Birds & Fish

photo of trees on the other side of pond

the heron, in the trees beyond the pond

I walked out to my pond today and was not nearly fast enough to photograph the Great Blue Heron I startled out of it, but I did manage to snap a photo when he perched in a tree to avoid the enthusiastic Doberman chasing and barking at him. (Undómiel apparently did not get the memo about large birds not being dangerous aliens.)

What? You can’t see the heron? Well, sorry, all I had was a cell phone and some excitement, which does not equate to a telephoto lens, no matter how much excitement is involved. Continue reading

Let the Sun Shine! New Solar Panels to Power My Work

two-story brick house with ladder to roof and solar panelsAfter two days of intense upgrades, my house is powered by the sun.

We’re brand new and still working out the bugs, but our first day of full sun produced enough power to fuel my car over 250 miles. Our first day of partial sun produced enough power to run our house comfortably. We’re on Day 3 right now, so I can’t offer much more in the way of numbers or averages. Continue reading

Paramour: A Broadway Review

Paramour Broadway posterI had the opportunity recently to visit New York City and attend Paramour, the new Cirque du Soleil Broadway musical at the Lyric Theater. The show closed shortly after, and I had a number of people ask me to share my thoughts on this unusual fusion of circus and theater. We like circus, and we like theater, but would they work as well together like some sort of fusion cuisine? Continue reading

Contest Results: The Derpening

You might recall that I offered a prize for making fun of my awkward pictures. Because I take myself that seriously, all the time. And now, we have the results.

Tiny Laura in green dress with mushroom inside hollow tree trunkThe grand prize of three ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card goes to Alex McGilvery, for his tasteful and dainty view of a tiny fairy Laura flaunting her tiny fairy status. Alex reports that the mushroom photo is his own, and the dress is stock. What a fun photo manipulation! Congratulations, Alex!

I did include the following guideline:

Winner will be chosen via a bizarre and wholly subjective algorithm of both execution and sheer concept, so if you aren’t sure you can nail both, just hit one or the other really hard.

1966 Batman and Robin fleeing giant head of LauraAnthony Vernon sent his submission with a bit of an apology for being new to photo manipulation, but he nailed it on concept. I love the 1966 Batman and the idea of being an over-sized and over-the-top villain watching the Dynamic Duo flee is kind of awesome. So I had to invent a runner-up prize for this one, and Anthony will be receiving two books of his choice and a $10 gift card for his work.

Oddly, no one took me up on my “any medium” provision (“Any creative take on my distress or hair flip, in visual art, words, song, sculpture, interpretive dance, whatever, is eligible”), so I have no other categories of work to share. Maybe another time!

Please join me in congratulating our winners!

Contest: Derp Me!

I was shooting some video and realized I’d accidentally bumped the selfie button while using my phone camera to check lighting. That’s how this starts.

hair flip

Accidental hair flip selfie.

And I thought that expression and that green screen were just too inviting, and so we’re going to play with them. Continue reading

A Chocolate Coffin

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Chocolate.

That’s a very literal title.

After all, I wouldn’t lie to you.

It’s no secret that I have a thing about the classic Universal monsters and gothic tales. Nor is it a secret that I have a small problem with chocolate. And so I was absolutely delighted to receive this chocolate coffin. (Or casket, really.) Continue reading

Since I’ve Been Gone….

I’m sorry; I know the blog’s been a bit dead, with no updates since March. Well, I had a good reason.

I was on vacation.

And it was such a vacation. I had been planning this trip for literally a decade. Slightly longer, actually. And I finally did it. Continue reading

Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So a while back I was browsing for something — I don’t know what, because I instantly forgot it when I found this instead.

First of all, somebody’s made a robotic Philip K. Dick. (If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s a major science fiction author whose books became some of the world’s hallmark sci-fi films, such as Bladerunner and Total Recall.) The robot is not only designed to look fairly lifelike (always an interesting choice in robotics, the aesthetics) but has Dick’s thoughts uploaded, in the form of all Dick’s works and recorded conversations. Thus the robot should be roughly able to answer questions as Dick would have done. It’s also capable, using its prodigious artificial intelligence, to form new answers to new questions, integrate new knowledge, and develop new “thoughts.” Continue reading

Icon of Loyalty – Hachiko

There are several stories of dogs showing unbelievable tenacity in looking for or waiting for their dead owners. Some of them are truly heart-wrenching. There are a couple of stories involving dogs waiting on trains for their humans to return, and one of the most famous is Hachiko.

Hachiko, Akita lying on pavementHachiko was a regular at Shibuya Station in Tokyo, where he spent the first couple of years of life meeting his owner Ueno Hidesaburo as he returned from teaching at the University of Tokyo. But one day in May 1925, Ueno collapsed during a lecture of a cerebral hemorrhage and died at work. Hachiko went to the train to meet him as usual, but Ueno did not arrive. Continue reading

Colors.

So I was picking up around the house, and I noticed a theme to my personal accessories….

red and black everything!

It’s been no secret that I like red, and black, and red and black together, but this was a fairly solid example. At least shopping is easy!