The Car Guy and his Automotive Quests

If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.
– Doug Larson –

 The Car Guy attended  the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction in Scottsdale this past January.

yellow red

He is always on the look out for another Challenger like his.

Or a truck like his 1950 Fargo.


There are 164 million (give or take a few million) blogs on the internet! Here are just a few of the ones that I have followed over the years.

Currently Active Bloggers

Christopher Martin at Christopher Martin Photography – Canada
A talented woman at composerinthegarden – USA
A Versatile writer at Curmudgeon at Large – USA
Angie Stevens at Doodlemum – UK
Lemony Gregg at Lemony Shots – USA
Mark Armstrong at Mark Armstrong Illustration – USA
Mike Smith at Mike Smith Illustrator – UK
Mike Hardisty at Say it with a Camera – UK
Peg at Peg-o-Legs Ramblings – USA
Ruth at Ruth E. Hendricks Photography – USA
Darla at She’s a Maineiac – USA
Dor at Technicolor Day Dreams and Virginia Views– USA
Steve at The Brown Road Chronicles – USA
Al at thecvillean – USA
Christine at The Good Life List – Canada
Nicole at The Middlest Sister – USA
Margo at The Other Side of 55 – Canada
Maralee at Through My Lens – USA
Amy at The World is a Book – USA

A Retired Blog is Not a Dead Blog…

Barb at Before Morning Breaks – USA
Susan at Coming East – USA
Fergiemoto at Creativity Aroused – USA
A Virginian at Silver in the Barn – USA

Digital Marble – Cotoneaster Leaves – The Polar Coordinate Filter

Photo manipulating programs have a polar coordinate filter that can turn a photo into a circular shape that is reminiscent of a fortune teller’s orb or marble. They are also commonly called Amazing Circles. I recently found a post by Russel Ray with full directions and illustrations for how to create An orb in Photoshop.

I’m very excited with my marble photos, though I will soon have so many of them that I expect the novelty will wear off – for you. I don’t think I will tire of it soon because each one is so unpredictable. I never know what will be inside the marble photo until it is complete! Here are the directions for making these using one purchased program and one freeware program.

1. Photoshop Elements 10:

a. Open your picture in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop and enhance it as desired. I usually adjust the lighting levels and sharpen.

b. Crop it to a square, or a ratio of 1:1 (photo above)

c. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Polar to Rectangular – OK (photo above)

d. Click on Image – Rotate – Flip Vertical (photo above)

e. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Rectangular to Polar – OK. Then I opened FastStone Image Viewer to add borders and text, and also t0 resize it to fit my blog. This finished marble is 778X778 pixels.   (photo above)

2. GIMP: is a freely distributed program. The technique for making Amazing Circles is similar to above.

a. Enhance the photo as desired.
b. Choose the Crop Tool (looks like a knife, sort of). Select a Fixed Aspect ratio of 1:1 and select the area you want to use.
c. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates. Uncheck the “To Polar” button.
d. From the menu bar, choose Image- Transform- Flip Vertically.
e. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates again. Check the “To Polar” button.
f. The resulting circle may not have the background color you desire. Use the Color Picker Tool to select a color from the image. Then use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the background.

This isn’t a new technique. It has been around for a few years. Click on this link to see a large number of Amazing Circles that have been submitted to flickr.

Cotoneaster Leaves

One of the most colourful bushes in our yard in the fall is the Cotoneaster. The shiny green leaves of summer turn into blazes of orange and red in the fall.

Birds are by far the biggest propagator of Cotoneasters as they spread the seeds of the berries they’ve eaten.

Plant Profile
Common Name: Cotoneasters (pronounced ‘co_TONY-aster’)
Scientific Name: Cotoneaster; family Rosaceae
Growth: Full sun to partial shade; very adaptable to both dry and moist locations; hardy to zone 2A
Blooms: Clusters of shell pink flowers along the branches in mid spring

Pronunciation Test: Escape or Es-ca-pay?

There is a hill behind the cabin and at the very top is a huge pasture. We often see horses up there, yet we never see them down in our valley. I don’t really understand why they don’t escape from their confines – the fence is down in many places.


I suppose, to the horses, the grass is simply not greener on the other side of the fence. They do not want to ‘es-ca-pay’!

Dory: [Reading a sign on a door] Hey, look. “Es-ca-pay”! Hey, it’s spelled just like escape.
– Dory the Blue Tang fish in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ –

I always thought that Ford Motors should have used Dory’s mispronunciation of ‘Escape’ to promote their Ford Escape.  ‘Es-ca-pay’ sounds so much more daring than plain old ‘escape’.

When we were living in the Middle East, I drove a bright red Jeep Cherokee. One day a British women approached me (and my Jeep) and said, “Oh, I just love your Chur-o-key!” It took me a few seconds to realize that she was referring to my car. (Cherokee, to me, starts with a ‘chair’ sound, to her it starts with a ‘chur’ as in church sound.)

The lesson I learned from my years overseas is that there is more than one way to pronounce a great many words, and the sooner you accept that, the more fun language becomes.

I can ‘es-ca-pay in my chur-o-key’ – what words are you willing to liberate?

Other Photos for this Challenge: Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Cactus: Arizona Yard Full of Prickles

We spent part of our winter in Arizona. The landscaping in our yard is more aptly called hardscaping since it is mostly paving stones and rock. There are a number of green plants – most of them of the prickly variety. Here they are, up close in all their spiny glory.

Golden Barrel Cactus


Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Possibly a type of Hedgehog Cactus

Saguaro Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

There is one animal that is not intimidated by the Prickly Pear Cactus. It is the Javelina. It looks much like a Wild Boar, but it isn’t. I haven’t actually seen Javelinas in our yard, but I do know what they dine on – my Prickly Pear Cactus!

He’d always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country. This was as the desert should be, this was the desert of the picture books, with the land unrolled to the farthest distant horizon hills, with saguaro standing sentinel in their strange chessboard pattern, towering supinely above the fans of ocotillo and brushy mesquite.
– Dorothy B. Hughes, The Expendable Man –

4th Anniversary of Blogging – Why I Think I am Entitled to Popularity

A Satirical look at Entitlement:

1. The facts: This is my 428th Post. I have been blogging for almost 4 years. I get about 60 views a day.

2. My Complaint: My popularity expectations are not being met.

3. My Goal: I want to be immensely popular.  I don’t want to put a lot of effort into promoting my blog, nor do I wish to learn how to be a better writer or photographer. No, I just want what popular bloggers have.

4. My Cunning Plan: I’m going to start a new Entitlement Movement. I welcome your suggestions on what I should call it.

5. What my Entitlement Movement will demand:

  • I want better wild animal photos for my blog. No one does a nicer job than the Canadian Photographer, Christopher Martin.  Oh sure, I could buy a camera like his, and learn how to use it, and spend days tramping through the wilderness – but I’d rather be sitting at my computer complaining. I think I am entitled to some of Christopher’s photos. He has lots of them.
  • I want better wild flower photos. Montucky at Montana Outdoors is very good. He (at least I think he is a he) is American, not Canadian, but I spend enough money in the USA during the winter when I visit there, so I think I am entitled to some of his photos too.
  • I want better drawings. I like the work of Doodlemum.  Yes, I suppose I could learn to draw better, but that would take a lot of time and like I said before, I’m better at complaining.
  • I want unique and inventive content. Terry Border from Bent Objects, Nicole at The Middlest Sister and Dan at A LEGO a Day are three of my favourites. I admire their creativity. I don’t have that skill set, and I’m not even sure I have that kind of capability – but it is what I want, and someone should give it to me. I’m entitled.
  • I want better stories. Most of my fellow bloggers are better writers than I am, so I want them to ghost write for me.
  • I want the same viewer stats as the top 1% of all bloggers. Why should they have so much, and I have so little?

It just dawned on me that I should be demanding better internet service too. I live in a rural area and the nearest internet tower provides “insufficient service” for my needs (“Insufficient service” – that is how my ghost writer would say it, I think). I know, I could move closer to where the services are – but it would be much better if they built a tower closer to my house. Not where I could see it, though. I don’t want my view destroyed.  It is bad enough that I can see power poles behind my property. I want all power poles to be underground so I can’t see them. I want all my power to come from the sun or the wind and I want it to be dirt cheap.

Speaking of my rural aspect, there are 17 pieces of property out my way and we were here long before the developers started to march across the horizon and build warehouses. We were here long before the nearest town became a city and annexed us. We were here first! I demand that all this newly developed land be given to me and that I be made President and CEO of all the enterprises that have replaced the homes of the moose and deer and fox.

I also want to have quicker access to an airport, but I don’t want planes flying over my house anymore. Sometimes they are so loud that I can hear them above the howl of the wind and the buzz of the mosquitoes. (I want the wind and mosquitoes to go away too.)

Now I want to go have a nap. Organizing an Entitlement Movement is hard work. I think I need to find ‘people’ to do this stuff for me. I’m entitled to have someone arrange for my entitlements.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln –


Sewing – Story of a Bunny Pattern

My mom was a knitter and a sewer. (In retrospect, Seamstress looks better than sewer. Sewer suddenly looks like a place of waste management). One of her earliest projects (after I was born) was a stuffed bunny that I called ‘Baboo’.

I don’t get it – how could I have ‘Come from a pattern’?

The pattern in this photo is the one she used over mpffmp years ago. The bunny in this photo is Baboo 2. Baboo 1 was a much more interesting creature.  The first time Baboo 1 was washed, one of his ears shrank much more than the other one did. For the rest of his life, his short ear stood up at attention, and his long ear flopped down over his eye.

When Baboo 1 was about 20 years old, I carefully unstuffed him and gave him a good bath in preparation for his introduction to my first child. Once he was dry, I popped him and his stuffing into a paper bag and set him on a shelf in my mom’s laundry room. When I went to retrieve Baboo 1, he was gone. Someone must have seen the old bag of grungy stuffing and threw it out, not realizing that Baboo 1 was in there too.

I made a new Baboo, but he was never right. I used felt for his eyes, but I should have embroidered them. His ears were both the same length, and even when I stitched one down so it would flop, it just wasn’t the same.

I’m glad I still have the pattern. I think I am old enough now to make Baboo again, only this time I will do all the right things wrong, and all the wrong things right. Baboo 3 will be as imperfectly perfect as Baboo 1!

For more photos from this WordPress Challenge, go to Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Canada Geese – Lofty View from the Trees

Many of the old Cottonwood and Poplar trees at the Cabin have been transformed into odd shapes – a result of the weakness of heavy old branches in big wind storms. In the spring, the Canada Geese in our area land on the ‘platforms’ that have formed in these trees. The geese carry on loud conversations, and compete for the attention of – the females, I suppose. I’ve only ever seen them do this in the spring.


These two trees are on our property. The wide angle capability of my new Canon PowerShot SX50 lets me take an all encompassing photo like this from a relatively close position. This past week-end six Canada Geese landed in the trees in our yard. Can you see two of them  in these trees?


Can you see them now that I’ve cropped the photo?


One tree branch was big enough for two geese. . .


Until one goose muscled the other off the branch.


This is a photo I took with the zoom lens of the SX50. It is hand held, and the photo has not been  cropped or enhanced. The original photo is a much higher resolution, of course.


Zooming in even closer, this photo has a focal length of 215 mm, which is the maximum for the lens. I could have zoomed in even closer, but then I would have been using a digital zoom, not an optical one (digital zoom is in-camera image processing; optical zoom is the image that the lens captures.)

To put this story into perspective, six 6kg (15 pound) birds took up positions in my back yard and started to squabble over landing rights. It was truly a memorable morning!

The Feather Files
Name: Canada Goose
Species:Branta canadensis
Native to and Migration: Resident to long-distance migrant. Canada Geese breed throughout North America, except in the high Arctic and in the extreme southern parts of the United States and Mexico.
Date Seen: May, 2013
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

That reminds me, a saltwater crocodile, a great white shark and a Canada Goose walk into a bar….
– Author Unknown –