Ireland – Day 13

Today is our last day in Ireland before flying home tomorrow. We’re tired and we’re pretty much out of clean clothes.

The sun was out again today and we enjoyed walking in the good weather.

Our first visit was to the Trinity College Library to see the Book OF Kells. There’s no photography of the actual book, but you can take photos of the magnificent Trinity College Library.

Trinity University Library

Trinity College also has one of the Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) sculptures like the one we saw at The Vatican Museums when we visited there last year.

Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) Trinity College

Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) Trinity College

From there we walked over to tour the Chester Beatty Library which has an amazing collection of books, documents and other artifacts. No photos in there, but the sun was shining brightly on the Dublin Castle and the view from the Dubh Linn Gardens was quite nice.

Dublin Castle

This little courtyard contained the Garda Memorial Garden which pays tribute to police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Dubhlinn Gardens Garda Memorial Garden

We’re going to take it easy the rest of the day. Packing and relaxing before our early, early flight tomorrow morning.

This trip has been amazing. Cynthia and I both agree that the rural part was much better than the city parts, though both were great in their own ways.

Rats!

Why I love (and sometimes fear) Cynthia – reason # 2,341,456

One of her coworkers has been out of town this week. Let’s just say that Cynthia and this particular co-worker don’t always see eye to eye and have somewhat of a “friendly rivalry” going on.

While this particular co-worker was out of of the office, Cynthia busied herself “re-decorating” it by cutting out pictures of dozens and dozens of rats and placing them all over his office. There’s even rats in the drawers and in the cabinets. She also plans to scatter a box of raisins on his desk before he returns on Friday as a finishing touch.

Cynthia confided in me that the subtle symbolism of her message may be lost on this particular co-worker.

Click any image to see a larger, more rat-ly version.

Rats

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Rats

Rats

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Rats

Rats

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Rats

Rats

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Rats

Rats

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Rats

Happy Festival Of Popular Delusions Day!

June 5th is Festival Of Popular Delusions Day.

The festival began in Germany on June 5th, 1945 which is one year after D-Day and one day before the one year anniversary. It marks the last day the Nazi’s were able to delude themselves that they would rule the Earth for a thousand years.

Festival Of Popular Delusions Day is now a day for ourselves to perform a reality check not only on our selves as individuals, but take a look at the popular ideas of the day.

To commemorate this day, and in the spirit of our “wacky” holiday card tradition, Cynthia and I sent out a card to our friends and also offer a copy here since we can’t afford stamps for everyone.

Stresscon 3

We’re in final preparations for the trip to Italy and I am at StressCon 3. Flight and hotels have been booked, rail passes secured, initial packing done as well as sorting out exactly which photo gear I will be taking on this trip.

To complicate things, I have a business trip to Orlando during the days leading up to the flight to Italy. That means I go to Orlando for work and fly back to Houston and turn around the next day to fly to Italy. It’s not all that tight of a schedule, but I have had to pack two separate suitcases so my Italy gear will be mostly ready when I get back from Orlando. This throws my planning and preparation out of kilter because I don’t have the week leading up to the big trip to verify everything on my checklist. I have to do it now and maybe a little the night before I leave.

And in keeping with the tradition of The Maiming of the Nose and Ojo Rojo, Cynthia has had a minor medical issue come up. One of her teeth has disintegrated. Old fillings just don’t hold up, I guess.

She has a temporary crown so we are good to go. Poor Cynthia. She’s being a real trooper, though.

Diorarium

When I picked Cynthia up from work on Monday she was carrying an empty 40oz plastic pretzel jar. I asked her what it was for and she proudly announced that she was going to make a terrarium out of it.

As we drove home we talked about the project and I suggested getting a lizard to put in the terrarium. She suggested a frog. We both quickly recognized that this was a recipe for disaster. I then suggested a fake plastic lizard or frog. Cynthia didn’t really like that idea so much and as the conversation unfolded she came up with the idea of staging a diorama of an alien spaceship abducting someone in the woods. I countered that maybe it should be a diorama of an alien spaceship abducting a cow.

Cynthia liked this idea. I said we could call it a “diorarium” (pronounced die-a-rare-ee-um) to which Cynthia immediately said “no” due to the unpleasantness of how the word sounded.

I told her I had a perfect UFO in the form of a die cast model of the Jupiter II from the original Lost In Space TV series. I also suggested we could probably find some plastic cows at the toy store.

As the plan unfolded we I came up with the idea that we could go to the model shop where I was sure we could find some N Scale cows used for scenery in model railroading. They ended up having the PERFECT cows.

Then it was just a matter of getting the plants, the soil, activated carbon and gravel to build the terrarium part of the diorarium (by day two Cynthia embraced this as the name of what we were creating).

With all the parts assembled we had to figure out how to suspend the spaceship and the cow being abducted. I went to the hardware store and purchased some monofilament fishing line which ended up being perfect.

If it works as it is supposed to we should not have to open it or water it again, or at least for a very long time.

Here is the completed project. As it turns out, photographing a fake UFO abducting a fake cow inside a plastic jar presents many of the same challenges as photographing the real thing. If the real thing actually exists. Which it probably does. (shhhh!)

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Diorarium

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Diorarium

Play It Again, Cynthia

Cynthia has been wanting to learn the piano for quite some time now. We finally decided to make the dream a reality and went shopping for a piano for the house. Initially we went in search of a real piano but as we were doing our shopping we found a Yamaha digital piano. Cynthia was dead set against a digital piano until she sat down with the Yamaha. She fell instantly in love. No tuning needed, it has a rich full sound and best of all, it has a volume control and you can even plug in headphones.

Cynthia can already read music and after just two lessons is playing pretty well.

The People Have Spoken – Duffy Is Spared

In my previous post about Duffy, the question was asked: “Life or death?” and the majority of you voted to spare the life of Duffy. It was also suggested that we use a humane live trap and capture him and relocate him.

Bowing to the will of the public, we acquired the trap and set it. For the first week we only succeeded in trapping a poor little sparrow which was quickly released. Cynthia was just a little discouraged by the fact that she felt herself being outsmarted by a rodent. She consulted one of the maintenance workers at her office who suggested using a different kind of bait. We had been using cookies, but he suggested nuts and seeds as rodents like to eat food they can hold in their paws.

With this in mind I purchased some more bird seed and baited the trap. At 7:30 Sunday morning Cynthia woke me up exclaiming that we had captured Duffy.

Victory!

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Victory!

Personally, I could have received this news at a more “humane” hour of the day, say 9:00 or later. But I guess Cynthia’s excitement outweighed all other considerations.

Despite All My Rage

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Despite All My Rage

Poor little guy was pretty terrified. Now it was just a matter of finding a place to relocate him. As I mentioned, it was pretty early on a Sunday morning so I figured we’d drive out toward Highway 6 and find a field and let him go. As we were headed down Briar Forest I spotted some commercial construction that backed up to a vacant lot and pulled in. I thought I would drive to the back and release Duffy there.

Imagine my surprise when we spotted a Houston Police cruiser parked back there. I quickly turned around and headed back out. The cop didn’t seem to see us which was a relief. I could imagine explaining to the officer exactly what we were doing.

We found another location next to another vacant lot and released Duffy and headed home.

I'z Is Innocent!

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I'z Is Innocent!

Cynthia doesn’t think that we actually caught Duffy. She thinks this is another rat altogether. I think it’s Duffy, but the trap is reset and we’ll see if we catch anything else.

*UPDATE*

We need to stop setting the trap during daylight hours

This Is A Revoltin' Development!

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This Is A Revoltin' Development!

Duck Duck Duck

Cynthia In Orange

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Cynthia In Orange

Cynthia and I went to the Art Car Parade on Saturday. This time was different from years past because I was invited to be an announcer as the parade was going on with my friend and Technology Bytes co-host Dwight Silverman. It was a lot of fun, but I ended up not getting to take any pictures of the art cars. It took everything we had to keep up with the announcing.

I did, however, get some pictures of some of the numerous baby ducks at Sam Houston Park.

Baby Ducks

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Baby Ducks

Baby Ducks

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Baby Ducks

Baby Ducks

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Baby Ducks

All pics shot using the Sony A850 and the SAL 70-300G lens. Click any image for a larger (and much cuter) version.

Spring Is Here

My apologies to the half dozen or so readers of my blog. I’ve just not felt the inspiration to post much lately.

The nice thing about getting out and visiting new places is that I find lots to things to take pictures of and write about. But there’s always a lull when I get back to Houston in terms of inspiration. It’s already been several months since the trip to Copenhagen and I must confess, the photographic and blogging inspiration is STILL at an all time low.

The Pi(e) Day Card was a fun project. We’re still pondering what’s next in the esoteric holiday card lineup.

Cynthia and I have been hard at work trying to get the front and back lawns into shape. We lost very little during the recent snow in December and the more recent hard freeze where temps stayed below 32 for awhile, so that’s good.

In the loss column was one of my favorite plants, the giant pink Hibiscus we’ve had since our first apartment in the Heights over 15 years ago. Call me sentimental, but I always looked fondly on the soul survivor of our futile efforts to maintain a patio garden in Houston. It had a place of honor in the front yard just to the side of the front door. Now that it is dead we’ve replaced it with a somewhat neglected Sago Palm we’ve had in a pot in the backyard. It’s a bit of a runt due to living in a pot in the shade in the backyard, but hopefully it will reach it’s full potential now that it has been moved.

We also lost the giant and hateful Bougainvillea that dominated the back garden. It was pretty and really doing well before the freeze, but just didn’t manage to survive so we spent the better part of two weekends cutting it down and chopping it up enough so that the trash collectors would haul it away.

We managed to get most of it gone but not without some parting shots from it’s numerous and sharp thorns.

There’s still a lot of work to be done and hopefully this good weather will hold for a few more weeks so we can finish it up. We’ve really had some gorgeous California style weekends with low temps and low humidity with lots of clear blue skies and sunshine.

Oh, and speaking of the good weather. We’ve been taking the opportunity to walk a few miles each day after work. That, in combination with a revised diet and some Wii Fit excercises I am personally down 20lbs!