a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: July 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dogs. And Agility.

SUMMARY: Pix and Ponderings about dogs, agility, nonagility, travel, activities...

This started as a blog about me and my dogs in agility.  And it pretty much continued that way for over a decade, with forays into random realms.

But I hardly ever post here any more. Mean to, really I do. Because the secondary purpose was to be my diary, since I suck at keeping a written one, plus can't click to insert photos into paper!

And then when I do post, it's hardly ever about dogs.   So, here's a dog. Waiting for the neighbor's dog to come to the fence so they can bark ferociously at each other. What passes for entertainment in the dog world.

Not too many weekends ago, I went to my club's agility trial about 50-60 minutes from here. Nice freeway drive through less urbanified areas. At least, early in the morning.  I worked. Took a few photos.  My heart wasn't into either one. I think what finally did it for me was that there was a snooker course with an element in it that is one of the spectacular Ellen-and-Boost-fail-to-get-a-Super-Q near misses that just broke my heart.  I let too many things break my heart in agility, I think, but even telling myself here and now that that didn't matter and I'd do anything to have my little blue border collie back, it just kept hitting me.

And I'm not that interested in the courses now--I'm nowhere near competition ready in that I have no agility dogs, even if I were completely physically fit.  (Actually feeling pretty good these days, but quite out of condition.)

Agility people are still wonderful. Lots of friends there. Chatted with several. And then they'd need to go run their dogs, or walk their dogs, or take their dogs to the doggie masseuse (really, she's wonderful; Tika loved her).  More and more people running, every time I go to a trial, whom I don't know from Adam.  More and more known people with new dogs I've never met and know nothing about So many of the people I became friends with--and dogs, too-- by being in classes and seminars with them for long periods.

I haven't done agility trials or classes or seminars now for over 3 years, except for a  very few small attempts at class with each of the dogs. I know that Zorro would love it and would be very good at it. I just can't spark my own interest in working on it.  Doesn't he look like he's ready for something new and more exciting?

And then, with that last trial, I just didn't even want to go to the next couple in the same location, and now there's one right here locally this weekend and I'm not going there, either. Can't exactly say why; I had planned on it. But didn't.

Meanwhile, I've been going more and more places and doing more and more things as I get physically better and better-- all the interesting and different kinds of places and things that I used to do a lot of before I started agility--

  • Las Vegas and Grand Canyon in November, for a photo seminar and much more.  (I've posted almost none of the photos, but here are a couple.)
  • Yosemite in March, and lucked out in having snow fall on us, something I've wanted to happen for many many years but haven't had the spare weekends also for many years. (Almost no photos posted, but here are a couple.)
  • Walt Disney World in Florida in April. (almost nothing posted yet, but here are a couple of shots.)
  • Arizona in May (even though it was for a memorial, still we got around and did things.) 
  •  Later this summer, I'm going to Reno for the balloon races, something I've wanted to do since I first learned about them many many years ago. 
  • Later still, in the fall, I'll be going to Ouray, Colorado, for a photo workshop on fall colors in the Rockies, something I've almost done several times and then didn't for one reason or another.
  •  Tomorrow it's Big Sur: my sis and bro-in-law and I are going on an adventure--Driving there, taking the shuttle to the closed part of Highway 1, hiking over the brand-new trail around the damaged highway, then shuttle on the other side to Nepenthe, a restaurant that we like perched above the cliffs on the ocean, before it's too late and they finally replace the destroyed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and the shuttle will no longer run and Big Sur will no longer be isolated from the rest of the world (at least, from the North--who knows how long until they find the missing Pacific Coast Highway south of there). Until the next Highway 1 disaster.

Had I been doing agility, I likely wouldn't have done any of these. So, it's tradeoffs. Always.

And the dogs have stayed home through everything. So, it's a different life.

I still mostly think of myself as an agility person. Hard not to, with 20 years of classes and competitions and seminars and trips and parties and clubs and all. And yet--I feel that I'm slowly going back to being just a Boring Pet Dog Owner.  And yet--I'm still not ready to let the Agility go.

And then--Retirement is looking more and more like it could actually happen. Sooner rather than later. How cool would that be? But what would it mean for what and where and when and how and who? Thought for EVER so long that I'd travel around, hiking, doing agility, and like that. But--now--who knows!

The future is wide open.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Headers and profiles and sites, oh my!

SUMMARY: Just nonsense about blogs and other websites that need--yes, need!-- photo choices.

Everything that one does online these days demands (yes! demands!) a profile photo. How to choose the look that one wants? Do you want people to like you or not? Do you want them to think you're strange or not?  Do you want them to get a flavor of your personality, or hobbies, or environment, or family, or history? Or not?

I have generic-y photos that I can put anywhere, and mostly do for professional-y things.  Like this one, looking all normal-y (blue/purple tie-dye is normal, right?) surrounded by professional-y-looking grammar books, style guides, and dictionaries. (And professional-y-looking stuffed animals, water bottles, and random professional-y-looking crap. For authenticity.)

Which I can crop down to just get my true essence, of light-hearted professionalism with tie dye, and some books.

But what's the fun of normalcy?

 (Side note: OMD, just noticed how long ago I took that photo! I like to think that I look exactly the same, but, eh, I don't. I should take a new one. Or should I go much much older, back to scanned photos from my film camera days? Very professional-y, eh?)

I currently have different profile photos for my Blogger account --which is here--and for my Google account--which I log into to edit my Blogger account. They display really really tiny in chats and stuff -- here's what I see while editing my page (lower left and upper right):

The left one above I created using xxx-ize me sites (such as simpsonize me (no longer exists, sorry), peanutize me, and so on).  Like these:

Plus big yellow dogs.

Plus big blue-merle dogs (wellll... gray. it's the closest I could get with the tool).

Plus kitchen.

Should my profile photo include my dogs?  Like my current Google one-- but, oh, my, the site limitations on cropping often limit what's appropriate.  For example--original photo:

As displayed on my Google account, I have one complete dog, one half dog, and a random dog ear in case someone's goes missing:

(Side note: yep, that's out of date, too, by 3 years and 3 dogs. So, do I need a new one? It's always something.)

And then there's Facebook--  FB simplifies changing the profile and cover photo. Very simple. Too simple. Because that means that they DEMAND, yes, DEMAND to be changed frequently!  For a while, I posted a different shot of me with dogs every week.  Then a different shot of me with some random hat every week.  Then it just became random things at random times. OK, so, if you want to see ALLLLLLL the profile photos I've ever used in my 10 (?) years on facebook-- try this link (you don't have to log in or sign up; just say Not Now and then click on a photo, use arrow keys to skim thru them. Not that intriguing, really).

Then there's the whole thing about header photos! What feel do I want to give my blog as a whole? And what photo looks pretty good wide and short and with space where the heading text isn't hidden by what's in the photo? And am I even capable of taking such photos deliberately? Challenging.

Sometimes things work out OK.  Not too long ago I changed this long-time header photo--

 To this:

Which I just now replaced with this.

Whatchu think?

Do you post profile photos and/or header photos?

    What do you think about when adding a profile photo or header photo?

        Do you have multiple sites that can each have different profiles or headers?

            DO they each have different ones?

                How often do you update each?

                    What ...is your quest? What ...is your favorite color? (oh... sorry... carried away there...)

Demanding, inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mr Fox Knock Yer Blox Off Blockz Party

SUMMARY: Pretty much everyone who was anyone came.

Backfill: Sept 28, 2019: Added Morse Code translation link.

Human Mom had to go off to the office to do some employment-something-or-other. Accidentally left her camera home.  Later, when uploading photos, she was surprised to discover that considerable quantities of organization had occurred in her absence. Not clear whether Mr Fox no.12 was behind it, or Chip (who wasn't in the photo, so who's using the camera, you well might ask?), or most likely Squeaky Snake who can't resist a really good noisy fling.

Now Human Mom is taking names in case there's an investigation, which seems likely given the state of the California King bed on which certain visiting foxes, plus the local foxes (el zorro and Flying Fox) have been--allegedly--sleeping.

More or less from front to back, left to right:

Row 1: Zorro, Ropebone, Flying Minkey, Liddle Toy, Liddle Ball, Foot, Ladybug, Duck Jr., Mr. Ball, Flying Fox.

Row 2: The Braid, Crunchie, Purple Hippo, Hedgehog.

Row 3: Ballflower, Happy, Monkeyface, Mr. Rabbit, Lattice, Mr Fox no.12, Bluedog, SqueakySnake.

Row 4: Squirrel (actually a Chipmunk but, through a sad case of mistaken rodentity, answers only to Squirrel), Puffin, Mr. Bear, Spidey, CAP-tain America, The Incredible Hulk, Tusker, Pirate Chicken (standing in for his late lamented cousin, Bikini Chicken).

Row 5: Buzzy Bee, FrizBee, Riot Tug, Milker Toy, Booda News.

Row 6: Mr. Duck, Mr. Alien, Cthulhu Face, Skunk.

No Row: Probably hiding for safety purposes: Flatball Blue, Flatball Purple, Flatball Red, Flatball Purple, Flatball Blue, Binkie, Binkie, Binkie, Rope, Jolly[Ball].

* Chip would like to point out that, being the biggest dog in the house, he iz gotz dibs on all Liddles.

** Monkeyface and Happy take turns spending the day with Buzzy Bee, who has inconveniently lost his eyesight. ... Well, ok, his eyes entirely.

*** Upon closer examination, Tusker was found to have hidden in his stomach a note that no one could make head nor hair of.  We repeat it here only for completeness.  ".-- . / .. --.. / - .- .--- / -- ..- - - .... .- .-.. .-.. . .-. ... / .- -. -.. / .-- . / .. --.. / ... . -. -.. --.. / --. .-. . . - .. -. --. . / - --- / . ... - . .- -- . -.. . -.. / -.- --- .-.. .-.. . . --. --.. / --- -. / -.-. --- .-. -. / .-- .- .-.. .-.. --..-- / .-.. .. -.- . ... / ... .. -.. -. . . / .- -. -.. / -- .. ... ... / - . .-. .-. -.-- .. --- ..- ... / ... ..- . .-.-.-"  (Translation)