Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Colored Lights

The fastest way I could find to make my house look all "Christmasee" was to replace my regular CFL floodlights with these red and green tungsten bulbs. They cost a bit more scratch but way less time than setting up a couple of humping wicker reindeer like my neighbor seems to love.

Monday, December 29, 2008

37 Gallons of Seawater

Here's the current state of my 37 gallon salt water fish tank. It's a good primer for the 110 gal tank I'm setting up mid-January. This one has 4 fish in it now; a blue damsel, a star puffer, a spotted hawk and a bursa trigger. Fun times.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Griswolds

That's what the sign says, at least. It's a pretty nice display for a small town, though. On the other side of the place, the entire driveway and 2-car garage are lit up.

Panorama done on the iPhone using Pano.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big mouth

Mojo doesn't slobber, thank god, but he does sport some floppy
jowels! It's hilarious to watch him in a deep sleep-when he breathes
out, they inflate and then make weird sounds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Half-asleep by the fire

Ever since I got that fireplace insert up and running, the temperature
in here has gotten nice and comfy making Mojo want to sleep and
sleep. It's hard to get him to sit still for 10 seconds, except when
there's a fire going. Then, he lays down on the carpet (usually) in
front of the fireplace and snores his ass off.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mojo aka "PillowDog"

This fellow loves human contact so much that even if it means propping up a pillow on him, he's cool with it. He was pretty much in the way, here. We could make him move and he would leave with no fuss, but, it just seemed like the thing to do was to just lay on him. He stayed like this for quite some time, too. Goofball.

Cadillac Tree Service

I was driving behind this guy today dragging all sorts of branches
behind his car (land yacht). Before I could get the camera ready,
some of his harvest fell away. Still, he had a decent branch still
firmly following him at close range.

Photogene on the iPhone saves a picture

Here's a pretty good picture of Kylie. It's not great, but, passable.
Taken with the iPhone camera. It wasn't up to my standards, mainly
because it wasn't in sharp enough focus. I've been playing with
Photogene on the iPhone and I came up with this. I actually like the
result. Not a bad save considering I was about to delete it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kylie & Mojo Relaxing

Here's Kylie laying on Mojo. He's so totally family oriented that if
you lay on him when he's trying to sleep, it actually comforts him
and he settles right in. Pit bulls are such lovers!

Night Photo iPhone app test

Here's a quick test of the iPhone app, "Night Photo". It uses the
accelerometers to tell when the camera is still, then actuates the
shutter. Works pretty well. As a photographer, I'm pretty good at
holding my breath while I take a picture to minimize shaking. It's
almost automatic with me. Even with that, it's hard to get a good
shot under some circumstances. This app really makes a difference.
Everyone's hands shake a little bit, and this app takes advantage of
the fact that in order to shake, the hand has to stop before it
changes direction to shake the other way, back and forth. The instant
you stop moving, it takes the shot. Pretty cool!

Monday, November 24, 2008

End of the photo dry spell

I was in Pets Plus in Mays Landing. My daughter was holding this
gorgeous Conure. It was a sweet bird as birds go. It was content to
walk across her fingers, back and forth from hand to hand. She was in
heaven. She totally loves animals, and even more so loves to interact
with new species.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Puppy Snuggle

So, here's my son trying sooo hard to pick up Mojo and snuggle with him like when he was a puppy. Well, we call him puppy, but, my son's aching back pretty much showed that all 85lbs of Mojo is all grown up. As much as a full grown pit bull loves to snuggle, he's a big-assed dog.

Snuggling on the couch...ok. Picking him up for a little hug...not so much.

Little dogs

As a rule, I prefer big dogs. I've always owned big dogs. Akitas
before and now a large male pit bull. So, when I was in the mall pet
store and my daughter asked to see this long-haired dachsund, I was
less than enthusiastic. After playing with him for a little while,
though, I can say, he was quite pleasant. He won't be catching any
frisbees or pulling me down the block on roller blades, but, as
companions go, he impressed me. First, we took out a miniature
pinscher be he was way too mouthy. This guy was just right. Playful
for a while, then, settled right into her lap.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Snake boy's Boa

Here's a half-decent iPhone pictureof my son's Cook's Tree Boa. It has the most beautiful pearly, iridescent color. It's also aggressive as hell! Nothing like my ball python who's as docile as a piece of rope.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cook's Tree Boa *in action*

Here's a picture of my son's latest addition to his growing menagerie. He loves reptiles and now he's a manager of a pet store. So, the net effect is he's working in a place where he can feed his habit at discount prices.

This fine specimen is a Cook's Tree Boa. It's healthy and fairly aggressive, too.

About the photo... It was taken by my son with his phone. He just got it. He asked my advice. The iPhone or the only other great phone on the market (IMHO since I don't do Blackberry)- the HTC G1 running Google's Android OS. I do like my iPhone but from what I can see, Android has a lot...and I do mean A LOT of potential. That's not to say it's crap now. Far from it. Google has actualized quite a bit of Android's promise already. I can't wait to see what they do with it. To me, it kinda feels like a modern version of what PalmOS should have become. So, in my house, every night, it seems, my son and I sit down and compare the size of our...uh..I mean, the new capabilities of our phones since the last time we talked.

iChalky for the iPhone

I've had iChalky on my iPhone for a while now. It doesn't serve any useful purpose, but, it is mindless fun when you need it. Basically, it's a stick figure that has a weight assigned to the arms and legs and dances around the screen in response to gravity as measured by the iPhone's internal accellerometers. I played with it for a while but stopped. They just updated it to allow you to assign a face from your photo library (or from the cmera) to the little guy. Suddenly, it's
fun again. I tried it with each of my family members before I settled on using Mojo's mug. I'm using the attached photo as my wallpaper now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kylie snuggling with Mojo

Kylie was lounging on top of Mojo watching TV while he chewed on his peanut butter & treat-filled Kong. Amazingly...well, perhaps not amazingly, Mojo isn't fazed. He pretty much loves affection whenever and wherever he can get it so even though he has a treat in his mouth,
he still loves a good snuggle. Some dogs are protective of their treats and food. Mojo is not at all protective. We are always vigilent when she plays with him, and it's nice that he has never, ever, not even once shown anything but love and affection towards us all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mojo and David watching TV

Here's my pit bull, Mojo, watching TV with my son, David. And yes,
Mojo does actually watch TV, though I don't think he understands it
all (especially the Simpson's).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cool costume

I took this picture today at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA. This particular guy had the most detailed, probably the most expensive costume I saw all day. Full hide leather (not split), stainless studs, a really sweet stainless sword (on his back). My daughter was as facinated with it as I was ad you can see.

I'll definitely go back again sometime.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pit Bull Footrest

Laying on the futon this morning, Mojo was curled up on the end, as
usual. He makes a great foot rest & warmer. Strange to me that he
actually likes to be the footrest. My previous dogs would tolerate it
for a minute or two and then get up. Mojo, on the other hand, will
open his eyes to see what ok doing, then go back to sleep like
nothings going on. It's a great thing in the winter!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's a pit bull morning

Mojo just loves to snuggle in the morning. He often lays on the floor and looks up at my daughter with a forlorn look, then rolls on his back and waits for her to snuggle up with him. They'll lay there and watch TV (yes, Mojo watches TV) for quite some time. He makes a great
pillow.

My daughter loves irony and often refers to him as her "killer pit bull". She's a pit bull evangelist and will give you an earful if you spout off anything resembling a disparaging remark about pitbulls, particularly remarks that perpetuate the bad myths about them. She'll jump on you if you hit her with the "locking jaw" myth - she'll tell you, "taxonomically speaking, there's no difference between a pit bull jaw and the jaw of any other dog."

Sheesh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Man, that's a big tongue

This is my pit bull, Mojo, intently watching me to see when I'm going
to swing his flirt pole again. This was taken after a good 10 minutes
of play so he's good and tired, already.

Mojo, first thing in the morning & a LONG rant about pit bulls

Here's my pit bull, Mojo, first thing in the morning. I couldn't sleep that night so I went downstairs to my office and crashed on the futon. Strangely, the change sometimes helps me sleep. Anyway, I brought Mojo with me to keep my feet warm. It's cold in there next to the window. I'm actually under the covers, too, on the left side (with long pajamas on so I don't get scratched by accident). Being that dogs natural body temp runs several degrees higher than ours, they make great bed warmers. He's such a snuggler that he couldn't be happier under the covers.

Previously, I owned Akitas. Great dogs, but, definitely not snugglers. My Akita, Kyo, was happy if he could see where I was, but, had zero interest in actually sitting down next to me and touching me. He would lay on the floor of the living room while I watched TV, about 2 feet away from me. If I left the room, he'd wake up, wait 5 minutes, then find me, lay down so he had a line of sight to where I went, then go back to sleep. Mojo, on the other hand, likes to get as
close to you as he possibly can.

His behavior is consistent with what our local animal control officer told us about pit bulls. A side effect of the selective breeding of pit bulls for fighting made them *highly* people oriented. Apparently, when pit bulls were openly fought in the ring, you had to be able to reach into the ring and pull out your dog without being bitten. My mom always taught me to never ever intervene if our dog got into a fight because even our own dog might bite us in all the excitement. Pit bulls that showed aggression toward the handler, on the other hand, were culled. Over time, this created a strong fighter with a highly people oriented personality. The animal control guy told us that it's actually against their nature to be human- aggressive. They want to please you so much, though, that they can be their own worst enemy. If you're a dumbass that gets a pit bull because you think it makes you look tough, and then teach him to be human-aggressive, he'll do it to please you. He (the animal control guy) said you really have to abuse a pit bull to make then want to bite you. I'd have had a hard time believing that before Mojo, but, it's true. He really loves people on a deep level. You can feel it when you're around him.

I left his ears uncropped because I prefer that look. Akitas have naturally pointy ears, which I like on an Akita, but pit bulls have normally floppy ears, so, I left them alone. I know a guy with a beautiful pit bull and he had his dog's ears cropped. When I met him, he looked at Mojo and said he wishes he had left the ears alone. He said that the cropped look makes him look mean which puts people off, and a lot of people fear pit bulls already from all the bad press they've gotten. I can understand that.

The truth is, pit bulls make fantastic family dogs. Are they for everyone-NO. They are powerful, highly energetic and they require a firm, (but not mean) consistent hand to propely bring them up. Do your homework before you adopt a pit bull, or any other dog for that matter. As long as you know what you're getting into, and you're prepared for it, you'll me rewarded with a companion like no other.

Check out http://www.badrap.org


This site has a wealth of information about pit bulls, and it goes a long way toward sifting through all the misinformation about pit bulls - and there is a *lot* of that out there. Pit bulls are not natural born people-killers. They don't have special locking jaws. That's utter crap. They have very strong jaws, yes, but structurally, they are identical to all other dogs. Pit bulls cannot fly. Ok, I made that one up, but, my point is that people seem to want to believe everying they hear about pit bulls no matter how crazy it is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

iPhone panorama

Here's a panorama I created using PanoLab on the iPhone. I took about 6 shots with the idea that at some point, I'd dump them into photoshop and make a panorama. Anyway, they came out with a program that runs on the iPhone (PanoLab) that does the stitching right on the phone and I used it. It doesn't do nearly as good a job as photoshop (for obvious reasons), but, still-the entire panorama was shot and edited on the iPhone. A little level adjusting would go a long way toward making this app better. Hopefully, the developer will add that feature.

Replacing Nintendo DS Lite Screen

I'm in the process of replacing the top screen on my daughter's Nintendo DS Lite. There are many little screws and several sizes of each. To keep them straight for easy reassembly, I had a brainstorm.

I took a sheet of laminating paper, flipped it sticky side up, then taped a piece of white paper under it. Then, drew a (very) rough picture of where each screw goes. Now, if I sneeze again, I won't lose track of where they all belong. I wish I thought of that when I took the first one apart - the donor DS I got the screen from.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pumpkins - Day 5

Here are the giberellic acid treated pumpkins as of this morning. This is day 5 since they were planted. Compare the picture to the one from yesterday. The amount of growth I'm seeing here is far far from normal. I've grown pumpkins before and this is *not* how it usually goes.

If I wanted to really compare how they grow using the gibberellic acid compared to regular, "unassisted" growth, I'd have planted some in a different pot as a control group. I thought about it for a little while and decided it would be boring to have to babysit an underpriveleged plant.

Anyway, they've outgrown their "nursery", and I'm moving them outside to their new home in the garden today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pumpkins 4 days after planting

This is insane. The growth seems to be accelerating. As soon as the sun comes up, they lean over towards it, and grow-the Biggies on the end added more than 2" since yesterday. Crazy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yikes. Pumpkins are getting huge

This is the 3rs day since I planted them. That makes 6 days total. They aren't even supposed to sprout for 6-10 days so this is far from usual. If I wake up and find them trying to open a beer they got out of the fridge, I'll make the news. They're no match for a pit bull, though, so, I'm pretty sure I'm safe...right!?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Squash seeds outside

Here are those same squash plants from the previous pics. I planted them pretty deep to help them stand up. Look at the size of the leaves, though. Seriously fast growing using the same 1,000ppm giberellic acid solution.

Pumpkins This morning

Here are the pumpkins I planted last night. Look at the insane growth from 11pm last night to 10am this morning. I'll post another pic this evening to give a 24-hour view. Yikes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Pumpkin Experiment

Here are the pumpkins I'm growing using the 1,000ppm giberellic acid solution. I germinated them in plastic baggies containting paper towels sprayed with the mixture. The seeds say they should germinate in 6-10 days. They did so in two. I let them stew in the baggie for one extra day and today, technically day 3, I planted them in this box to get them to grow into strong seedlings, then, they go outside into the garden. I'll be posting pics all along the way. There are 5
types of pumpkins in this box, so, it will be interesting to see how each one does.

I saw one account with a picture that seems to be genuine where a guy grew a 900lb pumpkin in 45 days with this stuff. Sounds like bullshit, but, after what I've seen these past few days, I'm starting to think it's true. Time will tell...and not that much time from what it looks like.

Feed Me Seymour!!! Day 3

Here are the squash seeds after 3 days. I'm moving them outside tonight. I'm afraid if I don't, I'm afraid they'll be stealing food out of the fridge at night. I'll start posting pics once they're
planted properly outside.

Day Two Squash Seeds

Here are the squash seeds two days after being planted. Giberellic acid sure is amazing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

An even better iPhone wallpaper

The title says it. I'm not on much of a mood to write more.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

iPhone wallpaper from the park

Here's a pretty decent iPhone wallpaper image I took today in Birch
Grove Park (Northfield, NJ). Sometimes, when the light is just right,
the iPhone camera doesn't do too bad. A little saturation boost might
be good, but, I still like it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Too tired to go on

Here's mojo after an intense romp in the backyard. He's hot and tired, so he won't lay down, yet he can hardly stay awake. Funny fellow. Pit bulls are such clowns.

Best Cat Pic Evar!!!


This is clearly not for actual cat lovers, or, for people who are cat lovers yet lack a sense of humor...but, still.... This pic was taken in a local area parking lot. We poked at the legs to see
if it was real - it was real. Rigor mortis had definitely set in, and it was clear it had been in there for some time. How you could drive around with a cat in your grill and not know it was there is way beyond me, yet, here it is. The only photoshop done on this was to blur the plate so I don't get phone calls from the killer.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lance Armstrong chopper by OCC

Here's a shot of the Lance Armstrong bike on display at the Ocean
County Choppers display at Ballys in Atlantic City. It's really hard
to appreciate the insane level of detail in this bike from a single
picture. Holy shit, this bike is fantastic.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mojo sitting with (on) a visitor

I had a visitor over at the house, yesterday. He said he loved dogs,
so, he was cool with Mojo's way of showing affection. When we all
decided to sit down and talk, Mojo laid down on the couch, too -
except my guest was already on the couch, so, Mojo did what he does
best...he jumped up on the couch and laid across him. Good thing he
liked dogs. Mojo will really test your limits of how close he can
get. He'd be happy if he could climb up into your shirt and go to
sleep. He really thrives on human companionship - typical pit bull
behavior from what I know.

Sicilian Eggplant

I was at the local farm market, today. I picked up one of these - they
called it a Sicilian Eggplant. Seems to me, whatever it's called, it's
cool looking. The striking purple color really caught my daughter's
eye so she drug me over to see it. I ended up buying one more out of
curiosity than anything else. Now I just have to figure out what I'm
gonna do with it.

If anyone has a recipe that makes good use of this, let me know.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Trump Taj Mahal

Here's a quick shot of the Taj while I was driving in to go to the
Bodies exhibition. The exhibition was exceptionally interesting.
Something about perfectly preserved dismembered bodies that's just cool.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

iPhone is working again

Well, I got my iPhone working again after having it crash. This is
about the 10th time I've restored it (literally) since I moved to a
2.xx firmware version.

In any case, here's another Face Melter pic. Face Melter reminds me of
"The Melty Man", a fictional character mentioned in the BBC comedy,
Coupling.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Face Melter fun

I'm having way too much fun with this iPhone app, Face Melter.

Face Melter app on the iPhone is so cool

So, now that I have my iPhone sorted out (so it seems, anyway), I'm trying out some new apps. I just got this new one called Face Melter. It's nothing new in terms of what it does, namely, distorting and smudging images. What is cool is that it's on the phone vs a PC, and it gives me something to do when I'm out somewhere in line and bored to death. In fact, it's pretty fun even when I'm not bored. The touch screen lends a nice touch (pun intended) to the editing process.

Here's Oscar the kitty after a little Face Melter treatment.

Finally, the sunflower blooms

My daughter planted this mini-sunflower a while ago in a little pot. It started to wilt at one point and I figured it was because it was outgrowing the pot. I took it outside and planted it, making sure it always had enough water. Finally, it bloomed today. I don't have much luck growing plants of any kind, so, it's a pretty big accomplishment for me. I think I'm happier about it than she is.

Relaxing and watching TV

I took the afternoon off, today and decided to relax on the couch for a bit right after lunch. If you watch TV and Mojo's tired, he'll snuggle right up on your lap. In fact, if you push him off, he'll
slowly skink back onto your lap an inch at a time. Anyone who thinks pit bulls are born mean just don't know the real story. There's nothing more important to him than pleasing me. As with all pit bulls, he's his own worst enemy in that if I wanted him to behave badly, he'd do it just to make me happy. Being that I just want a sweet family dog, he's happy to be just that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I present to you, this ball

Here's my pit bull, Mojo, presenting me with his favorite ball. What be wants, ostensibly, is for me to throw it so he can run after it. I say ostensibly because if I make any movement toward the ball as if I am going to pick it up, he snatches it right back in the blink of an eye. Jerk.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Today's catch from the back bay

My daughter and I spent the afternoon...actually, the better part of the day playing around along one of NJ's inland waterways. Here are our two crabs. We threw them back. We weren't there for crabs, anyway. We were just there to pass the time and these two fellows literally walked up to us.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ferris wheel-all messed up

Here is the coolest iPhone camera malfunction I've ever seen. I
haven't seen it before this and I can't reproduce it. Usually, I can
get images to come out all wavy, but, this one blows me away.