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Friday, October 30, 2009

Stellaaaaah's Gawn



Although Stella is a very good dog, and would be great as a first dog, she and Bear did not take to one another, and were tolerant but not interested in one another.


We two humans felt pretty much the same about her, so today she went back to her foster family. Walking Bear by himself again was a wonderfully easy event.

Sleeping Betty!


My thanks to Allison Sommers, who posted this fab animated film on facebook!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Overcast, Windy, with a chance of BLUE ANGELS!










This weekend is the 25th Anniversary of Wings Over Houston. We live just a couple of miles from Ellington Air Force Base, and today THEY'RE BAAAAAACK! Two Blue Angels flew so close to my head I shivered just a little while ago. The sky is overcast, with a low ceiling, and moderate to high winds. It was excIIIIIting! *squeal!*




Family legend has it that our dad's cousin,
Admiral Jim Flatley, helped create the Blue Angels, but I have never found anything substantiating that. Nevertheless, he was an Ace in WWII and quite a guy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Stella Diaries



DAY ONE:
HWMNBMIMB took the two dogs for a 45-minute walk, then was leaving for work when Bear and Stella started having a rodeo in the living room. He yelled STOP and they were tearing around. This was my wake-up call.

At around 9AM, I took them for a long walk around the neighborhood, and regretted my choice of leashes for Miss Stella. It is a thicker, longer leash than we use for him, and it is hard to manage two very different leashes on a two-dog walk. Stella went into high alert -- tail up and rigid, head up, snorting and pulling--each time we encountered another dog.

We got home and had treats and heartworm medication chewables. Stella then went to our vet for her introductory visit. They clipped her nails, which terrified her, though she was docile. She looked at me with huge pupils. She has been through a lot at vets the past couple of months, so maybe this will help her associate them with less traumatic events. She drooled copiously in the car on the way there and on the way back. No vomiting!

Later on I had to go out for an errand, and took both dogs with me. This is one of the great things about seasons other than summer. The dogs can wait in the car without fear of roasting alive. On the way home, we stopped at a local dog park. Stella's hackles rose to full height all along her backbone, and though she was fine with the other dogs, she wanted to leave after we walked around the park one turn. There were dogs horsing around, and rather than take a chance on anything negative happening, we left.

Stella is still learning the basic commands, but she is very quick. She already understands "sit", and we are working on "down". She is less demanding of attention but still pushes Bear out of the way, body-blocking him from being petted. This gets corrected a lot; when she moves out of the way they both get petted at the same time.

Last night I was having doubts about owning two dogs, but we need to give it more time. It is more complex but more interesting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stella Update



We are trying to arrange Stella's five-night sleepover, and between our schedule and the foster person's, it has been very tricky. Now we are trying for Monday evening. Cross your fingers (or paws)!

Mixed Marriage


I have been watching Living with Ed on the Discovery Planet Green channel. I found out about it via the web, while searching for green countertop materials. HWMNBMIMB* refuses to watch it because he dislikes Ed Begley, jr. but I think it is really funny. They have a neighborhood competition going between Ed and Bill Nye the Science Guy, who lives just down the street, for one thing. Both guys aspire to be the Greenest Guy in the Neighborhood. Now some new dude is ahead of both of them.

I saw a couple of re-runs and the newest episode and I am not sure which one was which; on one of them, Ed gets this really complicated irrigation system controller that receives weather information and automatically sets the watering levels to reflect that information, along with all the various levels needed by different sorts of plants. It was fascinating to me.

They also visited Larry Hagman's house, which is (prepare to gasp) 25,000 square feet. He had an array of solar panels that cost over $700,000 to put in (although he got a rebate of $300,000 on it), and went from having a yearly electricity bill of $37,000 to having, last year, a bill FOR THE YEAR of $13.00.

I am not nearly as green as these people. I take two steps forward and one step back. I got rid of the home composter because it stunk and when I put out the compost the dog dug it up. I got rid of the rain barrel because it was impossible to use the water, as the faucet was so low in the barrel (good for water pressure, bad for gathering water into watering can). It was also a perfect place for mosquitoes to breed.

So, on to the "mixed marriage" portion of the post: Ed's wife Rachelle is not into all this stuff to anywhere near the degree he is. They are always bickering over that issue. It reminds me of home, because this morning, HWMNBMIMB complained about the toilet paper. He said it was made of "green bark", and that I would have to get him some mainstream toilet paper. The headline when we married was, "Environmental Nut Marries Chemical Engineer ... details at Eleven".
*He Who Must Not Be Mentioned In My Blog (thanks again for the acronym, Osprey)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Receding Adoption



We called about Stella on Tuesday, to have her come for a 5-night stay. The foster person said she could not set it up for Tuesday evening, so could we make it 6PM Wednesday. Today she got a migraine and cancelled. So we said maybe Thursday, but no, she has a meeting. Then they said Friday, but I am leaving on Saturday for the weekend out of town and that puts HWMNBMIMB* in a situation with two dogs, one of which is new to us, without me here. So they said Sunday, but I will be too tired to be able to deal with a new dog in the household.

So it recedes ... and I am discouraged. I wonder if it is meant to be.
*He Who Must Not Be Mentioned In My Blog

Recycled Fiber Makes Durable Countertops



EcoTop Countertops have created an eco-friendly, reasonably priced, durable countertop that is made from recycled paper, demolition wood fiber, and rapidly-regrowing bamboo fiber, laced with a water-based resin. They claim the surface is more durable than stone.

See more at Planet Green!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recycling Moves to the Next Level







Our plastic, metal and glass recycle bags ready for tomorrow's pickup.
An article in the New York Times discusses zero waste recycling, which we saw in action at Yellowstone National Park, and which is being practiced in more and more communities, as waste dumps max out. I applaud this trend!

Stellaaaaaa!



Stella is coming to our house for a sleepover tomorrow evening. We met her on Saturday at a local pet supply store, where
Happily Ever After Pets had her on display looking for a home.

She is currently in a foster home. Her energy is medium, and she is very sweet and relaxed.
We will have her here for five nights, to decide if she is the right dog for our pack.

Now THIS is trompe l'oeil!




John Pugh does monumental murals with great trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) effects. This public mural is located in Los Gatos, California. If you go to his site, you can see it and more like it.
Amazing Facts has even more murals of different sorts.

Older but Wiser Consumers?






Hope for our relentlessly consuming society.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NOT IN LONDON ...

Today I could not log into my hotmail, and I got calls from lots of friends and family after an email was sent to them saying I was stranded in London having lost all my credit cards and cash, and please send me $2500. Sounds a lot like those "oh dear, I am pathetic in [Your Country Here]; send me money and I will be eternally grateful" sort of things. The only difference is it mashed up with a HUGE email hacking scheme. See it here, thanks to Osprey.
The most important point is, change your passwords NOW, and don't use the same one for everything you do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Freecycle!



Freecycle.org is a network of local groups that is organized to give away things that you are not using to people nearby who want them.

It bypasses the charity groups, rummage/garage/yard sales, and all that stuff that takes physical effort on the part of the giver-awayer. After joining the group, I posted my yogurt maker and it was picked up this morning from my front porch. This afternoon, I am putting out an adorable teapot/cup combo, which just does not fit into my tea drinking habit. Someone will be delighted to have it and I don't have to do anything but put it out for her to pick up. Ingenious!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inworld Video of Eskiil's LOVE



My video of Eskil Steenberg's virtual world LOVE, now in ALPHA. I have never been in a world when it was in ALPHA before! BETA yes. I am not much help, to Eskil or to my fellow players, because I keep wandering around in awe of the magnificent graphics. I am slowly learning to use the tools. In the middle of this video I get shot and die. As I lie dying I watch the firefight around me. The wonderful settlement in the beginning was destroyed. The second one was being built while I shot video.

In this world when you speak you cannot move and vice versa, which is a drag, but oh well. And the AI (Artificial Intelligences) are hard and constantly tearing things down and killing players. Overall it is complex but I will learn (there are forums and wiki here), and it will change and evolve. Interesting process!

Friday, October 09, 2009

OK Gimme That Car!









Hahah! Honda EV-N, a concept car, has a unicycle in the door! BWAHAHAH! And yes, IT CAME FROM THE TENTACLE.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Commemoration and Celebration




This photo was taken before Steve got sick, and it shows the Wild Things in their natural state. Steve is on the left (1965 - 2006) and Pat is on the right (born 1966). They were close enough to always understand what the other was thinking, but like most close siblings they fought as intensely as they loved.

Patrick's 43rd birthday was yesterday, and today is the third anniversary of Steve's death. Tonight Laura, Pat and I will meet with Kirk and Valari, Steve's children, for our Commemoration of their Dad, and the Celebration of Pat's birthday. Where else but at a burger joint?

Stories and Their Power to Hurt or Heal




It was interesting to me to hear Ms. Adichie speak of the US media stereotype of Mexican immigrants, because here in Houston, we have so many Mexican immigrants and Tejanos that we have many stories of Mexico and Mexicans, and we have a great number of South and Central Americans here as well (along with many Asians and Europeans). All these influences enrich and vivify the local culture.

In the Northern USA, where I grew up, stereotypes are perpetuated concerning the South (Southern USA), and in many cases, Texas. These stories tell of racism, lynchings, and xenophobia. These stories incorrectly and narrowly define and defame the place in which I live, and this woman's talk helped me understand how.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Nightmare on I-45



Oh the joys of modern life! Our house is now 19 years old, and we want to replace our cooktop with one that is the same size, manufacturer and style (no retrofitting). How hard could it be, we said.

Well, not always easy. We found out today that the manufacturer is discontinuing the downdraft exhaust model of this cooktop (the first store said we could buy another manufacturer's similar product but we were not sure it would fit etc.), and so we did more searching online and finally ended up at one of those gigantic warehouse home improvement stores (YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE).

There we found a very competent woman in the appliance section who helped us set up a sale, but then she could not get anyone to help her with their computer system to complete the process. She called out over the store for a manager to help her six or seven times! No one even called to say, sorry I am busy now!

Finally, after a half an hour of this horsing around, she figured out how to get around the problem, and the transaction was complete. ER, NO, not quite!

We got to the checkout and the woman rang up only part of the transaction, the installation. We said, no, we ordered a cooktop. She looked blank. Smelly jar things at the checkout counter made me nauseated, so I moved away while my husband (He Who Must Not Be Mentioned In My Blog) patiently explained to her that we wanted to give the stupid place quite a lot more money. We had to BEG them to take our money!

Oh, icing on the cake: on our way to the checkout we ran across five employees hanging out together chatting. One of them was a vastly overweight fellow who had waddled past while our champion called out to him. He just kept on waddling. Never again! (Well, I say that, but sometimes there is no other viable choice; however, if I can help it, nevermore).

Friday, October 02, 2009

BLOW IT OUT!



When I hear this song in the car I respond by turning up the volume. Sorry, what did you say just now?
This video only lasts around three minutes, even though it says almost five. =8D

Snug as a Bug in a Plastic Bin Lid ... ?



Yipes! A creepy crawlie in the dog food bin ...


With seven or eight nesting fellows ...




Destroyed by the Mighty Q-Tip!

You Scream I Scream

Bugs in Formation



The tiny bugs on the window were impossible to shoot clearly in closeup, but this gives you the sense of their size. Perhaps they are planning to take over the house, like Osprey's spider brigade is doing.

OK Go One-Take Music Video

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Uninsured More Likely to Die

A Harvard Medical School study recently found that 45,000 people per year die because of their lack of private health insurance. That is a 40% greater chance of dying from things like heart disease and hypertension. People without health insurance tend to let their problems go until they are acute, at which time the patients go to the emergency room. Routine care and medications could help them, but they cannot afford to take care of themselves. See the details in this article.