Caturday: Testing the new camera

I haven’t taken a huge amount of photos as I’m still learning my way around the camera. However, we did manage to go to Martinez on a bird hunt. We got lucky and there were a few birds we didn’t see last time. One nice thing about the camera though is that it seems to work well in low light and so it makes it easier to capture the pointy eared people. It also takes better action photos than the last one, so Pepi looks good in mid run.

Tito's closeup

Tito’s closeup

Miss Jenny's blue peepers

Miss Jenny’s blue peepers

Titanescu's stinkeye

Titanescu’s stinkeye

Here's Pepi having a run.

Here’s Pepi having a run.

As for the birds, here are a few. The fall migration is beginning to kick in, so we’ll try to make regular trips out there to what drops in to visit.

Teeny weeny itty bitty lizard. It was only about 3 inches long, including the tail.

Teeny weeny itty bitty lizard. It was only about 3 inches long, including the tail.

Black-necked stilts

Black-necked stilts

Napping Black-necked stilt

Napping Black-necked stilt

Western Sandpipers

Western Sandpipers

I was amazed to see a green heron fishing. The last time I saw one was in South Florida in 2001. The photo isn’t as good as I would like, but I’m happy to have seen it.

Green heron with a fish.

Green heron with a fish.

Alhambra Creek flowing out to the Carquinez Strait.

Alhambra Creek flowing out to the Carquinez Strait.

Footbridge over the creek

Footbridge over the creek

Looking across the marsh with a sunken ship in the water.

Looking across the marsh with a sunken ship in the water.

Sparrow on a bridge

Sparrow on a bridge

Old boat

Old boat

Snowy egret hunting for supper

Snowy egret hunting for supper

Found it!

Found it!

Snowy egret posing nicely

Snowy egret posing nicely

While we’ll make regular trips out to the marsh, I’m hoping for a trip back up Diablo and another trip to a botanical garden. The weather has warmed up again though, so it might be a short wait.


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Caturday: Death of a camera

Yes, my camera finally died, but all is well.

Before I get to that, we wish to extend our sincerest condelences, hugs, and head bonks to the woman we refer to as Auntie Grace. Last week she lost her beloved doggie, Louise. Louise lived an amazing 17 and a half years with an equally amazing pet mum. I’m sure that Louise has reunited with Jake, but her loss is deeply felt. More hugs and bonks from the entire household.

For Louise

For Louise

As to the camera, it gave up the ghost. I had taken well over 300,000 pictures with it. Along with the LCD screen going bad, the photo quality wasn’t good either. However, I now have a new camera and it blows the old one away. It takes great pics of the pointy eared people. Hopefully next week we’ll get outdoors and see what else it can do. I’ve been tired of only doing Caturday posts due to mostly cruddy pics. Lastech’s phone pics were better than the old camera. Of course, Lastech will still produce great pics as he has a great eye. The new camera works great in low light conditions, which is great for kitty and dog pics. For those curious, it’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. A DSLR was simply not in the budget and I’m not sure I want to lug a heavy camera with a hyper dog on a leash. This camera isn’t small, but it weighs less than the bigger DSLRs.

Now for the pointy eared people and the floppy eared one. For the record, these pics are straight out of the camera with no adjustments made. I may have cropped one, but that’s all.

Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting

Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting

The lovely Miss Jenny

The lovely Miss Jenny

Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.

Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.

Pepi taking a break from bird watching

Pepi taking a break from bird watching

Here’s a nice noisy mama kitty for you.


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Caturday: An Anniversary

Yes, it’s an anniversary. Last Labor Day weekend, Miss Pepita was found in a dumpster. We went back to the pier and picked her up that night. You can read her story here. Since then, she has made friends with Tito and Miss Jenny. Titanescu regards her as his personal punching bag and has her properly cowed. She and Tito play together. Miss Jenny merely sniffs noses with her. She also does it when Pepi is at the end of her leash so that she can dart away if she wants. We have since discovered that her biggest enemy is a plastic bag. Oddly enough, when I handle the bags indoors, she’s fine. If it’s outside, it’s a giant NOPE for her. She was laying at my feet earlier and heard a plastic grocery bag blow by outside. OMG! You would have thought it was a home invasion robbery. She never saw it. She just heard it and went all wonky and barky. Titanescu merely looked at her in disgust. Titanescu may not be celebrating this anniversary, but the rest of us are 🙂

Pepi's dumpster

Pepi’s dumpster

And here is our little dumpster doggie

Pepi, one year later

Pepi, one year later

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared people to shine

The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom

The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom

The gallant and good-natured Tito

The gallant and good-natured Tito

The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny

The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny

Just for something different, here’s an angry froggy


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Caturday: Happy cats, a goofy mutt, and funny birds

The cats are happy because the air conditioner has been off for a few days. The weather is cooler than average. From 109 a few weeks ago to 70s and low 80s now. Go figure. I don’t mind at all. Anyhow, the cats are glued to the windows and the floor by the screen door. We’re all happy with the change.

Speaking of the pointy-eared people…

Tito keeping me company

Tito keeping me company

Miss Jenny doing a pin-up pose

Miss Jenny doing a pin-up pose

Happy Titan hogging the sunbeam

Happy Titan hogging the sunbeam

The goofy mutt? We were off at the arboretum when she suddenly went nuts snarling and growling.

Note the raised hackles

Note the raised hackles

What was she snarling at? Why, the enemy of course.

Yeah, seriously. This is what she was growling and snarling at.

Yeah, seriously. This is what she was growling and snarling at.

After that, we took her home because we wanted to go to the shoreline and pooches aren’t permitted. Once we got to the shoreline, we saw plenty of birds putting on a funny performance.

Night time

Night time

Daytime

Daytime

Twinkle toes

Twinkle toes

There were three beautiful white pelicans that landed on the water to feed.

White pelicans

White pelicans

They provided plenty of entertainment. I’ve put the pelicans and other birds in a slideshow that includes a lovely white swan butt.

As a parting note, I’m sure you remember us describing how Titanescu bangs and scratches on the wood paneling or tv box. Well, here’s the raccoon version.


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Caturday: Rock City, Ceiling Cat’s litterbox?

Rudha-an here. Caturday was delayed. Blame Titanescu. I was attempting to update WordPress, but he insisted on walking on the laptop as usual. Today, he’s leaving me alone, but that will change in a couple of hours. 🙂

For now, here are the pointy eared people and the droopy eared one.

Tito was keeping me company

Tito was keeping me company

Miss Jenny was bird watching

Miss Jenny was bird watching

Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.

Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.

Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It's her third one.

Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It’s her third one.

This last week, we escaped and went adventuring. Lastech will tell you about that, but I’m going to do a bit of an intro. As I’ve mentioned before, California is on fire, making the air quality unpleasant, to say the least. Here are two pics I took during out outing that show the problem.

Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.

Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.

Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.

Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.

Lucky for us, our outing took us above the smoke so it was nice out. The critters all stayed home in the air conditioning. Pepi didn’t get to go this time as doggies aren’t permitted on the trails. She had a good run at the park before we went though, so she wasn’t deprived.

Rock City is a group of sandstone caves carved by the winds. It’s located on the SSW side of Mt. Diablo.

And now for adventure…in Lastech’s words.

As familiarity breeds contempt, proximity to “civilization” brings its blemishes. In the case of Rock City, this means carvings in the sandstone, some mundane, some obscene. There’s spray painting as well, although, in fairness, this becomes scarce the further along the trails you go. Driving up from the North Gate, you come to a fork in the road, about 3000 feet up, and turn right at the Ranger station. A short drive later, you pull off the road into one of the lots and choose your trail, easy-peasy.

On the way from the North Gate entrance.

On the way from the North Gate entrance.

Even though you know it is there, sandstone holds some fascination in sight and touch. In sunlight, much of it looks like granite, gray with some black specks (soot from older fires?), but on the ground, the color is tan, and in places, the stone looks ‘pleated’, like windswept sand dunes. You cannot help but touch it to feel its texture, and it appears slightly porous, though firm. And in the heat of an afternoon, it is hard to imagine it could ever be cold to the touch.

Rock City

Rock City

Sandstone caves of Rock City

Sandstone caves of Rock City

Sound travels differently as you walk around the stone formations: there are no echoes, voices sound slightly muffled. It is a quiet place, where you mostly hear birds, and we did see and hear a few woodpeckers.

Manzanita

Manzanita

As sunlight reflects off the lip of a hole in the stone, it paints the inside of the gaping maw in goldish-tan hues,as you can see on some of our photos.
Walking further up the trail, we came to a couple spots where I could take panoramic shots of the area, all the way to the horizon, and lo! carved into the ground was the symbol, universal: a spiral, or maelstrom.

Panorama looking to the West

Panorama looking to the West

Wind caves

Wind caves

Could this be where Ceiling Cat comes to bury His turds..?

Here is a slide show of the rest of the pics

Rudha-an here again. I normally avoid politics on the blog unless it pertains to equality (for women and my LGBTQ brothers and sisters). This time, I couldn’t resist. First, I found this…

At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump's hair.

At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump’s hair.

Then Lastech found this. 🙂

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Caturday: Titanescu was a jerk

Rest assured, I love Titanescu, but he’s a jerk. When he’s not giving me the stinkeye or slapping the wall, he’s a bitey, grouchy jerk. Today he decided to start getting my attention to feed him…three hours before his dinnertime. It went like this:

Titanescu: I’m going to walk on your laptop
Me: No you are not going to walk my laptop
Titanescu: Yes, I’m going to walk your laptop
Me: No you are not going to walk my laptop
Repeat a dozen more times

Me: Puts arm in front of him to keep him off the laptop
Titanescu: I’m going to bite your arm
Me: Go ahead
Titanescu: CHOMP!
Me: That didn’t hurt. You only pushed with your teeth
Titanescu: Ok. I’m going to walk your laptop
Me: You’re a jerk
Titanescu: Yes, I’m a jerk and I’m going to walk on your laptop after I bite your arm again
Me: You’re still being a jerk and NO! I’m not going to feed you.
Titanescu: I’ll bite your arm, hiss my foul breath into your face and then I’ll walk on your laptop
Me: sigh

I had to deal with three hours of his highness being a jerk.

Here's Tito. Tito wasn't a jerk. He was a sweetie.

Here’s Tito. Tito wasn’t a jerk. He was a sweetie.

Miss Jenny waking from a nap.

Miss Jenny waking from a nap.

Titanescu giving me the stinkeye from his sunbeam

Titanescu giving me the stinkeye from his sunbeam

Pepi decided that she didn't like the air conditioner and covered herself with a blanket.

Pepi decided that she didn’t like the air conditioner and covered herself with a blanket.

I saw this video and laughed, trying to imagine Titanescu being that patient.

Those who know me know I complain about phone zombies. Trust Ikea to come up with a wonderful commercial.


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Caturday: Pepi was a pirate

Pepi decided that today was pirate day. Every time Lastech would move, she would say aarrrrrr and leap at him. Then after he went to work and I grabbed up the evil monster known as the vacuum, she yelled “aarrrrrr” every few seconds and tried to attack it. The only thing missing from her pirate imitation was the eyepatch. Otherwise, she had it nailed. Miss Jenny and Tito said %$#& this noise and hid under the sofa. Titan watched with disdain. He does not fear the evil vacuum.

Here are the pointy eared people.

This pic is a rerun as Tito just didn't cooperate this week.

This pic is a rerun as Tito just didn’t cooperate this week.

Miss Jenny waking up from a nap

Miss Jenny waking up from a nap

Titanescu owning is sunbeam

Titanescu owning his sunbeam

I haven’t forgotten Pepita the pirate

Aaarrrrrr!

Aaarrrrrr!

I finally gathered a few nature photos from recent journeys. Lastech managed to get two lovely pics of Karl the Fog over the bay.

Late afternoon fog

Late afternoon fog

Fog and birds

Fog and birds

He also got a cool pic of a rock.

Just a cool rock

Just a cool rock

When the heatwave broke and the weather improved, we went to Martinez, which is a few miles North of us on the Carquinez Strait. The strait is part of the tidal estuary of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers as they drain into the bay. We wandered around the trails where Alhambra Creek runs to the strait. The tide was up and it was beautiful out.

To cap it off, he got this nice wide angle shot of some noisy geese

Honk honk honk

Honk honk honk


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Caturday: a return to normal…

Things are returning to normal on board the Endurance, and Titanescu’s internal clock is working just fine. For the four days Rudha-an was house sitting, there was peace.

Yes, I had peace. The cats were quiet. The cats didn’t claw at me at ungodly hours. They were quiet. Their routine normally includes walking on us, hitting the wall (loudly) and any other racket-making habit they may think of. But while Rudha-an was gone, nothing… Then, after her return, Bam! Whiz! Bang! Miss Jenny became the Midnight Growler again at the window and Titanescu started playing the drums on the old TV box, same as it ever was.

Welcome home, Mommy.

Her first night back, at exactly 4:20. Tap. TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! We checked the time, 4:20 am. Not 4:19, not 4:21. And each morning since then, as before. Like a promise.

Rudha-an here. Everything returned to normal until it didn’t. I would say that Titanescu pulled a fast one, but it really wasn’t fast at all. Lastech came home with groceries last night. As he made his way in the door, Titanescu decided that he wanted to see the outside. He sauntered out the door before Lastech could get it closed. Yes, sauntered. The only reason he made it out the door was because Lastech’s hands were full. Lastech followed him out the door. In a rush, I grabbed a can of cat food and the flashlight (It was 1 am). The cat food didn’t work because the stupid pull tap broke. %$@#&! In spite of all that, Lastech was able to scoop him up at the fence line. Picking up Titanescu takes much bravery. It worked out ok. Lastech got the tyrant back in where he belongs and managed to NOT get shredded in the process. In fact, Titanescu had a disgustingly smug look on his face. We will do things differently when we come home with groceries from now on as we will be properly paranoid.

Oh yeah. I keep complaining about heatwaves. I won’t do that anymore as each one is hotter than the last. It hit 109 when I was off house sitting. I won’t complain. I don’t want the next heatwave to be worse. 109? pffffft. It was nothing. NOTHING!

Tito

Tito

The lovely Miss Jenny

The lovely Miss Jenny

Titanescu the tyrant

Titanescu the tyrant

Pepi aka Titanescu's punching bag. Poor dog.

Pepi aka Titanescu’s punching bag. Poor dog.

And now for some dancing birdies


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Caturday: Mad world

The world has gone mad and the tragedies continue. I’m getting to the point I don’t even want to turn on the computer. We have no cable, so the computer is how I get the news. Nice is where Lastech was born. He grew up in Antibes, which is only 15 miles away. He spent a lot of time where the truck driver ended the lives of so many. I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor as it’s a survival skill, but it’s getting tough. The world gets more mad by the day.

Thankfully, we have the furkids.

Tito loves his towel

Tito loves his towel

Miss Jenny looking like a pinup girl

Miss Jenny looking like a pinup girl

Titanescu basking in the window

Titanescu basking in the window

Pepi: I can haz cookie?

Pepi: I can haz cookie?

Happy Pepi running. Zoom zoom. The world has gone mad, but she still loves to run.

And because we really really really need to watch these hungry kittens.


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Caturday delayed: Diversion needed

Yes, a diversion is needed. The news has gone from bad to worse and we’re bombarded on all sides. Through all of this, we need momentary diversion and time to recharge the brain. I know that’s true for me, at any rate. This is our wee bit of diversion before doing whatever we can to affect change in our world.

Friday, Lastech made it to work even though traffic was snarled a bit. A semi truck caught fire and closed a freeway connector in an area he had to traverse to get to the bridge. It wasn’t too awful, but it was a tad messy. A few years ago, a truck fire weakened the steel and concrete structure enough that it collapsed. This past  Friday the connector was closed from 1:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Fate smiled upon him. Yesterday, he left for work just in time. If he had left just a few minutes later, he would have hit a protest that shut down his off-ramp. This is the Bay Area, after all and stuff happens. Fate smiled upon him again. Not sure if three times will be a go or not. 🙂

No mattress yet. I knew there would be a delay as I ordered it on the Fourth of July weekend, so I’ll be patient. I do look forward to the email notifying me that it shipped though. I won’t worry until at least Tuesday. This company is not a fly-by-night type and came recommended by a friend, so I’m not worried on that score.

Lastech worked on the Fourth of July as the crowds were expected to be huge. There were no problems, thought Karl the Fog made every attempt to eat the fireworks. This year, the company providing the display arranged for it to be much closer to the ground. It was good. In previous years, people turned out to watch pretty colored clouds instead of the fireworks. It’s the season of fog, after all.

Even with Karl the Fog present, the display was still nice

Even with Karl the Fog present, the display was still nice

And then there was a bee

The bee

The bee

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared and droopy-eared ones to shine.

Tito lounging in the corner of the dinette

Tito lounging in the corner of the dinette

Titanescu napping next to me

Titanescu napping next to me

Miss Jenny gets cold when the A/C is on. She burrows under the blankets

Miss Jenny gets cold when the A/C is on. She burrows under the blankets

Miss Jenny's paw

Miss Jenny’s paw

Happy Pepi having a bit of a run

Happy Pepi having a bit of a run

Forgive me please. I couldn’t resist.


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