Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out With The Old. Seriously, Get It The Heck Out Of Here!

So, here we are. The end of the year, again. This time last year, I was reflecting back over the events of 2010 and complaining that, while at least it was free of horrible tragedy, it was chock-full of stressful annoyances, and my plea for 2011 was, "Less of that, please."

Fate, of course, laughs at such entreaties and instead saw fit to give me more of that.

I started 2011 with a spare kitten living in my house, being very cute, but costing me a great deal in vet bills and worry. I ended the year with his sister doing exactly the same things. We started the year with a winter that brought freakish snowstorms and record-breaking temperatures so low that the state ran out out of desperately needed natural gas, followed by a hundred-year drought of a summer, then more freakish snowstorms to round out the year. I spent too much of 2011 in doctors' offices, ending up with orthotics for my feet, pills for my thyroid, and the despondent sense that it really is all downhill from forty. There was, of course, the great pipe leak and all its consequences, which have not been entirely dealt with yet. Work became six different kinds of annoying, as we embarked on the process of switching over to new hardware and still-in-development software. My sister got divorced, my mother became an employment yo-yo, and my father's pancreas tried repeatedly to kill him.

On the other hand, it's hard to knock a trip to Hawaii. Vacationing is its own kind of stressful, of course, but the opportunity to visit a beautiful place and have some exciting new experiences did help to make the whole year a little bit brighter. And, suspicious medical test results to the contrary, I turned out not to have either kidney disease or breast cancer, so that's something to be happy about.

Still. Do you think it will be tempting fate if I once again ask, plaintively, for less of that, please?

Friday, December 30, 2011

In Less Pleasant News...

I think something is wrong with my computer. A few days ago, I tried to install an update for The Sims 3, and it didn't work. It kept giving me error messages about corrupted files. Yesterday, when I updated Malwarebytes, it did the same thing, although reinstalling it worked fine. Today, I ran a full Norton antivirus scan, which found nothing but the usual tracking cookies... but when it finished it gave me an "encountered an unexpected error and had to close" message, and I had to reboot to get it to come back up. My mind has been going through various unpleasant possibilities -- Is my hard drive going bad? Do I have a virus Norton isn't detecting? -- but my vague, half-informed guess is that maybe there's some kind of problem with my registry. Which worries me, since in my mind registry cleaners are mostly things that shady websites try to get you to download so they can infect you with nastiness, and messing around with registries is something not to be done by the uninformed, lest you accidentally screw your machine up beyond all repair. Hell, if I'm honest, I have no idea how the whole registry thing even works.

I don't suppose there are any Windows experts in the audience with suggestions? (Yes, any suggestions other than "Get a Mac!" or "Switch to linux," thank you.)

Sigh. The way my luck has been going, I almost expect smoke to start pouring out of my PC at any moment.

One More Kitten Update

So, I just got Newt back from yet another vet appointment. This time, the news was pretty good! Her ear is definitely looking better. It's still got some crud in it, but the vet says it all looks like earwax, not nasty infected goo, so she may be about over it. Yay! I had seen that her eye was looking a lot better, but I still wasn't sure about it, as every time I found myself thinking, "Ooh, maybe it does look all better!" I would see her squinting it just slightly immediately afterward. But I'm told it does, in fact, look okay, and that probably, after all her troubles, that eye will just always be a little more sensitive than the other one. Having an eye like that myself, I can sympathize.

I was also given the OK for her to be around other cats, so when I got her home, I took her around, still in the carrier, and gave her the very slightest and briefest introduction to the other kitties. The results are as follows:

Nova: Came over, sniffed at her briefly, then trotted off. Nova several times has gone over and stared at the bathroom door, or even caught sight of Newt in there when I opened the door, and he's generally looked more interested than hostile. He's also, of all my cats, the one that gets along most easily with other felines, so I didn't expect too many problems with him. Still, that little of a reaction surprised me.

Happiness: Happiness was lounging on top of a bookcase. I put a kitty treat in front of her, then held up the carrier so she could see Newt. Reaction: She all but exclaimed, "Oh, hell no!" and immediately shot off, leaving the treat behind. Well, after her experiences with Mickey, I can't really blame her. I did follow her and give her the treat, anyway.

Vir: Was lying under an end table in the living room. I sat the carrier down halfway across the room from him, not directly in front of him, but definitely where he could see the kitten if he looked at her. I then gave him treats. He did seem to look at the kitten, but did not react one way or another. This seems very promising, but it's probably a good idea not to put too much stock in it. Vir is the one who occasionally hisses at her door, or even at me, if I come out of the bathroom smelling like her.

Still, all in all that went not too badly. In the admittedly unlikely event that she manages to get along with all the other feline inhabitants of my house, I may be able to keep her, even though four cats really is too many cats. Most likely, I will have to find a home for her elsewhere. The vets said they'd keep an ear out for someone who might want a kitten. Which is a good thing, because Texas Lady never did call me back.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Seasonly Greetings!

Merry Christmas to those who do Christmas, and a very happy holiday season to everyone! We are having a white Christmas here, as the snow still has not melted, but since I don't have to go out in it today, I am feeling much more kindly disposed towards it. In fact, I believe I may have found some of my Christmas cheer. Or, at the very least, I am feeling much more relaxed and mellow after the stressful time I've been having lately, and that in itself is a nice Christmas present. Not that all the actual presents weren't nice too! Lots of books this year, which is not something I'm ever going to complain about.

Later I'm going to watch Doctor Who and make fruitcake, not necessarily in that order. I am expecting both things to be yummy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

This Message Brought To You By-- Oh, God, I Can't Feel My Toes!

Waterproof boots are awesome... right up until the point where you step into ice water deeper than the tops of the boots.

Random Links Are Home For The Holidays

Zombie in a Penguin Suit: And people thought I was strange for worrying about what I might be wearing when the zombie apocalypse comes.

Aliens on Ice: Why is this not being performed where I can go and see it?!

Missing Doctor Who episodes discovered: Kind of old news by now, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention this here at all. (Even if there was some discussion about it in the comments somewhere.) Admittedly, these are not the episodes I would have most hoped would be found, but the fact that even now these are still occasionally turning up is awesome. Who knows, maybe someday someone will unearth a complete print of "Marco Polo" from a box in their basement.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer #1: Want to see this now!

Medium Large Comic: The Ebenezer Scrooge Collection : I thought there were no possible variations on A Christmas Carol that had not yet been done to death. I stand corrected.

Timeline of Doctor Who: There's a couple of small oddities here, I think, but generally it's a very cool and remarkably clear timeline of all the Doctors, companions, and episodes, in a spiffy infographic format.

Definitely Ragnarok

Jesus H. Christ on a flying bicycle. It is not supposed to snow like this here! Certainly not repeatedly! Is this what global warming is doing for us? Are the monsoon rains happening in the winter now?

On the latest installment of "ways in which Betty cannot catch a goddamn break," I had to stay at work for an extra hour and a half this morning, because the guy who was supposed to relieve me lives out of town and the highway was closed so he couldn't get in. Then I had to trudge home in snow up to my knees, which needless to say took me longer than the walk usually does, but was no doubt still safer than driving. (Not that I'm even going to try to get my car out. I don't own a freaking snow shovel!) Once I got home, I still had to tend to the kitten, who was now overdue for her dose of eye ointment, so I didn't get to bed until well after 10 AM. Then I slept for all of three hours, woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep, due in large part to the fact that even with an eyemask on and the curtains drawn, it was still eerily, unnaturally bright in my bedroom.

And, of course, I still have to trudge back into work in this tonight. Everybody else where I work is already enjoying a four-day holiday, but not us! We in operations are science's bitches, and neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night keeps us from our appointed operating. (Well, not unless we have to use the highway to get to work.) Come to think of it, that makes me better than the postman, because he didn't show today.

It could be worse, though. I'm told the poor VLA operator got stuck out there when they closed I-60. And at least I wasn't trapped in a snowbank for two days.

Also, given the three-hours-of-sleep thing, at least I don't have to worry about finding time to go the grocery store today. Assuming the grocery store has managed to open. Which I really hope it has, because otherwise I'm going to be eating peanut butter for Christmas dinner.

And my internet has miraculously managed to stay up. I really wasn't expecting it to, since I figured my wireless antenna would be buried under a foot of snow. So, hey, I may be grumpy, sleep-deprived and covered in snow, but at least I get to bitch to the world about it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Since I Have Places To Go

OK, it can stop snowing now. I don't need a white Christmas. Really.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Updates And Whining

Various things:

Just got Newt the kitten back from the vet. Again. It seems her ear has been getting worse rather than better, poor thing. And the eye might be related to the ear infection, or it might be due to the herpes virus, which causes eye and upper respiratory problems in cats. The vet is wondering if there might actually be some foreign body lodged in her ear. He says he can't see anything, but there's so much gunk in there that he's not sure he'd be able to, anyway. He pointed out that she's old enough that she'll need to be spayed soon, and if it doesn't clear up by then, he can wait until she's knocked out for her spaying and dig around in there to see if he can find anything. Which sounds like fun, doesn't it? In the meantime, she has still more and different antibiotics, and some new eye ointment. He also told me to give her lysine supplements, which I felt a little skeptical about, but I looked it up and apparently there is at least some science to indicate that it can help deal with the feline herpes virus, even if it's a little iffy. So, OK, we'll try it. He didn't have any to give me, though, so I had to buy pills intended for humans, crush them up, and sprinkle them on her food. I hope she's willing to eat it. She didn't seem to want to, but I'm hoping that's just because she wasn't particularly hungry. Anyway, stay tuned. The saga of Newt the Kitten will continue!

In addition to having to deal with a sick kitten, my roof is leaking (or leaking more than it has been), I still haven't gotten hold of anyone about fixing my carpet, and my internet has crapped out on me again. (I'm posting this via dial-up, which always seems to be even slower than I remember it being.) Also, my car needs some work soon, and the shoes I bought that I hoped would help with my plantar fasciitis may possibly be making it worse. And I have some more doctor's appointments coming up. Sigh. Sometimes being an adult really sucks. Even if it does mean you can eat cake for breakfast anytime you want to.

Speaking of my leaky roof, I want to know what the hell is up with this weather. After one of the driest summers on record, it now will not stop precipitating for more than a day or two, long after the end of what's supposed to be the rainy season. It's freaking bizarre. On the upside, though, my boss e-mailed me and said that there's no observing tonight, so if I want to take off instead of trudging in through the ice and the rain/snow, I can. Which sounded damned good to me. I had to get up earlier than I wanted to in order to make the vet appointment, anyway, and was not looking forward to doing the night shift today.

And, yeah, I think that's about all I have to bitch about at the moment. If I think of something else later, I can always post again, right? I know you all love listening to me complain about the mundane details of my life...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

There Is Still A Kitten In My Bathroom.

I guess I haven't posted an update on the kitten in a little while, plus I've been informed that I am not meeting minimum standards for the amount of kitten cuteness required to be posted to the internet per unit time during all periods when there is a kitten in your house. So...

I had Newt back into the vet last week, and apparently her ear infection still hadn't cleared up any. Part of that may be due to the fact that I had a really hard time getting the ear drops into her ear properly, so they gave my a syringe to use, which at least makes it a little easier. (Kittens really don't like it when you drip cold, viscous liquids into their ears. Go figure.) I think she may be doing better overall, except that now her right eye is weepy and watery and squinted half-shut, or sometimes all the way shut. Poor kitty. My guess is that it's related to the ear infection, since the problem is with her right ear, but it's worrying me. If it's not magically better by tomorrow, I'll call the vet and see if I can get her back in before they shut down over Christmas. Maybe she'll need more eye ointment to go with the ear drops.

In the meantime, here is a picture in which said eye doesn't look too bad, although if I could figure out how to turn the red-eye-elimination feature on my camera off so it doesn't make her look like she has glowing blue-green pupils, that would probably be a good thing:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update On Things

The dentist was able to get me in yesterday to glue the crown back onto my tooth. It took them two attempts, because I drool like a waterfall at the dentist, and apparently some spit got under it the first time and made it not stick, but it seems to be back on good and tight now. Yay for being able to chew!

Also, the insurance adjustor just came out and looked at my carpets. They're actually going to cover replacing all the carpet padding in both rooms, rather than just the damaged sections, which is great, because it means I won't have to worry about matching what's there right now. I just need to find someone who will install it. I'm pretty sure there's no carpet places in town, so I might have to find someone who'll come down from Albuquerque. Although when I'm going to be able to do that, I don't know. I'm on night shifts all next week, so that's out. I think it's probably going to have to be after Christmas. Which is a long time to live in the furniture labyrinth. Sigh.

So, how's everybody else doing?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, Yeah, That's Just What I Needed Right Now.

So, who had what in the "what bizarre disaster will befall Betty next?" pool? Whoever had "lose a crown off a tooth," you win! Congrats!

(Seriously, WTF is up with my life lately?! Did I piss off a witch or something?)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"These Shoes! They Fit Perfectly!"

Well, I survived the mall. But it was kind of terrible. Man, the older I get, the more claustrophobic I get in crowds. This is not a good thing. I thought I could recover from the ordeal with a visit to the Barnes & Noble, but it was just as bad in there. And they didn't even have anything good on the bargain shelves. Bah.

But then I went to see The Muppets, and that did make me feel better. It was thoroughly awesome, even if I cannot remotely accept the premise. The Muppets became irrelevant and unpopular? Never! Certainly not in my mind!

Oh, and, yes, I finally managed to buy shoes. In fact, I bought two pairs of shoes, which I would consider uncharacteristically girly of me, except that one them were men's shoes. (Waterproof hiking boots, on sale for $50! How could I not?)

I'm not entirely sure about these sneakers I bought, though. There I was, trying on various different sneakers and having immense difficulty, as usual, finding something wide enough for my stupid giant feet and roomy enough for my stupid giant toes. At which point the salesperson recommended the ones with the roomiest toebox they have... which looked great, except that they've got these ridiculous heels, with the little cylinders that look like they belong in the suspension of your car or something, not on your footwear. You've probably seen them. I think they look pretty stupid, but I let her talk me into trying them on, and OMG, most comfortable shoes ever!!! And, unlike far too many, they have insoles that pull out, so I can easily replace them with my custom inserts. At which point, I figured, hey, if you like to consider yourself the kind of person who regards practicality and comfort as more important than looks, it really ought to go both ways, and you ought to be equally accepting of the embarrassingly trendy-looking as of the defiantly no-frills. Plus, the part I can see when they're on my feet looks fine. So I bought 'em. I'm a little nervous now, though, because after walking around the mall in them for a while, I did start to notice a teeny little bit of arch pain. But I think that probably has a lot less to do with the shoes than it does with the fact that I've been inexcusably lax about doing my plantar fasciitis-fighting stretches.

And now I am never, ever going back to the mall again. Certainly not in December.

Wish Me Luck!

OK, I'm going out to brave the mall. On a Saturday. Two weeks before Christmas. If I don't come back, tell my cats... Actually, don't tell them anything. They won't care. Just come by and feed them.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wait, What Am I Doing Now?

Current clothes: Light blue slacks. Red sweater. Cthulhu slippers.

Current mood: Not too bad, actually. A fair bit more upbeat, generally, than I have been over the last few days, during which I've been subject to random bouts of annoying self-pity.

Current music: Nothing today. Some random stuff on the iPod again a few days ago. It was playing a lot of Billy Joel, for some reason. (See "current song in head.")

Current annoyance: There are so many. So many. I guess the top of the list is the fact that parts of my house have been turned into a labyrinth of furniture, books, and random closet crap from the bedrooms, and I still don't know exactly when the carpets are going to be fixed. Then the list goes on for, I don't know, five or six feet, at least, and finishes up with the fact that my shoes are all wet from trudging around in melting slush.

Current thing: Not getting to Albuquerque. I really, really need to go up and, among other things, buy some shoes that will not get soaked quite so easily when I'm trudging around in the slush, but every single time I plan on doing it, something comes up. I have an important appointment, or the weather is awful, or something. I think now I'm going to have to do it on the weekend, and I really, really, really didn't want to be going to the mall on a weekend at this time of the year.

Current desktop picture: Still the Hawaiian palm trees. Wow, that looks so much nicer than slush.

Current book: On Language by William Safire. Also Geek Wisdom, which I'm reading in little chunks while hanging out with the kitten.

Current song in head: Billy Joel's "Don't Ask Me Why," ever since it came up on the iPod. Don't ask me why.

Current DVD in player: Just finished disc one of season 1 of Six Feet Under, which is interesting so far.

Current refreshment: Mango passionfruit tea. Mmm.

Current worry: I have become slightly paranoid about my plumbing now. Also, I am afraid of the mall.

Current thought: Man, I need to clean the catbox. I can smell it from here. I also need to put the laundry away, and answer my e-mail, and look in on the kitten...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

OK, Now I'm Looking Forward To Christmas.

Official prequel to the Doctor Who Christmas Special! It made me go "Hee!" and then "Awww" and then "Ooooh!"

It's Ragnarok. That's The Only Explanation.

Current conditions where I live, as reported on the Weather Channel website:

Feels Like: -13°

You will, I hope, forgive me the following outburst:

Holy fucking shit!!!

Well, at least this time we haven't run out of natural gas. So far.

But, geez. Did I somehow move to Minnesota while I wasn't looking?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Not Going Out Today!

Wow. That's a lot more snow than I'm used to.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Saga Continues

So, my carpets have now officially been pronounced dry and the big, noisy equipment removed. And no more nasty smells! Yay! The house is still in complete disarray, though, and may stay that way for a while yet, because I still need to get the padding under the carpet replaced. Apparently if these guys are the ones to pull it out, they have a policy of not also doing the replacement, that being something of a conflict of interest. Which is hard to argue with. But it means I won't be moving all my books and furniture back in just yet. (They said to talk to the insurance company about it. There's supposed to be someone calling back about my claim soon, so I guess I'll ask then. Heck, it may even be something I could do myself, if I find out where to get the material, except that I'm not at all sure I want to rely on my exceedingly shaky ability to cut in a straight line.)

But at least I get to sleep in my own bed now! At least for the few hours I'm allowed to sleep tomorrow, coming off of night shifts. Sigh.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Wet & Wild

So, the damage control people have now been and gone. They removed the nasty, wet padding under the carpet. The carpet itself they say is OK and not mildewy, which is good. There are now three fans and a giant dehumidifier in the affected rooms to get everything dried out, which will probably take a few days.

Of course, they had to move much of the furniture out of said rooms, including eight bookcases and several hundred books, as well as my dresser and most of the contents of one storage closet, so there's now barely room to walk around here. Both my bed and the spare bed are still in the wet rooms, however, mainly owing to the fact that there was nowhere else to put them, so it looks like I'm sleeping on the couch for a while. Yep, the fun never ends around here!

Someone recently told me that my tribulations reminded them of this. I must say, it's beginning to look more relevant all the time.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


By the way, my insurance guy's name is Chance. It's only just now struck me how amusing that is.

Quick, Men! To The Carpetmobile!

So, after two days of playing phone tag with my homeowner's insurance company, I finally got to talk to the claims guy. They won't cover the plumbing repair, which is what I figured. And they won't cover the damage to my front yard, which I don't care about, because, hey, they filled the hole back in, and my front yard wasn't exactly pretty to begin with. They will, however cover damage to my carpets. Which maybe doesn't do me a whole lot of good, since I have a $500 deductible, but he did put me in contact with a company that cleans up flood damage, who will get the carpets dried out and replace the padding under them, which I think is a very good thing, because right now said carpets smell a lot like damp basement. And I would have had no earthly idea who to even talk to about something like that.

They were actually going to send somebody out from Albuquerque tonight. But then they called back five minutes later and said, uh, actually, could we maybe do it tomorrow? What with the evil windstorm and all? Which, hey, no problem. I mean, it's been this long. I doubt it's going to get worse overnight. Mind you, it's supposed to snow tomorrow, so for all I know they won't be able to make it then, either, but I guess we'll see.

Maybe She'll Develop Superpowers!

Just had little Newt back into the vet again. She's definitely doing way better than she was, all bright-eyed and playful, but she still sounds sort of snuffly or raspy a lot of the time, and there's still a little bit of discharge from her eyes. The vet said it might not even be that the infection is still lingering on; it might just be that there was some damage to her nasal passages from the illness. Which can open the way for bacterial infections, so he gave her some more antibiotics. (In shot form this time, which is nice.) He also said, though, that sometimes these respiratory infections can be chronic, and keep coming back. Joy. Also, one of her ears has a lot of gunk in it, so he gave me some ear drops for it. No vaccinations yet. He said to give it another week. Here's hoping she's all fit and healthy by then. She's a cutie pie, for sure, but I really do want her out of my bathroom and into the home of someone who can actually keep her.

Oh, and, yes, she definitely is a she! There is, however, still some mystery about her age. When I first brought her in, Vet #1 was sure she couldn't possibly be over four months old, since not only was she really, really small for a kitten that age, but she didn't seem to have all her baby teeth in yet. Hence the plausible two-similar-kittens hypothesis. Today, though, Vet #2 looked into her mouth and expressed surprise at the fact that all her adult teeth seemed to be in, which doesn't happen until five and a half months! He said he wondered if the reason why it looked like all her baby teeth weren't in the first time was because some of them had already fallen out. But if that's the case, she is really, really tiny. I don't know. Maybe she's some kind of mutant.

Letters To No One

Dear December,

Please be less annoying than November.

Thank you,



Dear self,

You have to work night shifts this weekend. How is waking up at 6 AM helping?!

Befuddled and groggy,



Dear internet connection,

Ye gods, but you suck. Having to spend five minutes buffering every time I want to watch a goddamn YouTube video is bad enough, but randomly cutting out on me multiple times a day is unacceptable. I'd see about replacing you with something more reliable today, I swear, but I've got too much on my plate right now, so you get a reprieve. A short reprieve.

Much loathing,