Friday, August 12, 2016

Pokemon Stop

So in an attempt to learn to at least tolerate the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, I installed Pokemon Go.

This was a mistake.

I first knew something might not be right when I started it up and my cute little avatar was sharing the exact same pixels as not just one but two creatures. I couldn't select them. I couldn't catch them. I couldn't do anything except make the whole thing spin in circles.

After spending a while googling and posting a plea on Facebook, I changed my location settings and suddenly I wasn't all up in the Pokemons. Soon I, too, had a Rattata, which I gather is sort of like having an STD.

Then I got stuck on a screen that wanted me to pick a nickname. A nickname using only letters and numbers. A nickname that nobody else in the world had picked. Millions of people have downloaded this app in the last five weeks. After seven tries, I finally found "p9o8i7u67u8i". (It rhymes with "Tim".)

The whole point of the game is to get exercise and have fun, so I gathered the little dog and woke up the big dog -- it was after 6pm, so he was already sleeping on the bed -- and headed out for our usual evening walk.

Up to now I hadn't even tried to bring my phone with me on walks because I was convinced I would drop it on the sidewalk. It turns out that fear was justified. This phone is so big that I have a hard time holding it, and there is literally no way to hang on to it without triggering some option on the screen unless you balance it on a flat palm. So I took it out of my pocket while we were stopped for the dogs to sniff something and then Ginger tried to walk off and I almost dropped it on the concrete.

So I put it back in my pocket and learned that with the location services on, the phone uses so much power that it heats up quite a bit. Yes, the phone was literally burning my ass.

I still hadn't seen anything to catch when it got stuck on some random screen and I had to kill off the app.

I started it up again, and five minutes later it was asking me to pick a nickname again. Really? That was when I started to think that maybe I should throw it on the concrete deliberately because it would be super satisfying to hear it shatter into thousands of shards. Also, this was the point when I noticed that I had a stress headache.

Here's the final screenshot:

Basically, if you enjoy playing this, good for you. I'm glad you're out getting exercise and having a good time.

I still hate this phone.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To

Long time, no read I know, but I've been busy with my new job which is almost exactly like the old job except now I'm an employee. There are only a couple of differences.

The first is this:

When I went in Monday my boss handed me a box with the shiny new phone on the right. I unpacked the box and started charging it. That's pretty much all I've done with it for the last two weeks. Every time I stop for a few minutes I have to plug it in. It's a bit like a Tamagotchi -- if I don't feed it often enough it dies. Hopefully I don't ever need to use it for anything because the battery life seems to be about ten minutes. I give it another week before I drop it and the screen shatters.

In contrast, the phone on the left, which constantly causes outcries of "Hey, that was the first phone I had in high school!" from the young 'uns, is about seven years old, has a battery which lasts for almost a week, and has been dropped on hard surfaces at least once a week without anything worse than a little paint chipping. One of the engineers even sought me out last week to borrow it because they couldn't find another phone old enough for something they were trying to test. Unfortunately, at some point in the next couple of years the network will probably stop supporting it. That's probably okay, though, since I mostly use it as an alarm clock.

The only other real change is that as an employee I'm not supposed to be allowed to telecommute. I'm not even going to try to explain this. In any case, I now have a second cubicle at an office halfway between my house and the people I actually work with. It's situated nicely between the Budweiser factory and the Jelly Belly factory, so I figure I'm set in case of a disaster. There are only about ten people in the building. There are no vending machines, which is probably a good thing. The microwave in the break room is huge (like, Thanksgiving turkey huge) and looks even older than my own microwave which I got used from my brother over thirty years ago. It's probably going to kill us all with the number of rads it's leaking, but I'll never have to wait more than thirty seconds for my food to get hot.

Tuesday I have to go relearn the secret company handshake along with all of the nineteen year-old newly-hired retail employees. It's going to be a very, very long day...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Some Days...

To alleviate the severe shortage of space to lie down in a three bedroom house with a gigantic yard, I bought some more dog beds.

So we've gone from this:
to this:

Meanwhile the three gigantic dog beds in the living room are sitting empty.

Not really how I had envisioned it working out.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"George, Don't Pee On Your Sister's Head!"

The house has been lacking a big dog for the past few years, so I rectified that this week. Meet Georgie:
He's a lovely five year old mumble-mumble-something-Shepherd mix who was looking for a place to live.

I took Ginger over to meet him at his foster home last Sunday,  and Ginger was pretty terrible but Georgie was good, and since I couldn't just swap dogs I brought Ginger back with me and adopted Georgie two days later. Better yet, he was 50% off. Such a bargain!

After a short detour to the Sheriff's Detention Center (Me: "Why do they have razor wire around the Solano County Shelter?"), I signed his papers and then picked him up.

The household has been adjusting pretty well. Georgie's about four times the size of Ginger. She can walk under him without ducking. This has led to a slight problem when they both run to sniff the same thing (which happens constantly on walks). They sniff, Georgie moves forward, lifts his leg, and pees on Ginger's head. Not ever having had a boy dog, I hadn't realized this would be a problem. Luckily Ginger is starting to back up when Georgie lifts his leg, so I think this phase is almost over.

Georgie also eats 4x the food and poops 4x the amount. Let's just say the yard will be kept short from now on.

Most importantly, Georgie is polite to the cats, even when they do things like this:
Yes, that's Ripley plopped in the middle of the one bed that Georgie sits on. He lay on the floor next to the bed for almost an hour. Eventually Ripley gave up and wandered off and Georgie got his bed back.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Another Day, Another Rejection

Remember back in the good old days before the Internet when you had to send a story via snailmail to get a rejection? You would stick some insane amount of postage on a manila envelope with your story and a self-addressed stamped envelope (aka SASE if you wanted to show you knew the cool lingo) and drop it in the box and then three months later you would get your SASE back with a letter saying "sorry, not what we want, try again later".

It's gotten easier. Now you just attach a file electronically (or paste the text into a box) and click on a button. And then the next day you get an email saying "sorry, not what we want, try again later". And then you go to the next website and do the same thing until that story has gone around the world enough times to retire. Then you start the same thing with the next story.

The process has gotten so efficient that it's almost as fast as just sending the story straight to the recycle bin.

It's okay, though. It keeps me amused.

In the meantime I'm working on my Camp NaNo novel. It's moving forward nicely. It's almost time to kill off someone. He's a jerk, though, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Obligatory graph:

Astute readers will notice that my bars are slightly under the ideal trend line. It turns out that sleep deprivation is not conducive for writing. Clearly the only solution for this problem is to quit my job. I mean, eventually I'll make a sale, right?

(The delusion is real with this one!)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

While I Was Sleeping...

This is just one of those week in review type posts. Mostly because it was sort of an odd week...

First off, the bathroom remodel is officially done. That means I have two complete functioning bathrooms! Woohoo! I celebrated by not getting up at 5-damn-thirty-in-the-morning over the weekend. Anyhow, it looks nice.

The next item is that I got a short story rejection at 3:05 am. I guess I should care more about the fact that it was rejected, but eh... seen one, seen dozens of them. (No really, I have.) It honestly doesn't bother me anymore. If something ever gets accepted I'll probably stroke out on the spot, so rejections could be seen as a good thing. But 3am? Now I feel bad that someone is going through the slush pile at 3am. Slush pile reader whoever you are, go get some sleep!

I stopped in at the corner market and bought some cookie dough and didn't look at the expiration date until I got home. December of last year. Yes, of course I ate it anyway. Can something with that much sugar go bad? I did, however, bake the dough first, just like it commands on the package. But seriously... isn't there any law about selling completely outdated food items? And more importantly, why do I ever go there?

And finally, Camp NaNo started on April 1st, so I'm once again writing 1,667 words per day. Some of those words are golden. Probably about ten of them, and not necessarily in the order I've put them, but still... golden! I'll try to come up with the elevator pitch for this book by next week's blog. Here is the progress as of this evening:

Until next week...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mine's the House That is Beeping

Before I forget, here are some tulips that I forgot to photograph a couple of weeks ago:

In remodeling news, the bathroom is one and a half days away from completion, by which I mean they will be finishing tomorrow except for a door which won't arrive until next week. (The company shipped the wrong thing the first time. My designer is not happy with them.)

I think I've mentioned before that as part of swapping out the electrical panel they had to install linked "smokies". The old ones are still in place, so now I have seven smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide monitor in a ten foot diameter area. My house is not huge. I always call it a "1950s tract house", but I think technically it's a "ranch-style" (without the ranch of course). I do have a book on the architecture in my area, so I know that on one side there is a 1913 Craftsman bungalow with a square bay window built on the angle of the front facade with classic tapered elephantine columns with block-shaped capitals and a gabled roof with a central dormer supported by simple elbow brackets, and on the other side is a 1928 rendition of Mediterranean Revival with a gabled front facade and classical front porch with a spiral-shaped column capped with a Corinthian capital, but for some reason the book skips over my house. In fact, my house is purposefully ignored in my neighbor's house's description with "originally this property included the lot to the immediate south". Yeah. There's a house on that lot now. And it has smoke detectors up the wazoo.

Anyhow, with all those smoke detectors I almost feel like I should start a fire or something just to get some use out of them, but I'd probably drop dead from the concentrated sound blast.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pretend There Is A Picture Of My Lovely Tulip Garden Here

Well, I meant to take a picture of the tulips today because they're just starting to bloom and look really nice. But I forgot. And now it's dark and raining.

So instead here's a picture of Scooter. Isn't he just the cutest thing when he isn't peeing on my stuff?

In remodeling news, the Corian has been installed in the bathroom and I think almost everything is going to be done this week. The electrical panel is supposed to be replaced on Tuesday (unless it gets postponed by PG&E again). The process is: 1) PG&E turns off the power, 2) the panel is replaced, 3) the city inspector does his thing and puts a sticker on it, and 4) PG&E turns the power back on if the sticker is there.

As you can see, having this all work out in one day requires getting both PG&E and the city inspector to come out on the same day. PG&E appointments are made weeks in advance (although they've already bumped it once), and the city inspection has to be set up by 3:30 the day before. If it all doesn't come together I might not have power for over a day.

Keep your fingers crossed...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How To Put Clean Sheets On The Bed (With Cats)

Step number 1: Gather your supplies. You will need a clean set of sheets, blanket, and comforter. Note there is no need to gather the cats. They will magically appear.

(Poof! A tortoiseshell teleports onto the bed!)

Step number 2: Put the fitted sheet on the mattress. Note this step has already been accomplished before this tutorial. That's because I started trying to put the damn sheets on the damn bed earlier in the day and finally gave up.

(This is the most comfortable bed ever...)

Step number 3: Take hold of the top sheet. At this point you should have roughly 50-75% of the cats in the household on the bed. It's actually pretty amazing because there's no other thing in the universe that will draw cats as quickly to one spot.

Step number 4: Attempt to stretch out the top sheet while all of the cats run around and play with each other. Some will wish to be on top of the sheet, others underneath. You may not be able to get the sheet very smooth. Live with it.

(Cat #4 was in the process of jumping off the bed just out of frame.)

Step number 5: Give up on trying to make it look nice and throw everything else on the bed. You're done! Also, this will act as a cat repellent. You may wish to return to step three now that the cats are gone, but that's a rookie mistake -- that will just bring them back.

(All cats have been safely transported back to an alternate universe.)

And there you have your new bed. Enjoy!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Star Flower

It's the last day of Thingadailies! (And yes, I fully expect everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.)

I got home from work today and I haven't found anything broken yet. I was a little surprised that the new cat room now had a smoke detector installed in the ceiling. That means that someone was brave enough to go in there with the four cats and also dexterous enough to get in and out without Guido escaping. I'm impressed.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Test Mosaic

I finally spent some time doing the test mosaic, and I'll just start off by saying I'm glad I did a test like this first because I learned some things.

First off, I finally found my safety goggles (to be used when cutting glass tiles that fly apart at great velocity) in the very back of the junk drawer. Who knew that the most useful item I'd retain from all of my college years would be the five dollar chemistry safety goggles? Anyhow, they held back my hair really well until I was about halfway through cutting tiles and remembered that they were supposed to be protecting my eyes and not shoved back on my head.

The biggest lesson I learned is that my intended foreground and background colors don't contrast enough with each other. I think I might have been able to pull if off it I'd only used one shade of purple and one color in the background, but as it is it just all blends together.

I'm going to cheat and show you the picture I started with:

So having that in your mind, you might be able to see the cat in the picture below. The white stuff on the wood is glue. I suspect I was using too much but the nozzle made it hard to just have little amounts come out.
 Back when I was ordering supplies I'd decided to make the grout black. I got a little worried when I applied it and achieved this:
 But after I wiped away the excess after it had dried a bit, I ended up with this:
It's not exactly what I was aiming for, but I learned a bunch and I think I can do a better job next time. It didn't take as long as I thought it might. I still might sign up for the mosaic class that's being offered down the street, though. It could only make things better...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Another Garden Thing

I decided to spruce up the garden a bit more. Going from this:

... to this:

After I spent a bunch of time weeding and planting I finished up by watering everything only to find out that I don't have water in the backyard anymore. I assume this is related to the new pipes, but still. Maybe I should have just let Brandon fix the dishwasher the other day...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Starry Star

I've run out of designs in the book, so this time I went to my trusty friend Dr. Google and found this one. It needs a brighter light behind it to really show it off. I'll try again tomorrow.

In remodeling news, my general contractor Brandon replaced the tape holding down the corners of the cardboard protecting the floor today. Fifteen minutes after I let the cats out of the room this is what it looked like:
Ripley is contemplating his sins...

Funny story of the day: There's been a series of little things that have been disabled during the remodel like the internet and phone one day, the drier another day, and the washing machine on a different day, so when Brandon came in the house yesterday morning he laughed and asked me if everything was working that morning. So I pointed out that the dishwasher didn't work. He sighed and headed toward the kitchen.

I kept a straight face for almost two seconds before I broke down and admitted that the dishwasher hadn't worked since before I bought the house. The two guys with him were still laughing a few minutes later.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shiny Star

When I moved back into my room from the spare room I got smart and cut the rest of the stupid fabric from the bottom of the box springs. That took Scooter's favorite hiding place away. Now he has to resort to things like this when he's hiding from me in the morning. It's a little sad...

Meanwhile, the bathroom remodel is chugging along, as you can see below. Today I learned that because they're replacing the old electrical panel (which is poised to burn down the house if I touch any of the sockets), the smoke detectors (or "smokies" as the professionals call them) have to be replaced with ones that are hardwired and all go off together. Since there needs to be one in each bedroom and one in the hall that will lead to four alarms going off within a radius of ten feet. Somehow I think that code was written for a slightly bigger house than mine. I'm just glad they don't need to install sprinklers.

Anyhow, I didn't get to the mosaic today, so I made another star. It has nothing going for it other than being made from different paper. It's very shiny.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kirigami Star

Well, I actually did start on the mosaic today, by which I mean I opened the box and drew the design on the wood. I'm going to have to dig out my safety goggles first, though, before I start cutting the glass.

In the meantime, here is a kirigami star that showcases my inability to cut paper with scissors.

In remodeling news, I no longer have a old tub in the grass next to my front door. My internet and phone are working, and my washer is hooked up to the drain again. I'm not sure how life could get any better!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Rainbow Star In A Dichromatic World

My internet and telephone woes were solved this morning (30 minutes before the AT&T technician was scheduled to arrive) when Brandon suggested that maybe they had switched the connections inside the house. I stupidly didn't even think about the fact that they would have needed to get into the water heater closet as part of the pipe replacement. (And everything needs to be unplugged in order to open the door to the closet.) Oh well. I switched the connections and lo and behold the internet was again at my disposal.

Anyhow, I still haven't done my test mosaic. (My excuse this evening, if you want to know, was dog agility.) So I decided to make the rainbow star:

I realize that this doesn't have the traditional colors of the rainbow. This time it wasn't actually my fault. The kit only came with seven colors and I needed eight. I improvised.

Wednesday seems like a fine day to make a test mosaic...

Monday, February 22, 2016

Crimson Star and Crispy Wires

So I came home from work today and I had all new copper pipes (replacing the crumbling galvanized pipes) (woohoo!) and... no phone or internet. Mind you, this is the third time in three years the U-verse has gone out -- once was due to Scooter, once due to The Only Squirrel In Woodland chewing through the wires, and this time... I'm guessing it might have something to do with the pipe replacement. (We won't talk about how I'm connected to the internet to post this other than to say that they never told me I couldn't...)

Some of the insulation looks a bit crispy...

Anyhow, I didn't get to the mosaic again today. I think that's the real theme of the month. In its place I give you: the crimson star. Yet another sixteen point star. And again it has sixteen points!

Tomorrow I shall find a whole new way to avoid starting the mosaic. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Well, I didn't progress very far with the mosaic...

...which is to say all I did was pick out a piece of wood for the practice piece.

So in the meantime, here's a random assortment of points put together. Not exactly a polished piece...

Perhaps tomorrow will be the day I unbox the mosaic pieces.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mixing It Up

It's half a curvy star and half an open star and just a bit of a mess in general.

Tomorrow I'm going to make an attempt at a mosaic. I fully expect that to be a complete disaster.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Is That The Sound of Trumpets?

I finally broke down and made the dreaded sixteen point star.

And look, it actually has sixteen points.

There's nothing more to say. Clearly I've mastered the thing now.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


We'll just call this one "The Propeller".

On the remodel front, my new tub is in the spare bedroom, and the rose color on the walls is going to look awesome after I find the right decorations.

And on a completely unrelated note, if you watch a few episodes of Foyle's War and then walk around the neighborhood and see weird blow-up Easter bunny decorations in the trees, you might think the city is under attack by horrifying creatures parachuting down to the ground. Just for a moment of course. Just for a moment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Clashing Star

Once again I decided to do my own thing. I think yesterday's was a bit better, but this one was still interesting.

I'm hoping for indoor plumbing soon...