Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lusting is a sin...

... but I just can't help myself.
I went to a friend's house for the first time last night (I've been to other friend's houses before, but not this friend's... just wanted to clear that up). Anyway, she not only has a very nice house, beautifully decorated, plenty of room for the dogs, BUT, in her basement, she has rubber matting and her own, private, indoor, mini agility ring. I lusted. I drooled. I quickly ran through my head how I could take advantage of this for myself. Unfortunately, I have not come up with a way yet; so I will continue to lust after her basement-knowing it isn't right-for a least a little while.
I was just thinking, the "normal" woman probably lusts after other people's husbands, jewelry, bank accounts, and stuff like that. I'm probably the only person that lusts after another woman's basement. Surely God didn't include basements in the whole "sin" thing... do you think?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flying With Dogs

I continue to be puzzled and even upset with people that fly their pets as cargo. I also continue to hear people say "I flew my dog to.... and it all went well!" Well, let me describe to you the dog that was flying from St. Louis today.
When I boarded my flight, I could see the United aircraft next to us, loading cargo and preparing for takeoff. From the time I looked over, there was a crate sitting on the apron in the rain, wind, and spitting snow. I don't know how long it had already been sitting there when I saw it, but it continued to sit there for the next 25 minutes while workers tossed luggage around it and used it for a table, setting other items on top of the crate. Our aircraft started and other aircraft moved around, with the ground crew donning sound-blocking headphones, yet the poor dog continued to sit in his crate in the noise and the cold. Just as our plane was backing up, I saw the ground crew load the crate onto the conveyer belt to load into the plane. First, when they picked it up, it tilted way to one side to load the opposite end onto the belt. Then, riding the belt up at a 45 degree angle, the dog had clearly slid to the back and was struggling to right himself as the crate was rocking. If there had been any water in there, it surely spilled during this rough ride.
A non-dog lover may not have seen anything wrong with this, because the crate was treated much like any other piece of luggage, except that it was left out in the rain while all of the other luggage was loaded. But it just underlined for me my belief that I would NEVER put my dog in cargo unless our lives depended on it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More photoshop time wasting...

I've mentioned before that I love to play with Photoshop. I've never taken a class, so I just experiment to get what I'm looking for. One of my favorite techniques to do with photos is to blur out the background. Now before all you real photoshop people start calling me, I realize that there is probably an action to do this, but I do it myself. I'd like to think it is because I'm a perfectionist, but in reality, I just don't understand actions all that well.
Anyway, the first step is to make a duplicate layer. There are several ways, but easiest for me is to right click on the layer in the layer window and choose "duplicate layer." Next, use the select tool and make a circle, rectangle, oval... whatever best captures the part of the image that you want in focus. Then, delete it! Next, deselect... you can do this on the toolbar, or ctrl d works as well. If you turned off your background layer, you're left with something like this:

Use the Image -> adjustment -> brightness/contrast tool (or any other method of your choosing) to force this layer to be completely white. Next, go to Filter -> blur -> Gaussian blur and get it all smudgy. You will want to turn your background layer back on for this step if you turned it off earlier. The amount you blur will depend on the image size... just adjust until it looks good. Once you apply, you might still want to adjust the opacity of this layer to get it just right. (opacity is on the layer menu, top right).
If all went okay, you have something like this:
Now comes the real fun! Go to Layer -> flatten image. This merges your two layers together. Now go to Filter -> Artistic. Pick any of those options and it will open a new window and a WHOLE NEW WORLD. I won't try to describe them... just play.
Diffuse glow:

This is "Poster edges", which, by the way, looks very different depending on the resolution of the photo that you are applying the tool to. Here is poster edges on a small image and then the same settings applied to a much higher res photo. Click on the second one to see the detail... it almost looks like someone drew it.
Send me some samples of your creativity, I'd love to see them!
I'm sure this bored you non-photoshop folks to tears. Sorry... I'll come up with something better for my next post.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Huh? I can't hear you?

A few months ago, I shared with you Jake's compulsion to chew off the rays of sunshine from his toy that used to look like a sun. Nothing has changed and he recently de-rayed another sun.

But this compulsion does not end with sunshine. Here is an example of what he did to a bunny toy... "what? I can't hear you?" Poor bunny.

Our friend Auggie's mom just sent Jake a new toy. A cow with an empty water bottle inside that makes a loud crackle sound when he bites on it. He loves this new toy, but almost immediately had to put his mark on it by polling it. (for you city folks, polling refers to removing their horns). And even though I have watched it like a hawk, I noticed tonight that Mr. Cow is now also missing an ear... much like his friend, bunny rabbit. "Huh? Still can't hear you!"

But perhaps the most atrocious of them all is this reindeer, which was one of the dogs' Christmas toys. It is a little harder to see on the reindeer, because on top of missing an antler and an eyeball, the poor reindeer has been gutted and has no "fill" left.

But I can't help but wonder what this is all about. Why the ears/horns/antlers? Why are they removed completely, not just gnawed on. And why only one?
Oh Jakey, I so wish you could talk....