Saturday, January 31, 2009

2247 Stuff I've Found

Saturday, January 31, 2009

This video cracks me up.

Mean Automakers Dash Nation's Hope For Flying Cars


This post cracks me up. Johnny Virgil of "15 Minute Lunch" went to a conference in Orlando. The mental image of the escalator incident is itself worth the read.


I use an online TV guide. I looked to see what was on at 9 pm, and noticed this entry:
9:00pm - 10:00pm, WTENR (10.3)
Battlestar Galactica

An interstellar warship protects survivors of a decimated civilization with a race of android predators in hot pursuit in this dark update of the 1978-80 space adventure.

Hmmm. Original air date was 1969, and it's an update of a version aired 10 years later. I'm confused. Time warp?

Friday, January 30, 2009

2246 My head just exploded

Friday, January 30, 2009

I just got this email from a cube-bound friend who works for a large financial company:

The woman on the other side of the wall from me said "Christian Scientist are really Muslims, just like the Hindus".

I fear for the future of this nation.

2245 My head is spinning

Friday, January 30, 2009

The woman who had octuplets had, according to one story, taken fertility drugs to get pregnant, and according to another had multiple embryos implanted and they all "took".

Ok, I can understand fertility treatments when there's a history of infertiltiy. However, I just heard that she already has six children at home, ages 2, 2 (twins), 3, 5, 6, and 7.

Now I don't understand.

She already had more children than most people would choose. She has already proven (presumably) the capability to produce implantable eggs. She had twins two years ago, one year before starting the treatment. She's not approaching menopause. She lives with her parents and her six children. There has so far been no mention of a husband.***(see update below)

So I don't understand how she could have been approved for fertility treatments, AT ALL! They should have known what would happen, plus the doctors should have been aware via ultrasound of the number of follicles that had ripened, that it was an unsafe number, and that they should stop and try again next month. I don't understand.

The only thing I can think of that comes anywhere close to (but not quite) justifying fertility treatments under those conditions is that she had remarried a man who had no children, and he wanted one, and it wasn't happening naturally fast enough for him. But there's no mention anywhere of a husband.***

What the hell was going on? Is she a baby-collector, like those folks who collect stray animals? Is she mentally ill? Is she playing the welfare system? Her doctors should be responsible for supporting those kids.

This is totally wrong wrong wrong!

My head is spinning.

***Update: This says there's a husband, a contract worker due to return to Iraq.
***Even Later Update: Nope. There's an Ex, but he has nothing to do with the kids. The contract worker mentioned is the woman's father.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2244 Ice

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I found 2 solid inches of ice on the driveway this morning. The lower part that gets the sun was almost all melted, but the upper sections were a perfect skating rink. No winter sun ever gets there. I walked down to check how bad it was, and even walking on the roughest parts I almost slid down several times.

I'd left the Aerio at the top of the drive, and decided to chance it. I figured if she started to slide, she'd go into the snowbanks on the side, and I'd figure out then what to do about that.

I'm so proud of her. She didn't slip once. The brakes didn't much work, but the steering did, and she rolled smoothly.

I went to the pet supply store to get the pill-pocket treats for Jasper. The lady behind the counter raved about them. I bought about three times as much as I figured I'd need, planning to give some pill-less to Jasper as treats, so he'd be more likely to take them with a pill. I got both chicken and fish, hoping he'd like at least one of the flavors.

Uh uh. He's not interested in either. He sniffed them and looked at me like he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do with them. Mother is not happy.

On the way back from the pet store I stopped at two places where I used to get someone to spread gravel or sand on the driveway. It's been several years since I've needed that, and neither place does it any more. So then I went to the bank to get some cash, and as I pulled into the parking lot there was a guy climbing into a truck with a plow on the front and a sand spreader on the back. So I rolled the window down and asked.

He followed me home, and I now have a mix of sand and salt on the ice. I'm not too happy about the salt, but beggars ... etc. That was definitely a bit of luck.

2243 Realization

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yesterday I wrote:
"Well, since his vet visit, I've given Jasper two doses of the pills and one of the liquid. He struggles and fights, but without biting or scratching. His struggling seems to be more just registering a strong objection. I'm sure if he wanted to get away, he could. I think he trusts that I won't hurt him, but he has to struggle to preserve his autonomy."

Today I read it, and realized that the italicized part applies to The Man, too.

Then I said of Jasper: "He is such a good boy."

I'll accept independence asserting behavior from a cat that I won't accept from a man? Neither of them want me to mother them. I guess I'll have to think about that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2242 Feeling Weird

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I've been feeling strange lately. It's been growing slowly for the past week or more. It's a "wrong" feeling in my middle. Sometimes I feel hollow. Sometimes full. Sometimes weak in the legs. Weak and tired all over, but if I just get up and go, I can do anything I need to, so maybe it's not real.

If I had to label it, I'd say it feels like fear.

2241 Driveway

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

By early afternoon there was 7.5 inches of snow, and then the sky paused, and I knew it was about to start raining. The snow-thrower can't handle rain-soaked snow, and I certainly don't want slush to freeze, so I got out there and cleared.

The snow thrower was fantastic! It started right up, allowed me to drop the choke to the bottom, made powerful roaring sounds, and threw the snow further than it has since its first year in service. Wonderful! I hadn't noticed the reduction in throwing distance. I had pretty much accepted that on the wider parts I'd have to throw the same snow two or three times to work it over to the sides. Today it was blasting it halfway into the woods.

By the time I finished it was starting to rain hard. I was wet all the way through to my underwear.


Well, since his vet visit, I've given Jasper two doses of the pills and one of the liquid. He struggles and fights, but without biting or scratching. His struggling seems to be more just registering a strong objection. I'm sure if he wanted to get away, he could. I think he trusts that I won't hurt him, but he has to struggle to preserve his autonomy.

He is such a good boy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2240 I Lose My Cool

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I have reached the end of my rope. It's time to start screaming.

To quote Conde Nast: "How will Wall Street be defined in an era of contained compensation and greater government over site?"

Aren't they supposed to have fancy-pants writers and editors and (good grief) proofreaders? That's inexcusable. If it's supposed to be a pun, I don't get it.

How can a professional writer not know the difference between these words:
problematic/a problem
- all of which confusion I have seen within the past 24 hours from people who consider themselves pros!

You are not professional if you don't know how to use your tools!


Computers have raised writing to a new low.


We're supposed to get snow, 6 to 12 inches or more, starting tonight and continuing through tomorrow. My snowthrower has been in the shop for the past 10 days. I was making "snowed in" plans and collecting phone numbers of plowers this morning, when the guy from the shop pulled in and unloaded the snowthrower. I told him I appreciated his timing.

I'm glad I was here when he arrived. He started it up, and it sounds a lot stronger, steadier. Then I noticed the oil running down the side under the motor. A lot of oil.

We couldn't figure out where it was coming from. We checked the dipstick, and it was higher than the "full" mark, so I'm hoping it was just overflow. The guy was willing to take it back, but if he did, and I have to deal with a foot of snow without it, that's a guarantee there'll be nothing wrong with it.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow. Either it will run smoothly, or it will freeze up and explode. I can hardly wait to find out which.


Jasper got home a bit before 2 pm. Yup, UTI. He'll get Metacam liquid once a day (in a squirty syringe), and Ammonil tables twice a day. I was hoping all the medicine would be liquid. I don't know how well he will take pills (and I'm very good at the shoving down the throat bit), but Jasper being smart and strong, he might be better at avoiding it. After the first pill, I might not be able to catch him for the next ten days. He's way too smart to be lured with tuna fish.

He's cute when he's suspicious, by the way. He squints his eyes, furrows his brow, sticks his lower jaw forward, lowers his body and tail, and you can almost hear the gears switching into reverse. I've lived with many cats over the years, and except for Smokey (I swear she was half human), he's the most expressive I've known.

2239 Jasper

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jasper is in the kitty hospital. I think he has a urinary tract infection of some kind, and they can use a special litter there to catch a urine sample. I'm to call at 1pm to find out what they know.

His symptoms:
- searching for new places to piddle, including my bed
- licking "there"
- piddling often, but only a little bit each time
- ears and forehead feel warm
- not eating much
- Miss Thunderfoot is suddenly much more tolerant of him.

I hadn't realized how much we interact. He's been gone 2.5 hours, and I've been missing him for the whole time.

2238 eBay Titles

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I have a lot of experience searching for things on eBay. Some people make it easy to find their item. Some make it hard. I've learned a lot about good and bad titles, and that will come in useful if I ever start selling.

I've learned that a lyrical description of the beauty, features, and virtues of one's thingy is a complete waste of letter count. There's a picture that shows up in the list. Let that photo show the beauty and virtues.

The title should consist mainly of search words. Think of all the words that someone who is looking for your item would put in the search arguments, and put those words in the title.

For example, you have a pink peekaboo lace and chiffon long nightgown for sale. It has embroidery on the fitted underwired bodice, ribbon flowers at the shoulders, pleated skirt, lace around the hem, and the tag says "M". To create a searchable title for that listing, you've got to climb out of your own head, and into the head of someone who might be searching for an item of that type.

If they're looking for something long, pretty and alluring, perhaps seductive, and very feminine, they'll probably love your item. But if you don't use the right words, they may never find it.

Forget "embroidery", "ribbon flowers", "pleats", and all that. Forget hooks like "Valentine" or "gift". Someone searching for a gown like yours is unlikely to be that specific. Words that might get you a hit are more like:

Let the photo do the rest of the talking. Include the color in the title only if it's different from the photo, or a color that might be a search argument, like "white" or "black". (Some people will search specifically for bridal-looking white, or figure-hiding black.)

The searcher will likely get hundreds if not thousands of hits, so the next challenge is to get them to click on yours. That's where the photo is most important. Choose one that shows the special features of your item - on a figure or manikin, not a hanger or lying on a bed or table, and with a neutral background, not against clutter. That'll catch the eye.

But any searcher can click on only so many items - so to encourage a click, include the size in the title. "S","M", "L", "1X", and so on is ok, but doesn't mean a lot, so please actually measure wherever it matters and include the inches, like "L, 38-40". If the searcher likes the photo and wants a "38", this will almost guarantee a click, because they already know they like the looks, and it will fit.

Forget punctuation in the title. You're listing search arguments, not writing a sentence. Also forget that silly mIXed CaPItaLizAtIOn (I don't understand why anyone would ever do that, anywhere), or the "~"s between every word. Cute doesn't help. If I can't get the info I want without straining, or if the title annoys me, I'm not going to click, because I probably don't want to deal with a ditzy or immature seller.

Now, could someone please list a gown similar to the one I've described (but not so frou-frou), and title it such that I can find it?

Monday, January 26, 2009

2237 Jury Duty

Monday, January 26, 2009

I had an amusing post a bit ago about how to get out of jury duty (Stink). That post has earned me visits from all over the US and Canada. It seems like a lot of people are looking for ways to disqualify themselves.

That bothers me.

Yeah, jury selection is usually badly managed. You get your notice and go to the room, and then you sit there for hours, knowing full well that when they finally get to you you'll be disqualified because you know the defendant, or you were once in a serious automobile accident, or whatever the automatic disqualifier is this time. But you're not allowed to say that up front. You have to wait until they ask you, which is rather arrogant of the lawyers.

I always wondered why it would be so impossible to send out a questionnaire, or hand you the questionnaire when you arrive and get rid of the obviously unsuitable candidates right away.

It annoys me that people try so hard to get out of it. Yeah, I understand you have to take off work, but there should be some way to compensate for lost salary. The system doesn't do that well. Maybe it should be treated like national guard time off. I consider it a responsibility of citizenship.

It annoys me when I hear people say, "How would you like to be tried by a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty?", even as they themselves are working hard to get out. If I were ever on trial, I'd want a jury of intelligent, thoughtful, interested people, who are not impressed with their part in a drama and are willing to make decisions based on facts, not allegiance or emotion. I think every accused deserves that, and I think we all have a responsibility to provide it. If we want to get it, we should be willing to give it.

But many people consider themselves too important to be bothered to provide a fair trial to a fellow citizen, and I think that's terrible.


Airport bars have introduced a new drink called "The Sully". It's 2 shots of Grey Goose with a splash of water and a twist.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2236 The "Done It" meme

Sunday, January 25, 2009

From the looks of this list, I've already done much of what folks want to do, or think they ought to do.

bold = done it
italics = want to
strike = don't mind if I don't, thank you

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Gave more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to DisneyWorld.
8. Climbed a mountain. (In the French Alps, no less!)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. (Lost 25% of my weight in 12 hours.)
17. Walked to the top of The Statue of Liberty. (Both times I'd visited, she was closed above the waist. I have walked up the Washington Monument, and have been up in the St. Louis Arch.)
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. (In a cabin with a bathroom and drop-down bed. Nice.)
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run..
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. (Scrambling, yes, but not the kind of climbing with pitons and ropes and stuff.)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen the Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (And the sand fleas almost ate us alive.)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen..
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. (Hated it.)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason. (There's always a reason, even if they're from a stranger.)
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar. (Many times, many types, hated it all.)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. (First job, summer job as a teen.)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Only if fish count.)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. (... actually hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets.)
100. Read an entire book in one day.

2235 Metal Me

You Are Copper

You are provocative and challenging. You help people realize who they really are.

You live a very balanced life. You always take time for love and art.

You are both a powerful and generous person. You always have time to give back.

People find you to be incredibly ethical and loyal.

2234 Timely Advice

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Advice for the times:


You can make posters at Mine didn't come out as clearly as their examples - I don't know how they get all that white on the faces. I get red with every photo I try. If I bring the white up, all features disappear. You do have to register, but it seems innocuous enough. And they produce a ".gif", but there are free conversion sites available to make it a ".jpg". Pardon my lack of enthusiasm.