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  • Meet Flame

    Posted on July 28th, 2007 Jeff Keller 2 comments



    Flame (formerly Lawrence) is a 15 week-old kitten that adopted today at ARF, which is where I volunteer on Saturdays. I got him 1) because I wanted a friend for Zoe and 2) I hoped that he’d be a little more loving that Zoe (who is usually pretty aloof). Since Flame is younger, male cat, Zoe “in theory” should accept him.

    Zoe is pretty upset about having this strange cat in the house. They’re separated, but Zoe’s been hissing at the door where Flame lives, and has taken some shots at me as well. Flame could care less (he’s a kitten, after all). I’m trying to introduce them slowly, in hopes that they’ll one day be friends, or at least tolerate each other.

    By the way, Flame got his name from his breed — he’s a flame-point Siamese. Zoe’s a mix of tabby and seal-point Siamese. More kitten pics as I take them…

    Sunday update: Top two pics are new. Zoe is still angry. Flame is quite a needy little kitten.

  • New neighbors

    Posted on July 23rd, 2007 Jeff Keller No comments


    My friends Mark and “MB” were over for a nice BBQ on Saturday night, and they discovered two new neighbors that have moved into a tree next to my house. This charming couple has at least two babies, though I haven’t succeeded in photographing them just yet. I’ve found a great perch to take pictures from, so hopefully I’ll have some baby pictures soon!

  • Nature’s alarm clock

    Posted on July 20th, 2007 Jeff Keller No comments

    There I was, sound asleep, dreaming about ordering a mini vending machine from Woot.com during a Woot-off (at least, I hope that was a dream), when the Hayward Fault decided to slip, producing a 4.2 earthquake a little over a mile away. I woke up to the sound of the house rattling, which is a bit unnerving when you’re that drowsy.
    This one didn’t scare me too much (probably since I was still half-asleep). What scares me more is the thought of something much larger happening nearby. I vividly remember the 1989 quake, and that was like 40 miles away. Having the Hayward Fault a mile away is too close for comfort sometimes.

  • Giving credit where it’s due

    Posted on July 16th, 2007 Jeff Keller No comments

    I love Costco, it’s my second favorite place to shop (after Target). Their customer service is the best, too. When I moved to Oakland I bought vertical blinds through them, and when I was having trouble with one of the sets, I called customer service (at the blind company who handles Costco orders). I told them what was wrong (the fabric keep coming out of the channel) and they offered to replace all of the blinds, free of charge. Now that’s what I call good customer service.

  • Zoe’s Great Escape

    Posted on July 11th, 2007 Jeff Keller 5 comments

    Talk about terrible irony. I spent part of my day building a “cat barrier” (basically chicken wire) to keep Zoe from using the a gate as pathway into the driveway and front yard. I finished it quickly, and even sent a few pictures around to show off my work.
    About four hours later Zoe escaped the yard, and for a while I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see her again. I was out in the backyard with her, and when it was time for me to get dinner, I went looking for her. I called, she did not respond. I listened for the bell on her collar, but didn’t hear that either. I checked all the places in the backyard she likes to visit: the rose garden, under the deck, along the fence. Nothing.
    I thought “well, so much for the cat barrier” and went looking in the front yard. She wasn’t by the trash cans or in the juniper — both places she’s visited in past escapes. I walked up and down the street, calling for her. I even drove around the neighborhood. Zoe was nowhere to be found.
    I walked into the backyard, headed for my phone so I could call someone to come and help me look for her. I called out Zoe’s name a few more times, and this time I heard what I thought was the bell on her collar. It was coming from far away though. I ducked under a tree and looked over the fence, and saw a small animal standing outside of the house two doors down. I called her name, and she looked at me — I knew it was Zoe.
    I walked up the street to the house in question, and rang the doorbell. Nobody answered. I wasn’t about to trespass in their yard, so I went to the house between us, and knocked on the door. Jim, my neighbor, answered the door, and I told him that Zoe was loose somewhere nearby. Zoe saw us, and took off up the hill. We slowly worked our way up the very steep hill (I had no idea that I had it so good here), but Zoe kept getting further away. By the time we reached the top of the hill, Zoe was already in the yard behind mine. We crossed over “the creek” and, after I got stuck on some blackberry thorns, finally reached her. She was clearly terrified, with her tail fluffed. She hissed at me several times, so I spoke to her quietly and told her to go inside. She slipped through a previously unknown hole below my fence, and back into my yard.
    Jim escorted me back down the hill, I thanked him, and ran back into the yard to get Zoe. She was waiting for me at the back door, and ran inside right away.
    While Zoe’s in big trouble with me, I’m more relieved that I was able to find her at all. I think Zoe’s off-leash days are now officially over.. and that newly built cat barrier is coming down tomorrow.

  • July 4th, 2007: Part II (The Show)

    Posted on July 7th, 2007 Jeff Keller 5 comments

    And here are the fireworks photos from the Fourth of July. I took these from a mobbed Aquatic Park with my Olympus E-510 resting securely on a tripod. Enjoy!

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • July 4th, 2007: Part I (The Journey)

    Posted on July 7th, 2007 Jeff Keller 3 comments

    Boy am I late to the game with my July 4th photos! Since I took quite a few shots, I divided them into two entries. This one contains photos that I took before and after the show. I took the Oakland-Alameda ferry to SF, which was a fun and scenic ride.

    Pics after the break were taken with the Olympus E-510.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Catch and release wild mice

    Posted on July 7th, 2007 Jeff Keller 2 comments

    I have a rat problem in my basement, so I’ve got a bunch of snap traps all over that room. Today, one mouse got very lucky. I happened to wander in to see if I had any “catches”, and I turned around to see a very-much-alive mouse with his tail stuck in the trap. Despite wanting to rid my house of these pests, I’m too much of an animal lover to whack it over the head with a hammer.
    So, I put on leather gloves, grabbed my vice grips, and used them to carry the trap (with dangling mouse still attached) out the front door (and right over Zoe’s head). Once we were outside, I used a screwdriver to lift the trap off of the little guys tail, and off he went. Thankfully he didn’t lose his tail in the incident, but he was bleeding.
    There’s a good chance that nature will “take care” of the mouse soon, but today he got a second chance at life.