Monday, July 31, 2006

Birthday at the Chalet

DM and I have come to the conclusion that a rating system to measure the "weirdness" at karaoke needs to be created. We can use it to measure events outside of the Chalet, such as shrunken head man.

What we've determined so far:
10 - Top weirdness - Shrunken head man;
9.5 - Bikini wearing woman (I haven't posted this. Two Thursdays ago, a woman wandered around in the bar in her bikini.)
9 - How did I end up on a date with Pete?;
8.5 -
8 - Char's tires being stolen;
7.5 -
7 - 4-inch p*nis man;
6.5 - Crack Smoker;
6 - Dude, stop drinking bleach;
5.5 - Air guitar man;
5 - Ketchup dancer;
4.5 - CSI: Chalet;
4 - Craig's truck being stolen;
3.5 -
3 - Chalet Lockdown #2;
2.5 - DM & I drunk (weird for the fact we were drinking, but nothing overly unusual happened that night);
2 -
1.5 -
1 - Normal day, nothing odd at all

We're trying to determine quite where the night of Angie's birthday falls. Place your votes after the photo essay.

Angie and B-day balloons
The birthday girl, now 25 years old.

Birthday Cake
There was cake.

It ended up on Angie.

Shannon touches Amy
Shannon and Amy, taking pictures of Angie

Stoobs, Becky, and Jamie (1)Strokin'Amy singingI sing You Can Leave Your Hat On
There was singing.

Bar patron
And creepy men who kept hitting on the women, not backing off when they were told no.

No Human Jenga
Who then fell asleep. Human Jenga was banned rather quickly.

Pictures of the argument immediately after this man awoke are not taken. Then he started touching Becky. I believe he offered her $150. This did not go over well. Another rule was made, "If you need immediate action, do not ask Andrew." It took three hours for this man, who was fall down drunk, to leave the bar.

Degrees of Separation Game
A game of figuring out other actors and actresses that were in a Brittney Spears movie was started. (Something to do with 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.)

Bryan is quite scary wearing this hat, shaped like a birthday cake hat.

Dana forks Stoobs
And DM forked Stoobs.

Happy Birthday Angie!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sick Day

Yeah, I didn't go to work. I think being in the heat on Tuesday didn't help me. I just can't handle it. Yuck.

Joe posted this and I tried it:

Your English Skills:

Punctuation: 100%
Spelling: 100%
Vocabulary: 100%
Grammar: 80%

I think I got lucky on a couple vocab questions. My vocabulary is not that strong. I question my spelling all the time too.

This is what I did today:


crowded development and a castle

from the overlook

Lisbon, from an overlook

overlooking Lisbon

running out of room

street maze

I miss Portugal. Obviously. And I was on a panoramic kick.

I'm still catching up on reading blogs. School is kicking my butt (well, taking up time.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

An Example of My Life Influencer

Cats are not animals my father is overly fond of and rabbits are animals that he likes. In his backyard, there is a family of rabbits that live under his shed and eat the grass that grows. He's not trying to keep vegetables growing and he doesn't mind them. He does mind the stray and loose house cats that wander his backyard, looking to leave rabbit guts in a not-so-neat little pile every where.

Dad had a problem. His dilemma was to find a way to keep the cats out of his yard.

When I arrived at his house last Sunday, I noticed a couple of things that didn't seem in place and didn't seem like normal items for my father to have.

The first is an attachment on his faucet in the basement that is designed for easier pouring of water into specific objects.

The second thing I noticed was the bag of water balloons.

The third thing I noticed was the stash of filled water balloons sitting next to the backdoor.

As it turns out, Dad went to Target (a local retail store) to purchase these water balloons. The bag was the only item he bought. As he was checking out, this is the conversation he had with the woman:

Woman: These look like fun! Are they for your kids?
Dad: No, they are for cats.
W: Oh! Do they like to play with them?
D: No, it is a non-lethal way to get them out of my backyard.

She wouldn't talk to him or make eye contact after that.

He is hoping that if the cats get a little wet, they will stay away from his yard. If it doesn't work, he may put a safe dye in the balloons so the owners realize that letting their cats out is illegal. Last case scenario, he will get live traps and give the cats to animal control. He doesn't want to hurt the cats in any way and mostly he just doesn't like them loose because they can get hurt or cause hurt to other animals.

And that is my father. This is how he thinks.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Weekend & Some Pictures

I feel like I actually accomplished something this weekend. Strange for me.

On Sunday, I got up pretty early and headed over to my dad's, beating him home. He was out golfing. I managed to get three loads of laundry done (yea! Clothes for the week!) and when he got there he ordered a pizza for us. Afterwards I picked up DM and we headed to karaoke, as usual.

Also as usual, an interesting individual latched onto us. His new nickname (in our circle of friends) is TCC. It stands for "Tom Cruise Crazy." He was slightly drunk (not fall down drunk) and hyper active. TCC approached our table and asked if we wanted to go swimming. The bonus? There was a diving board and everything. This man was also running around the bar without his shirt on and kept picking up his friends.

When he was leaving, Amy went out to see if he was driving. Shannon and Becky followed her. He came back in as they were walking out the door and he grabbed Becky's face and kissed her. She screamed. It was quite amusing.

Karaoke itself wasn't that exciting. It was just nice and fun. We talked with Angie (Steve broke up with her), Amy (just back from vacation), Becky, Shannon, Char, Liz, James, Bryan, and Dean. Good times.

Today, I got up early again and went to the dentist for root canal phase 1. The dentist (who's previous work and trauma on the tooth is what caused the root canal) took needles that are small put in proportion to my tooth are gigantic and shaped like screws and scraped out the root of my front tooth. It didn't really hurt (he did give me plenty of numbing shots), but once in awhile he'd hit the still clinging to life nerve and the ice pick pain would shoot straight into my brain. Next week he'll finish up and fill the tooth again. Not fun.

I went to my dad's after that to pick up my laundry (which had to have 1 more cycle in the dryer at the time I left on Sunday). He took me grocery shopping with him (even bought me some nice snacks for work - crackers, grapes, etc. Dads are so nice!) Then I took him to the movies and we saw Pirates of the Carribbean - Dead Man's Chest. Much like the first movie, but still fun. Creepy monsters. It ends on a cliff hanger and so I'll have to wait a year to really know the end of the story.

Then I came home, put away some groceries and laundry and then played with Photoshop on some pictures I took on Sunday.

shadow on a grape leaf
Shadow on a Grape Leaf

deadly nightshade
Deadly Nightshade (may not actually be deadly, but it is nightshade and it grows in both my dad's and my mom's backyards.)

nightshade berries
Nightshade Berries (minimal Photoshop here. Only the frame and text added. I just really liked this shot with the natural shadows and bright red berries.)

afternoon light
Afternoon Light (actually, I didn't mean to take this picture. I moved the camera away when I had decided to not take a different picture and ended up with this. Kind of abstract.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Worth 1,000 Words...

Okay, so more pictures. But at least these are recent pictures and they are to explain the adventures DM and I have had recently.

One night, after karaoke, I was dropping DM off at her place and these things were all over the place. A couple flew into the car (causing us both to scream in fear). This one landed on my windshield and chose to die there. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Mayfly (Photo Titled, "It Came From Outer Space.")
It Came From Outer Space

It's Me! This is from karaoke last Sunday. Should I update my profile picture?

This is Becky. She is our friend. She used to date Nate. Then Nate broke up with her (they had been dating 3 or 4 years and he had told us he was going to propose to her). Then he married a 22 year old within 2 months of the breakup. The marriage was in January. Becky then dated Andrew. That didn't work out.
My Friend, Becky

Guess Who's Back, Back Again? Yeah, this is Nate. Turns out his marriage? Not so good. Looks a bit devilish here, don't 'cha think?
Guess Who's Back, Back Again

Here's DM's new profile picture, larger.Dana profile framed

And another Photoshop project. This is a palm tree that DM and I would see every day as we walked to the Metro while we were in Portugal. I only cropped a litle, added a slight blur, and brought down the brightness of the sidewalk/walls. Then I added the frame and text.
Our Park Palm Tree

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy Weekend Everyone!

It is nice that it is Friday now. This is a short week for most Americans. I'm going to work tonight and Saturday night, as usual, but enjoy the fact that my work week is really only 3 days. Pretty nice.

Still learning things in Photoshop here. Nice, cheap hobby. It costs nothing to take the digitial pictures and I have the software and service for Flickr already. (Finances are a little tight right now.) These are some new projects.

April Sunset
Edits: Minor color correction. Cropping. Added the borders and text.
Sunset taken at work.

Mounds View Watertower
Edits: Cropping, borders and text. Simple.
Scene taken less than 1 mile from where I live. It's the Mounds View Watertower.

Steeple in Evora as seen from the Temple of Diana courtyard
Edits: Sky color correction. Brightness of white wall lowered. Cropping. Borders added.
Sight in Evora, Portugal, that we saw when standing at the Temple of Diana.

Two Rails, Side Pocket
Old picture of me playing pool on 1-1-2003. Taken by a friend who no longer seems to want to talk to me. But still feels the need to read my blog. (Annoying.)
Edits: Remove color from most of picture. Enhance greens of the felt. Gaussian blur the entire image. Add borders and text.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It Never Fails (And Pictures - Did You Expect Anything Less?)

They just find me. It doesn't matter where I go, what I do, or who I am with. They will find me. I'm like a beacon.

Scene from after the fireworks show in Saint Paul. There are thousands of people wandering around, leaving the Taste of Minnesota festival and heading to their cars or homes since the big bangs were over. DM and I pause for a few minutes, waiting for the streets to not be chaos. We are packing up our camera gear (okay, so we put our cameras back in our purses/camera bags and folded up our tripods. Not much packing involved.) A man approaches me.

I say me because he did not actually acknowledge DM. I'm not actually sure if he saw her. She wasn't hidden, but I really don't think he saw her.

He is short, at least 20 years older than I am, and speaks with a Hispanic accent. He is also carrying around an open can of the cheapest smelling beer I've ever had to smell on an annoying man approaching me. It smelled about the same as I imagine it would when it comes back up (sorry for the visual).

Drunken Unattractive Idiot (DUI - okay, that made me laugh): Hey! Heh! You. Americans. I like Americans. (At least this is what I was able to decipher from the slurring.)

Me: *Not making eye contact*

DUI: Americans. I like. I no like black. I like Americans, like you.

Me: Great, he's an idiot. And extremely drunk. And apparently he only likes white Americans. He has a lot to learn. I'm very sure that Minnesota, especially Saint Paul, has a law against carrying an open container of alcohol like that around on the street.

DUI: I like Americans like you.

Me: Go away.

DUI: I have a big 4 inch p*nis!

Me: *Picks up my tripod in a defensive manner* Go away.

He does. I've found the solution! Imply physical violence. Doesn't matter what the intention is.

And seriously. Big? In your dreams.

DM and I were both just happy he stumbled off. As he did, I said to DM, "Holy crap, how do they find me?!?"

On that note, I will leave you with pictures. Happier images (unless you really don't like fireworks. DM and I took quite a few pictures of them.) I framed some of these and didn't do much other Photoshopping. One or two did get an extreme treatment, but those are not for this post.

Oh, and a couple of pictures I took before the show started. These have a little bit of color correction done.

Click any image to be launched to Flickr and see the larger sizes.

White Lines
White lines.
This is an extended exposure shot taken of headlights.

Robert Street Bridge framed
Robert Street Bridge.
Extended exposure again. I liked this one quite a bit and it reminds me of a postcard.

Harriet Island
Harriet Island.
The Taste of Minnesota is held here (used to be near the State Capitol.) You can see the bandstand and we were able to hear a little bit of the live music before the fireworks.

Red White and Blue
Red, White & Blue.
My Favorite
My Favorite (as in style, not color).
Looks Like a Bird
Looks Like a Bird.
For complete set, visit here.

And completely random:

Through My Looking Glass: Bird of Paradise
Through My Looking Glass: Bird of Paradise. I just learned how to finally create a sphere on a picture and this was just fun. The original picture (no edits) was taken in Lisbon when DM and I visited Johnny in April 2005. Still stands as the trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence USA
All pictures taken last year, long before I ever thought of actually purchasing a tripod. Most of these were taken from my car.

Hope everyone's day is filled with those you love and fun. Whether you're American or not. We all deserve happy days.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

When Did I Turn This Into a Photo Blog?

Seriously folks, I'm addicted to photography and photoshop now. It's getting bad.

I did work today (not overly eventful) and will be working on Sunday for another supervisor. I'm hoping, hoping, HOPING, that I don't have to work Monday and that I will actually end up with a three day weekend (minus weekend days) in here somewhere. The Monday will be determined by another supervisor's return from a trip to Italy. If he's back and able to work, I won't have to work. If I don't hear from him, I'll be in the call center instead of going to see Superman Returns with DM and Keem at James's theater.

Either way, I'll have Tuesday and Wednesday off. Interesting days. But Tuesday is our Independence Day, so that'll be like an actual weekend day. Maybe I'll get some good pictures of fireworks this year!

Besides taking pictures, I've been trying to learn techniques in Photoshop to enhance the images. Straighten out a horizon? Check. Change the hue a picture? Check. Crop the image? Check.

Tonight's lesson was in clone stamping and learning how to put a frame on an image.

Here is the original, taken while DM and I strolled through Alfama, over a year ago. That trip still seems like a dream.

Person Walking in Alfama

Now, what I did to the picture to update it and try to fix it up. I used the clone stamp to take out as much of the graffiti I could without destroying the tile work. I also cropped the image to make it horizontal (I cannot for the life of me remember what that is actually called. I know the up and down pictures are called portraits. Landscape! That's it!) Then I did a minor color correction (auto in Photoshop) and darkened the shadow a little bit.

Next step was to add a small gaussian blur to soft the image. Finally, I added the frame.

Lost in Thought

This is the description I gave the picture: This woman, who I didn't even notice until after I took the picture (yes, I know, how observant - I was looking at the tile work), is someone I wonder about. She's most likely native to the area and with the satchel, I imagine her strolling home from her job in an office. Does she walk past these doors, this tile work, this beautiful scenery every day and never looks around. She seems set in her way, introspective. I wonder if she's thinking of what to cook for dinner or how she's going to finish that project due at work tomorrow.

What do you think? Which is a better shot? Was the picture worth editing?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Look Down!

One of the things I've always done with a camera was to take pictures of floors or ceilings, so that I can have a visual reminder of the details of visiting somewhere. When I went to the Como Zoo Conservatory last Monday, I did it again. Then I used Photoshop to increase the brightness a little and then posterize the picture. What do you think?

posterized floor at conservatory

And yes, I'm sorry for all the pictures. Besides work and karaoke, this has been what I've been doing lately.