Sunday, January 27, 2008

Removing Powercells to Empower Freedom

Over at authorblog, David McMahon has asked the question: How efficiently (or inefficiently) would your household function without batteries?

There used to be a comic, repeatedly published or recited, about how people get fat from using remote controls. Well, my life would be more active if I rose from my chair to go across the room to change the channel on the TV. It would be more poetic as I lit candles during blackouts instead of reaching for the flashlight. I find candles soothing so I'd enjoy that. It might be in a different location as lighting those candles is strictly forbidden in my lease. I might enjoy being in a different place too. Cables would attach the keyboard and mouse to the computer thus making them more reliable and less expensive to replace. Phones would also be wired and I'd probably be dragging those long extended cords around as I moved from place to place talking. This might cost less. We've had that kind of technology around for years. Less expense means I'd be richer or able to afford a bigger place. Safety might be an issue because smoke detectors run on batteries too. My cell phone contract might get dropped because I keep one for safety and have used it to call the electric company when the lights go out.

Outside, I use batteries in my car. Well I guess if we didn't have batteries we would have electric cars or some other form of power and the world would be a greener place. The land fills would be smaller and less hazardous.
Planning trips without the cellphone to call for help might mean that I'd know the area better and people might be more ready to stop for others in case they needed help someday. Singing, whistling, or silence would accompany me when out on a walk instead of one of those portable CD players. We might all know our neighbors better because we would need the resources of having friends everywhere instead of carrying flashlights and tasers. Or more of us would have dogs with us on leashes so that our protection went with us. That might be nice, fewer stray dogs because they were valued more, less garbage strewn around the neighborhoods. Less stress because having and caring for animals is a known stress reducer. The world might be a friendlier place.

You know, I can see some real benefits from going without batteries. I can also see one not so great thing. David's camera and flash wouldn't work so we might not get as many great shots. (g) And that would be a real shame.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Camera Play on a Rainy Day

It's wet and nasty outside. So of course I decided it was a good time to play with the camera. Things started off kinda awkward. I got some decent shots but only a couple were very share worthy. However, as the playing progressed I got a little casual with my aim and stopped trying to point the camera looking directly at the LCD. Surprisingly things got better at that point. (Shrugging shoulders - I've no idea why) Some of my results are below.

Because the weather was nasty it quickly became cause for a Fowl Weather Party.

Hooboo isn't totally happy when indoors, even on the nastiest days. Thank goodness today is above freezing. Here he is being the patio Watch Cat.

When he finally did come inside, Hooboo started a fight with Hyram. My scolding started immediately but Hooboo isn't impressed by this. He gets this Tired Old Man look and just sits there till I stop.

Hyram doesn't get up on my lap often so sometimes, when he is rubbing past my ankles, I grab him and put him there. It's sort of a game we play to see if I can catch him. He is so long that to let him settle comfortably on my legs I have to cross one knee over the other making an incline he will then stretch out on. Here's Rum Tum being a Lap Blan-Cat.

While Hyram was keeping my legs warm I decided to play with closeups. Here he is in profile. This is a bit blurry but he's less than 2 feet away. My pants are dark and I think the flash went off. Thus the colors are lightened. It's almost black and white.

Finally, I just wanted to see how close I could get with the camera and still have things come into focus. Maybe I should ask if you can guess what this is like David does but I think the label gives it away. This was taken from just over a foot away. It's a bit hard to see in the image the blog shows but may show up better in the larger version if you click on it. The part that is best in focus are a few tiny drops of water on the inside of the bottle. I just thought that was kind of neat. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Life of Hooboo

Trying to keep pace with the exciting lives of Susan's 3 gorgeous felines is tough. See them in action here and here. When I asked him to play with something for the camera, Hooboo yawned and politely informed me he would rather not be a copycat. He then proceeded to do his own thing. Hooboo likes to read.

As you can see in the picture above, he reads in the same sort of places I do. One where he can shove the books aside after he is done with them and then go to sleep. Here he is with a stack of Kim Harrison books behind him having already spent the last 3 nights staying up reading them. As you can clearly see, the next book on his list to read is Susan's Shelter. He wasn't patient about me finishing it either. He said I took way too long and expressed his discontent by lying on top of it. When that didn't hurry me up, he got Hyram to do the same. Now he is jealously guarding his newly gained territory.

In other moments of the day, he does his best to destroy the lovely catnip filled toys that Susan sent the boys for Christmas. Here he is playing with the lamb, bouncing it off the sofa. I don't have a picture of him with the frog, but he did the hind foot strafe till Hyram decided it needed to be his if it was going to survive. Hyram prefers to bath his catnip toys. This picture didn't come out as nice as I'd like it to. The camera was on auto and it focused on the sofa instead of the leaping kitten. Oh well, I'll get better at this with practice...looking longingly at Gary's copy of Photoshop.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Denim to Wander the Weekend In + Muttering

The question posed by David McMahon in his Weekend Wandering post is: Do you wear denim?

The answer is: Every chance I get! That isn't as often as when I worked the night shift. Also still have some old comfortable ones which I've had for I forget how many years (more than 10).

I think my first set of jeans were bought when I was around 8 or 9. This pair didn't soften quickly in the wash as today's do. They felt stiff and uncomfortable for several wearings. As I recall they were an off white.

Did I wear jeans to church today? No, it was too cold for jeans. We had temperatures below freezing when I left for church so I did what any sensible human would do. I threw on animal skin in the form of a nice pair of leather pants. I don't wear my leather often. It would cost too much to clean them. But I pull them out every time the temperature goes below 32 and stays there for most of the day.

Would I rather have worn denim? Well yes, but I think I'd better get some of those flannel lined ones first.

What is the most I've ever paid for a pair of jeans? Well for myself probably not much more than $30 or $35. For my ex, some of his ran to $60 but he was a really big man and needed the extra thigh room that the Levi's in that price range had.

And that's about all I can think of to say about me and jeans except for the fact that I'm a Texan and what would a Texan be without their jeans? Heck, we even wear 'em to swim in!

Now on to the muttering part: When I tried to do a backlink to David's post I couldn't find the little icon to use. I tried every way I could to locate it. I even went back and checked for it on my own blog. Nope, not there. I do know that if I publish a link to another blog in this post it will show up as a link back on their blog as soon as the system has had time to notice. So, maybe they removed the function. Nice, and after David and I asked Terry, who did all that experimentation, to figure it all out for us.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere but None that You Can Use!

Getting ready for bed last night I discovered there was no water. Yike! No shower. No toilet. Figuring someone in maintenance had left the water off (it's happened before), I went to bed. In the morning, if it was still off, I'd call the Complex Office.

Morning and there's still no water. I called the switch board and learned my entire building, along with several others, was in the same straights. Maintenance was working on it. Satisfied with this answer, off I went to my church sponsored training seminar confident that the problem would be fixed by the time I got back.

Three hours later, I returned to find that there was STILL NO WATER. Called the office again. This time I was told the problem is a burst pipe. It broke about 9:00 PM last night. Maintenance had rented a jack hammer to reach the pipe in the middle of the complex drive. They were still working on it. I spotted them being very industrious as I left to mail a package.

Back from the Post Office, I go get my mail and saunter over to chat with the maintenance guys. They are still busily at work, but they are putting dirt back into the hole they dug. These are nice guys and I like them all. Through some good natured humor I heard the sad tale. Even though they've been working on this all morning and we now needed someone to come fix the hole in our drive, the problem still isn't fixed!

So, the plumbers...commercial or city...will be called. This doesn't sound like it will be fixed quickly. Apparently the pipe, a main, is broken in several places and has been for some time. It just bit the dust last night. So, ALL of my section of the complex is without water. If any resident in eight two-story buildings, each with 24 units, needs to shower (or use the restroom) we can call the office and they will give us a key to an empty apartment. Well, that's great for me but...What about my cats!? They need fresh water daily and I use flushable litter. This may get ugly!

The water finally is back on. I wandered over to make a cup of hot chocolate, without even thinking turned on the faucet. Low and behold, water flowed in a beautiful rush! Yay! Clean water for cats and baths! :-)


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Work in Progress...or Is It?

For a while now, something in the back of my mind's been nudging me. It had to do with David's two colored corner picture. Back on campus this week, I figured it out. The university's been growing and there was a building under construction I'd seen last semester. It's still there and still has these brightly colored panels of exterior drywall.
What amazes me is the variety of colors. I've seen aqua too. Not as elegant as David's photo, this one's too complicated. Still, it was his image that inspired me to take these. Here's one of the other end.

Yep, we South Texans love our towers. I hope this one doesn't foretell any bad events on our campus. The unfortunate thing about all this growth is, the university wiped out most of the convenient student parking in the process. They built a huge parking tower, charged more for using it, and have added off campus parking with shuttles. But you can't park near your classroom anymore. Considering Texas's love affair with guns, let's hope there's no such thing as "parking rage".


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Playing with the New Camera

The above shot is of the lake on my apartment complex property. My camera came with software that will stitch several images together to make a panoramic view. This is my first attempt. The results aren't quite to my liking but all in all, not too bad.

These 4 shots (now stitched into one) were taken free hand with no tripod. It was a bright sunny day so no flash was needed. I tried to keep the camera level and at the same height. This worked for the most part. The software did the image matching and stitching for me so I didn't need to do any interference. Not all the images were at the exact same height so it cropped the view slightly from top to bottom.

These ducks and geese are the primary residents of the lake. They are the main reason for lake side traffic. Well, that plus the paved jogging trail. This was taken on the same day as the panoramic view. There was this guy with his kid and wife feeding them from his truck. I stood beside them to take all the shots.

This stuff isn't fancy. Things should improve with practice, which I hope to get plenty of. The complex I live on is huge, 18 acres. The lake used to be a couple of watering holes for animals. Now they are merged and landscaped into a lovely venue with playground equipment for kids, wildlife for bird lovers, and a very neat fitness area for those who like to run/walk close to home but in a park like setting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Everything Old is New Again!

Bouncing from blog to blog I read a couple of ladies talking about Michael Buble. Didn't know who he was but they were raving about him, calling him romantic and gorgeous. So of course I had to find out about this rave. YouTube provided the video and sounds very nicely. What I like about this guy is that he is singing stuff I grew up on. Yes! I find it VERY romantic! Even better, he makes these "oldies" sound current and very "today!" I can hardly wait to tell my family about this guy and how the songs we used to sing together are now new again and popular. So, sharing the newest thing to become a passion in my musical world. Here is Michael Buble singing, "Everything."

And Yet Another Quiz

While looking for a particular blog, I came across a test which assigns you a flower type. Not having seen it before, of course, I took the test. Here are my results. Enjoy!

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Monday, January 07, 2008

JS Found a New Quiz :-)

Actually there wasn't a whole lot to the quiz, just plug your name in, pick your type of code, click submit, and there you are. But hey! I liked the results!

The Recipe For Lee

3 parts Genius
2 parts Recklessness
1 part Poise

Splash of Sensitivity

Sip slowly on the beach

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Kitty Pics!

My cats don't do cute things like Susan's do. Yep, that's my current excuse for not having gorgeous images of my boys being playful. The other excuse is that I've only had my new camera a week and am still learning how to use it. But, in the interest of sharing, here are a few images of Hooboo and Hyram.

This one is of Hyram looking brave as he faces the flash. Later he is doing his best to avoid looking directly at my camera so the other shots of him are from the side. Hyram is a Flamepoint Ragdoll which I adopted from the veterinarian 10 years ago. He is finally getting adjusted to his new buddy Hooboo but the competition for attention and food is intense. :)

Here's Hooboo by my desk trying to decide whether he wants to stay in and mess with Hyram or go out and be the cool street cat he was when I adopted him this past summer. I love both my kitties but here is some advice for pet owners and vets. If the owner has one old male cat who has no front claws (not my choice) and has been castrated (the old way of neutering a cat) and they adopt a young street cat who keeps his claws but also gets neutered, DON'T give the new cat a vasectomy! The left over testosterone production will make for an aggressive domineering kitten who will then have the older supposedly alpha cat running for cover. Sigh, I'm sure that keeping his testicles in tact will help Hooboo live a longer and healthier life but I let him outside just to give Hyram some peace and quiet. Poor old guy.

Here's a second one of Hyram looking nonchalant in front of the camera's invasive lens. He was trying to take a nap and be close to me. He now spends a lot of time lying near me in the living room or under my desk when I'm working on my computer. This winter is hitting us both hard. We each seem to have aches and pains in places we wish we didn't. He's moving carefully these days and my right hand is aching in the cold.

Here is Hooboo taking a nap on the sofa. He looks upside down because that's the way he looks from the front of the sofa. Hooboo is an American Bobtail, that's why he doesn't have a tail. I didn't know tailless cats existed except for the Manx. Now I do. He likes to have his back scratched just in front of the stub. Don't all cats? :)

That's it for the best kitty poses right now. I have others but they are just too similar to be worth sharing at the same time. As I get better at animal photography I'll share more of my boys. Hooboo is becoming the cuddle bug Hyram never has been. He gets picked up and snuggled when he comes in and plopped on the bed as I get ready for sleep. Hyram is now starting to spend time in the bed with me when he can catch a time that Hooboo isn't there. Otherwise he still sleeps on the cedar chest (my grandmother's hope chest) which is right next to my bed and has lots of lovely soft laundry piled up on it. Hyram is the one who wakes me in the morning and if his efforts don't succeed Hooboo does a run and bounce across the bed a few times. If I'm determined to sleep late they eventually take up posts waiting for me to be ready to get up and feed them breakfast. I've even had them both on the bed at the same time for that. Ah food, the great leveler. (G)

Happy New Year!