Sunday, June 6, 2010

So Long and Thanks For All The Fish

I was a little more than halfway through my morning run when I realized that I had missed a day. Not that the day was a complete blank. I did lots of things. Not big important things. Just Saturday sort of things.

But Day 178 didn't follow Day 177. Four and a half days shy of the halfway point in my yearlong quest to post at least one photo every day, nothing.

Now I'm calling it a day.

Here are a few sample excuses:

Last week we upgraded our antique 36-inch CRT television for a new Sharp Aquos 46-in LED LCD television. I ran a network cable into the family room and bought a five-port switch at Fry's. The TV and a Sony Blu-Ray player both have 10-100 ethernet network adapters. And both have Netflix streaming built in. In addition, I've added cabling necessary to plug my Macbook Pro laptop into the TV and stream Hulu.
The timing is not coincidental. When we dropped cable TV as a cost-cutting move after my full-time job was cut to half-time in January 2009, we agreed that we'd restore cable service long enough for me to watch the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Next week, Surewest will connect the new TV to their Digital Choice service and next weekend I'll watch USA take on England in the first game.

To complicate the daily photo shoot further, I will have cataract surgery on my right eye on June 30. Five years ago I had cataract surgery on my left eye, so I know from experience that there will be at least a day or two when I won't be able to take photos. Sure, I could bank a few photos to cover the period, but I'm not going to do that.

My decision early in the game to post photos that were taken days, sometimes weeks, earlier sent me down a slippery slope. I slipped from taking a photo a day to uploading a photo a day. Not a minor change. Now I've splashed in the water.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of Douglas Adams' trilogy, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before Earth was demolished to make way for a hyperspatial express route.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Back to the flowers . . .

Day 177 of 365

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Decorating Google's Search Page

Google added a feature today that allows logged in users to customize the background image on the Google home page. (Here's the blog announcement.) And so I tried out a few of my 365 Day photo project images as backgrounds. Click on the image below to see a slideshow of my favorites.

The Carts Before The Horsing Around

Day 176 of 365

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Trains

I saved this photos from a week ago because I knew I'd be on the train to Oakland today.

Raced this morning to get to the Sacramento Amtrak station in time to buy a ticket for the 7 a.m. train to Oakland only to have the train suffer a disabling mechanical malfunction. That left all of the people left behind by that train joining all of the people who regularly take the 7:40 train. Considered myself lucky not to be standing in the aisle when I finally boarded. After we unloaded two trains worth of Davis travelers I was able to grab half of a table for the remainder of the trip.

I'm on my way to a 10:30 a.m. meeting in downtown Oakland. I did this same commute four times a week a year ago. It is possible I'll be doing it again soon. The two-hour trip on Amtrak beats driving any day. I've got all the creature comforts of a regular office. I've got a 120 volt outlet to power my computer. My employer pays for my cellular Internet access. Restrooms are available and I can get coffee and food on the cafe car.

Day 175 of 365

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Haven't had time to properly blog recently. I'm going to work on improving that. This is from my grab bag of leftovers.

Day 173 of 365

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cal Stirs

The glass wall of the CalSTRS building in West Sacramento . . .

. . . a polar coordinated deep space telescope . . .

. . . and then a zigged and zagged oscilloscope . . .

. . . the randomness of content-aware chaos . . .

. . . with dabs of oil paint . . . but not really. Never really.

Day 169 of 365

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parking lot flowers

I've been doing a lot of driving, which means a lot of parking lots.

Day 168 of 365

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Road kill on the deck

Basking in the sun . . .

I was experimenting with the flash I bought for the camera.

There's just no magic here. (See this)

And finally, a slightly painted photo that makes it jump alive.

Day 167 of 365

Monday, May 24, 2010

Indistinguishable from magic

Arthur C. Clarke formulated three "laws" of prediction. Law No. 3:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Meet the magic of Adobe Photoshop CS5's "Content-Aware" automatic fill.

A pair of ducks spent the afternoon by our pool. The Wife and I believe this is the same pair who spent several days by the pool last year. Maybe. Maybe not.

Anyway, I recently received my copy of Adobe Creative Suite CS5. On the Photoshop side, the big talking point has been the ability of the software to examine the content surrounding an area of the image and imagine what that area would look like if you deleted the existing content and replaced it with content-aware fill. I have watched several videos of this, but it is just something you have to see to believe.

I created a rough outline of the duck in the foreground. That's what would be the marching ants if this were a moving picture. And then I hit shift-delete, which brought up this dialogue box. This says the fill contents will use "Content-Aware." That's the default for this. All I did was click on OK.

And after my computer thought about all of this for maybe 30 seconds, I was left with this. Honest. All I did was loosely mark the boundary of what I wanted to remove, pressed shift-enter and then clicked OK.

If you look at the picture at full size you will see a little blurring in the grass that lets on that something happened. Also, the cement that replaces the duck is a straight copy of the image to the right, including the plant that extends into the concrete.

Now, no disrespect meant to the dog and his trick tongue (here), but this is real magic.

Day 166 of 356

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Dog

We take a detour from The Cats to meet The Dog.

Our dog's name is Blainee. The Kid named her. At the time, he was really excited about magician David Blain.
There is something magical about being able to lick the top of your nose.

Day 165 of 356

Saturday, May 22, 2010

In the Shadow

One shadow; three views.

Day 164 of 365