Karate Kitten Cuteness.

People keep sharing articles with me about Hisakata Hiroyuki’s photography project with street cats. He captures what every cat owner knows: cats are amazingly bendy and can dance through the air. The photos are colorful and dynamic. I particularly like the one where a cat appears to be dancing in a twinkling field of flowers.

Every once in awhile, I try to recreate popular cat related experiments and photo shoots. I can assure you that my cats do not care about cucumbers. They spent most of the time licking them. We’ve tried Maru’s slide through a box: meh success. Years ago, Bella and I spent some time playing around with black and white photos after I attended a photo exhibit by Tony Mendoza of Ernie the Cat.

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Practically as cool as Ernie the Cat.

So when Olivia Wigglebothum was begging for play time in a convenient sun spot, I gave kung fu kitty photos a chance. It became immediately clear that Hiroyuki has a better set up and/or far more coordination than I do. I’m right handed so the camera was steadiest in that hand, but my left hand’s ability to flip the string in an alluring way was suspect. However, 50 photos later there was some undeniable karate kitten cuteness.

Airborne, but blurry.

DSCF2245Caught it, but seems confused. I love her planted hind feet.

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Had it! Cat tongue!DSCF2250Anticipation. Whiskers at the ready.

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The Winner!!

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That 7 Day Thing on Facebook: A Retrospective of Fine Photography

Yes, Facebook is the Devil unless it involves cat pictures. That’s pretty much what I’m there for: pictures -sometimes of people -and local events. Now if I could just eliminate all the ads, the politics, and the friends who go on tagging, liking, random re-posting sprees that make me wonder if they are trapped somewhere.

Are you perpetually on a layover in a really bad airport? If yes, you’re killing your phone battery with this nonsense.

Banished would be things that say “copy and paste this then tag your best friend from high school.” We’ve created the digital equivalent of the chain letter. Worse yet are the passive aggressive posts that start off with something like: “I know that most of my real friends won’t re-post this (subtext being that we are horrible examples of humanity) but those of you that really care about -fill in the blank here with something dead or soon to die…”And so trend begets trend and so on down the wormhole.

However the latest trend of seven days of black and white photos has been tolerable. Photos the end. One of its layers of “rules” is no explanations. Perfect! No people, ok. No pets, seriously? And you’re supposed to nominate another person. Nope. Not dragging anybody under with me. Also you’re only supposed to choose one photo a day. Meh. Again, I’m a big kid and I do what I want! Part of the time at least. Most of the time I do what I’m supposed to unless it involves exercise or eating better. #Adulting

I currently have over 11,000 photos on my phone. Yes, 10,999 are of my cats; and I do realize that life still happens even if I don’t get a picture of it, but, man, I really like that picture. So a photo a day wasn’t as much of a challenge as editing it down to one.

Additionally, black and white can really be a silk purse out of a sow’s ear situation. It makes practically anything look cooler! I took a picture of peanut butter for pete’s sake! It had nice texture. A little silvertone or Holga-esque won’t hurt you.

I guess my end game is that if you do accept this challenge, you crazy trendsetters, then at least make it interesting; and for all you are worth, stick to NO EXPLANATIONS.

Good day, photo booth! I said Good day, sir!

We can’t have nice things…or even clearanced things made out of cardboard.IMG_6532

I was showering when I heard banging on the bathroom door that had a lot more than paws behind it. Since no one was screaming and the noise moved on, I did not leap to the rescue.

What I found was a repeat of the deranged turtle cat incident.

The poor bedraggled photo booth in four shredded pieces. Good day, photo booth. Good day.

I’m not a park ranger. I know that now. 

Given my human Petri dish status this week (I’m snotastic and sound like an anti-smoking ad “Before you start smoking…”), this may not have been the wisest adventure choice.

However the metro park posted a cool photo of blue herons nesting, and Brain was like “I wanna be a part of that!”

What Brain failed to consider was that I’m not a park ranger who can walk within a reasonable distance to snap a photo

I’m the asshole who has to stand on the other side of the lake squinting at black nest blobs while being pelted by ice balls because even though I slept with the heat off and my window open last night, today it is 30-something and a sleet tornado. Thanks, Ohio.

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So cold. Like hands numbed by wind immediately cold. Yesterday it was 78. The fuck?

Here are the nest blobs from a different viewpoint. I’m ASSUMING these are nest blobs. Again, not a park ranger so can’t be sure.

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Maybe nest blobs.

Deranged Turtle Cat

Last Friday, I made a pit stop at World Market in search of picture frames. Naturally, I walked out with no picture frames, but some gnocchi, Guinness potato chips, a chocolate bar with plantains and this bit of pet magic that was on the clearance pile.

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$5.99!

My status update was :”Exciting Friday night planned! Don’t call. Don’t offer to take me out to eat. I will be CRAZY busy. ( and it was on clearance)” This was sarcasm. I totally would have gone out to eat.

Initially there was a lot of sniffing and investigating, but no one would venture inside.

february20172 Miles was brave enough to finally go inside, but was rewarded by Birdie who decided the best option was to smack the idiot inside the box.

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Get out of the box!!!

I decided to relocate the box to the kitchen, and put treats inside. At least two of the cats had proven that they could slip in and out of the holes, so this should work out. Right?

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By 8:10 p.m. my status had changed to: “Things are not going well.

Olivia went inside the cube and, despite having already traveled in and out of the holes multiple times previously, somehow got stuck on her exit. Too much chub.

She then ran around the kitchen like a deranged turtle, bouncing off the cabinets until her cardboard shell exploded, and she escaped to the living room where she gave me crazy owl ears and angry meow-stache. She does indignant so well.

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Angry deranged turtle cat.

I gave up for the night. Only W. Charles was willing to work with me.

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Plus I happened to check the blogs I follow, and discovered that Marc at Katzenworld had posted that very day about the exact same photo booth! While mine was in tatters because of my spastic fur children, his was intact as Oliver and Nubia posed beautifully inside it.

If my children were human, they would probably be the kids that teachers talk about at lunch time.

I repaired the photo booth as best I could, and left it out hoping that I would catch SOMEONE posing appropriately.

A week later on the following Friday, Birdie paused long enough in her racing around the house to poke her head through the hole like the tiny crazy person she is. Still not quite right, the hula girl is upside down. Sigh and eyeroll. 🙂

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At Least the Teats are Covered

Disconnected, indifferent high school senior when offered a free portrait sitting: “Why do I need a senior picture?”

Helpful Yearbook Advisor (Me!):“Because we really want to include you with your graduating class!”

Brain of Helpful Yearbook Advisor (Me!):“Because when the detective comes looking for documentation of you for your cold case, I’d like to have something to show him.” This has happened to me at least twice.

As a publications advisor, I see some weird shit that passes as a “senior portrait.” It hurts me to not be able to share the photos, but I like having a job and some deniability. I desperately want to compile the photos as part of a workshop class, but …again, I like my job blah, blah, blah. My high school still required that all girls rocked the velcroed velvet drape, and that all males had the tuxedo shot. I assume theirs also involved velcro and a strapless bra. At the time, digital photography was not on anyone’s radar; so if you wanted a senior picture, you had to go to a professional photographer.

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This is the “soft smile” according to the photographer. On me it translates to, “I know where you sleep, and I have access to firearms.”

The look was boring, but made for a consistent spread layout and limited student and parents’ bad choices to jewelry and big hair. I’m happy that my current students get to make a wider range of choices with their senior portrait submissions, but this also opens a Pandora’s Box of awkward and awful. Unfortunately, with the creation of digital cameras and smart phones, ANYBODY can take a “good” picture.

I don’t advocate for seniors to spend a ton of money on senior portraits. I know some of them can’t afford it, and some of them aren’t interested in the concept as a whole. From this view point, the availability of digital is great. A student really could create a passably decent portrait via smart phone. Unfortunately, there is no app that has a filter for taste level. I try to explain this to my Princess Barbie editor who had 5 different photo shoots with a professional, and can’t stop cackling as she organizes her classmate’s photo submissions.

Inwardly, I’m cackling too, but I’m supposed to be the rational and serious grownup who does not encourage her to repeatedly pull up “Lizard Boy” because she needs another laugh. (Yes, there was a lizard. No, they are not supposed to have pets in the picture. But I’m choosing my battles, and both parties look so happy in the photo that I’m not going to fight it. Plus I think that sans lizard, we would not have gotten a  photo from this senior.) Instead, I ask her to dial back her mean girl judgement, edit “Eyeless Dude’s” picture, and get back to work.

In my opinion, the standard senior picture is pretty easy to re-create. Find a tree/rock/ wall/ fence post etc… and lean against it “casually.” Wardrobe can vary from prom dress to t-shirt-please be cognizant of what the t-shirt says– and jeans. Take a selfie, use a timer, or bring a  friend to act as photographer. However, that brings me back to level of taste. To each his/her own, but this is what they have ownership of:

A.“OMG, I think I am hilarious, but ’10 years from now me’ will recognize that I’m just being a DUH-ouche bag unless I’m at the reunion because then ’10 years from now me’ will be DUH-runk and re inacting ‘remember when’ high school stories.” The ability to Photoshop anything (penguins, a waterfall, the jungle, space and time) is the bane of my existence in this category. That, and duck face. Really?

B. “I am so edgy, dark and mysterious that no mere camera can capture my most unique of all unique souls, but this heavily filtered photo of me wearing a garbage bag will try.” It would be one thing if this kid would just submit the bizarro photo and let it go, but 5 million email exchanges, name changes, and questions later, I usually get a frantic “just take my picture out!” email. I assume that he/she is hiding from the government or thinks that the yearbook will somehow steal the “most unique” soul. (Yes, I recognize that I am using unique incorrectly. Seniors do not. Thanks.)

C. “I don’t care about any of this, but I stood still long enough for my mom to capture this blurry image of me as if it is Sasquatch’s senior picture. I’m out of focus, but the tree, television set/ random car/ screen door/neighbor’s kids/ trash cans five feet behind me are crisp. We’re calling it artistic.” Again, this is a battle I’m not fighting. I assume that since they submitted this photo, all parties are happy and don’t see the problems that I see.

D. “What’s a senior picture? Here I am playing soccer.” OK.

These all lead to conversations, verbally and in my head, rationalizing how much time and energy I want to spend attempting to correct the choice of photo. Often it boils down to, “At least the teats are covered.”

Because I’ve also had that conversation: “You’ve got a great smile. Maybe we could use  a picture that features your face?”

And then I think about the word “teats” and how it makes me think of mice plus gives me the creepy crawlies a bit. “Moist teats.” Shudder.

And then if you were going to milk a mouse…which seems like a bad plan, but, whatever Greg, if its got nipples…

 

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At least the teats are covered.

p.s. I could write a whole other post on bad poses from professional photographers, and our tech generation’s inability to successfully email a photo as an attachment. Tragic sigh.

“Supermodels”

My cats are supermodels. By “supermodels”, I mean that they are difficult to work with, finicky, and mercurial yet beautiful.  They strike poses, complain about the lighting, the food, their accommodations, my choices etc…

They are not super models (note use of superlative this time) because a shot that starts like this…

Calico drama

Calico drama

…generally ends with something like this.

You said closer?

You said closer?

This morning, three of the four parked themselves in a strong sunbeam across the living room floor. Using their innate flair for drama, they knew that being half in and half out of the sunbeam would create a more striking shot. Fortunately, it also let me eliminate most of the living room detritus behind them: some cat toys, a laundry basket, my sewing box, and a coat. Someone should really clean in here.

Sookie gave me the best and longest performance which is unusual for her since she is uneasy about me getting too close to her. God forbid that I should pet her or pick her up. She also created a lovely cat shadow.

Tiger drama

Tiger drama

Now give me content...

Now give me content…

Closer...taking my life into my hands in here

Closer…taking my life into my hands in here

She even changed poses for me. She knows she’s pretty.

Disdain

Disdain

Look into my eyes.

She has the most magnificent whiskers.

Miles tried, but was all over the place and couldn’t stop turning his head and trying for sultry over the shoulder looks.

His best, but not great.

His best, but not great.