Beware Cats High On Catnip: They're Gonna Gitcha!

Some videos on youtube are staged. This one clearly is not. He took the edge of the LCD directly on the kisser. And was even coming up in his sit-up to add to the impact.

And the feline doesn't even skip a step while his master chokes to death on blood, snot and skull fragments.


He's Eatin' Lobster, Too

Sit A Spell And Read: St. Charles Bookstore

An intersting photo to show light quality, taken with the automatic setting on my $159 Fuji point and shoot. The light was moderate, yellow, in the room. It was not what I would call dark. And yet, the shot is grainy. There is just not enough ISO compensation for the low light situations with the point and shoots. My brother educated me about forcing the ISO manually up to 800+, which would help low light situations, but I'd have to hold my breathe, lean on a wall and stop my heartbeat for it to have no "shake".

The clothesline photo two days ago was taken with the same point and shoot, but in highest light of day. It is more sharp, but not ideal, as one can see when it's blown up (click picture on blog) and one looks at shingles on house. This could also be a factor of depth of field, which is also limited in the snapshot cameras.

This is precisely why I, personally, wanted a DSLR. To avoid shots corrupted by this sort of "noise".


My Alma Mater

Boston University, on the Charles River, is a place where I spent 8 years of my education.

And now, a year (8 months, really) of undergraduate (not graduate school) education in the ivy-lined urban walls of old BU costs:

Boston University

Tuition and Fees: $37,050
Room and Board: $11,418
Total Cost: $48,468

Holy bare cupboards, Batman!

My Tool Shed Door


Busy As A Bee Watercoloring

I'm proud of my wife for learning art.  She's only taken a single three-hour watercoloring session, with her very skilled teacher Sarah, and she's already shown a certain knack for the craft.  Of course, she's got several years of scrapbooking under her belt--so she knows papercraft.  I tell her every day, though, that I'm proud of her skills, as watercolor is creating something from nothing.  It's the art of creating that is the talent.  She's a nascent watercolorist.  Did I say I'm proud of her?


The Hangover

Heard mixed reviews about this movie--some lament its content and language, others saying it's the best comedy in years.  Watched it last night with the mancub (thanks, wildhair).  It sucked like an old mattress.

Throw it all in the blender, everything that could happen at a bachelor party (tigers in bathrooms, a lost baby, chickens, stealing a police name it) and then create a script around it with stale jokes from B-actors.  Unfortunately, with the dummying down of America, some people enjoy this trash and the directors and studios make millions.  Sure, I was young once, and I enjoy the coming-of-age flick (Valley Girl, Porky's, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, etc) as much as the next guy.  But the folks in this move are my age, making it even less appealing.  And while the films of yore have a shred of storyline, The Hangover, alas, really does not. 


Taco Fresco, Geneva Commons

Yummy alternative in a calm place at busy Geneva Commons.  Dusty bottles and all.

Pandas Are Cute


Cathy's Red Toolbox

Purchased over a week ago at the wildlife hospital auction, Cathy will use it to store paintbrushes.


Red Crocs At A Full 18 Megapixels

Now I am boldly pushing the limits of this camera.


The Crossings In My Mind

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Orianthi: Michael Jackson's Guitarist

Orianthi Panagaris (born January 22, 1985), known mononymously as Orianthi, is an Australian singer and guitarist. She is best known for being Michael Jackson's guitarist for his comeback concert series, This Is It.

Orianthi was Michael Jackson's lead guitarist and was present on all rehearsals for his This Is It concerts before his death.[13][5][8] In regards to being handpicked by Jackson, she stated:

“ I don’t know exactly why he picked me, but he watched my YouTube videos and loved them. He had his choice of guitar players, but I came in and played the ‘Beat It’ solo for him. Afterward he was so happy he got up and grabbed my arm and started walking up and down the stage area with me. He said, ‘Can you play once for me?’ He hired me that night. I wish he was still around. He made me believe in myself more, and I learned so much. Going into it, I thought it would be all about playing guitar solos. But the majority of it was playing chords and funky rhythms.[14] --Wikipedia

She did a decent job on MJ's Beat It, but the guitar solo, written by EVH, cannot be played like EVH by anyone.  It's a test of finesse.

The Painted Purple Lady

Anyone knowing where this lovely home is located gets extra credit. I was walking in the hills above Third Street in St. Charles, Illinois and came across this unique home across from an old school converted to office buildings. Geneva and St. Charles are rife with old charm, but every once in a while, you just have to stop and say, "Wow!".


Sundays Around Here

Almost caught hell for forgetting.  Sunday night, Kardashians!

Michael Jackson's Dance and Guitar!

Really enjoyed a relaxing Saturday evening with friends.  Lou Malnatti's 'za, Dave amd Alexia's salad, plenty of drinks from Kim, Tom, Jay... a wonderful, low-key time.  Followed,of course, by the N. River Lane premiere of MJ's This Is It.  One for the fans, appreciated Michael's precision, still able to move like a slinky at age 50, and great music.  Guitars (like Orianthi playing the licks written for Jackson's Beat It by Eddie VH), funk, synth and drums.  Oh, and those flying background dancers.  This Is It would have been quite a show.  But for now, it will linger as a DVD moment surrounded by drinks and food and fun with friends from my building.

Wishing You A Sinful Day --- Love, Cupid

Clown For Rent


Dam,That's Pretty.

Moving water. It sounds refreshing, and looks stunning. It is incredible to think that, day in and day out, week after week, year after year, decades and centuries flipping by like pages on a perpetual calendar, the river keeps flowing. What was here a moment ago, is now south. What was here a week ago, is now in the ocean. What is in the ocean, is in the air. What is in the air is inside of us.

The Man Can Dance

Tonight, checking out Michael Jackson's This Is It! And believe it or not, I'm actually excited to see it! Rock and pop and dancing and show--a spectacle that never was, in the end.  Which makes it all the more haunting. Dead man's dance.  A tribute hitting on all cylinders.

**** Stars, 100/100 rating by Roger Ebert
BY ROGER EBERT / October 27, 2009

"This Is it," Michael Jackson told his fans in London, announcing his forthcoming concert tour. "This is the final curtain call." The curtain fell sooner than expected.

The film has been assembled from rehearsals from April through June 2009 for a concert tour scheduled for this summer. The footage was "captured by a few cameras," an opening screen tells us, but they were professional high-def cameras and the sound track ii full-range stereo. The result is one of the most revealing music documentaries I've seen.

Never raising his voice, never showing anger, always soft-spoken and courteous to his cast and crew, Michael with his director, Kenny Ortega, micro-manages the production. He corrects timing, refines cues, talks about details of music and dance. Seeing him always from a distance, I thought of him as the instrument of his producing operation. Here we see that he was the auteur of his shows.

His movements are so well synchronized with the other dancers on stage, who are much younger and highly-trained, that he seems one with them. This is a man in such command of his physical instrument that he makes spinning in place seem as natural as blinking his eye.

But the concert they worked so hard on was never to be.

This is it.    ---Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, October 2009


My Weekly Schedule

Monday: 2.5 Men
Tuesday: Millionaire Matchmaker
Wed: Big Bad Dog The Bounty Hunter
Thurs: Housewives of Orange County
And that still leaves Friday and Saturday for HGTV's Househunters marathon, eating chocolates, taking a bubble bath and manscaping.

I wish I had my life!

ISO 1000

Still learning about camera, one feature at a time. I was sitting on the couch in my office, and I only had on the incandescent lamp behind me (you can see it in the laptop screen reflected), and I used various ISO settings, and voila, I got this picture. No flash, this looks much brighter than the actual room. It looks like daytime, even though the room looks dark in person. Now, to get this image at ISO 1000, I had to brace the heck out of the camera on my knees and against my generous forehead, otherwise the "shake" was crazy, even with the anti-shake on the Sigma lens. First thought it was "noise" from high ISO, but for this particular EOS 7D, 1000 isn't a ludicrous ISO setting, so with patience and about 7 shots, I finally got one that was intelligible. Still noisy, though.  I needed a tripod.
Facinating to this point and shoot guy that ISO settings can bring in that much "light" without flash to such a dark setting. The learning curve for this camera is high, but at least I'm no longer afraid to just hold it outside it's Pelican 1450 box.


The View From My Kitchen Window

The morning February sun comes up on Geneva, IL, looking toward State Street, with the peak of the Kane County Courthouse just visible through the trees.


Solo--A Kayaker Lost At Sea: Very Moving Video

Leaving his wife and young son behind, a man bent on adventure sets off in his kayak to traverse an ocean--alone.  Experienced sea kayaker Andrew McAuley's doomed trip from Tasmania to New Zealand 2007.


The View From My Kitchen Window Onto Old Geneva, IL


Winter View Down To The Geneva Dam

The Hurt Locker

Every year there's one or two Ocsar Best Picture nominated films that get such high praise, and yet I missed them at the box office. Sure, I saw precious (hated it--but Mo'Nique was fabulous as the wretched mother, and she will get the Supporting Actress Oscar, no doubt), and The Blind Side (Sandra Bullock returns!). The movie that I missed and now much see--this year, that film is The Hurt Locker, nominated for--among other things--Best Director and Best Film. Now on DVD, I plan to make this a family movie night selection. Popcorn, candles, large screen TV and Bose.

Watercolor Artist

Watercolor, Bunny Girl, by Linda Hutchinson

This is the type of art that inspires Cathy with her new hobby.

Riverside Reception Area With Friends

Super night with cocktails at David and Alexia's, wonderful butternut squash ravioli overlooking the Fox River, saw presentation about many small animals saved, always Jay's super humor, and finished with a nightcap listening to Sarah Vaughn and Boz Scaggs at Kim and Tom's place. Fun!


Fox Valley Wildlife Center Fundraiser Saturday

Whether you are interested in a luxury vacation in the Virgin Islands or a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, check out the silent auction at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center fundraiser Saturday.

The center cares for injured and orphaned birds and mammals and depends entirely on membership fees, donations, grants and its yearly fundraiser.

The dinner and auction begins at 6 p.m. at Riverside Reception and Banquets, 35 N. River Lane in Geneva.

The center's staff says the auction is even more important this year because for the first time, the center is responsible for paying its own utilities, estimated at about $500 a month. Taking over utilities is part of a new agreement with the Kane County Forest Preserve District, which will continue to contribute the use of the house and land in the Elburn Woods Forest Preserve.

This year's live auction includes a chance to bid on a one-week vacation for up to 10 people at Satinwood in Coral Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, valued at $3,500 to $4,410. Accommodations include two full kitchens, a pool and a sun deck. The beach, shopping and dining are just minutes away. Visit for more information.

Another major attraction of the live auction is a four-course dinner with wine pairings for six people, prepared in your home by Chef Richard Fields of Citizen Kane in Geneva. The minimum bid is $400.

Other items include a behind-the-scenes tour of Lincoln Park Zoo for six people; artwork of the Wildlife Center's habitants; bird carvings; stained glass; pet photo shoots; art classes; quilts; carved pens and more.

The event features a dinner (entree choices are Chicken Rockefeller (Chicken breast with spinach and bacon and a Hollandaise Sauce) or a vegetarian option of Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Cream Sauce)
-- silent auctions
-- live auctions
-- raffle
-- presentation by a FVWC wildlife specialist
-- video presentation of animals that passed through our doors this year and the Volunteers that helped them
-- awarding of prizes for the 2010 photo contest
This is our fourth year at this location and we're pleased to return here again to join in the fun!

Invite your wildlife-loving friends and neighbors--yes, you can reserve an entire table for your group of eight or ten people.

I'll be there, as friends Dave and Alexia have reserved a table. And heck, it's right across the street and on the Fox River, so who could resist!

P.S. In keeping with the spirit of the evening to save small animals, I ordered the vegetarian meal rather than chowing down on a chicken.


Go Game Hits The Block

Sure, I'm still into Go. I just don't need this premium board (I have others, more reasonable in size) as much as I need to pay for the Canon camera lens. So, on the chopping block it goes. On eBay 2/4 PM, with plenty of Go-mongers and masters licking their chops to get this one. An heirloom.

Mars Needs Guitars

The axes are getting the axe. Listed on eBay now, they will soon, like a wooly worm to a butterfly, morph into....a Canon EOS 7D.


Millionaire Matchmaker

Okay, I'll admit it--last night I blew three hours watching Patty Stanger on Bravo's Millonaire Matchmaker with my wife.

So shoot me.

The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge Over Connecticut River

The Cornish–Windsor Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans the Connecticut River between Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont. It was the longest covered bridge still standing in the United States until the Smolen–Gulf Bridge opened in Ohio in 2008.  The 2008 bridge is ugly.

The bridge is approximately 449 feet (137 m) long and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide. It has a Town lattice type truss. The bridge was originally built in 1866, and rebuilt in 1988. It was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1970.

The bridge is owned and maintained by the State of New Hampshire, and though often associated with Windsor, is in fact part of the town of Cornish, since the defined boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont is at the western high-water mark of the river. When one drives onto the bridge from the Windsor side of the river they are immediately in New Hampshire. The name is a point of contention among locals since many Cornish inhabitants refer to the bridge as the 'Cornish Covered Bridge' (minus 'Windsor') since, they argue, the bridge belongs to Cornish and not Windsor.

The death of Mr. Salinger reminded me of the one time I saw the Cornish, NH covered bridge in person, during my college years.  Went on a driving trip with my parents up the Vermont-New Hampshire state line.  Saw the Quechee Gorge and, as I recall, the Augustus St. Gauden's home and studio on the same trip.  Memories that still come to the fore when I think of Cornish, NH.


My Salinger Collection of Hardbacks

I was into Jerome David before it was cool to be into Jerome David. Well, not exactly, I suppose, because all those phonies were reading his books and all before I was born. But you'd think I be into that David Copperfield crap, but I really couldn't give a damn. I even printed out his unpublished and almost unreadable Glass letter home from summer camp, "Hapworth 16, 1924," It was never published in a book--only installements in the Saturday Evening Post--but I printed it and bound it.  And never read it.

Ever Have One Of Those Days?


Pretty Yellow Condominiums Across From Dodson Place, Geneva


Mitchell Greenland Paddle Heading Out to CT

Hi Scott, and thanks for buying my GP.  It'll ship today to Nancy's place in Wallingford.  It'll be nice to know you're blading the Yankee water in it this summer.  My Epic is not a wing, S,.so you can see it starting on eBay Sunday night after about 8pm EST.

Between what I have sold and what I have listed on eBay now and tonight (at low, low prices to score a sale), I have enough for the camera I want (but not the lens--sort of like my new local library: enough taxpayer gouge for the building, but not the books or staff).  My dear wife waved the white surrender flag and said I could order it, and my brother coached me on what to buy. As I did buy the lens, too, I will be adding hockey jerseys and knick knacks to the barrel on eBay.  If anyone wants a giant sized, gorgeous Go Game in a carrier box, "go" for it on my eBay auctions starting Thursday.

BrasilBrazil Returns from Sea Kayaking In Brazil

Hi guys,

Back from Brazil yesterday. Was gone for a week and we

circumnavigated a couple of islands and got some surfing in for fun.

tore up my foot pretty good with a nasty cut under the big toe and

scrapes all over the top of my right foot with the usual cuts and

bruises all over from a rather violent surf session.

Big water, saw sea turtles and sharks, went snorkeling for a couple of

hours and saw tons of angelfish and smaller fish as well as millions

of sea urchins.

All in all a great time!

Now I will have to work straight through to next thursday (7 days) to

pay for my sins. :)


Thanks for the update and fantastic photo of you negotiating the ocean swirly, BB.


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