Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, November 30, 2007

Becoming fast friends

Bailey, the somewhat wacky dachshund who runs my parents' house, and Gracey, the full-of-mischief black kitten who lives with my sister Suze, are temporarily sharing space.

They really weren't sure of each other at first, looking, but looking away when they sensed the other looking at them. Looking, chasing, ignoring... But now, they seem to be entering the realm of friendship, sitting together, checking each other out. I wonder how they'll react when Mom & Bailey head back to their other home in upstate New York. I sense that they will miss each other. Hopefully they'll carry some memory of their fun so the next melding (as animal friends) will be faster.

A painted sky

My eyes were drawn to the eastern sky early this morning. It was painted a brilliant pink and orange, a beautiful memory.

The old adage "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning" always makes me wonder. Today's forecast is for a crisp, sunny day, but there is snow in the forecast for Sunday night and Monday. I won't take warning for today, and we get our weather from so many different directions that I suspect it's really too early to worry about Sunday night. But brrr! The forecast for Saturday night calls for a temperature of 13 degrees (Fahrenheit). Brrr... I'm not (mentally) ready for that!

I think this weekend will be a "dress warmly, walk lightly with camera" kind of weekend. Maybe a jaunt to the coast, a visit with the birds, views of waves...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On purpose?

Tonight I was in Norton hell, and I wonder - was it on purpose, or just a fluky thing?

I turned my computer on, and was informed almost immediately of a problem with Norton Internet Security. The error was preventing the virus protection software from working, so it wasn't something that could be ignored. I followed the error link to the Norton site, and the first suggested action was to restart the computer. OK, I'll restart.

Nope, that didn't help. I wandered back to the same page, scrolled down a little further, and saw the suggestion to uninstall and reinstall the product. Hmmm... I really didn't feel like playing games, and I briefly considered just finding a different virus protection solution. I knew that my Norton subscription still had quite a few months left on it though, so I played the uninstall, reboot, install, reboot game. And yes, my computer is now protected once again.

I wonder though... a few weeks ago I received an email telling me I had a free upgrade to Norton Internet Security 2008 (from the 2007 version). I planned to install it, just hadn't managed to get to it yet. My question is, was there some kind of time bomb in the older version triggered by the availability of the upgrade? That doesn't really make sense to me, but the timing seems a bit coincidental.

It's fixed now, but I still wonder...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hidden at dusk

As I was driving down a narrow neighborhood street just after sunset, two dark images darted in front of my car. It appeared to be two young women, exercising, running... They were clad in dark clothing, with the only reflective material the tabs on the heels of their running shoes.

What do you suppose they were thinking?

Not only were they hiding in the dark in their very dark clothing, they chose to run out in front of a moving automobile. I suppose that they weren't thinking at all, were they?

And yes, you're absolutely right, I do walk on those same streets when there isn't a light in the sky. I wear a light colored jacket with reflective panels across the back and on the sleeves. I wear a reflective belt, and I wear bright blinking lights - two red blinkies on my belt facing to the back, one blue blinking light on my belt facing to the front, and two blue blinking lights around my (upper) right arm. I walk on the left side of the road facing traffic, so the blue blinkies on my arm are directly pointing to approaching drivers. I've had people stop me to tell me they thought I was a police car, a good confirmation that I am very visible.

My lights? They are Firefly™ Supernova lights from Road ID. I highly recommend them.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A visting holiday

Thanksgiving is a crazy travel holiday, but a good time for a quiet family visit.

I've lessened the travel craziness over the years by choosing to fly early in the morning on both Wednesday and Sunday. With my early morning arrival, I still have a good four days to visit - just shifted to start (and end) a day earlier.

It was a good visit, quiet, a time to share memories, to visit with people and with our favorite pets - Bailey the wacky dachshund, and Gracey the silly kitten. It was a time to talk, and to walk with a camera (always!).

More photos can be viewed in my gallery November sunshine, Thanksgiving visit

Courtesy of TSA

Venturing to a major airport on the day that is known to be the busiest travel day of the year is always an adventure. My long habit of flying early in the morning lessens the craziness and the mobs of people, but flying from a busy airport often means long lines.

My flight? From Philadelphia, a crazy airport - to Manchester, NH, a very reasonable airport. I've grown to expect long lines to get through security in Philadelphia, and this morning fit that pattern perfectly. Until...

I was flying on Southwest Airlines, which has a ticketing presence in Terminal E, but flys out of both D and E. Those concourses are not connected inside of security. I started at E, found that my flight would be leaving from gate D4, and headed to D. There was no line for security at terminal E, but the lines at D extending well across the walkway to baggage claim and the parking garage. I started the trek to the end of the line, walking alongside of a TSA representative. Walking, walking, looking at the line...

Just as I got close to the end of the line, my TSA shadow stopped to make an announcement. He informed us that there was no wait to get through security in terminal C, and that C and D are connected after security.

To C! I headed down the stairs to cut across the train platform, and back up to C. No line meant a quick waltz through security. And then... a quick stop to pick up a cup of coffee, and a walk back to terminal D and my gate. In spite of the extra walking and the coffee stop, I believe I was at the gate much sooner than I would have been if I'd stayed in that long line. That was easy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bright, chilly...

Sunlight, chill air, a good day for walking...

It would have been a good day for riding too, a good day to wander out to the coast. But somehow, walking near home fit my mood of the day.

And yes, per my usual habit, I was carrying a camera, and I was talking to the animals!

Damn computers!

Or maybe I should say damn cameras?!

Don't get me wrong - I love taking pictures and playing with my camera, and I love sharing my photos and writing. I have no regrets.

And yet... it feels like I've been glued to my computer for days now. I guess I have - I test (or break!) software for a living, so I'm talking to computers for the bulk of my work day. And I've been spending my "at home" time working on my photo galleries and journal from my Death Valley trip ever since I returned home. Two weeks! And today I fell into a new adventure - creating a book from my photos.

blurb and SmugMug just announced a partnership, the ability to slurp images from SmugMug galleries into blurb's book publication tool. As part of the relationship coupons for a free blurb book were distributed to folks who requested them, and I was one of the lucky recipients.

Of course there was a catch to that free book coupon... it had to be used by November 20th. I finished my Death Valley galleries yesterday, which left today to create a book.

Let's see, which photos should I use? I started with my Death Valley trip photos, thinking that I would combine my journal with the photos. The complexity of sorting out five galleries worth of photos plus getting the right look to the text sections sent me off in another direction after a few hours. After all, I do have plenty of galleries to use as my model book. I think I'll create my Death Valley book when I'm in less of a time crunch.

Creating that second book will depend on the quality of my first experiment. If the quality makes me happy, I'll go do battle with blurb's BookSmart tool again. And I will report the problems I had today. It seems that a lot of folks are using Photoshop to create their pages for blurb because blurb's tool is so difficult to work with. That's not something I intend to do...

There are several items that I believe need to be fixed to make BookSmart a reasonable publication tool: 1) the image name and date taken need to be preserved from the EXIF of the photo. It can't be some variation of SmugMug's internal name; it needs to be the real image name. Add to that the fact that the date taken shown in BookSmart is no where near the actual date of the photo, and you have a situation where it is almost impossible to quickly identify the photo you want. Yes there are thumbs - but small thumbs don't make things easy! And 2) the tool sometimes pays attention to the font and font size selected, but sometimes feels like almost never. It's painful to format a page. 3) I should be able to easily resize the boxes that photos sit in. And... well, there's more too. I guess I'll need to decide whether to try blurb again after I see my first book. I may want to explore some other publishers.
My book? It's called Images of Acadia, and it presents a camera's eye view of the park from my visit in September.

You do know it's a labor of love, don't you?

Interested in your own copy? Click here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


It was a bright day, chilly, not freezing. It was cold overnight though, cold enough to freeze some shallow troughs of water. And in spite of the sunshine and relative warms of temperatures in the very low 40s, some ice remained floating, decorating the fallen leaves.

Visions of Death Valley

It was a magical five days in Death Valley National Park...

I posted journal entries from the road, but sharing photos needed to wait until I returned home. My journal is now complete - including photos and travel information - and my photo galleries contain visions to share.

You can read my thoughts and musings and view some photos in my journal What's in a name? And you can wander over to my Death Valley photo galleries too. There is some overlap of photos between the two locations, but there are also photos in both places that are not in the other.

I've included a randomly generated photo from each of the five galleries below. You can click on a photo or the name of the gallery to access it directly, or you can use the link above to see the gallery grouping.

A trail, a wash, a slot, anywhere!

Sand Dunes on the edges of the day

Mosaic Canyon

Twenty Mule Team Canyon

Zabriskie Point

Friday, November 16, 2007

Morning jam

Jam? No, not jam for morning toast, a traffic jam!

Or perhaps I should call it a turkey jam.

I turned in to the office this morning, and saw what looked from afar like extra rocks scattered across the lawn outside of the parking garage. Rocks? No rocks last night, they can't be rocks...

My car rolled forward, and I very quickly registered what my eyes were seeing. It was a flock of turkeys. Turkeys congregate outside of my (office) windows during the colder months, and I saw my first flock of the season last week. This morning's gaggle of birds was prancing on the lawn, and standing in the entryway to the parking garage. I rolled forward a little bit, then stopped, and waited. A couple of the gangly birds moved onto the grass, then a couple more. I was about the start rolling again when the clump of birds to my left who were now separated from the larger flock decided to race across the driveway to join their friends.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Color fascination

The rest of the tree sports solid yellow leaves; this one must be special! Orange, veins of yellow...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jack-o'-lantern jumping

...jumping out at me, that is!

There are still a few steps decorated with carved pumpkins, jack-o'-lanterns, Halloween decorations from that night a week and a half ago. Most don't warrant a second glance, but this one did.

The artist carved the pumpkin from the top, using the stem as a nose, and letting the "head" rest on the pumpkin's side. Turn something 90 degrees and it becomes much more interesting.

Colored leaves & bare trees

Some trees are still dressed in autumn splendor, while others have faded into browns. Still others are bare, ready for the cold to come...

On the ground, there is a carpet of leaves. And yet... occasional plants still wear (sparse) flowers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tea tags

...tea tags or fortune cookies?

Mid-afternoon is a good time for a cup of tea, and this afternoon's choice was Good Earth Original (SWEET & SPICY™ HERB TEA). The company? Good Earth® Teas, based in Santa Cruz, California.

So why does the tag on the tea bag include a saying like a bad fortune cookie?

This afternoon's tea break was accompanied by a laugh, triggered by this tag:

Dignity does not consist in a silk dress.
Wise saying from the Orient
Wise? What language is that? And what is it intended to mean? Yes, the individual words are English, but as a sentence it just doesn't make any sense.

Oh well, at least it made me laugh. One of my co-workers actually questioned whether I really wanted to drink the tea after hearing me read the tag! It was a good cup of tea...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dark! walking...

It's been creeping ever earlier, but with the weekend switch back to standard time, the very earlier disappearing daylight has been slapping me in the face.

Sun down, darkness was descending as I arrived home after work tonight. A chill was in the air, and it would have been so easy to walk into the house and just stay there. I ignored that lazy feeling, donned the right layers to deal with the temperatures, attached my blinky lights to my body, and headed out walking.

Once I was out there, the brisk temperature was quite pleasant, and walking in the dark? That was fine too. It's a good thing, because I have a number of months of dark walking ahead of me.

Hmm... maybe I should move to Hawaii.

Yes, you're absolutely right. That thought crosses my mind at this time of year every year. I wonder...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Disappearing daylight

Hey - what happened to the sun?

No more daylight savings time this year, and as always the first day is more than a little bit of a shock. Yesterday's sunset was too early at 5:25PM, and today's at 4:34PM? Ouch!

I was sitting at my computer, reviewing the photos from my Death Valley trip, and editing my journal when I looked up and realized that the time was flying and that it was already 2 in the afternoon. Oops! I knew that I needed to get moving quickly if I was going to ride before the sun disappeared. And yes, I did ride.

In the short week that I was gone, most of the leaves have completed their journey from bright color to brown. There are still a few holdouts, but there is a different look to the landscape.