Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Switching Blogs

Hello, my (five) loyal readers!

The location of my blog has moved. Now public, some entries will be password protected depending on the topic. If you'd like to be considered for access to those, subscribe to the blog, or let me know via email and I will add you to my blog reader email list for password protected entries

Friday, February 3, 2017

Giant Jerk

I love Harlow, but sometimes she can be an asshole.

A few weeks back I met with a trainer who opened my eyes to something - Harlow's demanding nature is her version of imparting her majesty upon us. Meaning, she wants to be treated like a queen and expects that and demands it of us.

This is why she paws at people to get them to pet her, plops her body into other peoples' personal space, or climbs all over someone and then nudges them with her big fat head if they are not actively petting her in addition to being her throne made of human.

We have been working on much of these things using super yummy dried liver treats. It's tough though because she's so damn smart. If I put treats in my pocket for later, she will immediately start doing "tricks" with hopes of getting the treat. The purpose of treats in my pocket is so I can reward her when she comes to me with a toy and actually responds when I say "drop it" throughout the evening. Instead, she knows I have the treat so she runs and gets a toy, plops it in my lap, sits down hard then looks from me to my treat-storing pocket and back again.

The other thing we're working on is me dropping a treat nearby and her "staying" until she makes eye contact with me and I let her know she can get it. She's very good at this one, and I have noticed a huge change in her toy release when we play and I ask her to drop it. All good things.

The other way in which she tries to rule the roost is on her leash. I've tried a prong collar which isn't very nice, but it does make her pull a bit less hard. The trainer recommended I try a Martingale collar, so I bought one last night on my way home from work.

When it comes to Harlow, she's just not going to do what you want her to do unless she feels like it. It's completely infuriating. So, last night when I took her out for a walk, I decided to crack down on it, and change direction every time she pulled. Eventually, she just accepted that this was how our walk was going to go - She pulls (because she wants to), then I aggressively turn her around, harrumphing as I do so. She walks right next to me, creating slack in the leash because she knows that's what I want. Then I turn back around and it's not long before she starts pulling again.

She knows exactly what I want her to do, she just simply refuses to do it. As a result, walks are actually very unpleasant. I get pissed by the end rather than feel good that I stretched my legs and got her out of the house too. Meanwhile, she does not care in the least that I'm annoyed.

Now, one thing I didn't do was continue to walk in the other direction until she started pulling again, so maybe that's what I'll try next time.

she's lucky she's cute. 

Drawings and Paintings

I'm taking another art class at the Cambridge Center for the Arts on Brattle Street. This class is a pen and watercolor class, so I'm learning how to draw with pen. I confess I don't like it as much as my watercolor class, and all the samples here I've been doing on my own time. I'm not sure why the class I'm currently taking doesn't have me too jazzed up, but since I do enjoy practicing at home, I guess it's all fine in the end.

It is really interesting to be doing art again. I mean, I always have in some form or another, but after years of looking at light and working with it as a photographer, it's interesting to see how it effects what I see when I'm drawing.

During the watercolor class, I was able to verbalize, "I can see what the light is doing on the object, but I can't figure out how to translate it onto the paper", and the instructor could teach me how to do that.  Ten, twenty years ago, I wouldn't be able to see what was off.

This time, when I'm at home (and one of the drawings below is a good example) I'm finding that when I go to photograph the drawing itself, that's when I notice the light (or in the case of drawing, the shading) is off. It helps me see if and I can improve it or correct it.

from a photo I took on the train to Bruges. 

Brothers on a walk with Harlow and Bootsie

Uncle Billy in the weeds

Harlow on the couch


When I first photographed this one (not this pic specifically but one prior) that's when I noticed that the shading wasn't heavy enough compared to the photo.

With this one, I was doing the face on the right such a disservice that I decided to not make faces.