Conversations with my cat…

First of all, we have to believe that Misty Blue, heretofor known as “Cat”, had to be born on the University of California at Berkeley campus.  That’s where the center of the social protests began in the late fifties, early sixties. She is an expert protester and her favorite form is the passive lay-in. Or is it lie-in?  Whatever…

She will intentionally lay down in the middle of human traffic, inside the mansion and refuse to get out of the way. She actually tripped my wife, late in her MS battle.  I do not kick animals.  I have however, been known to ease my foot under her body and propel her to the side with enough effort to lift and replace her about three feet away.  Most of the time, she just looks around, blinks a few times, yawns,  and (imagine “Thought Balloons” appearing over her head), “WTF just happened?” then she’ll probably put her head on the floor and go back to what she does best.  Close her eyes and conserve calories.

Wait. Did U say Food?I can’t count the times I’ve asked her to do the dishes.  She refuses.  Just lays there and stares at me aloofly.  Or I can talk to her about what needs to be done around the mansion.  She’ doesn’t seem to care.  She won’t volunteer to do anything.  She’ll lift her head, yawn, and go back to calorie-caching.  When she steps out of the cat box, I have asked her to do a simple little thing for me, like shake her feet and wipe them off on the towel provided just for that purpose. She’ll TB me, “What’s the point?  They’ll just get KL on them next time.”  Have you ever stepped barefoot on a couple of grains of kitty litter (KL) on a hard floor?

For something smaller than a sixteenth of an inch across, those little suckers sure hurt the bottom of shower-tenderized feet. And to top that off, she’ll leave the bathroom (where else would you put the cat’s potty?) and jump right onto the bed.  So we have grains of KL infused in the cover.  I have drawn the line on her attempts to get on the sheets.  One time she TBed me, “What?  You expect me to sleep on a blanket with KL in it?”

Cat likes to go outside and explore, of course.  She’s a big cat, probably the biggest in the enclosed complex. She eats like a bird … (no no, she doesn’t eat a bird, she eats like a bird… and not a vulture, either).  Shes 19 pounds, and gets a third of a cup of dry food in the AM, maybe a tablespoon more in the afternoon when I have my snack, and a single pouch of Whiskas cat food in the evening, right at happy hour. When we got her she weighed 20 pounds.  So she’s lost a whole pound in a fifteen-month period.

When K was alive, we grounded Cat for a few months because she was spending more and more time out.  When she didn’t come home until after dark, she was locked in.  Being inside for several months during the winter didn’t make any difference, weight-wise.  So I don’t think she was cadging meals off a neighbor.  But who knows? Again, she is mum on the issue.

We have a friend who has a cat just as big.  She says the breed, an English Shorthair, is a big breed.  Supposedly predominantly black and white with an identifying white tail-tip.  She has a white tail tip.  She’s black and white.  She has a little dark rust color in her black section, especially on the top of her head.  Doesn’t matter that she TBs, “But I’ve got big bones.”  In her case, the calorie conservation has worked conspicuously well.

One of the good things about having a Bobcat-sized feline is that people with small apartment dogs, lthose annoying iittle tiny yappers, go to the other side of the street when she’s out.  Specially if I’m wearing my “My cat eats small dogs” t-shirt.  Makes cat proud when I wear it.

How do I know?  She lays down in the middle of the mansion and smirks when she sleepsconserves calories.

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Welcome to my virtual world, bizzare section

In the virtual world, any thing is possible.  The laws of physics are suspended.  So are the the laws of beliveability.  In my virtual world, not to be confused with yours, things may pop into my head, from suggestion i may get subliminally from routine sources. Like the news.  Something someone in your family might have said.  Having a double entendre suddenly dawn on you. I cite the following toon, Wild Horse Round-up. Image

Who, actually is this aimed at?  The BLM in Nevada?  They have a round-up every year.  It’s quite controversial with conservationists and organizations like PETA.  The Horsey Set? Cowboys? Cowgirls?  Chevrolet?  Or could this toon really be a “really rotten” play on words?  What do you think?

Weather has been in the headline news for many months.  Twisters, huge rainfall weather patterns, etc. Attractive women in V studios, with huge flat-screens behind them, doing a show and tell with various weather maps and imagery.  Being weather people, we’ll often find them standing ankle or knee deep in flood waters. Freezing their butts off. A pair of behind-the-scene people are probably with them, but since they’re not onscreen, they’re probably under a shelter of some kind..  Doesn’t anyone realize there are critters under that water?  Fish from flooded rivers and streams, snakes like water moccasins and copperheads even rattlers are out swimming, exploring the surface, maybe looking for something dry to crawl out on.  Like umbrella-toting weather-girls. Snap turtles might be looking hungrily at the human tiny feet wearing worthless boots that look good in the fashion world, but nothing more than a meat-wrapper to a 50 pound self-propelled amputater [word?].  Alligators, cruising just under the surface, looking for tasty weather girls..  But I digress.

ImageI made a screen capture  of the storm system on the East Coast.  Then I took another look at a cartoon scene I created in my own little world, for a construction toon (Which will show up eventually in this blog).  And it dawned on me that the screen save would make a great sky itself.  From there the definitive punch line was obvious…

What about storm chasers?  Those seemingly stupid people who run towards storms, hoping for a tornado to photograph? A nasty, destructive tornado?  Awhile ago, a dramatic shot of a black twister could bring the image-maker big bucks, and now that the top SLR (single lens reflex )digital cameras also make videos with huge resolution, storm photographers can make super videos.  I content they’re completely nuts to even go out in that weather, especially in a tiny moving steel box that Mother Nature seems not to recognize as a safe, but movable, haven. Nowadays there are so many quality camera rigs out there, not to mention the very acceptable videos from smart phones, so the market is saturated.  Some TV outlets won’t even consider buying footage from the public, unless it is spectacular, andImage then what they pay won’t begin to cover your expenses.  Storm chasing is not a great way to make a living.  Howsomeever,  the whole practice evoked this cartoon.

In my virtual world I can do anything, build anything… With the use of Bryce 3D (available on daz3d.com) The programs come with “Primatives, which are simple cubes, circles, rounds, flat shapes and lights. With these you can construct just about anything, from a simple boat dock to a skyscraper.

Or, I can buy or download freebies of digital models of various things like autos, planes and water-craft.  I can pose digital models of people in any stage of undress or dress.  If I want my model to be wearing something different, I can go to the web and purchase clothing and accessories for a whole lot less than what the real world charges.  When I am done, I transfer the posed beings into Bryce, where I put them into a scene I have made.  From that point I can move my point of view (POV) any place one can imagine.  I have done some testing and  research into making one of my books into a graphic novel.  Daz Studio and Bryce 3D  and Photoshop would be central to  the effort.  Imagine.

I can set up a couple in conversation in a restaurant, say, and render still images from the usual three-camera positions first used by Desi Arnez in the “I Love Lucy” TV series. I can put a camera into one or the other’s eye, and see a true POV.  Or a straight down-looking over head camera.  From a bowl of soup. The biggest time consumer in that scenario is posing and positioning my virtual people.  Evidently, coming up with bizzare ideas doesn’t seem to be one of my problems

Unfortunately, Bryce 3D is a program that is slowly obsoleting itself. There have been no new versions or updates for several years.  It does not work on the later Mac OS Programs. Nothing past OS 10.6.8(?)  It probably won’t be long before the new Windows OS will no longer handle it.  That (And Adobe’s GoLive) are the two reasons that I have kept and maintain my old mini mac, which uses MAC OS 10.411.  I have a large, but relatively inexpensive,  HP monitor that supports two inputs from two different computers.  All I have to do is hit a video input switch, unplug and replug into the “new” computer, the USB connector with both my mouse and keyboard attached, (both wireless) and I’m right back in biz.

Whoops, my groceries are being delivered.

Seeya Later,

 

A Photo Lesson in Seeing

TV Comm 02One of those TV commercials for a medicine aimed at senior citizens filmed on a coastal setting, shows a woman with a pretty expensive camera squatting close to an old fence, shooting what is apparently a close-up of a plant or whatever.  But she is seemingly oblivious to the obvious.  She is squatting in the middle of the real picture…

Allow me to elucidate. In the image below, (fig 1 & 1a) we see a fence-line repleat with interesting shadow detail.  In the advertisement video, our actor, who is playing a photographer, is shooting from a low point of view (POV) at something off to image right.  We assume a plant or something.  (See fig 2). IMHO, she is in the middle of the actual what-should-be-captured segment of the video.

Sand Fence #2So the point I’m trying to make is that you must look at your surroundings, try to see the big picture when you’re shooting images.  The commercial has her handling what appears to be a substantial investment in equipment.  Makes another point.  Good equipment can’t take good pictures by itself.  Good equipment will not make an amateur into a pro, although there are a lot of people who think expensive equipment and toys will automatically make them a pro..  They are not professionals.  We call them commercial photographers. Someone who takes pictures for money.

Unlike a Professional Photographer, who uses the best equipment he or she can to make and sell fine art.  This includes either a darkroom, and/or a good computer with a good imagery program, like Photoshop .  The key word in this paragraph is “sell”.

Now before you old-times tell me that Ansel Adams used a Kodak Brownie, remember a few things.  One.  When the Brownie came out, is was a very nice medium format camera, with good glass.  Two.  If I was still in the biz, and wanted to use a wet darkroom (film) I might use somethink like that for a travel camera… go out and shoot some test imagery to set up for a large format rig later. Three: Almost every image of his that is considered art was shot with nothing smaller than a Hasselblad, (Medium Format) and most of the imagery was created with a view camera, (Large Format)

An aside here.  I am the guy who wasn’t Ansel Adam’s assistant.  I can’t tell you how many wannabee pros that I’ve met, claim they were AA’s assistant.  Probably the closest anyone got from this group was taking a three day seminar in Yosemite from the Master.  While we’re on the subject, Ansel was a top photographer, but his famous master artistry came about in his darkroom.

I almost fell victim to the same thing.  I was “on assignment” at tiny Piney Lake in Colorado.Piney Lake I was shooting a great image of rental canoes, (see Fig 3) busily getting variations on the theme, because I knew that what I was looking at through the lens was a killer image.  This one was gonna kick some serious ass!

Shooting medium format at the time, a full 6×7 image in Fujichrome 64.  I shot a full two rolls of 220 size, knowing that in this case, on this shot, film cost and lab costs were of no, repeat no, significance.  In the middle of my snapping revery, my wife tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Look behind you.”

I looked and saw another magnificent image of a silhouetted treeline with a firey red fog settling over in for the evening.  All I had to do was turn the camera 180 degrees, and a bit of tilt, change the EV, and I got some great images there, too.  For a few minutes because of the rapidity of the light change, I was going back and forth between images, gettin’ em both.

You should be using a tripod. You have a moveable head on that tripod. It can swivel a full 360 degrees.  You should use your own head swivel the same…

ReflectionsRed clouds

What do you do with all the time you save?

In today’s society, we strive to save time. We want to be more efficient. “What’s a quicker way to do this?” We shorten words like “web log” into “blog”. Why not “wog”? Even shorter. With “wog,” we saved the trauma of having to make or think  an “el” sound. That’s probably worth a whole twentieth of a second.  Such a bother…

Maybe it actually started back in  World War 2, when GIs, (Short of Government Issue (soldier)) were saying things like SANFU,  “Situation normal, all effed up”. and FUBAR  stood for  “Effed up beyond all belief.”  Like when two fighter planes were in battle it was a “dogfight.”  When a whole bunch of planes were in a battle, it was a “Furball”.  Those were descriptive phrases, born of necessity, because to stay on a radio for even an extra second could cost lives.

Did that lead to the shorthand kids use in texting? Or was it laziness? Sure, some of the shorthand is designed to baffle adults, especially parents and/or teachers. “POS” for example equals Parent over shoulder”, which actually means, “Nosey mom (or dad) looking at my screen so I can’t say what I really want to say.”

Or LOL.  I hate lol.  It’s gone mainstream so much its used sarcastically in TV commercials.  For the guy who lives in that desert cabin 30 miles out of Las Vegas, lol means “laughing out loud”. Well, so does “Ha ha”.  Would it really hurt to type “laughing”? I would even accept “laffing”

Let’s face it. All the time , and then some, you save short-handing is probably used up used correcting typos. (Oops… I used a shorthand word.)  But in this case its ok (another shorthand).  Most people can’t spell “typographical error”.

ROFLMFAO, is short for “I’m really laughing at that.”  Actually its the acronym “Rolling on the floor, laughing my effing ass off.”  Even that’s become mainstream.   A rocker has taken part of this acronym and given himself the name LMFAO.  Never heard of him?  His music is the soundtrack for many Kia car commercials and for something called Kiss.  Not only that, he just appeared on DWTS… oops, I mean “Dancing With The Stars” as a guest judge. Brought his own score paddles. Now, if that ain’t mainstream, I don’t know what is.

Maybe acronyming [word?] came about because until Steve Jobs and Bill Gates came along, we wrote things out in longhand. Longhand was a pain in the south-end, so making a little easier was considered just fine.  We had typewriters of course, but now I doubt that a kid in high school or middle school would see one and wonder were the screen was. Do you remember how hard you had to push on a typewriter key to make is strike the paper properly? Do you remember the revolutionary electric typewriter?  All you had to do was touch the key.  Startled the older secretaries in the industry…

My grand-neice, a college student in the arts, can “thumb out” text messages in milliseconds.  Texts fly in and out of her phone so fast the NSA can’t keep up with her.  At the end of the day though, I doubt she has saved enough time to stand up, go to the fridge, get a coke, and return. Betcha that if she had texted in normal English, she’d still have time to go grab that coke… and maybe even a cookie.

We’ve saved time, though. Nowadays all you have to do is type a few letters to convey a message.

R U OK?

C U,

 

Have You Ever Wondered?

 

Even as a kid, just beginning to realized that boys and girls were different, the first time I heard the phrase, “She’s built like a brick s___house”, I wondered how in the world a human Have You Ever Wondered?with soft curves and a giggle could be compared to an out building.  The thing of it was that I was raised in the mountains in the summertime, and all houses in Pinecrest has outhouses.  Indoor plumbing was a rarity, leastwise in the oldest residential section.  Our house was built in 1914.  A “new” outhouse was built in 1948-49. It was a nice one. Had a shower and sink plus a smelly chemical toilet. And a doorlock.

A lot of my work is creating cartoons. I use a combination of programs, including Poser, Daz Studio, Bryce 3D, and Photoshop. Bryce on my computer is my own little world. What’s neat about it is that most physical laws are suspended. If I wanted to hang Captain Hook’s Galleon in the sky, I can, and make it pretty realistic.

With that in mind, I like to posit strange imagery depiction a saying, a quote, or a weird situation, and most of all, really rotten puns… Flying hillsides, or five hundred mile, 300 foot wide oil tanker (VLCCs) ship channels and so on. A WW 1 Biplane cutting off a 747 landing in San Francisco. Women counting horses. So when I come down with a case of Writer’s Block, I can go to one of my toons, post it and write a bit about it, and hopefully entertain you for a while.

So it’s all good.

As seen on TV

A currently running commercial on television says, “No one ever takes the second biggest cookie.”  Whoever wrote that stupid line never considered wives or mothers.  I cannot count the number of times  my wife or I would bring out a cookie for ourself and one for the other person.   Invariably, if I went into the kitchen and came out with and offered her a choice of two cookies, she would take the smaller of the two.  I knew she would, she knew she would, but I never didn’t offer her first choice.  Or there’s two cookies left in the cookie jar.  She would always give whatever child was in the kitchen the bigger one. So to the writer of that like.  Apologize to your Mama!

54 vb  (My cat typed that getting off my lap.I don’t know what it means.Maybe it’s cat code.)

If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said I was  dog person.  Dogs do things.  They run after anything that’s been propelled from it’s human companions hand.  They follow commands from their owners.  Roll over.  Fetch. Help the blind.  Guard military stuff. Capture crooks. Find drugs. They do all this so they can play with a squeaky toy. Dogs have no sense of worth.   There are thousands of names for dogs, unless they’re bird hunting dogs.  They they all have the same name. “No, over there. you Dummy!”

Cats are far too aloof for this kind of behavior.  My cat will come when I call her, but at her leisure  Other than being fastidious, she has no other attributes. Cats don’t do tricks.  No guard duty, no picking up dead wet birds in a cold miserable marsh.  They’ll play with a squeaky toy, but they ain’t gonna work all day for the honor.  Most of the time, cats practice killing things. Like squeaky toys, shadows, lasers, etc. My cat is welcome because she is something I can talk to.  If I talk to a dog, the critter’s butt, hindquarters and tail go into an uncontrolled high speed mayhem setting, knocking kids down, rapping adult’s shins, sweeping everything off the coffee table.  His tongue comes out, slopping dog spit all over everything.  A dog does not know the meaning of the word halitosis. They think you’re inviting them to become a human, on the couch, and they have a difficult time distinguishing between you and said couch.

But if you talk to a cat, she’ll look at you with the expression that says, “Do you really think I can understand any of the noises coming out of your mouth except the names for meals?  I also understand ‘Get down’, something that stoopid dog doesn’t.”  When I talk to my cat though, even with her superior attitude, it helps me to remember the mechanics of talking.  When to move my jaw up and down, what to do with my tongue, you know, that kind of talky stuff. What I say to her doesn’t matter, but it seems to make more sense to me that I’m talking to a quiet adult cat, instead of a wiggily, bouncy, utterly immature canine..

Maybe that’s the difference.  Cats grow up, Dogs don’t.

This has been buzzing around in my noggin for a while

Our national debt is out of hand.  the numbers of dollars are so vast, they don’t mean anything to the average Joe Sitzpak.  17.5 trillion bucks.  To paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirkson, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talkin’ about some real money!”.
A million, a billion, a trillion. And not just one trillion, seventeen and a half of `em! Next number is quadrillion.  There probably isn’t that many atoms on and in the earth. … Wait a sec. I just read on the web that there are about one quadrillion ants on earth. And you know they can’t lie on the web…

But what if dollars were miles?  How far would we get with some well known common distances/amounts?  If we begin here in Las Vegas the average monthly Social Security Check would take us to Kansas.  A year’s SS income would get us half-way around the world. You get the idea.  Someplace on the web, Microsoft’s Bill Gates income is set at around 157 million bucks.  I don’t know if that’s take-home or gross.  Really don’t care.  But he can make a trip to the sun and back. (He’ll have to go at night though, to keep from getting burned.)  To get from the highest point on land to the deepest seabed under water would only take $12.32.  Not even a good living wage…

Now let’s talk space. We add to the national nebt at the rate of a million bucks every minute and twenty-one seconds. 1.33 minutes, about.  So in an hour, we’ve added 45 million plus.  If we use that as the speed we can travel, we’re cookin’ along at 45.11 million miles an hour.  About 6.5% of the speed of light. So we can get to the sun in about two hours   Hell , we can get to the moon in 19 seconds!
Jupiter is a seven hour and forty minute trip. Saturn is sixteen hours away.
Alpha Centuri, our closest star neighbor, is 63.8 years away. That’s 4.3 light years.  The good news is that we’ve already traveled, 17.6 trillion miles, so we’re about three quarters of the way there.  At this rate, we should be there in another 16.9 years.

So what can we do about the debt?  I  haven’t got a clue. But since this is my blog, I don’t have to.