Monday, June 30, 2008

The Photos

By popular request, some photos of last night's amazing sky show.

The sky was yellow at first, and bright enough to illuminate everything with an eerie yellow hue. It was truly like looking through yellow tinted lenses. Or being on another planet with a different atmosphere. (Yes I read a lot of sci-fi. What of it?) The clouds were roiling around after the rain stopped without any lasting or discernible shape at first. Soon, they began to form rounded shapes here and there.

yellow sky

The yellow mellowed out into a rosy golden glow just as the spheroids became more pronounced.

golden sky

As the sky darkened and the colors deepened, the spherical shapes stretched out into streamers and began to break up.

amber sky

The colored, diffuse illumination was so strangely beautiful that I wished it would last. But sunsets happen quickly and all too soon the show was over. Good thing I had a camera handy! I tried to take some long exposures to capture the lightning bugs. That venture was not successful. I caught a few, but the photos were not very dramatic, and seemed to be missing the spirit of how they look in person.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Golden skies and lightning bugs

Thunderstorms passed through just before sunset, resulting in an unusual color cast to the sky. It began as a golden yellow hue from the low clouds that made all of the wet trees and grass look greener. Then the thinning cloud cover took on a rosy orange hue before fading to twilight blue. The clouds were constantly in motion and bubbling into strange spherical masses as they broke up. The illumination from the sky made it feel like I was looking at the yard through colored filters. Everything took on the color of the clouds.

Once it was mostly dark, the lightning bugs started their show. They really outdid themselves tonight. Not sure why, but there seem to be many more of them this year than usual. Maybe I am just noticing more of them because I'm spending so much more time outside on the porch. Whatever the reason, I am grateful. I could spend hours watching them dance and glow.

Friday, June 27, 2008



Both Moxy and Silvio were adopted from the shelter in the month of June, so this post is for them. Moxy came on the scene just a few weeks before I started this blog. My first post about her was only my second blog entry here. I also posted a photo of her first (and only) bath. Moxy was a darned cute kitten.

moxy and mousie

Silvio joined the family almost exactly a year ago. (Yes, I had a major camera upgrade between these two pictures, and it shows!) Don't let those big, innocent eyes fool you. He is Trouble with a capital T. He gets shot by "Winona", the disciplinary squirt gun, a lot.


I was saddened by an article in the local newspaper about the record numbers of euthanizations of unwanted pets in the Atlanta area brought on by the foreclosure crisis. All the shelters are maxed out. That really sucks. I wish landlords were more accepting of pets. If you think about it, pets are far less likely to damage property than children. They might poop or puke in an inconvenient spot now and then (as will children), but pets won't write on the walls with permanent markers or play with matches. I'm just sayin'... It is a terrible thing that families lose their homes and then have to give up their pets as well. Especially when it is highly likely that those older pets will never find another home and will end up being put down. Very sad.

Monday, June 23, 2008

And I thought my dreams were weird...

PDM doesn't usually remember his dreams, but he remembered enough of last night's dream to describe it over dinner tonight.

He dreamed that Gene Roddenberry's wife had his brain preserved after he died. She fled into outer space with it. Then she began to clone the brain and sell slices of it as cheese to aliens on the black market. Yes, cheese. Turns out it was all a grand plot to lure the Enterprise out to come and get her, because she wanted to implant the original brain into Captain Kirk's body. Young, hot Captain Kirk from the TV series, not old Kirk from the movies. It got weirder and more convoluted from there.

Like I said, I thought my dreams were warped and strange. I'm feeling downright normal now. Lately my subconscious is weaving in stuff from work and the material I am studying into the usual themes of dreams. Not nearly as exciting as black market cloned brain cheese.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Timely Delivery

The new porch furniture arrived on the first full day of summer. Seemed quite appropriate. Moxy kept a keen eye on the delivery process from her kitchen window perch.

We spent nearly the entire weekend out there in our outdoor bug-free (mostly) room. Studying still sucks, but it sucks a little less when I can do it on the porch with my cats. On comfy furniture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh, the drama!

Once again, it is "Drama Central" at work because of a reassignment. Thankfully, not mine. This time. My last reassignment was about six months ago, and I was happy with that change.

I've worked here for three years. One thing seems certain - they continually change who is working where. Our department covers four different facilities. We are all one group, but we don't all work under one roof. No matter what the current situation, the reality is that things change all the time. The best approach is to "make lemonade" and to try to ride out the changes. Easier said than done. But all the facilities have their ups and downs. None of them are Siberia, and they should not be thought of as a punishment.

Meanwhile, the stuff that was making me have to work long hours last week is also affecting this week. I haven't been home before 7pm all week. *sigh* It will get better. It has to. Sometime. I hope. Because this work schedule is not conducive to studying for my board exam. And it is summertime, dammit. Girls just wanna have fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Suburban Widowed Pot-Dealing Mom

Five simple words successfully used to pitch TV show Weeds to the execs at Showtime, according to an interview with the show's creator, Jenji Kohan.

It's back for a fourth season starting tonight. I'll be watching. The plot twists are wildly absurd and silly. While this show makes light of heavy topics, it does so without ever taking them lightly. If that makes any sense. And it probably doesn't, if you haven't seen it. Great cast, unpredictable show. Yeah, I will definitely be watching. Good TV is hard to find.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Porch Sittin'


The glider is back from the powder coater and looking better than it has in decades. The finish is sleek and glossy and the rust is gone, sand blasted to oblivion. Makes a very nice sittin' spot on the new porch. My mom fondly remembers sitting with her high school dates on this glider on her front porch, circa 1950s. I remember it from Big Daddy and Grandmother's back porch in Stone Mountain, and later in McDonough. Nearly every family gathering ended up on their porch at some point, with the glider in motion and fully occupied.

This photo is desaturated and sepia-toned. I wanted it to look vintage, like the glider. (A more abstract/artistic view can be seen here.) The glider's true new color is a dark blueish green. The original color was seafoam green with white squares on the seats and seatbacks, but the only color I ever remember it was hand-painted white with generous amounts of rust showing through the brush marks, and a black base. We won't see any rust for a very long time now...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Inverse CatBlogging

inverse zima
Zima poses as a black cat for Friday the 13th. Meowwwrrw! It's kinda cool how her gold eye switched places with her blue one.

The dead leaves are posing as something from another planet. I didn't mess with their color, other than the inversion. Pretty!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Wine-o-meter

The past two days have been insanely busy at work, and frustrating, and difficult, and pegged the "wine-o-meter scale of suckitude". Meaning - they sucked so horribly bad that I poured a glass of wine the MINUTE I walked through the door, which was after 7:00 both nights. Do NOT pass go, do not collect $200 or anything else, do not change clothes, do not pet the cats, do not talk to your spouse. Go directly to the wine rack, plop down your stuff, open a bottle and POUR. Drink liberally. Repeat. Sigh. Unload on your spouse, who has kindly cooked you a dinner. And then try to relax. And get up the next day and do it all again...

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Inconsiderate Holidays

'Tis the season that I do not enjoy - daily email "promotions" and "don't forgets" arrive to draw my attention to a holiday that is a painful reminder of what I no longer have. In the past, I still had Big Daddy to celebrate. That tempered the empty feeling somewhat. No sense being morose when I had a grandfather to be with. But now I don't. For PDM, it is worse, having lost both of his parents and all of his grandparents. He gets a double dose of depression in May and June. Maybe it would feel different if we were parents ourselves... but that isn't looking very likely.

So I am thinking we need to find something distinctly different to do on Sunday. I still think about my Dad every day, even after fifteen years. I could do without the endless reminders of yet another Father's Day without him. Any ideas? I'm thinking maybe a movie. We still haven't seen "Iron Man". But maybe a comedy is in order.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I said no pictures!

I said no pictures!
Unscheduled catblogging (sorry, LL).

I tried to photograph the kitties on the porch today, but Silvio was having none of it.

I hope y'all had a more productive weekend than I did. It was nearly 100% downtime for me. A whole lotta nothin'. So of course I feel guilty. Tests to study for and all that... *sigh*

Friday, June 06, 2008

Electric Kitty Cat

Have Photoshop, Will Play.

After yesterday's post, you knew today's Friday cat pic would be heavily photoshopped, right? This photo was my very first experiment with PSE, using the "magic extractor" tool to remove the cluttered background, followed by the addition of a radial blur and a pretty colored background. Zima looks radiant, doesn't she? Or maybe just radioactive...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


The Varsity in Faux Lomo

Hello, my name is Fermicat, and I am a photoshopaholic.

PDM got me Photoshop Elements 6.0 for Mac as a birthday gift. Here it is just a few days later and I am already addicted to messing with my digital photos. I lusted after this program for months. Digital photography is fun, and I wanted to take it to the next level: creative art (or pure crap, depending on your perspective). Not only do I find lots of stuff in my photos to fix (limitations due to both camera and photographer), I keep seeing really interesting, unnatural special effects on other people's Flickr photos that look very cool. I want!

So much to try... old fashioned hand tinted look, Orton effect, fake HDR, fake LOMO, removing clutter from photos, mixing objects from different shots, or creating a totally unique effect. While experimenting with these special effects, I am also trying to learn how to use Photoshop Elements. I know enough to be dangerous. There are probably better ways to do what I am doing, but learning by trying things is not a bad way to go.

This distraction is not good for my study plans. Another downside is that I am monopolizing PDM's Mac. Oh well. The newness will wear off soon and things will calm down. In the meantime I am having a blast taking ordinary photographs and making them into something special.

The Varsity street scene at the top of this post is my first attempt at the LOMO technique. It took me a couple of hours of adjusting to achieve. The boring photo I started with can be viewed here. The one below combines the Orton effect with fake hand tinting to create a dreamy, ethereal feel. I made a Flickr set to showcase my creations. There are several Orton photos in there, some hand tinted shots, and an attempt to recreate a vintage postcard type of look.

faded beauty

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How to Ruin Your Summer

How? Have a board exam scheduled for late August, the only time of year that the test is offered so you do not have a choice. I'll be taking the second test of three. I passed Part 1 - General and Clinical Physics in 2006. A few of you were around to remember this. This next test is a written (well, computerized) exam covering radiation therapy physics.

Have I mentioned that I hate studying? No? Well, I do. Suffice it to say that there are hundreds of things I'd rather be doing on summer days and nights. But the test is right around the corner and I am out of excuses, so it is time to buckle down.

If all goes well, I will get to take the third and final (oral) exam around this time next year.