Thursday, July 30, 2015


For most of us, we lead complicated lives. Even if you think you lead a simple life, you don't.  

You have to have food, water, and space to live. I get that. But you also have to have the means to provide them, right? That means a job (or some other means of income).  You have to buy  your food, make sure your home doesn't become something on a Discovery Channel show about filth and mental illness, and basically move forward making the best decisions we can for ourselves and those around us that are important.  Complex decisions indeed, right?

Then there's Quill.

Lets review those requirements.  

Food.  Umm, we provide that. In fact, we have to feed him twice a day but in two phases. Phase 1 involves one-sixth of can of special kidney-friendly food and half of a crushed tummy pill ('cause he urps now and then (especially when he eats too fast)). Phase 2 involves the second one-sixth of a can (30 minutes later) and his insulin ('cause he is diabetic). On top of all that, we have to make sure his dry food bowl has food. If its empty, he pitches a major bitch.

Water.  Yup, we do that, too.  It's in a bowl next to his food. Once upon a time, he used to drink from the toilet bowl but he doesn't do that anymore.  Natalie also has him, I said that wrong...Quill has Natalie trained to make sure there is a glass of water available next to the bed. That would be our bed, by the way... 

...which brings us to space. Our space is his space, but he has his space that we don't use and yet we provide.  For example, I don't use a litter box. I don't clean it either (Natalie has to do that; its a long story).   I can't fit under the couch for my mid-day siestas and I don't occupy the Federal installation known as Fort Quill (seen by most as nothing more than a chair with sweatshirts draped across the seat to form a three-sided hiding spot).  

So he gets it all, those important provisions.  Food. Water. Space to live.  Everybody needs them. He's no different. He just gets them all from us.  

His biggest decision?  "Where should I nap? In the sun on the floor or on Paul's guitar case?"  

We wouldn't have it any other way.

Now if he would just stop letting those poops stick to his butt. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

If Surfers Were Insects

If you watched the news a few days ago, you may have seen the story about the surfer who was attacked by a shark on national television.  Mick Fanning was not bitten but it was damned close. The shark severed the leash that tethers him to his surfboard.  As might you might imagine, he was a bit shaken up by the incident but he has already returned to the water.

So, once again, the world gets its underwear collectively knotted up and discusses how aggressive a hunter sharks can be and how they are soooooo efficient as a predator.

Ladies and gentleman, ounce for ounce, statistic for statistic, dragonflies make sharks look like novices.

Don't get me wrong:  sharks can delivery devastating injuries. But they have to get you first.  Statistics have shown that they miss their intended target more than half of the time.  While that is certainly better than a lion on the African plains (who miss...alot), they just don't bag dinner as often as one might be led to believe.

Dragonflies, on the other hand, rarely miss.  Statistics have shown that they catch their intended prey 90-95% of the time. For all intents and purposes, they don't miss.  It has been demonstrated that they are able to more or less concentrate on a single prey item among a swarm of potential prey items (as opposed to other animals that are easily distracted by outside forces (like Republicans)). Once a target has been identified, a quick swoop and a grab with a net, if you will, of its six legs, and the prey is secure.  Launch.  Grab.  Munch.  Once a minute.  That's pretty damned good.

I photographed the dragonfly in the above photo at Hayes State Park near Jackson last weekend. Each time it returned, I could literally see the jaws moving as it devoured a little prey item.  

If surfers where tiny insects in a meadow, Mr. Fanning would never have lived to tell his tale.  In fact, every surfer in the entire competition would have been dragonfly chow. 


Yeah, woop-dee-do. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oooooohs and Aaaaaaaahhhhhhssss (2015)

The tradition continues - Trenton fireworks on the 4th of July. Natalie and I (at least) head to the secret spot on Grosse Ile to watch the show.  This year, it was just the two us with Sue (Nat's mom).  Like last year's show, it was pretty impressive and a far cry  from what I remember as a kid watching the city's show.

This year was a bit different.  It was the first real photo session with my new lens. Sure, I could have put some money into retirement, credit cards, tuition or some other worthy assignment but I secured quite a deal.  I  really needed this lens. No really.  I neeeeeeeded it as I didn't have a mid-range lens.  

I managed the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens.  Fancy, huh?  Almost as neat as the fireworks themselves.  In fact, there are three neat parts.  IS stands for "internally stabilized."  That scores me the chance to get sharp images with slower shutter speeds as the components in the lens literally shift to keep the image focused on the camera's sensor.  Generally, the slower the speed, the better your chances of walking away with a blurry image as the camera is not motionless.  This feature was turned off, by the way, for the fireworks as the camera was a on tripod (basically the ultimate stabilization) but it is will be great feature when I'm hand-holding the lens.

The second neat neat part is the f/4 reference.  This lens is a prime lens.  For many zoom lens, as you "zoom in", your aperture gets smaller. That's a problem because you are letting in less light. With this lens, I can shoot at f/4 and stay at that aperture all the way to 105mm. Pretty nifty.  

The third neat part is the "L."  That is Canon's way of saying "high quality glass."  While the downsized photos on this dump blog might not show it, the images are really quite sharp.  I'm diggin' it.

Anyhow, below are some pics. Enjoy!!!