Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fuzzy Pack

Another trailer for your viewing pleasure...

Cat Variations 6

Sorry this didn't post yesterday. I was in a happy place hanging out with Literary Cat and Adorable Nurse, and didn't notice the glitch until this morning. 

Similar to the previous batch that was mostly a straightforward edit, this set focuses on trying to make the photos soft and gentle. Cuddly even.

Of course, the only cat that's truly cuddly is Nala, though Tiger tries to pretend otherwise. Techie wants to be cuddly, but has no clue how to go about it. At least he doesn't hide quite as much as he used to.

(For the longest time, Adorable Nurse refused to believe that Techie actually existed.)

Which kitty would you want to cuddle?

For high-res versions of the pictures, please visit their Flickr album.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, summer, dusty, basic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cat Variations 5

Most of what I've done thus far has involved aging the pictures in some way. For this next treatment, I decided to try a more straightforward feel to them. Most it involved enriching the colors and a little basic editing. Of course, some photos reacted better to the process than others.

For your viewing pleasure, a basic treatment:

To view high-res versions of the pictures, please visit their Flickr album.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, summer, and dusty.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's coming...

I'm so, so excited! Please, just watch this through to the end. It's worth it. I promise.

Thanksgiving can't get here soon enough for me! (At least in regards to this movie....)

Cat Variations 4

As I've mentioned before, I've spent a good deal of time going through old family photos, scanning, labeling, and touching them up. Some of my favorites are pictures from the turn of the previous century. While I know that my cats would never in a million years stay still for the old technology to capture them, it's still fun to pretend.

With that in mind, for this next treatment I tried to make them look like old, dusty portraits.

Has anybody found a favorite yet?

To see high-res versions of the pictures, check out their album on Flickr.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, and summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marvel(ous) News

While I'm not a huge comic nerd (I'm not rushing down to my local comic book store every Wednesday), I still grew up knowing a fair amount about the more popular franchises due to their representation in other mediums: television, movies, and novels. This is how I discovered Batman, the Justice League, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and of course, the X-Men.

In fact, the X-Men are what eventually lead me to reading any comics at all. (That and later on Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.) My discovery of X-Men resulted not from the movies that came out out when I was in college, but rather the animated series that ran in the early 90's.

Man I loved that show.

Well, yesterday I discovered something that made me utterly ecstatic, and today I'm sharing it with all of you: all 63 episodes of X-Men (The Animated Series) are available to watch for free on the Marvel Website.

You're welcome.

Cat Variations 3

I almost left Techie out of this particular batch, because he absolutely refused to stay still when I took this set of pictures of the cats. Then I found the one included here that I'd overlooked several times. You don't see his pretty eyes the way you can with the girls, but it's the best picture of the lot.

For this next set, I wanted a hazy warmth. Something that made me think of lazy summer days, especially since Tiger looks like she's drinking up sunshine in these pictures. I'm fairly pleased with the way they came out. Of course, I'm more interested on what you all may have to say.

Without further ado, the "Summer" treatment:

To see higher res versions of these pictures, check out their album on Flickr.

Earlier treatments include black and white and the seventies.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cat Variations 2

It's amazing to me sometimes the differences that Photoshop can make in certain pictures. For this next set, I wanted them to feel like the pictures my Papa took back in the seventies. One of the results was that everything ended up with a blue-green tinge to it, which made Nala's pictures come out so much better than in the black and white photos. By the same token, I feel like Tiger's pictures were much better in the black and white treatment.

Once again, let me know your opinions on the pictures. I'm too close to the project to have an objective view!

Here are my kittens again, this time with a "seventies" treatment.

To see higher res versions, please see my Flickr account.

Previous treatment done to the photos was black and white.

Cat Variations 1

I love cats. I also love taking pictures.

Especially taking pictures of cats.

In addition, I love playing with Photoshop.

Best part of playing with Photoshop? Playing with pictures of cats.

For a bit of fun and variety, I've decided to do a series of posts containing (for the most part) the same set of pictures with different treatments done to them. I'm curious as to what are people's favorite shots and styles, so if any strike your fancy, please let me know!

To begin with, we'll start with a black and white treatment:

If you'd like to see high-res versions of these pictures, take a look at their album on Flickr.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In preparation for tomorrow

I have, up until now, avoided anything and everything having to do with the suggestion that the Rapture will occur tomorrow.

However, after seeing this today... I can't resist sharing with you.

Forgive me my odd sense of humor.

Courtesy of Reddit, originally by Jonathon Schwarz

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So I ate it...

I'm a bit of a fan of klaatu42's Talking Animals on You Tube. In fact, last Christmas I exposed you guys to the joy of all of those animals singing.

It makes me smile.

My favorite video of klaatu42's is probably Kitty is a Very Bad Mystic, though I'm also a fan of all of the Jupiter and Kona videos.

However, I found out today that earlier this month, klaatu42 posted a brand new video! So, of course, I feel compelled to share it with all of you.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shifting gears

Summer has arrived.

I know this from several factors. Firstly, most of my friends either just wrapped up finals, graduated, or will wrap up their teaching gig in the next week. Secondly, despite the fact that this past week has been in the 70's, we've already been having humid 90 degree days. Thirdly, in the past month, we've been grilling our food 2-3 times a week.

However, the most important way that I know that it is summer is that my husband has gone missing.

Now, now, don't panic. No need to call the police. I just mean that my husband has moved to summer hours at work. Since he works at a pool store and all, that means I'll see Sam again sometime in October.

I kid. I kid.

I think.

More accurately, this means that his work schedule has now completely shifted. Not only does he work an extra hour each day, but our weekends will now be Tuesday-Wednesday instead of Saturday-Sunday. Starting this week. Except that he doesn't really get Tuesday and Wednesday off this week because his coworker is still subbing for the local school district, which doesn't get done until the end of this week.

But Sam will be getting the afternoons off today and tomorrow.

Why am I telling you this? Because it will likely lead to a few changes around here at the Work in Progress. I'm just not sure what those changes will be. Either you'll be seeing a whole lot more of me because my Husband is Busy(tm), or I'll never be around because my friends will have more free time.

Aren't you glad I informed you of all this?

Here, have a cat picture.

(Papa, if you want to save this picture, go here--it's a higher quality.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ecclesiastes 3:4

To everything there is a season, and the season where Dr. A and Mrs. B led the theatre department I graduated from has now passed.

When word spread that these two ladies were leaving the department, Laurel from A Little White Noise began coordinating a surprise party to celebrate their combined 29 years of teaching. In the end nearly fifty people would come by to see Dr. A and Mrs. B, either at the actual event or later in the evening as the festivities moved elsewhere.

It was strange to get to see so many old friends from that time in my life, particularly because I've moved so far afield from theatre. Unfortunately, I did not get to stay as late as I wanted to, due to the utter exhaustion I was feeling from a week of staying up until 3 am.

Admittedly one of those nights was because we went to see Thor (and I echo Sherri's high marks for that movie!). However, the rest of the week I was wrapped up in putting together a slideshow set to music. Laurel had contacted me the week before the event to put it together, and unfortunately I didn't get the message and a chance to start work until Monday, when the event was Friday. This lead to a week of late nights: collecting photos, tweaking photos, finding music, changing music, splicing things together, inserting new pictures, and eventually burning it all off.

Yes, that was the week I didn't blog anything. What tipped you off?

Still, in the end it was worth it. Everyone seemed to enjoy the slideshow, especially Dr. A and Mrs. B.

Throughout the weeks leading up to "The Festival," I found myself reflecting back on the four years I spent with them. Like many of the theatre students, I had a close relationship with them both. They each in their own ways taught me how to harness my independent streak and channel it in a useful manner. They opened my eyes to possibilities in myself that had never occurred to me before--talents and skills that would have remained dormant without their inspiration.

Most importantly, they showed me that one can be a Christian and yet still live in the world and influence the people around you. Too often Christians hide themselves away from the world, creating and performing only for other Christians. They taught me that we can use our gifts and talents out in the "real world," surrounded by all manners of people and lifestyles that "the church" would not approve of, and still bear witness and remain ourselves.

When I first went to college, I was a young Christian in pretty much every sense of the phrase. Had the Christian university I attended stressed "Christian Theater," I could easily have ended up the type of Christian Artist who looks down upon Non-Christians and abhors the sight or sound of anything potentially thought-provoking or outside of my comfort zone.

That or I'd have gone crazy and moved to a different school after a couple of  years.

Instead, I found two teachers who did not hesitate to teach us all that theatre encompasses. Sometimes, this led to them locking horns with the administration. Sometimes it meant upsetting their students by forcing them to consider ideas and lifestyles completely foreign. And sometimes it meant teaching us how to compromise so that our message could be heard, even if it wasn't as overt as originally intended.

While it's true that I've left theatre behind in the sense that I sincerely doubt I will ever design, direct, or run a show again, these are all lessons that I apply each and every day to living. I'm able to acknowledge and contemplate ideas without rejecting them out of hand. It influences my writing, conversations, and debate styles. And all of those skills that they developed and honed in me--organization, design, communication, construction, sewing, drawing, analysis--make me better equipped to handle life as it happens.

Our time together wasn't always perfect. There were times when they made mistakes. There were times when their students (especially me!) made mistakes. But we grew together, and we grew well.

So, here's to Dr. A, Mrs. B, and legacy they've left after 29 years of teaching!

Photo taken by Rebekah Byland

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
--Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Our yard is looking pretty ragged right now. Between my project last week (and yes, I am still planning to go into detail about it, give me time!), friends coming to town, and the wonky weather, we just haven't had a chance to get out and mow it the way it needs.

When I got up yesterday, the weatherman was predicting rain for yesterday afternoon through today. With that in mind, I decided that I would help Sammy out and go ahead and mow the lawn. I grabbed my old-lady-gardening hat and headed outside to the garage.

Currently Sam and I have two push lawnmowers--one from each of our fathers. Last summer we had issues with neither one working very well, but this spring Papa got one of them running for us. This was fantastic! Unfortunately, I couldn't for the life of me remember which of the lawn mowers was the working one. However, when I went into the garage, one of the lawnmowers was easily accessible and sitting next to the trimmer, while the other was clear in the back and difficult to reach.

Obviously, I went with the one that was with all of the other lawn tools.

I got it out, checked its oil and fuel, and decided it was ripe and ready to run.

I then proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes trying to get the bloody thing to run. I'd likely have stopped sooner and gone for the second mower, but on three separate occasions I did get it to turn over and start, but before I could increase the throttle it would die again.

Finally I decided I'd give it one last try. I'd primed it, pulled gently back on the pull start until I had tension, and then YANKED.

Next thing I know, something's whipping across my face and my glasses are flying across the yard. Somehow, in the course of pulling on the pull start, it got loose from my grip and pistol whipped me across the face.

Needless to say by the time I finally recovered my glasses, I decided I was done with that for the day and went back inside. Of course, when I talked to Sam later, he explained that the other mower was the working one, because he found it easier to take it out of the big garage door. Which makes sense, except I can never open the bloody thing.

Ah well.

Anyway, this morning, this is what I woke up to:

It's kind of hard to see in the pic, but I have one helluva bruise at the corner of my eye/temple of my forehead. o.0


The above video is of Mike Rowe from Discovery's Dirty Jobs speaking before the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on the importance of trade skills/jobs. He makes excellent points about how, in general, this type of knowledge and job is looked down upon by American society, and how important it is that people understand and realize the value of it.

He also make a fantastic point about the disconnect many people have about where the conveniences of their lives come from. They don't think about where food comes from, how electricity is generated, or who makes their clothing. This, in turn, leads to a devaluing of the people and processes that bring them into existence--even though everyone wants/needs them.

Another point touched upon is how there are actually many jobs currently available in skilled labor (~450,00 jobs), but there is a lack of qualified workers. One thing he mentioned that especially rang true to me is how the average age of a third of the skilled labor workforce in Alabama is over the age of 55 and looking to retire, with no one to replace them. This did not surprise me at all, as one of the things my Papa talked about for years before he retired was how Boeing would soon be in a world of hurt because their maintenance people were all aging out of the work force, and there were no noticeable upcoming replacements.

Really I'm not doing the video or Mr. Rowe justice; just click play and watch it.

Friday, May 13, 2011


As some of you may have gathered, I have a thing for pen and paper games. Well, really, I have a thing for games in general. But I especially enjoy games where you get a half a dozen people together around a table and play--hence why our weekly/monthly games make me so happy.

So the other day I'm killing some time over on the RPG sub-reddit, and people get to talking about customized gaming tables. It made me smile, imagining just how crazy some people can go over their respective hobbies.

And then somebody linked to this.

The first table that I came across was the Emissary.

At first glance, it just looks like a nice dining room table that can set about six people, made from actual hardwood instead of particle board. Nice, but not really anything special. 

But, appearances can be deceiving.

By day a mild mannered dining room table... night a fun-tastic gaming table!

(Please pretend with me that I did not just use 'fun-tastic' as a word. Thank you.)

It can have between 4-6 drawer/desktop areas you can pull out, plus an area with extra room for your GM/DM. More importantly, the top of the table can be removed, and underneath is a dropped down space to place your maps and minis. If it gets to be midnight and people need to go home, no worries, just put the table top back in place and come back to the game at a later date and time.

Pretty nifty, and not too badly priced at $1,500. Still, not something I'm going to have taunt me in my dreams because I can't have it.

And then I came across the Sultan Gaming Table.

This is, quite possibly, the most awesome gaming table I've ever come across. Like the Emissary, it has a removable top and 'stations' for players and the DM/GM. However, these aren't some roll-out desk. These come complete with their own drawers, dividers, and map storage areas. For each player. (It sits 6-10 people.)


It also has built into it what they call a "Layer Cake," which basically allows you to lay down your maps and then place a translucent sheet of squares or hexes atop them so you can write on the maps without damaging them. Or spilling drinks on them. It also has a plain whiteboard you can place on top of that if you want to draw out the dungeon.

And speaking of spilling drinks, this comes with cup holders at each station. A small thing that made me quite happy.

The DM's station is also pretty freaking awesome, with storage for handbooks, dice, minis, and other odds and ends for the game. The sides of the table can also open up, providing a "bay" for you to roll your dice, preventing mishaps with dice killing minis.

Trust me, when I'm rolling dice, you want something protecting the minis.

Of course, all of this awesome is not cheap. The advertised price before taxes or any added features is $8,850.

Yeah, that's not happening any time soon.

Nor do I have room in my house for such a thing.

But if we ever win the lottery/get a massive inheritance/suddenly start making millions a year...

This is in no way a paid advertisement/endorsement. Geek Chic doesn't even know that I exist. I just wanted to drool and make a fool of myself in public.