Monday, December 22, 2008

Robin Photos - of Questionable Quality

I had spotted a red-breasted sapsucker on Saturday near Cowen Park; I went out yesterday with my camera on the slightest of chances that I might find him again. No sapsuckers, but robins were having great fun in someone's front yard. I tried to get some photos of them in action - nothing to write home about, but birds rarely care for one's reputation as a photographer.

There are two in flight in this photo - one flying right at me (lower right-hand corner of the photo):

Here's one taking a break from the fray:

A close-up from below (hey, I' really short - I can't help the weird angles I shoot from!):

Chirpy Holidays, kids!


The great thing about living near a university when it snows is that students have initiative to do something more than wander around taking photos. Intrepid igloo builders at Cowen Park:

A couple of hours later, some progress:

And a couple of hours yet later:

It exceeded my paltry height by a foot or more when I last saw it at dusk yesterday!

Too Many Snow Pictures!

We've had an incredible snowfall here in the Rain Belt; usually, we might get a little accumulation which dissipates within a day or two of making landfall. And I have to confess, I've been unable to stay indoors when the snow is actually coming down - I spent far too much time outdoors yesterday, wandering around in the snow, and taking photos like a madwoman. It's been decades since we've had such an impressive holiday season. So without further ado, let me post way too many photos of snow in Seattle.

The perfect house for a steampunk Xmas:

Snow globe:

A rock retaining wall for an ugly apartment complex becomes a vision of beauty in its winter coat:

Such fine, powdery snow found its way to the tiniest of places:

I loved these purple berries, with their snow hats on - don't worry, you're not seeing nearly as many berry photos as I took:

What could be look more like the holiday season than snow and ivy? Not much, folks. Here's something reminiscent of the Green Man, and on Solstice:

Snow collects in the coolest places - wrought iron gates, or within the frond of a fern:

Cowen Park - a gathering place for many happy folks anytime it snows up here:

Low-tech sled (an box, according to the sled team). The wee laddie inside the box wasn't the least bit disturbed by the extremely temporary nature of his sleigh - he was having fun, and I really wanted a ride in the snow, too:

Gratuitous coffee shot:

If you can't wander around in the snow with your sexy guy, you can at least have a killer cuppa java - and so I did! Thanks, Herkimer on the Ave!

We're supposed to get more snow tonight - and I can't wait! I've got all my winter gear ready!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holidays for the Unemployed

Greetings, dear readers (all three of you!) – I deeply and sincerely apologize for neglecting my readership for so long. I have been writing – but not for my blog. However, I’ve gotten several chapters of my whaling novel completed, so I’ve not been wasting my time.

I’ve also been applying for jobs – not a very interesting topic, even for someone who needs one. I will say that setting up a resume on the job site for the federal government was as painful as you would expect it to be, and very counterintuitive in many ways. But going into detail about that would be no different from reading one of my tirades about Microsoft. I’m sure there are people who have written extensively about it, and much more eloquently to boot.

I have also been making Christmas gifts for my nearest and dearest. I realize the homemade bit is a little cheesy, much like an episode of the Waltons, but when you're totally strapped for cash, you have to think creatively. Many of you know that I’m a knitter; but I’ve taken up a new hobby (at the behest of a fortune cookie, no less). I have to give most of the credit to Harmsworth’s Household Encyclopedia – A Practical Guide to all Home Crafts written by the Leading Experts of the day and containing upwards of 15,000 Illustrations, Volume 6 (Pages 4481-5408, STR-Z). This volume includes an article on do-it-yourself taxidermy, so I’ve been collecting road kill and making unique gifts for the important people in my life.

Now I did try trapping a few animals – mostly from zoos, mind you – but I have to admit, it was a great deal of work. The taxidermy part is toil enough; you have no idea how difficult it was to haul a polar bear up two flights of stairs to my apartment.

Anyhow, here are some photos of my work – you lucky readers can try to guess which critter will be on your doorstep come Christmas morning.

The perfect cat! No clawing the furniture, licking its privates in front Aunt Mildred, and if you’ve family members with allergies, little Fluffy can be put away in the closet and forgotten until spring cleaning. What more could you want? You say you’re not a cat person? Well, look no further:

Fido here will never need walking, never soil the rug, never keep the neighbors awake with his incessant barking. Place him in your front window periodically – his bright-eyed hyper-aware stare will frighten off any would-be burglars.

Want to show off your hunting prowess without trekking into the woods for days at a time, drinking beer with acquaintances you never wanted to get to know this well, fighting off the paranoia that this might be the Deliverance moment of your life…? Well, if you’re the lucky recipient of this nifty little kitty, you can impress all your friends, men and ladies, with your bravery at facing off against this monstrosity. Grrr!

This next fellah I acquired at a zoo – no, don’t ask how. But if you think the kitty will impress folks with your hunting skills, check out this baby:

Yeah, I had to kipe an old pair of my mother’s dentures; but I thought I did an excellent job of making him look as if he’s about to speak. My first thought was that he could be saying, “Please pass me a beer.” But you can always tell your buddies that he was saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” right before you blasted him with your bear gun.

Raccoons are plentiful – but tough. I acquired a few scars wrestling with this little devil, but I think he looks super cute:

I like to call him Bitey.

This beauty I got from the UW’s primate lab after he had an unfortunate accident involving a metal fork and an electrical outlet. (Note to the safety folks at MDC Technologies – you may want to extend your training to cover such unexpected encounters.) He was called Ronnie – his cage neighbor was named Bonzo, you see. I think I’ve captured the dignity we associate with primates – when they’re not flinging crap at you.

Finally, I created something whimsical – crows and cats are readily available in the city, sad to say:

This is very reminiscent of Victorian taxidermy, the conflation of two creatures into one fantastical being. Rather like grafting Dick Cheney’s head onto George Bush’s body, but I think we must all agree that my winged kitty is much more pleasing to the eye.

Merry Thanksgivoween, everyone!