May 20, 2014
The photo I took and posted on the blog may show the start of the San Marcos fire. I sent it to NBC7 and asked them to send it to the authorities because I thought it might help in the investigation of the location and cause of the San Marcos fire. The photo was taken with my iPhone so it is date and time stamped. NBC7 came out today and interviewed me today and said they had forwarded the photo to the authorities as I had requested. They agreed I might have just capture the start of the fire. If they show the interview on the news it will air sometime between 4 and 7 PM tonight on the local San Diego NBC channel 7.
Carlos Royal P.S. Here are a few more photos to enjoy. I think the Male Western Tanager with it’s red head is one of the most beautiful birds in California. You can click on any of the photos for an enlarged view.
May 15, 2014
Update: 1:15 PM While this looks ominous, it is about four or five miles to the south east of us. We are in no danger because there are lots of houses and streets including a Freeway between us and the fire but it does give you an idea of what it is like to be close to a wildfire.
It cooled down overnight and the wind stopped blowing. This morning most of the smoke had cleared and it was 25 degrees cooler than it was yesterday at this time. All is good for now, but they are forecasting record temperatures, 104, for later today. It hasn’t been that hot on this day in San Marcos since 1956 or 58 years.
The biggest difference between today and yesterday is yesterday as we sat on the patio watching the bluebirds, the hummingbirds, and the orioles; in the distance we would first see a puff, then a bellow of black smoke rise into the air. Out of nowhere air tankers would roar in dropping fire retardant. The black smoke would then turn white and begin to dissipate. Just when you thought they had that fire under control, another puff would appear with more black smoke bellowing into the air and all was repeated. By 3 PM we had fires burning to the southwest of us, the west of us and to the north of us. That’s when we decided it was time to gas up in case we needed to leave. As Donna and I drove South on Twin Oaks Valley Road to the gas station, a small puff of smoke appeared on the mountainside just above and to the southeast of Cal State University. What we were seeing was the start of the San Marcos fire.
Within less than 5 seconds the small puff of smoke had exploded into red flames shooting 40 feet into the air creating a giant black mushroom cloud. By the time we pulled into the gas station the hot Santa Ana winds were driving the fire west at an incredible speed. The small puff we had first seen was now a raging wildfire over a quarter mile wide. We now had fires burning north, south and west of us. That was yesterday.
Today we are enjoying the bluebirds, which are mating, the hummingbirds which are fighting for territory and the orioles which just seem to be coming in for the free food and water. The only smoke we can see is to the south, the San Marcos Fire, which in the last hour has picked up with the rise in temperature. I can hear the air tankers coming in and as I look to the east a large billow of smoke is rising into the sky.
For now all is good, but the San Marcos Fire continues to burn.
On a happier note, last week Donna and I took a trip to the mountains nearby. I took my camera. A cold front moved in and it snowed on us. Can you believe how fast that weather can change? Last week it was snowing, this week it’s blazing over 100 degrees. The cold front also brought in a flock of western tanagers. They were everywhere in the tall pine trees of Idyllwild. I only managed to get one decent picture because by the time I could point and focus my camera with a 500mm lens attached, they were gone to the next branch or tree. We also saw about a half dozen deer, tons of squirrels, but only a few mountain bluebirds.
Enjoy the photos and we will keep you posted.
Carlos and Donna Royal
May 14, 2014
Just a quick note to let you know we are fine. The fire is South of us about 4 miles. We can see it from our house as you can see from the video. We have been watching all the fires all day. This morning I put out the Hummingbird feeder and the Oriole feeder and while watching for the birds to arrive noticed the fires as they have developed with the last one being the San Marcos Fire. We are North of San Marcos Blvd and the evacuation are south of San Marcos Blvd.
Thanks for thinking of us, but unless things turn for the worse we are in no danger, but just in case we have our cars fueled up and ready to go.
Carlos and Donna Royal
May 12, 2014
Hi everyone just wanted to say thanks again for all of your continued support and thought I would give you a sneak peek of something I’m working on! I couldn’t have gotten here without you guys.
I started this project a couple of months ago during a Lighting and Rendering Class and have continued working on it into my Sound Design Class. The process included:
1. Coming up with a concept
2. Creating a storyboard
3. Filming the opening scene with an aerial video Quadrocopter
4. Tracking the footage and re-creating the environment in 3D space
5. Creating the biplane and banner attempting to match the environment’s lighting and physics along with matching the cameras depth of field and motion blur. This was the most time consuming part and took about 30 hours.
6. Using google maps I put together some images to animate the blast off scene
7. Created the earth, moon and stars and attempted to simulate lighting based on photos taken by astronauts for the final sequence flying to the moon.
8. Took all the finalized clips and put them together in order then refined color and added final effects
9. The final step was adding sound using a sound effects library and placing in the song “5 Years Time by Noah and the Whale,” to tie it all together!
Lipstick Surf Co is a company a couple of my lifelong friends and I launched about a month ago based out of Carlsbad California. We provide surfers with out of this world fruit loops scented surf wax, shirts, hats, jackets and will soon be making surf leashes, traction pads and surf boards! We currently sell our products in local surf shops and on our new website at www.LipstickSurf.com Our goal is to take it to the moon!
Thanks for all the great advice!! I’ve been reading all of the comments as they come in.
May 10, 2014
It was a big night as Austin received his BA Degree with honors from Platt College. He was one of only five students graduating with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. He is the first in our family to graduate from College. We are very proud of him.
Donna and I want to thank all the owl box fans that supported him by buying his Molly Videos and merchandise plus posting encouraging comments on the blog. I am not sure who is more proud, us or him, and by us I include all the Molly watchers. We all watched him grow up and mature from age 16 to 21. In a way, we feel his success is our success, just like rooting for a home team or a player, when they win, we feel good and last night we felt good!
But let’s not stop there. It is time to give him your best advice and wisdom going forward. Let him know what you wish someone had shared with you when you were young and just stepping out into the world of self-reliance. For example, share with him your favorite saying(s) or words of wisdom.
I will start it off with. Austin, I wish someone would have pointed out to me that it cost the same to dream big as it does to dream small but the results are usually vastly different. Big dreams stir passion and passion is what drives us to overcome obstacles to success. Success is not an event; it is the journey through life. Today we may be judged successful, only to fail or miss step tomorrow or vice versa. Success is neither permanent nor guaranteed, but then neither is failure. If there was just one thing I could tell you, it would be; Spend less than you earn.
May 9, 2014
Austin actually completed all his courses for his BA earlier but the school’s graduation ceremony is to night. I know a lot of you supported Austin so if you want to see him get his degree it will be broadcast tonight at 7:00 PM Pacific Coast Time on Ustream. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/platt-broadcast
Join us tonight in saying Congratulation Austin for a job well done. 4.0 grade point average
Carlos and Donna Royal
March 25, 2014
Well, not really a National day but the City of San Marcos declared March 25, Molly and McGee Day in 2010. I can think of no better example for people to follow than Molly and McGee when it comes to raising a family. This loving pair of barn owls demonstrated dedication, patience, hard work, caring and protection of their family. Once the brooding process started Molly would not leave the Owl Box/home until the youngest owlet had learned to swallow a whole mouse. Even though the law of nature says the biggest and the strongest gets the most, Molly made sure her littlest also got his share. McGee would hunt all night if necessary to provide his family food and both he and Molly were always on the watch for predators, ready to fight to the death to defend their family.
Update: We replaced the owl box this year, but so far no owls. I have seen some in the area but none have taken up residency. Austin completed his courses for his BA and is now doing advanced studies which he completes in July. Eric Blehm and his wife are building a new home in Cardiff by the Sea and working on his next book. Chris Adams and his wife have moved from Boston to Seattle, so they are now on the West coast. Donna and I are in good health and helping my sister plan a big 99th birthday party for my mother. If you remember, the owl box was the result of Donna and I wanting to share Molly with my mother and sister. It just happened that 21 million other people from 104 countries decided to watch too. Gee it was fun and we were all a part of it.
Carlos, Donna and Austin
December 18, 2013
This past Monday Austin completed his BA studies in Graphic Media Art with straight “A’s.” Graduation ceremonies will not be until April. Time does fly by when you are having fun. He completed his BA in 2.5 years, but there is no rest for him. On Tuesday he started his post BA study classes at Platt College and will continue his education for another 6 months specializing in videography, 3D Dynamics and advanced web design. While at Platt College he started their Live Broadcast Department. Platt College can now broadcast, (live stream), their graduation ceremonies and other events. Remember when I did it with my iPhone? It was really bad, but at least I shared the moment. Thanks to Austin, Platt College now can do live green screen compositing and multi-camera HD broadcasting using advanced audio setups. He is the manager of their Live Broadcast Department.
Austin also just returned from a video-taping trip to Arizona where he was the camera operator and director of video production and aerial media project for NRG Solar, a Fortune 500 company. Ryan Lee Media, the company that helped Austin produce his owl videos, is producing informational and promotional material on the world’s largest panel solar plant for NRG. Austin is working with Ryan Lee Media on the project which will require videoing in not only Arizona but also California and Nevada.
Donna, Austin and I would like to thank everyone that supported Austin and made possible his college education. He is the first in his family to get a college degree.
Again, Thank You.
Carlos, Donna and Austin
P.S. Yes, it is okay to stand up and clap and share in the moment. You were a part of it.
December 11, 2013
Each year WordPress.com collaborates with wonderful artists to create a festive WordPress illustration for the holiday season. Dave Whitley of WordPress worked with Jacqui Oakley on this year’s version.
As always, they’ve also created some cheerful wallpaper to match, available in different sizes for your device of choice:
- iPhone 4/4s
- iPhone 5/5c/5s
- iPad, Android devices
- Desktop – Small (1280×720)
- Desktop – Large (2560×1440)
- Desktop – for Retina Displays (2880×1800)
Jacqui also has a print of a Mother and baby barn owl that can be purchased on her website suitable for framing.
To view: http://jacquioakley.com/288
To visit her shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jacquioakley
Carlos, Donna and Austin
P.S. If the W for WordPress is inverted it becomes M for Molly.
November 25, 2013
The Owl Box came into being during the Great Recession, many people were suffering, financially, physically and mentally. The Owl Box became a refuge from their troubles, a place where they could see there was hope as they watched a young mother owl struggle to raise her brood. Over 21 million human spirits were connected around the world. They laughed, they cried, and they cheered. The Owl Box had “A Reason To Be.” Theresa Reed one of the millions of Molly Watchers also had “A Reason To Be.”
When Theresa Reed went to work at a small law office, “organ donation” was not part of the job description. But one day she recognized a client whose husband was ill. As she debated whether to buy flowers, send a card, or pray for the ailing man. God quietly asked. “Would you give him a Kidney?”
“In San Marcos, California there is an owl box in the backyard of Carlos and Donna Royal. I want them to know that, ultimately, it was the story of those famous barn owls, Molly and McGee, that inspired me to make my own story public. After all, when a pair of barn owls can fund a young man’s college career, the possibilities seem endless. “
UPDATE: Austin Faure will get his BA degree next month, he is in his final classes thanks to those that supported him and the Owl Box.
You can obtain a copy of Theresa Reed’s faith based book, A Reason To Be at https://www.createspace.com/4306385
I hope you enjoy it, I did.