a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: August 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Updating History

SUMMARY: Recreating photos of yesteryear.

Do you love the photos that people take while trying to recreate photos from their youth? Like this site(43 people who flawlessly recreated their childhood photos)--which has ads galore and you have to click to see each next one rather than them being on the same page, but wonderful photos!

Seems to me that I've attempted these things at random times in the past, but remember only a couple of recent ones, and they're not complete attempts to match clothing and location, just positions.

Fair warning, there is melancholy in these posts, as well as fun.

(1) Even 2 years ago we knew that we wouldn't be able to get my mom up to the top of this dome. Even less likely now.  Dad really wanted it to happen (he took the photo), but now he'll never see it even if we do successfully recreate the whole thing.  Above Olmsted Point in Yosemite.



We had to convince dad 2 years ago that it was not the stroll in the park that he remembered from when he was in his 30s, and that he'd have a rough time of it and mom just wouldn't be able to do it unless someone carried her.  You ever think, in retrospect, that Dad wanted this photo so much that we should've found a way to get them  up there?  Well, I had a wonderful time the day that we found this spot and took this photo and I'll at least cherish that.  I wonder--any chance that we could get all 3 of the oldest of us up there AND find someone(s) to carry mom up?

(2)  When I learned that Boost would not be around much longer, I wanted to redo some of the old photos. This one, not in the same location, not with the same clothing, but the main characters are here.


And, of course, these (which I already posted back in January):

2002: Tika, Jake, Remington

2015: Tika, Boost, Chip, taken as I knew that Tika couldn't be around much longer. Already having trouble sitting comfortably--but she managed it for me, briefly. All three of them were such good dogs on this day.

I have thousands of photos to sort, label, and edit

SUMMARY: So I decided to experiment with Photoshop Elements--

--the tool that is now on version 11 or so and that i've been using since about version 2.

You know how when you first get a creative tool, you play around with everything to see what it does?  Well, I wanted to get back to that mindset for a little while here, because one forgets (plus they keep adding features, go figure).

Just saving some of the fun I had.

The original JPEG from the camera.
I started with the RAW file, which was similar to the JPEG, and did the normal tweaks to get it to look better and normal.
This is playing with the Levels curve, sliding midtones pretty much all the way to the left.
Also I converted it to black & white and played with the various possible B&W filters/settings to get something that appealed to me (this is based on the Newspaper setting.

Mwah hah hah haaaaaa... Discovered what fun the Transform tool can be!
And the Recompose tool!

Holy Magic Extraction Tool, Batman! How did I miss that this awesome tool existed? Love love love how simple it was to extract part of the photo!
OK, kids, that's all for today. Go thou and create.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Puppy on the bed all night!

SUMMARY: Luke succeeds at sleeping with the big dogs!

I have tried periodically to let Luke sleep on the king-sized bed with me and Chip, but every time I've lain down, he starts climbing all over me and biting at me and will not be deterred.  I usually give it 5 to 10 minutes, depending on my patience and fatigue level, but he has always ended up back in his crate.

Last night--success! Only about 2 minutes of trying to be an annoying puppy and then, voila, he slept on the bed quietly all night!

I kept thinking:

  • On the down side, it would probably be nice long-term to have dogs who don't sleep on the bed.
  • On the up side, getting him out of his crate every morning, when my back has is usually at its worst, has been a pain in the backside, literally. Often a very big pain. So, if this keeps up like last night, I'll no longer have to worry about that. (Just the small amount of bending required to release him. Tellin' ya, this back thing of mine is not playing by my rules.)
So, well, anything is possible, and we'll see how the champ does tonight!

Old Books, Good Memories

SUMMARY: Lad, A Dog; Bob, My Dad.

Starting somewhere in my middle childhood I became crazy about dogs.  A crazy dog lady in development.

My parents encouraged me via books. My mom was the one who had collies as a kid and who likely got me started on Albert Peyson Terhune, and I think that it was my dad, in particular, who browsed used bookstores for all the Terhune books that money could buy--back in the day when used bookstores were many, and those who remembered the best-selling Terhune books still roamed the aisles of used bookstores. (Lad, A Dog: "Published in 1919, the novel was a best seller in both the adult and young adult markets and has been reprinted over 80 times.") And he loved books, and he loved bestowing gifts on loved ones.

My father died last week, just a month short of his 85th birthday, after a steep but short decline from cancer, still fighting, still treasuring his books and his family.

So many memories from my childhood reside in these books, so very many of which came wrapped as birthday or Christmas gifts over a period of a decade or more. And so many of which I still occasionally pull out and plunge into, for good times with good dogs.

You can always read about how Gray Dawn influenced my preferences for dogs, in Boost's History.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kibble Song

SUMMARY: Just some positive and some silly lyrics in a difficult month.

OK, think Annie Get Your Gun:
Got no mansion, got no yacht,
Still I'm happy with what I got.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night
Got the tune? (If not, try this.)  The song itself is something I'm singing to myself as an affirmation.

Still, once that's in my head, it's hard to avoid going here at mealtime--
I feed kibble to my dogs
I must keep them from being hogs:
They get a cup in the morning
And two thirds at night!
That's all I got for ya.