Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monkey's new phone

Crisp's venerable old Samsung Blaze 4G phone has done him good service for quite a few years now, but the battery life has gotten pretty bad, and to get it to charge at all you have to hold the plug at a particular angle... so, now that he needs a reliable phone so he can get calls from work telling him when they want him to come in we figured he was due for an upgrade.

It had to be an off-contract, unlocked phone, so we looked at the new Motorola Moto E, the new Moto G, but in the end we decided that the best fit and value for him would be the previous Moto G LTE. The new E has 4G LTE but is a bit basic with cameras and stuff (especially the "selfie" cam that he uses for video chats), and the new G is very nice but does not come with LTE (faster internet over the phone network), so the 1st gen Moto G, but the LTE version (that also includes an SD card slot) was what we decided on. Speedy processor, nice screen but not too big, good camera, SD slot, and fast interweb... Amazon had it for a good price and it arrived today.

It's very nice and does everything we expected it to do, gorgeous screen, responsive and fast etc. etc., but the most impressive thing that I wan't expecting is the Motorola Migrate app that came with it. Being an Android phone it automatically takes all your Google account stuff, contacts, emails, apps etc. as soon as you sign in on the new phone, but Migrate is a special app that you open on the new phone, download, install and open on the old phone, and it basically sets up an ad-hoc wifi connection between the two phones and transfers all the rest of your stuff- your call logs, all your texts, your music, pictures etc. etc. About 10 minutes later and it's done- there are a few things that it doesn't get, but 95% of everything has successfully transferred across :)

Very impressive... gold star Motorola!

Monday, June 22, 2015


Finally got all the pictures, signatures, forms and certificates together for Crisp's UK passport and just mailed them to Her Majesty's Passport Office in Durham. Hopefully in a few weeks he'll officially be a subject of the Queen :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day movie

At the movies in White Plains with my clan for the special 40th anniversary screening of Jaws :)

This movie has a special place in the hearts of our little family- if any of us are channel-surfing and comes upon it, everyone has to stop what they're doing and watch it from wherever we happen to come upon it to the end :)

Si'down you're rockin' the boat!

Father Sandy's teaching Sunday school this morning :)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Opening his first bank account...

...gotta have somewhere to put that paycheck, so after work we went and opened his first checking account... and I I'm proud to say he opened a savings account too and put half in there :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

First paycheck!

It was pretty dead at the club snack bar tonight so Crisp was let out a little early, but they sent him home with 2 more shirts (so I don't have to wash one every night)... and his first paycheck :)

Friday photo walk

Took my camera to the woods with Holly today, got some nice shots and then played around with some interesting filters and stuff :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Busy Sunday!

Busy, busy day yesterday!

After the usual church fun in the morning it was off to Westport for Natalie Chapman's 3rd birthday party (FaceBook album here), then back to Rye for Tami Burks Farewell Potluck at the Mayos (FaceBook album here), and then to Kathie's for Matt's 29th birthday party (FaceBook album here, or click on the picture below), and then finally home to watch the finale of Game of Thrones :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Leash walk

Holly is almost back to normal, but we're sticking to leash walks for another day or two to be sure :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A funny old day

It's been an odd day, with a vague feeling of nerves and uneasiness floating over most of it. Three things were responsible: Jackie called me on her way home last night to say the van was overheating again, so we took it over to CCM (our wonderful garage) and it stayed there overnight and most of the day; the dog was limping a little yesterday, and this morning was putting almost no weight on one front paw; and Crisp had his first day at work- would he hate it, and would they like him?

The garage found there was no circulation of coolant and they had to dismantle most of the front of the engine to get at the cooling system. They flushed eveything out and cleaned and checked all the hoses and then found that the water pump was not pumping with enough pressure, so they decided to replace it, and to be safe the housing around it as well. We had had a couple of updates during the day and were dreading the final cost as we knew how much they'd had to do, but were thrilled to find it was only $400 (ouch! but much less than we were expecting) even after all the work they put in.

I decided to keep the dog on short leash walks for a few days in the hopes that this would not turn into a big deal- and we've just got back from the second, slightly longer one of the day and she's walking almost normally. We'll stick to at least one more day of leash walks, but she seems to be on the mend.

And when we picked up Crisp he was tired and hungry (he isn't sure how meal breaks work yet), but he'd had a good time and seems to have a nice bunch of people to work with. He's going back for the same shift again tomorrow and is looking forward to it.

So, after an odd day it turns out I was really worrying about nothing :)

Working man

Home from his first shift... and they want him to come back tomorrow :)

(and he wants to go back- he's tired but he had a good time)

Hi-ho, hi-ho...

Just seen my son off to his first day at work. I am so proud of him!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Handsome lad

He still needs a shave, and it's a bit blow-dried for my taste (it'll look much better when he's had a shower), but he looks great! All ready to start his new job tomorrow :)

Here are a couple of before-and-after shots for the fun of it:

At the salon

Crisp is getting his first haircut in almost 2 years!

All creatures great and small...

Little tiny bunny enjoying the clover in the grass outside the church offices this morning :)

Google Photos FTW

After a couple of weeks with Google Photos I love it even more. I have uploaded nearly 80,000 pictures to it (and it watches folders on my computer so that as I take and edit more it uploads them automatically), but it's easy interface on my phone has made it so easy to find the ones I want. Multiple times over the last couple of weeks have I been in conversations that have hearkened back to an event in the past and I've been able to pull out my phone and easily flip to pictures to either illustrate a point or just share memories. Digital pictures are easy to share in the moment, but I have always felt that they then kind of disappear into a void, but this is like going back to the days of having photo albums but having them incredibly well catalogued and always having them with you!

And the assistant is constantly working in the background to put together and suggest to me panoramas and collages and little photo stories- like this one from the set of pictures I took in the woods after calibrating my lenses-

It is kind of scary how good all of Google's stuff has got- and how reliant I am on it, but hopefully they will stick with their "Don't be evil" motto and not start charging for it...!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I'm sorry trees

Crisp has a couple of new carnivorous plants in his room (long story... he wanted a tarantula), and so I thought he might enjoy reading The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. I was a little aghast at how expensive it was for our Kindles (I know, I know, it's all about the work writing the book, not the cost of physically producing it), and I found while looking it up that the American release of the book (that the Kindle version was taken from) had about 12% mysteriously cut from it. So I managed to track down a British copy on ThriftBooks (with the same cover I remembered from my parents bookshelf) for him. Of course I had to reread it myself first before I gave it to him (he is now reading it and gives it 2 thumbs up), and that led to me ordering another 4 Wyndham books (Midwich Cuckoos, Kraken Wakes, Trouble with Lichen and Seeds of Time) that I am currently working my way through :)

Now I love reading on my Kindle (well, actually the Kindle app on my Nexus 7), the fact that I can increase the type size for my old, tired eyes, look up words in an instant, have multiple books in my hand at the same time etc. etc., but after reading a couple of these I must say I had forgotten the joy of a dead-tree edition. There is a certain satisfaction in the feel of the pages, folding over a corner to mark my place that just isn't there with an ebook. And I'm also very happy to pay 3 or 4 bucks to recycle a library book I can hold in my hands, rather than $8.99 for a download. And for some reason I have even more of a mental block about paying that much for a book I've already read :/

I will certainly carry on reading on my electronic devices- one huge advantage is that if I buy a book from Amazon I can put it on all our Kindles at the same time, so all three of us will be able to read The Martian (one of Crisp's summer reading books that we're all excited about) at the same time this summer. But I will also carry on getting lovely old paperbacks from ThriftBooks too :)


Crisp's old elementary school art teacher Bret Reilly has done a big Art Show at the end of the year every year since Crisp's last year there. He takes over the entire school and lays out a red carpet for the kids to walk down, and so last night Crisp and I went with cameras and "press passes" to be the paparazzi taking pictures of the famous artists as they arrived :)

We also took quite a lot of pictures of each other :)

Crisp with camera

Crisp and Bret

"Press Pass"

I see you

You see me

Me by Crisp

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Cats and dogs living together!

Not sure who's stalking who...?

Well, that was well worth doing!

Took my camera with me when I went to walk the dog this afternoon, with the lens that has been giving me pause on it... and... we're back baby :)

Crisp and sharp and as it should be, so the couple of hours I spent calibrating everything yesterday was well spent!

My usual favourite model

Dappled sunshine on the leaf canopy

Narrow depth of field- with the focus where I want it

Doofy dog

More focus testing

Action shots...

...this camera does these very well

She looks like some bizarre bird in this one

Cooling off in the stream

Water dog...

...bounding through...

...chasing her tennis ball...

...there it is... it :)

Wet dog