30 October 2008

Take the Hero Challenge

just because you don't have a lot of help on your side, and your opponent is flush with pieces that should wipe you off the face of the board, it doesn't mean you can't win. you are white pieces here; be my hero.

i have to say, this one took me a few minutes to puzzle out. from time to time, my mind just refuses to see the repercussions until an epiphany occurs, and we all know how often that happens...

29 October 2008

Picasso Lives. Sort of.

image: the car Picasso wishes he'd had

if they are telling the truth, the car can get up to 65 mph...

quoting: "
A custom-built asymmetric car inspired by an artwork by Picasso is among 100 classic vehicles due to go under the hammer in south London later.

"The Citroen 2CV, by car sculptor Andy Saunders, 45, from Poole, Dorset, could fetch £14,000."

25 October 2008

24 October 2008

Pumpkin Head

ahh, yes, a place to lay one's head...

23 October 2008

More Whole-Grain Wheat

For lovers of Claymation, lovers of Chess, here is a YouTube video you will enjoy...

Random Intertubes Wheat

sometimes, the intertubes can look like so much dreck. days, even weeks, can go by where you won't see more than one intelligent thought, one creative idea.

and then you come across a mini-motherlode.

today, i struck poddownloading heaven at the website http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/. among the items i will strive to listen to (or watch in hires video) soon:
there is an eclectic selection in other subjects, from german politics to world war i poetry to environmental climate change lectures, and so on. i suggest you wander over and take a look. from my initial look-see, the quality is Very Good Indeed.

22 October 2008

35 Days of Hell

it all started when...
  • my cute little saturn car was registered (yearly tabs)
  • my cute little saturn was then rear-ended, low-speed, no air bags, etc.
he really was a gentleman, no sarcasm here. he pulled over, gave up all pertinent information with no hassle, etc. he was kind and respectful, and quite thankful no one was physically hurt.
  • the damage to my cute little saturn is almost entirely a lack of water-tightness in the trunk (car boot). This was due to a Ford F-250 PenisEnvy Diesel (on raised tires) truck attempting to have low-speed unrequited sex with my Saturn.
  • the saturn is taken to repair, and a rental vehicle is performed on his insurance
  • the car boot LID has a small hole in it, the boot lid won't close properly because it has been slightly rumpled. repair is estimated to cost $2000.
  • let me repeat this: the car boot LID has a small hole in it, the boot lid won't close properly because it has been slightly rumpled, and the repair is estimated to cost $2000
  • his insurance company does not ask me (1) if the car is driveable (it is), nor (2) if a lesser repair would make me happy (ie, making the trunk water-tight and latchable, which would be fine). no, they mark the car as dead. deceased. totalled. destroyed. no longer driveable. pining for the fraking fjords.
  • the insurance company offers me MORE than the repairs will cost to buy the car from me, but not enough to buy another car. they then offer me enough to effect repairs AND keep the car, but the car has been reported to the state Department of Licensing as totalled. Remember: the car has a hole in the trunk lid that keeps the trunk from being water-tight. the size of the hole is a few inches across at the widest. $2000. pining for the fjords.
  • when i take their lower offer (which allows me to keep the car), i must vacate the rental, even though the repairs have yet to be done (which will happen several days hence, and take a few days to complete). my dime and time now.
  • i must use a new rental while the repairs are done. my dime.
we are now in october, and the repairs are almost complete.
  • remember now, where we left our intrepid heroine: the vehicle was killed by his insurance company for a hole in the lid, so i must visit the washington state department of licensing with the original title
  • the DOL kills my car (and its old title) even more dead
  • the DOL makes my car born-again (with a new title, for a fee, the new title to magickally appear on my doorstep within the next few months)
  • the DOL re-registers my car again (for a fee)

dénouement: i have my cute little car back with a water-tight ass-end. not included in any bills: numerous hours of waiting for someone to pick me up, drop me off, wait in line (for repairs, for information, for tabs, for title rebirth, for rental vehicles (plural)). i have tons of paperwork i must hang onto because the state mandates, should my car ever be sold, the future purchaser should know the boot / trunk had a small hole that caused the car to pine for the fjords, and the vehicle was made "driveable" again.

i'm guessing the gentleman who hit me has more headaches than i, as he was driving on his commercial license from out-of-state. his pain and suffering for playing with his radio at the wrong moment are financially much worse, though his truck suffered only the loss of a tiny bit of paint on his tow grill.

so, given mandates and raised insurance rates, it can safely be stated the rear-end is one gift that keeps on giving.


20 October 2008

19 October 2008

Sunday Photo # 001

i'm not sure what the flower is, but the butterfly is known as a Queen (Danaus gilippus). the photo was taken in the Woodland Park Zoo's butterfly house a few year's back. as i recall, i was sweating more than a little on this late-June afternoon as the temperature inside is kept artificially-high so the butterflies don't spend all of their time conserving energy by sleeping on the otherwise not-so-photographic walls of the house.

it remains one of my favourites to this day.

18 October 2008

Must See Web...

the boston globe should be commended for running a page that posts some pretty fascinating photography on a regular basis on a wide variety of topics. it's called "the big picture" (under the boston.com banner), and what it purports to do (and usually delivers) reminds me of what LIFE and LOOK magazines were doing during their heydays.

well, i have to tell you, they've outdone themselves with today's incredible photography for World Animal Day.

i think i'm good, but this stuff?


17 October 2008

69 days until...

i have to say, one of the funnier halloween cartoons i've seen...

14 October 2008

the eyes have it

it was a gorgeous day; marc and i spent much of it either dining on sushi or walking the marymoor park nature loop.

while we didn't see much in the way of wildlife, we did see more than a few dogs. normally, this isn't the most interesting part of my day. however, before sunday afternoon, i could probably count on one hand the total number of animals i'd personally seen that had two differently-coloured eyes.

in less than two hours, we saw three, all different breeds: a boston terrier named "robble" (i wish i'd asked the derivation of the name),

a beagle named "josie",

and a husky named "ringo".

i've been told this problem is not abnormal for the huskies, but very unusual for the other breeds.

shows you how observant i am. i didn't notice the left eye for all three canines was blue until i put them all together for this entry...

oddly enough, most photographs i could find on heterochromia (the name of the disorder) also showed the left eye as the blue eye.


09 October 2008

I'm Late, I'm Late

mea culpa, maxima culpa. a number of you have commented on the lack of calendar images the past few months, and i've got to say two things: (1) i'm flattered and pleasantly surprised at the response, and (2) i'm sorry... on an evening such as this, please accept this little reminder, taken from the bellevue botanical gardens, one of my favourite places in early fall for gorgeous blooms...

Please feel free to download this photo for personal use on your computer's desktop. To download, just click once on the image, which will bring up the enlarged image on a new webpage. Then, right-click on the image and follow your operating system's instructions for pictures / images.

What Happened, David?

i have to say, that's one of the funnier photoshop'd ideas i've seen in quite some time: imagine Michaelangelo's beautiful sculpture of David after a tour of the US...

05 October 2008

cooper's v pileated, a local drama

it all started just a few minutes ago. a beautiful male pileated landed on the rail below my feeder, and went about his business scarfing grains and nut fragments strewn by less-fastidious eaters earlier in the day.

when chirp, my kitty, noticed him (from inside the house, thank you), and he her, he postured a bit, turned side to side to get a closer look at his admirer, took a few more grains, then flew off towards one of the forest's many deciduous trees. within seconds of his take-off, a mini-dogfight occurred with one of the neighbouring cooper's hawks.

no problem, really. the PIWO found his way to the birch, settling on the trunk for a moment, then deciding a cedar across the way was probably a bit safer.
immediately, the cooper's zeroed in and again gave chase, with the pileated gaining the cedar trunk safely; the cooper's landed quickly on a neighbouring branch.

this has gone on for the last 10 minutes, and i was wondering: do cooper's often hassle (and/or take) full-grown pileateds? i'd suppose they'd have no problems with an unhealthy bird, but the male was magnificent in size and colour, and had no obvious physical maladies. perhaps the COHA was a juvenile and still learning what he could and could not handle?

it's been more than 10 minutes now, and the COHA hasn't given up. if i should see a d
énouement, i will report it... this is so much more entertaining than watching seahawks... :)

04 October 2008

Decompressing In Huelgoat

the past few weeks have been incredibly busy: work, several volunteer commitments, and life in general, not to mention having to deal with my car being rear-ended (long story).

so, i'm attempting to decompress by wandering through memories of time spent living in western france a few years ago. among the thousands of photos still in need of triage is this relaxing reminder of a quieter moment in a tiny town named Huelgoat.

as is my wont when traveling, most travel days are spent not knowing where i'm going nor how long i will spend. the car is pointed in a random direction, then goaded into moving in that direction until something interesting is spotted, or on a whim, direction changes.

on this particular morning, i had driven west towards the city of Morlaix, then south into the rolling hills. the experience of meandering slowly through those fertile green lands should be bottled and marketed as a cure for whatever ails.

the day was as picture-perfect as you can ask for, so when it looked like Huelgoat was a place of interest, some rambling was in order.

Over the next two hours, I had discovered Le Champignon (the Mushroom), La Grotte du Diable (the Devil's Grotto), and La Grotte d'Artus
(the Grotto of Arthur). The Mushroom is a Very Large Boulder that has somehow become married to a much smaller boulder in a way that looks like an overgrown mushroom. The grottos are part of a trail that wanders through the countryside, to occasionally hike underneath more impressively large boulders that did not quite succeed in burying a creek. If memory serves, the deepest is around 10 metres below the surface boulders, requiring several ladder-aided (and not completely-safe) descents to reach.

What I wouldn't give to be relaxing there right now... :)

photo perspective: my vehicle is parked behind me along the south shoreline, and the camera is facing generically east towards the "highway" bridge over a creek.

03 October 2008

Most Conversations...

This is a test to see what happens when I upload a photograph...

Not bad, not bad... Here's hoping the resolution is "good enough" to display what I want, but not so good as to have people appropriate for monetary gain, something I've had to deal with in the past.

The quote:
"Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses" -- Margaret Millar

The photo: two double-crested cormorants in a territorial dispute at Log Boom Park / Tracy Owen Station

For My Next Trick...

About four months ago, my five-year-old photography website was hacked and subtly-defaced.

About two months ago, I found out about it, and in the process learned my hosting company knew of the problem four months ago.
I'm informed some of you may have noticed, getting caught up in the idiocy.

About one month ago, my hosting company refunded all of my hosting fee because I was less than satisfied with them and their idea of service. When you get angry, be polite and start your conversation with the CEO. When you make a suggestion, always make sure it is to someone who can make a difference.

Today, we start over.

Given that I
  • hack at chess;
  • photograph what interests me;
  • am almost always owned by cat(s);
  • love cartoons and comics;
  • love to cook, hate to clean;
  • love to travel;
  • owned a popular BBS for over a decade;
  • owned a book store (real bricks for years, virtual for more);
  • enjoy reading (especially science, science fiction, and mysteries); AND,
  • usually have an opinion on most topics, whether the opinion is reasonable or not,
perhaps this blog can be an interesting shared conversation about the world, life, and whatever else comes up... If you find it interesting, frustrating, opinionated, banal, topical, hilarious, stupid, or just plain "huh", join the conversation.