Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Back

There is a leap second being added to the year today. I hope everyone enjoys their extra time and uses it wisely. Me, I'll be spending it resetting a crapload of computer clocks, because in radio interferometry, if you're off by a second, you might as well be off by a week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newt News

Just got an e-mail from my sister with some excellent news on the kitty front! She'd told me yesterday that lil' Newt had a good appetite and would occasionally deign to play with her a bit, but spent most of the time hiding in her carrier. Well, apparently she got home yesterday to find the cat lounging in the window, and instead of running off to hide, Newt decided to come over and get some skritches. Now she's letting my sis pet her and purring, and not hiding any more. Yay! I knew she'd get to that point, but was afraid it might take longer than this.

Now, we just need to see how she does when it's time to move her again...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Happens In June, Stays In June.

So, I think the only thing to do is to declare that, for purposes of my book-buying quota, June does not exist. You cannot prove to me that it does!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back Home

Like it says up above there, I am back home! Got in uneventfully yesterday afternoon, and discovered all cats alive and reasonably well. Vir and Nova are claiming to have been horribly traumatized, but they always do.

By the way, the last couple of days of my vacation we finally got some of that classic wet 'n' chilly Pacific Northwest weather, so there were mostly indoor activities. Like glow-in-the-dark pirate mini-golf. Because Portland is awesome that way.

And now I have a lot of e-mails to answer. Later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello From Oregon!

Well, I'm here in front of a computer, so I figured I might as well update. Hello! I am still on vacation!

Little Newt is doing very well! She meowed a little in the car on the way to the airport, but was perfectly quiet on the plane. Probably a little overwhelmed, poor thing. And for all the worry I had about going through security, it was fine. Hell, it was better than fine. I'm thinking I ought to bring a cat with me every time, because she made things way easier. I got to bypass the stupid pornoscanner all by myself, and all they did was wipe my hands and test the wipe for explosive residue with a nifty little explosive residue detector box. Meanwhile, the kitty just clung to my shoulder as hard as she could. Clearly airport escape hijinks where the last thing on her mind. Aww.

Right now, she's got a room to herself. My sister has been staying at her friend's house while she waits to close on her own new place at the end of the month, but said friend only has one bathroom, so sis, me, and the nephew are in a hotel for the week while the cat gets the spare room my sister was staying in. The friend has been wonderful about letting her stay, and makes sure she gets fed and everything, and we stop in regularly to see her. She's always so very glad to see me, too, purring like crazy, and wanting to play, also like crazy. Awww, I'm gonna miss her. *sniffle* She's still not at all sure about my sis or the nephew, but her reaction to them is much more wary than terrified, and I'm sure after a short adjustment period, they'll all get along fine.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying myself here. We've done a couple of little hikes, which were pretty awesome. One of them featured seven waterfalls, a couple of which you could actually walk behind, which I strongly recommend as a way of viewing a waterfall. We also made the obligatory trip to Powell's, where, unsurprisingly, I bought way too many books. (Quota? What quota? Sigh. But, oh, it was nice!) Yesterday, we drove up to Seattle, and played tourist there for a bit, so I can now say I've been up on the Space Needle. Everyone was all excited, because apparently the Pacific Northwest was having its one relatively clear day of the year, and you could actually see Mt. Ranier. And very impressive it was, too.

Now, I think we're going bowling. Wish me luck. I'm very, very rusty.

Friday, June 15, 2012


So, Newt and I are off to the airport tomorrow. (And, aww, now that the time is coming, I don't want the kitty to go! But, clearly the current situation is unworkable, and she'll be much better off, so I'll just need to suck it up and accept the significantly lessened cuteness in my life. *sniffle*)

Anyway, since I probably won't have time tomorrow morning while I'm packing up cats and stuff, I figured I'd wave goodbye to the internet now. I kind of wanted to bring my laptop with me, but the idea of trying to go through airport security with a laptop and a cat is just more than I can handle, so I'll be more or less incommunicado. Well, I'll still be checking e-mail on my phone, at the very least, but don't necessarily expect any answers until I get back.

Wish me luck! It's going to be something of an adventure...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OK, Now The Currently Meme

Current clothes: Monty Python and the Holy Grail pajama pants (featuring a dismembered Black Knight) and a black pocket t-shirt. I'm winding down for bed.

Current mood: I was feeling pretty stressed today, in that "Aaargh, I'm leaving in less than three days! I must get everything done!" kind of way. Except that I suddenly realized that I actually have gotten everything done, nearly. All I need to do over the next couple of days is finish up some laundry and pack. Oh, and pick Newt's medical records up at the vet when they have the copies ready for me. (Her harness did make its way back from El Paso, by the way!) So I can relax now, right?

Current music: Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas.

Current annoyance: The motor on my swamp cooler died, or rather was clearly getting ready to die, so I had to have it replaced. The new one they put in seems to be more powerful than the old one, which ought to be a good thing, but it's also noisier, which is a little annoying. And, of course, it was yet another unexpected expense. I seem to be racking those up lately.

Current thing: Gettin' ready to go see my sis in Oregon!

Current desktop picture: The Grand Canyon in moonlight.

Current book: An SF/horror thing called The Void by Brett J. Talley, which I got as a review copy from Library Thing. It's got a potentially interesting and creepy premise, but the writing really isn't impressing me.

Current song in head: Right this moment, it seems to be "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles, because I just saw it performed by some rather cute ghosts on The Muppet Show. But nothing seems to be staying lodged in the brain for long at the moment, which is an incredible relief, as I had one damned song stuck in there for most of last week. (I will not name it, however, for fear of invoking it.)

Current DVD in player: As mentioned, my on-the-treadmill show is Season 1 of The Muppet Show, which I loved to pieces as a kid, and am still loving almost as much this time around. I've also been watching Odyssey 5, a short-lived series from 2002 about a crew of shuttle astronauts who see the Earth get destroyed, and are then sent back in time to stop it. It's got a really interesting, really smart premise, and a good cast. I'm almost never sure quite what to make of the individual episodes, though. Still, it's holding my interest reasonably well... Which I may regret when it comes to the inevitable "Oh, crap, we just got canceled!" cliffhanger, but oh, well.

Current refreshment: Stash's "Chamomile Nights" tea, which apparently features chamomile, spearmint, and lotus leaves. It's very nice. Soothing.

Current worry: Nothing specific, oddly enough. Just some generalized travel anxiety, with added cat factors.

Current thought: I really need to get back to reading this damned book. I want to get it finished before I go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not The Currently Meme

I'll do that one later, but for right now, I figured I'd talk about various random things, including stuff I meant to post about ages ago and kept not having time for. In handy bullet point form!

  • I did get to observe the transit of Venus, which was pretty awesome. I was actually stuck at work through the whole thing, but fortunately I work at an astronomical facility, so there were people hanging around outside the front door with apparatus for viewing things safely at various magnifications, and I was able to slip out for a few minutes to observe me some astronomical happenings. And very glad I was, too, since I missed the last one for reasons I don't now recall[*], and the next isn't until 2117. My immediate responses to the sight, by the way, were: "Howdy, neighbor!" and "Gosh, Venus really is round!" It's nice to be reminded once in a while in such a visceral way that the solar system is a real place filled with real, physical objects.

  • I was very sorry to hear about the death of Ray Bradbury. Not surprised, really, since the guy was 91. But very sorry. I've said this before (although probably not here), but the thing about Bradbury that always particularly impressed me was his ability to make me feel a deep, powerful nostalgia for places I'd never been to. Indeed, sometimes for places that never actually existed. That, I think, is a pretty good legacy to leave behind.

  • I've ordered a harness and leash for Newt, having come to the conclusion that that's the only safe way of avoiding a daring airport escape. Assuming, that is, that the thing ever actually comes. I ordered it with two-day shipping to be sure it'd get here in time, but apparently they accidentally sent the damned thing to El Paso. Aaaargh! They've sent me an e-mail saying it'll be a "1 to 2 day delay," which means I should still have it by Friday, but if I don't, I'm screwed. Even if I do, there goes the few days I thought I'd have to help her get used to wearing it. Sigh. Amazon did say it was guaranteed to be here by Wednesday. I wonder if that means I can at least get my money back if it doesn't.

  • I did, at least, get Newt's airport-approved carrier. And, yes, while I was in Albuquerque, I did stop at the Barnes & Noble. I blame a Certain Someone for putting that idea in my head. He knows who he is. But I also realized that a book I'd been waiting for (Mira Grant's Blackout) had finally just come out, and might be ideal for reading on the plane, and that the new Rush album was being released today. So, really, I had no choice. Alas, the album apparently sold out by noon. Damn you, Rush fans! *shakes fist* Well, I guess that's what I get for accidentally sleeping in. No Clockwork Angels for me. I could download, it, but I really do want the physical CD, with the liner notes and all, so I guess I'll have to mail order it, or maybe pick it up when I'm in Oregon.

  • I also got out to see The Avengers. And not a moment too soon, either, because in the last few days my attitude towards it had started to go from, "Hey, everybody says this movie is good! I want to see it!" to "I wish everybody would shut the hell up about this movie I still haven't seen!" But now I have, and it was fun. Nothing that completely blew me away, but entertaining in that way that makes me go, "Oh, hey, yeah, I see what people see in this superhero stuff!" (I will admit, I often find it a little too cheesy, maybe a little too male-power-fantasy. So it's really nice when I don't.) Also, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner make a surprisingly adorable buddy duo. I want them to have a TV series spinoff and go on wacky adventures together.

  • [*] Oh, wait, it was the fact that it wasn't visible here. I guess that's a pretty good reason.

    Friday, June 08, 2012

    The Continuing Saga Of Newt

    You may remember a few weeks ago, when I said my friends who just got married offered to take Newt in. (And there was much rejoicing.) They're in the process of moving back to Socorro, and figured they'd have a bigger place and it would be fine. But while they were perfectly happy to take her, and fairly sure they'd be able to, they didn't want to give me a 100% solid yes answer until they got their move sorted out this week. Well, it turns out their housing situation is much less stable than they were anticipating, and they now don't think it's a good idea. Sigh.

    Well, never mind, on to Plan B! Plan B is my sister, who is also about to move, and who suddenly realized a little while ago that she's now going to be somewhere she can have a cat. She apparently related this fact happily to my mother, who replied, "You know, your sister has a cat..." Why yes. Yes, I do. Sis might not be in her new place for a few weeks yet, but the friends she's staying with say it'll be no problem for them to keep the cat there for a while. (To which I can only say: OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!)

    So, I called the airport today, and Newt now has a reservation to fly to Oregon with me when I go out to my sister's place in a week. I just need to go by the airport sometime before then and pick up the special carrier that fits under the plane seat. This, I think, is going to be an adventure. I'm actually rather nervous about it, mainly because they make you take the animal out of the carrier when you go through security. The carrier gets X-rayed, and you're supposed to carry the animal through the metal detector. Well, Newt does not like to be held. Not that she's not a friendly kitty, just that she doesn't like to be carried. In fact, it's just about impossible to do. You pick her up, and she's instantly out of your arms and sitting on your shoulder. Where at least she'll usually stay until you bend over far enough, as she doesn't seem to like jumping down from that height, particularly not from the shoulder of a person who's moving around. But I have visions of me picking her up and her escaping my arms, jumping down from my shoulder, and making a mad dash through the airport. At which point I'm either the star of a wacky comedy (or, as the guy who's not taking her put it, a Disney movie) involving adorably wacky animal hijinks, or of some kind of horrible tragedy as airport security decides the cat is probably wired to explode and take her down. Maybe I'll try wrapping her up in a towel.