Saturday, February 28, 2009

That's it! A concrete yard for us.


I'm trying to figure out which saplings to plant where (from the ones we got at a recent Arbor Day celebration/tree-give-away). Donald seemed particularly interested in the Chinese Horse Chestnut, because he remembers a horse chestnut from his youth, so I started with that one.

Two things I just learned about horse chestnuts:

First, you can use them as soap, in a pinch. I had to laugh when the author noted that the chief drawback of using the nuts as soap is that you will smell strongly of horse chestnuts. No-- really?! ;o)

Second, though the nuts are technically edible, they can be poisonous if eaten in quantity, and it's suggested that you roast them and/or soak them in water. (Seems like an awful lot of trouble, unless you've no other option. Personally, I'd rather avoid foods that might be even a little poisonous. I.e., no, I won't be eating blowfish.)

So, after reading about their toxicity, I wondered how safe this tree would be for our (current or future) dogs. What would happen if they ate/gnawed on the nuts (assuming the tree ever grows big enough to make nuts)?

I found this page, with its partial listing of plants toxic to cats and dogs.

Hm. Maybe we'll just cover the whole yard in concrete.

Good grief! I don't think there's a single non-toxic plant on the property!

I guess we'll go ahead and plant the horse chestnut and just hope for the best. There are a hundred different varieties of poison out there, if the dogs start eating the plants. I'll just have to hope they have the sense to not eat the vegetation. . . Either that, or I'll keep them in the house 24 hours a day. . . (Oops. Donald just reminded me that we have poisonous indoor plants, too. Sorry, Molly and Trixie!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

CD Cover Meme

My parents sent us an e-mail, yesterday, with a fun meme for designing your imaginary band's first CD cover.

Here are the instructions (with our CD covers below):

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”
or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop, Powerpoint or similar to put it all together.

My band's CD cover:

Donald's band's CD cover:

And then I made one for the dogs. (g)
This is their band's CD cover:

It's kind of addictive! So, what does your band's CD cover look like? ;o)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

*Another* Doggone Video.

Clearly I'm not worried about running off my poor handful of readers. ;o)

Barking Across Time and Space from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trixie's Speedy Christmas

This is Trixie opening a Christmas present, only she took soooo loooong that I decided to speed it up as fast as my video-editing program would allow. And this is the result. (g) (Don't worry; she did finally manage to get the toy out, with a little help from Donald.)

P.S. The sped-up music may make you want to rip your ears off. You have been warned. ;o)

Trixie's Speedy Christmas from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

Obama's Elf

I feel like I'm forgetting something. . . Oh, well!

I turned thirty over the weekend! This last year, I'd become increasingly conscious of the approach of the big 3-O, so I wasn't shocked when it finally arrived. Somehow, 30 seems less "awful" (if you know what I mean) than 29. I won't lie-- I don't feel thirty, and I can't really understand how I got here already (I mean, I was only 18 just a few years ago!)-- but at least now that it's here, I can finally let it slip further into the back of my mind. (I hope. (g))

Also: I was thoroughly spoiled by my family on Friday, and then by Donald on Saturday. (My actual birthday was on Saturday, but on Friday night we had a little get-together for my birthday and Mom's, which is later this week.) Thank you, everyone!

- - - - - -

I've exercised (more than incidental exercise-- housework and our almost-daily walk to the pond) two days in a row, now, and I've also started limiting my soft drink in-take to one can a day. Two days of exercise is hardly something to brag about, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Of course, the hard part will be keeping it up. I guess the next step might be not buying more of my favorite colas, once I've drunk up what we have in the house. I don't think a can of Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew a day is a terribly bad vice (g), but I don't need those extra calories (or the caffeine), and I'd probably be healthier if I just cut it out of my daily life and let it be an occasional treat instead of a daily habit. We'll see. . . I've cut the cola out of my diet before, but somehow it managed to sneak back in.

- - - - - -

I've had the washing machine going for two days, now. (Well, ok, I'm not running it all night, and I did get a late start on it today. . .) That's a lot of laundry for a household of two (+ two dogs with their own doggy blankets and towels). Yesterday was mostly just our regular washing, which I always seem to do on Mondays. Today, I've started catching up on some of the "special" washing that's been piling up. Anything that doesn't get washed regularly or that needs special attention-- table cloths, decorative bits of fabric, gardening gloves, etc.-- usually gets left until later. "Later" sometimes ends up being months later. If I ever manage to work my way through all that stuff, I should regain the use of a few more laundry baskets, which ought to come in handy. ;o)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Videos, Music, Sports, & Saplings

Do not adjust your monitors. ;o) Or in other words, yes, I changed the background color. I was getting tired of acid green. Time for a soothing pale blue! I've also adjusted a few other little things in the setup of this blog. For instance, there's now a Vimeo widget in the sidebar, so that you can see at a glance if I've put up any new videos (on Vimeo, at least).

And as a matter of fact. . .

- - - - - - -

I've put a few more new videos on Vimeo. (g)

One is a short clip Donald filmed at the frozen lake at Glaskogen (Sweden). I realized I hadn't included any close-ups of how that ice looked, and I thought it was pretty enough that it required sharing.

One is just a (probably boring) experiment with saturation-- nothing but pine trees and a sky full of windy clouds.

Then there's another quick one of Trixie. (Yes, I know. I'm now undeniably one of those people who inflict upon others their endless videos of vacations and pets. It can't be helped. At least you don't have to watch them, since I'll never know if you did or not. (g))

This is an older piece of film-- before Donald's trip, I think, and definitely before the rubber chicken toy lost its head:

Slo-Mo Trixie from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

- - - - - - -

I mentioned, an entry or two ago, being disappointed by the unavailability of certain soundtracks. Well, this isn't quite as good as a soundtrack on CD (mainly because the conversations and sound effects are still present and can be distracting), but if you're desperate to have the music from North & South to listen to, try this site. A word of warning to those who haven't seen the program (or read the book)-- listening to these tracks (or, indeed, even reading their titles) might give away some of the storyline. (I used tiny, dialogue-free snippets from the soundtrack in the two non-Trixie videos I linked to above.)

- - - - - - -

An entry on a blog I read linked back to some previous blog entries and a number of heated comments-- all related to the fact that a Swedish wrestler threw down his bronze medal during an Olympic award ceremony. (Actually, from what I recall, he went and set it down rather carefully on the floor. I don't remember any violent hurling. (g)) Some people feel it was a display of righteous indignation after an obviously unfair call by a corrupt system of judging. Others think that he should have respected the dignity of the occasion and saved his protests for later. Then there are those, like myself, who are amazed that enough people care about wrestling for there to be a corrupt system of judges. (Admittedly, I'm not a particularly sporty gal-- Don't fall out of your seat in shock, now! ;o)-- but of all sports, wrestling seems just about the least appealing to watch or participate in. Yuck.) More proof that no matter what hobby or interest you take up, if you're there long enough-- if you look deeply enough-- you'll find people who take things way too far. Passion, you say? Passion schmassion! In all things, moderation! ;o)

- - - - - - -

This morning, Mom and I went to a local Arbor Day event and picked up a variety of free saplings. Now to decide where ours should go. . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Playing Around With Videos. . .

This time, I applied a filter/effect that's supposed to simulate the look of (very) old film. This kind of thing probably doesn't have much practical use, but I still think it's fun to play around with. :o)

Ominous Nature from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

Again, this video can be viewed larger on its page at Vimeo. (No HD this time, though-- not that it really matters, given that this clip is supposed to look grainy.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trixie Waits

Vimeo took forever, today!

Yes, they're kind enough to host my videos for free-- and I can upload up to 500MB per week-- and they'll even let you have one free HD video each week-- and (in my very limited experience) YouTube is pretty slow, too, yet results in a poorer quality end product-- but, wow, what a wait! When the wait-time was finally whittled down to one minute, it got stuck and stayed there for a very, very long time. I'd appreciate a little honesty. If it's going to be an hour, please just tell me so from the beginning so that I'm not hanging around, wondering if this will be the minute that it finally finishes. (Doctors, that goes for you, too. Do you think we like sitting forever in a boring waiting room with a bunch of contagious people? --No offense, contagious people. I'm sure you understand.-- Just tell us the truth so we can get there a few minutes before you're finally ready for us, okay?)

So, anyway. . . (g) Here's the video:

Trixie Waits from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

In this video, Trixie demonstrates the most recent addition to her repertoire of tricks: waiting (on command).

Unlike most dogs, Trixie finds the most difficult part of this trick knowing when it's finally alright to *stop* waiting.

P.S. You can see it bigger (and in HD) here. :o)

More Random Stuff

Ew. I think I found a tick on Trixie today, while petting her on the couch. (I didn't dare give it a close inspection, but I'm pretty sure it was a tick.) It wasn't attached, so I was able to easily grab a paper napkin, pluck it off her back, and squash it-- but now I feel a bit squeamish about the possibility of other ticks left on the couch. . . or on me. (nearly faints) Ugh! Well, that's enough! (No, it's not the first one we've seen in the past month or two.) The dogs will be getting their (overdue) flea/tick-prevention treatment, pronto.

-- -- -- -- --

I've been re-watching North & South, and it turns out that it, too, was better than I'd remembered. The "social issue" aspect wasn't as overbearing as I'd recalled and the heroine not quite so annoying, either. (She's no Jane Eyre, but I can make it through the miniseries without throwing things at the TV.)

Side Note: So many of these well-made period miniseries have such wonderful soundtracks-- but they seem rarely to be available on CD (or even download online). I'd love to have the music from Jane Eyre (2oo6 version), Wives and Daughters, and North & South, to name just a few, and I know (from what I've read while looking for these soundtracks) that I'm not the only one interested. It seems like a wasted opportunity for these composers.

-- -- -- -- --

While amusing ourselves with silly things on the Internet, we came across a song by a Swedish girlband known as "Troll". Donald remembers this one, but I don't. Maybe it didn't make it as big in the US. . . Anyway, the name of the 1989 hit is "Jimmy Dean". Because of presence of the words "jacket", "car", and "movie star" in the lyrics, I'm thinking the reference is probably to James Dean-- not the guy responsible for Jimmy Dean sausages-- but it still makes me laugh. (Actually, I'd probably like the song better if it had been written with the sausage guy in mind. I've never really understood the fascination with James Dean-- I'm not that interested in the Kennedy clan, either. . . Must be something wrong with me.)

Oh. Now I see the picture of James Dean at the beginning of the video, so yeah, I guess that leaves no doubt: This song was not about the breakfast sausage guy.

So disappointing. ;o)

-- -- -- -- --

Yesterday, Donald noticed a typo on a receipt he got from a store one of his former co-workers described as "the ghetto Wal-Mart": "Mobile" was spelled "Moblie" at the top of the receipt. That's pretty bad, misspelling the name of your own city!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Random Chit-Chat

(Written throughout the day, a bit at a time, like many of these posts are, actually.)

This was one of those weekends that leave me feeling less rested on Monday morning than I did on Friday morning. Well, maybe it's not quite that bad, but I could definitely do with another day of weekend. I think I get that feeling most often when we go out and about more than usual. (I am a homebody at heart.) Saturday, we spent most of the afternoon out shopping. At least it wasn't a fruitless excursion-- if nothing else, we found Donald a couple nice, new pair of shoes (at sale price!) for work, to replace an old pair at the end of its miles-- but it still doesn't feel like a proper Saturday when you have to compete with crowds and long lines in shops.

-- -- -- -- --

Hm. What more is there to say? So much of what I can think of-- what's presently on my mind-- isn't likely to interest anyone, including myself. It's mostly a list of things I need to do today. Laundry, for instance, as well as some general house-cleaning. And more important than those tasks-- going through a pile of papers and sorting things into piles: stuff to file, stuff to toss, stuff to discuss with Donald (to decide whether to keep or toss), and bills-- which I really, really hope aren't too close to being due. Piles of paper stress me, precisely because I'm worried I'll forget a bill that's due. It's surprising, really, how often I still allow things to pile up, considering that it does stress me out to have stacks of paper that grow by the day.

One might also wonder, in this age of automatic billing, why I don't simply have all our bills paid, well, automatically. We do take advantage of that service in one or two cases, but I guess I'm not completely up with the times. We've progressed past the point of paying with checks from our check book, as we did back when we were just married, but we still haven't reached the level of technological dependence that we let the computers handle everything for us. Not quite yet. ;o) (This is largely because I feel that if I didn't have to look at bills in order to pay them, I wouldn't examine them closely enough.)

So. Shall I next describe for you in depth my process for sorting laundry? (g) No? Well, you're probably right. Have to leave something to write about another day. . .

-- -- -- -- --

I've been re-watching my way through Wives and Daughters again, a bit at a time. It's better than I remembered, though there have been several times I'd have liked to reach through the screen and slap someone. I suppose I'll have to watch North and South (the Gaskell one-- not that Civil War thing from the 80s (g)) again, next, though from what I remember of that one, I expect to find it at times a dreary process. From what I recall, those characters behave even more maddeningly-- and there's also the whole "social issue" aspect of the series. Yes, yes, I suppose authors like to have something of substance in their novels, but some of them manage to do it without making you feel you're being preached to-- and honestly, I am either annoyed or bored when those things encroach too far in my entertainment. (I probably sound like a thoroughly spoiled little brat, but I don't care. :oP)

Speaking of irritation in the form of "entertainment"-- though it's hardly my only complaint with the show, I'm exasperated by the frequent mention of "this economy" in the last two episodes of Desperate Housewives*. I could almost hear the writers: "See how current-- how relevant we are? We feel your pain! Truly, there is no disconnect between the Hollywood elite and you commoners stranded in the cultural wasteland between L.A. and New York." (Not that the Hollywood elite would like the insinuation that they have anything to do with Desperate Housewives. (g) But you get the point.) Of course, nothing on that program should surprise me, at this point. I haven't yet forgotten the episode in which the neighborhood had a whole day's warning of the approach of one specific tornado-- a tornado, not a hurricane. People had time to tape their windows and make leisurely plans about where they would weather the storm. I don't know if they meant it to be funny, but it certainly was!

*Now that I've admitted to still watching that silly, silly show, I need hide nothing from you, my faithful readers, for what confession could be more shameful? ;o)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Girly Man!! (You'll understand soon.)

Here's one for all you music-lovers out there-- one of my latest musical obsessions! ;o)

It's an Indian music video that is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller". As marvelous as the video itself is, the best part is the crazy "translation". (Actually, this is just what someone thought the lyrics sound like, if it were being sung in English.)

Nightmarish Dreams

Note: This is nothing but rambling about dreams I've had in the past few nights. I won't be offended if you decide not to read it. ;o) In fact, I'll probably never even know one way or the other! (g)

I've heard varying opinions on the validity of this research, but ever since I heard it, I've definitely noticed an increase in my nightmarish (or at least nervous) dreams. So far, they haven't been my worst kind of nightmare-- losing a loved one-- or even my second-worst kind-- discovering that I've neglected (either very severely or to death) someone or something I was meant to care for (usually an infant).

Recent nightmarish and/or unsettled dreams:
  • I'm having an uneventful TV-esque dream (one in which it's almost as though I'm watching a TV program, not actively participating in the story). Two women in old-fashioned dress are talking in front of a large, paned window, when suddenly a loud gunshot shatters the peaceful scene. One of the women has been shot! I'm completely shocked. "What? Where did that come from?! That's not supposed to happen!" Then there's another shot-- the second woman is killed-- and I'm moved on to the next dream. . .
  • I'm standing in line with family at Firehouse Subs-- which is funny, because I've never set foot inside one. Suddenly a crazy-looking guy walks in and asks the manager if he's going to give him a free-refill (or was it an "eat free"?) pass, because he is, in fact, a firefighter. The manager says no-- the crazy guy is furious-- and he pulls a gun on the nearest customer, who happens to be my father, claiming him as a hostage. Dad says something about being able to tell the gun won't fire and proceeds to try to wrestle it from the crazy guy, but I'm afraid. How can he know? The dream fades away.
  • I'm with a couple of old school friends, and we're hiding (on a roadtrip) from some unknown enemy. It's an odd mixture of joking around, buying food at a convenience store, and being afraid that something horrible is about to happen-- feeling that we're responsible for saving something more than just ourselves.
  • I'm in a confusing dream about a woman who accidentally ordered two Christmas trees to be delivered to one location. The two "tree guys" get there at the same time and are very confrontational for a while, but it somehow works out. However, my family has to help one of the guys carry his tree back to his truck-- a longish walk that involves crossing a highway. I wonder how on earth the tree guy thought this enormous thing would fit in the building to begin with. (g)
  • I'm hiking with family (including extended family). At first, it's easy enough that I can just enjoy the surroundings, but gradually, it becomes more challenging. We reach a long ledge so narrow that I have to stand with my back pressed against a stone wall and slide my feet sideways, instead of walking. Despite being nervous about my precarious situation, I want to take photos (g), but family members keep catching up with me and needing to (somehow) squeeze past me on the narrow ledge. . .
  • I finally make it down to the bottom of the mountain-- and now I'm no longer with family, but on a huge high school trip (to Spain, I think). I notice how dark the sky is against the land and an earth-toned structure nearby, and I begin to photograph it. Suddenly, I see through the viewfinder of the camera that a tornado is forming right in front of us. As I run for cover and call for others to do the same, the structure disintegrates, and before my eyes, some unknown person is speared through the chest by a jagged peice of plywood. The rest of the dream is vaguely sad, fearful, and uncomfortable-- spent sheltering in a dilapidated medical facility that seems to be nothing but a labyrinth of crowded halls and too-narrow chambers.
Can't complain too much, I guess, since I've certainly had worse dreams. And after all, they are only dreams. (g) Maybe dreams of that sort make me a little more appreciative of prosaic reality.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not another video. . . ?! (yes.)

Sorry for all the not-a-real-blog-post blog-posts, lately. (g)

Here's another video of clips Donald filmed in Sweden, for anyone who may be interested. :o)

Lake Vänern, Sweden from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

Lookit *this*!! ;o)


Did I scare you with the photo of the decapitated rubber chicken? (g)

Sorry. I just couldn't resist. The look of shock on its face. . .

Mom, Dad, Kimberly-- Molly and Trixie loved the chicken, really. I mean, just look-- they played with it until it fell apart. ;o) Seriously, please don't be offended that they killed the toy you gave them. It's nothing personal.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Cake Wreck of Our Own

Donald brought home a king cake, last weekend. It's not really Cake Wreck-ish, but we thought the little plastic baby looked funny, half-submerged in a sea of icing and colored sugar:

It almost looks like he's being sucked into the vortex of a whirlpool!

"Help! Help! I had so much more I wanted to do in my life! Grow a mohawk and take up carrot-back riding. . . Search for my long-lost siblings. . . Maybe make a few multicultural friends. . . And find out once and for all if plastic baby aliens really exist!"

Equal Health Care for All?

Maybe I am a mean, horrible person for writing this, but I'm doing it anyway.

I was reading comments on a blog-- one I've mentioned here before, which is written by someone who is half Swedish, half American, raised in the US, but now living in Sweden. He'd written about his recent experience with the Swedish health care system, and it generated a number of responses.

Now, normally, I wouldn't have much to say about health care in another country. Leave it to those citizens to decide how they want things to be run. However, these days, with our own system in such a mess and the very real threat of having it changed to something that will probably be even messier, I find this subject has become a sore spot for me. Some want us to believe that people in Canada-- Sweden-- wherever-- have it made, as far as health care is concerned. Based on what I've heard and read, I can't agree.

Then I read this particular comment on the blog. Here's an excerpt:
There are definitely positive things to say about the Swedish health care system, as well, though. One being the fact that you don't need to have an expensive health insurance to get good health care, meaning that people from all social classes are entitled to the same health care.

If I was more opposed to the Swedish health care than I already am and had a proneness to being sarcastic I would probably describe the Swedish health care with the following sentence: "The waiting lines may be long but at least we're all standing in the same line!"

Sadly enough, though, I guess that's what you get when you have equal health care for everybody.
(This is the part where some of you may hate me forever. (g))

that such a positive thing, that everyone gets (supposedly) the same care-- even if that means many are getting care of inferior quality to what they'd get in our current system?

I mean, sure, if I could wave my magic wand (what? don't you have one, too?) and make it so that everyone everywhere would receive top-notch medical care, that would be wonderful. But that's not how it works.

If everyone gets the same level of medical care, that implies taking an average of their previous care. Yes, some people's care will improve, but many will receive less efficient or effective care than if they were to just pay their own way. Instead of paying ridiculous fees for insurance, they're forced to pay for their health care through ridiculously increased taxes. What they get is probably worse medical care than if they had just paid their own way. So where does the rest of the money go? (Probably partly just sucked down the drain of government waste! As for the rest:) To help pay for the health care of the "less fortunate". Why are some people entitled to the money of others? (Because health care, like any service, is money.)

Gosh, this life thing is complicated! It'd be so much easier if people would get over this insidious sense of entitlement. (Fat chance!) Yes, there are some people who truly need help, and it is the responsibility of any civilized people to help provide for their needy. But I, for one, don't like it when the government tries to force my hand.

Is it "fair", if someone works hard to earn a higher standard of living, that he shouldn't be able to buy better care than someone who does the bare minimum?

Consider: You've worked hard and saved your pennies your whole life. You've managed to accumulate a little money. You won't be buying a mansion or hiring a chef to prepare your meals, but you've earned some financial security. Now, you're getting older, and the time comes that you decide you need some type of elective surgery. It would vastly improve the quality of your life-- maybe even prolong your life, as it would help you stay physically and mentally active-- but it is elective. Now that we've put the government firmly in control of health care, it's up to them to decide who gets surgeries and when. Because people believe that health care is now free (never mind the fact that someone's paying for it), the demand for all types of medical care has sky-rocketed. People who would've just made do, before, are now quick to say, "Heck yeah! Sign me up for this, and that, and that, too!" This means longer lines. It also means that there are government workers reviewing each case to decide if a procedure is warranted. (The doctors and surgeons can only do so much every day, after all, and there may be less incentive for people to become doctors, working under these new guidelines and conditions.) The health care doler-outer looks at you, an aging person, and decides that it'd be a better investment to let someone younger have the surgery, instead. You'll probably only live another 10-20 years, and that 40-year-old guy whose file is right below yours in the stack might have 30-40 years left in him. Tough luck! Even though you have the money to pay for the procedure directly out of pocket-- on top of all the taxes you've paid across the years-- you are denied. (Well, that's one prediction I've heard, and I doesn't seem too far-fetched, if you ask me. . .)

*sigh* Why can't people see the simplest things? If you take away most of the incentives of hard work, there's no reason for anyone to bother putting in the extra effort that creates success and wealth.

"There are no words to describe it."

No words to describe how cold it was here last night, that is. That's according to one local TV news reporter-- a woman they'd stuck outside just so there would be someone to personally testify to the inexpressible cold. (Why would they put someone outside to demonstrate cold when there's not even ice, snow, or frost to show? It's not like it was a tropical storm where she count point to a few flying leaves and twigs and enthusiastically label them as "debris".)

Those of you not living in a subtropical climate may wonder at what point the cold becomes so severe that there are no words to describe it. Well, we were predicted to drop down to as low as 21 degrees (F) overnight, but at that point, it wasn't even 10 p.m., so it was probably still in the 30s.

Yes, the low 20s is cold and even the 30s aren't much fun to stand around in for no good reason (no arguments here!), but "no words to describe it". . .? I wonder what happens when you go up where it gets really cold-- like -40 F. I guess then there are no words to describe how indescribably indescribable the cold is. Or maybe you freeze instantly, forever encapsulated in your own personal ice cube. ;o)

-- -- -- -- --

And on a totally unrelated note:

I was looking back through my photos at Flickr, when I came across the pictures I took of yarn, back when I joined Ravelry and wanted "stash" photos. (I mainly joined so that I could see people's finished projects, when they mentioned them on their blogs and at Twitter. I need to get back into crochet, though. I was enjoying it, even if I hadn't even managed to produce consistently sized granny squares. (g))

Anyway, these are pretty boring photos, unless you're really interested in yarn-- and those who are really interested in yarn wouldn't be likely to want to sit and stare at the yarn in my stash, because it's all relatively cheap stuff bought on sale or clearance at Hobby Lobby. (I like it, but most fiber art aficionados would look down their noses at it, I imagine.) So it's no surprise that most of these photos have had very few views. A couple have 12 or 15 views, and that strikes me as an impressive number, considering the subject matter.

Then there's Yarn Bee's Luscious "Peanut Butter & Jelly", which has been viewed 157 times! And the focus isn't even quite on spot! There are no comments, but 157 separate times, somebody just had to see that single skein of yarn up close. Funny, huh?

Glaskogens Naturreservat

While Donald was in Sweden, he, Ingela, and Jocke went to Glaskogen (a nature reserve), where they roasted hot dogs on the shore of a frozen lake.

This is the same nature reserve (but not the same lake, I think) where we ate a late lunch, one afternoon, during our last trip to Sweden. However, "our" lake-- Sitjärn-- didn't look much like this when we were there. ;o)

Icy Glaskogen from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

I tried something new (to me) when editing this video-- stretching out the clip to make it cover more time than it does in regular play-back. Actually, I also did this on the second part of the video of Trixie catching the frisbee, but that was somewhat different. In that case, you could definitely tell it was "slo-mo" (because that was the whole point). This time, I did it more to just make the clip last longer and to counteract the slight dizzy, blurry effect of panning too much, too fast. I'm not sure how well it worked, but it's at least watchable. I probably should've tried lightening it, too, as the trees are too dark-- but that's probably just a reflection of the weather that day. . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow at Sandmon

Snow at Sandmon from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

Above is a video I made with a few of Donald's recordings of snow in Sweden, taken in January.

We're still learning the basic ins and outs of videoing-- not to mention video editing. Apologies for the blurriness caused by too much panning...

The video starts out with a detail shot of some snow-laced branches.

The view then shifts to a pan from Donald's parents' carport/garage, past his maternal grandmother's house, and onward to a large pile of tree limbs that will eventually be taken away by the company that harvested some of their trees.

Finally, we get a peek at Lake Vänern's icy shores.

I think there are some more snowy video clips to share, too-- maybe later today or tomorrow. :o)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Three Things That Have Amused Me

If you visit the Cake Wrecks blog (and if you don't, you should-- laughter is good for you!), you've probably already seen Stains the Crazy-Eyes Cupcake Dog, but if not. . .

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I've recently noticed a strange local (I think) commercial for some health-related organization/clinic/whatever. It's mostly completely what you'd expect. Then there's the last line: "We're Blah-Blah-Blah, and we need blood. Not for us. For life."

Um. . . What else would you need blood for? (Maybe medical experiments, but that's still technically used in the interests of protecting and prolonging life.) And why would you think I'd suspect that you wanted it for yourselves? (Weird.)

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In the local news:

Police in a (relatively) nearby city have turned to the public for information on the whereabouts of three persons of interest relative to a recent murder. The news story provides their "street names". Two of these are the typical silly-sounding stuff you'd expect in a "street name". ("Ooh, I'm so d**n cool I got my homeys to call me by a gangsta street name!" Sickening.) Then there's the third guy, whose street name is. . . are you ready for it? . . ."Greg". Poor Greg. How un-cool must his real name be, if his street name is "Greg"?!

"Yo, homes! Wuzzup?"
"Yo, Oliver!"
"Man, that ain't coo'! I told you to call me Greg from now on." (glancing nervously around to make sure no-one else heard) "I got a reputation to maintain!"

Maybe we're just weirdos, but we both thought it was mighty funny. (g)

(Another channel's version of the story says "they go by the names [Dummy1, Dummy2, and Dummy3 (aka Greg)]"-- just names, not street names, which may indicate that "Greg" is Greg's actual name-- but I'm standing by the street name thing. It's much more amusing that way.)

. . . The image of that cupcake-hypnotized dog still cracks me up every time!