Your mom knows kung fuu

I’ve been bursting to tell everyone for the last few months that in 2007 I will become a father!

Jacinta, my wife, is pregnant and she’s due in the middle of April! We’re very excited about it but also nervous. We don’t want to know or care if the baby is a boy or a girl. A healthy baby is all we want. Guys – look out for the book, “A bloke’s guide to pregnancy”. It’s a great read, very entertaining and will explain a bit about what to expect and what’s going in your partner’s body! Now you know why I was more than a little interested in who was pregnant on Today FM!

Don’t be surprised if my blogging slows down a little bit around April, but I will try and have about 2 months of photos ready to be posted for late April and on to May. Hopefully things may quieten down and get into a routine after that.

And now I can reveal the only event that marred what was a great year in 2006. The main reason I didn’t attend the Irish Blog Awards last year was because Jacinta was pregnant at the time and the pregnancy wasn’t going so well. Unfortunately, she had a miscarriage soon after.
I find that miscarriage is a taboo subject to talk about. Very few bloggers will talk about it even though 1 in 4 pregnancies will probably not go full-term. Maybe it’s superstition and considered tempting fate to even bring the subject up. Whatever the reason, it’s an awful tragedy for expectant parents to go through.

Happy new year!

City Hall at night

Cork City Hall at night as viewed from across the river. It was all lit up for the Modern Homes Exhibition and as it was such a calm night the reflection on the River Lee was beautiful.

If you watch the RTE news at 6pm or 9pm tonight, watch out for the photo on the weather forecast. A friend of mine, Catherine Cotter, sent in a few entries to their photography competition and one of her photos will be shown tonight! I must set up the Sky+ to record it just in case. I might be able to get a screen capture somehow!

Standing in the gutter

It’s pouring rain, I’m just after eating a delicious meal with family and what do I do? Go shoot the leaves in the drain across the road.

I can tell you it was difficult enough holding the umbrella in one hand, camera in the other, thinking about composition and keeping my balance, without getting wet. *Phew*

Shot in Blarney on a very wet day.

Dog in a lampshade

Poor Oscar. It’s not bad enough that he got the snip but he had to wear what looks to all the world like a lampshade for two weeks. This was only a week after he moved in with us last Summer and the poor fella was not impressed.

Thankfully he got over it remarkably quickly and doesn’t have an aversion to lighting fixtures as we suspected he might have.

Our Oscar is quite a needy little character. He loves human attention. This faq on Shih Tzus is quite good, although it does contradict an earlier page I read that said they are a one human dog. Oscar definitely prefers Jacinta to me, but he goes crazy when he sees me after an absence too!

He sleeps in the kitchen and up to recently we kept the door closed to stop him coming upstairs but unfortunately he has the door half-ruined from scratching and his whining and barking kept us awake many times.
The solution? Train him and be more strict. He’s not allowed upstairs now and I leave the kitchen door open at night. No scratching, no whining. Sometimes he sneaks upstairs and we find him curled up on the landing but a quick and sharp, “Oscar! Get down!” and he’s scurrying down to his bed again.

So, it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Well, a middle-aged one at any rate.

The River, The Brewery and the Cathedral

The River Lee rushes by the Beamish and Crawford Brewery on one side, and O’Sullivan Electrical on the other with St. Finbarre’s Cathedral in the background.

I have discovered there’s a dead pixel on my camera’s sensor. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to show itself much but when I take long exposure shots like the one above a little red dot appears in the top-right of the image. It’s easy to get rid of with the clone tool but also annoying.

The Wacom graphics tablet is great fun to play with but I haven’t got it working fully in Linux yet. Ubuntu thinks it’s simply another mouse device and GIMP doesn’t see it as an “extended device”. I spent quite some time on the Ubuntu forums trying to fix it yesterday before giving up and trying it out on a few images.
It’s a little fiddly to begin with, but I think that’s par-for-the-course when using a new tool. I do find that when dodging and burning large sections of images the brush can get stuck and won’t follow the cursor but I’ve read that once it’s properly configured performance is improved so I hope that is fixed then.

Hope you had a nice Christmas Day!

Last minute shopping

Today many major cities and towns around the world are going to be thronged with shoppers doing last minute shopping before Christmas Day. Traffic is going to crawl and frustrate and the crowds will be suffocating.

I’m glad I’m staying at home. We may head out to the Lough later for a walk. So stressful!

I like this: Europe – The Parisian Chapter

Fun at the crib

Fr James McSweeney’s live crib in Ballyvolane was busy with animals and human visitors all through last week but I managed to get some shots the night when we visited.

As I mentioned already, there were all sorts of animals there, from sheep and donkeys to chickens, calves and puppies. Donations are welcome, and all proceeds go towards the renovation of St. Patrick’s Church. The crib last year raised 35,000 Euro for the Cope Foundation so hopefully they can beat that this year!

The crib is open from 5pm to 9pm until the 23rd, so if you’re in the area, call up to Ballyvolane Church and you’ll see the signs pointing the way to the crib.

I like this: Edward Scissorhands – my wife is a huge fan of the film. I wonder how long it took to get the model looking like that?