Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Lied Before. It's Another Mickey Update.

Mom keeps calling me to share a laugh at or complain about or just shake her head in disbelief over Mickey's antics. Yesterday, she mentioned that most of his toy mice had gone missing and she found no fewer than five of them when she looked under the hutch in her living room. She's started fishing them out with a broom when he knocks them under there. Today she sent me the following email (I don't think she'd mind me sharing it):
This cat is too much. I caught him putting the mice under my hutch on purpose. He carried them over and took his paw to bat them under. He just wants to see me dig them out.
Hee! Cats is the most manipulativest creatures.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speaking Of Traveling...

New Doctor Who trailer!


Papers, Please

I finally got around to renewing my passport today (nearly two years after it expired), so if anybody needs me to leave the country, just say the word!

A Few Random Links

Adventures with the Wife in Space: A guy and his non-fan wife watch classic Doctor Who from the beginning, and he records her opinions. Entertaining and funny, at least if you're a Who fan.

360-Degree Panorama Takes You Inside Prague’s Off-Limits Baroque Library: Or, as the friend who alerted me to this put it, "Hey, Wired has
bookshelf porn up today!" Oh, people. You know what I like.

Why Cats are Not Doctors: Hilarious. If you see a cat with a stethoscope, run!

First Image Ever Obtained from Mercury Orbit: The first picture sent back from Messenger, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Definitely click for the larger image; the level of detail is great. One more planet down!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ooh, Creepy.

For those who are interested: a two-minute prequel to the new season of Doctor Who! Which, somewhat to my surprise, is actually viewable outside the UK.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seriously. I'm Not Even Asking For Terms.

Dear allergy season,

I surrender. Uncle! Uncle!

Yours in misery,

Good TiVo! Good Boy!

There was one good thing to come out of my failed experiment with attempting to get a copy of Monday's House to play on my TiVo, which is that as I was scrolling down through the menu to get to it, I noticed the machine had helpfully recorded the first episode of Charlie Jade, which is now showing sometime in the middle of the night on The Channel Formerly Known as SciFi. (Oh, Siffy. Why can't I quit you?) This show had been recommended to me by a couple of people, I think, but the last time it was on I missed it, and it doesn't seem to exist on DVD, or at least on Netflix. It's a weird show, and after watching the first episode I'm still not entirely sure what it's about, but it's very stylish, and I find myself quite intrigued by whatever the heck it is that's going on in the plot. Unfortunately, it seems like one of those shows that's probably best watched on DVD, and I suspect that by the time they show episode two I'll have largely forgotten what it was that episode one did to hook me in. Technology, I'm afraid, has spoiled me utterly, and a one-week wait between episodes of anything with a continuing plot now seems far too long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To-Done List

A partial list of things I have done on my days off this week:

Went to the post office.
Bought groceries.
Put gas in the car.
Mopped all the tile floors in my house.
Did four loads of laundry.
Did my taxes (state and federal).
Paid some bills.
Cleaned old leftovers out of the fridge.
Washed several sinksfull of dishes.
Put away sweaters and unpacked shorts.
Finished a longish book and reviewed it for LibraryThing's Early Reviewers.
Started another book.
Watched some DVDs I'd been meaning to get to.
Called two different family members.
Talked to the cable company.
Cooked myself a couple of decent meals.
Did various small, random bits of tidying and housecleaning.
And, oh, yes, rotated my sleep-wake schedule completely around from nights to mornings.

Now, will the nagging feeling in the back of my head that keeps telling me I'm not accomplishing things fast enough please shut up?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Still Trying To Watch House...

Note to self: never, ever try to legally download a video again. I don't mind paying money -- well, OK, maybe I mind a little, when it's the cable company's fault in the first place -- but the effort it takes just to watch the damned thing when and where you want to watch it is way, way, way more trouble than it's worth.

Nice job shooting yourself in the foot, Hollywood and/or iTunes. Nice job.

[ETA: Well, at least after all that crap it turned out to be a pretty good episode.]

Comcast: "WTF?!"

So, I called Comcast. They don't seem to have any clue what the hell is going on, either. They swear they didn't change anything. They kept trying to blame the TiVo. Guys, it's not the TiVo. I checked. It does exactly the same thing when the cable is plugged directly into the TV.

Anyway, they insist they need to send a service person out. What they heck they're going to do, I don't know. I get the impression that their sole job will be to go, "Yep, it's not the TiVo!" And, of course, they're not going to be here until next Wednesday. (Well, it could have been Friday. But I have to work Friday. Also Monday and Tuesday.) I still think there's something screwy with my local provider. With any luck, maybe they'll figure it out before Wednesday. Otherwise, they're gonna owe me two episodes of House.

Well, at least I got them to promise not to bill me for the service call if it turns out to be their fault. They also offered to call me if they do find out what's going on, which, frankly, is better customer service than I expected. I guess we'll see...

[ETA at about noon: Fox seems to be back. The CW station is still missing, as is the one that originally got switched with Fox, although I don't care so much about those. I think I'm gonna wait to see what happens before I call and cancel the service request, though.]

Monday, March 21, 2011

WTF Comcast?!

OK, I am all kinds of confused. I went to watch House, which should have been happily recording on channel 2 (aka KASA Fox 2), only to discover that apparently it had been replaced by some other station entirely, and House had magically morphed into some iteration or other of Law and Order. All other stations seem to be where they're supposed to be, except for KWBQ (CW), which has apparently just gone dark. Well, that and apparently I recorded a bunch of blackness earlier when I should have been recording Jeopardy! on KRQE (CBS), although that looks OK now. I tried updating my Tivo's channel list, but, no, as far as it -- or the information it's getting from Comcast -- is concerned, nothing seems to have changed.

I'd maybe assume it has something to do with this, but I cannot for the life of me see how, since a) I don't have Dish Network, b) apparently they fixed that, and c) everything was fine and normal last week.

So, again, I say, WTF, Comcast?! You owe me a goddamned episode of House!

Ooh, Look, The Air's Moving!

It is very, very windy outside. I'm wondering whether that constitutes a good excuse not to leave the house. I'm thinking maybe it does.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Accumulated Random Links

Wow, I have more of these than I thought I did.

Zombie Trailer Park: The latest thing I have wasted my time with. Starts out easy, but I admit it took me a fair few tries to get through level 3.

And while we're at it, Bubble Shooter: Wastes your time much more efficiently, but with fewer zombies. Also, if you play it long enough, it fatigues the neurons that fire when you see round things, so that anything with sharp edges looks weird and extreme when you finally look away.

Watch Doctor Who Comic Relief Specials: Humorous two-part Doctor Who mini-episode that aired the other day as part of the annual Comic Relief charity event. Warning: probably best avoided for spoiler reasons if you haven't yet seen season 5.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's Star Wars: These guys are always funny. I'm going to sulk about having to work this weekend so I couldn't go up to Albuquerque with friends and see Paul now.

Muppet D&D Alignments: Pretty much spot on.

International Space Station library: The ISS's library, cataloged on LibraryThing. See what astronauts read in their spare time!

Lego Creations Inspired By Movies: Exactly what it sounds like. Surprisingly artistic.

Jake Shimabukuro plays "Bohemian Rhapsody": The twist? He plays it on the ukelele.

The Wall of Shatner: Creepiest goddamned thing I have seen in my life. You have been warned.

Bill O’Reilly’s Tidal Skepticism Launches "You Can’t Explain That" Meme: There are a lot of things Bill O'Reilly can't explain. This amuses me probably far more than it should.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mickey Update #4

OK, last one, just for the people who have asked about the little guy, and then I'll get back to talking about something that doesn't involve cats, I promise. But Mom called again, saying that this was the last update she was going to give me because, and I quote, "He's settled in fantastic." She says he hardly ever runs from her any more, and almost never runs to hide under the bed. Although when he does, she says, he just sticks his head under the bed and leaves his butt sticking out, apparently in the belief that if he can't see her, she can't see him. (Which, I believe, makes my mother the Bugblatter Beast of Traal.) But mostly he lets her pet him lots, purrs loudly and frequently, and seems to prefer being in the same room as she is.

She also says that he's been "into everything," meaning that he's having a grand time exploring the house, and that "he thinks he's the king of the castle," which seems to mean that he's staked out the most comfortable chair in the house as his.

Mom has complained a little about his kitten energy and semi-nocturnal habits, but only good-naturedly. He seems to amuse her, especially with his tail-chasing antics. Also, she swears that he likes to watch TV with her, particularly auto racing, which I guess does have lots of noise and movement to attract a kitten. She says once when she turned the TV off, he went over, put his paws up on it, and meowed until she turned it back on and let him watch it for another minute or two! Which seems to have tickled her immensely. She's also being quite indulgent of him... She mentioned that last night he jumped up on the bed to play with the dangling chain again while she was trying to go to sleep, but when I suggested that she shorten it, her reply was, "But he likes playing with it!" She then added that he didn't do it for very long and that he does leave it alone when shooed, but still. I do believe he has worked his charms on her.

And I think I did the right thing. Aww.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mickey Update #3

Apparently my poor mother is currently experiencing this.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And Then There's My Period Of Adjustment...

Man, it is just disturbingly quiet here now without the kitten.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mickey Update #2

So, Mom called again. It seems Mickey is now out and about: exploring the house, playing with his toys, using his scratching post... He's still a little skittish, she said, but he does let her skritch his chin. Then while she was talking to me on the phone, he came up to her and meowed for attention until she petted him. I don't think he's ever done that to me. I may actually be a little jealous.

Anyway, he's doing great. Although she says she did consider killing him last night... It seems that the ceiling fan in her bedroom has this very long chain that dangles down over the bed, and while she was trying to sleep he kept coming up and jumping up and down on her bed, playing with it. Hee! He's still totally a kitten.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mickey Update

I just talked to Mom again a little while ago. She says Mickey was really good in the car the entire way to her house. Apparently the pill the vet gave him worked beautifully and kept him nice and calm and quiet, exactly as advertised. Much better than I'd expected, to be honest.

Right now, she's keeping him confined to the bedroom and its attached bathroom. Which is a good idea not just because it means she knows where he is (which I think is her main reason), but also because cats generally feel more secure with a smaller area when they're first moved somewhere new. She says he's hiding under the bed most of the time, especially when she's in the room and moving around. She was getting worried because he hadn't really eaten anything, but says she did hear him come out and munch on some food during the night. (I told her not to worry. It's normal for a cat not to eat much in a situation like that, and he's not going to let himself starve to death.)

She also went in and lay quietly on the bed for a while to see if he'd come out if she wasn't moving around, and he did. So she dangled a toy over the edge of the bed and he actually played with it for a while before ducking under the bed again when she got up. Which seems like real progress to me! I'm sure that eventually they'll be just fine.

From The Department Of Eerily Convenient Timing

I went out to get the mail this morning and nearly tripped over a package containing the new UPS battery I'd ordered after being bugged by my UPS software for a week or so that it was time to replace it. Then I went to turn on my computer and couldn't, because the UPS was off. So I turned the UPS on, and got panicky beeping and light-flashing that is pretty much the battery equivalent of flailing arms and spurting arterial blood.

Wow. That's not quite like those Star Trek episodes where the computer informs us that everybody is suddenly going to die of radiation poisoning in 13.47 minutes, but they really do have this battery lifetime thing down to a science.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bon Voyage, Kitten-Cat.

So, Mickey is now on his way to California with my mother. I have to admit, it's hard to let him go. He's such a sweetie, and he'd just gotten to the point where he would respond to his name, and sit and let me pet him more often and everything. I already miss him terribly.

I also feel bad, because he and Mom didn't exactly bond while she was here. He's not used to strangers in my house, and never seemed quite sure what to make of her. He's not greatly afraid of her or anything, but he is a little wary around her. He tends to run off when she approaches him, and didn't let her touch him very much. Which isn't necessarily as bad a sign as it sounds like; he often does something similar with me when he's not in a mood to be petted, which a lot of the time he isn't. I'm pretty sure that, given time to adjust, they'll get along fine. Still, I can't help feeling like I'm betraying the poor little thing, sending him to live somewhere strange with someone he doesn't completely trust. Even if I'm sure it will be for the best in the long run.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mickey Pics!

I promised someone I'd take some more pictures of Mickey before he left. (Which is not for a few days, by the way. Mom's coming out today, and will spend some time here getting to know the little guy before leaving with him on Monday.) He's still hard to take pictures of because he moves around so much, but I made a few attempts.

Here he is chasing his tail, which is hilarious to watch (although slightly less so in still photo form):

Here he is looking very cute in a (slightly) sneaky hiding spot:

X-Treme Close-Up! This is Mickey trying to eat the strap on my camera:

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Currently Meme Marches On

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Brown t-shirt from Uluru, Australia. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Mostly OK. I've been pretty stressed lately, but I've been a bit mellower for the last couple of days, which is good.

Current music: Most recently, Sand in the Vaseline by the Talking Heads. Because if I had to have "Love for Sale" stuck in my head, I figured I might as well have the real version.

Current annoyance: My plantar fasciitis is back with a vengeance, aggravated by the fact that I refuse to admit it and keep walking everywhere, anyway. Also back with a vengeance is allergy season. And I am covered with cat scratches. So, basically, it's that whole "having a physical body" thing that's annoying me again.

Current thing: I went out and bought the Ambitions expansion pack for The Sims 3, because there is nothing that helps me stay awake when I need to switch over for the night shift half so well as a fresh shot of The Sims. And, of course, I never just stick to playing it at night. Oh, I think, I'll just boot it up and make sure it runs properly, and the next thing I know it's three days later, and I'm all upset because some virtual person electrocuted himself trying to fix a TV.

Current desktop picture: This stars-and-nebula shot from the constellation of Orion.

Current book: The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson, which I got as a free review copy through LibraryThing.

Current song in head: I seem to have managed to replace "Love for Sale" with "Lifetime Piling Up."

Current DVD in player: Disc two of Dilbert: The Complete Series. This was supposed to be my on-the-treadmill show, but aforementioned foot problems mean I should be doing less of that, and I want to get it watched so I can send it back to Netflix and move on with the queue. So I just watched an episode over lunch.

Current refreshment: Tea. Replacement tea, actually, after I spilled the first mug all over the living room. It's a good thing I'm feeling mellower today...

Current worry: All my current worries are cat-related. I won't bore you or work myself up by going over them all again. Especially as I'm sure the little kitty guy will be fine, really.

Current thought: For as much of a night person as I am, I've been craving sunlight lately. Nice springtime sunshine actually seems to be helping with the stress, too. I don't know what's happening to me.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Random Thoughts For Today

1. No matter how carefully I study them, I feel I will never truly understand extroverts. They are like some fascinating alien life form. Frequently exasperating, but fascinating.

2. Ever since I finished watching Max Headroom on DVD, I have had "Love for Sale" by the Talking Heads stuck in my brain, as some decision-making process deep in my cortex has decided that that is the actual theme song for that show, no matter what boring electronic thing they actually used. And, man, the Talking Heads are great and all, but it's starting to get old. (Also, verdict on Max Headroom: It hasn't aged remotely as well as the people who made it seem to think, and the title character is just as stupid as I remember. But there was definitely something there, and it was clearly in the process of maturing when it abruptly got cancelled. If nothing else, it's an interesting window into its times. Also, Morgan Sheppard is awesome. And Matt Frewer used to be disturbingly attractive when not covered in prosthetics. Even if he does sort of sound like a Muppet.)

3. Now that Mickey the kitten is leaving me soon, I keep alternating between feeling I already miss him like crazy and thinking guiltily about how much more peaceful it will be when he's gone. Also, I appear to be attempting to pack an entire kitty-lifetime of worrying about him into one remaining week. And then, true to my own neurotic tendencies, I get stressed out by how much I'm worrying. Sigh. Have I mentioned lately what a very, very good thing it is that I've never had kids?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Swear, This Has Nothing To Do With The Previous Post.

So, an update on Mickey the kitten... He actually has gotten a bit mellower since being neutered, at least as far as perpetrating actual acts of violence on the other cats goes, but that doesn't change the fact that two out of three cats in this household hate him and that the current situation is really pretty stressful for all concerned. Even if he is somewhat better, I still don't quite trust them all together when I'm alone, and I'm not finding it much easier to imagine them getting to the point where I can. At this point, my desire to keep him here and try to make it all work is based more on the fact that he's cute and I like him and I don't want to let him go than on any kind of realism. And, you know, better to make decisions based on what's good for the cats than on that kind of selfish reaction.

So, I've called my mother. She's going to give him a good home, free of other cats. I'm sure that will be better for him, especially as she's not working these days and can thus give him lots of attention. She's also aware of the possibility that he may have health issues somewhere down the road, and is capable of dealing with that. She's coming out next week and will take him back with her. Awww. I'm gonna miss him, but at least I can go and visit him sometimes. (Heck, that may be my mother's ulterior motive: giving me an incentive to visit her more often!)

One somewhat upsetting footnote to this: Mom will be taking him back to California with her by car -- something like a 12-hour trip -- and asked me to call the vet to see about getting something to keep him calm on the journey. So I did, and their receptionist told me, no problem, I could just come in and pick up some homeopathic drops that would "calm the cat down." Homeopathic drops. In other words, magic water. Aargh. I made an appointment to take him in so he can be prescribed some actual drugs instead, but I gotta say, I actually feel pretty shaken by that. I love my vets. They've been very, very good to me. But something like this kind of undermines my faith in their overall medical competence. And now I have the choice of living with that niggling worry or ending a years-long and generally satisfying relationship in what would be, for me, a somewhat painful and embarrassing way. And here I only just brought myself to make one difficult cat-related decision. Fucking homeopathy.