Friday, August 21, 2015

Gobbledegook


I love this photo. It has such movement.  And the moon adds the perfect interplanetary touch!  Well, I've never been a Transformers fan.  That is, until I went on this awesome ride. My favorite of the day.  Universal Studios, Florida does a fantastic job of combining thrilling rides with 3 D movie entertainment.  Well, 4 D really. There's often water or even fire making a splash.  Whew, the whole experience can seem pretty real.


Rant alert.  Read only if you are tired of self centered, mug loving, social media misfits...

 If I looked like this metallic guy, I would be able to grab and destroy (or shove them you know where) every stupid selfie stick. And scare the offenders in the process.


And there's no shortage of gulls, pigeons and ducks. Where there's people, there's food...


The only dud of the day (or 3 days) was Poseidon.  I might have to drown myself before going on this one again. 


Glamour shot


A castle fit for Harry Potter.


This guy looms over the new Harry Potter land. I can almost feel the blast furnace of mouth breathing fire. I can't see it though.  Ha! And boy, did they do a great job making this a magical place.  Move over Disney.  RRRROOOOAAARRR!




The kitty moved.  But so did many creatures big and small in and out of store windows.  Especially if you bought a wand.  Then you were really in the magic business. (Wands O.K. but Selfie sticks, no way)



Owls were everywhere.


Beware of books!  It was so fun window shopping.  And if you run out of cash and need to visit the bank, watch out for those testy Goblins.  I don't know why I didn't get a photo of them as we were waiting in line at the theme ride.  They were as real as rain.

"We are talking about a different breed of being. Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught for centuries ... There has been fault on both sides, I would never claim that wizards have been innocent. However, there is a belief among some goblins, and those at Gringotts are perhaps most prone to it, that wizards cannot be trusted in matters of gold and treasure, that they have no respect for goblin ownership."
Bill Weasley talking to Harry Potter about goblins[src]
Goblins are a highly intelligent race of small hominids with long fingers and feet that coexist with the wizard world.  Their diet consists of meat, roots and fungi. Goblins converse in a language known as Gobbledegook, and are adept metalsmiths notable for their silverwork; they even mint coins for wizarding currency. Due to their skills with money and finances, they control the wizarding economy to a large extent and run Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
Goblins have their own type of magic and can do magic without a wand. They are represented by the Goblin Liaison Office of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in the Ministry of Magic. Goblins are considered to be inferior by many wizards, who foolishly believe that the goblins are comfortable with that arrangement.


The park had decent food.  But I didn't try this pie.







I prefer my dragons to have a Kahleesi as their mother.  But since Game of Thrones does not have a theme park....yet, I thoroughly recommend Universal Studios.  And don't forget the single rider line.  It made getting onto rides a 2nd time a snap. 


By the time sunset rolled around we were enjoying some well deserved tasty beverages and were finally off our tired feet. But what a magic day!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Internet Cat Video Fest 2015!


Who would have thought that there was a need for an Internet Cat Video Festival 4 years ago? This year they had it at CHS Field. And I was too busy eating and drinking to take many photos. Plus, with 13,000 other people lounging around, it would be hard to make my way through all the fuzzy ears, painted whiskers and slinky tails. A lot of people were wearing them!

The festival opened with a touching tribute to Cecil the Lion. One of the funniest videos was a spoof on Jurassic park. They replaced the dinos with cats. But Andre the aloof  French cat was a hoot. Along with so many hilarious side winders, foul plays and bent whiskers. 



Before the videos started, they had a montage of cat photos that people apparently sent in. But not me. Sniff. Next year hopefully! My favorite cat civilian names were Hot Pocket and Purrman.

 I remember watching an embarrassing reality show over 10 years ago. The premise basically was: A girl tells her family she's marrying this gross slob and the wedding would be on reality T.V. You know, just a normal day in America. At one point the Mother of the Bride whispers in her husband's ear that among the many failings and disgusting habits of the groom, he wanted to serve, of all things, Hot Pockets at the reception. My husband and I have laughed at Hot Pockets ever since. I've never eaten one though.


Look!  My cat Hana and her tongue were featured on the big screen! Why isn't anyone looking? Well, because I photoshopped her on. I need to make some real cat videos.


I've posted this before. And it's real! Not photoshop.



Since I didn't take many photos of the feline festivities, here's my funny cat entry. This scenario really happened a few weeks ago.

We came back from a long weekend lunch to hear loud, pitiful, roaring howls emanating from behind the closed bathroom door. Oh no. Hana locked herself in again. Surprise, surprise. When we leave on weekends we put something in front of the door to make sure this doesn't happen. But this time, the wind probably slammed the door and trapped poor Hana inside. Well, she left us a stinky bomb in the sink. And she was full of cries and vinegary howls for quite awhile after. It could be from guilt... but more likely resentment at this atrocity. This horribly unfair, unreasonable cat torture.

Hana

Here's what Hana and Akua had to say last year. In case you missed it!

Akua

The life of a pampered house cat.

Did you miss out on all the fun? Well, here's a youtube link to all the featured videos. Just click on the meow.



Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Hood


We were wandering the hood a few weeks ago, and we found this discarded oriole nest. I placed it on this old weathered fence and it looked like a bird!



It even had a beak!


Grass Lake

We are out enjoying our area lakes almost every day of the summer. Lake Harriet is only around 9 blocks away. And Grass lake is only a couple blocks from our backdoor. It's always a good choice for an evening stroll at sunset.





I love the light beams in this photo.




But there's fun to be had in our own backyard. We always have early spring chickadees nesting in our birdhouse. And after they start flying school, my husband always clears out their nesting material in the hopes of new renters. 

Well, this year, for the very first time, we had wrens! And if you are a birder, you know how joyous it is to have wrens talking you up. In the past, we have seen them bringing in sticks, but they never chose our box. But this year they stayed. And the summer was all the better with their lively chatter. And then their offspring's little peeps.



It took many stick deliveries to get the nest set up just right.





Many sticks were just too darn large. So I was able to snap a few photos while they were trying to jury rig them in. 



The bird house sits over our beautiful iris crop. My husband's grandmother started these very plants. And we are keeping them going in our neck of the city. Now, even my hydrangea are on the tail end of the season. 


But it's not just the blooming summer flowers that are saying goodbye.


The wrens have fledged. And all they left behind was a woodsy nest, miniature feathers and one tiny brown speckled egg. 

So sweet.

We'll miss you little fellows.

Bird d'Pot

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Casa Construction


I love this photo. The sun is crawling up the Mountain side, the sky is frosted with a blush of colors and the silhouettes add some interesting magic as well.



Sunrise in Costa Rica is a soul replenishing experience.



But the beauty of sunrise in Dominical is not just visual.  If you were watching this awakening glow in person you'd feel the caress of the moist morning air and hear a chorus of birds among the rustle of jungle leaves.  



Hmmm.. The human sense of hearing is so questionable. It can be so pleasurable sometimes. I enjoy the ruffle of wings as a bird nestles in a near by tree. The rumbling, earthy growl of the howler monkey greeting the day.  The song of the birds is the only alarm clock I'll ever need on vacation. 

 The visual beauty of this Casa is undeniable.  In fact, this breath taking vista might be the best we've ever experienced.  So why did we leave disgruntled and a week early? I think the title of this post says it all. It was my well earned nickname for this lovely rental. 

But I will say this, we kept coming back up the mountain anyway. Casa Construction was a hop, skip and a frog jump from Jolly Rodgers Pirate Bar. You couldn't keep us away from the best burgers in Dominical! And good pizza too. Plus, big strong drinks to keep you jolly. Except through construction noise at 6 am.


My meager mystery bird photo this week. I hope I've earned a simple silhouette!

At sunset the construction ended.  I aimed my camera towards the setting sun and breathed a sigh of relief.

But at 6:00 am the workers staying on the lot next door expelled a big yawn, stretched, stepped out of their shack and climbed into a bulldozer!  And the construction was happening all over the hillside.  So motorcycles and trucks full of gravel were lined up like a parade at dawn  The explosion of sound fell in the negative sound spectrum.  In other words.  It sucked!   



Sunset didn't suck.



Sunset soothed.



Sunset glowed.



Sunset amazed.


Growth Chart


I selected an illustration from my book Maya Monkey for the www.illustrationfriday.com theme grow. This one's pretty obvious, as she's being measured for growth by her friend the sloth. 

Just another day in paradise!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Nature at its Finest!


My favorite detail of this piece is the red eyed tree frog. I've posted him before on my blog. He really represents some of my finest detail work. It could be that I was inspired by my love of animals, reptiles, birds and bugs. Well, scratch the bugs. But they do feed my beloved birds and frogs. So I guess they're O.K. As long as they are on the tongue of a frog instead of on me! But it is mostly because of the insane beauty of the tree frog. What a great subject!  I've never seen a red eyed tree frog in the wild. I have seen a blue jean's frog though.


Blue Jean's Frog.  Although,that's probably not his official name!

These images were taken on a night hike in Puerto Veijo, Costa Rica. Shortly after I photographed these little frogs, it started pouring dogs and cats!


Flora and fauna


Dominical, Costa Rica

And since I painted that jungle piece so many years ago, we've actually stayed in jungle cabanas with similar amazing views! This one was breath taking. And you heard all of the jungle noises you'd expect to hear from a location such as this. But, I did nickname this place Casa Construction. It lived up to it's name. Let me tell you. Maybe, I'll fill you in on that next week.



Sunrise and sunset were visually stirring here. Dominical, Costa Rica will always feel like home.




Nature is the theme for www.illustrationfriday.com this week.