Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 1081

The restaurant was filled with platitudes this morning. People would say things like "It's not the destination it's the journey" and their companion would excitedly exclaim  "Exactly, that is so true." These people had to be teachers. Who else would talk like this at 9 AM? I didn't say anything. I just ate my pancakes in silence, while wondering why there was a big sign on the wall saying "Have you tried our new menu yet?" As far as I could see, everything on the new menu was exactly the same as the old menu.

Since this weekend is another Christmas pet photo marathon, I did my grocery shopping right after breakfast. Maybe I ought to go to the grocery store in the morning more often. I did this last week as well and the meat and produce seems fresher than late in the day when I usually shop. I don't think early shopping will ever become a regular part of my routine though. I'll do just about anything to sleep in an extra hour.

When I got home, I began carefully re-assembling the broken guitar amplifier that I had taken apart yesterday. The broken pieces I had glued back together appeared to have dried well and everything fit back together perfectly. I was quite proud of my work. You could hardly tell that the amp had been dropped by FedEx at all. I don't know if the music store will appreciate all my hard work though. They might actually be expecting me to send them back a box full of bits.

Since our own dogs get their Santa pictures taken during one of this weekend's photo sessions, Janet wanted them to have a bath again. Dot hates a bath. She has gotten so good at gluing herself to the back seat, that it is just about impossible for me to get her out of the car and into the dog cleaning facility. Maybe she'll get lucky though. After this bath, I can't think of a good reason why she would need another one this year. I'm just the opposite of Dot. I like taking a shower. What I don't like is getting out and starting another boring day of work. Eventually, the hot water runs out though and makes the decision for me.

Belle is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 1080

The FedEx man came early today. That was a good thing, because I hate waiting all day. The bad thing was that FedEx dropped my package during shipment and broke it. The guitar amp I had ordered looked like it had been dropped off a ten story building. When I plugged the amp in, it still appeared to work, but the wooden case was completely ruined. Since I had purchased the amp used, I had an awful feeling that I might be stuck with the shattered amp.  I called the company and explained the situation and asked what they could do. My sales rep didn't have an answer for me, but said he'd check into it.

I always expect the worst, so I carefully took the entire amp apart to see if the cabinet could be repaired. Then I went to Home Depot and bought some extra long pipe clamps and a bottle of Gorilla Glue. For someone who had just received a badly damaged piece of merchandise, I was strangely optimistic. I'm good at fixing things and have pretty decent woodworking skills. Something inside me told me I could salvage this thing.

When I got home from Hope Depot, there was a voice-mail from the music store. I called my sales representative back and he told me that the company had decided to replace my damaged amp with a brand new one. All I had to do was ship the damaged amp back to them. I couldn't believe my luck. It appears that I am getting a brand new amp for the price of an old used one. Perhaps I was a bit hasty in disassembling the broken amp. Now, I'm going to have to carefully reassemble the entire thing so I can ship it back to them.

There was more good news as well. Several weeks ago, I took some mother/daughter shots for a friend of Janet's. I did the job as a favor, but the woman insisted on giving me something in return. What I got was a gift card to the restaurant with good bacon. Yum! I think I'll start using the card tomorrow. It doesn't look like I'm going to have to pay for my bacon for a long time.

Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 1079

Janet had more dental surgery today, so I got up early to take her to the dentist. By the time I returned home, walked the dogs and finished breakfast, I was more than an hour and a half ahead of schedule. Some days, having a leg up on things like this would have made a big difference. Today, I think I could have gotten up at noon and still finished everything in plenty of time.

The cooler weather continues. I've noticed frost in the shady areas for the past several mornings. Although Winter is definitely on the way, it's going to have to get a lot colder to finish off this Summer's bumper crop of bugs. There are still way too many wasps, roaches and ants hanging around our house. Petey, an earlier Dalmatian, would eat some of these household pests, but Dot and Dash will have nothing to do with them. I guess they are too refined.

I picked up Janet from her surgery after lunch and spent the rest of the day finishing my writing assignments. If my own little corner of the world is any indication, the economy is not getting better.  I was much busier this time last year. At least the market finished up today. If we could end the year back where we were last March, I'd be a happy camper.

The dogs got a reprieve from training class tonight, since Janet's anesthesia hasn't worn off yet. I could have always taken one of the dogs myself, but which one? The dog that's left behind always feels left out. I don't think Dot and Dash really wanted to go to class anyway. It's too cold.

Tomorrow, I've got to wait for the FedEx delivery guy again. I hope he comes early. Even though I'd just be sitting here anyway, I still hate to wait.

Scooter is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 1078

It's pretty clear who calls the shots in this house. I was just a little off schedule with walks and feeding times today and the dogs wouldn't let me hear the end of it. There is a time for everything, and when I'm late they both start barking and nudging me with their snouts to get me back on schedule. It's futile to resist, so I usually just go along with the program. If I'm late, you'd think the earth was coming to an end. On the other hand, if I'm early it just establishes a new benchmark and I'm expected to be early all the time

I don't know why Dot and Dash were so eager to go out today. It was cold outside. Another cold front must have swept through last night, because it was 70 degrees on Sunday. This morning, it was in the mid 30's. Too cold for me!

Every Winter I have reservations about our plan to move North when we retire. I don't like the cold. Even though I went to high school in Alaska and spent a few winters in Idaho and Washington, I never really got used to snow. After thirty years in Texas, I've totally forgotten how to deal with it. Nevertheless, Dallas is no place to grow old. When the time comes, I'll easily trade this city's problems for someplace cold and very quiet.

The only thing I'd miss about leaving Dallas are the city's great veterinarians. There isn't a better place in the entire country if you have a sick dog. The Veterinary Referral Center of North Texas is the Mayo Clinic for dogs. It's amazing what the doctors and surgeons at that place can do. They've saved the lives of several of our dogs and many of our friends dogs. It would be hard to go back to a little rural vet clinic after getting used to the idea that dogs can actually get better care than humans.

The cold weather seemed to cool everything else down as well. Business was slow today. I ended up having time to watch the Joss Whedon "Serenity" DVD after I took Dash to the vet for his antigen shot. It was a good movie, but the dogs didn't like it at all. It was what got me off schedule.

Spots is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 1077

When I arrive for my physical exam, my doctor always starts the conversation by asking how I'm feeling. Today, I asked how he was feeling. Doc said he was tired. He'd been working ten hour days, since he was having trouble filling a couple of staff vacancies. The doctor and I have become friends over the years. We are about the same age and take a lot of the same meds. I understood exactly what he was saying. I work ten hour days a lot myself and am almost always tired.

That's the trouble with these annual physical exams. They don't make you any younger. At best, they just provide a road map for what to expect next. I've got my cholesterol and blood pressure under control. I've been immunized against all manner of terrible things. I eat a healthy diet and haven't gained any weight in years. Despite all this, it's still a long, slow downhill slide toward oblivion.

I appreciate how thorough my doctor is. I've learned a lot about medicine along the way by learning to interpret the mountains of tests I've been subjected to. It's fascinating stuff in a macabre sort of way. Since the dogs receive the same overprotective care that I do, I often get confused. Is it Dot that has the heart murmur, or me? Does Dash need to change his diet because of a fatty liver, or do I? Dash and I have both had kidney stones. And Dot and I both have problems with acid reflux. It gets complex.

There were a lot of website updates to attend to today. I'm glad that November is going out with a bang instead of a whimper. Business was slow during the first half of the month and it's nice to know that I haven't been forgotten. Cyber retailers certainly haven't forgotten me. My inbox was bombarded with Cyber Monday messages today. I even saw some new Apple laptops on sale. I didn't think that Apple ever put anything on sale. Although some of the deals were tempting, I didn't succumb to the ad onslaught. After a certain point, another technology toy doesn't change anything.

The doctor says that I need to start doing more exercise to combat the muscle atrophy associated with the Statin drugs I'm taking.  More?  You'd think walking five miles a day would be enough.

Pepper is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 1076

The dogs got an unexpected treat today. The weather was so nice that they got to visit two dog parks in a single day. After visiting the first park, it just didn't seem right to go home just yet. Dot and Dash seemed to agree, so we paid a visit to a second dog park about five miles further North. With double the number of trees to pee on and an abundance of friendly dogs to sniff, a good time was had by all. Although we don't get New England style Fall colors here in Texas, we did see quite a bit of red and orange today. This is undoubtedly my favorite time of year.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. When we returned from our dog park expedition, I mowed the grass and raked leaves. Raking leaves is just as much a part of the Fall experience as photographing them.

My old answering machine hasn't been recording any messages lately. I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that messaging technology has changed and my ancient machine is obsolete. Today seemed as good a day as any to retire the ancient machine and set up the voice-mail account that came with my U-verse service. When I finally got the U-verse voice-mail working, I was amazed at how many options I had. I could selectively prioritize and block calls. I could forward them anywhere I wanted. Best of all, I could even keep those annoying anonymous telemarketing calls from coming through at all. I could even program things so the voice-mail messages showed up on my television screen. Pretty fancy for a guy who never gets calls in the first place. If I was smart, I would have done what many of my friends have done and dropped the land line entirely. Old habits die hard though. For the time being, I'll keep the land line around just to keep the telemarketers happy.

I finished watching the Firefly series on DVD today. The show was actually pretty good. I'm surprised that I completely missed the series when it was on the air ten years ago. I've heard that after the short lived 14 episode series ended, Joss Whedon made a feature length movie called Serenity in hopes of getting the series extended. It didn't happen. I'll have to look for a copy of this movie now. I want to see what happens next.

I have an appointment for my annual physical exam tomorrow afternoon. I dread these exams, because nothing good seems to come of them. Usually something suspicious but largely inconclusive is discovered and I have to go thorough even more tests to determine what is really going on. What is the point of all these tests? I can tell you what is going on right now. I'm getting older.

Dot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 1075

I got the Christmas tree up today. Maybe it's a little early, but it seemed like a good time since I'll be taking holiday pet photos again next weekend. Holiday shoppers were out in force today. The parking lots were deadly. You had to look carefully before you moved because drivers were racing around like madmen, trying to secure the few empty parking spots. Ordinarily, I wouldn't leave the house on a day like this, but Saturday is my regular shopping day and I was low on a lot of things.

I've noticed that a lot of stores are installing automated check-out lanes where you scan everything yourself. I love these automated systems because most people don't seem to want to use them. Even when there are long lines at the regular registers, the automated lanes are often empty. You'd think people could figure these things out in a few seconds, but apparently they are not intuitive to some. I saw a lady ahead of me today take all her groceries out of her buggy, put them on one of rolling conveyor belts, take them off the belt, put everything back in her buggy again and only after she had done all this, did she finally scan her items with a hand scanner. Why? Force of habit, I guess. I never take anything out of the buggy. I just quickly wave the scanner at each bar code and I'm done in less than a minute.

As far as I can tell, Black Friday is all a scam. Nothing really good is on sale at all. I noticed a few really attractive prices on some electronic items when I was out today. As an astute consumer, I immediately noticed that the heavily discounted items were either discontinued or last year's models. The brand new stuff was still basically full price. You have to admire this as a marketing strategy. Discontinued items are always sold at steep discounts anyway. Now this old and less desirable merchandise has been repackaged as the Black Friday deal of the century and people get in fistfights to buy it.

I'm finding ticks on the dogs again. What's that all about? We'll go for month's without any sign of a tick and then all of the sudden, they'll be covered with them. I'm sure the ticks are outside continually, but for some reason they only jump on the dogs at very specific times. One more mystery of nature I guess. 

Maggie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 1074

Janet convinced me to venture a little further away for our Friday breakfast. We went to a restaurant one of her friends liked a lot. This was a neighborhood breakfast place like the ones I usually frequent. It was just in a different neighborhood. While our own neighborhood is in the process of gentrification, this neighborhood was headed downhill. Although the restaurant was surrounded by pawnshops and empty buildings, it still had a loyal crowd of regulars inside. The food was good, but I doubt that I'll return very soon. I like my neighborhood better.

On the way home from breakfast, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some things. With that chore out of the way, I could spend the rest of the day finishing up my web and writing assignments.

Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, I got confused and failed to take my garbage can out to the curb last night. I heard the truck when I was making the bed this morning, but by the time I got out to the street with my can, the truck was long gone. Just when I though I was going to be overwhelmed with two weeks of trash next week, I saw the big eighteen wheelers that pick up bulky brush once a month off in the distance. When the truck got closer, I convinced the driver to take my trash along with the brush he was collecting. Here's how silly the city is. Before the bulky trash truck would take my trash, I had to take it out of my can and dump all the garbage on the ground with the rest of the brush. This seemed totally ridiculous to me, but when I looked later in the day, my pile of garbage was completely gone.

It's almost time to put the Christmas tree up again. There aren't many presents under the tree anymore, but it still seems worthwhile to put the tree up. All the ornaments are Dalmatians. Some are wooden. Some are glass. And others are ceramic. You wouldn't think there would be so many different kinds of Dalmatian tree ornaments, but we've been collecting them for quite a few years. It's a pretty little tree, and best of all, the dogs don't try to knock it over anymore.

The stock market had a good day today. Maybe they ought to close the market early every day. The market went up in the morning like it often does, but then it closed around noon, before it had a chance to give up all the gains in the afternoon session. Sounds good to me.

Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 1073 - Thanksgiving

I always like it when Thanksgiving falls on November 22. This date brings together a confluence of Dealey Plaza conspiracy nuts, Dallas Cowboy football fans, and Paula Deen deep fried turkey chefs. It is Dallas at its best. Sometimes I go down to Dealey Plaza on November 22 and listen to the strange theories about Lee Harvey Oswald's real motives and hear about the mysterious second gunman on the Grassy Knoll. Today, I preferred to celebrate the day in a more traditional fashion: with a nice Thanksgiving meal.

Since there are only two of us, we seldom cook a big Thanksgiving dinner anymore. It is much more enjoyable to just pick a nice restaurant and see what they've got for dinner. Today, Janet and I went to The Mercury. The restaurant had a traditional Thanksgiving brunch and it was absolutely delicious. The meal started with Mimosas and fresh shrimp. Several hours later it ended with Creme Brulee and coffee. In between, I enjoyed prime rib, turkey, jalapeƱo cheese grits, creamed corn, braised brussel sprouts, asparagus spears in a champagne vinaigrette and an exceptionally fresh garden salad. It was a very nice meal.

When we got home again, Janet watched one of those holiday movies on the Lifetime channel while I finished up a couple of yesterday's writing assignments. I can't watch chick flicks anymore. They usually make me feel guilty about something. Towards the end of the day we both took the dogs on a long walk to work off some of our holiday meal. Even though it started to rain while we were walking, it was still a nice way to end a very pleasant day. I have finally learned not to eat too much on Thanksgiving. I try lots of things, but take very small portions. It's much better to feel pleasantly full than to be stuffed.

Since tomorrow is still a holiday, Janet is going to join me on my Friday breakfast excursion. We'll probably venture further from home than I usually do. As long as we avoid the hordes of Black Friday shoppers, we'll be fine.

Chelsey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 1072

Wouldn't you know. Just when I had accepted the fact that November was going to be slow, the office fills with work again. Go figure. I am never really in control of these things and often feel like a twig tossed around in a strong current.

I didn't let the new assignments change my plans however. That wouldn't be right. When I went to the mall for my haircut today, I was surprised at how crowded the stores were. I think most of Dallas jumped the gun on Black Friday. It seemed like the entire town skipped work today and was out shopping. It still kind of baffles me why so many people do their Christmas shopping so early. I'm more of a Christmas Eve shopper myself. Although it took forever to find a parking place and I wish I had picked a different day, I did get a good haircut, so all is well.

I always stop by the Apple store after getting a haircut and I'll have to admit that I was more impressed with the new mini iPad than I thought I'd be. It's little enough to easily fit in a camera bag and still large enough to view pictures at a decent size. Even though I could think of four or five reasons why the little gizmo would be useful to me, I didn't buy one. I've bought way too much I don't need already.

While watching my Firefly DVD this week, I noticed that Vern Gillum had directed one of the episodes. The name sounded familiar. After scratching my head a bit, I remembered that I had worked with him several times back in my ad agency days. The guy used to shoot commercials. Although I remember visiting the offices of Vern Gillum and Friends in Los Angeles quite clearly, I can't remember the commercials we did together whatsoever. It's kind of sad. Slowly that whole era is slipping away. Last year I stumbled across my old print portfolio in the storage warehouse.  Flipping though the book and looking at page after page of ads from the 1980's, I kept thinking "Damn, that guy was good." It didn't even seem like my work though. I've grown so much more cautious in recent years.

I wonder if Dash thinks the same thing sometimes. Three or four years ago he won lots of ribbons at training class. Not anymore. Now, he just barks and acts irritated. Sometimes he won't even do basic things like sit and stay anymore. Can we make a comeback? I know we're both smart enough. It's just a matter of desire.

Ranger is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 1071

I thought I'd seen everything. Apparently not. While walking the dogs this week, I encountered a man and his daughter walking two small donkeys on leashes like dogs. From a distance, I just assumed this pair were walking their Great Danes, but on closer inspection, the animals were definitely donkeys. They both had collars and leashes and were actually better behaved than my rambunctious Dalmatians. If only I could get Dot and Dash to heal as nicely as those two little donkeys.

I may have won the battle with the wasps on the side of my house, but I don't think I've won the war. When I went out to finish cleaning the cobwebs off the windows this morning, I noticed a lot of angry wasps buzzing around. Apparently when I knocked down the nests yesterday, some of the wasps were away doing other things. Now they have returned and don't seem to be happy that they can't find their home.

I knew it was going to be slow this week, but I didn't think it would be this dead. I added holiday hours to one website and deleted a departed employee from another. That was about it. I got a call that the webcams were down on one of the sites I manage, but it wasn't a problem I could fix. Personally, I think a rat chewed through one of the wires going to the router, but since the wires are buried away in the ceiling, there is no easy way to check. This is a job for someone a lot younger and more agile than me.

To avoid drifting around aimlessly like I did today, I made an appointment with Betty to get my hair cut tomorrow. The haircut itself only takes about 45 minutes, but the whole process of finding a parking place in the crowded mall and then taking a look at what's new in the Apple store when I'm done can eat up several hours. I've promised myself that I'm not going to buy one of those new little iPads. I don't even use the one I've got very much.

I'd certainly rather go to the mall tomorrow than on Friday. I don't really understand the fascination with Black Friday. Are the deals that good? Even my bank teller asked me yesterday if I was going to do any Black Friday shopping. Lots of people I know routinely go shopping on Black Friday, but I don't think they save all that much. Maybe it's just the thrill of the chase. I think I'll wait until the frenzy is over to do my holiday shopping. Shopping is much more enjoyable when you're the only person in the store.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 1070

I should have left well enough alone today. It seemed like a good time to tackle the mess of spiderwebs and wasp nests on the East side of the house. This small section of the yard became a no man's land after our neighbor erected a tall security fence that turned the narrow side yard into a dimly lit corridor. Armed with a broom and a can of bug spray, I attempted to rid the walls and windows of the unsightly mess on the side of the house. I managed to remove three large wasp nests and cleaned up four windows before I got stung. Somehow a wasp got into my shoe and stung me on the arch of my foot. Ouch! This pretty effectively put an end to my clean-up activities for the day. I did make good progress though, so I ought to be able to finish the job tomorrow after the rest of the wasps have died.

It looked like there was going to be a nice sunset this evening, so I grabbed a telephoto lens and headed out with the dogs toward a small hill that provided a good view of the horizon. About halfway to my destination, I was intercepted by a neighbor who wanted to talk about a neighborhood issue. I tried to be polite, but I wasn't very interested. I watched the sun slip behind behind a cloud and knew I had missed my shot. Dot barked so much that the neighbor eventually got tired of talking and let me go on my way. All I was able to salvage from this little expedition was a single afterglow shot taken with my iPhone.

I don't know why the neighbors are wasting their time with me anyway. They are trying to stop a boathouse from being built on the lake. Since I like to look at architecture just as much as I like to look at trees, I'm not really opposed to this boathouse. The design is actually quite pretty. The neighbors don't have a chance of stopping this thing anyway. The city is desperate for additional revenue. If the city thinks that this building will be a moneymaker for them, a few disgruntled neighbors aren't going to slow things down a bit.

I've just about finished replacing all the incandescent bulbs in the house with high-tech LED bulbs. I'm doing this a little bit at a time, since the high output LED's are still kind of expensive. The front porch got LED bulbs today. I'm a big fan of these bulbs. They don't get hot. They don't burn much electricity. They practically last forever. And since they are daylight balanced, they give off a very pleasant natural looking light. It's weird to think that the light bulbs in my house are going to last longer than I will, but that's probably what's going to happen. Isn't technology great.

Jasper is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 1069

Since yesterday was largely a photography day, I had a lot of errands to run today. When I was out and about, I noticed that the Christmas shopping season is already in full swing. Nobody even waited until Black Friday this year. The stores are filled to overflowing with Christmas merchandise and vacant lots all over town are being turned into tented Christmas tree emporiums.

Christmas always brings a lot of useless things I've never seen before to the stores. Today I saw a tiny GPS receiver that you could place on your dog's collar. It not only showed where your dog was at all times, it also told you how many calories the dog burned up during the day. I don't think I really need one of these things. If I'm not out walking the dogs myself, they're usually sleeping right under my desk. I also saw a bunch of potted household herbs like Rosemary and Thyme shaped just like tiny Christmas trees. Did the herbs grow this way naturally, or did someone carefully trim each of the plants to look like a Christmas tree? I don't know.

Now that the days are getting shorter, I've started seeing a ton of portrait and wedding photographers taking pictures of their clients in the park around sunset. While I was taking Dot and Dash on their evening walk this evening I counted seven of these groups. There were two wedding parties, two were couples having engagement pictures done, and three were families with children. I see groups like these almost every day during the Fall. You'd think that brides wouldn't want exactly the same wedding pictures as dozens of other people, but maybe that's exactly what people do want these days. I certainly haven't had many clients ask me to do something original and different lately. It's so much easier to do something that's already been done. I bet a lot of the people I see in the park noticed a friend's wedding pictures and decided to do exactly the same thing.

The dogs had a great time in the dog park today. Dash enjoyed racing full speed around the park, showing the other dogs how fast he was, while Dot seemed content to sniff trees and bushes at a much more leisurely pace. After a while, they were both ready to come home and that's exactly what we did. It's going to be a short week. The three day Thanksgiving holiday week probably won't be good for my business, but it will be nice to have a break.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 1068

Two down, three to go. As I pulled into our photo location this morning, I realized that I'd been to this particular strip shopping center in far north Dallas before. It used to be home to one of the only stores in Texas that sold astronomical telescopes. I bought a telescope here four or five years ago. I was disappointed to see that the cool little telescope store had disappeared. The building now housed a Condoms to Go store. A sign of the times, I guess.

We didn't have as many customers today as we did last week. The low turnout was more or less expected, since this was a new location for Dalmatian Rescue. Usually we do better in subsequent years after our customers tell their friends about us. The locations where we've been for three or four years now draw huge crowds.

One of the dogs peed on my backdrop today.  This always happens one or two times a season. It wouldn't be a problem if the twenty foot long muslin backdrops weren't so hard to clean. You can't just throw the big hand painted backdrops into a commercial washer, because the colors will run. Generally you just have to tread the stain with a bacterial enzyme stain remover like Outright and hope for the best. If you manage to get the stain out, everything is fine. If you don't, other dogs start to pee on the same spot and you're hosed. At that point you just have to throw the backdrop away.

Even though I didn't photograph as many dogs as I did last week, I was just as tired. At one point, during a lull in the activities, Santa and I both fell asleep. Everyone liked their pictures though, and for once we had plenty of room to set up. I think this will be a good location to return to next year.

The weather continues to be exceptionally nice. After the photo shoot, I got home just in time to feed Dot and Dash their dinner and go on our evening walk. We saw another beautiful sunset, but I didn't feel like doing any more photography today. You'll just have to imagine how pretty it was.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 1067

Some people seem to be worried that I'll be late for the Dalmatian Rescue photo event tomorrow. Now, where would they get that idea? Hey, I'm just the guy who routinely eats breakfast at 10 AM and is seldom even awake when this event begins. Not to worry though. Janet runs a tight ship when it comes to Dalmatian events. She won't let me be late.

I noticed that someone is building a charging station for electric cars right across from the cool restaurant when I was eating breakfast this morning. I think they picked the right location. Probably the patrons of this restaurant are the only people in Dallas who would even think of driving an electric car. I noticed I got a few dirty looks this morning. I was wearing a leather coat. I guess it's not cool to wear leather any more. Most of the guys were wearing plaid wool lumberjack shirts with carabiner clips dangling from their belt loops as key rings. I used to dress like that too. About 40 years ago. It's weird how the 60's keeps being recycled over and over again.

I scanned a few negatives this afternoon using the new film scanner I got recently. It's actually not as good as the ancient Canon scanner I used back in the dawn of digital imaging. On the flip side, the new scanner is much easier to use and dirt cheap. It's just one more example of the democratization of technology. At some point, somebody probably conducted a focus group about the old Canon scanner and added the features that the majority of people wanted, while subtracting all the things that were expensive to manufacture. I can't really complain though. The more I look at these old negatives, the more I realize that they aren't nearly as good as I remembered.

A chemical plant exploded in Garland, about ten miles east of me, this afternoon. The sky was filled with thick black smoke for the rest of the day. Looking at the smoke plume in the distance as I walked the dogs, I thought about what I'd been seeing on the news recently and counted my blessings that I live in a part of the world where giant explosions aren't commonplace.

Alvin is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 1066

I picked up some more memory cards for this weekend's photo shoot. I continue to be amazed at how cheap flash memory has become in recent years. The SDHC cards I got today were half the price of some I'd purchased just a few years ago. I remember seeing a picture recently of a 5GB hard drive from 1955 being loaded on-board a cargo aircraft. The drive was as big as a refrigerator and had to be lifted into the airplane with a forklift. The little 32GB memory card I got today was as small as my thumbnail and only cost $16. If everything improved at this rate, I might be driving around in a brand new $400 Land Rover.

There is a downside to Moore's Law and the progress it brings however. Even though technology continues to get faster and cheaper, you still need to replace everything every two to three years. An old guitar may go up in value, but an old computer is just a fancy doorstop.

The current stock market free-fall is totally depressing. After some nice gains earlier in the year, most of my positions are at their lows of the year. Not only is the market going lower, it's still totally unpredictable. You can't just short everything when the market goes down these days. It's just too volatile. The whole thing drives me nuts. Is there good news just over the horizon? I'm not so sure. The Greeks and the Spaniards are rioting in the streets. The Israelis and the Arabs are about to go to war again. Our top spy has been caught with his pants down. And taxes are about to go up.

At least the sunsets are pretty. Some of you may remember that I got all excited several months ago when I discovered that the new Instacanvas website provided me with an easy way to sell some of these sunset pictures. Have I actually sold any? Well, no. It turns out that the Instacanvas business model was to sell prints to the photographers who actually took the pictures. I guess they are kind of an online vanity press for photographers. The last thing I need are more prints of my own pictures. I was kind of hoping you guys would buy them.

Dot is acting like she wants to throw up. I've taken her outside twice and she does nothing. I sure wish dogs could talk. If she could talk, I'm sure she'd join me in saying "at least it's Friday tomorrow."

Honey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 1065

When I woke up this morning, I felt like I was going to explode. I take Simcor and one of the side effects of this drug is that it dilates the tiny capillaries near the surface of your skin, resulting in severe flushing. Usually this happens while you are asleep, because you are supposed to take the big blue pill just before you go to bed. Unfortunately, depending on what you eat for dinner, it can occasionally take a lot longer than expected for the medication to enter your bloodstream. I must have eaten something that really slowed down the process yesterday because my blood vessels didn't begin to dilate until I got up this morning. Yikes! My skin was red as a beet and I felt like I'd stumbled into a cactus patch. The discomfort only lasted a few hours, but it did remind me that some of my meds are pretty powerful.

I finished my website assignments earlier than expected today, so I decided to watch the first episode of the Firefly series. I only had time to watch the initial Serenity episode, but it was enough to make me a fan of Joss Whedon. I doubt that I'll start going to Comic-Con conventions or become a fanboy, but I'll be the first to admit that this short lived Sci-Fi Western is special and unique.

The weather is still brisk and cool, but it was warm enough for the dogs to lie out in the sun after lunch. They like that. While Dot and Dash lounged, I swept leaves off the porch and cleaned spiderwebs off the windows. I don't know what makes our house so attractive for bugs, but it seems to be a popular destination for them. As the weather grows cooler, they are renewing their efforts to come inside for the Winter. Since I refuse to use anything that could be toxic to the dogs to control the pests, it is always an uphill battle to have a bug free house. There are good things and bad things about living next to a park that is a nature preserve. One of the bad things is facing a continual invasion of bugs. At least the rats are gone. An influx of feral cats in the neighborhood has pretty well taken care of the rats. What the cats don't eat, the coyotes do.

The pretty sunsets have returned for another year. Just about every day this week we have encountered a spectacular sunset on our evening walks. The sunsets are just in time too. I had just about run out of wildflowers to photograph. I'll try to have something new for you tomorrow. It would be nice to have something new for me as well.

Puppies are our Dalmatians of the Day
Watch of the Day