September Observations

Observation of the day…

September 28, 2014

Troy's still fascinated with dinosaurs

Salmon swim up a poly-acrylic stream Saturday was National Museum Day, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, when museums open their doors for free. Troy loves all kinds of displays and learns visually. He decided this year we'd visit the Burke Museum at the University of Wahington. He reminded me we haven't been there since he was in 3rd grade.

I really enjoyed his company. He brought things to my attention I might have missed. Without his witty commentary, the visit would have been immensely duller. I was glad to discover that he still loves dinosaurs (he couldn't get enough of them when he was in elementary school).

A cute scenario played out when we passed the forest diorama in the Washngton environment/climate/history portion of the exhibit. Below the painted forest and the stumps of cedar (below), an acrylic river floats leaves and ripples over stuffed salmon (left). "Look, a statue of a river," a little boy told his dad.

Spending the time with Troy made me glad we're friends. We could have watched football—the parking lot was jammed with tailgaters for the Stanford-Husky game—but neither of us enjoy football (UW lost anyway).

The forest diorama at the Burke Museum in Seattle

Observation of the day…

September 21, 2014

Tattered and well-worn Washington state flag

I don't suppose a flag is impervious to the normal effects of weather, even if it is an object of veneration. There it hangs, day after day, wind whipping it around and wearing out the edges. I noticed the Washington State flag that hangs outside our local QFC grocery mart is showing the signs of age and the free edges are tattered and frazzled.

Which also brings up the point—when is a flag worn out? When should it be taken down and retired? I know from boy scouts that we're supposed to carefully destroy the American flag upon its retirement. But when does that happen? When it's too worn and tattered to be recognizable? WHen we feel like it? Or just plain … whenever?

Some flags are never retired, no matter what condition—the Star-Spangled Banner from Fort McHenry, the flag that saved Fredericksberg, the flag that furls and unfurls over the U.S.S. Arizona. I don't have to make the decision and I'm glad.

Observation of the day…

September 18, 2014

Sunny day, chasin' the clouds away ...

I love the opening lines from Sesame Street:

Sunny day, chasin' the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet …

There's nothing that says summer like a nice sunny day and a nice leisurely walk. I bask in the warmth. It makes me purr. So it could be said at the same time, fall is definitely not my favorite season.

Fortunately fall does have some perks. It does imitate summer occasionally. It does spill over into some gorgeous afternoons. I rewarded myself with the walk. Then I rewarded myself by conjuring up one of my special composite images in Photoshop. After that, well hey … an ice cream cone.

I love to fiddle with these images, taking two (or more) and juxtaposing them, nudging, layering, leveling, masking, and balancing until they look like one single photo. Then showing they aren't by using hard edges, cropping, and drop-shadowing to force them out of the normal frame of reference. Click on "Memories …" at the upper right to see more. Click on the image to see a larger version you can save as wallpaper.

Observation of the day…

September 14, 2014

Finally, our new video projector

It's a relief to cross over a frontier and arrive safely at the other side. The frontier doesn't always look like a desert landscape—sometimes it's more of a line in the sand, or even a frame of mind. In this case, it was the culmination of more than three years of sweat and concern. There it is, for all to see: the brand new Hitachi video projector we just installed in my church's sanctuary.

Based on that statement, you can bet there's a long backstory to the machinations that finally got us to the point of sighing in relief. We did it! It was, unltimately, a team effort. IThe projector's in and working, and beautiful. The comments from congregation members have been consistently warm-and-fuzzy.

The old projector wasn't so bad … 10 years ago when it was installed. It was a top-of-the-line model. But technology moves on and electronic devices do, surprise!, wear out. It developed a burned (darkened) center, the edges vignetted, and its demise was hastened by an annoying horizontal flicker that finally even the congregation could see.

I really should give credit to Daniel and Andy at AVL Professional for doing stellar work pushing us into a new frontier. No more faded images. No more watching the screen go blank when the sun hit it. No more contrast issues—"how come the text looked better in white when I edited the show at home and yet I have to change everything to black when I get here Sunday morning?"