Tag Archives: Cat

Picasa, Farewell

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop-based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Changes in technology come with breakneck speed. Some we embrace, some we don’t. At least when WordPress streamlined its format, it allowed us the opportunity to use the more beefy original administrator. (Thank you, WordPress.)

One change I’m dreading is the loss of the Picasa photo editing website.  Google is retiring it in spring 2016.  Google has every right to do so, especially since Picasa users pay nothing for its use, but it’s still a bitter blow.  A lot of Picasa users don’t even know it’s going bye-bye yet, although apparently people knew it was coming a while ago. Google is focusing on Google Photos, which is quite different from Picasa and not as useful for my needs. Supposedly, we’ll still be able to use Picasa, if we already have it installed on our desktops, until it dies out from bugs and glitches. We’ll see.

Google Photos is a nice photo storage system, but not a good replacement as an editing and design tool.  In Google Photos, you can upload all of your photos to the cloud for free in a small version, which is probably large enough for most uses, and pay if you need to upload large files when you exceed your large-size quota. I’m transferring all of my large-sized photos to external hard drives.

My son gave me the heads up on Friday night on Picasa’s impending demise, and I was shocked. I was working on my taxes, so I was already in a foul mood, and I quickly went into mourning.  I taped a black ribbon to my monitor. I searched the web (using the damnable Google) to find an alternative.  I use Photoshop a lot, but Picasa is just so darned easy and could do so much. It has lots of design and editing tools and is great for  organizing my photos into files and albums. It will still be usable on your desktop, if you already have it, but won’t be getting any support from Google.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat that was available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

For more than five years, I’ve been using Picasa to edit the photographs I take of adoptable cats for an animal shelter’s website in Kansas City, Missouri. It makes it so easy to tag the photo with the cat’s name, attach a watermark and be able to find the photos later.  As far as I can tell, you can’t tag photos in Google Photos. Face recognition will not work with cats.  Because of the ease of use and because it was free, Picasa has been a godsend for other volunteer cat photographers who aren’t photo editors. Now, we’re scrambling to find an alternative.

Here’s a Hibiscus poster (below) that I created using Picasa. I used the posterize function to transform my hibiscus photograph, I used the add a border function to add the initial two-toned border, created a wider border with the collage tool, then added another two-tone border. I added the text of Hibiscus waimeae above the flower and added a band of an hibiscus font that I uploaded, which automatically transferred into Picasa when I downloaded it. Picasa allowed color matching so that I could match the greens and reds of the hibiscus photo to the font and background colors. Though there were many steps, it was easy. I don’t relish learning a new program to do these functions.

If you know of an easy, inexpensive alternative for downloading, editing and organizing photos, let me know in the comments.  I’m checking into FastStone.org.  Anyone have any experience with that program?

Hibiscus Waimeae Square Canvas Print

R.I.P Picasa: Google shutters aging photo service

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Filed under Internet, Photography, Technology

Scarlet, Feline Princess

Scarlet awaits visitors in her beautifully decorated room at Wayside Waifs. As beautiful as the "hug" room is at the shelter, she wants a forever home.

By Michelle C. 

Hello, my name is Scarlet and let me stop you before you make any jokes about Gone with the Wind, or asking me if I did it in the library with the candlestick! Been there, heard that!

Okay, now about moi. Check out my photo. Are those not the most soulful eyes you’ve ever seen. (See photo below) I’m quite the lovey and a favorite of the staff and volunteers here. If they had Miss Congeniality here, I think I’d win, I really do. I’m also quite the fashionista. I’m wearing a lovely and soft brown, tan and white outfit. These neutral shades will go with everything including your drapes, couch and bedspread. They’re classics and never go out of style. I have a short, smooth coat, erect ears and a long tail. Stunning!

I have made one fashion faux paw, however. My footwear doesn’t match. One front paw is grey and the other is tan. I could really use someone with your fashion sense to help make sure I don’t have another embarrassing wardrobe malfunction like that again. When I strut my stuff through our home, I always want to look my best. After all, there might be a camera somewhere.

I’ll watch you while you get dressed to go to work and make sure your lipstick goes with your blouse or that your tie goes with your sport coat. I’ll meet you at the door when you get home to see what kind of day you had and will tell you all about mine. I’ll have spent time napping and eating, of course; watching the birds and squirrels outside, and supervising the front door to make sure those annoying junk ads weren’t left on our door. Luckily for me, there won’t be another cat living with us, so I can have all your attention when you get home.

A perfect pink decor for a little princess. Scarlet even has her own monogrammed pillow.

I’ll show you how much I appreciate you earning our living by rubbing up against your legs and letting you pet me. When I’ve had enough for a while, I’ll swish my tail a bit to say “enough already, save some for later”. I’m quiet and shy and I’m a bit hesitant to meet new people, so you’d have to give me a little time to adjust. I have to be cautious. I started to fall for a very nice woman and found out she wore white after Labor Day. No-no!

I like to play and hope you would too. My favorite toy is a green fleece spider they gave me here. The color doesn’t really work with my outfit, but these people here are so nice and have worked so hard to make me comfy and find a good home, I didn’t have the heart to say anything, especially since they gave me my own special bed. (Nobody else here has one like that, so you know I must be pretty special, huh?)

Princess Scarlet relaxes in her bed, waiting for someone to take her home.

I also have my own room now and if I do say so myself, it’s quite something. I am definitely the Princess of Pink: pink rug, pink stuffed animals, pink cat bed etc. Check out my photo of me in my special cat bed. That goes home with me too. Only the best for me – that’s why I’m picking you for my family. I can just tell by the way you’re reading my bio that we’re perfect for each other. Come get me and take me home to your castle now!

Fashionably yours
Princess Scarlet

As told to Michelle C. at Wayside Waifs by Scarlet.  Michelle writes many of the biographies of the cats at Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter for cats, dogs and small animals in Kansas City, Missouri.

I didn’t write Scarlet’s romantic biography above, but I did take her portrait, seen below.  I wrote this limerick in honor of the wonderful kitties in need of homes at Wayside Waifs.  If you think I’ve turned into a crazy cat lady, you’re right!

There once was a kitty from Wayside

Who groomed her fur with great pride.

When visitors came to call

Kitty knew how to enthrall

Soon finding a forever home in which to abide.

The last line is a little awkward.  Any suggestions?  I’d love to read any limericks or poems you might want to add in the comments. If you want to adopt a dog or cat from Wayside Waifs, click on Wayside Waifs.

Tabby Princess Postcard postcard

Princess Scarlet.

Scarlet relaxes in her Hug Room.

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Filed under Cats, Life, Literature, Pets, Writing

He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother

Hanky Warning:  This video might make you cry.

My mushiness over animals has increased exponentially since I started volunteering at an animal shelter.  I was already a big sap before I started work at Wayside Waifs.

I know it’s just a drop in a very big bucket, but I’ve donated money to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support.  The link is at the bottom.  If you’re on Facebook, search for “Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support”.   It provides updates on the work it’s doing.

Some people may ask: “Why bother with animals when so many people are suffering in Japan?”

Here’s what Scott Simon of NPR had to say on March 19, 2011:

A news crew from Fuji TV saw a couple of dogs this week, lying in the wreckage of Mito, Japan.

A dog with brown and white splotches seemed to hover over one with gray, black and white splotches. Both dogs looked grimy. The second dog didn’t seem to move.

When the dog with brown and white splotches came toward the crew, they thought it was warning them to stay away. But it returned to the other dog, and put a paw on its head.

Then they understood: the dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.

Japan is a nation of pet lovers. Most families have a dog or cat, birds, a rabbit, or other pets in their apartments.

When I covered Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, it seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, “I couldn’t leave my pet.” But earthquakes strike suddenly. People can get stuck at work, school, or in panicked transit, leaving pets to fend for themselves.

Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins.

To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, “. . . helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.”

The dog with brown and white splotches and his friend with gray, black and white splotches were rescued, and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.

Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers, says on Facebook:

“. . . The one which came close to the camera is in the better condition. The other . . was weak. . . But please know that those two are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more and we need help.”

I noticed another, smaller story this week. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, went for 1.5 million U.S. dollars in China. Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols there. Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, “He is a perfect specimen.”

The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?

How to donate to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The Humane Society also is providing aid to Japanese animals.

Here’s another link to donate: World Vets Prepares First Responders To Japan.

To help the Japanese people, you can give to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. This is the link I used to donate to The Salvation Army in Japan.  Salvation Army Quake Relief.

Below is a photograph I took in 2002 of  The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan.  The Japanese people have a long tradition of strength, beauty and endurance, and they will re-build.  Below the photograph is a translation of the Japanese in the video.

Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan Postca postcard

UPDATE: CNN and the UK Telegraph have both reported that the dogs have been rescued since the footage aired, and are both receiving veterinary care; the more seriously wounded dog is at a clinic in the city of Mito, while the protective spaniel-type dog is receiving care at a shelter in the same town.
Here is an English translation of the voiceover exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Where?
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He’s getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Dogs, Pets

Thumbs up to Jimmy, a Cat with a Thumb

Check out my post on polydactyl cats by clicking here.

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Filed under Cats, Humor

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, But He’s Just a Little Late This Year

 

Virginia, an eight-year-old stray Calico cat, is looking for a home.

I visited Wayside Waifs the day after Christmas — Boxing Day.  I’d hoped that someone would have gently placed Virginia in a gift box (with air holes, of course) and taken her to her forever home for Christmas, but she was still there.  She’s a big, beautiful Calico cat who was found as a stray.  Sadly,  no one has come looking for her. She’s very sweet, though a bit shy. I was happy today to see that Virginia is the featured Feline Waif of the Week at Wayside Waifs!

Santa is still on his way, Virginia. Santa, if you need directions, Wayside Waifs is at  3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, MO 64137, 816-761-8151. (Santy Claws, featured  in my previous post, found a forever home. Hurrah! Or, maybe I should say, Ho, Ho, Ho!)

I hope Santa is on his way with a forever home, Virginia!

About Calico Cats.

Wayside Waifs.

About Boxing Day.

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Filed under Cats

All I Want for Christmas is a Home!

Hi, I'm Santy Claws! I'd love to go home with you for Christmas and stay there forever! I've been very, very nice this year.

Santy Claws is a two-month-old kitten available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City.  You can read more about animals available for adoption and the work of this wonderful no-kill animal shelter on its website at Wayside Waifs.

Here’s what Wayside Waifs has to say about little Miss Santy Claws.

My name is Santy Claws, but you can call me Santy for short!:) I am a curious kitten who likes to check and see what is behind open doors. At my foster home, I once climbed the lower branches of the tree and perched there, looking like a live ornament, which brought laughter to the household! Mostly, I am a snuggly cat-my favorite thing is to snuggle up in a lap or next to you in bed. I am very comfortable with dogs and often tried to play with the black lab in my foster home, but I also play well with cats. Oh yeah, there was a guitar player in my foster home, and I really enjoyed snuggling up next to him while he played his acoustic guitar (not all the cats were as comfortable with this.)

Here’s one of my previous posts about Wayside Waifs.  I’m Adorable. Take Me Home! You can find more of my posts about Wayside Waifs by entering Wayside Waifs in my blog search box.


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Filed under Cats, Kansas City, Life

I Like Ike

Ike, a five-year-old male cat awaiting adoption, knows how to get comfortable in his room at Wayside Waifs. What he'd really like is to hang out with you!

Ike, age five, is a great cat.  However, as much as I enjoy seeing him at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City when I go there to take photographs, I wish he’d find a forever home.  He’d be a great asset to your home.

Here’s what his biography says on the Wayside Waifs website: Are you looking for a twinkle of excitement in your life? Feel that too often life is lingering on the boring side? Well, do I have a solution for you! ADOPT ME! My goofy, yet sophisticated, personality is bound to knock your socks off. Couple that with my playful, frisky side and you definitely have a fun-loving bundle of entertainment 365 days a year! We can sit on the couch and I’ll whisper in your ear, “hey you, time for a belly rub – oh and don’t forget to rub the ears,” then, I’ll dive off the couch and bat around my play mice and jingle balls. You’ll giggle at me chasing my tail and laugh out loud as I stalk the dust bunny hiding under the coffee table. Sound like fun? Come see me at Wayside and let’s talk about making our connection permanent!

Click here for more information about Wayside Waifs.  Here’s a link to my previous post I’m Adorable! Take Me Home!  about Wayside Waifs, which contains a link to still another Wayside Waifs post with photographs of adorable cats and kittens, awaiting adoption.  See a pattern here? Fortunately, many of the cats and kittens pictured in those posts have found homes, thanks to wonderful people like you!  But there are always more animals coming into Wayside Waifs that need homes.

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Filed under Animals, Cats