Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Air Is Spared!

We're going to have non-horrible air quality tomorrow, and you all have me to thank.

I worked from home the last two days since they were "spare-the-air" days here and Rvan pays attention to those things. The rest of the year my car can add to the pollution, but when the going gets rough, I stay home.

I'm actually pretty darn productive when working from home. I even picked a great time to be out of the office -- if I'd been there for the last two days I would have had to listen to them talk about that Contador guy taking steroids. This way there's a chance that I've missed that conversation. (My opinion: biking = boring but a good workout; talking about other people biking = really, really boring and not a good workout)

Working from home I don't get to eat lunch with my usual crowd, but then again I can watch hulu if I want during my break, so it's a bit of a trade-off.

The only real drawback to working from home is that I've eaten my entire caloric requirement by 10am. And I don't usually stop eating for the day after that.

So yeah, my diet is in jeopardy because the air quality was so bad. Everybody has to make sacrifices...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let's Just Run With That, Shall We?

Ever since Molly (the geriatric but still mobile deaf dog) arrived, I've been taking her for walks every morning. Brisk walks, for the most part. Sometimes she gets a little tired on the second half, but we usually keep going.

When Ginger (the cat-sized loaner dog) came, I figured I might have to carry her, but she holds her own.

Lately I've been trying to kick it up a notch and start jogging. It's not really going so well. Here is what you would see if you happened to be parked on my street in the morning:

- We get out the gate, the leashes are nicely arranged, I'm wearing my running shoes, and we start off well, with the dogs out in front (Molly on the left, Ginger on the right) pulling slightly.

- We get to my next-door-neighbors' house and Molly and Ginger stop to sniff the grass.

- We get going again, to the end of the street (one more house away), cross without getting run over, then Ginger has to do an end run around Molly to avoid stepping in the water standing in the gutter. The leashes twist around each other.

- Molly drops back to my side.

- One more house and Molly is trailing. Ginger, meanwhile, is pinballing back and forth in front of me, prancing from one clump of grass to the next.

- Two more houses and I'm pulling Molly along. Ginger is still going back and forth, but now she's not as far out in front and I keep tripping over her.

- I stop running because I can't really drag Molly down the street without feeling like a complete ass. Also, I'm winded, and she's given me a really good excuse to stop running.

So there you have it. Sometimes we make it almost eight houses away without stopping to walk.

Maybe I need yet another dog?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I can't believe it's not...



Here's what the new green coral, henceforth known as Patrick, looks like with its little tentacles extended (which is pretty much all the time when I haven't just pissed everything off by doing a water change):




And on a completely unrelated note, truth in advertising?


Those little butter sculptures were good...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reef Raff

As promised, some pictures of the new coral:






There aren't pictures of the other two new pieces because the orange one didn't photograph, and the purple one had some major shipping and post-shipping trauma and I'll be surprised if it makes it.

In other news, Rvan and Christina (along with Bert and Ernie, of course) came over today to see the little loaner dog (Ginger). This time I held Tommy for a few minutes while bottles were being shaken, and he was okay with that. Charlie was still giving me the stink eye, ready to go into attack-baby mode if necessary.

Anyhow, they brought Ginger's dog bed along with them. You can see how well she's enjoying it:


It's a good thing the little dog likes sleeping on the floor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hard Core

For the last couple of weeks I've been making it to work by 9:30 so that I can follow the sporadically enforced "core hours" policy.

Theoretically, it makes some sense -- if everyone overlaps at work for at least five or six hours of the day, communication increases. In practice it means that I still work alone in my cube and have to listen to people talking about their personal lives all day long. Except for the times when they're talking about how other people aren't working.

Unfortunately, being at work by 9:30 means that I hit the tail end of the morning commute. And if I were to leave nine hours later at 6:30, I would sit on the freeway in Fairfield for twenty minutes every night. The real problem with the morning commute is that all of the radio stations have the morning radio shows on. I would rather scrape my fingernails down a chalkboard than listen to Mark and Brian, and the other shows aren't much better. So I broke down today and bought a new HD radio with an iPod input. At least I will have options.

The evening commute problem has been solved by working an extra hour for four days (because the traffic is mostly gone by 7:30), and then working four hours from home on the fifth day. There's some question about whether I am allowed to have a scheduled work day at home, so every Friday I spontaneously work from home.

Anyhow, it's all good because that leaves my spontaneous Friday afternoon to work on the novel, the finished first draft of which was in my New Year's resolutions. It's gonna happen, dammit!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nothing. Really.

Well, here we have it -- a Sunday without a topic.

As usual when things go wrong, I'm just going to blame Rvan.

See, he and Christina were going to come by today and visit the little loaner dog, so I was counting on that to be good for a blog post. I even cleaned the top layer of dirt off the house and mowed the lawn, but then one of the kids got whooping cranes or something, so they couldn't make it.

Anyhow, hopefully the kids are okay and all, but that leaves me one manure bucket short of a full one-bucket blog post.

I tried to remedy that by drinking the other half bottle of cider in the fridge. You can see how well that worked out.

Whatever. I help him with perl (although not the sed question) this week and this is how he repays me.

Disappointing, really. But I'm sure you all agree -- this is completely Rvan's fault.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with string (or tape if you really want to know)

First off, I'd like to point out that there are some really bad camera angles if you're a little on the pudgy side...





Funny story of the week: my work laptop was powering down immediately after I undocked it, so I took it in to the guy who's in charge of those sorts of things. He unhooked the battery, stopped, looked at the pieces, then looked at me. "How many cats do you have?" (He didn't ask if I had cats, mind you, but how many.) My claim that cat hair is protective insulation didn't get far. He told me he's afraid of what they're going to find inside the laptop -- since the motherboard needs to be replaced, I guess we'll find out.

Anyhow, teaser pictures:




The real pictures will have to wait until I clean the tank this weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Round 'Em Up And Brand 'Em!

First, I just wanted to note that Blogger just instituted some sort of spam detection on the comments, so we'll see if that cuts the number of comments in half. Honestly, I'm running about 1:1 with real comments to comments that aren't in a language I can read. It's a little embarrassing.

Second, Blogger also added a "Stats" page. I've pretty diligently avoided adding any sort of counter to the blog because either a) this is my blog and I don't care if anyone reads it, or b) I'm hyper-competitive (Hi Mom!) and it could get ugly quickly when I realize that nobody reads this. Take your pick. They list the total number of pageviews by day, and things like that. Apparently I have two readers in China if you believe the statistics. Maybe I have two spambots in China. That I might believe. Also, when broken down by browsers, it's 63% Firefox, 29% Safari, 5% Internet Explorer (ptui!), and 1% java, which technically isn't a browser, so I find that a little weird. However, maybe that's what the Chinese spambots are using.

(Note: if you're one of the two readers in China and you aren't a spambot, welcome!)

Anyhow, the point of this post is weeds. ("Weeds", not "weed". That would be a totally different post and would be on some anonymous site.) See, I used to read this magazine called "Organic Gardener" which was chock full of ideas on how to grow things in your back yard without using any evil, nasty chemicals. They also had some articles by complete whackjobs, but for the most part it was pretty sensible stuff about integrated pest management. I still think they're right (well, not the whackjobs) -- if you kill all the bugs, chances are you're not going to like what shows up next. If you leave things alone and let everything battle it out, you may not get perfect-looking plants, but things that grow in that area will thrive anyway. (Things that don't grow in your area will never look good, no matter how much crap you spray on them.)

Then I bought my house. And I found that some weeds (especially certain grasses) laugh at your attempts to contain them. And mulching doesn't always work. And your neighbors might not appreciate weeds growing under the shared fence. And you don't have time to hand-weed seventy-five feet of fence line. So in a particularly weak moment, I bought a bottle of Round-up.

That bottle sat in my garage for at least four months before I finally sprayed it on something. Then I buried my head in shame and went back inside, a defeated person. Yet also a relieved person because I knew I wouldn't have to worry about that clump of weeds anymore.

Yeah. Turns out I was pretty darn disappointed when that clump of weeds continued to flourish. The Round-up did nothing. It's not a good feeling to abandon your principles and then get nothing in return.

So I sprayed it again. And again. And eventually it died. And now every once in a while I spray stuff and sometimes it works, and sometimes the weeds laugh at me. (I do live in a Monsanto town, so it's not impossible that many of my weeds are already Round-up Ready, just like the seeds the farmers buy.)

Anyhow, over the weekend I was talking to my next door neighbor, Jill (whose husband, Larry, mowed my lawn again yesterday...) and I mentioned how nice the planted area in front of their house was looking. We talked about it for a while, then she looked away. "I had to start spraying it, you know," she said, in a tone that dared me to say anything. I shrugged and changed the subject, but secretly I was happy because I've been wanting to spray some stuff in my front yard and I haven't had the guts to do it yet. So now I don't need to worry if they see me.

Now it's just my neighbors on the other side I need to avoid. Excuse me while I go outside now with a flashlight...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's Mine Is Mine And What's Yours Is...



As you can see, Ginger (the new little loaner dog) and Molly are starting to hang out together...



At least, sort of...



Ginger came with her very own crate to hide in when she's feeling stressed.

As you can see, she's using it quite a lot.







It's a good thing she's not very stressed out.