Two pictures — the first way I published it and the redo, just accomplished. These are the rapids by Roaring Dam in Blackstone, Massachusetts.

Roaring Dam rapids … first try

Whether you like the first of the second depends on what you are looking for. The first is high contrast. The “wet” parts look wetter. The second one has more details in the water and the rocks and a slightly different color curve.

Next time around

I decided to do a second set because I wanted to show something different.

Bonnie and Gibbs

I do not believe my dogs are the cutest dogs on Earth, but really, they are

jupiter najnajnoviji


WordPress Weekly Photographic Challenge: Variations on a Theme of Wires in Cooperstown

While other people try to erase wires, I’m fascinated by them. The connectors between towns, between data. Voice and pictures and sound and ideas all race along those wires. When the wires arrived, it defines when this country become one country. It was the wires that did it and they still do it.

Dye-Cast wires in Cooperstown

Electric abstract wires in Cooperstown


I’m looking forward to watching the Winter Olympics this year. I don’t do sports myself, but I love watching Olympic sports on TV. I learn the names of different kinds of athletic maneuvers and I cheer on the favorite athletes of the day.

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if everyday activities were scrutinized and graded the way figure skating is, or gymnastics. There would be names for the different techniques for folding sheets – and folding the fitted sheet would rate a higher level of difficulty.


Dishwashing would be my favorite event. There is so much technique involved and so many options for equipment and strategy. You can use a dishrag or a sponge. Don’t get me started on the varieties of sponge technologies out there! You can even use one of those things on a stick, though some of those have a built-in soap dispenser. I think devices like that should be banned as cheating.

The choice of dish soap is a whole other category for grading. Also, if you use the Consumer Reports favorites, your difficulty level should be reduced.

Now for the actual washing of the dishes.

Do you pre-rinse? Do you use hot or just warm water? Different wrist movements should have fancy names (like moves in gymnastics) as well as the circular arm movements — clockwise or counter-clockwise?

How do you scrub or scrape off baked on or age-hardened food? That is the test of a true champion.

Do you resort to additional equipment or rely solely on elbow grease?

Then, there’s rinsing. Do you rinse using the sprayer?It’s faster but it causes splashing – a serious reduction in points. You’ll never get a “ten” using the sprayer.

Sticking the landing would be to quickly and accurately secure a dish in one of those annoying plastic dish drying racks. That might be my personal Waterloo.


Putting dishes in the dishwasher is more an art form than a sporting event. You have to be creative, have an excellent sense of spatial relations, as well as patience and perseverance. It’s also an exercise in logic.

Stacking dishes in the machine could be a timed event. The most plates, bowls and cups you can fit in the dishwasher in the shortest time span wins. You could challenge your spouse or roommate and make it a family affair.


And then there’s parking the car, or as I call it — backing into the garage. This is one more fun event in the Olympics of life. Just try backing your car into my garage. If you don’t hit anything, you’re already a champion. Maybe making it a sporting event would make it a less frustrating and more enjoyable.

One can always hope.


Miss Bonnie

Our dogs are early risers. Even before Duke came into our lives, Bonnie liked to let me know that it was morning and she needed a snack. She could not do Duke’s leap over the gate, but she could fling her considerable bulk against the gate to the point where the walls would shake.

Gibbs of the Long Nose

After Duke got here, we moved up to a new level. Duke leaps the fence while Bonnie and Duke wait on the other side, huffing and snorting. Duke then hits the bedroom door with a full body slam. Garry can’t hear it — or says he can’t hear it. Regardless, I’m sure if Duke keeps pounding on it, the door’s going to fall down. It’s not much of a door and enough pounding from The Duke will not improve it.

The dogs’ first foray into getting me up is generally around 6 in the morning. Why? Because they hear me get up and go to the bathroom. I’ve been known to try and avoid flushing in the hopes that they won’t hear me and I can go back to bed … but they have really good hearing. So I get up, give them each a biscuit, glare at them, and stumble back to bed. Then I lay there being as quiet as I can, lest they take any movement as a sign of my impending lively entry into their world.

The Duke

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I drift back to sleep. At around 7, Duke hits the door for the second time. I get up, give them a very small biscuit and slink back to bed and generally get another hour, at which point the phone rings. That call would be (1) a pharmacy to tell us a prescription is ready, (2) a doctor to remind me that someone has an appointment three days from now in late afternoon, or (3) no one –my favorite call.

I sigh, wait for a hit on the door, get up, tell the dogs to shut up, they aren’t getting another biscuit and go back to bed. For one hour.


Duke is back.


I get up. I give them the smallest biscuit I can find and switch on the coffee. I’m know I’ll be back but at least when I get up in an hour, the coffee will be ready.

Life is better when the coffee is ready. Just saying.

The problem is that the dogs don’t stay up late watching old movies or reading books. While we are doing that, they are sound asleep. They only start to wake up when we get ready to go to bed. That’s when they leap into action because … you got it … IT’S BISCUIT TIME AGAIN!

They get one full-size big crunchy from Garry and then they get one small (but much tastier) one from me.

Garry is impressed at how Duke is fully engaged with him from the moment he opens the bedroom door and for every other minute of the remaining day. If he goes in for a shower, Duke will be sitting outside the door. Waiting. When Garry gets up to do anything, all three dogs follow him. Well, to be fair, they follow me, too. It’s a parade.


Maybe what we need to do is keep them awake all evening so they will sleep late too? The problem is, when they’ve decided to sack out, nothing wakes them up. Nothing. They go completely limp and respond only to food. If they are in full sack-out mode, they have been known to sleep through an occasional biscuit, too.

Something’s got to give. I suppose I can quit going to bed at all and simply nod off on the sofa. It would at least save our door from destruction. Then, they can do what they enjoy the rest of the time.

Which is to bite my feet. They really love doing that.