Monday, October 31, 2011

Vincent - Tim.Burton

A little something for a dreary and wet Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Old On The New

Old on the new by Teckelcar
Old on the new, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Here is another picture from my architecture photography foray in Richmond.

It was just happenstance that I noticed the Old City Hall being reflected in the modern structure across the street. I had stepped out of the New City Hall on a cross street and was confronted by this building. As I strolled around the corner I realized what a neat image I had found, the old reflected on the new.

I had a lot of fun with my time being a photographer in Richmond. I looked at things (and for them) in a very different way.

Friday, October 28, 2011

MCP Project 52: Shadows

morning stripes by Teckelcar
morning stripes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme, shadows, was another one I got done right off the bat. I love the interplay of light and shadows and I naturally notice it and am attracted to such. So all I had to do was to keep my eyes open and my camera handy.

I was initially attracted to the mosaic of color and shadow in the picture of leaves from Tuesday's post, but it didn't fully fit the theme of shadows. Shortly after I took that picture I headed back indoors and up to my room.

As I walked into my bedroom I saw my picture.

The angle of the sun was just right and the light spilled through the opened blinds. Stripes of shadows covered the table lamp and adjoining wall. It was a perfect representation of shadows. Even better was the fact I literally had my camera in hand.

Snap, snap, snap and this week's assignment was done. All before breakfast on a Monday morning. And a good thing too, since today was a grey, wet, and altogether dreary day devoid of any clear shadows.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New City Hall, Reflective

New City Hall, Reflective by Teckelcar
New City Hall, Reflective, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It is well known that I love Richmond's old city hall. The new one, however, is a different story.

It' was an ugly, modern structure that was plagued for years with a very serious design flaw. The decorative marble cladding on the outside had the disconcerting habit of dropping off the building. The solution for quite some time was to literally strap the panels in place.

So a big ugly building was made even more hideous with bright yellow straps.

Fortunately it was only temporary and the exterior got a major overhaul. All the marble panels were removed along with some non structural columns. Granite was used on the lower levels and aluminum on the rest.

The final result is actually quite striking and, dare I say, attractive.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artist of the Week: Last Call

This week's artist, or rather artists are the Velvet Marias. Sadly they will be playing their last gig together this Saturday.

They have been together, oh about five years and Larry and I have been to many of their shows around Richmond. Originally we went because Larry is friends with the bassist, but we kept going because they are/were a fun band. Since then we have become friends with the female singer and the drummer. In fact two of the drummer's sons are teaching Max drums, Nate guitar, and Larry bass.

The video below is of the Velvets playing at a local BBQ joint. They are doing a splendid cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walking." An all time favorite on their set list.



I'm sad to see them go as a band, but we'll still see them individually around town. They had introduced us to Richmond's vibrant live music scene and got us to go out as a couple again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mosaic

mosaic by Teckelcar
mosaic, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday morning when I was walking back from the bus stop I was struck by the beauty of the leaves illuminated by the morning light. I was passing beneath a dogwood tree and the light is shining through the leaves. Quickly, I went inside to grab my camera before the light shifted.

I am standing under the tree's canopy and shooting towards the sun. I love the interplay of light and shadow on the leaves' surfaces. The leaves are just starting to turn and that adds a nice bit of color to the composition. It was one of those moments when I just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

War Horse

I love these puppets, they completely nailed the motions of a horse. I would love to see this show.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mummy's Girl

Rebecca's cupcakes by Teckelcar
Rebecca's cupcakes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was our neighborhood's Fall Festival. It's a cute little get together that features fun games for the kids, a hay ride ride, and a chilli competition. This year they even had a cupcake/cookie competition.

The cupcake thing alone was enough to get Rebecca interested. So Sunday morning I whipped up a batch of cupcakes for us to decorate. I wasn't sure if it was a decorating contest or a tasting one, either way I knew Rebecca would want to do her own thing.When I was out getting supplies I picked up an assortment of Gummi Halloween shapes that I knew she would like. It was a good call, Rebecca loved them and happily used them all, including the spider which is pretty major since she can't stand arachnids.

My cupcakes by Teckelcar
My cupcakes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for my cupcakes, I stuck with simple shapes and sprinkles. Not very exciting, but I was pretty happy with the end results.  The pumpkin (which is upside down in the photo) was a lot of fun to make. I utilized the ridges left from the decorating tip to simulate the lines. I had actually made an even better one, but I forgot to photograph it (I had picked that cupcake for the judging).

And hey, I don't mind not having it, because I got second place! Woot!

Not bad for an impulsive last minute entry.

Mummy girl by Teckelcar
Mummy girl, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for the rest of the afternoon, Rebecca and I had a good time together. Her brothers declined to accompany us ( a decision Max regretted later), so we got to have a girl's afternoon out. I watched her run around and try her hand at all the games. We did the cake walk together and Rebecca won a plate of cupcakes. Then we did the tp mummy wrapping. I wasn't the fastest wrapper, but dang it we had the best (and neatest) tp mummy. Good enough to garner to snow cones. Then we ended the whole thing with a hay ride.

It was an excellent way to spend a fall afternoon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

MCP Project 52: True Beauty

Beautiful Bounty by Teckelcar
Beautiful Bounty, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And here's this week's MCP Project 52 submission.

Whew, I'm back on track.

This week's theme was true beauty and I thought there would be no better way to picture true beauty than the lovely organic veggies I picked up yesterday from our favorite grower Amy of Amy's Garden.

She is a small scale organic farmer that has some of the best produce around. Her stuff is fresh, flavorful, and very healthy. I get the sampler bag, so it's always an adventure. I never quite know what will be inside.

Which is good, it forces me to try new things. I certainly would have never bought Swiss chard, bok choy, and broccoli rabe on my own.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MCP Project 52: Architecture

Old City Hall, Interior by Teckelcar
Old City Hall, Interior, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Between upcoming an upcoming Bar Mitzvah and the dynamic duo's birthday I completely forgot to post about last week's MCP Project 52. I hadn't forgotten to take the picture and add it to the group, I just never took the next step to share it here.

Oops.

Anyhoo, Richmond Virginia has some of the most diverse architecture and is practically in my backyard. So it was a no brainer for me to drive into the city and spend an hour taking pictures. I got a boatload of great shots and it was hard to pick just one. In the end I selected this interior shot of the Old Richmond City Hall. It's a gorgeous stone building with Gothic architecture that would fit right in with Hogwarts.

But the interior, oh the interior! It is utterly fabulous. The first time I stepped inside my jaw dropped. This is hands down my favorite building in Richmond.

It had been a dreary wet week until Friday and I was glad that It was a sunny day. The skylight above filters the light in the most beautiful way and I was glad I could capture it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artist of the Week: Tank

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is my happy guy, Nate.

I took this picture of him for our congregation's bulletin. His Bar Mitzvah is fast approaching and our Rabbi likes to feature the up coming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs the month before hand. I have a feeling he is not entirely thrilled with Nate's long hair and is hoping he'll get shorn  before the big day.

Unless Nate wants that, it's not going to happen. I want Nate to be himself and if that means long curly locks, so be it. All I require is that it stays out of his eyes and he keeps it clean and brushed (which he does grudgingly).

tank by Teckelcar
tank, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Long hair aside, Nate has an enduring fascination of all things military. Probably not enough to inspire a buzz cut and signing up, but enough to endlessly play war games and watch war movies. An off shoot of this interest is reflected in his Lego builds.

Nate's latest creation is this rather well designed tank. The turret freely rotates around and the gun can be raised and lowered. He also made a ramp that opens up beneath the turret. We don't have any viable tank treads, so it left it at with plain wheels. The whole thing is very well thought out and executed. Well done Mr. Nate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ask And You Shall Receive

Battle turtle cake by Teckelcar
Battle turtle cake, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A battle turtle cake.

When  I asked Max what kind of cake he wanted he said "a battlefield in the shape of a turtle with soldiers fighting on it."

Okaaay, this was clearly a job for my cake corps and my half-of-a-ball cake pan. Max had also wanted tanks, but persuaded him to let that particular idea go.With the army men there will be enough going on the cake.

It came out rather well considering the hurry I was in to get the cake completed Friday night. The only flaw was that it turned out Max wanted an orange flavored cake (a surprise for me). Otherwise everybody was impressed with the final result.

Oh and at least one of Max's guest wanted to take one or two members of the Cake Corps home, but I nixed that idea and explained these were my army men and not party favors.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Twins

piano twins by Teckelcar
piano twins, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday Max and Rebecca hit the big one-oh. They are now in the double digits. This picture is from just before the big oh one. They still smiling today, just a whole lot bigger and more mobile.

This year the dynamic duo elected to have separate parties. Due to various scheduling conflicts Rebecca's party will be held later, but we did get Max's party in this weekend.

Max had a couple of friends over Friday night for a sleep over. Larry took them, along with Rebecca, out for a couple games of laser tag and then it was back home for cake. One friend didn't make it through the night, fortunately his home is just the next subdivision over.

Then on Saturday it was off to the soccer games and I'm happy to report both of their teams were victorious.

Happy birthday to my two smiling twins!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Further Adventures in Spam Poetry

This is comedic gold. It turns out I really need to call them and explain on the phone I'm deaf and dumb.

Debt Management Office
Federal Secretariat Complex Annex
Block F204, Ikoyi Lagos.
Verification and Revalidation unit
Mr. Akinloye Williams
Chairman:

Attn: General joe hameed

We receive the shock news of a near fatal accident that left you with a broken spinal cord which impaired your ability to hear and speak. In order words, we have been officially informed that you are now invalid, deaf and dumb arising from a motor accident which damaged your spinal cord. This information is provided to us by your Nigerian Lawyer appointed to oversee your transaction.
Furthermore, the Lawyer presents us a set of documents to portray that you have willed your funds to him and has given him a Power of Attorney to take over your transaction and claim your outstanding funds accordingly.

In view of the sympathetic and sensible nature of this report, we are obliged to confirm this from you before taking action in favour of your Lawyer by wiring the funds to his chosen bank account as well as sympathize with you.

Pease confirm the validity of this report and state clearly whether you are invalid, deaf and dumb arising from your auto accident.
To further convince us that you are the very person, I would prefer you call me immediately you receive this message otherwise, we would have no choice but to act according to you’re Will.
Expecting to receive your call and email.
Yours faithfully,

Mr. Akinloye Williams
Chairman payment coordinator

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Trouble With Raccoons

Raccoon by Teckelcar
Raccoon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I wish all the raccoons in my life were as cute and sweet as this one. Unfortunately I have to deal with real raccoons in addition to adorable pretend ones.

Last week the red boys found a real one in our woods. Nate found them barking at what he first thought was a possum. The two dogs were circling around the poor thing while barking their fool heads off. I went down to fetch the dogs and both Dell and John willing left their new sport. It was almost a case of not knowing what to do and being happy to be redirected inside.

This relative peace lasted about five minutes. Then the red boys were back at the door, eager to resume their game. Max, not knowing any better, let the dogs out. The dogs streaked across the lawn and down into the woods to resume harrying their new toy. I slogged down with Nate again to round up the dogs. This time they were much harder to collect and I got a good look at the beast. 

It was not a possum.

Instead it was a rather battered raccoon.

Nuts.

I could see it was on its last legs. Barely able to move, it was ineffectively thrashing about. Luckily the dogs had not bitten it, nor had been bitten by the raccoon. However, I had to call animal control. Half dead raccoons are not something to ignore. So once the dogs were dragged back inside and crated (oh the pitiful sounds they made) I hunted up the number for animal control. It was well after normal business hours and the call went into a menu. Select one for a loose or stray dog, select two for dead or injured animal, and so on. I was transferred to the after hours desk and got a person who was very concerned when I said I had a half dead raccoon in my yard. He said an animal control officer would be dispatched asap. I told him to be sure they had a good flashlight because it was getting dark and by the time they would get to my house it would be nighttime.

About an hour later,there is only one truck covering the county after hours and it can be a haul from one call to the next, we saw an officer tromping around our backyard with a bright flashlight. I slipped on my boots and introduced myself and led him to the creature. At this point it was clearly dead.

It looked like to the officer that the animal had been involved in an altercation with another raccoon, it's face was bloodied and torn. The dogs would have been savaged and covered with blood if they had done the deed. Instead, both dogs had not a hair out of place or a speck of blood on their jaws. Rabies was unlikely to be a factor. The poor thing had lost a fight and had crawled off to die.

The raccoon was then bagged up and hauled away. I hope that's the last time I ever see a raccoon in our backyard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artist of the Week: PW's Photo Assignments

kitten by Teckelcar
kitten, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week I'm featuring another photo group, PW Photography Assignment Group. Ree, aka Pioneer Woman, gives out assignments and invites all to give it a try. Sometimes there is a contest with prizes, sometimes not. The assignments range from creating an original photo that evoke a particular theme, to creative edits of one of her photographs.

Currently she has a picture of one of her daughters holding a kitten and wants to know how would we, her readers, would edit the photo to make it better. Ree is focusing on the difference that going from color to black and white or sepia can change an image.

I agree with her that the photo is much improved with a reduced color palate. I went for an "antique" effect which is pretty much a sepia tone. I futzed with the brightness and contrast to get just the right effect. However what really struck me about the photo was the composition. The original is nice, but to me it really needed to be cropped.

Most of my pictures are minimally processed, a little color correction, a bit of contrast/brightness, and some cropping are the norm for me. I'm a huge fan of cropping, a good crop can save a poor composition. With my chosen crop, I've changed the focus of the picture from the sharply focused kitten to the girl's rather dreamy expression. The kitten is still prominently featured, but the focus has shifted.

So we'll see if my edit catches Ree/s eye, either way it's a fun assignment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back to Snooze

Back to Snooze by Teckelcar
Back to Snooze, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Dogs will sleep anywhere and any time.

Max left his school backpack on the dog couch, and yes it's really the dog's couch. By giving them their own couch they stay off of the rest of the furniture.

Anyhoo, big bulky bag on the couch and Dell decides that it would make an excellent pillow. Never mind all the hard books inside, Dell had found his comfy spot. And there Dell stayed until Max moved his backpack in order to do his homework.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rotate Your Owl

It's October and it's that time of year to rotate your owl. Here's a handy film to help you made by those fine folks responsible for "Badgers".

Friday, October 07, 2011

MCP Project 52: A Taste For Vintage

Favorite vintage by Teckelcar
Favorite vintage, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's MCP Project 52's theme is "A Taste For Vintage." Most people would good the old timey route, and if fact I very nearly did. I have a fabulous vintage dress I picked up in England *cough* 26 years ago for a Moulin Rouge themed party.

So yeah, I had vintage in spades.

But... that's boring. Even sticking Rebecca in the dress couldn't rescue the idea. It would be cute, but still boring. I then stepped back and decided to give it a think.

Then I remembered that vintage could also refer to wine. Hmmm, now that is interesting.

So here is a picture of Larry's and mine favorite vintage of white wine. I guess this is actually a taste for A vintage, but I don't care. This is how I choose to interpret this week's theme.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Artist of the Week: Reader

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Max is this week's artist for his love of the printed word.Which did not come easily. After years of not wanting to read, Max has become a reader.

He literally can not go to bed without a book to read. This had led to the occasional mad scramble to find the boy something to read. So far he has plowed through the Harry Potter series, read because, I quote, "I want to know what I was missing from only seeing the movies." Now he has almost reached the end of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. I'm not sure what to give him next. He loves series so I think I'll have to consult the local librarian. Maybe the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. They might be a bit dark for him.

When he does get overwhelmed by a book (and this has had happened a few times), he will solemnly announce that he is putting aside the book for a bit. This usually lasts at most two days, then he is consumed by the need to finish the book.

Max's love of reading is such a joy to behold. When you can read, you have the keys to a much wider universe.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fall Post Haste

What the heck happened?

We've been chugging along at the low eighties, albeit a rather soggy low eighties when suddenly a switch was flipped and now it's all fall like around here. Don't get me wrong, I prefer the cooler temps, I just like a little warning and a bit of a transition. Going from shorts all the time to slipper weather in a space of two days is a bit hard on the system.

I know we are warming back up again, I just hope we are not going to be yo-yoing back and forth on the temperatures. It's brutal on my semi-asthmatic respiratory system. Seasonal allergies coupled with just the right virus is my trigger and apparently that delightful cold I had two weeks ago was just the thing. I'm fine, I just hate having to deal with the meds.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Seamstress

A lovely little animation that was a final year project.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Night Already?

It wasn't particularly busy this weekend, nor particularly slothful. However, it seemed to whip on by. I think I'm suffering from a bit of time compression from too many things on my calendar.

This coming weekend is my dog club's big specialty. I won't be there in person, I have far too much on my plate as is, but there are a myriad of details that need attending to for the big day. Then I hand the whole mess over to the acting show chair and she can deal with the show herself.

The weekend after that is the big 1-0 birthday for my favorite set of twins. For the first time ever they are going to have separate parties. We have things pretty much roughed out, I'll have to work on it some more tomorrow.

Then there is the big one, Nate's upcoming Bar Mitizvah in November. He is plugging along as are the arrangements. That reminds me I have to call the florist about the arrangements for the bema. We don't do any thing super fancy (no ice sculptures or fire breathers for us), but we do want to have a nice luncheon and more birthday party party afterwards.

Throw in the High Holidays, marching band, and soccer to liven up the mix. So yeah, I'm just a bit busy right now