Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Improv Challenge

Want to join in on this? Something new for me (and you?) to get involved in.

Improv(E) Your Butt Button

I see over at TallGrass Prairie Studio there is a new 'Quilt Movement" taking place. I say 'Quilt Movement' in jest. It is actually a new challenge to get ME & YOU moving more. An encouragement to get a bit more exercise and do something about the 'quilter's butt' she talks about.

All the info is there, just click the image to find out the details. Each mile you walk means another piece of fabric to add to your improv quilt project. Get a bit of movement, sew an improvisational quilt, what could be better? Inprov(e) Your Butt! Go check it out . . . you might want to join in also.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Life in a Garden - Bug Experts

Life in a Garden is filled with lots of flowering plants. This potted arrangement sits on our patio. I took the photo a couple days ago. These plants are probably feeling the excessive heat today. It is definitely a hot one out there. I know I need to get out the garden hose and give all our plants a drink this afternoon.

I am working on my changes to my Sewing Studio today, picking up where I left off yesterday. Today involves moving some hefty stuff around. I didn't eat my Wheaties this morning, but had half of a tasty sub sandwich at lunch. That should power me up enough for some heavy lifting. So I'm about to go to it, but just wanted to link a post to some bug experts and let you know I found out some info on the insects I have shown in recent posts.

I came across the site, What's That Bug, this weekend and submitted a few photos of insects from the garden. If you are fascinated by these small (and some not so small) creatures you may enjoy visiting their website or facebook page.

It turns out this bug that I photographed catching and eating a bumble bee is called a Robber Fly.

And last year I posted this photo of a dragonfly that was resting on the tiki tourches in the garden. This turns out to be a Mosaic Darner. Who knew? Not me, but the bug experts over there at http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ knew. Have fun browsing through their bug pictures and info . . . if you can stand it . . . and don't get squeamish.

It is amazing that some bugs can look so intersting and colorful while others just look downright fierce. So glad I'm not a small bug. It looks terribly frightening seeing the faces and mandibles of some of these creatures enhanced and larger than life through the wonderful digital cameras available to us today.

Just think, it wasn't that many years ago that we had to use magnifying glasses and microscopes to see the things we can so easily see now via our digital cameras and a computer. It's fascinating to see the little micro-worlds all around us looking through all this great technology.

New Work & Arrangements

I have started working on some new artwork. Here's a glimpse. I decided to start taking pictures to show the progress as I go. But I don't want to reveal the whole thing just yet. For one thing it's no where near ready to start showing it off. Plus, I have a deadline of September 13th on this project. I'll show tidbits as I go, but you'll have to wait till mid September to see a fuller image. I'll keep you posted on it.

I saw a link to a wonderful singer, Joan Osborne, via a facebook friend's link. I spent a bit of time listening to some of her other musical stylings. Until the other day I had not heard of her, nor listened to her music. She's a very powerful singer. I love the rendition of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" in this u-tube video. Talk about a powerful voice and a great musical arrangement with all those musicians and backup singers! I like her style, so am including a link here so you can listen to it for yourself. Enjoy!

Yep, I'm up late tonight. Was busy re-organizing the Sewing Studio. Photos of the re-arrangement to come at a later date. Ready to head off to bed for now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Bee Fight and a Bee Killer

I went out to take a look at the garden yesterday. Still lots of bees doing their thing out there. I went back indoors to grab my camera and took these shots. Here, in this first photo of my cone flowers, a bee was busy working away on one of these flowers. Then along came a different kind of bee that started working on the same flower.

The first bee didn't like being ousted. It started assaulting the larger bee, dive bombing it repeatedly. The larger bee wasn't budging, though. It kept right on working away on the flower. Can you see both bees here?

I edited the photo to highlight both bees. If the one on the right didn't insist on hovering in place, and repeating the same dive-bombing flight pattern I wouldn't have been able to get this shot. Pretty good photo, huh? Catching a bee in flight with just a simple, basic camera. No special lenses or settings on these shots. And yes, apparently I am easily entertained - as evidenced by all the bee watching I've been doing lately.

I wanted to start pulling weeds in this area of the backyard, and remove the bulk of the overgrown basil the other day. But I didn't dare. One of the larger type of bees kept coming close to investigate me while I was snapping photos. I didn't dare get them all riled up. I would go out there later after sunset when the bees are gone, but the mosquitos have been fierce when it gets late into the evening. Not a problem, there are still plenty of weeds elsewhere in the yard to clear out. I'll wait with the basil area until later. I need a plan to get this part of the garden cleaned up. Maybe what I need is a bee suit? a smoker unit to calm the bees?

I noticed an unusual looking insect while I was out there. I first saw this one the day before. It was still hanging around today when I had my camera. I managed to get a few good shots of it. At first glance I wondered if it was some type of dragonfly. We get quite a few dragonflies in our garden. It went about landing on the flower heads similar to the way the bees were behaving. I thought it must feed off the flowers.

But no, next thing I knew, it grabbed a bee and started eating it. I got off a few shots with the camera. It moved on to another flowerhead, taking it's bee meal along with it. I followed it, trying to get more photos of it - such an odd, curious-looking insect. It didn't seem to like that I continued following it around, snapping photos. It eventually flew off, with it's bee meal, to evade me by hiding in a crevice.

In this close-up shot of the 'bee killer' I got a side shot. It tried to hide behind this grape leaf. As I kept shooting with the camera it continued to slip further and further behind the leaf till all I could see at one point was its feet holding on. By the way, the dark wing you see poking up belongs to the bee hidden behind the leaf.

I left all these images of the insects in larger .jpg formats. Therefore, if you really want to see a 'close-up' photo, click onto each image and you will see the image even larger.

I have one red Roma tomato right now. It is the only tomato in the garden that is red. I am leaving it in place just a little while longer. Perhaps I'll pick it in a few days. I enjoyed a tomato in my salad today - store bought. It was good, but fresh home-grown ones are always so yummy. I look forward to having some great meals.

The Tomato Jungle continues to flourish. Some of the heavy, fruit laden branches are now draped down over the sides of the box. Yep, lots of tomatoes to turn ripe soon. Yum!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

I saw the link I Write Like on a facebook friend's website. It looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I randomly selected one of my recent blog entries as my copy to submit to the inquiry box. I chose the Scraps and Dryer Sheets post. The analysis said my writing style was like Margaret Atwood. Interesting. Assuming that a person's writing style is partially the result of the way a person thinks, reasons and believes (along with whatever education and linquistic training they may have received along the way) I would deduce she and I likely have some things in common between us. Okay, I can see some similarities in the things Wikipedia has to say about her.

But, me being the ever curious one and always questioning "why?" couldn't settle on just one analysis. My mind is wondering: What are the things being considered in the analysis? Who came up with this program? What is the process? Sentence structure? word selection? syntax? use of metaphors? command of the English language? use of vocabulary? inventiveness? creativity? How is the computer parsing all this data to arrive at an answer?

Because the anaylis is followed by a presentation of another query: "Do you want to get your book published?" and a link to learn how to secure a book publishing contract, it occurred to me this is just a tool to fish for leads in a marketing or sales campaign. Obviously someone has come up with a clever way to build their sales leads list. Too cynical? Well we are on the internet which is driven by commerce just like everything else, right? (How many banner ads, sidebar ads and pop-ups have you seen so far today?)

I decided I should enter another portion of text and see if I got the same results. Next I chose my last post about Busy Bees Buzzing in the Basil. Well that was interesting. The analysis determined that post was writen like Stephenie Meyer writes. Okay, that's an author's name that I recognized. I cannot say that I recall Margaret Atwood's writing, although I've heard her name before. Don't believe I ever read any of her books. Can't say I read any of the vampire books Stephenie Meyer wrote either. I've seen plenty about the movies based on her books, though.

Okay, ever persistently curious, I wondered if the analysis program was just randomly popping up names with no real analysis to it at all. So I re-entered the copy from the first try. Yep, came up with Margaret Atwood's name again. This called for a third try. Question: If I submitted a third sample would I get one of these two names again? Perhaps the analysis just shows similarities in common with both these writers. Obviously I need to submit copy once more. I chose the Fabric Basket with Grommets post.

I'm chuckling now. At myself. At the things that keep me amused. Ha, ha . . . not only do I think it's funny that I experiment with this analysis engine three times, but I'm taking the time to blog about it. F U N N Y ! Are you all entertained as well? Have you stopped reading and gone over there to try the program yet? Chuckle, chuckle . . .

Third time is a charm - right? It popped up the name Cory Doctorow with the analysis of this copy. {Chuckle, chuckle} Yeah, a tech-geek got thrown into the mix! {chuckle, chuckle} Sweet.

What do all three of these writers have in common? Science Fiction! Or as Margaret Atwood classifies some of her writing, Speculative Fiction, or Social science fiction. Ha, ha, too funny! I do like to read science fiction, though. There have been some of those in my hands over the years. Perhaps that writing style has rubbed off because of things I've read over the years. I'm going to go out on a limb and make an assumption here. Perhaps each of our writing styles are influenced more by what we read than how we are educated, trained and our linquistic skills. Not only can we agree with the conjection that we are what we eat, but we also are what we read. Read any good books lately? Are you keeping them in the realm of happy, wholesome and uplifting? What do you want to be? Do you like horror? mysteries? suspense? romance? history? autobiographies? You are what you read. What a concept. What do you think?