Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some griping; then, garden

I've been rather out of sorts this week.

Partly, that's normal after a vacation; no matter how short the break, it generally is followed by discomfort when returning to the everyday. It was so good to see my parents...

There have been little, normal irritants, like the litany of tiny things that turned Tuesday night's commute from the usual 30-45 minutes into an hour and 20 minutes.

There's some change going on at work, not bad necessarily but change, and I'm not a big fan of change.

Is it anything other than that? Hard to say.

I think I'm at one of those times in my life when I'm just tired of being the adult in the household. (This feeling strengthens periodically.) It's hard not to be the adult, in a one-person household, where there's no one else to take up the slack. I can put off cleaning the bathroom, I can eat ice cream for dinner, but eventually someone needs to grocery shop, to make dinner, to refill prescriptions and pay the bills and find a mechanic*. That would be me. And I get sick of it.

*And when you put that off long enough, due to a dislike of the dealer, you can end up paying $500 for two new tires on a two-year-old car, which is an expensive lesson to learn. Have you rotated your tires lately? Maybe you should, is all I'm saying.

I know that being in a relationship would not cure all my problems, would only probably change some of them. Still, it's tempting to think that it would be worth it, to have someone else, someone who loved me (of course), to shoulder some of the burden. There's just so much to do, so much I should be doing, when I'd rather read, or knit, or watch TV. Play with cats, or babies (no, I don't have any babies). Or sleep.

And, see, most of the time I'm fine with being single. I love almost everything about living alone, most of the time.

Just not this week.

************

Anyway! Enough whining. Want to see how the garden is doing?

I have many green tomatoes, but finally two tomatoes that are gradually relinquishing their belief that they should be green.


That second one is like a sunrise...

The tomato plants are really much bigger than I thought they would be. They're leaning toward the basil on one side, the green beans on the other, and they're overwhelming the support that the peas need upright, thank you.

When picking basil, I found quite a large ... well, bug. What kind? You tell me.


Now I'm going to turn the basil I picked today into pesto. I'll leave you with this. Across one of the garden paths, two plants are reaching for each other. Isn't nature something else?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Florida trip in words

Well, after a few more pictures...




I had a plan of sorts for last Thursday, an idea of how things would go on my way to Florida. It went something like this:
  1. Sleep in a bit, which is always a bonus.
  2. Finish packing and getting ready.
  3. Friend picks me up and drops me at the airport.
  4. Get through security without trouble, and in plenty of time because I am That Way about travel, especially planes these days.
  5. Knit and wait.
  6. Get on my (direct) flight to Florida, where I can while away the time with eating (brought my lunch) and knitting.
  7. Be met by my mother at the airport around 3:30.
  8. Proceed to nearby outlet mall for a bit of shopping.
  9. Home, and dinner with my parents.
  10. Hang out and chat before bedtime.
Instead? Well, life has its own ideas sometimes, or Jet Blue does (though they would doubtless blame the weather). Numbers one through five on the list went fine, and we even (3A?) stopped in Chelsea for really good bagels on the way. But then?

Less than an hour before the plane was supposed to leave, a not-really-apologetic-enough man announced that it was canceled.

Don't line up at the gate, he added quickly, after not really explaining why the flight was canceled at all. Go down there, to the service desk. They've been warned!

So, to pick up where plans changed:

6. Got in line at service desk (about 15 people in front of me, many more behind).
7. Got out cell phone and called toll-free number.
8. Twenty-two minutes later, I'm booked on a 2:30ish flight to JFK, and a 6:30ish flight to Florida. Best they can do, at least it's still today. The woman was very nice, gave good customer service, made me feel less annoyed by the whole situation: props to her. (By the way, apparently what she could do was greatly enhanced by the fact that I had, for once in my life, not checked baggage. I don't know what further hoops people with checked bags had to jump through.)
9. Leave line, which has moved forward about 3 people, and go back out through security to print new boarding passes.
10. Sit down and eat lunch, grumpily.
11. Back through security.
12. Sit at new gate and knit. Got the heel done on my first sock!
13. Cheer quietly when plane arrives. Progress!
14. A little late, but we do board and eventually take off. I'm in a middle seat, not having been willing to pay extra* for a better seat on the short flight. I'm a little worried about the couple behind me with an infant and a toddler; they have my sympathies, but I'm not sure I want to be sitting near them. When they start debating with the boy about his seat belt, I put on my headphones and turn up the volume.
*Which I think they should waive when they are rescheduling someone from a canceled flight. You're inconveniencing me and now you want to charge me for a better seat? Nice, I don't think.
15. Flight is uneventful until we reach the descent stage, when you have to put your seat belt back on. I don't know how the parents handled little Arden on the ascent, but on the descent at least, he had to wear his seat belt and he Did Not Want To. It seems that this was the first time in his life that he was forced to do something against his wishes. He screamed, at the top of his lungs, barely pausing for breath, for about 20 minutes, or until we (finally, finally) reached the gate. NOOOOOO! DADDY! NOOOOOO! NO WANT TO! Over and over and over. Even through the music, it was agonizing. I don't think I've ever been happier to get off a plane. (And I heard barely a peep from the baby the whole time. Trouble never comes from the direction you think, does it?)
16. An hour or two at JFK, which was chaos. Is it always like that? And it was warm and humid inside. What the...?
17. Plane arrives late, loads late, leaves late. At this point, I'm just happy to be going. I also paid extra (see rant below) for an exit row window seat, knowing I would need it by that point in the day.
18. Arrived at 10:30 PM, or seven-plus hours late, and lucky to be there at all.

Me Rant Now. I admit to being bitter that they charged me extra for the exit row, after canceling my flight and leaving me drifting in the wind, though it was still worth it. But hello, Jet Blue?

It's time to stop marketing yourself as better than other airlines. Stop calling it "jetting" and face facts: you're much like all the rest. You may not be worse, but you aren't better.

You charge extra to check a second bag.

You charge extra for seats with more leg room.

You cancel a full flight and tell the people you've just screwed that probably most of them won't be getting where they paid you to go that day.

You are not providing superior service, in my experience. In fact, you cheated me out of half a day with my parents, and on a three-day trip, that's significant. Considering that the last time I flew your airline, my flight was, oh, three or four hours late, it's amazing I'm even considering flying with you again. I know that you can't control the weather, but you could anticipate it (gosh, thunderstorms in summer, who could have predicted that?) and try to get planes where you need them.

Oh, and while I'm whining? I also did something to my right shoulder on Thursday, there was no event or sudden ow, but it's been bothering me ever since. The pain is diminishing, but still there. Go away, pain! Let me sleep in peace.

Anything else? I want to get it all out. Oh! Yesterday morning, all grumpy about the need to get up and get ready for work, I spilled some crackers on the floor. I bent, grumbling, to clean them up, then straightened in such a miraculously coordinated way that I whacked my head on the edge of the table. Yes, hard. I have a dent. Well, not exactly a dent, but a sore, sore spot on my head. So graceful.

I think that's all the whining, moaning, and carrying on for today. I mean, if I tried to tell you all the many, many, tiny, irritating, pissant little reasons why my commute home was horrible tonight, we'd be here until sometime tomorrow, and no one wants that, me least of all.

Anyone still here? Because I am very happy about the knitting I got done. Yes! Happy! I know, who am I all of a sudden?

But the sock was perfect in-the-airport knitting, and shows progress, which I tried unsuccessfully to capture.


Pan was naturally tempted by the yarn, the heel doesn't even show, and Blogger un-rotated the photo. Some days...

The blanket was good on-the-plane knitting, and thanks to the delay in my return flight*, it's almost done.


Yes, almost done, and it isn't even August until Friday. Whew!

*We took off just about on time, but diverted a bit to come in after thunderstorms hit Boston. I've flown from FL to Boston enough to know that we don't usually fly toward Michigan and then over upstate New York. But only about an hour late, pfft! That's nothing!

So it's not all grinching here. Just mostly.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

I just flew back from Florida...

...and boy, are my arms tired!

Actually, all of me is tired. Why is traveling so tiring even when most of what you're doing is sitting and waiting?

I had a great weekend (unless you want to talk about delays, a cancellation, or screaming children, but who wants to talk about those?).

See?

It's always good to visit the parents:


Just kidding, not theirs! They prefer a condo to a house. A condo with views of sunsets:


And of course an osprey visiting next door.


Too pretty.


And this beach is the one that has spoiled me for just about all others. I go to beaches up here and ask, where are the shells?


This is the haul from one walk.


On the other day, I carried the camera instead of the shell bag, so that I could show you this:



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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Packing

Even relaxed packing for a short trip is still packing. Not my favorite thing. But so worth it! I managed (me, the just-in-case traveler) to pack so that I can carry on my bag. I think I've done that before ... once.

The cats were not thrilled to see the suitcase come out, and now there's thunder moving through the area, and they're hiding. They're having a worse night than I am!

I suppose I'd better turn the computer off, eh? We lost power during the day, though it was on when I got home. It could happen again.

It isn't impossible that I'll post while I'm away, but it's unlikely. So, until next week, be good, and if you can't be good, be careful!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Four Days, Three Nights

When you're going to be going on a trip, does your brain go into vacation-mode a day or two before you leave? Mine does. It used to be just the day before that I'd have trouble concentrating on work, but this is two days before, and here I am. Work is so pesky, interrupting my vacation-packing-planning like this. My brain is very busy with should I bring this and don't forget to pack that, and what is this brochure I have in front of me, and what am I supposed to do with it?

So, in lieu of actual content that would require me to engage brain cells (because I can't pull them off task), look at the pictures!

It's wild blackberry season in the woods around work. Yum!


I appear to be between pea cycles. (I am not complaining!) I got a bunch over the last two weeks, and now all the ones on the plants are wee ones.


They're so cute.


The second rose is blooming nicely.


Although I bought a 6-pack of little basil plants, one of them is a ringer. Five plants have leaves like this one, sort of convex:


The sixth one is clearly different.


I'm guessing it's just two different varieties of basil. Still, interesting.

I still admire the tenacity of the pea tendrils.


And by the way, there are lots of tomatoes on the plants, all still firmly green. When will they turn red?

And the baby.


I'm too sexy for my paws...

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rose reborn

As I wrote recently, my little rose plant at work has been growing and blooming again. It had another busy week. In fact, its growth brought to mind one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, Blink, which feature a race of beings who turn to stone if anyone is looking at them (thus becoming statues), and only move, like toward you to attack, when you're not looking at them. So, when they're getting closer, you have to keep looking at them, and don't blink...

Which is sort of like the rose this last week, except I'm pretty sure the rose is benign. But it seemed that every time I looked at it, it was farther along.

The first new growth was noted on July 7:


Then it took until July 15 to get to this:


A bit more by 7/16:


The morning of the 18th:


And the afternoon of the 18th:


I just love it. I hope I haven't missed too much of it this weekend, but there's another bloom to watch as well.

Pretty.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mechanic report: much good

The Mazda dealership could learn a lot about service from Accurate Automotive in Burlington, MA.

I've said before that I don't have any complaint about the actual service work that was done on my car at the dealer. I don't know much about cars and how they work, and thus have to take a lot of what any mechanic says and does on faith. I did figure it out quickly when I got a bad oil change, but otherwise it's more a case of accepting their word. What irked me with Liberty Mazda was the attitude, the general contempt for the customer that I always felt from them. The feeling that their day would be easier if I wasn't there, and what did I want from them, anyway?

Meanwhile, the guy at Accurate, Chris, asked if he was pronouncing my name correctly.

Though clearly very busy, he cheerfully took the time to show another customer how to use the coffee machine.

He brought out another chair when a customer came in and was going to have to stand while they put in the turn signal bulb for her. (I think she had bought it and brought it with her. They didn't charge her for putting it in.)

They sent someone to pick up another customer when her car was ready. She walked home this morning after dropping the car off, but it's over 90 around here today.

I talked to a couple of other people waiting there today, both of whom have been taking cars there "for years". They used words like honest to describe the service. I got a good feeling about the atmosphere, with a small but clean waiting area stocked with magazines ranging from Popular Mechanics to US Weekly to The Economist. There was a window mostly covered with kids' drawings, and a newspaper clipping about a group of Girl Scouts who visited to learn something about cars.

Off to one side, on a sort of job organization area, there was a notice to the mechanics that cell phones are not allowed while they're working, and frequent trips to their cars to check messages will be noticed. (You mean, they're supposed to concentrate on their work? What an idea.) There was a TV on the wall, but it was off, which I prefer anyway when I'm a captive audience. The radio was on, quietly.

Anyway, I liked the place. I got my oil change and they fixed the headlight. They also told me (showed me, in fact) that my right front tire was mostly shot, which was not a total surprise after April (when the left one blew, the guy at the repair shop said the right was also showing wear, and should be replaced before the summer was over). They couldn't get a new one today, but will have it Monday. You know, I was so busy looking for a place with Saturday hours, I didn't even notice they're open late in the evenings, too. I'll go right after work, but it's nice not to have to worry about getting there by 6, or something.

Like 4, if it was Mazda.

They did put the spare on, explaining that if anything happened, the insurance company (mine) would be all over them for the liability, for telling me it was safe to drive on. They kept the dying tire, so that they can mount the new tire on the middle bit (to use the technical term) when it comes in, and then pop it right on when I get there.

So the only downsides that I can see are these: first, the cost of the new tire, which is an expense I could have done without, though as I say it was not entirely unanticipated; and second, that I had planned to go up to the North Shore this weekend, and that's not something I felt like doing on the spare: it's probably 50 miles round trip. My Woodman's craving will have to wait for August to be satisfied. (Their chicken fingers are, I say without exaggeration, the best I have ever had. Seriously. Just so you know. The seafood is supposed to be great, too, but I'm more a chicken fan.) (To console myself for loss of treat, or at least delay of treat, I picked up a pizza on the way home. It's no replacement, but it was a pleasure in a different way.)

The upside is that I have found a mechanic that I like, and I can keep taking my car there, get the regular maintenance caught up, and stay on schedule with it. This feels like a big deal to me. Maybe I'll even trust the car again (I've had trouble with that since the blow-out happened). Overall, a positive day.

I've just finished my laundry, so I only have the towels to put away and that will be done. Then what? I'm not sure. I love the weekend.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Already better than the other guys

As you may recall, I've done my share* of ranting about the ordeal of getting my car serviced, given that I have been very unhappy with the dealership's service department, and had a bad experience elsewhere as well. I've been procrastinating on finding another place to go, because hey! Procrastination! That's me, procrastinating since 1981 (at least; junior high is the first Incident that I recall).

*Actually, I've done your share, too. And yours. You're welcome.

Finally, though, I have taken a step forward. After asking people for recommendations, after wandering blindly through the innernets, after doing who really knows what (other than putting off a decision), I picked a place to try. Third time lucky? I'm hoping.

I cross-referenced AAA's recommended mechanics with Car Talk's mechanic reviews, and found a place that was on both, and had Saturday hours (which was sadly rare). I want to save sick days and vacation* time for things like doctor's appointments, I'd prefer not to use it to doctor the car as well!

*And, oh, vacations, too.

I decided to start with an oil change, and see how I feel about them before diving into the scheduled maintenance that is doubtless necessary. Feeling cautious, I called today to make sure they weren't likely to greet my appearance tomorrow with an are-you-kidding, today?

The woman who answered the phone was cheerful, friendly, polite.

When I asked whether I might be able to get an oil change tomorrow, she said sure, took my name, and asked when I would like to come in.

Comparing that to the attitude I always got on the phone with the dealership, well, no contest.

So I have hopes. I would like to have a place I can go to, trust, the way I did with the Saturn dealers in Charlotte, lo these many moons ago. I don't know if it's that Southern politeness thing, or a Saturn thing, or what, but I always found them to be so helpful, friendly, willing to work with me ... it was great. Perhaps this new place will be a step in the right direction for me and the little car. I'll let you know how it goes.

**********

So, the solution to my "I can't reply to commenters" dilemma was embarrassingly easy to solve. I mean, the address isn't actually in sight, but when I click right there, oh look, e-mail address. Sigh. Well, it's never fun to feel stupid, but this isn't a huge oops, just an aw nuts. And after all, it is the weekend, finally. Off I go to do nothing much. Have a good one, y'all!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Comments and commenting, generally and specifically

Time for some comment responses! I write, you write, I write, it's a whole cycle!

Slight tangent: One thing I wish Blogger did is to give me a quick-and-easy way to respond to comments. I get the comments sent to my e-mail, which is handy, but I can't reply to the commenter directly. What I can do, if the commenter puts in the info, is click to their Blogger profile, go to their blog, and see if there's an e-mail address there for them ... but I often don't get around to it. I love comments, I do! But that's just too many steps for a quick reply. I know I'm revealing a lazy component to myself, but history speaks for itself.

What do you do about comments, if you have a blog? Do you use Blogger, or something else? Do you respond to every comment, some comments, or no comments? What about when you've left a comment, do you expect a reply to every comment? By not responding, do I come across as uncaring? (I'm not, I'm not!)

Also, do you have any self-imposed rules about when you will leave a comment on a post? Do you comment only if you have something to add to the conversation, or just to say 'amen, me too', or for no particular reason?

Does anyone but me think about these things?

Well, that was some tangent. Onward:

From the lol job description, it sounds like it couldn't just be telecommuting, and since "Boston to Seattle" makes my current commute look tiny, I'm not planning to apply. I wasn't searching job postings, either; I read about it somewhere.

If it was local, though! Not that I'm looking for a different job, I like my job fine, but if something like that (only here) fell into my lap, well, really, how could I say no?

The cats are fine. Really, they continue to be fine, and it's my emotions that go up and down. Mostly I'm fine with the situation, and enjoy now with them, but some days aren't as good, which I guess is only natural.

The technology only got weirder. Not only did my friends' DVD player not play sound, it wouldn't play the DVD at all. It just sat there whirring "loading" until we gave up. Not only does it baffle me, it beat me.

I wish I knew how it had happened, though. It's not like I spent Saturday randomly pushing buttons and changing settings on my player, so how could it work Friday and record so selectively Saturday? Shrug. Not having a tech-geek of my own, I think I need to rent one to tweak my system, such as it is, so that it all works. DVD recorder, VCR, cable box, and near-20-year-old TV, what's so hard about that, right?

I knock wood as I say that my garden continues to grow, without further critter incursions. Since other plots in the garden have not been so lucky, I really do wonder if the cups of kitty litter are discouraging the thing from bothering my plants. It's hard to be sure ... but so far, so good. My harvest thus far includes more than 50 peas, which is fifty times what I got last year, so I'm quite pleased with that.

I've had almost as many green beans, too, which I'm also happy about. I guess I don't know much about green bean varieties, though, since I was rather surprised that these grow flat, not round. They still taste like green beans, so I'm not unhappy about it, but it was a surprise.

I did pick that lone cuke yesterday. Looking around at the many nibbled cucumber plants, I felt like I was asking for trouble, leaving it there. I won't be getting many cukes this year*, so I wouldn't want to miss this one!

*Started with six plants, and one puny one died of natural causes in short order. Of the five remaining, one had all its leaves nibbled off, three had most of their leaves nibbled off, and one had only some of its leaves nibbled off. The plants aren't currently dead, but they are not the most promising things one can imagine. I'm trying to be realistic: I may get more cukes, but the one may be It. Which is not ideal, but it's okay.

I will go back to the Banish February socks and try that bind-off again, I'm sure. Just ... not yet. Every once in a while, I think of them again, and I can feel my face stiffening into unpleasant lines. I can almost feel my blood pressure rising. I'm going to wait until those symptoms diminish. For now, I'm trying to keep going on the so-not-portable baby blanket (which of course is portable, but awkward), with the new Kangaroo socks for travel knitting (Kangaroo refers to the yarn, not the pattern).

For lack of a better finish, I'll give you a lolcat, since I somehow posted the lol job description yesterday without one, and we can't have that. Let's see ... how about this one?

cat

Or this? It goes with the whole technology baffles me concept.

cat

Maybe this one is the best to end with.

Humorous Pictures

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best Job Description Evr!

Thanks for the empathy about my topic yesterday. Today was better. I think it helped when I changed the desktop photo on my work computer from one that makes me melt, and thus sniffle, to one where Pan looks kind of grumpy. Cute, but grumpy.

Other than that, I'm not feeling the pulse of writing here tonight, so I give you something I read a couple of months ago. If I lived in Seattle... I love the LOLs!

I Can Has Cheezburger? is looking to hire a moderator to work in our Seattle office! You too can work for one of the largest, fastest growing Websites in Seattle.

Moderators screen all submissions, moderate comments and help our users with the world of lolcats. This is a paid, part-time (30+ hours, or possibly full-time) position. Due to the nature of the Web site, moderators work non-regular office hours. You will be joining our team of 3 full-time moderators in enjoying all the fun the Web can offer.

We’re looking for someone with:
- A great sense of humor
- A deep understanding and love of the Internets and
- A strong work ethic. (Cat ownership is NOT required.)

We offer:
- A fun, casual work environment
- Flexible hours
- Benefits, if you become a full-time employee
- Opportunity to grow with a fast-growing company
- A unique life-experience like no other
- Free pictures of cats
- Never having to use spellcheck again. Evar.

If you’re interested, email us your resume (and cover letter). Internet is serious business for us. And also fun.

We are located in the Lower Queen Anne area by Seattle Center.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Of cats and gardens, up and down

Harold went to the vet on Saturday for his annual check-up.

Does that make it sound like I sent him off on his own? More accurately, I took Harold to the vet on Saturday for his annual check-up. He was a very good boy. He didn't fuss for his shots, allowed the poking and prodding, and only made the occasional attempt to hide behind that molecule in the air right over there. Even the vet thought he was good:


(The situation with Pan, of course, means he shouldn't lose weight. Harold could stand to lose a little, but try that balancing act and see how well it works.)

It wasn't as bad as last year's check-up was. Last year, in addition to having to go in the car and be at the vet, poor Harold got a thunderstorm, too. It was all his worst things at once, poor baby. So this year, although no fun, wasn't as bad as that.

She didn't mean anything bad by it
The vet was really nice, and I know she didn't mean to upset me. But when we were talking about Pan (who only goes to the vet now in emergencies), she said something very cheery about how it's great that he's still doing so well, so long after his diagnosis with CHF.

Still. So long. From March.

I truly am grateful for every day he gets. I am. I'm very conscious of not knowing how long I will have him.

When I see him curled up, I check that he's breathing.

When I leave, I wonder how he'll be when I get back.

The vet said in March that it could be months, could be years, they just can't say for sure, and trust me, I get that.

It's not that I disagree with her. Every single day we get is great. I guess I just didn't need to be reminded.

It's never going to be enough, of course, no matter how much time he has in the end. Making it through the past four months has enabled him to get to ten years: in April, ten years old; in June, ten years that I've had him. Ten years is both a long time and not enough, not nearly enough.

And over the past four months, even more than in the last few years, I've wondered, far more often than I'd like, how I'm going to get through it, when the time comes. Not will it be bad, but how bad will it be? How will Harold and I do, when that train hits?

Enough of that for now! Here is the end of the depressing part:


Or, technically, the ends.

How does my garden grow? It grows!
Meanwhile, the garden weekended well, leading to a bumper crop:


Peas and green beans. I also picked more basil, whew, that stuff is growing! And some of these things don't grow quite straight:


Not that there's anything wrong with that. About five minutes after coming inside, I had the green beans and this:


I have a half-decent cuke that I'm trying to be patient with.


I'm nervous, though, since a look at the rest of the garden plots showed me that the critter-thing really likes cukes:


A lot of plants are missing leaves. Mine haven't been nibbled since the first time, a few weeks ago, but seeing the nibbles in other plots makes me edgy. I may pick that cuke sooner and smaller, rather than waiting much longer.

Camera focus continues to elude me. I suppose it's possible that someday I will learn to make the camera focus on what I choose, and that would be nice, but I get some interesting shots this way.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Technology Baffles Me

Seriously, I think my DVD recorder has done the impossible. It isn't just that I don't know how it did what it did, since I don't actually understand how the thing works at all. It's that Not only didn't I know it could be done, I still don't think it should be possible.

To start from the beginning ... a friend asked me if I could record something for her Saturday night, when she would be out of town. While I'm happy to help any friend, I especially want to help someone who's always doing things for me, so of course I wanted to. I told her that I thought I would be able to, though as I haven't recorded anything in a while, I'd have to test it and see. She assured me that it was fine even if it didn't work out, but of course I still wanted it to.

After work Friday, I tested the machine, and it worked. I taped a minute of whatever was on channel 2, and it was fine, so I was happy.

Saturday, I set up the machine (after watching A Lot of Doctor Who). It taped: sorry, recorded.

When I went to check the recording, I found that the picture is fine. There is background sound, car doors closing and heels clicking on the floor, and some music, including the theme song. What there is not, is audible dialog.

How is this possible?

I simply don't believe it. I don't know how the machine, a simple DVD recorder, could separate the sound and only record part of it. If it was silent, if it was picture and no sound, I'd be pissed, but I would not be surprised. This? I just don't get it. It's not that I expect to understand technology, but still. This has me stumped. There's sound on the minute I tested on Friday...

She called today to find out if I'd had success, and I had to say I didn't know. I'm holding out a small, forlorn hope that on another machine, her machine, there might be complete sound. Is that likely? Probably not. But how likely is what happened? Not so very much. What happened?

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Friday, July 11, 2008

The vegetables of my labor

Quite a haul from the garden this week! One day, for example:


Not to compare with Robyn, of course. But for a small patch by a near-complete gardening amateur, I'm more than pleased.

This week, I have picked 25 pea pods, 12 green beans, enough basil to make pesto, and a little catnip as well. Yes, I am counting. Though I may stop reporting on the catnip, since it's hardly an achievement. The bush is very large, through no work of mine, and plucking the leaves is hardly work. I do think Pan doesn't like the lemon catnip as much as regular. Sometimes, he'll gobble it right down, but other times he walks away from it, not something I'm used to seeing him do with catnip.

Anyway! Last night I "planted" more cups of catnip cat litter, cat litter! around the garden. It's hard to say whether it actually does discourage critters from nibbling the plants, auntiemichal, but that's the idea/hope. I can say that I have had no further incursions since I put the first cups in, while there have been things eaten from other plots: broccoli in two places, tomatoes in another, that I've heard about.

Also this week, when one of my co-workers was driving in past the garden, he almost hit a deer. It's possible that's what's getting in, but personally I doubt it, as I think some tracks would show up. I can't prove anything either way. So, in the ccr-centric universe I inhabit, I will continue to hope that my plants don't get eaten. I just can't worry about everyone else's. Sorry.

I also saw a dragonfly in the garden this morning.


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I have a love-hate relationship with mosquitoes.

I hate them.

They love me.

When I work in the garden after work, I spray on the bug spray, except for last week when I forgot and was rewarded with two bites on my ankle, that itched like crazy for the next three days. I don't usually see any bugs when visiting the garden during the day.

Today, though, one got me on the arm. I thought I brushed it off before I was bitten, but Wrong! Oh, the welt, oh the itchy.

I hate mosquitoes.

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Finally, portrait of a happy cat:


It certainly reminds me of this, though:

128282052320312500iaminurbed.jpg


He woke up a little grumpy. You'd think the sound of the zoom was the cannons in the 1812 Overture.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cramps suck. Oh look, a mushroom!

Since you really don't want to hear about how I feel right now, and I don't want to be feeling it, let alone talking about it, here's something random. I saw a mushroom (maybe?) in the grass on Tuesday, and found it pleasingly photogenic:


A day later, it looked like the surface of the moon:


Don't you think? What do you think it looks like?

Other than a mushroom. Because yeah.