Category Archives: Cats

Little People In Furry Zip Suits

Read a book about cats. It was called Cats. It was written by a cat counsellor. Seriously. She said not to treat cats like little people in furry zip suits. I call bullshit! I present Johnny Park (who the missus sometimes just calls John) and Aurora, who I call Princess, Roo, Roobs, Trouble, Rubble, Tee-Rubble, Rora, Roratyroo etc etc!

I hope you’re not scared of cats!

This is the first of a few blogs. I’m waaaay behind on my blogging so I’ll be doing some quickfire catchup over the next few days. This one is a ton of pictures I’ve taken of the cats over the last few months. Enjoy!

Apparently I have learned stuff!

Hi there hey there ho there!

What a catchphrase, good old Bob!

I have updated my site to PHP5 and WordPress 3.2.1. You won’t notice anything but for me, my life just got a whole load easier.

What’s new?

Well, in conjunction with getting old/turning 30, the missus decided it would be fun to interview me and asked me to come up with a list of 5 things I have learned in my 30 years of living. Discussed over a lovely bottle of Italian white wine and recorded on my super awesome Samsung Galaxy S2, we had a blast!

Check it out here:

I may have already told you this but I recently took up driving lessons again. I had 60 when I was 17 and 5 when I was 25. I used to suck! I decided enough was enough and am taking it seriously. I’m driving purely automatic now and it’s a lot easier. Yesterday, I took my Theory and Hazard Perception test. Nailed it! Got my driving test booked in October.

Finally, we have adopted a new cat or rather he has adopted us. We’ve called him Dave. It’s such an everyman’s name. He’s a stray that we’ve noticed hanging around a lot for the last 12 months but lately he’s been looking really unwell and very skinny. Presume he has been manipulating us. The other day I decided to feed him and now he keeps coming back, he loiters on our lawn and on the garden bench and just yesterday he gave me a welcoming meow! Awwwww! The other two cats are pissed!

So, meet Dave:

He looks like Aurora. She’s all uppity about it and keeps braying on the glass whenever he comes around. Mr Park can’t understand why there are two black and white cats and is having an identity crisis and skulking about the place.

Ah cats!

Hope you’re enjoying the summer, I’m off to BBQ some steaks!

Out with the crap, in with the much better!

I got a new lens this week and was also fortunate enough to get some good weather to go testing it without having to resort to taking 900 pictures of teacups and spoons!

When I bought my SLR, I got the Nikon 18-55 lens and the Tamron 70-300 macro lens. The latter hasn’t served me very well. I’m not a techie photo geek, I couldn’t tell you if I’m getting weird curved edges on my photos or any of that shit, all I can tell you is that the lens just isn’t very good.

The auto focus is slow, the light capture is poor, the picture quality is sub par, it’s bulky and cumbersome and ultimately, it’s almost impossible to take a good picture without blur. Even on a tripod!!

So I’ve taken a punt and got a Nikon 55-200mm lens. £150 on Amazon. 53% off! Result!

So far it’s pretty fantastic. It’s tiny. It’s got VR. It’s got fantastic glass (apparently). It takes brilliant pictures!

If I could be arsed I’d do a side by side comparison. But I can’t. Go somewhere else for that.

These are the pictures I did take this week though. Finally got some good ones of the birds in the garden and also a leaping cat who was chasing aforementioned birds! There is another post due with pics of my cats taken with this lens. they deserve a post of their own.

In other news…

1) I saw the Foo Fighters play at Dingwalls. Awesome!

2) I spent an afternoon with my nephew Lucas and a dog called Sam. Pics coming soon.

3) I’ve been collecting a ton of Foo Fighters records. Got some neato rare stuff!

4) I’m going to Australia next week. I’m incredibly excited. This is going to be an awesome photo journey and I fully intend to bore everyone to death with a slideshow when I get back!

5) I celebrated the five year anniversary of being with the missus. She rules!

Wordless Wednesday (14)

Brrrrrrr! So, we are turning the corner into Winter, the season of frost, ice and cold!

This was my view when I woke up the other morning:

It’s so cold that Mr Park has gone all eskimo on us and hides in his fur lined hole for maximum heat retention!

Fings I Like Friday (23)

1) My tattoo. A minor repeat I’m afraid but relevant nonetheless. As we move into the cold weather season, I stop wearing T-shirts and go for long sleeves. This is sad. No longer will my sleeve creep up my arm revealing a hint of blue and no longer will a hasty choice of T-shirt be an issue in the work environment. For the next 5 to 6 months my acquisition of the year shall remain hidden. I salute you!

2) Pumpkins! Usually I’m not very creative and when it comes to the yearly pumpkin it has three triangles and a big hole for a mouth. Not this year! This year I searched google, found a pattern, hand sketched it on a pumpkin and carved it out. This little dude is completely badass!

3) Bonfire night. As a Yorkshireman, I’m always on the side of ole Guido. I celebrate his heroics, not his execution. Pics coming on Wednesday. The missus has also made parkin. I’m looking forward to eating this.

4) The cats. I bought a new laser pen toy for them. Aurora loves it and keeps chasing it around the house. Mr Park (or Parkin for the bonfire period) just lies there and watches it pass him buy, occasionally batting a paw at it.

5) The missus. In the face of adversity, she just keeps swimming! She is also currently studying massage therapy and I’m her test subject. This means bi weekly massages. For free. Saving me about £280 a month! Sweet!

6) Foo Fighters. Yes, my beloved band are touring again. I have tickets to see them in Milton Keynes. Shizzle!

Fings I Like Friday (19)

How is it Friday already?

1) The cats. They make me laugh. Sometimes I hyperventilate! Yesterday I took the string from our veg boxes and let them chase me around the house. Mr Park kept getting low then pouncing, missing, low, pouncing. Miss Aurora vaguely waved an arm in the direction of the passing string. Brilliant!

2) Pancakes. Who can be bothered to wait for pancake day? We have pancakes usually once a week. This morning we had completely vegan ones, the recipe is getting better, and then we had a syrup of stewed strawberries and blueberries. Yum!

3) Living a simple life. To re-iterate my eco post, it’s living a simple life at heart, not necessarily just having no stuff. It’s about disconnecting from all your baggage. To quote a random Google Reader article I was sent:

There are three happiness killers:

Doing work you do not love and are not passionate about,
Surrounding yourself with people who you do not really like (someone who just fills time),
And living somewhere that does not let you be you.

Just stop it.
Life is far too short.


4) Money management. The missus and I have very different attitudes to money. I have now taken over everything. I file everything neatly, I have an Excel spreadsheet for each of my accounts, I have an overview summary which shows me everything. It’s awesome! Can you tell I work in accounting?

5) The missus. Today she retired. Well, not really, she’s not that old!! What she has done is leave PAYE for good. She is now permanently self employed. Working for the man just doesn’t suit her. I treated her to a lovely lamb and mash dinner to celebrate. Recipe to follow on another day.

Fings I Like Friday (15)

Another week gone in the blink of an eye.

1) BBQ’s. I love how in this country, no matter what the weather, we will always try to have a BBQ. Many weekends spent clutching a raw sausage as your dad yells “You’ll eat your bloody sausage and be grateful!”. Tonight I had a BBQ in the rain.

2) The cats. We don’t know when Aurora was born but it was some time around August so we declared the first. This year she was three years old! Johnny Park was born on the fifth and this year he was two.

3) The missus. She’s had her hair cut. After two and a half years!! She looks more hot than she already did!

4) The football season. I watched a footie game this week and there were no vuvuzelas. It was weird. Tomorrow is the start of the Premier League. I am very excited! I always love the start and the end. Not so fussed about the middle. Come on Man Utd!

5) John Bishop. This dude is hilarious! He’s everywhere at the moment. I saw him on the Michael McIntyre roadshow. He told a super funny joke about his kids being middle class and the type of kids he’d have beaten up as a kid. Hilarious!

That’s it for another week.

Fings I Like Friday (14)

Back to normal this week.

1) My new camera. It’s wonderful. Still haven’t figured out all the buttons yet but just working in auto/aperture/shutter modes is working out nicely so far. Scene modes are pretty good too.

2) Birthday celebrations that last all weekend. This year my birthday went from Friday to Sunday culminating in some home made courgette cakes. They sound icky but they’re actually really quite delicious.

3) My new office. I moved upstairs before the weekend and this week has been my first full week in my new space. It’s pretty cool actually. It allows me a degree of headspace once the computers are switched off and I’m out of my work environment. I’m planning on getting some spider plants in there and today I had some vanilla oil burning. The best part however, is “arriving” to work in the morning and being greeted by sunrise:

4) The cats. They’re so lovely and completely different. One is a photo whore who loves posing

and the other is not interested at all

5) The missus. Not a photo whore but loves her nibbles

Until next time…

And it’s obvious that you’re dying, dying

Just living proof that the camera’s lying!

So, following on from my post on Friday, I mentioned I had bought a new digital SLR. For those not following closely, photography is a passion that has dominated my 20’s. I’ve used various bits of kit and pieced together bits and pieces but never actually owned my own camera. I’ve never seen the point in owning a compact for myself and I’ve never had the money to buy an SLR. Until now!

Of course, I’m working on the concept of abundance to pay off my credit card!!

Over the last year or so, I’ve been using the missus’ camera. A really snazzy Canon Powershot A590:

It’s been a surprising little beauty. The macro is good, the reaction to low light is impressive and the speed is top notch for a compact. As you’ve probably seen from previous posts it’s produced some rather good pictures.

But now is the time to move on. I went out and bought myself a Nikon D5000 for my birthday. I’ve been geeking up on it for the last few months to make certain it’s the one I want. It so totally is!!

I love how small it is. It fits really quite snugly into my hands. It’s also very light. I believe one of the lightest of its peers.

So, how about using it?

Hmmm…well actual photography techniques aside, it’s really very easy. If you’ve used any compact that has the program dial with MASP on it then you can pretty much just jump in and get going. The auto mode is very good and doesn’t just dish out bland photos. Stick it in scene mode and it becomes very interesting. It looks like Nikon have really made an effort here to cover plenty of scenarios. Instantly for my main usage there’s indoor, pets, vivid, food and flowers. Looking forward to trying some night photography with it too.

The LCD screen on the back is nice and large and quick for zooming in and checking the finer details of an image. It also rotates in almost every direction which is super handy for high sunshine shooting.

Picture quality, this is good. My best test of a camera is to take a picture then stick it straight into your photo editor and run an auto levels on it. If there’s no change, you’re on to a winner. I’ve seen some truly awful results using this method. The camera does RAW shooting and combined RAW and JPEG shooting. JPEG’s on high quality come in around 6 Meg though! Ouch! I’m going to cane this memory card!

The packaged lens is the 18-55 VR DX. I’m a big fan of Nikon lenses. There is nothing better. I just wish I could afford them for every lens I want. I really wanted the Nikon 105mm macro but I don’t get paid nearly enough so have settled for the Tamron 70-300 macro. It macros at 180-300 and is actually pretty good. There’s a bit of camera shake and blur on some of the first images I took but using a tripod I got much better results. Plus it’s dual use as a telephoto which might be handy.

I got a good deal with all that in the end and got a case, memory card and some other stuff. Came to a nice sum of £777! Happy Birthday me right?!

I’ve used it for a couple of days now, had a good session today trying out different things. Most of it is being saved for upcoming Wordless Wednesdays but here’s a sneak peek of some of my favourites from today and yesterday.

Mr. Park looking beautiful as ever.

Miss Aurora. It took 17 shots to get this. She’s so fidgety!

An amazing orange flower in the garden. Looks like lava!

A nice purpley/pink flower. This is part of a cool sequence I have planned for this week.

So that’s it for now. I’m back at work tomorrow but I’m hoping to spend some of the evenings out and about while we still have good light. For the winter, I’m going to get me a studio kit and spend a lot of time fine tuning my macro skills and working on night photography. I’ll also be doing a course to really push my skills to new levels.