Friday, April 30, 2004

Less Generic Than Originally Intended

Great weather for party prep: The rhodies are in bloom, as is the wisteria, and buttercups have taken over for dandelions in the yard. Speaking of taking over, "The Alien" has taken over Kate at the 11th hour, and she has suddenly replanted all the rose bushes that were not doing well in front of the house for the past four years. Two roses are in huge green planters at the driveway entrance and the others have been moved to safe locations. They have been replaced in the front garden by ferns.

What is the "The Alien"? The Alien is an extraterrestrial force that takes command of my wife and makes her buy plants, usually perennials but often a wide variety of foliage. I have known about The Alien for years, and can only assume that a member of the Lovecraftian Great Race takes command and makes her engage in botany, since she is usually much more sane.

For my part, it was housecleaning and lawn (they are moving my department to another building at work today). Pumped up some volleyballs, but I'm not 100% sure we'll put up the net. We'll see what its like tomorrow.

Kate has a H&R Block meeting tomorrow morning, and I am going to the Fighting 47th Legislative District Democratic Caucus. I deeply suspect this it going to be a rubberstamp rah-rah for the front-runner, but we shall see.

And tonight Nightline is reading a list of the fallen in Iraq, which echoes the old Life magazines, though the mags showed a week's casualties as opposed to year. Apparently a chain that owns eight ABC stations, Sinclair, has decided to protect its viewers from the idea that Freedom has a price by not running the program. Other arrangements have been made in places like Columbus and St. Louis, and a lot of dirt on the station owners that would otherwise be ignored is now bubbling to the surface. Among such flotsam shaking loose is the recent arrest of Sinclair's CEO in a prostitution sting operation, which involves him picking up hookers in a company car.

Yaknow, if my company is getting a lot of attention for its ethical decisions, the one thing I don't want to do is suddenly get myself busted for some ethical violation. But that would be me.

Sinclair does not have any stations in the Seattle area, but owns both Fox and WB stations in Pittsburgh. So the readership there will likely be protected from similar things there (like they were protected by Clear Channel from Howard Stern).

And speaking of media, I am regularly amused by the little box at the top of the blog. Blogger is paid for by commercials, so references to the recent Senatorial campaign in PA (which still looks weird with the sudden appearance of a candidate of far right "Constitutional Party" giving hope to disenfranchised Toomey-ites) brings up Repub messages. And before that the quip about Jesus gets me Christian commercials. So its a pretty dumb process, as processes go.

So it occurs to me that if I put the word "bondage" in the text, I might get kinky sex spam at the top of the page. Not that I would use the word "bondage" in this blog, other than to talk about "Of Human Bondage" or puns like "James Bondage" or "Stocks and Bondage". But I'm wondering if I say "Bondage" often enough it will balance out the rest of the commercial clues. Hmmmmm.

(looks both ways before stepping out into traffic)

Bondage, bondage, bondage! Bondage!

More later,

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Generic Update

Fighting a cold and preparing for a party, so I don't have much to say.

In PA, Mr. Specter defeated Mr. Toomey, creating a hopefully more-sane general election for Pennsylvania's senate seat. Let others spin mightily about what it means - I have to sneeze.

And here is today's secret message - let all those who read this and know they must Rsvp, let them Rsvp - we've already bought the salmon.

More later,

Monday, April 26, 2004

Killer Quote

"When you sleep with Jesus, you sleep with everyone that has slept with Jesus."

PA Politics

So tomorrow is the Republican primary in PA for Senator, and according to the lib blogs, a victory for right-winger Pat Toomey is a victory for Kerry, since the moderate Repubs, concerned about Toomey's far-right support that the moderates will sit out the election and Kerry will beat Bush in PA.

No, no, wait a minute. If Specter wins it its a victory for Kerry because the Conservatives will be offended by pro-choice moderate Specter and boycott the elections and Kerry will beat Bush in PA.

No, no, hang on. Bush, who is more like Toomey than Spector, endorsed Spector so a Toomey victory will be a slap in the face to Bush. No, wait, Toomey is more like Bush, so a Spector victory shows that Bush is just another political flip-flopper and will sell out his political soul mates. Or his political allies. Or the terrorists win.

No, Toomey will . . . no, wait, Spector. . . no, hang on, if Bush, I mean, should Kerry . . . .

Look guys, just vote.

More later,

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Play: Blues, Brothers

It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues By Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor and Dan Wheetman, directed by Randal Myler, Seattle Rep until 8 May.

Its Saturday afternoon and my ears are still ringing from a righteous blues program. The Rep closes its season with a celebration of the blues that shines like a steel guitar. An incredibly talented ensemble that delivers a history of the music, forged of African rhythms and American slavery. Blues streaks across the firmament, throwing off sparks for gospel, country, and jazz from its rural roots. That's Act I. Act II is when the Blues hits uptown, makes it to Chicago and the Grand Old Opry and torch songs. It takes a strong nod to bitter reality beneath the music with "Strange Fruit" (a banned song about lynching), then closes on a upswing with "Let the Good Times Roll" which brought the crowd to its feet for an ovation.

For me, the urban Act II engaged me more and (heaven forbid) made me miss the windy city. And in Act I, "My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains" a traditional Appalachian song showing the connection between the early Blue and the rural white music, caught me in the throat, and it was warbled beautifully by Tamra Hayden.

Top to bottom, the ensemble was fantastic, and in addition to Ms. Hayden, consisted of "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, Dan Wheetman (both Bevel and Wheetman wrote the original) Kingsley Leggs, Chic Street Man, the formidable Jewel Tomkins, and the sensuous Debra Laws. Each had a chance to dazzle, and dazzle they did - both men and women were smooth and sultry. Most of their bios show that they've been involved with earlier versions of the show, and it feels like you've been invited into their home - they are comfortable with the material, and have no problem with showing it off.

Indeed, the singers upstage the set. When I first walked into the theatre, I saw two huge projection screens over the back, and gritted my teeth for slide show presentations. Yeah, they are there, but are completely overwhelmed by the power and talent of the ensemble. The photos underscore, but do not dominate, the music.

In particular, this earthy, human, solid visit with the American blues is amazing, especially compared with the cyber-borged access to music at the EMP across the Seattle Center (Look in the old files for "I Experience Music"). Museum peices and music excerpts are good enough for a research level, food for the eyes and brain. This is live and thriving and feeds the ears and the heart instead. If you get a chance, go see it.

More later,

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Political Shooters

So, you think the current guy in the White House is a real American action hero, capable of dealing with terrorists like Harrison Ford? If you do, you should check out this game.

On the other hand, if you think the current guy in the White House is a trigger-happy cowboy that would shoot at anything that moves, then check out THIS game.

(Keep an eye out for Dr. Rice and her twin machine pistols. Woo!)

More later,

Monday, April 19, 2004

Life and Times

A short one, this time, as I am adapting to new technology. Kate had Comcast cable modem service installed this morning, which was relatively painless, though I got a couple phone calls about passwords that made me wonder what they were doing with my computer. One thing I notice right off the bat is that download speed zips right along, which creates an interesting problem: I am used to keeping a book at the desk to read while the larger pages download. Can I tolerate raw information? (I already screwed up this entry once (though it may not be connected directly to this and am re-entering it.)

Eric the food-poisoned over at Mystical Forest notes that the Pepys diaries are available online here. It pretty much underscores the day-to-day nature of Pepys' entries and the daily life of working and living in London. The Monkey King lists this site as one of his LiveJournal "friends" so you can get a semi-daily dose of Mr. Pepys.

Also, the winner of the Factoria robot-wars was "Ripple", a wedge-bot with a lifting arm. Just in case you were curious.

More later,

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Rockem-Sockem Robots

So as I was doing other errands today, including research for a book, I stopped in at the Factoria Mall to watch combat robots. One of the guys at my old office, Adam, (who is in the minority in that he is still employed there) was running his 'bots there. A married couple from my poker group also often battles, but their 'bots, "IT" and "THEM" are currently out of action, and they gave this one a pass.

The robots in question are "antweights" - these are battlebots that weigh about a pound and are about the size of a radio-controlled vehicle (they're operated in much the same way). Antweights are pretty handy for live displays in public areas, like malls, because they don't require a lot of protection. The "battle-box" is a five-foot plexiglass cube that rests comfortably on top of a set folding tables, and there was no time that the crowd felt it was in danger.

I stayed for the opening rounds where my Adam's "Defiance", a wedge bot (hard to flip), triumphed over "Mission Control", a lifter bot (that relies on flipping), on points. Then two spinner bots, "Spinner's Rule" and the Klingon-decaled "Bork-TAS" went at it. Spinners are normally high-damage bots, since they are mini-sawblades on wheels. They are also fragile, in that both got their spinners out of action (Bork-TAS won that one). Then a new kid's homebuilt wedge - "Fajita Man" got nailed by Adam's "Mister Twister", another sawblade, on a TKO (Adam had three of his 'bots in the competition, which is permitted, as long as he can keep them running). I had to book out before the semi-final rounds, and they were talking about a round-robin fight for the "Beetleweights" (5 lb combat robots).

The competition attracted a good-size crowd of geeks, other competitors, and mall walkers for an otherwise sparsely attended mall. Watching the robot builders reminded me of model railroaders, as they talked about scale and wiring and patches and fixes. Of course, this is more competitive, but all the builders struck me as being pretty easy-going about their hobby, even though their hobby was building machines of destruction (though again, the destruction is pretty limited for a self-powered device).

Its interesting and fun, their website is here, and I should add that Adam did the thunderbird design for their group.

More later,

Book on Tape: Props to my Pepys

Pepys' Diary; Samual Pepys, Read by Kenneth Branagh. 1995 HighBridge Company, 9 hours on 6 cassettes.

So when I was working for Wizkids, I had a half-hour commute up and back from Bellevue, and listened to books on tape over the drive. Now I drive down the hill to work, and rarely turn on the radio, much less the tape player, unless there is traffic. As a result, it taken me six months to finish listening to this collection, which I started before leaving Wizkids.

Samual Pepys (pronounced "peeps" - hence the pun in the title) kept a diary for ten years, from 1659 to 1669. He was lower middle class, but over the course of events rose to upper middle classdom as a bureaucrat for the Navy. During the period he kept this journal he records the Plague, the Great Fire of London, and two wars with the Dutch. He also records a huge amount of personal life of the era - dining, visiting, housekeeping, theatre, and scandal, which is what makes his diary such a boon to people wanting to know of the period. Of particular interest to our current sensibilities is the rah-rah run-up to a war with the Dutch (combined with plans for making good money off it), followed by the ashen realization that the British were not going to win (the Dutch actually landed troops on England at one point), and the political assigning of the blame thereafter.

Pepys himself is, to be polite, a bit of a bounder. He drinks, wenches, and attends the theatre, and bemoans his fleshy weakness throughout. He is not above trading sexual favors for political advancement as a matter of doing business, but flies into a righteous fury when he believes his wife is having an affair with the dance instructor. And his final year of recording is taken up with the fallout of him being caught feeling up his wife's maid. His wife puts him through hell for this, and he is such a victim within his diary that you feel sympathy for him, until you realize - oh yeah, his wife caught him feeling up the maid.

Sam Pepys is also deeply, deeply concerned with his money. His diary is filled with transactions, both legitamate and less-so (though he takes pride in giving good service for his bribes, and expecting likewise). During the Great Fire his worry was less for the citizens of London but for the fact that he had to get his lockbox of plate and gold out of the city. He sends it out with his wife, father, and some servants, and then flies into a fury when he finds out they buried in their country garden, in full view of the neighboring houses. The coins that passed through Pepys' fingers were well-squeezed, and his honesty about his greed (and other sins) makes the diary good entertainment.

The book on tape format is a good one for the diary, which is, at heart, a diary. A solid read-through of the book (and this is abridged, as the original diary is 9 volumes) would be plodding. The only other gripe is that whenever Sam descends into his wenching ways, he shifts to a patois of French and Latin to provide some linguistic cover for his acitons (or perhaps there were no decent English words at the time). At those points reader Branagh also drops his voice and softly mutters the words, which makes it difficult to hear above the road noise.

The diary ends on a cliffhanger - Pepys declares that his eyes (which he always complaining of) have become too weak, such that he must trust others to keep his diaries, and cannot be as honest. Plus the fact that he is going to the Netherlands as an observer/spy. Plus he needs to get out of town because he is still moonsick about the maid. It seems like a collection of pat answers, but there it ends (if others did keep up the diaries, they did not survive, as far as I know). Most likely, much like these on-line journals, Pepys tired of keeping it, and, aware that they could be read by others years afterwards, went his own way without them. We know that three years after ending the diaries, he was elected to Parliament, and that in the mid-eighties he was responsible for reforms in the British Navy which helped strenghthen it for the next century. But never did we see the continuance of honesty, gossip, and personal failings that made up Sam Pepys in his journal of this decade.

More later,

Saturday, April 17, 2004

PA Politics

So my home state, Pennsylvania (Motto - "We're a Commonwealth, and Don't You Forget It!") is having a primary in the next few weeks on the Republican side. The Dems already have a guy, state rep Joe Hoeffel, who, from his photograph on his site, looks like he should be stealing artifacts from Indiana Jones, but that's not the worry right now. The Repubs have long-standing warhorse incumbent Arlen Specter against pressed-against-the-right-wing-wall Pat Toomey. It looks close, moreso than usual in such cases.

So there was a debate, and the Hoeffel campaign did a remix for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

More later,

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Another View of the Press Conference

This one is from Brian in New York, who is barely coming to terms with the idea of an Internet, must less on-line journals. Presented here with his permission:

"Its like having a press conference with Teddy Ruxpin or a Magic Eight-Ball. With the Eightball you get a random response. With Teddy Ruxpin you get a pre-programmed response. Regardless, after about 15 answers, you realize that its just repeating itself."

For the record, the Press Conference was 16 questions long.

More later,

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Kijmonkey Reads

Kij Johnson is a wonderful fantasy author and friend, and when I first came out here, she invited me to join her writer's group. The group was the Thousand Monkeys, and Kij and her husband Chris (both noted in the links to the right) were the heart of the group - since their departure to Kansas, the Monkeys have slumbered. In any event, Kij's first fantasy novel was The Fox Woman, and her second, Fudoki has recently come out. Kij and Chris are in Seattle this week attending both Norwescon last weekend and the upcoming Nebula awards.

The upshot of all this is that Kij did a reading for Fudoki at Elliot Bay bookstore this evening, and put out a call in her own journal for friendly faces in the audience. About a dozen people showed up, and the bulk of attendees were such friendly faces. Kate and I had Tai Chi that evening in the nearby International District, so, still sweaty from 42-form sword class, we came down to listen as well.

Elliot Bay is probably Seattle's best indy bookstore. Though Third Place books and University are very good as well, Elliot Bay definitely has them beat on atmosphere. Elliot Bay is situated a block from Pioneer Square, snaking along several sprawling storefronts that it has taken over over time. As a result, its interior is a mixture of old exposed brickwork, home-made shelves, and lots of nooks, crannies, and lofts. Downstairs is a bakery/coffee shop and used books (in no particular order) and it is there that the reading was held. This is the working definition of "Seattle Bookstore".

Kij was resplendent as the Author (dressing in black, her hair short red locks), seated in a comfortable chair before a microphone for the reading. I fear our seats were less than comfortable, and my own back is still complaining. Kij read the opening chapter of her book, known to our writer's group as "The Cat Story". It is the japanese tale of a cat made into a human by a kami (spirit/god) and who suffers because of it. The title refers to the heritage and the storyline of cat families.

Kij's writing is lyrical and appealing and descriptive and engaging. Her reading it just underscores these strengths, and (despite the hard chairs) she was a joy to listen to. Despite a little nervousness, she did very, very well. So well that when we got back to the house, Kate made me dig out my copy of The Fox Woman so she could read both novels. I enjoyed Fox Woman and look forward to enjoying this one as well (as soon as my back stops twinging).

I've done the Author-Reading thing myself, and it has varied between OK and petrifying, so I am more than willing to support other writers who are faced with the daunting task of turning their print into sound. I'm glad I got a chance to see Kij (and Chris, and Mike, a third writer I had not seen since the monkeys faded into slumber), but I am particularly glad to have heard her read.

More later,

Shorter Unmistakable Press Conference

"I stake my presidency on our policy in Iraq"

Snarkier Press Conference

"Look at my tie! Look at my day-glo, rainbow tie! You're all getting tired and more suggestable!"

More later

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Allez, Cuisine!

It has been established in this journal that I'm a foodie - I watch cooking shows. I experiment with recipes from the newspaper. I even read recipe books. And as a foodie, I'm getting pretty excited about the upcoming Iron Chef America specials that are coming up on Food TV the weekend of the 23rd.

For those of you who have not encountered it, the original Iron Chef is a Japanese import: two parts cooking show, two parts sports match. The host (Chairman Kaga, looking like a mad scientist in sequins) has supposedly recruited the best chefs in Japan, his Iron Chefs, and challengers come in every show to cook-off against them in a 1-hour time limit with a mystery ingredient (Crab! Summer Squash! Sea Cucumber!). A panel of celebrity experts (ranging from singers and actors to a fortune teller and a member of the Lower House) judge the meals. The Iron Chefs win two times out of three, and the cooking is given a play-by-play by a baseball announcer and a color commentator. The show has its own ritual pattern, and has a wide audience. It can currently be found on Food Network at about 11 PM every weeknight now.

So this show was incredibly popular in Japan, and a cult hit (with dubbing and subtitles) in America. So they decided to do an American version, and UPN hosted two Iron Chef America specials.

And they were horrible. Pretty much the definition of someone taking an idea and just not understanding what it was that made it popular in the first place. They filmed it in Vegas. They had a loud studio audience with pre-made signs. They had it hosted by Bill Shatner. No one had heard of the chefs. It was a badly-congealed mess. After the first one, they shifted the second special to a time slot where it would do minimal damage (hey, its UPN), and everyone figured the Iron Chef was done.

But Food Network, who has done very well off the original Iron Chef shows, has resurrected the idea with its own specials, and it looks like they get "it". First off, the American Iron Chefs are recognizable names to Foodies - these are guys with their own shows on the Food Network and on PBS - Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Wolfgang Puck. Then they invite as the first challengers two of the Japanese Iron Chefs - Hiroyuki Sakai and Masaharu Morimoto (Mormimoto has a resturant in Philly, and Sakai is opening one in Hawaii, so they've got their own investment in hitting the American audience). Instant name recognition.

And I heard the kicker today - the color commentary for the show will be Alton Brown, who (of course) has his OWN show on Food TV, the cerebral and entertaining Good Eats. Alton would have been my choice for color commentator that knows his stuff. Still don't know who the "chairman/host" will be of the show.

This, for all intents and purposes, is a good matchup, and I have high hopes for this. I mean, better than the hopes I had for the first Star Trek movie. This is really appealing to my food geekiness. Cool!

More later,

Oh, Yes! Wyoming!

So about a week or two back I mentioned the website with the Superman/Seinfeld teamup. One of the properties of a good website is that it keeps adding stuff, which means viewers will come back repeatedly.

In this case, the site has added the Good Morning, America interview with Superman and Jerry to promote the website, a photo album of the two together (watching a baseball game from the stadium light supports), and, most importantly, a sing-along from the Broadway musical "Oh, Yes, Wyoming!" which is featured in the movie-mercial.

I think the song has the potential to be the next "Badger, Badger, Badger". Its here.

More later,

Shorter Bush Ad Reload

We've blown 50 million and dropped seven points. Let's try this again, with flashier graphics.

[Note: This journal will provide Shorter Kerry Ads as soon as we see a Kerry ad]

More later,

Monday, April 12, 2004

Quote of the Day

Only God would create something smart enough to doubt His existence. He's that good.
-- Me

On the Road Again: Dialogue

So I'm on the West Valley Freeway, looking at the northbound ends of two southbound trucks. The truck on the left is an SUV with a bumper sticker imploring questioning about the owner's honor student. The truck on the right is pickup that honestly looks like its been used to pick something up in the past few days.

The left-hand-SUV has a bumpersticker a headshot of John Kerry, with the thought balloon "I hope to someday make this country as great as France."

The right-hand pickup has a bumpersticker that looks like it says "BUSH" but you almost-immediately notice that they've added an "IT" to the end and a couple "L"s after the U in another color to spell out an effective curse.

Oh yeah, we're a swing state.

More later,

Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Five is Back

Its been down for the past few weeks, so I haven't been keeping up with it, but now its back again.

1. What do you do for a living? My day job is a copy writer of True Media Arts and Design (that looks like the final name), a division of True North Consulting. That sounds cooler than it is - we're about a dozen people do web design for Hasbro and other clients.

2. What do you like most about your job? I get to express my gaming goobness out to a larger number of products, and figure out cool things to say about Super Soakers and EASY-BAKE ovens. I also get to watch the craziness at my old job (at WotC/Hasbro) without being in the direct line of fire.

3. What do you like least about your job? We're a young company, and we're still working out the bugs. We have medical, but we're still working out the kinks of direct deposit.

4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____... Of a surprise that we didn't expect. Of a dead deadline that sudden reactivated. Of feedback from the client that we need to respond to.

5. What other career(s) are you interested in? In my other life, I write - novels, short stories, comic books, games. Though at the moment, most of the time I spend just digging weeds in the lawn (it remains beautiful out here - almost creepily so).

More later,

Quote of the Day

"Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States,"
Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney, 1986, upon sponsoring legislation to increase import taxes on foreign oil.

Saturday, April 10, 2004


Its been a year. We need to talk. This is a little more disjointed than usual, but there is a lot of ground to cover.

A year ago a group of Iraqis toppled the statue of Saddam. It was a big, iconic moment in the war. This morning the local paper has a picture of a US Soldier in the same square, pulling off pictures of a popular Shiite cleric opposing the US occupation. Between those two points has been a year of frustration and loss for everyone involved.

From a personal level, the war is going better. This means nothing more than the people that I know are further away from the bad parts of the conflict. The daughter of a good friend has been moved from Kuwait to Qatar (where she has quarters with real walls and a TFIFridays in close proximity). An old college D&D friend, now a Lt. Col, has been relocated from Qatar to North Dakota. One of my poker buddies, who was assigned in "the part of Baghdad the President DOESN'T visit" (his quote), is back, and it looks like for keeps (we celebrated by taking a lot of his money last Friday in pot-matching games). And Kate's fellow Star Wars player, the one with solid preventive medical knowledge? They waited so long to deploy his unit that they fell to the bottom of the rotation.

Yet we've lost over 600 good people over there, and things are getting worse. Having won the war, we're being challenged to win the peace. And suddenly news is getting spotty and hard to confirm - Who controls what? How are we doing? Where are our people? Do we have a plan? Even the pundocracy seems a little confused - no one wants to say something that immediately blows up in their faces.

The boss is on the ranch in Texas (again), but I understand he's made a few phone calls.

And the whole June 30th turnover date is a mirage - not because it won't happen, but because everyone is playing it like that will be the end of our involvement. We're putting up permanent bases in Iraq, and will have a large military presence there for some time to come. And if the present government is threatened, we will be targets.

Daniel Ellsberg, in the memoirs, talks about his own research into Vietnam, which eventually became the Pentagon Papers. He points out that we got in deeper not when we were convinced we would win the conflict, but rather when it became clear we would lose. Faced with that hard truth, we committed more troops, even though with those additional troops, we would still lose. Similarly, faced with a number of popular uprisings, instead of asking why we're here, we are moving to push more resources (US Military Forces) into play. While a lot of the popular press is waving the "Vietnam Quagmire" flag, this is one area where we should be paying attention. Those who choose to forget the past and all that.

In the wake of the Fallujah attacks, a number of our chickenhawk pundits have fired back with "They don't deserve democracy - let's leave". I don't think they are wrong - not about the Iraqis not deserving democracy, but about us leaving. And I'm more than willing to leave for a bad reason, because we still can't explain why we're there in the first place.

The polite, shorter version of the Iraqi mood is "Thank you for getting rid of a tyrant. Please don't let the door hit you on the way out." I think we need to listen.

More later,

Friday, April 09, 2004

Emily Cat

Tuesday night our remaining cat, Emily, took a turn for the worse. Emily is 16 years old and starting to move into "old cat" mode - a little less spry, a little more willing to spend the day napping on the waterbed. On Tuesday she suddenly folded in on herself, curling up and refusing to eat, move, or respond at all. She was never a big cat, but by the time we took her to the vet on Wednesday, she had lost a pound from her last check-up, and she was becoming less able to move around (up to that Tuesday she had been her normal self - demanding lap-space from anyone watching TV and begging for scraps at the dining room table).

We took her to the vet, and the worst night of it was Wednesday. She has a high white cell count, and we're giving her antibiotics, in addition, they rehydrated her, injecting water into her system.

She has recovered somewhat, in that she is now alert and grooming herself, but she still is frail and not eating nearly enough to recover (We are tempting her with turkey baby food and roast beef). She is not out of the woods yet, but we have hope now.

So that's what I've been doing for the past few days (Well, that and a sudden emergency project that just exploded and which I had to deal with because everyone else on the team was out of the office). So I'm a bit worn with it all.

More later,

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Back In Action

Back again after a brief interuption. Actually, on Saturday, when I discovered that Kate had loosened the phone wiring when raking the patio, I called Qwest and waded through their electronic message system (they had closed fifteen minutes before I called, Mountain Time), and scheduled a house call, and after ten minutes was told that a repair-entity would be dispatched to my house by 8 PM the following day (Sunday). I thought to myself "yeah, right", and hung up.

And the repair-entity showed up before noon Sunday, determined that yeah, it was a loose hookup, and repaired it then and there. No problem. Kudos to my phone company!

After that I stayed offline for a day because it was such a good day after all, and worked in the lawn with my weed hound. Like Shelly spouse to the Monkey King, I have one of these little weed-catching devices, which looks like a green cane with retractable prongs at the end. Sort of the gardening equivalent of Wolverine. I've been pulling bucket after bucket of yellow-headed dandilions out of the yard, leaving it green each evening, and coming home from work to find more sprouted.

Hey, its a hobby.

In other news, I'm adding two new sites and a blog to the checks at the right.

My Dovehaven is Shaun and Miranda's web page complete with message boards. Shaun and Miranda are former WotC, now in the heart of the heart of the country.

Stevemillersband belongs to Steve Miller (no, the other one), and is always under construction, so don't let that stop you. Steve's message board is cool, but be warned - he listens to a lot of Art Bell. The lovely and talented Steve is also former WotC, and is Kate's Star Wars GM.

Brainstormfront is one more old friend from WotC, Steven Schend. The talented and lovely Steven now has to post more often, since I've hooked him up to my chunk of the blogiverse.

In other blog-related news, the Sloganator is back, though as a private site. Here's your chance to make up your own sign ("Don't Change Horses in Mid-Apocalypse" is always a fave). Hurry, before the Bush/Cheney campaign catches up with them.

And in OTHER other news, while I was writing this, I was push-polled! Apparently I made it through the opening gates of their polling (Votes, mostly Democrat, local, yadda yadda). Then a lot of questions about an upcoming initiative on the ballot to alleviate property taxes by allowing non-tribal casinos to have slot machines. Lot of questions along the lines of if I think its fair that Indians get to have slots and other gambling establishments (we have card rooms here in Washington State) don't. You can imagine my response ("Hey, let's give the Native Americans back their land, THEN we can whine about fairness"). I was amused by the clumsiness of it all and the poor young man was very pleasant, but I don't think I was going in the direction he wanted me to. So obviously, there is now going to be more on this journal about this issue as we go along. (They asked if I was a newsperson - they didn't ask if I was a blogger).

AND in other, other, other news, have another quiz result:

Bob Herbert
You are Bob Herbert! You're not the most sparkling
writer, but one of the most solid and selfless
on the Op-Ed staff. You focus on New York
politics, the poor, race issues, and civil
liberties. You like to quote others, and rarely
place yourself in your columns. You keep it
real. Seriously.

Which New York  Times Op-Ed Columnist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I can honestly say I have no idea who this guy is. I guess he doesn't hold the proper credentials to be a pundit.

More later,

Saturday, April 03, 2004

A Pause

The greatest detriment to blogging is good weather, and its been beautiful out here for a week now, and I notice that my fellows have similarly been taking advantage of the warmth and sunlight.

As a secondary effect, there is a reduction to blogging because Kate has cleaned out the leaves around the phone box, knocking the computer line into the house out again. Running this on the house line right now, but want to keep it as free as possible.

More later, after repairs.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Another Unsurprising Quiz

Too nice a day, today - going out to the mow the lawn. In the meantime, this should hold you:

Take the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

Your dark exterior masks a caffeine driven activism.  You'll take up a cause and you'll get ugly to advance it.

More later,

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Another Short and Whacky Bush Ad

We're done blaming the previous administration for our screwups. Now we're blaming the next administration.