Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tika Sleeping

SUMMARY: Inspired by a thread at work

Tika was sometimes quite creative.













Monday, May 20, 2019

Courageous Kids day at Great America

SUMMARY: A learning photographic experience
Backfill: From Facebook, posted May 12ish.

For families with kids with cancer. On Mother's Day. Courageous Kids sets up a whole special area of activities and music and celebrity visits and free food and free family portraits by pro photographers. I went along as an assistant photog and for the opportunity to learn more about posing groups of people so the group looks special. Learned a bunch; now I are a portrait photographist. (I wish I were that good...)

The photo organizer had 4 groups of photographers with 4 people in each group.  Our group photographed 50 families. I'm exhausted. But really an excellent experience.

For personal shots (like these), rule was, no recognizable faces. I didn't take many photos. Could've taken more, of just the clothing, for example, with permission. Quite a few families came wearing matching t-shirts such as "Sophie's Supporters" or "Jose's Team" or "Fuck Lukemia" (yes, really. I cheered).

Ever wonder what Great America stashes in its back parking lots? Well, here's a delightful sampling.



Hats for volunteers! In pretty much my favorite color!


Oh Em Gee! My retirement home, right here! Favorite *favorite* colors!!!


Where I checked in.



The team captain pro (Annie) in our little group of 4four came prepared with a couple of ways to try to draw kids' (and adults') attention to the camera. I like this. She even came prepared with tape for sticking it. (The camera gear belonged to the other pro in our group, Iryna.) The background overflows with the colors of parts of the obstacle course and the birdhouse-building tables.


My swag, such as it is. (I turned in the nifty zippered badge holder at the end of the day, since I have no other need for it.)


One of the stations for kids was building and painting birdhouses. Beautiful colors!


Loved the rainbow one!





Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday, Thunder, No Agility

SUMMARY: Missing Bay Team trial, plus scaredy dogs
Partially from Facebook: May 19, 2019 (expanded here)

All dressed up and ready for another visit to The Bay Team USDAA trial, but Chip is terrified by the thunder today (and Zorro is not too happy either), so I’m not going to take him outside, and I’m not going to leave him alone in the house. Sad face.

Thunder shirt has not helped. On the upside, Chip pointed out that when the dryer is running it muffles the sound nicely. So I can leave it running on air dry for up to 90 minutes while he huddles next to it. I moved a bed in there. Happy face.


Didn't seem like that's the way the day was going to go originally. Woke up early because the sun was shining (6:30 in the morning!? so wrong!) and I hadn't closed my drapes. Lounged in bed for more than an hour, mostly doing nothing. An hour after my wakey-uppy-- Somehow the wild beasts’ instincts kicked in and they had intuited that dark rain clouds would be rolling in?! Because no signs of life still— unusual around here by this time.


But when they do get moving: I start playing footsie with Zorro, who of course wags his tail during. Chip whines, groans, moans… “His tail is touching me when it wags, mommm make him stoooop.“ Such a grump, but such entertaining noises.


Spent midmorning to midafternoon dealing with Chip's issues:

  • Moving beds into laundry room for Chip and Zorro,
  • Chip not wanting to go outside so I drag him outside (literally the first time) to try to get him to pee and he's terrified of the sound of jets going by in the distance... which they do about every 3 minutes every day, all day, just now he's all sensitive, so he won't pee and just cowers and tries to go back into the house.
  • Then he pees on the carpet inside instead.
  • And of course when I yell No No No! And jump up from my lunch and try racing down to where he is to grab him and take him outside, Zorro starts to move into Boss Dog mode and so I have to tell them they're both really good dogs and everything is OK so he doesn't attack Chip.
  • So I take Chip out again and now it's pouring and he hunches off and hides under a shrub, so I have to get him out from there to take him inside again and I'm soaked through my fleece and shirt and dogs are sopping wet and muddy so I have to wipe them down while Chip trying to get away to go hide somewhere. 
  • Then while I'm trying to clean up the carpet pee (meanwhile my lunch is getting cold)... 
  • Chip starts ripping apart the doorframe to the garage again. 
  • So I get a leash this time and take him out through the garage into the side yard, into bright sunlight, where he does a very wee wee. 
  • Walk him up the side of the house and he suddenly realizes that he is actually in the same back yard as always and now he won't do anything but hunker and look scared. 
  • I walk  (so to speak) him around for several minutes and he does nothing, so back inside. 
Like that.

Good thing they're cute.

There's been no thunder for a while, and things are at the moment peaceful, and I'm exhausted (such a wimp these days), so I think a late afternoon nap is more in order than household projects and going to a movie as originally expected.

Bite the Wax Tadpole and other Translations

SUMMARY: Accuracy of language translations
From Facebook: posted this morning (5/19/19)

Automated language translation has come so far! Used to be assumed that it could never be done well (even assuming that the translation software/device knew both languages). Still, I'm amazed at how well it does.

Five comments:

1. In the early '70s I heard that one attempt had translated "hydraulic ram" to some other language as "water sheep." Might be apocryphal, as I've not found a definitive reference.

2. Another story was that an early rendition of "Coca-Cola" in Chinese characters meant "bite the wax tadpole." (Apparently real enough: https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/bite-the-wax-ta.)

3. Google Translate of text is surprisingly adept, almost always close enough to get the meaning. My first paragraph above, translated to Chinese and back, became
"So far, automatic language translation has arrived! I used to think that it would never do well (even if the translation software/device knows both languages). However, I am surprised by its performance."
(Note idiomatic challenge of "come so far" to "arrived", but it handled the last sentence OK.)

4. Even voice recognition is nifty nowadays (consider different voices' tones, vowel pronunciations, accents, slurring, etc.). Sometimes it writes the wrong thing as I speak but then corrects itself! But hard to understand why, when I said, "Chip whines, groans, moans," and I see it start out correctly (except "wines"... maybe chips go with wine?), it then changes it to "wine, ground, mountains..."

5. When Chip is super happy, he rolls around on whatever is soft nearby (bed, carpet, lawn) and makes happy little sounds while symbolically biting the thing. My built-in canine to human translation always comes out as "I bite the wax tadpole!" Clearly still needs some work.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Heart Is Filled with Joy and Pain

SUMMARY: An unexpected painful result from a photo search.

I searched for "tika"/"box" in my photo catalog to find a favorite of her doing the Get In The Box trick; I adore this shot. Always makes me smile--she was so good at this and of course loved the rewards. Standing there while I took the shot was another thing entirely, but she did it. ("Give me treat, stop photo doing thing.")


And it popped up with this immediately next to it. Tika in a box forever. No treats can be given.


It has been over 4 years now; seems like just last month, I can remember it all, and this slammed it all into my mind and gut.

To mitigate the sad with the happy, I re-edited the Amazon box photo to be brighter and sharper and clearer than my original edit nine years back, and to bring all the glorious golden life-light back into her eyes.


Friday, May 10, 2019

It's Polish Sandwich time, baby!

SUMMARY: Plus hamburgers for the boys.

It was a sudden urge. I hit Wienerschnitzel maybe once or twice a year, and Me Love Polish Sandwich. Nom nom.


I bought hamburgers for the boys. Plain hamburgers. No cheese. No sauce. Explicitly with nothing but lettuce, tomato, and onion. No sauce, no cheese. Cashier almost got it right.


Hmmm, there seems to be more than "only" on these "plain hamburgers". Dogs will just have to suffer with some bonus cheese.


The Head Chef prepares the repast according to the demands of the clients' dishes... the famous Mazes.

Plus, all those veggies? That's a side salad for me, not them! Ha ha!



Live action animals feeding in their natural habitat, a National Geographic presentation:




Nom nom time!




And for Human Mom: The big prize! More nom noms occur.