March 16th, 2003


Impressions from Saturday...

As I wrote in my last entry I got up around 8:30 AM or so because my little black bundle of harf and mischief decided that I was being remiss in my duty to feed him promptly each morning. I am pleased to say that he only forced me out of bed after two hours of diligent effort on his part to interrupt my sleep. I think I'm getting better at resisting him when I want to sleep in, although he really can be remarkably creative in the tricks he comes up with to grab my attention. Maybe he's got a point... perhaps I should just get up at the same time every day, regardless of the status as a weekday or a weekend, and just find something to do for the next few hours as the rest of the household awakens. It might not be a bad thing at all to pursue, especially since the treadmill is sitting in the living room right now, mocking me. I'm just concerned that since the door to Kes and Roho's bedroom is left open an hour of me thumping along on the treadmill will be far too easy to hear. It would also probably prove to be annoying while they're trying to sleep. I'll have to see if they're willing to give it a trial period...

I digress, however. After I was successfully roused by Ra for his morning feeding I went through the little ritual I've prepared for he and I. The ritual is sort of a safety measure I came up with. In the old days it used to be that Ra would pester and pester and make a nuisance of himself until somebody fed him. After they got his food down from the closet shelf and measured it out he would run back and forth, making laps between whoever was feeding him and his bowl. He would also twine amongst your feet if you were feeding him, presumably to show how much he loved you for feeding him. This behavior resulted in him getting stepped on more frequently I want to admit, as well as in me tripping and taking an express ride to the floor even more frequently than I want to admit. Something had to change.

After I moved into the new apartment I had the opportunity to take the step I was looking for. I put Ra's food and water at the foot of my bed, just underneath the sill of one of my bedroom's windows. The next step was to develop a pattern for Ra to follow. I didn't have to worry about a reward because I knew his getting fed would be more than enough reward for him. He's a cat! Felines live through their stomach. I think Roho, Kes and everyone else though I was mad to try and do this, but I knew with enough time and diligence I could get him to behave the way I wanted so there wouldn't be any more mishaps. I developed a cue for him where I pointed at the bed and snapped my fingers, telling him to "get up." He'd jump on the bed and turn around, looking expectantly at me. As soon as I would open the closet door that held his food he would jump down again. I would close the door, wait for three or five minutes and then try again. Eventually he got the idea that if he stayed on the bed he'd get fed, but if he jumped down he wouldn't get anything. When I had to ask roho to feed him while I was down partying it up in St Louis with captain18, masem, neuracnu and a few thousand other people I also asked Roho to try to stick to the same plan. When I came back I was informed he'd tried to trick Roho into feeding him without going through the ritual, but Roho stuck to his guns and refused to feed him until Ra had behaved properly. This is good since it means that after four months the conditioning has finally sunk through that dense kitty skull and stayed lodged in his brain. I am very smug about this.

I passed my time through the rest of the morning by chatting online with folks, pausing only long enough to get in a shower and a quick shave. When [Unknown LJ tag]Aureth</a> showed up we spent about half an hour chatting and poking and prodding at roho's newest acquisition, an Apple Powerbook of a few years ago. It was hoped that Aureth would be able to coax the silly thing into talking to our network since it has an ethernet port (via dongle) available for it. Eventually the Cornwuff admitted defeat, citing hunger pangs and low blood sugar. I signed off FurryMuck and put on my boots, and we all walked out to the car. I couldn't believe how nice it was! I didn't need a jacket at all, and I was only wearing a polo shirt and jeans. It was bright and sunny, there wasn't a breeze to be felt and the temperature had to be somewhere in the 60s. It's spring weather, all right, but how long will it last, I wonder? The Midwest has a habit of changing the weather from nice to incredibly nasty around the time March Madness gets rolling. The betting pool has already started circulating around at work, so it must be getting near the point again where the weather will shift one last time to prove that we still are at its whim. Frankly, I plan to just tuck in under my blankets with my cat and read some more when the last big snowstorm of the season comes.

We made our way up to BDs and were greeted warmly, as usual. The manager was a little amused that we had the Cornwuff in tow, and remarked that he nearly didn't recognize us because there were four of us instead of the usual three. I had to chuckle at that... we're becoming known to most of the employees as "The Trio" or "The Trifecta." I don't mind, it means we get a little more attention in addition to our tasty food.

I had two bowls this week, which sort of surprised me, but it makes a certain twisted sort of sense as well. Since I've picked up the Atkins habit from Kestral I've stopped eating carb-laden foods, which also includes (sadly) the tortilla shells that are served with the meal. Because I wasn't partaking in all those tortillas I probably had a little extra room, so I took advantage of it. It probably didn't hurt that my stir fry was heavily seasoned and tasted heavenly. BDs really has become my reward for making it through the week.

We came home and sat about for a little while, then decided to scoot over to Sam's Club so we could attend to a few items. I wanted to exchange my full screen formatted DVD of "The Road to Perdition" for a wide screen disc, and Kestral and Roho also had some items they wanted to pick up. Aureth accompanied us because he wanted the excuse to go back outside again, no matter how brief the exposure might be. I think he's pleased that he did, because he got to witness me having a brief conversation with an off-duty police officer from Chicago about his sidearm (he had a Glock, but I never bothered to ask what model he was carrying. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it was a Glock 32, although I could be completely wrong. The officer chatted with us for a few minutes about the gun, and then let us take a look at the Fobus holster he was using to carry the gun with. I've never seen anything like it! The design was very unique, and the officer said that he had found the plastic used in its construction to be practically impossible to damage. I wrote the name down as something to lob at my father later, because I think he might enjoy owning a couple of these.

We returned again to the apartment and settled in to watch my newly-acquired copy of Minority Report. Roho was swapping floppy disks like a mad thing to perform the MacOS-mandated "system recovery disk" creation, although how much good in an emergency the stupid things will be is anybody's guess. Kes chatted idly online while she watched and I sat in the middle, completely immersed in the movie. I have never seen anything quite like this. The benefit of the ongoing computer evolution is that the special effects you see in movies just keeps getting better and better with each generation of releases. This movie had a lot of the same feel to it as Spielberg's other peak into the future with Artificial Intelligence: AI. There were portions of the film that were jarring, the future had disturbing developments (targeted advertising that followed you around EVERYWHERE you went, a rampant crime rate, betrayal, etc), the special effects we bleeding-edge good, and the whole film had been filmed so that it had a very blue hue to it. I enjoyed it immensely, because the plot twists and turns were well architected and executed. Of the three things I guessed at in the movie I only got one right. I also didn't find any huge flaws with the movie, although I suppose that could be due in part to how awe-struck I was by it. I was left shaking my head and muttering "wow" an awful lot.

Not long after the movie ended Aureth made his way back home, and the rest of our household went back to our usual evening routine -- we are nothing if not predictable, sometimes. I turned on WinAmp, sequestered Ra in my bedroom with me as I do every night and signed back online. I got to chatter lazily with some more friends and had a good time overall. An added bonus for me was having another long, leisurely-paced and pleasant conversation with somebody special. I'm always left feeling surprised and deeply honored after these talks because I learn something new, and they just go a long way towards making me feel very lucky and special. The next time I hear Enya's "Only If" I know I won't be moved just by the music, but also in part by some of the memories I have associated with it now.

Around 11:30 I called it a night, kissed Ra on the head and crawled under the covers. I slept pretty well until the morning, when Ra once again decided to wake me early and continue to pester me as only a housecat can for the next three hours until I got up and fed him again.

An additional bit about the long conversation last night: a point was brought to my attention about possible travel destinations I might want to consider, based on knowledge of what I find intriguing and how moved I am by nature as a whole. After listening to some of the things that were described I find myself twelve hours later thinking a lot more about it. I can't stop mulling the thoughts over and over in my head about the opportunity to travel and how good it would be to take a vacation somewhere exotic. I would very much like to see the sights that were described. I'd like to bring my camera with so I could take roll after roll of photographs of all the natural wonders I would be surrounded by if I were to go. I want to get away. I want to forget about work, traffic, deadlines and everything that's worrying me day in and day out. I want to immerse myself in a whole new experience. I want to get some of the happiness I think I could achieve with such a trip. I want to see beauty.

I've got three weeks of vacation this year.

If I don't use it I will certainly lose some of it -- if not all of it.

I wonder....

Dreamed I saw a desert rose
Dress torn in ribbons and in bows
  • Current Music
    Garth Brooks - That Ol' Wind

Slow Sunday...

I got up around 8:54 AM today, thanks again to the Damn Cat(TM). Most of my morning was spent puttering around online after I'd gotten him fed. I chatted, I cleaned up my mailbox, I caught up on the various online comics that I read. Around 11:30 AM or so I took a brief break from things to make myself lunch. I finished off the last of the turkey breast package, and brought the other one down from the freezer and threw it into the refrigerator to thaw. Sharp cheddar cheese and turkey breast, the lunch of champions! Well, maybe not, but it does its job for the most part.

After lunch I went back to, you guessed it, doodling around online. I kill a lot of time there on the weekends when I'm procrastinating... and I did a lot of procrastinating this weekend. I should have been vacuuming my bedroom, or doing laundry, or getting various items of clothing ready to take over to the dry cleaners for a cleaning and pressing (medium starch). What I actually did was sort through some of the stuff that was sitting on my bedroom floor, shove it back into the closet, and try to install my digital camera's drivers into Windows XP. Don't install Samsung drivers in XP, that path leads to madness. Some sort of vile, corrupt DLL files got installed that caused XP to puke and reboot, and then almost every program I opened gave me errors that it was "not a valid library." Even my LJ client wouldn't open! Ooooooohkay. Can I do a system restore? No, I can't, because I'd never set a restore point! That's very helpful, Microsoft. Thank you for giving me a feature that does absolutely no good because I never knew I actually had to tell it to do its job! Everything else in Windows runs on its own and goes off to do its own thing without telling me... but the one thing that really needs to do it doesn't. That's so typical. I ended up going in and removing the files entirely from my hard disk. XP doesn't seem to angry about it but I'm certainly not happy, because I have no idea what impact my actions may have on the system's stability. I guess I'll check my laptop tomorrow, grab the files and mail them to myself from work if they're on the disk. Then I can copy them in and feel better about that much, at least.

I also got the rechargeable batteries for the digital camera plugged into the wall for the day. They're still charging now, even 8 hours later. I expect when I get up in the morning they'll still be charging because I'd neglected them for so long. I'm just hoping once I plug the batteries into the camera and turn the camera on with the USB cable attached that XP will do its thing, install the RIGHT software and not hose me up this time. There's nothing worse than having a botched installation residing on your hard drive. You've got registry problems, and extra unused DLLs littering your disk, and all sorts of other nastiness. Yes, UNIX can suffer from the same sickness, but at least I don't have to worry about some crazy registry getting hosed up and making my system completely unusable....

Around 2:00 PM roho and enveri went off to the MFF staff meeting. I didn't attend, because I've decided the only thing I'd get out of attending the meetings is a massive increase in blood pressure. I care about the con, and I think some of the people working on it are great folks, I really do. But some of the stuff that goes on just makes me want to put on a pair of Hulk Hands and start smashing foreheads against walls. I don't think that my friends would be very appreciative of me participating in such antics...

Right before Roho and Kes left I unwrapped a new DVD from my run to Sam's Club last week and dropped it in. Since yesterday was the viewing of Minority Report with aureth and the group, I decided today I would follow it up with something with a bit less action and a little more suspense: M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. I was pretty intrigued by it when I heard it was coming out in 2002, but I never got around to seeing it in the theater, more's the pity. The last Shyamalan film I saw, Unbreakable was pretty good, and I figured that Signs couldn't be too much of a dog with Mel Gibson starring in it. I wasn't horribly far off... I see why the reviews for it were mixed, though. Some parts of the movie, like the dialog, were stunningly good. Other parts left a little to be desired. But I got a few good goose bumps along the way, so I won't speak too much ill of the film.

Roho and Kes returned home after the meeting, bringing news that the hoped-for visit by kristenq and hightensile had been trimmed to just Hightensile, and that he was running late due to car problems. Aureth had decided to head home after the meeting because otherwise he would have far too little sleep and be getting up far too early. A little while later we received a call and got word that while Hightensile's car had been fixed it was now so late in the day he didn't feel that driving down to Chicagoland would be worthwhile. I can't blame him, and I think he made a good call. Roho, Kestral and I really need to just take a weekend and go up to visit them and thus eliminate the possibility of things going wrong. Since our gathering plans had been trimmed we decided to head back out to the Continental for dinner. We were seated promptly and the waiter who took our orders was really amazing: he guessed Kestral's order almost as soon as she started telling him what she wanted. That boy had a heck of a memory on him, I think he's only waited on us once before! He was certainly a far cry better than the gal we'd had on Friday night. I think Kestral tipped him well, and he deserved every cent of it.

We came back to the apartment and continued to marvel at the wonderful weather we're having. I can't believe how nice this weather is... it just seems like spring has gotten a jump start on us this year, especially after the mild winter we had. Roho suggested that we open all the windows in the apartment, along with the sliding glass door (leaving the screen door closed to prevent the out flux of one naughty black cat) so the apartment could air out. I decided this was a grand idea and added two candles to the equation, since we have so many stashed about the apartment. They're still burning now, three hours later... one is in a votive in my bedroom, and is supposedly "Cedar wood" in scent. The other is a big Yankee Candle in the living room, and I haven't the faintest idea what scent it is other than "good." The sliding door just got closed a minute or two ago, but I've still got both windows in my bedroom open and let me tell you the breeze feels and smells utterly fantastic. It's a bit chilly in here now, true, but that means it will feel that much cozier when I curl up under my blanket, my comforter and my fleece tonight. Ra might even try to crawl in with me if it's cool enough, and that would be rather enjoyable because it's been a long time since he got under the covers with me.

I tried to watch Three Kings, another one of the DVDs I bought at Sam's. I got maybe 40 or so minutes into the movie, where they first find the bullion... and I had to turn it off. I just couldn't watch the movie tonight for some reason, even with the irony of G. W. Bush starting his war in the same month that the Gulf War ended back in 1991. The movie is part comedy, part socio-political commentary and part action film. But the comedy is most certainly what I term "dark comedy," meaning you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it and an even darker frame of mind to focus on only that part and ignore the biting truth of some of the other parts of the film. When I gave up I put Blue Man Group in the DVD player, switched off the TV and retreated back to my bedroom with the beats of one of the coolest performance acts ever to grace the planet echoing throughout the apartment. DVD-Audio is the thing of the future, folks. If you're an audiophile and want to hear concert performances the way you would if you were if you were in the gold circle, this is the format for you. Blue Man is in DTS and man, does it positively rock.

The other items of note for today:
  • I ordered both Season 1 and Season 2 of Red Dwarf on DVD today. I blame masem for this impulse buy, but I've been waiting for these things to come out on DVD for the longest time, especially since I lost my first three volumes on VHS from way back in the 1990s.
  • I helped Kestral reorganize her bedroom somewhat by lending a hand with scooting the desk from one wall to another. I have to say, it makes the room feel a bit less cluttered in some ways. She's got a good eye for that.
  • Kestral did me a favor in return by preparing two day's worth of blackened chicken breast for me. All I have to do is add cheese tomorrow at work and I'm set for a tasty lunch that's nicely low in carbs.
  • I made a promise to order the IMAK Smart Gloves tomorrow. I will do so.
  • I want to take pictures of a few things and share them here on LJ. They'll be work-safe, and will be behind LJ-Cut tags for those who don't want to waste their bandwidth.
  • I've just been informed that The Red Elvises will be performing near Chicago on Friday, April 11th and in Madison on the 12th. chebutykin? sleepingzebras? Kit? Kat? Are any of you interested? Because I am so there.
  • I'm contemplating buying a new digital camera. I want something that's not professional grade (I can't afford it) but I don't want something that's low-end consumer crap, either. It needs to take good pictures, it needs to have a shutter speed that doesn't suck, and I'd prefer it use some sort of storage medium like CompactFlash. I welcome your suggestions.
  • I've begun applying skin moisturizer to my elbows, because they were turning almost reptilian from being rubbed against the arms of my chair at home and at work.

    She blew the boys away, was more than they've seen
    • Current Music
      Blue Man Group -- Audio (in DTS!)