Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Security 3000

I don't really have that much stuff to steal (aromatic couch? 15+ year old microwave? a bunch of other stuff that smells like Scooter peed on it?), but I increased the home security system over the weekend.

This is Ginger:

She's really Rvan and Christina's dog, but she's on loan while they try to regain some sanity while caring for five month old twins. (I held one of the twins yesterday. It went great for about twenty seconds, then he realized that he didn't know the person holding him, and had an epic meltdown. I think I'm being more helpful by taking the dog for a while...)

You can't really tell from the picture, but she's about the size of a cat. She also has what is kindly referred to as a "little dog personality", so it took a few hours before she stopped growling at Molly. (Molly kept snoring peacefully.)

While Molly didn't even notice the fence builders in the yard, Ginger barked at them. So the alarm system is now working. Of course, neither dog would actually do anything to defend the place -- if someone broke in Molly would go over to get her head rubbed, and Ginger would take the opportunity to run out of the house...

Anyhow, we went to the dog park this evening, where Molly got her head rubbed by everyone and Ginger snapped at all the other little dogs. I consider it a complete success, though, because when it was time to leave I was able to grab Ginger without chasing her all around the dog park. I think that's about all I could wish for at this point.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Fence Builder Isn't The Only Thing Hot Around Here

Pop quiz time!

Which of these two unopened cans was left in my car on Wednesday (when it got to about 105 F)?


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bring Me A Bucket!

Having a blog can really mess up your life. Take this weekend, for example.

After having pointed out that I had no desire to go to the county fair, I realized that it was a bit unfair since I've never been. Also, Scrawny Mike told me that I had to try a funnel cake. But really, I went because that would give me something to talk about. See how messed up that is?

Knowing that I was going to be eating a bunch of unhealthy food and being too cheap to pay $5 for parking, I walked. This turned out to be the best part of the trip. It was a nice day, a little warm, but not so hot that I kept scanning for shade.

Once inside, I passed all the teenagers with large belt buckles and the FFA and 4H animals which were being auctioned off. By the pound. Nothing like the units to bring you back to reality.

Anyhow, seen one cow, seen them all, so I moved on to the non-animal part of the fair. Here is a ride I didn't go on:

Ironically, I decided to eat because just watching that ride made me nauseated. I started with the funnel cake, which Scrawny Mike had described as "like a donut with powdered sugar". What I received was this:

That's not a miniature plate. That's enough food to feed a family of four for three days, and it wasn't even particularly tasty. Sadly, I was eating it as I wandered around the exhibits and ate almost two thirds of it.

The exhibits were the best part. I think the judging must have happened much earlier in the week, so some of the entries were past their peak. A few of the fruit entries were rotting. But the squash monstrosities were... interesting:

I stopped at the master gardeners' table and checked to see if they had any suggestions for getting rid of bindweed. Everyone agrees that I'm screwed if it's in my garden.

At the bandstand a bunch of young white guys were playing reggae. I heard three songs while I was looking at exhibits. They all sounded exactly the same. It was like being in college again.

I saw a bunch of quilts and took some terrible pictures of them:

Every quilt that I thought was good had a ribbon on it, so I thought for a while that I would make a great judge. Then I realized that pretty much everything had some kind of ribbon. I may have to enter something next year to test how far they are willing to go.

By this time my feet were hurting and I felt ill because of the funnel cake. In an astounding example of brain fever, I decided that eating something else might make me feel better. So I got this:

That's not a small plate either.

I sat on a bench, ate my fried onion, and watched a bunch of kids try to ride a mechanical bull, which was fairly entertaining. Every once in a while one of the teenagers with a large belt buckle would show up, and the operator would switch it from the easy level to "show the damn teenager who's boss" level. That was pretty entertaining, too.

Anyhow, at that point I decided I needed to leave, so I walked home.

It took a full 24 hours before I felt better. I'm never doing that again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nothing to see here, move along

We're nearing the end of the user acceptance testing period (you know, the time when the users decide that they don't really care about the stuff in the requirements, what they really, really care about is something completely different. Oh, and can you make the background blue? That's critical!) Anyhow, this is how I feel on some days...

Anyhow, I have nothing to say other than after making fun of the fair, I feel almost obligated to go this weekend and see what's there. So if anyone is near Woodland this weekend and wants to go along, let me know.

Looking through the old pictures, am I the only one who thinks that this:

has a lot in common with this?

I guess it makes some sense...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Are You Going To Yolo Fair?

My poor neighbors. Ever since I got back from the dog park (where everyone was talking about the upcoming Yolo County Fair), I've had "Scarborough Fair" stuck in my head. And since I live alone, naturally I've been belting out the three lines that I know over and over as I put the groceries away.

Yeah. Not really a song that's in my (admittedly very limited) range. And the windows are all open.

To make it worse, my neighbors' grown daughter can really sing. She majored in music and teaches voice lessons. So they know what singing is supposed to sound like. And I'm pretty sure my rendition doesn't qualify.

Anyhow, the point of this was that the Yolo County Fair (and we're a salt-of-the-earth farming community, so it's a "fair" not a "faire") starts on Wednesday. There's no entry fee, and I can walk to the fairgrounds from here.

But... why would I? I know I'm known for being apathetic and all that, but this is one of those things I just really don't get. I want to like the fair but I can't figure out why I would.

Children's swingsets make me nauseated, so the fair rides are right out. The food... just doesn't sound appealing. I don't like regular Twinkies, and deep-frying them doesn't make that any better. Vegetarian options are few and far between.

The animals... okay, baby goats are cute, but I don't really like most farm animals, and unlike many people, I know exactly what's going to happen to them the day after auction.

Live bands... not really interested. Car races... again, not my thing.

So I'm not really sure why I would go wander around in crowds of people in the summer heat.

What am I missing?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dog Tripper

It turns out that although I know a fair amount of information about different dog training methods, and I even did agility with one of the resident blood donor dogs during vet school (the dog did well, I kept crashing into things...), my own dogs have come to me pretty much trained.

I did teach (deaf) Molly the hand signal for sit, and I taught (blind) Lucy the command "step-down" so she would go carefully down stairs and not just launch herself wildly into the air after the first step. But I've never had to do more than that.

Until now.

Molly Speedbump only has one bad habit. Every time I go into a room and close the door, she will lie down with her back against the door and block the entryway so I trip over her on my way out.

Now, I could put down spike strips (or some humane equivalent) to make lying there less appealing, but then I wouldn't be able to walk around in bare feet. So what I've been doing instead of just stepping over her is nudging her with my foot until she heaves herself off the floor.

Lately she's been leaving a roughly twelve inch gap between her rear end and the side of the door, which is just enough space to get by without tripping over her as long as I don't step on her tail.

I thought we were making progress, but it's actually worse, because when she sees me, she wags her tail, and since she is lying on her side, her tail wags perpendicularly to the floor. Then she goes from being a speedbump to being the extra-difficult last hole in miniature golf, where you have to time it just right or the windmill knocks your ball to the side.

So... yeah. Maybe we can work on that...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Hear the Approaching Thunder Now...

I'm feeling a little old this evening. I spent the weekend digging out ivy from around the fence, hand-weeding the front yard, mowing, edging, hoeing the weeds from the side yard, and generally being pretty darn active.

My back hurts, my shoulder is sore, I had a blister on my index finger until it was ripped off by the next weed, I still have a blister on my middle finger, there's a bruise on my right arm, and my neck is stiff. I walked the dog on our usual weekend route (which adds an extra block) both mornings. (Jim is at a pow-wow in North Fork, in case you're curious.)

So why, when I go to the Hollywood Market, do I still get pointedly asked if I want to buy a Diet Coke with my chocolate?

Someday lightening is going to strike that woman. And I will laugh.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up Down Up Down Rah Rah Rah

This week has been a little mixed as far as accomplishments go. Here's an example:

Positive: I bought everything I needed to make the rice/bean/corn/peppers/etc salad for lunches for the week on Sunday.

Negative: Okay, I didn't quite buy everything I needed. Why don't I have a lime tree yet? I never remember to buy lime juice.

Positive: I was able to cook at 11pm while watering the lawn, doing laundry, feeding the cats, feeding the coral, feeding the dog, and watching the latest episode of "Lie To Me". That's multitasking.

Negative: Forgot I had rice coming to a boil on the stove until I smelled it.

Positive: Didn't burn down the house, and I still had just enough rice for a second try.

Negative: Probably should replace my pot. Realized at about this point that I didn't have the lime juice. Too lazy to find a store open at 11pm and go buy some.

Positive: Had orange extract and lemon zest in the cupboard. That's close, right?

Negative: No, it's not really close.

Positive: Still edible. Probably because of the jalapeno drowning out all other flavors.

So, yeah, that's the way this week has gone...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Darling, You Are Such A Darling

Just for fun sometimes I see what is recommending for me.

For the most part hulu has decided that I like science fiction, police procedurals, and (for some completely unknown reason) anime. I pretty much don't watch anything animated as a rule, and I'm not a huge fan of police shows, but sometimes you find some good things ("Raines", starring Jeff Goldblum as a homicide detective who carries on conversations in his head with the victims) along with the bad ("Cleopatra 2525", which I didn't get far enough along in the pilot episode to even figure out if there was a plot beyond "there are three girls with minimal clothing in the future").

Hulu also has some older series available, and somehow "Hart To Hart" was on my list of recommendations. I vaguely remember watching a few episodes as a kid, something about the rich guy (Jonathan Hart), his wife (Jennifer (?) Hart) and their superannuated factotum Max (who sounds like he should be dragging around an oxygen tank, not helping these people fight crime). I tried to watch the pilot today. Oh boy.

  • This show is the seventies. Mrs. Hart's hair is like a fourth cast member. She looks like a poodle -- not the little ones you see walking down the street, but the standard poodles all fluffed up for the show ring. I kept losing track of the dialog because I was mesmerized by her hair.
  • Sideburns. Dear god.
  • Men in tight pants. All the men. Not an exceptionally good look for most of them.
  • Brown suits.
  • A car phone. Granted, they don't show anything other than the handset, which looks like a regular handset, connected by a regular coiled wire to some place in the dashboard. But still, Mr. Hart had a car phone.
  • Insipid dialog. Really, this is the thing that made it impossible for me to get past the fifteen minute mark. The Harts call each other "Darling" so incessantly that it ceases to sound like a term of endearment, and starts sounding like they want to be cursing at each other through gritted teeth, but can't because it won't get past the network censors. Really, when they have interchanges like "Darling?" "Yes, Darling?" "I think I'll take a drive to the coast this afternoon, Darling.", you can only think that the original version of the script said something completely different...
  • There were payphones on every corner. For some reason this struck me as the strangest part of the whole show.

I don't know. Maybe the series got better after the first episode. Maybe all television was just so bad back then that this looked good in comparison. Or maybe I was a little less picky when I was eleven years old.

Or just possibly, Sydney Sheldon created the easiest drinking game of all time...