Sunday, January 31, 2021
Saturday, January 30, 2021
Caturday 26: Catching Rays During the Vortex
It has not been a prime health week for me. I probably wouldn't have posted at all earlier in the week if there hadn't already been a few posts residing in the queue. I don't know what is wrong, and I guess it isn't much, but I am a little off. However, I can do a Caturday blog because it is easy.
Lacey is being Lacey. During the morning, she sleeps on the top of my bureau where, on a good day, she catches a bit of sun. This is the very bureau that we moved under the window, just for her. When the frigid arctic vortex rules, as it has been this week, it does offer sunshine in compensation -- thank heaven for small mercies.
Above, the sun is just catching her obliquely, but by mid afternoon on a sunny day, the rays will move to a point where it casts its light on the bed. So Lacey moves there too.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
A Variation of Old and New
Back in 2018 our town was preparing for its 200th anniversary in 2019.
Along with several friends we took photos around the town with the idea of juxtaposing old and new photos in a calendar.
I forget which month was which, but this was one of the calendar images. The photos look downriver from the bridge on our main street toward the railway bridge, which is now part of a recreational trail.
Recently. the curator of our museum came across an image from another museum where someone had blended an old photo with the new as if they were one. She liked the effect and wondered if anyone local might be able to do something similar.
While it would be best to take the old photo that you want to match out with you while you shoot the modern version, winter would not be a good time of year for such comparisons, especially while we are in lockdown mode.
However, as an experiment to see how well the idea might work and to see if I could accomplish it, I used the same two photos in an attempt to apply to concept.
While it took some effort to line-up the two photos using the far bridge as a reference point, this is what I was able to accomplish. Modern cameras tend to line-up differently than old images, so joining them into one can take a bit of effort, doubly so if you weren't trying to match them perfectly initially in camera.
I think this is what our curator had in mind, and I like the result well enough and would like to try more when the weather is better and when I can go out with a specific comparison in mind. Meanwhile, I do have some other photos from the calendar that I can experiment with and will likely post about here in due course.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Cold Snaps in a Cold Snap
My goodness it was cold when we took the car out for yet another warm-up drive on Saturday. It looked so bright and inviting from inside the warm house, but a bright day in January is invariably also a cold day in January. And with a significant windchill, Saturday felt well below zero on both the Celsius and Fahrenheit registers.
I stopped the car on a rural road just long enough to pop out and take two quick snaps during the midst of what my dad called a cold snap. I made two very brief photo snaps and hurried back into the warmth of Hermione the Honda.
The house was catching very nice light in the low afternoon sun.
This was the barn just behind the house. The birds weren't really there but adding them helped to fill in the clear sky and add balance. I don't do this type of thing often, but the fancy strikes me on occasion.
Monday, January 25, 2021
The kids are going back to school today, and I have mixed feelings about it.
I guess have mixed feelings because among other things, it sends a mixed message.
On one hand is the reality that schools have worked well hereabouts and have been very safe. And we know that actual school is better than online learning for most of the kids for most of the time although not necessarily for all kids at all times.
But on the other hand, the rest of us remain under a Stay at Home order although it remains hard to figure out exactly what that means. Just last week, our conservation areas posted that they were open for walking. But you have to drive to them. That isn't quite staying at home. Is it?
Nevertheless, whatever it means, children are being sent back to school while the stay at home directive is in place. So that is a mixed and confusing message to me.
Still, the back to school directive only applies to the safer areas such as ours, and schools will remain online in the harder-hit regions. So, I guess that part is good for it seems fair to treat different regions differently according to the circumstances. I am still somewhat conflicted, however.
Meanwhile, the lockdown measures seem to be working. The daily new case toll has fallen by about a 1000. It's still far too high with more than 2000 new cases daily, but it is better. The right end of the following graph shows a dramatic drop in just three weeks, That rise from October to January did not have to happen, though. and certainly not as significantly as it did.
I fail to understand why people couldn't have behaved properly without having to be coerced. The facts are so doggone easy to understand. The virus doesn't move; only people move it. If you take all of the precautions such as isolating, distancing and masking, you will pretty well stop the beast in its tracks. It doesn't seem like a difficult concept, but then again, I am but a simple man.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
A Brief Review of a Blog Friend's Novel
Blog friend, Vicki Lane, the already accomplished author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries, has published a very different kind of novel. Her new work, And the Crows Took Their Eyes, is an impressive piece of historical fiction, based on real people and events from the Civil War period in her area of North Carolina.
Although it takes place during and after the war between the States, Crows is not about the war itself, for Lane depicts no battle scenes and very little of army life. A small but extremely important part of the narrative, does very directly involve soldiers and their actions, but the tale is primarily about people on the periphery of the conflict. While I describe them as being on the periphery of most of the action, they are, nevertheless, hugely impacted by the events.
There are five main characters in the narrative. Two might be described as upper-class residents of Marshall. They are secessionists or secesh: the term used in the book. Two are Unionists from the nearby, rural, hill country. The final character, the only one actually created by the author in this historical fiction, is more of an itinerant and mostly unaligned person.
Naturally, we follow the trials and tribulations of all of the characters through the war period and even for a long time afterward. The war years and shortly thereafter form the bulk of the plot, but the novel does end with snippets from the ensuing decades, which satisfy the desire for an appropriate conclusion.
Crows is memorable. The five characters will linger in my memory for a long time, even after I most likely forget their names.
It might be different for you, but for me, it was a novel for which I preferred to digest a little at a time. Whatever the case, I found Crows to be very well conceived and written. It is a wonderful exploration of the people and events of the time, and I am very glad to have read Vicki Lane’s very fine and authentic work.
And the Crows Took Their Eyes is available at AmazonUS in both paperback and kindle format and also at Amazon Canada as well as from Canadian book retailer, Indigo.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
I know that you have to wonder about some autocorrects and whether they are genuine, but I had one last night and even two. I am a terrible keyboarder, especially when I am tired and on a squidgy, little phone.
Freud Shirt was supposed to be friendship. When I was typing it, I knew that I had gone wrong, but I kept typing, hoping that autocorrect would correct it ... uh ... correctly. Fortunately, it didn't, for this is more fun.
In trying to assure Shauna that I knew what I had typed but had decided to leave it, I then typed yon right in the second bubble. Or maybe I didn't, and that was also an autocorrect. I sure didn't realize that one until after I hit Send.Have a good Saturday and weekend.
Friday, January 22, 2021
I have been experiencing fone phun lately, or what some of you might call phone fun. Actually, it isn't all that much fun for those who were brought up on attached, black, rotary, dial phones, which we accessed via a party line. My best recollection is even that didn't even occur until I was 7 years old. I don't think I had even chanced to see or hear of the newfangled, devilish devices prior to that.
I'll try to be brief, but I don't know if I can manage, for I do have a bit of a narrative to unfold.
My cell phone started getting hot -- very hot -- when charging or even after just a few minutes of normal use. Having already replaced the battery once after earlier shenanigans and provocations, I decided that my iPhone6 had fought the good fight, run its course, and was destined for the hereafter..
After dithering and seeking advice, I ordered a new one from Apple -- not the latest and greatest, unless you were to set your clock back a few years.
After several days of keeping the old phone unplugged and safely in quarantine, I decided that I needed to charge it up for the impending switchover. Lo and behold, it did not heat up then. Nor did it heat up later in the transfer process, for which I, thankfully, had help from my tech support SiL.
While not the latest and greatest iteration of phone technology, which could have set me back an additional grand, it is red, and I like red. I have a red winter coat and red caps. Don't ask me why I like red. I just do. I like red so much that I have just ordered long, red, wool socks.
But on this newfangled and fandangled device, I could not find the earbud hole in the dark.
I took my spiffy red phone out into the hall, turned on the light, and examined the phone-edges studiously, looking for the appropriate entry.I turned it over and over and around and around.
What the heck?! No earbud opening. At all.
Uh, no! I was only sent a cord that I didn't recognize.
He informed me that I could order one from Apple for $10.
OK fine! But what is the cord that they did send me, which I could not recognize? It was not a USB adapter.
But oh yes, it really was a USB adapter but for the next generation of USB. I think it is called USBc.
No. Of course, they don't send an actual plugin box along with the new style cord. No siree. You have to purchase that box separately as well. Of course you do. Thankfully, I do have my antiquated USB paraphernalia, and it will work with this phone.
Oh, by the way, you can also charge this phone wirelessly. But guess what. That device also costs extra.
Fortunately, I have my personal tech support guy, or I would be lost. What do others do? I suppose if they purchase directly from a store, they would be told and sold all of this stuff in the first place. But how do you go to a store during a lockdown when you are only permitted to shop for essentials?
Anyway, I have ordered the $10 adapter and my old USB connector will work fine. In the meantime, I do have an old iPod which will connect me to podcasts if needed.
But goodness gracious me oh my! Why oh why must it all be so complicated?
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Shauna has been home for a week, isolating while waiting for the C-swab and then the result.
She is careful and so is her partner. Thanks goodness.
G was exposed when a workmate contracted Covid. Said workmate sat near him but behind and facing in the opposite direction. G masks and is careful. His test was negative.
As was Shauna's.
Here's another feelgood. Sue was reminded on FB of this clip from 2008 of Danica communing with her reflection in a painting that Sue made of our cat many years ago.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
More Trail Photos
Toay, we have a few more photos from our cold winter tromp on Monday sans animals this time.
A dessicated hydrangea (I think) on a bordering property.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
A Brief Stop at the Feeder
You had to know that it was cold because it was sunny, but out we went for a brief walk on the trail, camera in hand -- naturally. I ported my longest lens, which is a bit of a monster. I have been doing that more lately, partly because it gets me closer to things when my feet may not be able to in winter. Of course, I do sometimes wish that I had a different lens on, but live with my decision, I must.
Yesterday, it came in handy because I was able to use it to photograph the critters which frequent a backyard feeder in a house that backs onto the trail. I have walked by it many times and have just kept going, but since I had my telephoto yesterday . . .
In addition to the birds (soon to come) there are squirrels, and with that abundance of sustenance, they are not skinny squirrels. This one was isolated on the top of a snow pillar, which helps the composition a lot by eliminating distracting detail.
Of course, there were birds. The first one that I photographed was a chickadee. Describing it the first bird, makes it sound like a photographed many birds, but I didn't.
Monday, January 18, 2021
A brief post for today. Just three photos of snow on bullrushes. They were taken from a fair distance, handheld with a telephoto lens, so the quality isn't topnotch. But it is something.
|My least fave, but it does look like an insect to me.|
|My fave because I like the hints of the other reeds, but I might consider brightening the yellow a bit.|
I liked it less saturated like this on the big screen but less here.
|I like it more than the first but less than the second.|
Sunday, January 17, 2021
The Biggest Snowfall So Far
It finally happened. Yesireebob! It snowed and it was a good 'un.
It's not the first snowfall of the year, but it has been a few weeks since the last one, and there hasn't been much snow overall this winter. It was also the biggest fall of the winter -- so far. It was wet and heavy too, so it stuck to the trees for quite awhile as you are about to see.
From the back window in the morning.
The two footbridges in the park. I have a better photo of the second bridge from last year, but this is my best of the first bridge.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
I Think I Am Miffed
As of Thursday, we are under a provincial Stay at Home order. We are not to leave our domiciles except to exercise or to do or purchase essential things, there being a fairly liberal interpretation of what might considered to be essential. Before I rant and rave, permit me to get this out of the way: I readily endorse the directive.
But . . .
In winter, I consider taking the car for a short drive every few days to be close to essential. It's an older car, and the cold weather can cause batteries to fail and so on and so forth. I think that a short drive does it some good. And even it it doesn't really do any good, I feel that I am at least trying to help it along. We oldies have to work together as best we can after all.
I hadn't had the car out since Monday, but with a storm predicted for today, I figured that yesterday, Friday would be a good time to take Hermione the Honda for a spin. The route that we do takes 15 - 20 minutes.
I deemed it essential, so out we went.
At the corner of the road out of town, at the beginning of my route, there were 3 police officers standing in the middle of the road. They stopped me, ostensibly checking for alcohol. Then they checked my license tag to make sure that it was up to date.
This has me miffed just a bit, for I don't believe they were really checking for alcohol offences in mid-afternoon on a country road. I just don't. I do believe they were looking for Stay at Home offenders.
But! they are not allowed to stop anyone to ask why they are out driving. They are only permitted to ask that particular question if they have another reason to question someone. An out-of-date licence plate would have been a perfect opening for prying..
In my worthless opinion, this checkpoint was just a pretext to show that the Law is out there keeping its gimlet eye upon us, hoping to find an excuse to question drivers when they aren't allowed to do so directly.
I would have had no problem explaining my reason for being out, but, of course, I didn't have to because they couldn't legally find a way to question me.
I am torn. I would like actual offenders to be identified and appropriately fined, but, on the other hand, I don't appreciate the ruse. You can't tell me that they were seriously worried about alcohol offenses on a rural road on a mid-afternoon in January. Well, you can tell me, but I won't believe you. Or them.
I guess I am just nitpicking, but I hate it when people play me for a fool, and I think that's what this charade was.
Meanwhile, and keeping in harmony with Stay at Home directives, I show you this box, our latest home delivery.
Yes, that little bottle was the only item in that big box. I kid you not.
Sue has a problem with breaking fingernails, but due to the pandemic, she hasn't been able to visit her manicurist since early last year. Said manicurist is able to coat her nails with excellent hardener and also give her nail extenders because my poor Lady is otherwise down to the nubs, which get sore and uncomfortable. Now, in her attempt to maintain what she can of her nails, she goes through a ton of polish trying to fortify them. That's why we ordered a bottle of nail polish, and this is how it came.
That ridiculous box amuses me more than miffs me. I am still slightly miffed, however, about that dissembling show of authoritarian presence. It's not honest in my opinion, and our law enforcers are supposed to set an example of probity.
Friday, January 15, 2021
From a Rural Road on a Bleak Day
If we have to go out, which is seldom these days, we usually take the car on a short drive in the country, which begins only a minute or three out of town. With how cold weather can affect battery life and other things (I suppose) it seems like a wise thing to do. It is not a long run, perhaps just 15 minutes, although I confess to not having timed it.
It was a bleak and forlorn day, but I was determined to take a photo regardless. It helps to keep in practice and satisfy a bit of a need.
I stopped on a rural road; this was my first photo. taken from the road which is higher than the field. I suppose that it would have been preferable to get down to fence level, but I was not about the step off the high and dry embankment. My thought was to align the distant tree with the fence post. As is typical, I did not align correctly.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Coffee and Comprehension
After >50 years of wedded bliss, Sue and I still talk different languages and, at times, have trouble understanding each other. At this point, our plight will ever be thus.
Usually I wake up early and brew a single cup of coffee on our tassimo machine.
Sometime later, I brew a large pot for her as well as for my second mug. At 10 cups, it is large enough for Sue to also consume several mugs.
On the morning in question, I arose later than usual. Thinking that Sue would be up shortly, I skipped the tassimo and went straight to the big pot.
Of course, she picked that morning for an extra long sleep. Go figure. But still, the coffee kept well, so that is not really part of the story.
Thereafter, followed one of our conversations in which we typically misunderstand each other.
She explained that she had slept in because she had gotten up to visit the facilities in the middle of the night. This is unusual for her as she can usually sleep for a very long time without having to make a nighttime foray to the loo, latrine, commode or whatever have you. I am jealous because such nighttime journeys are quite the norm for me.
Now, wouldn't you assume that she then had trouble getting back to sleep and that is why she slept in so late? Well, even if you wouldn't assume that, I did.
After some time discussing this, I was finally made to understand that she hadn't slept in because she had missed much sleep after her wandering. No no no! It was rather because she had gotten up in the middle of the night and so hadn't, therefore, been subjected to the need to arise at her usual hour.
It took some explaining, but we figured it out.
This sort of difficulty with communication also happens in reverse, I will say something that is very clear to me but leaves her perplexed.
I don't think we need to get divorced over this, but I am afraid to say this to her, in case she misunderstands me.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
An Experiment in Black and White
On a rather nippy morning, I wanted to experiment with my camera, so we took a little walk to the park and trail.
With no great subjects at hand, my experiment was to take shots in b&w straight from the camera. The idea was not just to take them in colour and convert them to mono in post as is usually the case but instead to shoot b&w from the outset the way that I could see them right in the camera.
I not only wanted to see if I could accomplish this feat but also wondered if actually seeing the world through b&w would help. I am not sure that it did.
A dive into the camera menu system allowed me set the camera up to do that. Each press of the shutter would give me a processed b&w photo and an unprocessed colour photo. But all I could see in the camera was b&w. This is what I wanted for a temporary trial.
Once I got home I decided to process the colour image into mono as I might do normally and then to have always done and then to compare the two versions -- mine and the camera's. My conversion is on the left, the camera's bw on the right.
There's not a huge difference. My conversion is slightly more contrasty in the trees; you can see the snow on the branches better. There is also more contrast in the reflections on the pond. Conversely, I have tamed the snow on the bank a little and made it a little less contrasty, but now I am wondering if I should have done that.
Next: my processed fence and grasses are on the top in the next pair. I think my version is brighter and preferable to the camera version.
Finally. a close up of some of the same grasses as above.Once again, my processed version from colour is on the top.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Impish Danica Explains Loops
A week before Christmas, the extended family was having a little facetime chat about our holiday plans, but Jonathan was a little late to the session. When he came online, he wanted to tell us that he had updated his Christmas wishlist.Saint Gibbets Oil, but I caught up a little later.) Anyway, the boy was perplexed at Sue's answer about keeping her in the loop.
Monday, January 11, 2021
Somewhat of an Ordeal
I am not a guy who enjoys being on the phone. This is partly explained by my innate introversion and partly by my auditory woes.
So, why did I spend 2 hours on the phone?
W e l l . . . just yesterday I posted about watching tv on Sue's little laptop. It turns out that we were lucky to do even that.
Our internet had been off-kilter for a few weeks, and so had our Apple TV.
I had been waiting for the cessation of the holiday season to see if the situation would right itself, for I wondered if our problems might be due to the increased holiday load.
It seems that was not the case, so right after New Year, I began to make inquiries or perhaps enquiries.
After awhile, our SiL was able to figure out and fix the TV part. It was an in-house situation, and so we went to bed Saturday night in a good frame of mind with the situation, apparently, resolved.
But then, we woke up on Sunday morning to no internet. This has happened before, and the situation has resolved itself. So, I waited for 4 hours.
When the problem didn't resolve itself, I called my internet provider, who then hooked me up with the phone company. The phone company rep checked the line and said that the problem wasn't the line and to call the provider back.
I thought that was wrong and that I was being given the runaround, but the provider also found this to be the case. Therefore, the modem would have to be reconfigured and new firmware installed.
Somehow, we were able to accomplish this, but it took a long time as I painstakingly followed instructions to do this and then that and then the other thing, both to the computer and also to the modem.
After two hours, internet was restored, and after resolving in-house problems on the previous evening, we also were also able to stream over the tv.
How crazy that two separate problems occurred simultaneously, which made the situation harder to analyze and then resolve.
And the phone calls? The first to our internet provider was with an accented fellow who also spoke quickly. I found it very difficult.
The phone company representative also had an accent, but it was French, and she spoke English fairly well and clearly, especially after I made a special request for her to do so after some initial difficulties in understanding her.
Thank the heavens that the third person, the one with whom I spent by far the greatest amount of time, was a native English speaker who also spoke clearly and unhurriedly.
I was also helped throughout the process by the streaming device that links the phone with my hearing aids. It enabled me to hear fairly clearly (at least the last person) but also move about and change my position during the protracted process. The device was extremely handy when I had to do things to both the computer and the modem and was able still to talk with tech support while my hands were also free to follow her instructions. Phew!
So that is the story of the end to a month of internet and streaming problems and how an introverted, hearing-impaired bloke somehow managed to come through the ordeal not much more insane than he was previously.
Although that last assertion is disputable.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Why in Tarnation
Why in tarnation were Sue and John watching tv on a small computer in the den on uncomfortable chairs and not in the comfy living room on the big screen? Since they were not doing that, why were they then watching on the little laptop with poor sound and not the big monitor just behind it?
Saturday, January 09, 2021
Caturday 25: Plush
Has it really been close to three months since I did a Caturday post? Well, 2.5 months anyway.
In that one HERE, back in October, Lacey had snuck her way into the guest room and buried herself under the blankets to avoid detection. Her sneakiness has since achieved a similar entry a number of times, to the point where we were forced to bolster the barricade.
But I digress.
At one point, in her almost 2 years with us, she liked to make herself at home on my chair. Somewhere along the line she stopped doing that.
But now I have a plush electric blanket, which I have posted about HERE. And of course .you know what happened next.
I don't really leave the blanket on the chair when I'm not using it, but sometimes I forget to remove it for awhile, and she tends to find it.