Monday, April 28, 2008

Kitten on my computer

Sitting here trying to post short video clips (old camera's limitation is 15 seconds) and the kitten is hopping around on my keyboard. Too cute!

kitten feeding and playing

Here's the kitten drinking milk from a dropper. She's still too young to fully eat solid food, it has to be soaked first to soften. She loves milk though.

And playing:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

-- day 2: dog meets cat, and the dog's first panic attack

Acclimating the dog to the cat is going better than I expected but is still an enormous chore. The dog walks around whimpering with the physical pain of not being able to kill and eat the small, squirrel-gray helpless creature in our laps and cannot be calmed. However, we CAN get him to lie down while the cat's exploring, a huge improvement over yesterday. And the kitten, so far, is not afraid of the dog.

The trick has been baby food. Our trainer suggested a while ago that whenever he's in his most spaz-like state, rare and exotic food should rain from the sky. So it is. In the form of gloppy turkey & sweet potato. The only problem is that we need gallons to pour down his throat and he can't have that much or I'm afraid there might be a midnight orange explosion from some orifice.

Earlier, a very terrible idea surfaced.

"I know!" I said. "We can put a muzzle on the dog and then that will help with their interaction a little; we can let him sniff her without worrying he might bite."

We came home with a muzzle, put it on the dog and proceeded to witness his first panic attack. Within seconds he was clawing at his face and it was clear that he would remove the skin from his skull rather than endure the indignity of this unwanted facial intrusion. We took it off immediately. Even giving him treats through the opening wasn't good enough.

Here is a picture of the dog looking so so sad (and quite Hannibal-Lechter like) seconds before we took the muzzle off. (Taken with crappy cell phone, time was of the essence and I didn't have a chance to grab the better camera.)So far the routine has been to let her out to explore and get used to the environment while working with the dog, and then back in her little carrier to sleep. She still has not learned to use the litter box yet, so that's a bit of a concern but friends familiar with kittens say this just usually takes a few days.

Tomorrow I'll make a vet appointment.

-- went to Home Depot for tools, brought home kitten instead

Today we embarked on a tile expedition in preparation for ripping up our hideous floor and stopped by Home Depot for some tools. While there, I heard someone say, "They're giving away KITTENS!! back there!" and I immediately headed over. I've never actually had a cat of my own -- allergies prevented it -- but I always loved them from afar and wanted to see the cute little fluffballs.

Turns out the situation was stranger than I thought. The Home Depot we were in had a live-in cat to help with mice. Well this morning some employees were reaching up to a high shelf with a forklift and found a litter of 5 kittens. They were in a dangerous spot and if they had ventured out of their "den" could have fallen to their deaths. Employees brought the kittens down, stuck them in a container in the breakroom and began looking for homes. They probably shouldn't have been separated from the mom but the employees were worried that animal control would be called in and the kittens euthanized.

By the time I got there, two kittens were given away and three were left, tucked into a cooler with no access to food or water. Two looked half-dead. I thought we should bring the sick kittens to a rescue organization with a vet on staff for immediate care but take home the gray one to find a home.

Dan gave the two half-dead kittens some water and they perked up; shortly after that people adopted them. We were starting to fall in love with the gray kitten but weren't sure how it would work with our spaz dog whose only goal in life is to kill small animals. (Luckily he never achieves this goal; he's far too uptight and his rapid-fire staccato barks alert every living creature within a 200 yard radius well in advance of his approach but he never ceases trying.)

I have a mental list of at least 7 friends who might be able to help me find the kitten a home just in case it doesn't work out but secretly inside I hope we can keep her.

I've never seen a kitten quite like this - it was extremely affectionate and loveable even though it had never interacted with people before today. It made great eye contact, was not fearful or afraid of its surroundings, and was extremely playful and gentle. She's about 5 weeks old (at least the pet store people thought so, based on her size), no fleas or any obvious health problems but we'll take her to a vet for shots and a checkup as soon as we can.

She's better adjusted to noise and change than I would expect, I wonder if it's because she was born in the Home Depot where the whir of constant activity and machines has desensitized her?

The dog is just as excited about this new visitor as we expected. He can't be trusted with the kitten just yet but we'll see how the next few days go. And lets hope allergies aren't an issue.

Short 15 second video of kitten:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

-- new floor, take two

We've decided to rip up our new but hideously ugly and completely undurable Durastone floor and replace it with tile. It kills me that we are doing this but the whole kitchen project has been on hold ever since our mistake. Don't ever buy fake tile if you can help it. Not only is it absolutely repellant but ever since I dropped a spoon (a spoon!!) and a pencil holder on it, causing great gouges, we've known that it had to go. We lived with it for a year while the kitchen was in flux thinking maybe we would get used to it but no dice. We both hate it just as much now as we did the day it was installed.

I remember seeing the tile for the first time. It was hate at first sight. Dan couldn't stand it either but what could we do? We chose it. We did call the flooring guy over afterwards to lament about how ugly it was.

"I know it's not your fault," I told him. "We just didn't realize how ugly it would be." Then I asked him if he would give us a discount, as a repeat customer, on something else. But he refused to touch the floor. "Give it time," he said. "You just need to get used to it."

Yeah right. A year has passed and it still makes me want to throw up. It looks like extremely repulsive and cheap 70s basement tile. The fake grout line is so obvious that it looks like a two-yr old scribbled big thick marker lines all over the floor, like cheap peel & stick linoleum tiles. (Even another expert flooring estimator thought that's what it was.)

I have actually seen Duraceramic in someone's home that was tasteful and didn't look awful, but it was because there was very low contrast between the fake grout line and the tile itself. Duraceramic is a newer version of Durastone - ours (Durastone) is cheaper, older and is no longer even sold. (I might point out that Durastone is neither durable nor stone-like.)

Anyway so we deliberated over what kind of floor to replace it with.

Pergo? Ikea sells it cheap and had good reviews. But everyone with Pergo tells me not to use it in a kitchen, water WILL eventually get into it and cause buckling.

Real wood? Not in a kitchen either. Water causes issues with wood.

Tile? I hate that it's cold and brittle but you know what, slippers are cheap and I can drop a spoon on it without ruining it. Tile it is.

So the goal for this weekend is:

- clean out extremely cluttered laundry room that holds everything the kitchen will when it's actually completed (a full weekend task by itself!).

-- move the all contents (washer, dryer, shelves, cabinets, etc.) into the garage.

- Tear out old asbestos tile (mesothelioma, yay!) in the utility room so we can just have the same floor straight-through.

- Sell piano so it won't be in the way.

- Rip up the Durastone. Will it come up easily? Or will it bend like linoleum and require us to chip away at it with fingernails and putty knives? Only one way to find out.

- Buy new tile before it's gone; it's on sale super cheap because it's discontinued.

- Figure out how we are paying for this.

- Oh yeah and finish up one website client and start another, they need to see designs by Monday.

- And I should assemble the new storage unit I bought to replace my desk just to get the boxes off the hall tile.

- Sell old desk on Craigslist to cover cost of new one.

- And maybe also foodshopping, laundry, and sleep.

Speaking of sleep, it's now after 3am, I'd better hit the sack before I pass out!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

-- do you taste or smell in your dreams?

So I was cleaning urine (the dog's, not mine) out of the carpet today and I got to thinking. I don't ever remember eating in any of my dreams.

For an activity that takes up a huge amount of my waking life, why don't I ever dream about it? I mean, as an animal, most of my daily routine centers around staying alive. Since I am not running from wolves (at least not this week), this means my main survival focus is to eat. So why not in my dreams?

Come to think of it, there's a whole slew of things I never do in my dreams. I've sat on countless toilets in the middle of malls and classrooms, but not once have I ever actually *used* them in my sleep. The only important part must be sitting there naked. (Which by itself is interesting, since most of us do not need to strip completely to use the facilities -- I mean, even if there was a toilet in the middle of the mall and it were the societal norm to use it, wouldn't we at least have clothes on? Although if that was really a commonplace activity, some other phenomena symbolic of vulnerability would take its place in our heads at night.)

I've also never paid bills in my sleep. Never bathed the dog, took out the trash, had the flu, or shined a flashlight down my throat to gaze at my uvula.

So there's no eating or tasting in my dream world. Nor is there any smelling -- I don't think I've ever lingered over a pot of soup and inhaled its aroma or breathed in the scent of lilacs.

Is it just me? Do you taste or smell in your dreams?

Note: poll is completely anonymous.

Image from the 11 toilets from hell.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

-- newsflash: this is NOT an attractive way to display flowers

Today I stopped by the local hardware store to return something and picked up a magazine while waiting in line. One of the articles was showcasing winners who'd submitted the most attractive flower planters.

Um, excuse me, but this is NOT attractive:This does not say, "look at me and reminisce about nostalgic days in the relaxed countryside." Instead it blurts, "I am white trash and I have had so much crap including bicycles all over my lawn for so long that plants are taking root over all my junk" !

Friday, April 18, 2008

-- proposed new rule on phone talking

I think there should be a new rule on phone etiquette. Every 10-15 minutes, both parties should stop and assess whether the other party needs to go do something. Just ask if they still want to be on the phone. Or, don't ask -- just end it.

I have just witnessed someone trapped on the phone for hours, unable to eat or drink, use the bathroom, or meet any of their own needs. Not for the first time either.

Out of sympathy for their plight, I am posting a public plea in hopes that it will ravage the internet as much as "Bill Gates will give you money!" viral emails. Phone conversations just do not need to last all night! Or if they do, just check and make sure it's what both parties want!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

-- Hubble photos at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

I had no idea the Walters Art Museum was so spacious inside. They've got a neat exhibit on maps and also some beautiful photos from the Hubble Space Telescope. Here's the Sombrero Galaxy, from the Hubble photo gallery:

-- catching up on housework

Saturday's here which means I have to get caught up on cleaning.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
And so do I.

~Anne Gibbons

But not until I get out and do something interesting first.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

-- Today's quote

"The man who sticks to his plan will become
what he used to want to be."

~James Richardson,
quoted in the Washington Post

So whatever you want to be... keep at it... :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

-- duped by self on April Fool's day!

So I'm looking over that link I posted earlier in LifeHacker about Top Harmless Geek Pranks when I come across this submission by Possumboy:

whack open an internet explorer or firefox window (whatever browser as long as it doesnt give you the option to disable javascript when you get alerts)and type this into their url bar:

javascript: for(i=1; i!=0; i++){ alert("youve pressed enter "+i+" times!\nkeep goin!");}

an hit enter! its fun watching them continuously pressing enter trying to get rid of the annoying alert knowing that it will never end.

And I think oh haha! That sounds funny!

So I figure I'll test it on myself before trying it for real. And then guess what. Like an idiot, I crashed my computer -- I accidentally ended the process "explorer" instead of "windows explorer." Three (3!) separate instances of rebooting did not bring it back! I was on the verge of calling IT in shame when the fourth reboot somehow worked (I think it's because whenever the computer reboots, IE is set to pop open automatically and the process was still running, until I figured out how to end it correctly. So I win today's ID10T error...

-- The purpose of pranks (NYT article)

From the New York Times article, "April Fool! The Purpose of Pranks"

"In a paper published last year, three psychologists argued that the sensation of being duped — anger, self-blame, bitterness — was such a singular cocktail that it forced an uncomfortable kind of self-awareness. How much of a dupe am I? Where are my blind spots?"

Interesting. So pranks make us grow.

-- April Fool's! Top 10 harmless geek pranks

Top 10 harmless geek pranks to play on friends and loved ones, from Now go to it!

-- The dog's bladder, working overtime

So the dog is on meds (from the toe injury) which make him suck down water like a shopvac. Thus he has to pee more frequently. The vet warned us about this. But the vet did not warn us about last night.

We let him out at midnight and settled into bed. I continued working on my bloodsucking web project until about 2am and gave him one more chance to go out. 3:30 AM he woke us up panting, begging desperately to be let out so Dan stumbled groggily to the back door and watched the dog pee for 5 minutes.

4:30 AM we wake up to the sound of an accident in progress, the first  since he was a puppy 4 years ago! After I stumbled groggily to the back door, he peed for what seemed like 10 minutes.

7am came too soon -- time to get up and let the dog out. I called the vet this morning and they said it was the steroid shot they gave him last week, it takes about 2 weeks to run its course. It somehow seems like he's getting worse. I sure hope he can make it the 3 hours until the dog walker comes.

Image credit: me :)

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