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Friday Cat Blogging

Advantage: Cats

Friday Cat Blogging

Try this with opposable thumbs.

[Editor: Ringo demonstrating an advantage of a cat’s “fluid spine” as she washes up for dinner.]

Friday Ark


1 Steve Bates { 04.22.11 at 7:35 am }

Well, there seem to be a lot of humans who spend all their time with one of those opposable thumbs in… aw, never mind!

Your successful “cat won’t face the camera” shot deserves an award… how about the Lemonade from Lemons Award?

(OT: CommentLuv is still stuck on that title with “Sex” in it. Third day now.)

2 Bryan { 04.22.11 at 10:39 am }

I have a half dozen pictures from that same “shoot” of different cats not facing the camera. Because of the light there was just enough delay between hitting the button and when the CCDs were exposed for every one of those flea bags to turn away.

3 jams o donnell { 04.22.11 at 4:51 pm }

I wish we could do that.. on the other hand I wold not want to lick parts of my body after a long day!

I’m more fortunate on the phto front in that my DSLRs have an instant exposure

4 Bryan { 04.22.11 at 5:33 pm }

Well, it would cut down on the number of mirrors around, and guys could some of the “terror questions” like “Do these pants my me look fat?”

Yeah, that delay is really a pain when you are trying to photograph living things or things in motion.

5 Kryten42 { 04.22.11 at 9:46 pm }

I still have my trusty old Nikon F2AS which has near infinitely variable shutter speed, 12 different prisms, and many kinds of lenses. And it didn’t cost me a penny (which is a good thing, because they were horribly expensive!) It was part of my *kit* when I worked for the Gov in the 80’s. They let me keep it when I retired (to be honest, I think they simply *forgot* I had it, and I wasn’t in a hurry to remind them. They owed me… Typical of most Gov agencies, paperwork was often *misplaced*. 😉 I kep’t a couple other useful toys too. Call it… severence pay. 😆 I stopped using it (it weighed almost a kilo without accessories), and sold it (and all the acessories) for a very good price (with a few other bit’s I’d collected, Hasselblad 50C/M body & close-up bellows, enlarger…) and got a Nikon DSLR in ’04 (D2X), but it now needs a new battery (and like everything Nikon, is proprietary) which costs about $80-$90, if I could find one. *shrug* One thing I have learned about these new DSLRs, they don’t have anywhere NEAR the useful life of the old *analog* (film) SLRs, and the quality of the shot’s (esecially sharpness of image) isn’t as good either. I had an Olympus OM2 for many years (before I banged on something it once too often, they were very tough, but not indestructable!) I used to enjoy working in my darkroom (which was a converted *tin* shed, fully blacked out and well ventilated). I had a Durst A300 enlarger (which I got pretty cheap because the power supply was dead and had no lense, but I found it it used the same Nikon 50mm F2.8 lense that my F2AS had, and fixing the PSU was not hard. 😉 I eventually got a used CLS30 color head for the enlarger. I made good money doing the film for many photographers. 🙂

neway… I used to get great kitty shot’s with the F2AS! It was faster than a speeding kitty! Especially with 1000 ASA film. I used that film first at the 1977 Bathurst 1000 (mt. Panorama, NSW) Touring Car race, when my (then) hero’s Allan Moffat & Colin Bond in modded Ford XC Falcon GT’s won the race 1st & 2nd! I got a great shot of tham crossing the line and they look dead still, with the background racing past. 😀 This is a similar image (from a die-cast commemorative limited ed’n kit):


BTW, that finish was a *setup*. Bond’s car (# 2) was in fact faster than Moffat’s (# 1), but no way Moffat would ever let anone, even on his own team, beat him! He had a bit of an ego… 😆 😉

And yeah… I was a real petrol head back then! I had a Ford XB GT Coupe and a couple friends and I spent many weekends in my big garage modding the hell out of it! At one point, it was the fastest steet-legal car in Vic, and possibly Aus! We used to hire time at the Calder raceway and race around the track to test her out. 😈

Ah well… memories… 😉 😆

6 Kryten42 { 04.22.11 at 10:00 pm }

Oops! I made an error above! 1st line should read:
“I still have my trusty old Nikon D2X”. I sold the F2AS (which I now know was a BIG mistake!!) *sigh* 😉

Sorry ’bout dat! 😀

7 Bryan { 04.22.11 at 11:27 pm }

Oh, yes, this stuff would be a slam dunk with my Pentax and film, but getting film and getting it processed is more than slightly expensive anymore. I’ll upgrade at some point when my cash flow normalizes and if I can make it until June when I can afford to get sick again. I’m being very close on cash because work has dried up, and my budget doesn’t have much slack in it.

Things should get a bit better this summer, and maybe I’ll go shopping, if I can convince myself that I need a new camera.

I really hate it when things that should be standardized, like battery packs, are made proprietary. I went through 4 telephone systems before I finally got my current Panasonic because of the cost of the replacement batteries. The Panasonic uses standard rechargeable batteries that you can buy anywhere.

The little point-and-shoot is fine for most of what I use it for, but I really miss the control I had with film.

My days of being logged at 139 mph on Interstate 55 by the Arkansas State Police in my 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda with a 340CID sucking through two 1200cfm four-barrels and running through a 4-speed to a 355 limit slip rear axle are over.

I’ll stick with the Civic. It keeps me out of trouble.

8 Kryten42 { 04.23.11 at 3:08 am }

Ohhhh… Now, you don’t *REALLY* want me to get started on the topic of hot cars???! 😈

Only 139MPH? We used to do that getting out the driveway! LMAO 😈

When I ordered the GT, I decided to get the 351R Cleveland V8 option (Boss engine build, or 351 4V high-compression) which had 4-bolt mains & 4V heads instead of the usual 2-bolt 2V, higher compression ratio (11.7:1) and in stock form produced about 330hp, rather than the normal 240hp. It came standard with a Holly 4V (450CFM from memory), but it would choke when you booted the accelerator, and we discovered that the Holly’s were a stupid design (large primaries, small secondaries). So we spoke to some enine experts and had chat’s with Eidelbrock, and decided to get an Eidelbrock mani with twin Carter TQ’s (ThermoQuads), which had the needed bigger secondaries. Holly did make good electric fuel pumps (60GPM) and fuel pressure regulator’s and we used those.After rupturing a fuel line and almost toasting the car, we went with braided stainless-steel, teflon-lined, hoses with high-pressure alloy connectors. We had the block fully blueprinted & polished, and discovered the stock cam/valve system was garbage. One of my friends had an Uncle that worked for Crower in the US, and after several discussions, one of my friends (with the help of his Dad who was a mechanical engineer that worked for the railways) came up with a cam design with a 6degree intake/exhaust overlap (so that the start of the exhaust stroke would clean out any burnt fuel from the cylinders, thus ensuring cleaner, hotter detonations). 🙂 Hey, petrol was cheap back then! 😉 Crower sent us a blank billet, and we helped my friends dad machine it in the Railway workshop (they had this huge 5-axis milling machine! could have fit the whole car in! It was back when we manufacured our own trains, trams and aircraft from the Commonwealth Aircraft Corp.) Then we added alloy lifters, had new alloy valves machined, and used a special dual spring design for the valves. Anway, let’s say I was sooo glad my frien’ds dad worked for the Railway and had that big workshop with all the cool machines & tools that we could never have afforded! 😀 We spent a lot of time there on weekends. 🙂 We actually did a deal with the Railway, we helped the workshop get the rail jobs finished, and they turned a blind eye to us using the shop. 🙂 I figured it was more than fair, and was a win-win for all. You couldn’t do something like that today! Not a chance! *sigh*

There is a LOT more… but I’ll save you! 😉 We worked on that car over about 4 years, and won a few car show awards (and a couple races too!) By the time we finished, there was almost nothing left of the original car (seriously!) Anyway, think I have mentioned it before actually… *shrug*

I told you you’d regret pushing *that* button! 😆

9 oldwhitelady { 04.23.11 at 8:04 pm }

That’s one pretty kitty! And clean, too:) It certainly is difficult to get good face shots when the cats don’t want the flash to hit their eyes. Of course, in her case, she’s busy.

10 Bryan { 04.23.11 at 10:11 pm }

Unless it is cold, Ringo is always busy. She was actually looking right at me over her left shoulder when I pressed the button, and whipped her head around to the right side by the time the camera reacted.

11 Bryan { 04.23.11 at 10:36 pm }

Oops, missed you there, Kryten.

Yeah, the 351, the Chevy 350, and the Chrysler 340 are the easiest to build out and provide the most bang for the buck. They are hard to break and offer the most options.

Gimme a break, the 3.55 rear end was a decent compromise for the street that saved the rear tires. I had revs left when I pulled over so 140+ wasn’t a problem, the radar car on the side of the road just passed an overpass was. I dropped it neutral and rolled over to the side. He wrote the ticket for 84 because I didn’t make him chase me, but he showed me the radar ticket.

You have to understand I was in the service and the car had plates from Florida, insurance from Nebraska, and my driver’s license was from New York, so life could have gotten “interesting” if I had made him chase me.

The access to the tools makes all of the difference in the world. I had to buy my set-up [carbs and intake manifold] from a local drag racer who was moving up in class, and he installed it. I found him after I bought the car, or I would have just swapped engines with him. He didn’t have the big tools you had access to, but he was able to “blueprint” the components, and had access to better than original parts. It is just as well, as I got myself in more than enough trouble driving that car in California and Washington, DC. It was essential in Washington as the Beltway has very short entrance ramps and the regular crowd don’t want to let people merge.

We wanted to, and we did it, so it is time to move on.

12 Kryten42 { 04.24.11 at 12:18 am }

No worries. 😀 I was just reminiscing… The “good ol’ days” and all that! 😉

You’re right about those 3 engines. 🙂 We worked on a couple 350’s and a 340 for various friends. the Ford 302 & GM 308 were popular here also.

It’s curious how things work out really. I got the *building/fixing stuff* bug from my maternal Grandfather, and went on to make friends with kids who had similar interests (naturally). Four of us worked on the Ford, and we shared the cost, though I tended to have more money than they did, so I used to pay up-front costs, and get reimbursed, eventually. 🙂 My friend who’s dad worked for the railway started an apprenticeship as an auto electrician with Shell, and got me an apprenticeship as a mechanic there also. But Shell sucked, all I did for over a year was change tires and batteries, and destroy several shirts in the process. But I did get to go to a Technical Institute 2 days a week (we called them TAFE here), and one of the senior instructors said I had a real aptitude for electronics & engineering, and talked me into doing a full-time 3-year COT (Certificate of Technology) course, which would lead me into any one of several Uni degree courses. I fell in love with that huge CNC Milling machine, and found using various machine tools a joy, so I decided to go for Industrial Design/Automation. This was a relatively new course (in ’79) and was part of the Electronics Engineering Dep’t, specializing in control systems and robotics. DEC grabbed me with an offer of big money and a chance to work on new systems (like the VAX 11/782, which I’d never heard of, we had a 750 that I’d hacked with a couple friends, hence the *job offer* (or you can explain to authorities how you hacked a College computer). 😉 Remember, back then, DEC touted the VAX as the ultimate in security! (and it was, unless you had virtually unlimited access to one, and people were used to seeing you buried in the guts of one)! Hacking it turned out to be quite simple really, and involved a simple bit of *human engineering* (a term I’d never heard until years later in the Military/Int and was partially responsible for my getting those jobs). After finishing my 2 yr contract at DEC, I started my own Computer shop, and made a fortune. Then a few tragic things happened, and I went into the Military and agreed to the most dangerous job they had. I didn’t think I would survive, and that was OK with me at that time. But it turned out I had a stronger will than anyone thought, and did survive, worked for the Gov Intel services until I got totally sick of idiot bureaucrats. My attitude changed a lot, and I eventually (and finally) returned to my engineering root’s passion and got a job as R&D manager for a company designing new and advanced control systems for various automated machines. And my team won several awards doing it. 🙂 So I guess, things do go full circle, eventually. 🙂

Curiously, where the Railway Workshop was located (an industrial suburb called Spotswood, in the same street, was a much smaller workshop with a few guys who were a Drag Racing team, and they worked on their fuel-altered funny-car (cased on a Corvette Stingray) which was a bright yellow and called StingRat. 😆 We helped each other out a lot. We did some machining for them, and they gave us ton’s of advice and access to their contact’s in the USA (They were American’s who came here off-season to race). 🙂 They helped us design an adapter to fit a Ferari 5-speed to the ford, which we got from a wrecker they knew from a wrecked Ferrari (a new gearbox would have set us back about $12K! The Ford GT with bigger engine only cost about $8K)! 😆 A German engineer we met in Spotswood who used to work for BMW & Porsche made a new clutch system to fit for about $2k (would have cost over $6k normally). Basically, in truth, we got lucky. 🙂 *shrug*

I was just giving you a bit of a nudge in your car, as youknow. 😉 And yeah, a 3.55 rear was pretty good. 🙂 And I think I can see how you ended up being a Cop! 😉 😆 You (like me) were destined to end up on one side of the law, or the other. 😈

Sounds like you had some fun, and enjoyed it too. 🙂

I try not to, but sometimes can’t help wishing I was back *then*. Life was DEFINITELY better! Oh well… we can only move forward. 😉

13 Badtux { 04.24.11 at 1:00 am }

I was never impressed by the 351 Cleveland, I tore down a couple of them back in the day because of seized cam bearings and resulting bent lifters and valves. Definitely not the best valve gear around. The 350 Chevy, on the other hand, was absolutely bullet-proof and could be built into a monster. Chevy still makes the best big V8 engines in the business, even today — people considering swapping engines into Jeeps don’t even consider Chrysler engines, because the big Chevy V8’s are cheaper, more reliable, and easier to build, usually the engine and transmission are swapped in as a unit along with the entire engine/transmission wiring harness, computer, and emissions system (yes, this is legal even in California, as long as it’s a newer engine than the one originally in the Jeep and the *entire* emissions system all the way to the back of the cat is transplanted and certified as such by a CARB inspection station). The only real pain is having to run parallel wiring harnesses (since the dashboard is run by the Jeep computer, while the Chevy transmission and engine are run by the Chevy computer). Ah, the wonders of modern electronics, eh?

3.55 gearing with a torque monster engine like the ones you’re talking about wasn’t bad at all, back in the days of 3 speed automatics you had to run a taller rear end because there was no overdrive to settle the engine down at speed. Given a torque curve as broad and flat as Kansas, I can certainly see how that was an acceptable compromise. I’m running 3.73’s on my Jeep right now but it has a six-speed transmission with not one, but *two* overdrives, to the point where I’ve done the calculations and I can easily run 4.56 gearing without being unduly busy on the highway (it’ll be busy, around 3000 rpm at 75mph, but acceptable). Of course, I don’t have to worry about going fast in my Jeep, not with a whole 190 horsepower and the aerodynamics of a brick :). Still, I’m not rushing out to do the Chevy engine swap. The old AMC I6 is as reliable as a brick and its in-line form factor makes for a nicely roomy engine compartment that’s far more pleasant to work in than a typical V8-stuffed engine compartment. And driving a slow slug does have its anti-ticket advantages, though there was the moron who almost road-raged on me because I didn’t get out of his way fast enough (he stopped when I picked up my microphone and started talking on it, then he realized he’d seen not one, but *two* antennas on my Jeep in addition to the normal radio antenna and decided I must be The Man and he skedaddled and disappeared down a side street lickity split, saved by ham radio! 🙂 ).

Regarding life better then vs. now, I suppose it depends upon how addicted you are to adrenalin. I like my nice pleasant non-adrenalin-producing lifestyle that I have now. I’ve lived rough. I like my comforts now — why, my Jeep even has cruise control, air conditioning, and a hard top! — though I occasionally take a trek in the wilderness via jeep or on foot just to remind myself why I prefer not living rough nowadays ;).

14 Kryten42 { 04.24.11 at 5:00 am }

Hi bt,

Depends on the 351. 🙂 The standard 351W (Windsor) or 351C etc were just basic V8 plodders with not a lot of potential. The 351Q (Cobra Jet) @ 351R (Boss) were the heavyweights. 🙂 They were designed to perform at a high level, if you had the money, or access to required assets to make it happen. 🙂 The guys we met on the StingRat crew said that I made a great choice opting for the more expensive R because it could be built to rev out at over 11K RPM (not that we wanted to get near that, but it had the potential). We were happy to top out at about 8.2K with a Garrett Air-Research blower (Supercharger) with a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system (the last engine mod’s we made). 🙂 We called her the ‘Black Widow’ (for shows & such) and she could blow the Mad Max Pursuit Interceptor (which was based on the same base car) off the road. 😉 She had a new chassis, new suspension, brakes, exhaust, interior, body mod’s… the works. Not saying the 350 Chev is no good, but like the 351, depends which one you get. Most people who want to get into modding don’t even find out, until too late, that there are different engine models. The think a 351 is a 351 (or a 350 is a 350). *shrug*

I was seriously considering an AMC AMX Coupe that I saw in a showroom (red, of course), but my friends basically talked me into the XB GT because we really wanted the car for a *dream* project of making a top show car. 🙂 I think the AMX had a 390cid V8 from memory… big engine for a small car! That would have required a shoehorn I think. From memory, I think it was about the size of a Carolla, but with something like 350HP! If I had just wanted to own a muscle car, it would have been either the AMX or a Corvette Convertible 6.3. 😆 😉 BTW, that XB GT was a good car even stock. People are paying over $40k to get one in mint condition today (and I have seen them go for over $50k). There was just *something* about it! 🙂

I had a CB & Radar detector installed in the Widow. My friends and I did a few runs to Sydney or other places far away. We once did a Sydney run in about 6.5 hours, it’s normally 11. Could have been quicker, but chatting with truckie’s along the highway getting (and giving) *Bear* sightings, and the occasional alarm from the detector prevented that. 😉

As far as life goes, I was only commenting on mine. Everyone else has their own views. I can assure you… mine was absolutely and quite definitely better back then! 🙂 Which is not to say that it will never be any good again. Who knows? My crystal ball broke many years ago. 😉 *shrug*

15 Badtux { 04.24.11 at 11:54 am }

Kryten, I think the Ford vs. Chevy arguments will end somewhere around the heat death of the universe :). For 4-wheel-drive trucks and vans Ford has managed to win that argument here because you can fit them with solid axles up front (the frame on Chevy trucks is set up for independent suspension and has no cutouts for an axle to move up and down in, the Ford frames were originally set up for their wonky Dual I-Beam swingarm setup and thus have cutouts that allow an axle to move up and down in), but their engines and transmissions are still mediocre compared to the General’s. That is why nobody puts Ford engines and transmissions into Jeeps. Well, that and the fact that there are so many variants of Ford engines — as you point out, even the 351 Cleveland had so many variants that it was useless to say you had a 351 Cleveland, you had to say what year and what car it came out of — while GM’s engines and transmissions have far less variance, the 350 for instance basically only had some changes to cam profile and head shape over the last 20 years of its life to deal with emissions issues and to improve piston sealing (new coatings). That said, one of my coworkers has one of the new Ford Mustangs. I try to avoid that area of the parking lot because my days of fast cars and faster motorcycles are over. Sedate is the word :).

I don’t have the right personality type to become addicted to being paid to travel the world while carrying lots of cool gear, meet lots of interesting people, and, err, you know the rest of that one. I’m too much the analyst for that. So I’m quite happy with my current not-so-exciting lifestyle where I can gather immense amounts of open source data from the comfort of my office, analyse it, and come to the conclusion that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Not that you need an analyst to come to that conclusion :twisted:.

16 Bryan { 04.24.11 at 12:20 pm }

As a point of information, I have never bought a car with an automatic transmission. The police vehicles had them, but I didn’t like them. I prefer the control offered by a clutch and proper gear selection to keep me going in sand, mud, or snow. The ‘Cuda had a four-speed, but an over-drive would have been nice.

I’m stuck with an automatic in the Civic, but the kind of driving involved wouldn’t get me out of second gear in the ‘Cuda.

I’ve devolved into requiring more utility than speed in transportation.

17 Kryten42 { 04.25.11 at 1:39 am }

Yeah Bryan, I never owned an Auto either! 😀 Though, the high-end ones (Ferrari etc) are now very good I hear, but they are really semi-auto’s (for a price!!)

The rivalry here was/is Ford vs Holden (GM or GMH). Chrysler tried to get in on it, but nobody really took them seriously. 😉

Here, it was the Bathurst races that sorted out Ford vs. Holden. It was a production care endurance race, and both *cheated* as much as possible! 😆 One of the criteria was that at least 33 cars of a particular model entered to race had to have been built and sold. So both had “Limited Edition” promotions a year or so before the race. 😆 My car was one of those, so I got a lot of cool extra’s (for a price of course) that wasn’t in the stock version. 🙂 The whole XA-XB-XC series of GT Coupe’s was pretty limited anyway (I think less than 1,000 all up were made), and it was only made because the more aerodynamic shape would help Ford win races against the higher-drag boxy Holden’s they raced against, and Ford was top-of-the-hill for a few years until Holden caught up. 😉

I spent many years traveling and living out of suitcases and Hotels during the late 80’s and 90’s. Initially for my Gov masters, and then for various companies. My very first short trip to the USA, my luggage ended up in Canada. I quickly learned to keep a change of clothes and important stuff in my carry-on. Some f the things in my carry-on were not usually allowed, but I would generally have either a pass from the Airline with a Gov seal affixed, or a Customs clearance (for both ends of the trip). I certainly don’t have any urge to travel any more. 🙂 All I want is peace and quiet. And I have come to the conclusion I’ll get that when I’m *six feet under*! (At least, that’s my theory, but with my luck, probably not). 😛

18 Bryan { 04.25.11 at 5:11 pm }

NASCAR used to have rules about using “production cars”, but they finally gave up the pretense.

Chrysler was big for a long time in drag racing and NASCAR, but that faded when the management lost interest. You can’t do it right without the R&D and that stopped, followed by the demise of the their racing parts division.

Moving and traveling suck so bad in the US, that it isn’t worth the effort. No one wants to deal with all of the crap at US airports, so even a cheap dollar isn’t helping the tourist areas.

Civic goes wherever I want to go, because it will be less than 50 miles.