Meet the family

So this weekend, we bought the dogs a gigantic bone to watch them play with it, for our own entertainment. After a while we had some good photos and I thought, “Nuts to just the bone pictures, we should put all sorts of stuff on there and introduce the whole family.”

You’ve already met me, I’m Alex. Here I am testing out a motel bed on a recent trip to Evansville.

I had to do this like 6 times before we got a good shot of me in mid air.

Here’s my lovely wife, partner, and accomplice at international jewel thieving, Meghan.

“What’s Alex doing in the photo above me? It’s not something embarrassing is it?” asks Meghan, “He put the bed bouncing photo on the Internet? Again!?”

Here’s Sookie. She was my dog for my lonely years before meeting Meghan, and now she’s our dog. She’s a bit hyper and is the “Alpha”, if you can call a 20-pound dog that.

Yep. Hyper. Bet you’d never guess with a photo like that.

And why is Sookie so happy in the above pic? The giant bone of course. Here’s her alternating between trying to figure the bone out and trying figure out how to get it, in its entirety, into her stomach.

“I don’t know what to do, but at least it’s mine.”

It always scares me when she uses her paws to do things because it’s just that much closer to her having hands.

The other animal I had before meeting Meghan, though not for as long as Sookie, is Edward, who we all have met time and again here on the ‘ole Blog. But here’s a new photo of my stunningly photogenic kitty.

That’s some other person’s messy table. In fact, we brought Eddy to a different house entirely for this picture.

Meghan’s little buddy before meeting me was the princess here, Laylah. She’s as sweet as a button, unless of course, you’re Bear, who will follow, then she’s kind of a B.

Laylah has just been woken from a nap by me. She’s a bit bleary-eyed.

And now, Bear, as promised. We got Bear together. He was Meghan’s parents’ dog, but they had to move for a new job and Bear would not have done well in an entirely new surrounding, so we adopted him. He’s an entertaining pup, that’s for sure.

This is my favorite photo of Bear, and is not exactly current. But then, the pictures of him with the bone make it hard to make him out really well…you’ll see.

Black fur does not make for the best exposure in poor lighting, especially not while he’s getting defensive about “his” bone.

– CHOMP! –

Finally, we have Sylvia, who Meghan and I adopted last summer, about this time. She’s “all growed up” now, but honestly, she’s still a very little cat. She’s a cutie though, affectionate, entertainingly vocal and gentle, so long as you’re not a fly.

She may have been a touch dazzled by my strobe. Which is pretty cute in and of itself. She is a strange one.

So there’s the mob. Thank you, Internet, for giving me my soapbox to write about ’em. And I hope the rest of you like my pictures of my fam.


Little Cat, all grown up

Edward R. Meower, who you may remember from when he was little, has grown up a bit, and now pretty much just goes by ‘Eddy.’ It’s hard to shout ‘Edward R. Meower’ when there’s trouble afoot and with this cat (or any cat, I’ve been told) there frequently is.

So anyways, last night, Meghan’s cousin JoAnn stopped by to get me to shoot some photos of her camera for her to sell on eBay and I set up a little one light product studio. One light and lot’s of fill cards/boards. These fill card and boards are what Eddy was knocking about, and since he wanted to be on set, we got to take some pictures of the little trouble maker.

Oh, you silly cat.

There are few things scarier than waking up at 3 a.m. with those eyes staring at you an inch away from your own.

"We are living in a material world and he is a material girl." Yep, I don't know why, but it's appropriate.

I love his little kitty expression here.

I realizing that I’m just confirming everything bad about the Internet by posting a bunch of pictures of my cat, but so what. Eddy, you da man.

Pup pictures

This weekend I loaned a light kit to Fur-a-Good-Paws, Clay County’s animal care league. They used it for pet Christmas card pictures. While I didn’t shoot the photos, I did get a rather nice picture of Sookie, my rat terrierist,  and I, where Sookie is actually standing still. I admit, I am holding her, but still, I’m excited to see it.

Seeing all the folks coming in to get pictures made of their pets made me want to throw some of my furrier recent pictures on here.  On a side note, support your animal shelter and adopt a pet if you can. In Clay County, Fur-a-Good-Paws does a lot for animals, but they could use all the support they can get.

Now, on to the pictures. First, here are some pictures I did for my co-worker Nancy, who breeds golden retrievers. Check her dogs out at

I did a Christmas card last year with seven of these pups lined up in front of the Bible fireplace. This year Nancy just brought in one puppy, Annie, who was a bit sleepy:

I sort-of wish that I had shot this with a soft-focus filter on the lens. Oh! Or a star filter. Either would be cool. Annie showed she could pose with the best of them too:

Seriously, doesn't this just look like it belongs in a calendar? What a ham.

No one can deny that Annie is adorable, but pups can get into trouble too. As Sookie reminds me by destroying things while I type. Anyway, here’s my friend Heather new adopted rat terrier – Shih-Tzu mix. I can’t really resist saying this, but he’s a rat$h#*. Sorry about that.

Ralphy's named after the protagonist in "A Christmas Story."

Ralphy being held (and looking slightly scared of the fisheye lens) by another friend, Geoff. He, Heather and I formed the Pulse desk of the Daily Egyptian at SIUC one semester way too long ago. Meet Geoff's shoulder.

Ralphy with his new owner, Heather. From one rat terrier owner to another, I wish you nothing but luck. If Ralphy is anything like Sookie, you'll need it.

Cat, meet world. World, meet Edward R. Meowrow

Yep, I’ve been busy. Lotta work, not a lot of money. I’ve been sick. And most importantly, I got a freakin’ cat.

I’m allergic to cats and I don’t particularly like them, so this is a bit of a surprise, especially to me. But I couldn’t resist the little bugger.

I was going over to the Downtown Dollar next to the newspaper office to get a soda to give me a midday kick. There are two doors and somehow, in front of both of them was this starving little kitten, probably too small to be away from its Mom, trying to figure out what was going on. I kept trying to get him out of the way, but where ever I went, he got in front of me. When I got the door open without hitting him, he darted inside. I couldn’t just leave him wondering the dollar store, so I picked him up. In retrospect, it was all over right then: Even if I hadn’t adopted him yet, he had claimed me.

I brought him to the office with me and proclaimed him as an office pet. Not everyone agreed, but enough that we kept him around. Initially, we named him Bob, after our recently retired publisher, but the current publisher, my friend Mark came up with his new name, Edward R. Meowrow, the newscat. This is the second newscat name Mark has come up with, the first being one of his cats, Kitty Couric. In practice, I mostly call him kitten.

Our sales manager Nancy bought Ed food, a food and water dish, kitty litter and flea drops. His ribs were showing for a while, but that ended pretty quick. Ed really liked curling up in our classified manager Natalie’s chair, whether she was there or not, but he would always come over to me when I came in. Edward came when I called once…and my dog doesn’t even do that. Plus, ed would sit on my shoulder when I worked, so I felt like a pirate with a way-too-cute parrot.

The incidence of errors has gone down since Ed started proofing my sotries.

The amount of errors has gone down since Ed started proofing my sotries.

Everyone in the office had pretty much recognized that Ed was mine. Ed had recognized it. I fed him, came in six times over the weekend to make sure he was alright, cleaned his litter box and cleaned up from when he couldn’t find his litter box. I pretty much knew he was my cat, but I was fighting it. I was, after all, allergic to cats and, as I said earlier, I don’t like them. There was another problem too. Even if I could live with Edward, the situation had to be cleared with my roommate. Here’s one of her early reactions to Edward:

That's a definitive moment...

That's a definitive moment...

Sookie is my three-year-old rat terrier. Most who have met her would say that she’s a tad…hyper. Her main experience with a cat before Ed was this one time in the yard when she RAN 6 FEET UP THE SIDE OF A TREE after one. Seriously. She came down, that cat stayed up. But it stayed scared too. Kyle, the artist who I featured in a previous post, who just stared at me and laughed when I asked him if he would describe Sookie as hyper(Everyone does!), was there as crowd control for Sookie and Ed’s introduction.

There was a lot of anxious barking. Plus on the cat side: Edward wasn’t scared, seemed like the barking hurt his ears, but that’s about it. Sookie really wanted to get her close to Edward. She wasn’t acting aggressive, but you never know. Despite being a little dog, she’s a lot bigger than the kitten. For the first few days, I kept Edward in a crate, to keep him safe, but still in the smelling zone.

I’d start out with a little contact, then a little more. Sookie kept wanting to lick Edward, which annoyed him, but didn’t seem to scare him. Eventually, I had them out together, unsupervised, whenever I was home. This transfer only took 3 or 4 days. Finally, the only reason to keep Edward crated was to keep his food and litter away from Sookie, who views both as a delicacy. In a moment of brilliance, I came up with this solution:

Yep, it's a ramp made out of a piece of plywood with a towel stapled on it.

Yep, it's a ramp made out of a piece of plywood with a towel stapled on it.

So gilded elevator it isn’t, but it does the job. I know soon enough the cat won’t need a ramp, but then I can just put his stuff up on counters or bookshelves, and he won’t have to eat where he craps like anymore anyway. Jeez, it’s like he’s some sort of adorable prison inmate.

Sookie has grown to like having the kitten around and I’ve seen flashes of a maternal instinct from her that I never thought I would, indeed, a certain population control procedure she’s undergone would seem to preclude it to some degree, but whatever, she likes taking care of her kitten.

Plus, they play together:

Demon cat attacks!

Demon cat attacks!

Yep, I love that photo. Finally, redeye is working for me!

Since this is a photoblog, I’ll go off on a quick tangent here. Redeye (Or bright, scary, yellow cat eye) is what happens when your strobe reflects blood vessels in the back of a subject’s eye. This can be avoided by using the anti-redeye flash on your camera, which fires several strobe bursts before the exposure to get your pupils to contract. It can also be avoided by bringing your flash slightly off of your camera axis. Put it up on a bracket or hold it off to the side or overhead, or put it way off by using studio strobes or by radio-slaving a handheld one. If it’s a pop-up flash, bounce it onto the ceiling and save money for a real flash. With a normal on-camera flash, closeup, it should be off-axis. At distance, it may be close enough to your camera axis to get redeye, so the problem is worse shooting telephoto stuff. Anywhoo, back to the cat.

I’ve also gotten use to some other adventures of cat ownership. It can go places the dog can’t. I think he might have pooped behind the aquarium and I can’t move it to find out (It’s a 40 gallon and on a stand). DVD’s are pushed out of their shelves where the cat has come through from behind the TV. A flexible lamp looks like a kitten may have very well jumped on one of its lampheads.

So, from this:

lamp 1

To this:

That bulb on the right. It looks like somthing tiny may have jumped up and tried to hang on it. Or attack it.

That bulb on the right. It looks like something tiny may have jumped up and tried to hang on it. Or maybe tried to attack it.

The cat is also more active nocturnally than Sookie or I. It’s knocked pill bottles off my desk for fun (The big 300 tablet jar of multivitamins is the loudest). It’s also woke me by batting at my head in the morning. Finally, the cat has also gotten me up by causing a beeping sound from my Macbook. Apparently, there’s a warning to let you now that a kitten has parked its but on your keyboard:

Maybe it's the heat the computers put off, but many of the cats I've seen love laptops.

Maybe it's the heat the computers put off, but many of the cats I've seen love laptops.

We’ll leave that big so that the ferocity of that half-pound furball can show some more. The last thing I wanted to comment on was the reaction I’ve gotten from my friends who are cat owners. I’ve talked to three female friends with cats and they’re all excited. Mark, from earlier in this story, is a cat owner too, but is slightly more negative:

Me: “So this cat is a little evil, huh?”
Mark: “They’re all a little evil.”
Me: “I’m feeling under the weather”
Mark: “It’s cause you got that cat. They’re a curse.”
Me: “Look at these scratches.”
Mark: “Cursed by cat.”
And so on and so forth.

In all honesty though, Mark has the right to complain about cats. The night before his wedding, his older cat, Joey, got out of he and his wife’s house. Mark tried to wrangle it by catching it in his jacket, but a claw and some fangs darted out from the jackets and drew some blood on his hand. On the wedding day, the hand was infected and Mark felt faint. He had to go to the hospital, again, on his wedding day, there, he got his hand put in a bactine bath and he got a course of antibiotics. Still, when some of his relatives said he should kill the cat for that, the thought didn’t cross his mind. When he was shaking hands in the receiving line I felt for him though.