A Trip to the Supermarket

Posted in Photography Tricks on February 21st, 2009 by MadDog
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I got crazy-bored this morning and couldn’t think of a thing to write about.

Wait . . . I have a camera and a computer. Words are hard – pictures are easy.

I walked to the corner and shot down the street to the Supermarket:

I took a four-frame montage and let it cook in Photoshop for a while. It makes the equivalent of about a 48 megapixel image. Then I squashed it down to a low-resolution JPEG file and zapped it up to Microsoft to let Photozoom massage it nicely.

Result – If you zoom in you can see a lady and a man about two blocks away eating an ice-cream cone, read the phone numbers on the side of the supermarket, and copy down the license plate number on the pickup truck driving down the street.

Okay, that took about half an hour. Now what am I going to do?

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Sheba – Princess of My Heart

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Opinions on February 20th, 2009 by MadDog
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If my wife is the Queen of My Heart (and she is), then my dog, Sheba, is the Princess.

What kind of blogger who loves his dog doesn’t feature his canine pal in a post occasionally? Heartless – that’s what it would be. I know she can’t read. She seldom browses the internet. But, in my heart, I know that she knows that I’m not giving her ample air-time. She can see it in my eyes.

We read each other well:

Sheba - Princess of My Heart

See what I mean. There is that listless accusing look that says, “You’re always talking about others. What am I? Chopped liver? Hey, wait! . . . mmmmmmm, chopped liver . . .”

She is a pretty little mongrel. I use the word “little” loosely. She probably weighs about thirty-five kilos. On a leash, it’s all I can manage just to hold her back. If she decides that she’s going somewhere, then I’m going also.

She’s about two years old now and I think she’s stopped growing. We almost lost her to a quack who called himself a veterinarian. What a charlatan! He’s been put on notice that it would be wise for him to stay away from Madang. He killed two animals the last time he was here and injured several more. You can plainly see the huge scar on her foreleg. It is just shiny black skin. I don’t think that she will ever have fur there again:

Sheba cooling her heels
She is easily the smartest and most trainable dog I have ever had. Most times, I don’t even have to say anything to her. If she can see me, all it takes is a gesture or a look and she knows what I want.

It is not that she is placid or lacks a will of her own. Sometimes she simply gets stubborn and I have to resort to shouting or get the whistle.

She is part Doberman, part German Shepherd, and part Rottweiler. There are probably a few others mixed in also. I truly believe that, in general, mongrels make the best pets. I’ve had purebreds and mutts. I love the mutts.

I am, after all, a mongrel myself.

You can get more of Sheba here, here, here, and here.


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Crashing Servers – Passing Clouds

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 19th, 2009 by MadDog
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Our main server crashed horribly last Friday. Tsk, tsk, what a shame. Don’t pity me. It’s been sitting in the corner feeling neglected for a long time. It’s been subjected to countless installs and uninstalls of programs. It started out life as Windows 2000, got upgraded to W2000 Server, then Windows 2003 Server all without so much as a whimper. Now its boot disk is showing symptoms of severe senility. A CHKDSK took an entire night. I didn’t expect to see it on line this morning, but there it is – bravely carrying on carrying on.

I’m demoting it to herding the telephones and serving the printers for a few more days while I put the finishing touches on a pair of back-to-back Windows 2008 servers. Then I’m going to retire it and give it an honourable burial without even dismembering it. Long faithful service deserves honour. I wish our financial backers had the same attitude. But, that’s another story.

All that technical junk bores me these days. It’s just a drudge. I’m going to forget about it for a few minutes and enjoy showing you some images.

This morning we had some new Bird of Paradise blooms next to our orchid draped Flame Tree. Aren’t they pretty:

Bird of Paradise Flower
As I looked up to see if there were any orchid flowers, I noticed some interesting lichens growing on the tree:
Lichens growing on a Flame Tree
You can also see the snaky tendrils of the orchids attempting to strangle the tree. I don’t know if they could be properly called roots. They don’t go clear to the ground. Most orchids are epiphytes – they grow attached to another plant, but do not gain nourishment from it directly.

On the way to the office the Finisterre Mountains were calling to my camera. I stopped for a minute to get this seven-frame panorama shot:

Moody looking Finisterre Mountains
It looks about as moody as I feel today. I have more Finisterre Mountain panoramas here and here.

These clouds will also pass.

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A Short History of Ancient Advertising

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 18th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve been keeping amused by sorting through the old issues of Paradise Magazine that Maureen Hill gave to me. There are many articles of interest to old-timers, but the advertisements are so funky and dated that I have to show you a few of them. I’ll get around to the articles later.

These ads came from Issue 2: October 1976, Issue 5: May 1977, and Issue 6: July 1977.

In hindsight, I suppose that old cigarette ads are not so funny. I can remember when “Nine out of ten Doctors Recommend . . .” They can ‘t get away that that now. Here’s an old Peter Stuyvesant ad from Paradise:

Stuyvesant cigarette ad from an early Paradise magazine
It would have been more honest to say, “We hired this clown to dress up in a doctor suit and lie to you.”, but I don’t think they would have sold as many coffin nails. I was curious about who the dude was or if it was a fake name. Turns out he was real:

Peter Stuyvesant (circa 1600 – August 1672) served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City. Stuyvesant’s accomplishment as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York) beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant’s administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal which became Broad Street, and Broadway.

Here’s one that’s a laugh. Who in the world thought this up:

Air Niugini - A Wise Old Owl?
Air Niugini – A Wise Old Owl? Maybe way back then.

The Avis car hire gang was around then and have managed to hang in there:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
Although I don’t think anybody dresses like that anymore. (Hey, wait a minute. I DO know some guys who still dress that way!)

Ela Motors is still pumping out the iron, though I seriously doubt if the car shown in the ad is more than a rusting hulk:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
South Pacific Brewery is still faithfully insuring that nobody goes to school (ably assisted by British American Tobacco).* However, with the quality of the flint bottle longnecks (SP Export Lager) that we’ve been seeing lately I think a lot of people would switch if there was anything in the same price range. Every other bottle spews about a third of its contents out as soon as you open it:
Old South Pacific Brewery ad from Paradise Magazine
I saved the best for last. Burns Philp used to be a very big deal here. I can remember a huge warehouse store just around the corner from my office. It burned down. Burns Philp is now a shell company owned by New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart:
Old Burns Philp ad from Paradise Magazine
I wonder if its demise had anything to do with its ludicrous advertisements.

Fair is fair – it is cute in a demented sort of way.

* Okay, okay, I know it’s not fair to blame the brewers and ciggie makers for the irresponsibility and neglect of the slugs who choose to consume the products in such quantities that they can’t afford to send their kids to school. It’s like blaming the arms industry for all the people who die in wars. But, hey, we gotta blame somebody!

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About the Hat

Posted in Humor, Under the Sea on February 17th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve shown you several examples of the differences between juvenile forms and adult forms. I can hear you yawning already.

But, look at these beauties:

Silver Sweetlips sub-adult Diagramma pictum

They are Silver Sweetlips (Diagramma pictum).  I think that they are one of the prettier fish that it is easy to get a camera on. In fact, they are so tame that one wonders how they survive. It’s quite easy to sneak up behind and grab a tail. Oh, I should mention – these are sub-adults (the technical term for teenagers).

Now, have a look at this big homely thing:

Silver Sweetlips adult (Diagramma pictum)

That’s what a Silver Sweetlips looks like when it’s all grown up. Not a pretty fish.

Okay, enough of that. I’ve also bored you senseless about the differences between images taken by available light and those captured by flash. Let me warn you that there is more of that to come. In fact, another dose is coming your way right now.

Here is a nudibranch (Phyllidia coelestis)  captured on my Canon G9 with the flash turned on:

Nudibranch (Phyllidia coelestis) taken with flash

Here is the same nudibranch flashless (ambient or available light):

Nudibranch (Phyllidia coelestis) by available light

In this particular case, the differences are more subtle. However, even in this less dramatic example, it’s my opinion that the colours in the available light shot are much more as I saw them on the dive.

If nudibranchs light your fire, I’ve written about them before here, here, here, and here.

Okay, enough of the technical stuff.

Here’s something that might amuse you. The big critter (half a metre long) on the left is a Sea Cucumber, sometimes called bêche-de-mer.  In this case, it’s a Thelenota anax:

Sea Cucumber (Thelenota anax) with pooWhat’s interesting is the pile of stuff near the bottom. Hmmmmm . . . what could it be? Did I hear someone say, “Poo”? The answer is yes, it is a pile of Sea Cucumber poo. I bet you will go for at least the rest of the day without seeing another pile of Sea Cucumber poo.

Oh, yes – about the hat. To save me a lot of breath explaining to my neighbors – no, I am not the CÏA Station Chief. Of course, that is exactly what I would say if I were, so you’ll never know:

What a laugh! - Or IS IT? - You'll never know.

A friend who is an automobile racing official gave the hat to me. In fact, he is a Senior Official. One should treasure gifts from friends, but the phrase “SENIOR OFFICIAL” seemed a bit stuffy to me, so I removed some of the embroidered letters. My craving to play the fool is insatiable.

Originally, I removed the letters so that it read “SENIOR OF CIAL” – somewhat cryptic, but amusing. My friend, Amana Watson, asked me why not remove the final “L”. I was stunned at my ability to overlook the obvious. Thanks, Amanda.

If you’re still suspicious, ask yourself: “What kind of secrets would I ferret out in Madang that would be of interest to the CIA?”

What a laugh!

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Sketchory – Sketches for Free

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 17th, 2009 by MadDog
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I couldn’t draw a dog if my life depended on it – at least if the viewer had to recognize it as a dog. I’m sketch-impaired or sketch-challenged or whatever the politically correct terminology is.

If you’re like me, then check out Sketchory here.

Mad Cow from Sketchory.com

There are 250,000 sketches there in many styles. You can help with the tagging to find even more.

That’s it. Sometimes I just inform. Whether you asked or not.

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Know Your Limits

Posted in Humor on February 16th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m as much a new-age sensitive guy as you’re likely to find. This is partly because I’ve been groomed for forty-five years by a fine woman. The rest of it is probably due to a slowly declining testosterone level (ah, blessed relief!).

Being new-ageish and all sensitive-like, it’s with no small trepidation that I present something to you which, I suppose, I should not find so funny, but oh, I do, I do.

I ran across this on www.boingboing.net, a sort of blogish site that has all sorts of crazy stuff on it.

And so, I present to you: Women, Know Your Limits:

Now, if you find not humour, but rather offense in that, I apologize for shoving it in your face. I would try to persuade you, however, that it is maybe about time that we begin to take in the humourous possibilities abundant around the periphery of the Gender Wars.

Even Blenny is laughing:
This Blenny thinks it's funnySo, if I’ve not yet offended anyone, let me take another shot. How about this one – Women, For Pity’s Sake, Don’t Drive:

Okay, I’m pushing my luck now.