Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hitting the Road.

We're halfway to the ASFA II in Leesburg, VA. We stopped in Wheeling, WV to have Rally checked out by The Greatest Vet in the Universe, who was channeling a rapper, or pro athlete when he said, in the third person, "Dr Radcliffe's not happy" with her progress. X-Rays show that she still has major loss of bone density in the calcaneous, where the achilles tendon is attached, and he's afraid we might lose the repair, so it's back on heavy-duty antibiotics (from a short list of those that the staphlococcus haemolytus is not resistant to), and a splint. This will go on for at least another two weeks.

Business out of the way, we went to dinner last night with the good doctor and his wife. Before that, though, we went to their house so we could see the newly remodeled kitchen. Wow... it's a chef's version of Heaven.. check out the Electrolux professional stove. That's restaurant quality there.

Speaking of restaurants, nobody's going to be surprised when I tell you we went to the Metropolitan Citi Grille. Was it as good as I remember? Of course. Bummer of the night was that Margaret and I were the only Detroit Red Wing fans in the place, and the Wings were losing!




We parked at our favorite location for the night.. Cabela's, so I could get a replacement "sun cutter" hat which I'd lost last August.

Today, we'll head for Virginia where, I hear that besides the rabid foxes, they're also having a bad tick year.. deer ticks no less, so a quick trip back to Radcliffe's office before we leave is in order, to pick up some Preventic collars.

Weather forecast for Leesburg, VA for the weekend calls for 88 degrees and scattered thunderstorms on Saturday, and 86 and sunny on Sunday.

Desperate Times.

The primary season ends next week with our South Dakota primary, and one other- Montana, I think. This means our cellphones are ringing off the hook. I got one call from the South Dakota Obama campaign a couple of weeks ago. It was a live human being. We had a good talk. I told him our absentee ballots had been requested, but I couldn't remember if we registered as Democrats or Independents, (Only Dems can vote in the primary). In the last week, I've gotten at least four calls from the Clinton campaign... all automated. Who's desperate?

Looks like our votes won't end the primaries with a (technically) clear winner, but, hopefully the nonsense will end and the senator from New York does the right thing.. what she should have done the minute she realized she couldn't catch Obama.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I know Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who've fallen in service to their country. Perhaps my former comrades will permit me this small lapse, for just this year only.

On Saturday, our great friend, Mike Lorenzo lost his battle with brain cancer. I've known Mike and Karen for about a decade. We met through sighthounds, of course, but Mike's interests went way beyond just dogs. We've spent many a late night's cross country travel, in cellphone conversati0n about politics, exotic cars, motorcycles, real estate... and, of course, dogs. We were talking, not necessarily to learn anything from each other, but to keep each other awake, as I would be driving from Wisconsin to Texas to shoot a trial, and he and Karen would be driving from New York to Georgia. It's those talks I may miss the most.

Update: And weather. We talked way more about the weather than is probably healthy. Or wise.

If you knew Mike, and wish to contribute something to his memory, there are a couple of options, but I'm only going to list one: Send a check payable to "Mike Lorenzo Medical Expense Fund", to 49 Sunrise Ridge, Florida, NY 10921. I found the above photo, along with a few more of Mike and Karen, while sorting stuff for our big garage sale this weekend. I'll be including them with our check.

Farewell good friend.. and be strong, Karen.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shots Up To Date?

Going to the II? (American Sighthound Field Association's "International Invitational").

While some are concerned that the temperatures will be intolerable for hounds and humans alike, Patrick has posted on a potentially more serious problem: Rabies. In the neighborhood.

Forewarned is forearmed.

We'll be there, of course. I've shot every II since 1996 except 1997. You could say I'm a fixture at this point. We'll be joined by my friend, Steve Surfman of Steve Surfman Photography. Steve has helped shoot a few previous II's.

We'll also be joined, briefly, on Saturday by the aforementioned working terrierman himself, Pat Burns.

A good time should be had by all. See you there, and make sure your rabies vaccinations are current!

The Problem With Google Ads.

Google ads... those banners at the top of the page.. show up because they're "relevant" to the content of this blog. That's why you see all the dog and pet items and, when we were in New Mexico, there were lots of ads for Santa Fe real estate... that's how it works.

The downside is that I have no control... zero... zilch... over the ads that show up. So what's up there now? Some total right wing bilge about a certain presidential candidate (a word these dipshits can't even spell) I wrote about the other day. They rotate regularly, so it may not be there every time you look, and eventually it will disappear as I write on other interesting subjects. Anyway, it's pretty despicable crap, so I might as well get some money out of them! Click away... make 'em pay.

Thanks.

Global What?

Climate change.

Only the most rigid, and inflexible are in denial over the concept. I spoke with one at the trial last weekend.. an old friend, and way too set in his ways. When the first drowned polar bear washes up on his Indiana lawn, he may begin to see things differently.

Normal people on all sides of the political spectrum now agree that the climate is changing; the argument is over whether we, as a species, are the cause.

We've already had more tornados this year than we normally have in a full season.. including big ones in the middle of winter. Alaska has had it's first deaths- ever- from yellowjacket wasp stings. I've seen dead armadillos as far north as central Missouri, on I44.

So with all this evidence of so-called "Global Warming"...

...Why the hell does it feel like early April in Michigan... at the end of freakin' May? (Don't answer that, it was a rhetorical question). It was 39 degrees when I got up yesterday, and the wind blew strong out of the northwest. I had to wear my coat all day. This morning was no better.. 41 when I took the dogs out.

The weekend promises to actually be like late Spring, rather than late Winter. We're going to bail on the trial we had scheduled, to move out a bunch of the things we have in storage. Then maybe we'll have a picnic... if picnic weather happens.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And She Does Even Better With White Men Who Married Their Sisters.

Well.... "Duh".

Exit polls in Kentucky today, and in West Virginia last week show Barack Obama has problems getting support from white, redneck Jethros. This is news?

"Exit polls showed Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, again had
difficulty with white working-class voters in Kentucky. Clinton won more than 70
percent of white voters, and three-quarters of those who did not finish
college.
About 20 percent said race played a factor in their vote -- similar
to the percentage last week in West Virginia, where Clinton trounced Obama."

Lessee... dirt farmers below the Mason-Dixon line can't bring themselves to vote for a black mixed-race presidential candidate. I am shocked!

I'm glad Senator Clinton is proud to claim the same supporters as Lester Maddox, George Wallace, and David Duke. She's changing her name to Hillary June.

Ah.. the beauty of blogging; you can write whatever you want.... with impunity!

Returning now to normal programming.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Skinny Panda

WCLCC, 5/18/2008
"Hey man, got any bacon-flavored bamboo?"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meanwhile, Next Door to the MGA Trial..

More fun from last weekend... the car show that was going on at the same time as the lure trial. Lake Erie Metropark. This is only an excuse to try out the new slide show website that everybody else has demo'd. (HT Patrick, Andrew, et al). We'll probably put it on the sidebar after a couple of days.


Yes... that's a freakin' Gremlin! Who knew there were still roadworthy examples out there. Most popular marque: Subaru Impreza WRX. Some nice Saleen Mustangs in attendance, too.

Procrastination.

Slate.com today is featuring several articles on procrastination. I'll add my own thoughts on the subject. Soon.

Ageless.

Our deerhound, Randir, will be 12 in August. That will be an exceptional age for a male Scottish Deerhound.

That pales in comparison to Geenie the Greyhound in Florida. Wow.
HT Mary L Kenworthy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

The calendar says it's closer to the beginning of Summer than the beginning of Spring. But in Michigan, I don't consider it to be really Spring until the Trilliums bloom!

Trillium Grandiflorum

A member of the lily family, the Trillium that we know in Michigan, is also plentiful all across the Upper Midwest and Northeast. It's also known as the "White Wake-Robin", and in French, "Trille Blanc".

Following the link under the photos will take you to information about this complex and scientifically important plant. It will also explain the inexplicable: those leaves? They're not leaves. And the stem's not a stem. WTF??

Around here, it's just the final sign that Spring has sprung.

Feelin' Like Hedda Hopper..

Sometimes I get to be like one of those Hollywood gossip columnists.

The ASFA trial this past weekend was a carbon copy of the previous 4 weekends.. one good day, one day of rain. The trend had been rainy Saturday, and pretty nice Sunday. As a change of pace, this past Saturday was gorgeous.. probably the best trial day of the year so far, and Sunday.... let's just say I'd finally had enough of the rain and wind and cold, already. I walked off the field!

While hanging out around the Express watching Margaret work ;-) I spotted this license plate.


I didn't think much of it at first, figuring it was just another vanity plate purchased by a dog fan who had an affinity for the United Kennel Club. Then I started to "put two and two together." Judging at this particular trial were two "high elected officials" of ASFA. Ok... the two highest officials. During lunch I noticed these two officers in earnest, private conversation with a mysterious dark-haired woman I didn't recognize from the trial.


What could it mean?


I keep coming up with "Four".

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Grapes."

If you don't know who this is, I feel sorry for you. Got a rare chance on Saturday night to watch the Red Wings game on Hockey Night in Canada on CBC out of Windsor, Ontario. After the game we got to see this.. Is that a great suit, or what upholstery? And that's not all.

Uh... Thanks!.... Somebody.

I owe somebody a big "Thank You". Wish I knew who. This very outrageously colorful item of headgear arrived with our weekly mail forward.

Let me back up a bit and explain how our mail works.

Full time RVers, like Margaret and I, get to pick where we call "home". Pretty cool, huh? After a lot of research, back in 2003, we chose South Dakota. Thousands of other RVers call South Dakota home, as well, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because there is no state income tax, no vehicle inspections, and vehicle insurance rates that rank among the lowest in the nation.

Where there are incentives like that, there are numerous businesses that sprout up to cater to people like us. One such place, in the tiny town of Emery, SD, is My Home Address, Inc. When you send something to us by USPS, that's where it goes. It gives us a street address in the community that allows us to get driver's licenses, vehicle registration, voter registration and more. For all intents and purposes, were South Dakotans! Unlike many of the people who use this service, we actually stop in from time to time and pick up our mail in person. That lets us go to the bargain hot lunch at the Senior Center, and meet and chat with our "neighbors".

Usually once a week we call Ron at My Home Address and tell him where we'd like that week's mail sent. And that's where we came in...

Last weeks mail delivery came in two packages.. one Priority Mail envelope, containing all the bills, and checks, and magazines, and other flat stuff. and a small box. The box had the hat, in a plastic bag, and nothing else. No shipping notice, no notes. Just the hat.

The folks at My Home Address had to obliterate the original address and return address before they put their address label on it, so the original return address is mostly unreadable. I can make out the last three letters on the first line: "son", (maybe "sson"), and the last digit of the zip is "5" (maybe "45", maybe not).

So there it is... somebody knows about my checkered military past, and sent an appropriate gift. If someone doesn't fess up here, it will forever remain a mystery. But thanks... whoever you are. I wore it at the MGA trial this past weekend.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fun With Photoshop Elements.

...and a distorted window. Just for fun, while we wait for the wildflowers to bloom in Michigan. Expecting Trilliums any time now.

Meanwhile, On the Fringes of a Field Trial...

Unless a field trial (lure coursing, racing) is being held on private property, there's usually more going on. Over the years, we've seen draught horse shows, radio-controlled gliders, and of course, soccer... going on nearby. Because Margaret needs a spacer between courses or races, I'll fire off a random shot of anything that's happening.. most often it's just a shot of the grass, or trees, or clouds in the sky. But often it's birds, or airplanes. Case in point this past weekend:

The military's largest aircraft, the C5, doing touch and go's at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and out on the cross-country course, this young lass....

Field trialing is never boring.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Lights On!

There's a phrase in lure coursing and racing, when a dog whose previous enthusiasm for pursuing artificial lures is, shall we say, lukewarm. We say "the light came on" when that dog suddenly goes from lackadaisical to earnest chasing.

It happened with Fanny, it happened with Rally, and Saturday evening at the end of the practice sessions at the OKIGO trial in Ohio, it seemed to happen with Sandia!

His eyes are locked on the lure, and he ran right past me, (and that's a new thing!). In fact, he didn't even glance my way. He needed a bit of the ol' "gitit,gitit,gitit..." a couple of times, but he ended up doing most of the course.

On Sunday, we tried it again, and he demonstrated that, while the light is indeed on, it's a low watt bulb. He'll need a lot more practices before he's ready for the intense, heated competition of...

...the Singles Stake ;-)

Friday, May 02, 2008

New Gear!

Last Summer, when I wrote about the sad plight of our Nikon D200 digital SLR, I mentioned that I thought my good Karma was starting to turn bad. I may have been a bit premature. Just a month later, Nikon introduced the D3 which, at $5000, I can only dream about, and its little brother, the infinitely more affordable D300. The two cameras are nearly identical.. the major exception being the D3 is Nikon's first "full frame" digital SLR- it has a larger sensor than all the preceding models- and it can shoot at ridiculous resolution at nearly night-time conditions.
Since that fateful immersion in July of last year, we've struggled along without a high res camera. Our old D70 was obsolete even before the D200 was introduced. (It's for sale- make an offer!) Our workhorse D2H's only advantage is a very useful high shutter rate.. (8 frames per second). Unfortunately, in the last two weeks, the D2H started showing signs it was reaching the end of its useful life. Not surprising, in that we fire the shutter off 2-3000 times a weekend. Do that for 4 years and the shutter starts resisting my commands that it do its job. It's begun hanging up on a regular basis. I got through last week's trial, but knew something had to be done. And soon. Even though we couldn't afford it.
Last Monday, we ordered up a D300. It arrived Wednesday. And I love it. It makes obsolete everything we've used before, and most everything else on the market, excepting the D3. The most striking difference? Color. Color like I've never seen. The following images were all basically point-and-shoot snapshots, at my brother's house, and Margaret's parents' house. Also, check out the "white-on-white" dog statue... last year's technology wouldn't be able to capture that tonal gradation without completely blowing out the highlight areas. And it all works without me having to think a whole lot about what I'm doing. And that's the most valuable advantage of all.




UPDATE: Apologies to those who looked and found no pictures. A Blogger problem. I've had to reduce the file sizes significantly, so the resolution isn't quite what you'd see if you looked at the originals, but the colors are still there.