Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pointless spring photo of the day:

Yeah, not in the mood for a blather.

But look! Pussy Willows!

Hey, I thought it was exciting...

Monday, 29 April 2013

Quick pointless photo while I'm waiting for my car to be serviced

And no, the garage doesn't offer free internet or anything useful like that. I'm still here at my father's place.

Unfortunately (for the blog, at least), I didn't realise that my dad was going to pick me up from the garage, so I have absolutely no blather prepared.

Have a flower, though. It's my first actual wildflower of the spring. Early Blue Violet, which of course isn't blue but that never seems to bother botanists.

That's, um, all I have.

See you later in the week, then.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

New games

 I went out yesterday afternoon for a while to -- let's face it -- challenge myself with the new camera. It was a windy, gusty, cloudy day (although nothing like what I hear they got north of us), so I knew that I didn't have a hope of getting much worth using. However, since the photography on this blog is meant to be pointless anyway, I figured that it would give me a good excuse to practice without worrying too much about the results.

Man, do I love digital photography for that. Can you imagine going out on a windy day with a film camera just to muck around a bit? You'd be broke in no  time after all of the processing fees. And not only that, you'd end up with nothing much to show for it, either. I like taking pictures, but I don't think I'd ever like it enough to sink that much money into wasting time.


Surprisingly enough, I did get a couple of shots that, while they definitely won't win me any prizes, are decent enough to post. You'll be seeing them over the next few days, no doubt.

There are a fair number of shots of the crocuses like the one above, naturally, since they're the only flowers out there at the moment (don't say it too loudly because I don't want to scare it, but spring may actually be thinking of starting, finally), but there are also a couple of leaf buds and things around the yard that aren't snow.

Finally, did I mention?

One of the highlights for me for a couple of reasons is the picture you see above. Doesn't look like much, I know, but not only is this my first spider photo of the season, it's the first spider photo for this camera. Yes, the Nikon is no longer a spider virgin, folks.

This particular spider is a long-jawed orb weaver, and it was tiny. And not only was it tiny, it was in the middle of its web on a windy day. And yet I was able to get a picture of it. Not the greatest picture, true, but I was able to focus in on it as it was wiggling away in the wind and get an identifiable shot.

I never would have been able to do that with my autofocus camera. It wouldn't have seen it.

Now, I imagine that there's a large part of my two fans who are saying well, duh, Dee to themselves right about now and wondering why I'm even bothering to play Captain Obvious about focus versus autofocus. You need to understand, though. For the last few years (as a matter of fact, ever since I put my Minolta SLR away in favour of playing digital), a huge part of my picture-taking has been trying to fool the sensors on autofocus cameras into seeing things that they didn't think were there. It was kind of a game, really. There's a spider; let's see if I can get a recognisable photo of it with a camera that's not built to do that.

It's amazing that I succeeded so often, really.

Imagine taking that mindset now and applying it to a fully functional DSLR. Not only do I not have to fool anything since I can focus things myself, but I can choose a faster shutter speed if I need to. Or zoom in a bit without a pretend digital zoom. Or change my depth of field even, dammit.

That's going to completely change how I approach things, and I'm looking forward to playing the new game.

And not only that. I don't have to give up the original game at all if I don't want to since I can just turn everything back to automatic on the days when I'm feeling lazy and go back to taking snapshots.

Hey, I know that I'm probably sounding like a dinosaur here, talking about cameras. I know taking pictures with a cameraphone is a lot more convenient than having to haul around an actual camera, but I can't imagine that it's nearly as fun. And I know that the end product doesn't even compare.

There's a different place for that anyway, and I expect that sometime in the next couple of months you'll start seeing that side of me as well. Yes, boys and girls, I will eventually get around to joining this decade and getting a smartphone. I just haven't decided on a provider yet, and since I'm not on contract with my current provider at the moment there's not really any hurry in it. It'll happen soon enough, though.

Anyway. Again. First picture of spider taken, first pictures of flowers taken, (FINALLY, did I mention???), and I'm well on my way to both learning how my camera works and making my father's new neighbour think I'm completely insane.

That last is an, erm, hazard of pointless photography. You tend to prowl around the yard looking generally mad and taking pictures of apparently nothing.

Lunch now. Probably no blogging from me tomorrow, but I may get one or two chances over the week to blather a bit. Assuming that this week's meetings don't take over my life the way that last week's meetings did, of course. Different meetings this time, at least.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

The problem with my week

The problem with spending the better part of a week sitting in a small room with three other people (and one other by WebEx) is that it doesn't really give you anything to blather about unless you feel the need to blather about software set-up.

I don't feel the need to blather about software set-up.

Besides, after a week in a small room I'd like to go outside for a bit and take some photos, or at least as many photos as today's winds will allow. So. Let's see, I guess, what photos I have on me (literally on me. I'm wearing my nerdstick on a lanyard at the moment) that I might be able to fake a blather with.

Ok, this'll do. It's weird, but it's talkable.

What you're seeing here is a photo I took from the bed of the underside of my Ikea chair. If the bed part sounds weird, just remember that I have a fold-out bed (one room apartment, if you'll recall) and when the bed's unfolded it comes nearly out to the chair.

If what's under the chair seems weird, just remember that when the bed's unfolded the stuff under the chair is an easy grab if I'm working on something. In other words, the underside of the chair tends to function like a desk drawer. That is, unless I'm having people over. Then the stuff under the chair gets shoved into the closet. I do have at least a little pride in appearance.


What you're seeing? Well, from bottom right, gesso, masking fluid, and glue. Exciting so far, I imagine. Behind? a bag containing assorted stuff that I use in my mixed media journal. The brown, gesso-edged paper sheets that you might be able to make out are actually the journal itself. It's a mess. It's a mess on purpose. I tend to get caught up in making things look "right", especially when I'm doing things for work, so when I find myself getting too much of a stick up my butt, artistically-speaking (artistic butt-sticks? That's a bit odd. And no doubt some performance artist somewhere has already done a version of it), I get out my journal and make a pointless mess.

I tell myself that I'm trying out techniques, and I suppose that sometimes I am. Really, though, it's more like my version of finger painting. Sometimes literally done with my fingers.

Top left? Um, Terra Stix. I'm a bit of a sucker for the taro, to be honest. Probably as much because of the little purple flecks as the taste. Behind the snack food is a Jenga Xtreme set. I suck at Jenga. That's why I only play myself.

Shall we mention the elephant in the room now? How many of you saw the Portable Atheist (which I'm rereading, by the way) and immediately formed a judgment? How many of you decided that I'm godless and will a) pray for me, or b) shun me? How many of you saw Atheist and have decided that I'm somehow a kindred spirit who's willing to rail against religion?

How many of you stopped having knee-jerk reactions long enough to realise that it's just a book?

I like books. I read lots of books. I need to be better at keeping the bookshelf you see on the sidebar up to date, because I've done a fair amount of reading these past few months that I haven't bothered to list here. I read a lot, and I read a lot of different viewpoints. Do the viewpoints in the above book agree with mine?

Sorry, not saying.

I have beliefs, obviously. Everybody does. But the moment I tell you my beliefs this blog has an agenda, whether I want it to or not. Everything I blathered would be coloured in a way that I wouldn't have meant it to be. That's so not what I want this place for.

The word pointless is in the title, after all. This blog is supposed to be light, pointless, and largely a waste of time.

Generally it succeeds in that, I think you'll agree.

So, for anyone looking for religion or politics, you've come to exactly the wrong place. For anyone looking for weird pictures, pseudophilosophy, pointless whinging, or occasional flights into the completely silly... well, here you are, aren't you?

Come over to my place. We'll sit on the bed, eat taro chips, suck at Jenga, and finger paint with gesso.

And not talk about atheists.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

It's a painting by Huff.

Huff would be my car.

My dirty car.

Well, I did warn you about this week and the blather...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

Ok, I don't really have time to post on my brief lunch break (my writ's gimped up anyway. Long story), but I did have to at least make mention of the news that Richie Havens has died.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I was a huge Richie havens fan, but I did see him live once at a folk fest and it was an unexpectedly astounding experience. The performance itself was incredible, but by a weird coincidence it was helped out by the weather. It'd been a dull, rainy day that managed to be a dull, threatening-to-rain evening. Things held off until Richie's final notes died off, then we all got completely soaked. I know he had absolutely nothing to do with the whole thing, but the fantastic music followed by the fantastic drenching was a pretty surreal experience.

I've obviously not forgotten it.

Here's Freedom. You knew I'd have to link to it.

That's it for me today.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Well, my compressor works

The problem with today's lower-profile car tires is that sometimes it's difficult to notice that your pressure is low until it's really low. The thing's probably been a little underinflated for weeks (yes, I know that you're supposed to check regularly. How many of you can honestly say that you do, though? No, I mean honestly? Yeah, I thought so), but it was only yesterday that driving felt a little... spongy, I guess you'd say. When I got home after work I was too bagged to care about checking anything, but this morning when I (somewhat serendipitously, I guess) left for work early it was incredibly apparent with one glance that I had one looow tire.

So, it was out with the high capacity leave-your-car-running-or-it-will-eat-your-battery compressor that my father bought me when my other one died (and incidentally, if you don't have a compressor in your trunk right now I think you're a bit silly. Do you know how hard it is to find a gas station with an air hose in this vandalistic age?). I'd never used the thing before because a) I've been lucky enough not to have a flat for a while, and b) frankly, it scared me a bit. Compressors as a rule don't scare me -- I can pump up my own tires, thank you boys -- but this one seemed a little too heavy duty somehow. Or maybe it was just the ominous warnings in the instructions. Instructions for a compressor, yes. That should tell you something right there.

Anyway, I just got out of a lengthy meeting so this isn't going to be some long, weird dramatic story from Yours Oddly. No, I just wanted to say that I sucked it up, took out the scary compressor, started the car, plugged everything in (well, not the car), and inflated my tire.

The end. Terribly exciting, wasn't it? And let's hope that it was just a slow leak and that today's pointless photo isn't prophetically trying to tell everyone that my tire is, indeed, literally screwed.

Or nailed. Whichever.

Whatever would I do then?

Um, take it to a tire shop and have it repaired.

I'm really bad at this helpless femme drama thing today, aren't I?

Ah well. Consider yourself lucky to have any kind of post. This week will be continuing in its theme of I have no idea when I'll have computer time to myself, so you take 'em as you get 'em.

Or not. Suit yourself either way. I have work to do, so I'm not exactly going to worry about it.

My tire, on the other hand...

Nah. Won't be worrying about that, either.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Oh, something

I don't really have anything to say about skulls today.


It's just that I'm not sure how much I'll be able to blog for the rest of the week, so I felt like I should probably post something now.


It's pretty worth it so far, isn't it?

Sad, that, because that's all there's going to be. Lunch now.

Later, blog.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pigeon art

I guess the pigeon was a bit of an unwilling participant, however.

Yes, what you're looking at is a pigeon skull painted purple. The plastic canvas box is one I made ages (as in, probably twenty years) ago, but it happens to be a pretty perfect fit for the skull so it'll probably become a full-time skull box now.

I got the skull at a local trade show that my dad and I went to yesterday. The trade show was the usual mix of local businesses, bigger businesses with professional trade show people, unwanted political parties (yes, I'm talking to you, Wild Rose. I didn't think that it was possible for anything to make Albertans look even more redneck to the rest of the country, but you and that walking blunder Danielle Smith managed it. And honestly? When you asked me if I wanted a balloon or a brochure you're lucky I only said neither. I could have said sooo much more...), farmers' market, and local talent on the entertainment stage. Same thing I've seen (and collected a lot of pens at) many, many times in my hometown.

I'd never seen a skull booth, though.

Seems that one of the local tradesman has a side business cleaning and preparing skulls. He uses dermestids to clean the skulls -- one of the best ways to do it, I think, and much less labour-intensive than maceration -- and then seals them and, if you want, mounts them. His work is good. Good enough that I'm hoping that we might be able to have him do skull preps for us at work, rather than ordering skulls from the scientific supply companies (which is massively expensive).

Some of you right now are completely weirded out. That's too bad. And I'm not being sarcastic when I say that.

I like skulls. Not in the death's-head-clothing-and-skull-chains-around-the-neck way, no. I can't be bothered pretending to be emo or goth. I like skulls in a bit more of a professional way, I guess. I like what they can teach.

My two fans already know that I'm a bit of a comparative anatomy freak. It was one of my favourite subjects in school; even with all of that icky dissection stuff, yes. Knowing that you can look at an animal's structures and how they work and then learn about its life just by comparing it to other animals' structures and workings? Come on, that's pretty cool. And if you're truly disgusted by the thought of poking around an animal's muscles and innards, you at least have to admit that looking at skulls is a much cleaner option. Cranial size, length of nasal cavity, areas of muscle attachment, size and type of teeth... yeah, you can learn a lot from skulls.

I won't have to worry about the size and type of the teeth of the pigeon, you'll notice.

Painting skulls purple isn't normal in scientific prep, by the way. The vendor was just selling painted pigeon and rodent skulls as a novelty. It obviously worked on me, but it also gave me a chance to see his more serious work. And, as I said above, I guess that worked on me too because I fully intend to give him some business if I can.

Oh, and if you're wondering, I only collected one giveaway pen this year. It's kind of neat, though. Bet some of you wish I'd posted a photo of it instead. That's too bad... sarcastically, this time. And for those of you scratching your heads at the fact that I've managed to blather on so long about one purple pigeon skull (isn't there a song about that?), it could have been worse. As well as seeing the trade show yesterday, I also did my taxes.

Which would you have rather heard about: my taxes, or my pigeon skull?

Maybe don't answer that.

Aaanyway, off for lunch now. Busy week ahead so posting might be patchy, but it's been so patchy anyway lately that you probably won't even notice.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


 Not the best shots because I took them quickly (stupid woman didn't put on a coat), but I just wanted to prove that spring is trying.

Very trying.

These will probably be covered in snow by the end of the day.

It would have been nice if the crocuses were actually open before then, but what can you do?

Whine and complain if you're me, I guess. But with good reason.

South and north of us they're already in the thick of things, and there are highway warnings out. Around 0C is just such a bad temperature to get this. Things are going to be turning to ice by the afternoon, and it's looking like I might be stuck here at my dad's place for an extra night. No worries on that, though; I don't have to work until the afternoon, and my philosophy of winter (sigh. Winter, still) driving is that if you don't have to, don't. There are enough idiots out there already, so why join the idiot crowd?

Anyway, none of this puts me in much of a blather mood, so this is all you're getting. I'll try for an actual topic tomorrow, but since the mood will probably just be bleaker don't expect much then either.

I'm just going to go have lunch now. And sulk, most likely.

Stupid spring, did I mention?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Kinda busy

Kinda busy not sleeping.

Yeah, it's been a heckuva week for finding out what silly garbage is on television at three in the morning.

Ah well. Eventually I'll get some real sleep. Either that or my brain will fall out.

Not sure I'd notice the difference at this point.


I'm also kinda busy with work just now, so I'll have to make this short. See that dripping water? Or that puddle of water that doesn't look like it's actively dripping, I guess I should say. It was dripping from the upper floor of our birding deck here at work.

Dripping water.

Dripping, melting snow.

That's what spring's supposed to be like, last I heard. Why, then, are we expecting still more snow this weekend? I mean, it's not supposed to be like the blast that Ontario's getting (I feel for you, folks), but it's the end of freaking April and the snow should go away.

Apparently spring's giving the entire country a miss this year, and I, for one, am tired of it.

Of course, I'm just tired generally, but dammit spring. Give winter a kick in the butt already.

I want more melting things. And sleep. And lunch, but that last is my own fault for not bringing any.

And now I want to stop typing, so I will. That at least I can control.

Friday, 12 April 2013



I haven't even seen that movie, so I don't really have much more to say about that.

Actually, I don't really have time to say much more. I've been kind of busy with this work stuff, and now I need to get busy with the lunch stuff or I won't get any before I have to do the interview stuff.

You're probably gathering by now that it's just as well that I don't have time to blather anyway.

I feel like I'm cheating my two fans a bit, though, so since I won't be near a computer this weekend (blame our latest upcoming storm for the fact that I've decided not to go in to my father's place. I'd get there ok, but I'm not sure about getting back) why don't we end this post with a little bit of entertainment courtesy of the (as of yesterday, sadly) late, great Jonathan Winters? It's too bad that most of the people my age will only remember him for that nonsensical role on Mork and Mindy. We'd be much better off knowing him for the nonsensical role of Jonathan Winters.

That's it from me, then. See you next week.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

I really have nothing to say

No, really. I'm kind of dragging today, and I'm on the second straight day of a headache (I think it's the current weather system. Air pressure messes with my head sometimes). It's not that I'm in a bad mood; just not a blathery one.

Plus, see this leaf bud? See how much it wants to start getting things done? Well, we're expecting another storm this weekend so it'll have to wait yet again.

I'm starting to get the feeling that we're going to give spring a miss and head straight into fall this year. And it seems to be that way across most of the country for some reason this year, doesn't it? I mean, I know I've been complaining about our Alberta weather, but a look at the national forecasts tells me that we're not exactly isolated in this garbage. I suppose what I'm saying is that I'll allow everybody to complain at the moment. It's all right by me.

Anyway, this is going to have to do it for today. Stay tuned for day four of the weather headache, followed by the snow mould congestion, followed, most likely, by the poplar pollen kill-me-nows.

Why is it that I want spring, again?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Pointless photo of the busy day:

I had a meeting this morning. I have another one in an hour or so. I have things to do in the meantime.

It's Blogging Gets Short Shrift Day, everyone.

Later, then.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Something about cameras or something

Look, boys and girls -- it's fun with shutter speeds! And melting, which certainly isn't occurring at the moment.

Oh, that's bound to put me in a bad mood. Let's start again.

Today's post title is because I didn't know what I was going to blather about until I had a look at what was on my nerdstick. I'd forgotten that the other week when I was in at my father's place I'd taken a few shots just playing around with camera settings. "Something" is my usual placeholder title until I figure out a topic, and I guess was just too lazy to delete it today.

Sad when it comes to that.

Anyway, one of the reasons I'm getting more than frustrated at this protracted winter is that I'm dying to get out and play with the new (ish. Am I still allowed to call it new at this point?) camera, and because I'm me I kinda need growing things to do that. I need leaves. Flowers. Spiders. My two fans know my usual suspects.

I just need life, not snow. I'm the same way with my doodles. I have such a hard time getting interested in things that aren't organic, and with my short attention span it's hard to keep focused if I'm not at least a little interested.

That's going to make things a bit, well, interesting in my work life in the next few weeks, but you'll no doubt hear more about that as the time comes so I'll leave it for now.

Anyway (again), I've got to the point with the camera where I'm ready to start playing with different functions and settings, and the season is dragging me down because of that. Since it's been quite a while since I've used an SLR I spent the first few weeks almost entirely on automatic while I tried to remember how to hold the thing. Then I started trying to do my own focusing. Then I got frustrated. Then I refocused the eyepiece. Then I got less frustrated.

Funny how hard it is to focus a camera when you've got the eyepiece on the wrong diopter...

Anyway (the third), I'm ready to start tinkering. Playing with settings. Framing pictures instead of just taking snapshots. Making mistakes (one of the true joys of digital photography. No, I'm serious. Delete makes me happy). Taking freaking photographs.

And today I wouldn't even be able to take a picture of running meltwater.


Stupid lack of spring.


I don't know whether I'm trying to move things along or just making sure that I have absolutely no photos to post here, but when I uploaded today's pointlessness I also deleted almost all of my leftover, unused-as-of-yet pictures of last year's flowers. There you go, spring. Ball's in your court. Get yer arse in gear or this'll be one empty blog.

Yeah, that'll show you all right.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Stretching my boundaries

I'm trying to like green peppers. Really I am.

I don't, though. I find them massively overpowering to just about any other food that they're with, with one of the sole exceptions being ginger beef (and I think that's only because there's so much else going on in that particular dish).

I don't understand liking green pepper. Why do people ever like a food that takes over so much? Where's the balance? And where, for that matter, is the point to stuffed peppers? Here, I made you something. It's a green pepper that I've gone to the trouble of stuffing with a bunch of other things that you're really not going to care about because all that you're going to taste is green pepper.

Oh yeah. Sign me up right now. The closest I'll ever come to a stuffed pepper is the lame painting you see above, and you'll notice that I didn't even bother to "stuff" that pepper because it would have been a lot of fuss for nothing.

I don't like green pepper, and I don't like it to the point where, as a child, I could tell just from the smell of a perfectly harmless non-green-pepper pizza if the guy at the pizza place had made an evil green pepper pizza before that one. Yep, green pepper's so powerful that simply having that green pepper smell on your hands infects the next pizza.

I'm trying to like the blasted stuff, though.


And why?

Because it's in EVERYTHING. If you start checking labels, you'll find that green pepper is one of the most insidious ingredients in commercial cooking. And I can't tell you how many times I've watched a cooking show and gotten interested enough in a recipe to maybe consider looking it up afterwards, only to have the TV personality betray me by dumping in a bunch of the green stuff.

Sigh. It's almost enough to put a person off cooking.

And pizza.

What I'm trying to say is that I forgot to check the label the last time I bought pizza sauce because I was in a hurry and they were out of my usual brand. I got it home, opened up the jar... and smelled GREEN PEPPER.

Damn you, green pepper.

Now I either have to throw out a jar of what should have been harmless pizza sauce, or learn to like green pepper.

I'm trying to like green pepper.

Yes, I'm that cheap. Or that p.o'd, whichever way you'd like to look at it.

Damn you, green pepper.


So what gives, Dee? You disappear for a week again, and then come back and not only write a silly post about a harmless food, but illustrate it with a picture of a fairly bad watercolour that you did years ago?


You see, the problem is that I'm currently looking out the window at a beautiful winter day. And then I'm looking at the calendar and it says spring. It's depressing enough to take the blather out of anyone, really. You can't blame me for that.


Damn you, Alberta weather...
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