June 30, 2009

Etsy and Redbubble

The regular readers that are sharp-eyed may notice a small change to this blog. Situated on the right, at top of the google ads (click those occasionally!) are two new links to my RedBubble and Etsy shops.

RedBubble is an Australian site that lets people sell their artworks online. I like it because it does all the printing, matting or framing for me - I don't have to worry about printing them, finding mats that fit, finding frames, or getting them to the post office. And it's free for me - though they do take a big chunk of commission (60%-%70%). Ouchie. Downside? In my opinion, it's a bit on expensive side. But as far as I can tell, the quality of these prints and frames are pretty nice.

If you're a regular reader and you click on this link, you probably will recognize a number of pictures.

Etsy, a similar site, takes only 3.5% commission, but charges me a small fee for each item I want to put up for sale. I don't have anything in the shop up for sale yet. I'm hemming and hawing on what products and service I want to offer. Should I offer the same photos as in RedBubble? If so, should I match the prices? This shop is a little more work - I actually have to schlep down to the post office to mail the photos. The horrors!

At suggestion of a friend, I think I'm going to offer custom cards - baby, wedding, party announcements, and other similar service. Once I make up the templates, the work I need to do will be pretty minimal.

There are tons of competition, however, so we'll see how successful this endeavor is.

One other change: some - probably all - of the future photos posted here will not have the watermark anymore; I'm going to start using a signature in the photos I sell in these shops, and it seems redundant to have two copies of the same image, one with the watermark, other with the signature.
In other news: Vinyl and no AC...not pretty.


June 27, 2009

How to choose a vet

Apollo has been slowing down lately, to the point where he does not want to run when we play. If we walk, though, he can chug along for miles without a problem. Although he is more reluctant to exert himself the following day. When I realized that he was definitely slowing down, I hunted around for a vet that I would feel comfortable with. Very frustrating - 3 out of 6 vets I called hung up on me and the relay service. One told me to call back later and hung up promptly. I called back and got the same message. Only two took the time to talk to me, and I chose the one that took the time to ask me a few questions about Apollo.

Verdict? His poor breeding is rearing its ugly head. He is showing signs of hip dysplasia problems in his left hip, and possibly in his right too. The vet felt a sort of a "crunching" (her word) sensation when she appreciated the left hip; she felt that the right hip would eventually show signs. The bad news is, Apollo may eventually need surgery to repair this. It's very expensive - ranges from $1500 to $4000, depending on the vet and on what needs to be done.

The good news is: it isn't bad enough to warrant a surgery - yet. We are going to treat him with a steady dose of antiflammatory for a couple weeks to see how he does on it. If it doesn't help, we'll try a different, stronger medicine.

When I'm looking for a new vet and don't know many people that could make a recommendation, it's a smart thing to ask many questions. Ask about their office exam rates, how much office visits cost, what their policy is on spaying/neutering, are they pill-happy? (although I don't recommend posing the question like that), what kind of food do they recommend for animals that needs a diet? Etc.

If they push Science Diet, unless they have GLOWING references in every other way, I won't consider them at all. Science Diet is one of the worst foods for animals, nutritionally-wise, out on the market. Its main ingredients (usually the first few ingredients listed on the bag) are: Corn meal, chicken byproducts and animal fat. The vet we went to primarily sells Royal Canin - a somewhat better quality pet food.

When I arrive at the office, I take note of the reception area. Is it clean? Does the receptionist know who I am? Did she anticipate my arrival? I was very surprised when the receptionist today said, when I came in, "Ms. Carrigan, welcome to...My name is (something something)." Most of the time, they don't. I was impressed.

In the exam room, I study how the tech interacts with Apollo and me. Of course, there will be a few techs that are uncomfortable with a specific species - I, who once considered being a vet, don't like birds, for example. But for most part, they should be comfortable and interact well with them.

While I understand that vets (and doctors) are rushed, I think it's important that they make me feel I'm being listened to, that I - or my pet - are cared about. If they are cursory and abrupt...I won't go back. Both the tech and the vet listened, asked me questions, and performed most of the exam in front of me. They did take Apollo into the back to draw some blood - I don't like that. Next time I'll ask they do it with me there; it doesn't make me squeamish.

In all, it was an excellent experience even though their rates are a little higher than the other local offices. We'll definitely be going back.


June 26, 2009

Friday Apollo

For some reason, Apollo likes to stop to pose at top of the stairs and look over his domain.

I don't know why he looks so serious. I think he's puzzled at why I'm taking his picture.


June 24, 2009

War of Worldcraft freakout

"What's more embarrassing, playing World of Warcraft, or throwing an insane tantrum because your Mom canceled your World of Warcraft account and then your brother posting a video of it on the Internet? Definitely the second one, but neither one will help you meet girls."


June 23, 2009

DC Metro Crash

Report covering the crash: body count as of this post is now at 9.

A lot of people have contacted me asking about this. Some answers:
No, that train line isn't the one I took for work. I rode the orange line.
Yes, I had ridden red before.

As awful as it sounds, I am very surprised this hasn't happened sooner. These trains were supposed to have been retrofitted or replaced a long time ago, but the Metro Transist people kept crying that they were broke and couldn't do it.

I was in DC only two years and encountered events like:
Doors that didn't close all the way while we were in motion.
Being stuck on a train for two hours due to mechanical failure
Trains losing power intermittently, on one occasion, for an half hour. No lights, no AC, no radio, nothing. That really sucked because we were underground and I couldn't even talk to the other passengers.
Being stuck in the train station waiting for a train for 2-3 hours - and the metro folks on duty refused to tell anyone anything other than "it'll be here soon." They are supposed to bring in shuttle bus when this happen.

I also heard about an incident where the radio system failed on one particular line and the drivers had to use walkie talkies to communicate with each others. Walkie talkies...in underground tunnels - real safe.

Even though I'm no longer a DC resident, this pisses me off. Metro Transit system gets a considerable chunk of stipend from the gov't, gets $$ from various funds and grants, tax breaks from donations to charities (to the tune of several million) all in addition to the fares from millions of people who use the trains. It recently got a fare increase that was supposed to help pay for retrofitting of the trains and maintenance AND I believe, it also got a chunk of change from Obama's stimulus bill. The fact that all of the money is (supposedly) funneled into maintenance and paying workers tells me that it is costing more to maintain than to upgrade the transit system. That's assuming the money is going where it's supposed to.

This should never have happened. EVER. If any form of public transit system is failing or in act of failing, to the point where human lives are at risk, fix it instead of just slapping a bandaid on it. I realize the logistics of maintaining trains and tracks while simultaneously acquiring the new trains is problematic, but no human life is worth this. Borrow, beg, whatever you have to do. Fix the damn problem, stop making excuses and get the new trains.

That's my two cents.


June 22, 2009

Dirt - Just a picture or a metaphor?

You tell me.

Apollo and I went back to that trail for the third time (first time, we couldn't find it at all. Second...see Hail, Rain and Lightning) and actually completed it. I can check it off in my book of Colorado's dog-friendly trails. It wasn't particularly scenic, and we got there a bit too late to see the wildlife - around 10 AM. By then, I think, other hikers had scared them off already. In short, no pictures.

Apollo was a real trooper. He half-dragged me up some slopes when the asthma was kicking my ass. I think he enjoyed it in general - especially wading in the creeks to cool off. The trail we went on is rated as difficult (though I'm sure seasoned hikers wouldn't think it was difficult), and average trek time is 4 hours. We did it in about 3 or 3 1/2 hours. The highest point we got to was 9k ft. We started at around 7600 ft.
And for the record, everyone is nude under their clothes.


June 19, 2009

Friday Apollo

Tried to catch Apollo running, but he's too darned fast and tends to go straight away from me (only get butt shots) or straight back to me. So I tried to fake him out and get him to run laterally. Didn't work out too well..

But I did managed to shoot him mincing his way around the field when he was bored with fetching.

Goofy expression here, haha
He spots something!
(Another dog)
And taking a good roll in the ha-err-grass.


June 17, 2009

It's a weed, not a flower!

This weed's head is about 4 or 5 inches wide. Not your typical dandelion puffs. As usual, no clue what it is, but I thought it was interesting looking.


June 15, 2009

Hail, rain and lightning

Colorado has seen quite adverse weather lately. I got a taste of it up close and personal Saturday. That morning, it was cloudy, but then it seemed to clear up. I couldn't see any clouds over the mountains (usually a sure sign that there'll be poor weather later in the day), so I decided to go on a short hike in a different park.

When Apollo and I arrived at the park, clouds were rolling in, but they tend to move through the area pretty quick, so I thought we would be OK. A few hundred yards in, it started to sprinkle a little, but didn't worsen. We got about halfway to the summit of aptly named Windy Peak when I saw the first flash, and heard - even without my hearing aid - the rumble.

Oddly enough, this didn't send Apollo into a fussy fit. He seemed to enjoy being out in the bracing wind, despite the occasional thunder. I surveyed the cloud and thought that the worst of it was on the other side of the mountain, and decided that we would continue on to the next ridge, then turn back. Wanted to make the most of the day before turning back.

We were probably a dozen yards away from the ridge (not to be confused with the summit) when I first felt a dozen hard pinpricks. Pea-sized hail. Unfortunately, we were passing through a very pretty meadow that didn't have much cover. Apollo and I found a straggly little pine to stand under. The hailstones weren't large - the biggest of the lot, about pea-sized. After a few minutes, it seemed to pass. I waited a few more minutes for good measure, surveying the area. We would make the run back to the treeline, where we had come from. Essentially backtracking.

Apollo and I only got about a dozen feet when a gust moved the same hail cloud overhead and it started pelting us again. We had at least two hundred yards to cover...so Apollo and I made for the same pathetic tree to hide under again.

This time, the cloud hung around a bit longer, and the ground was liberally covered with hailstones, it looked like snow as long as you didn't look too closely. After about 20 minutes of patiently waiting, it finally passed. The ground was still warm from earlier sun and it quickly melted the stones. Muddy fun for Apollo!

Apollo and I made the dash back into the treeline, none worse for the wear. It started to rain a little harder, but beneath the trees, it was tolerable other than an occasional big splat of water.

We hastily backtracked down the trail. I could see some dark clouds coming, and I wanted to be in my car before it hit. Unfortunately, another hailstorm hit. This time we had some more cover so it wasn't too bad, although the hailstones were a little bigger that time. This bout lasted even longer - maybe 15 minutes. Again, the ground warmth melted the stones quickly and Apollo and I had a muddy stream of water for our trail. It reminded me of that scene from the movie, The Goonies, where the kids somehow (my memory's fuzzy) end up in a mudslide.

Apollo and I made it to the last ridge that we needed to cross to get to the car. An exposed one. I thought we were in the homestretch so I stopped to take a few pictures.

Steam rising
Fog/steam/cloud on the mountain across the valley
Unfortunately, the ominous cloud quickly made its presence known and decided to less loose. This time, the hailstones ranged from quarter-size to golf-ball size. And damnit, they hurt! And again, we were in a spot that didn't have a lot of cover. Not a lot of luck that day. Apollo and I hid under another pine tree, and while the treelines were less than 50 yards away both ahead and behind us, I did not want to move from our cover. Those hailstones hurt! They pelted through the sparse branches and when I saw Apollo wince a few times, I stood over him, sheltered my head with my arms and let my backpack take the beating.

I managed to take a quick picture when it seemed to let up briefly - not a great one.

It seemed like this round took much longer - it certainly was more painful - but I think it only lasted about 10 minutes. After it passed, Apollo and I trotted as fast as we could downhill back to the car...and the clouds opened up to blue skies. Crazy weather. And I thought Rochester was bad.


June 14, 2009

Who loves the plumber crack?

(source: http://thereifixedit.com/)

This slays me!


June 12, 2009

Friday Apollo Says Aflaaaaac!

My mom sent a stuffed toy for Apollo to play with.
It has a little voice box that says "Aflac!" At first Apollo wouldn't play with it because it didn't squeak like his other stuffed toys. That didn't last long.
Here he is mocking me with the toy. Daring me to take it away. The very tippy tip of his tail was wagging ever so gently while he growled softly at me.
That poor ducky. For the next 30 minutes I let him play with it, all I heard was the croaking of Af-Af-Af-Aflac! while Apollo tossed the sucker around.
Think we could get him in an Anti-Aflac commercial?

P.S. Please ignore the mess in the background. Apollo has a sock fetish and we typically have one or two socks laying around in the living room.


June 11, 2009

Thorny flower

I'm not keen on posting pictures of flowers, but I'm just absolutely fascinated by the local wildlife and flowers. The pear cactus are starting to bloom on the foothill Apollo and I trek on regularly.


June 10, 2009

Breakthrough today!

Ever have days where you struggle and struggle on a task or a project with no progress, but a lightbulb goes off and you finally figure out the solution? That happened today. Ah, it's such a big load off my shoulders. I've been trying to set up a gallery to display my work for my Website and was having trouble getting it working.

The walls in the apartments here are thin, and in the past three or four days I've uttered a steady stream of a specific choice word at a low mutter. There's something satisfying about swearing, but I worry that the kids downstairs will hear me.

I'm definitely not cut out for coding. I still have nightmares, believe it or not, about my first quarter classes. We had to learn a wholly new language that was going to (sarcasm) "take the world by storm" (end sarcasm), and we were pretty much forbidden to learn anything useful like C++ or html coding for fear that it would confuse us. I spent 10-12 hours in the computer labs figuring it out and helping other classmates. Looking back on it now, I think the steady hum of computers I heard was actually a steady stream of mutterings by the other computer majors.

I will sleep well tonight. And buy a gun so that I can shoot anyone who asks me to code a Website for them.


June 9, 2009

The weather is really cramping my style

The normal early-summer weather usually consists of sunny days and late afternoon thunderstorms. In the past couple weeks, these storms have been rolling in early, around noon. How's a girl going to get out after work and enjoy the bountiful mountains?

It's global warming, I tell ya...

The foothill park that Apollo and I go to after work is only 10 minutes away, very convenient. But a lot of people know about it, and by the time we get there, wildlife have been spooked. There's supposedly a mountain cat living there somewhere - which I doubt, there's not much ground cover.

Anyway, I'm running low on interesting pictures to post. Hey, there's a mountain! Hey, there's a bug! Hey, there's a bird! Hey, there's yet another biker!

Roughly 300 degree view of Denver from the peak of the foothill.

My goal this week, after I get the work Website up and running - it's proving to be far more problematic than I anticipated - I'm going to advertise in free Classifieds - free model in exchange for TFP - Trade For Prints. It'll give me more people pics for the photog portfolio, and hopefully they'll be interesting.


June 6, 2009

Pictures from the hike today

Last night I had trouble getting to sleep, and naturally overslept today. I didn't venture into the mountains...the general rule of thumb here is, if you can't get to the halfway point of your hike by noon or 1 PM, don't go. Given that I got up at 10 AM...Apollo and I went to the usual foothill park instead.

Sometimes a normally blah picture can be made interesting by using the background.
The smog over the city (beer factories yea) made this picture a little problematic to work with. I ended up with a 60s or 70s polaroid vintage feel to this picture. I don't love it, but it's interesting.

Below is a shot of the same mountain range as in the June's banner pic on the blog. Just a better weather day.

This picture in thumbnail isn't spectacular, but if you look at the large version (click on it), it becomes much more impressive in its simplicity.

The foothills here are bigger than the mountains back East. We've had so much rain that everything here is very green. It's quite a striking change. Usually by June, it starts to dry out and get brown. But I think it's good because we had such a late spring. The farmers here definitely needed the help because they had to delay their planting.


June 5, 2009

Bonus Friday Apollo


Friday Apollo

Behind Apollo, that's a big storm rolling into Denver. Taken last Thursday.


June 3, 2009

Huff n' puff

Taken about a week and half ago. This is one of my latest favorites.

Last weekend, I picked up an excellent book of dog-OK hiking trails and picked what looked like an easy trail to go on. I made copies of the instructions from the book, packed Apollo in the car and went to the park - Golden Gate Canyon Park - and what should've been a 20-minute drive to the trail head turned into an hour and half of swearing.

I gave up and briefly considered going on a different trail that I spotted. But I didn't have the topo map for the other trails in the park, I didn't know how difficult the trail was, it was really windy and I wasn't dressed for that, AND there were storms rolling in and out of the area. I didn't want to chance getting caught in a downpour.

After I got home, I looked online; there was a fork on the way, and the book's directions said nothing about taking either one. So I had assumed it was the straighter route, when I should've taken the sharp-turning route. Major amateur mistake: I didn't doublecheck the directions. Lesson learned.

Weather has generally been foul for the past few days, both Apollo and I are getting antsy from lack of exercise.


June 1, 2009

A Spare Sparrow

Little blurry...

I've been occupied working on a new Website (boy, slow going because I'm not a pro at design), and consequently, not as much time is being spent on fixing up pictures. I did this one a couple weeks ago. Shot at the foothill that Apollo and I trek on regularly.


About This Blog

A mix of personal-yet-not-too-personal blogging and photoblog.

Recent Posts

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP