Nate’s Notes: Textures Continued…



Apparently, carpet isn’t the only texture that looks different from 30 inches off the ground (it’s actually 30 and ½ inches) compared to right in front of my face.  Yea, I figured THAT out at Papa and Gram’s house super quick.  Hardwood flooring looks (and feels) really different too!  I know why they call it “hard-wood”.  Have you ever fallen on it? Repeatedly??  Like over and over???  Not even a diaper can pad that hard fall.  On those few times I don’t land on my bum, and I am face to face with this hardwood, I notice the wood grain patterns.  They are so cool!!  They are like a rainbow, but without all the colors…or like ribbons in the wood…yea ribbons…that’s a better description. They are squiggly and smooth, flowing like water.   Then there are the nicks, the nail heads, and the seams.  (Don’t ask me why I know these terms at such a young age. I just do.)  It’s also possible there is dog fur and other treats to be found here and there!  Of course, when I do spend too much time face to face with the hardwood, Gram thinks it’s a little weird.  She calls me an odd duck, which makes me look around for a quack quack.  And…if I’m an odd duck, does that mean there are non-odd ducks??   I still haven’t found either one in her house, so I’m not sure what she is talking about!!  Again… you big people talk funny.

Anyway, next time you find yourself face to floor on hardwood, leisurely note how pretty it is…then pop up and say, “Tadaaaa!!!”.   It works every time folks.  Every time.

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TMG Philosophy: Watt Did Ewe Here…?

So, a few months ago I was wandering the historic Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego in the light of the late summer evening (taking pictures of course).  That area, along with being full of older architecture, is also home to dozens and dozens of restaurants.  My wife and I, just having finished our own dinner, were walking around the area, enjoying the evening.

All of the restaurants have 20-something young women as hostess out front to flash a smile, ask if you are hungry, and just generally lure people into the place.  I had just explained for the 18th time that we had already eaten and was preparing my response for the next one we passed by when, from the other direction, a man approached the hostess.  He was dressed as what could be referred as a “tool”.  You know, the shirt with all the “who-ha” squiggly stuff all over them, unbuttoned just-so, the $350 jeans that are tattered in just the right places (or, the wrong places depending on your point of view), the flip-flops, and of course a fancy watch on his wrist and a gold chain around his neck.

He walks up to the girl at the podium and says, “Do you know where the Nazi Food Bar is?”   My wife and I nearly gasped out loud and stopped in our tracks.  The hostess must have heard the same thing because at this point we were close enough to see the incredulous  smile take over her face, and with a tone of slight disgust she said, “I’m sorry, what bar are you looking for…?”

He repeated, “The Nazi Food Bar,” then realized he was not getting through, and rephrased his question, “Y’know, the bar that doesn’t serve seafood.”

Slight awkward pause…

“Ohhhh, the NOT-seafood bar”, she said, her smile changing from confusion to amusement.  He nodded with a blank expression in a way that said – “Duh!  That’s what I said!”  She gently nodded and said, “Well, there are a few…” as she pointed down the street to her right.  She went on as we passed by, quietly laughing to ourselves and having a new appreciation for the English language…


Nate’s Notes: Super Heroes Only Work Monday-Thursday

Fridays mean I get to hang out with just Daddy for a while.   Apparently super heroes only work Monday-Thursday. Fine by me!  This means we get to ride in the big vroom vroom truck (which I’ve noticed has interesting rusty metal texture!), listen to music really loudly (but at an acceptable decibel level for my developing ears), take care of our animals, and, right now, get firewood!  I’m serious; we are actually getting firewood RIGHT NOW.  Everyone thinks I’m doodling or something, but this is work people!  I drool and giggle just a bit to throw people off.   Anyway, Daddy is loading up the truck with the wood as I write this.  A few of the sticks have landed close to my window and I’m able to see the moss and lichen growing on them!  Cool!  I bet it is squishy…hmmm…wonder how it tastes?

Moss_Lichen_022It is kind of green like my veggies.  Mmmm….veggies.   And then there is different bark texture.  Momma said that different bark texture means different kinds of trees.  This bark looks like some of the trees at our house!!  Wait…did they cut down our trees!!????  And why is it called bark?  Where are the dogs?   You big people talk funny.

Dancing Flames

Dancing Flames

The coolest though, is when we get home and Daddy uses his super powers to make the fire.  Those flame thingies are so cool…(in a non-weird way!) … they almost dance and move in a way like nothing else I’ve seen in my life yet.  I could stare at the fire for hours. *Yawn*.  It actually makes me…*yawn*… kind of sleepy…*yawn*…just thinking about it.

Nate’s Notes: Momma’s Adventures in Photography

By now, I’m actually used to the field adventures that Momma subjects me to each week.    More often than not, she embarrasses me, but I’m told that is building character in me.  Whatever.   She LOVES them;  we meet some interesting people and see some different places.  Here, she tells a little about it.

“When I began doing this work, I had to get used to ignoring the people giving me odd looks as I knelt down to take a photo of the crack in a sidewalk.  I had to get used to the whispers and the self-conscious feeling I had walking into an alley or abandoned house to snap some photos.  I had to become ready to talk to anyone I passed on the sidewalk.  Although I still have my moments, I not only got used to these aspects, I’ve embraced them as my adventures in photography. These adventures have awakened a part of me that became dormant sitting behind a desk, inside a building.   I’ve used them to show my son the world around us in a way I fear many people never will. 

I’ve visited historical towns, walked through ghost towns, felt sorrow and grief in cemeteries, rediscovered the joy of mud, rain, and jumping in leaves. 

Tombstone in Northern California

Tombstone in Northern California

I’ve climbed the ruins of an abandoned sugar mill, concrete plant, burned out barn, and leaning house.  I’ve imagined the pioneers and miners in the gold country.  I’ve run from dogs in a vineyard!   I’ve been semi-accepted into the skater world!   I’ve met “Idaho”, a local man who told us stories and legends of Oakland, Oregon.  I’ve hesitantly chatted with “Lucy” as she warned us of a local ghost that can be captured in a photo. I’ve experienced pride when my 1 year old son charms the pants right off everyone we encounter.   I’ve laughed with my husband as we dodge curious and questioning glances, or overhear comments about “the two people with a baby taking weird photographs”.  

I said awhile ago that I am blessed because I get to “see” the world.  Well my adventures are just beginning.   I wonder who I’ll meet (and Nate will charm) next?  Where will my field adventure take me tomorrow?  There is so much world to see!

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SketchUp IMHO: Don’t Forget Those Tutorials

As I said in an earlier post, SketchUp is quite easy to use and with just a bit of effort, you will find that you are modeling very quickly and confidently. Aside from getting in there and using the program – the best way to learn what it can do (without formal training) is to watch the tutorial videos that SketchUp has created.

These videos can be found on the SketchUp website under “Training”. There are twenty-eight videos under the heading “New to SketchUp.” The videos are divided into four introductory videos to get you started with the basics, then twenty four videos, each of which focuses on a tool in the program. You can get quite a bit out of these and I would encourage you to watch all of them, even if you already think you know everything there is to know about a tool.

Next, there are 10 videos under the heading “Familiar with SketchUp”

that give you more in-depth information on setting up and using scenes, more accuracy in your modeling, making dynamic components (which are really cool!) and other techniques.

Finally, there are 4 more videos under the heading “Expert in SketchUp” which show you how to use SketchUp with other CAD programs, using SketchUp with Photoshop, modeling architectural elements more accurately and efficiently, and other techniques.

All in all, the videos are well made and informative and I think they are a valuable resource for learning SketchUp quickly and at your own time and pace.

Go on – give them a try…


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Nate’s Notes: Try My Perspective

Of course what I’m about to ask you may seem silly, but humor me if you can.  Lower yourself to my level.  No, I don’t mean in a maturity way- neener neener, so there. Jeez, grow up!   I mean, spend the day crawling around.  Yea, actually crawling, or as close to that as you can get.  See things from my perspective.  Open your eyes and notice how much taller the trees are, how much bigger the windows are (or what they taste like),

Blades of Grass

Blades of Grass

the blades of grass, the mud puddles, the wood on kitchen cabinets, the patterns in carpet, the acorns and leaves on the ground, the strange and differing fabric on everyone’s legs.  Notice the taste…uhhhh…..I mean FEEL of linoleum, of tile floor, of wood decks (WARNING: some surfaces may not feel great and may cause mild splinters or scrapes).  Feel the cold (or warmth depending on the day!) of metal.   See the shapes in a chain link fence or in hog paneling.  It’s a different world at my level, one I bet you’ve forgotten about with all of your gadgets and devices.

So, I challenge you to crawl around, spend some time at my level for part of today;  LOOK and FEEL the world.  What else do you REALLY have to do the rest of the day?  Adult stuff?  Come on…go ahead, I dare you.  No…I double DOUBLE dog dare you.

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TMG Philosophy: When is Being a Smart-Ass Too Much Ass and Not Enough Smart…?

So, I was standing in line at the gate at the airport in Phoenix, waiting to show my boarding pass, when one of the airline employees at the counter looked down at the boots on my feet and with a tone of mixed surprise, disgust and judgement said, “Wow!  Did you wear the wrong shoes to travel in.  Having to deal with those laces is such a pain!”

I shrugged, and the first thing that came to mind mind to say was that “I had mastered tying my shoes in kindergarten and haven’t looked back since.  It’s not really that big of a deal to me anymore.”  Realizing, of course that she would probably think I was just being a smart-ass, I caught myself and simply said, “I just came from a colder climate and these just made more sense for the weather there.”   She shrugged, appearing to be disappointed I didn’t jump onto her anti-boot bandwagon, mumbled something incoherent, and looked away.

Now, I get what she was trying to say, that having to untie the laces on boots can take more time in the security line than slipping off a pair of loafers, but I think there is a bigger issue here.  Since when have we been the kind of people that get frustrated with boot laces, rather than “pulling ourselves up by them”?  Do we really need to go through life, frustrated by a pair of laces, rather than just adapting and moving on to bigger problems?  Think about how much better off we would be as individuals, a community, a country and a world  if we saved our energy and effort for things that really were difficult.

In some ways, that is part of who we are here at The Transmogrifier.  That is why we chose the name for the company we did.  The process of transmogrifying something is about transforming something into something else, which requires work.  The creative process IS effort and most things that are truly rewarding take effort and THAT is what makes them rewarding.  Climbing that mountain.  Curing that disease.  Solving that complex problem.  Creating that work of art that moves people on an emotional level…  Those are just a few of the things that should take up our time and effort…

…NOT tying our shoes…

TMG Philosophy: “So, this photographer walks into a bar…”

This past week I have been walking the streets of Washington DC and surrounding areas taking shots of the great architecture and textures all around.  I was in Georgetown one of the days and I decided to stop into a bar for a burger and iced-tea (yes – just and iced-tea, they didn’t have Guinness on tap).

At one point, a woman next to me sees my camera on the table and asks if I am a photographer.  I reply that, well, yeah – I guess I am.  (I always have a hard time saying “yes” right away since I enjoy it so much, it doesn’t feel like a real job…).  She went on to tell me that she had taken photography in high school and really enjoyed it, but never did it much after that.  She told me (rather hesitantly) that she would love to get into it again but that she was afraid to.  She pointed to my camera and said, “I wouldn’t know what to do with all those buttons and stuff.”

I quickly pointed out to her that while I do believe photography is an art form, and that just having a camera does not make you a photographer, it really isn’t that scary and that if you have an eye for how to set up a shot, and know what to look for, the rest will follow.  When I told her how I got started, how long I have been doing it and why I take photos, she got really excited and started giving me directions to really great places I should see, faster than I could write them down.  “Over there,” she said, pointing over my shoulder, “are the famous long stairs that were used in that Exorcist movie…”

After she was done excitedly listing places I had to see, I went on to give her a few more words of encouragement and advice.  As she was heading out the door I told her to get a camera of some sort and just start taking pictures.  To have fun.  I told her that one of the best things about doing what I do is that it makes me more observant and that if nothing else, she will notice things about the city she lives in that she has never truly seen before.  She glanced down at her feet, shrugged, and then looked back up at me with a hesitant smile and said she would think about it.

Although I will most-likely never know if she does take up photography again, I really hope she does…

Random Stuff We Like: Fun With Filters

Photoshop and many other image-editing software have preset filters that allow you to quickly and easily take an image and alter it in a way that makes it more visually appealing or artistic.  Here is an example of a photo I took of a house:


Then, in the second image, you can see what it looks like after I spent less than 5 minutes in Photoshop, applying a filter, adjusting the saturation of the color, adjusting the contrast, and then cropping it to the size I wanted, to make the composition of the image more interesting.


It’s easy and fun – try it some time…