Great Getting

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The “Great Getting’ Up Mournin’ celebration” with the CUMC Chancel Choir and Fellowship Baptist Unity Choir was fantastic. Jazz a la Carte played Dixieland Jazz before the service, between sets and after the service, and they were very enternaining. Pastor Scott Sharp (CUMC) and Pastor Dennis Dunn (FBUC) both delivered short, but inspiring sermons. The music, choirs, musicians and congregation were very lively. It was a great service and moving experience.

I’ve been looking for a second full-frame Canon body, but new Canon full frame bodies are expensive, so I started looking at used bodies. I saw a Canon 1Ds advertised on Amazon as “Like New, little use” for $650 with no other description. I emailed the seller and asked what it came with and the shutter count. Canon 1D bodies are the hard core professional bodies that start new for $6000 and run up to over $8000 depending on the model. Normally used 1D bodies with low shutter counts are priced higher than 5D and new 6D. 1D bodies in the $600 range usually have very high shutter counts (80,000+), and are normally very well used.

The seller emailed back and said the camera came with all the original accessories, in the original box, and that the shutter count was 1846. My 5d that is only a year old is ready to turn over 20,000 clicks on the shutter. I ordered the camera and it arrived on Friday, and it is really “like new”, so it was “great getting” on my part.

All the photos, except for the photos I took of the camera sitting among Laurie’s cookies, were taken with the 1Ds. The sky was overcast and very bright when I took the outdoor photos, so it was a good challenge for the metering system. The auto focus is fast and accurate and it focused on black (Rosencrantz) immediately without searching like the 5D. The shutter is much quieter  than the 5D and is super quick and responsive. All the photos are  how they came straight out of the camera with little manipulation (of course, the panorama of the sanctuary was stitched together). The service tonight was a good test for indoors, under low light. While it focuses in the shadows very well, I discovered the autofocus searches on bright white, so it’s not perfect.

I got a photo of the first butterfly of the season, and it looked pretty ragged, so it either wintered over locally or migrated. One of the peach trees is blooming, as are the wild plums, and the honey bees are enjoying them.

After the service, we gathered in the ‘Life Center” for fellowship and cookies. The couple in the last photo asked me to take their picture. They are a handsome couple, and my first portrait with the 1Ds. I put on the super-wide angle lens and got a photo of the trombonist in the jazz band with his “le long trombone!”

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Tenebrae

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The Tenebrae service at Central United Methodist Church last night was beautiful and moving. Tonight is the “Great Getting’ Up Mournin’ celebration” with the Chancel Choir and a Baptist Gospel Choir. It’s supposed to be fantastic and not to be missed. The celebration is at 7:00 pm, 201 University Blvd NE. 243-7834.

 

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Moon Shadow

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I was out at midnight under the full moon — the silence was peaceful and the shadows cast by the moonlight were beautiful, yet somewhat sinister like a dragon or  Scylla ready to rise up out of the serpentine shadows when your back is turned.

The ways of the world, and even more so, the ways of the Internet can be so very puzzling. I participate in market surveys that earn money for charities. The surveys are mostly about technology, automotive products and architecturally related merchandise like doors, windows, flooring, etc. I don’t know what the surveys will be about until I start them. Yesterday, after Stretch died, I received an alert that I had a new survey. The first question was “Do you own a pet?” I answered yes, and the rest of the survey was about if I would be interested in receiving text messages from my pet during the day, how much I’d pay for such a service and if I’d like to get continue to get messages from pet heaven after the pet died. Not only was it one of the weirdest things I’d ever heard of, it really creeped me out coming the day after Stretch died. I answered no to all questions and commented how weird it was when comments were allowed. I guess someone is thinking that people who don’t have time to spend with their pets would like the feeling of having a personal connection by getting text messages throughout the day from their neglected or even their dead pets. Trying to imagine why anyone would consider paying for such a silly service was like the kernel panic in the last photo.

 

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Stretch 2004 — 2013 RIP

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Stretch finally succumbed to his long battle with renal failure. We gave him a kind of kitty hospice for the past couple of weeks after he started on a downhill trend and he began not responding very well to the fluids we gave him daily. He was still happy, had many energetic episodes where he would twinkle-toes around the house and go outside, and talk to us as usual. We groomed him (Laurie mostly), talked to him, rearranged a lot of stuff in the kitchen where he like to hang out to make him as comfortable as possible. He didn’t seem to be in pain even at the end, so we let nature run its course so he could have the dignity of dying at home in the place he loved. I wasn’t sure he would last through the night on Tuesday, as he was very lethargic when we went to bed, but I woke up at midnight and checked on him, I found him staring into one of his favorite water dishes and sticking his paw in it. He was drinking, just doing one of the things he liked best. I petted him and talked to him for a little bit before I went back to bed. When I woke up at 3:00 am, we was laying in another one of his favorite spots. I talked to him some more and scratched his head since I couldn’t reach under the shelf to pet him. After I went to work, Laurie let him outside and she reported his activities to me throughout the day. He laid in his favorite spots outside all day then died late in the afternoon.

Stretch was one of the smartest, most clever and creative kitties we’ve ever had. He could conceptualize things and would also come up with different behaviors to keep himself entertained. After I put on the catio in 2008, Stretch started catching lizards and birds and bringing them in the house. He would triumphantly announce his catch, and then drop the unharmed lizard or bird for us — we’d end up chasing his catches all of the house before we  could put them outside again. On night he brought in a little bird and gave it to me. After putting the bird outside, a had a talk with Stretch and told him as much as he was a cat and as much as I appreciated his presents, he needed to leave them alone. He went back outside and a few minutes later came in announcing another catch. When I turned around to see what critter he had, I was surprised to see a flower from the trumpet vine in his mouth. He trotted up proudly and dropped it at my feet. I praised him and the rest of that summer of 2009 he brought us flowers, and never again brought another animal into the house.

Then he went though his stage of wanting roses in his water dish. He would put is paw on the rose, push it under the water and then lick the water off the petals. He could also see ghosts, and while he never sat on our laps, he would sit on our shoulders and backs. Stretch loved boxes and would be on or in a new box, sometimes before the box made it in the house. He also helped take care of me and Laurie when we both had health crises in 2010. He seemed to understand what we were going through.

Stretch begin having renal failure in 2007. He responded well to his initial treatments, but started having serious problems with the renal failure agin in 2011. He responded to treatment well, and did really well up until a few months ago, when we could see the fluids were not having the same effects. But he lived six happy years longer than he would have without the fluids. We are going to really miss Stretch.

The photos today are from when he was a kitten up through 2010. Here are a few posts with Stretch being clever:

Got that Problem Licked

Stretch does Flour

Sunset Road

Kitty on a Cookbook

Talk to the Paw

If you put “Stretch” in the search, you will see all the posts I’ve done with Stretch in them over the past 2 years on this blog.

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Morning Hawk

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This Cooper’s Hawk was trying to catch a flicker for breakfast. They flew by really fast, the flicker flew into the cottonwood and the second the hawk got into the cottonwood, the flicker made an instant u-turn and flew back over me and off to another cottonwood. The hawk couldn’t make a u-turn and landed on a branch, giving me the opportunity to photograph it.

René had dinner with me again tonight. I was talking to him and asked him what he thought about a few things to which he replied with belches. I just can’t imagine where he learned to belch!

 

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Parrot Formerly Known As Joey

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René, the Eclectus Parrot formerly known as Joey (see  Joey’s Big Adventure) has come to live with us. Tristan’s household has too much activity for him,  so he was getting over stimulated and stressed out. He is already happy only having to share a room with our Conure, Beakers. Laurie had Beakers out in his space in the kitchen and René was still in the study, so the birds started ringing their bells back and forth. I told Laurie they were “texting” each other. Rene’ came out when I got home and had dinner with me. Rosencrantz was sticking his tail in René’s face while he was pestering me and René was seriously thinking about biting Rosencrantz’ tail, otherwise René and Rosencrantz didn’t react to each other in the least.

The almost full moon was beautiful peeking through the clouds tonight. I can’t resist moon and cloud photos.

 

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Palm Sunday

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I photographed all three services for Palm Sunday, but with everything else I had to do, I didn’t get start looking at the photos until late, so I processed a few of the more abstract photos that represented the story. One of the boys played shadow guitar in the play.

 

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