Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Image Editing Wizard

We've probably all seen videos such as the Dove Soap model evolution video (click HERE to view it). It's an amazing study of what can be accomplished with image editing software, especially Photoshop.

So I got to thinking how I could improve on my Zed icon (the screaming cat), seen below.

My first try using Gimp software came out like this:

I don't know why, but the image turned out not only to be black and white, but also to be way too "Hunchback of Notre Dame"-ish. So I tried again, and THIS time I went from a black-and-white image to a pencil-like drawing:

The concept was good, but my rendering was not an accurate representation of Zed. There was no "joie de vie"; no "soul." After much deliberation, I decided to return to a photographic/digital image. Many adjustments needed to be made to the original photo to come up with this:

Now I seemed to be on track!

This cat image is quite outstanding, though a bit dark. I realized I needed to make many adjustments to my cat icon to arrive at something of which I could be proud. So I then edited and reshaped this cat's eyes and changed them to a deeper green. I made the pupils dark (and took the red out) and added white on the face and chest. I added more whiskers, and changed his black nose to pink. This is what I got:

The transformation is complete!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Life's All About Choices...

When Lucille Cataldo arose on this day in 1984, she thought she had chosen the perfect song to sing for her moment of fame on Stairway to Stardom. But she hadn't.

Oh, her voice coach probably told her the song was perfectly suited to her vocal range. And her family no doubt thought the song was cute and funny. But Lucille made a bad choice that day. Poor Lucille.

She could have been a star, people. She could have been a huge star. Sniff.

Click here.

The Sleep Meme

I'm ever so grateful to Sushiboy for the tag. You shall be punished Eric! :)

6 weird things I do while getting ready to sleep or while sleeping:

6. I toss to one side of the bed to make sure my boy cat Johnny is comfortable, then to the other side to make sure the girl cat Frankie is comfortable. They both curl up in my arms. Finally THEY are comfortable and I'm miserable because I'm not comfortable! Ah, what we do for the love of our cats.

5. Before I get in bed I put my hair in a ponytail. Then I get in and think, "this stinks!" and take the ponytail out. I believe deep in my heart that someday I will be able to sleep with the ponytail in. Otherwise, I will awake each day with my hair standing straight up, because that's what happens unless it's ponytailed. I just bored myself to death with this #5 answer.

4. I fill an 8-oz. bottle of water and put it on one side or the other of my bed in case I awake thirsty at some point during the night. The few times I've awoken in such a condition, I've forgotten that I put the bottle there and knock it over on the way to the kitchen ... for water.

3. I speak a LOT. And laugh in my sleep. And say TERRIBLE things. Once I traveled across country with a friend of a friend. I did not like this girl at all. And apparently I told her so while I was sleeping (I cannot be held responsible for my nastiness while sleeping). I was told that I said it SO LOUDLY and CLEARLY she heard me from across the room. At that point we were only in Kansas and I experienced lots of silence the rest of the way to California. Ugh.

2. I put a bar of soap at the foot of the bed to eliminate leg cramps. It works. It really works. Don't use Dove or Irish Spring, for some reason. Use Ivory. It not only eliminates leg cramps, it's 99% pure too.

1. I put a stack of pillows at my head. Four to each side, two under my head. The comforter has to be up around my neck--even in summer--and my feet ALWAYS have to be covered. Or else. Then Frankie & Johnny lay on TOP of the comforter, and I am effectively pinned to the bed. Nice.

Friday, June 22, 2007

They're BUSY at the Phone Company

I just tried calling 411, the phone company's information line, and they didn't answer. Dead silence. Huh. What?? Where ARE you, telephone people?

Called again, and eventually, breaking through the silence, came a recording saying "Sorry all circuits leading to 411 are busy. Try again later."

I don't WANT to try again later. HOW CAN THIS BE? They're the phone company! So buy some more circuits people!

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Which Way to the Wedding?

A friend and her husband went to a wedding this past weekend, 5 hours from here.

When they got there, they had several cocktails, plates of hors d'oeurves, met and spoke to other attendees, and were about to find their table when the bride came over to say hello. They said hi and wished her luck.

Then the mother of the groom came over to introduce herself. She said, "Hi, I'm David's mother, and you are??"

They were at the wrong wedding. Their wedding was up the road 5 miles or so. Oops.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm Getting a Haircut!

I'm going for a haircut in about 15 minutes--first time in 8 months.

Here's my current hairstyle:

Here's what I'm hoping it will look like after the cut:

You know, a summer look. Do you like it?

Have I been sitting in the sun too long?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Many Sides of Zed

Happy me.

Blue me.

Envious me.

Embarrassed me.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pretty Pictures for Not-Yet-Born Alexander

Pretty pictures for Tanya and Rowbear's son Alexander, who so far refuses to leave the womb and enter the big bad world.

It's safe to come out now, Alexander. Don't be afraid. It's beautiful here. Let's share some s'mores and pizza.

And Then There Were Mullets ...

BOTH men and women are sporting mullets in this picture:

My personal favorite:

Dear Lord.

Men in Ponytails

I like this guy. Really, I do. He's Chef Molto Mario (Mario Batali) from Food Network, and he's a great Italian chef. No doubt about it.

But I can't watch his show because he's sporting a #&!?@ ponytail that is slicked back and greased up so much that his head looks like an olive-oiled melon with a red beard. He has disturbed my delicate sensibilities. :)

I'm not even sure I like men with long hair. Take a gander at this:

What do you think of men in ponytails? Men: Do you now, or would you ever, sport a ponytail?

Friday, June 08, 2007

What's Happened to Our Judicial System?

Something's really wrong with our justice system. Paris Hilton was charged with DUI, arrested, paid her bail, and then was sent to jail for 3 days of a 40-day sentence (reduced to 23 day for "good" behavior before entering jail ???), and then she was let go from jail today because her lawyer felt she might have a nervous breakdown from all the stress of being incarcerated.

I'm thinking lots of women sent to prison feel like they might have a nervous breakdown after spending a night or two among the general prison population, but Paris was segregated for her own protection, so she didn't even have to face any of the "scarey" women in jail. And now they're going to let her stay home for 40 days. Whoop-de-doo.

This reminds me of OJ being let go on a double homicide charge. Johnny Cochrane said, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" in reference to a bloody glove found at the scene of the crime. The glove didn't fit, true. It was all shriveled up from the massive amount of blood on it--so it was impossible for OJ to put his hand in. Well, of course, it didn't fit. The lining shrank.

I've had lined leather gloves shrivel that had gotten very well from snow and ice. The lining shrank, and when I attempted to put the glove on, I couldn't. Isn't this basic knowledge? OJ got away with a double homicide because of a shrunken glove. Something is really messed up with the justice system.

Then two years ago a local jurisdiction handled a rape trial. It was clear that the rape had occurred. The victim's version matched the rapist's version exactly. The accused actually admitted on four occasions that he had committed the crime.

Yet jurors went into the jury room and everyone voted for acquittal because the accused protested that he didn't understand what the police asked him, and he had said "Yes I raped her" when he claims he meant "No, I didn't rape her."

What's the problem here? Granted, his original language was not English. But the police had a translator for him every step of the way and wouldn't even address him when a translator wasn't present. He still said he didn't understand English and inadvertently said "Yes, I raped her" when he meant to say "No, I didn't rape her." Yet on one of the jury breaks many jurors passed him and his lawyer in the hallway and heard them conversing in perfect English. He barely had even the slightest accent.

When he was asked by the police if he raped her, wouldn't he have said "NO" since HIS language has the word "No" in it just like the English language? Ugh. What a mess the judicial system is...

This morning, Paris is meeting with the original judge who sentenced her, so I'm hoping someone can reestablish some sanity in the system. I'm not thinking that will happen, but I'm hoping. And I will totally lose it if he reduces her 40-day-at-home-sentence to an 18-day-at-home sentence for "good" behavior and time served.

Totally lose it, I tell you.

UPDATE: As you know, she's back in jail. Go Judge Sauer! Rah, rah!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The World According to Zed's Official Seal

I saw this idea of a seal at Chris' Some Guy's Blog site and decided to make one of my own. So apropos I think.

Okay, I'm heading to the kitchen now to make dinner and--are you ready?--a Food Network recipe for yummy super-delicious Butter Cookies as part of my reward for returning to my blog (I'll use any excuse to make these cookies--they are that good).

Too bad you're not currently in the tri-state. We could share...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Zed Is NOT Dead, Despite Rumors to the Contrary

Wow, I missed you guys. And I'm exhausted. I walked on land, I walked on water (as usual), I walked on doo-doo in the road. Okay, the truth is that in the last few months, I didn't really walk much further than around local running tracks, in shopping malls, and on the beach in Florida in late March/early April. But what IS true is I missed you guys big time. And so I'm returning to blogging.

Here's the problem: I know most people can put a blog article together in 5 minutes and post it. But I'm an editor, and it's impossible not to edit, and edit, and edit my own stuff ad infinitum. It's obsessive compulsive. Not that all that editing makes what I write any better than anyone else's blog junk, it's just edited better. :) So, it doesn't take me 5 minutes to post--it takes me an hour to approve my own work, or more. And if, God forbid, the post contains illustrations, I need another hour or two to research photos on the subject.

It's not my fault, it's my career's fault. It's the fault of a picky editor-in-chief named Murray from many moons ago who insisted I was wrong in using the phrase "a room with many cabinets" in my monthly column in a housing/decorating magazine. He said, "You need to write 'a cabineted room.' " So I changed the wording to make Murray happy. Two months later when writing about another new residence somewhere in Southern California, Murray told me I was wrong in writing "cabineted room" and that I should write "a room with many cabinets." These sorts of things play with your head and traumatize you far into your adult years if you let them. In fact, if I see many cabinets at your place when I visit, I'm not even going to mention them to you. :)

Anyway, after the Murray fiasco, I decided I didn't want to write much any longer--I'd far rather edit. And I'm most brutal with my own writing. So blogging takes me lots and lots of time. I think I'll be a whole lot less "perfect" now and if you see an error just think "that idiot" to yourselves and move on. Just the way you always did anyway.

P.S. Many thanks to Jen of Casual Slack for finding my super-secret "you can die if you email me here" email address and for nudging me to get back to blogging. A little guilt goes a long way with me.

The Hispanic spammer made a couple of visits in my absence, I see. I sort of like him. Though I have no idea what he's saying regarding Elvis (nor do I care), he's most agreeable, and his renditions of "Guantanamera" and "El Condor Pasa" are impeccable. Yo amo Senor Spammer! (Psst, how does one make a spammer go away?)