start to get bigger, and then after that we'll get to see the babies having their first peeks out into the bigger world. It's an exciting time! Sorry to bother you, Mama Owl.
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Truth, +Pat Spivey. :)
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The Sword And The Evening Sky

Just as the last light was fading at the park I noticed a nice spot for a silhouette shot. Conveniently enough I had a camera, a sword, and someone willing to hold the sword up on the crest of the hill. Put them all together and this is what I got. I'm pretty happy with the result.
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The best sord one
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Mama Owl Makes An Appearance

This afternoon I spotted Mama Owl sitting in the door of her house for the first time in a couple of weeks. Today was a little warmer, so it's possible that she didn't feel the need to incubate her eggs, or just maybe there are now little baby owls hatched down in the bottom of the house. My best guess, based on how it's gone in prior years, is that we're a week or two away from seeing the first baby peeking out of the door. It's all very exciting now!
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+Michael O'Reilly Thank You My Friend!  I guess we have some time to wait and see about our wise mother owl.. 
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IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
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Proving the second law of thermodynamics, one offspring at a time.
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I've been known to organize hangouts for people who want to try it, but never have because they are nervous. If you fall in that category, feel free to message me so I can include you.

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Had their pizza for the first time yesterday and overall liked it. The pizza tastes good, and the slices are huge. If you like New York-style pizza, this is a fine place to get it.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
They say this is part of a chain, but it's the only one I've ever seen so I'll have to take their word for it. This place is great for grabbing an inexpensive bowl of healthy Asian food, and gets a lot of business from the gym across the parking lot. The Teriyaki Bowl is really delicious, and everything is cooked to order but still really fast.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
We needed some new light fixtures for the entry way outside out house so we went to Lights Fantastic. They have a very comprehensive selection of lights on hand, and even more available for special order. After going through all the choices we decided to special order some, and the process went very smoothly. They told us the lights would be there in a week, and they arrived just as promised. Great service and fantastic selection.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
We dropped in to try this out for breakfast the other day and quite liked it. The breakfast tacos are excellent, with a wide variety. They also have gluten free breakfast taco options, which is a bit of a rarity around here, so bonus points for that.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
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This place has the best selection of batteries and light bulbs around. When you need that particular battery for your car remote or home alarm system, these guys have it. They also take dead batteries and CF bulbs for recycling, so that's a bonus.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Russian House has delicious Russian food and an amazingly large selection of infused vodkas to choose from. The walls behind the bar are covered in bottles with all the different varieties, and you can't help but be impressed by it all. To top it off, the entry way has a wardrobe with a selection of Russian outfits you can wear inside to really add to the atmosphere, or for pictures. It's good stuff, and worth a visit.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
If you have people visiting town and you want to show them great views around town, you really ought to take them to the Oasis, sit on one of the decks down the side of the cliff, and time it so you're there for sunset. The food isn't horrible, but it's probably more expensive than it deserves. I had a perfectly respectable margarita, though it was also on the expensive side. But really, the view is wonderful and the sunsets are spectacular.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago