(in the tradition of Miss Lis‘ Thursday Three):

Make a list of common albums that every one of your girl/boyfriends owned.

For example, every one of my previous girlfriends owned these albums:

Tears For Fears, Songs From The Big Chair
Sinead O’Connor, The Lion And The Cobra
Tracy Chapman, that album with “Fast Car”
New Order, at least one album (usually Republic)
Peter Gabriel, So
U2, The Joshua Tree

Your list?

Take That, Pop Music. Mogwai, Mogwai Fear Satan. Goddamn, this is good stuff.

Reality Check. On the five-page questionaire the vet sent home with Jen, for Penn’s checkup, there’s a list of four or five questions towards the end, which go something like this:

  1. I am concerned about my animal’s behavior, but do not want to do anything about it.
  2. I am concerned about my animal’s behavior, and want to try something about it, but don’t care what happens either way (I’m paraphrasing here.)
  3. I’m concerned about my animal’s behavior, and want to try something; if it doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else, but I won’t give up my animal.
  4. I’m concerned, and if the treatment doesn’t work, I want to euthanize my animal.

Penn is a good cat at heart, but I had to check the final box. I’m no animal killer, nor PETA member, but I can’t have him hurting the other cats any more. Especially when it looks like he’s doing simply for our attention.

Date posted: April 30, 2004 | Filed under history, music | Leave a Comment »

(Some tracks not so much, but some are very well made.)

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Bill Dept.: Go check out the Freakwater site for some good kickin’ alt-kuntry music. I’d heard of this band for years but never got around to checking out their music. I particularly like the Waitress Song.

I have yet to check out the newly introduced Apple Lossless Format for encoding music, but you can be damn well sure I’m going to try it out. I also could have used the WMA->MP3 converter about two months ago. Now that I’ve spent countless hours ripping and updating MP3 files from the personal collection, I’m not happy about having to go back and re-rip stuff for better quality so soon, but that’s a gripe for another day. I’ll report back here tomorrow.

Date posted: April 29, 2004 | Filed under apple, music | Leave a Comment »

While packing up to leave work yesterday, I got a call from Jen, who asked for an ETA. It turned out that Penn decided to jump on Geneva for no good reason, chomping her on the leg, drawing a frightening amount of blood and scaring the shit out of Jen. She quickly got Geneva bundled up and off to the vet while I returned home to clean up after Penn’s mess.

I should stop here and describe all the occupants in the House Of Cats for everyone to understand (and I’m sure Jen will have things to add here.) We have five:

Sage, A.K.A. Chocolate Love, Chubbo, The Big Man, Barry White. Big, black, and on your lap. Sage is the most mellow of the five, has the best personality, and keeps the others in line (mostly.) Saved from a dumpster in Texas many moons ago, he is the first of Jen’s family.

Geneva, A.K.A. Miss Thing, Pretty Girl. A teeny little barn tabby Jen rescued years ago; a fearless mouser in her prime, she doesn’t see so good any more. She has also become the target of my two teenaged hellions on account of her X chromosome.

Pique, A.K.A. Get Off, Peekaboo, Coaldust, Dr. Zaius. Possibly the dumbest of the five, he avoids all conflict by the sheer force of stupidity. His superhero power is the ability to seek out painful pressure points and full bladders by standing on them for long periods of time. He would probably stare at the sun and blind himself if he was smart enough to look up.

Penn, A.K.A. Mr. Ben, Shitbrain, Shut Up, Penndandy. I picked him up at the ASPCA when he sat in his cage staring at me and meowing repeatedly; I mistook stupidity for intelligence (a fault of mine.) Easily the most aggressive and self-centered of the five, he can be both a well-behaved fop and an insufferable prick at the drop of a hat. Alive only because of his good looks. (ASPCA name: Dandy)

Teller, A.K.A. Get Down, Telleropolis, Stony Ray. Adopted the same day as Penn, he has a quiet personality and big green eyes; he can be sweet and loving but sometimes belligerent as well. (ASPCA name: Raymond)

So, after cleaning up the pool of blood near the radiator, I put food, water, a litter box, and a towel in the front basement room and threw Penn in there for a night of solitary confinement. Because this is an ongoing problem, we are bringing him to the vet for a psych test and a prescription of Little Blue Pills; hopefully his attitude will mellow and peace will reign over our little kingdom for the first time.

Geneva is fine. The vet said that cats generally close right up after being bitten, and that it was a good thing she bled out (cleaning the wound.) We have two weeks of antibiotics and a painkiller to administer, which involves a towel, two people, a bottle of Bactine, and some kitty wrasslin’. She doesn’t understand why life suddenly got worse, but she’s taking it pretty well.

The Internet is slow today, or at least HaloScan is slow, which is bogging my pageloads down. So if’n you tried to leave a comment here and couldn’t, try again later. My peeps with iPods and iTunes should boogie over to Apple.com and download the iTunes 4.5 and the iPod 2.2 updater—it’s not offered in Software Update, so it won’t automatically load for you.

Date posted: April 28, 2004 | Filed under apple, humor, life | Leave a Comment »

Read this and tell me if you still feel like keeping the current administration in power. I’ve found my illustration subject for the week.

To-do list for Italy.

  1. Travel books
  2. Power adapter—iPod, Camera, and Powerbook
  3. New walking sneakers
  4. Weather information
  5. Copy of Indigo for the house lights, 2 more light controllers.
Date posted: April 27, 2004 | Filed under books, politics | Leave a Comment »

spending time shooting pictures instead of going to work, 4.26.04

spending time shooting pictures instead of going to work, 4.26.04

This weekend was a blur of activity, from getting a coat or two of paint on the trim in the Pink room, to moving my bed out of the living room into the Blue room (my first night sleeping upstairs was peaceful and comfortable), beginning the purge of the front porch (all boxes will leave before the wedding), having dinner with a friend and her new beau, mowing the overgrown lawn, moving the Doc’s old workbench to the greenhouse as a potting stand, hitting church on Sunday to talk with the musician (who wasn’t there, so we ducked out of the service to buy groceries—sorry, God), putting more paint on the trim, and spending a quiet evening together.

Date posted: April 26, 2004 | Filed under life, photo | Leave a Comment »

I went to have some bloodwork done this morning for a diagnosis (as well as a checkup—what is my cholesterol level, anyhow?) after, uh, avoiding it for a few days. I have what phlebotomists call a “dream arm”: thin and full of juicy veins close to the surface. I also have an inordinate fear of needles. Spiders, rats, bugs, gunk, blood (other people’s, mostly)—no problem. Show me a needle, and I get squirrelly. Heights above three stories and anything to do with the eye round out my trio of personal fears, but anything involving cold steel poking into my veins completely freaks me out. (Which is kind of funny, because I’ll work the whole day with a splinter sticking out of my hand, or a bloody gash, but I don’t get with the needles.) Which begs the question: What’s your worst fear? Add a comment below.

Anyhow, I left a warm caffeinated cup of pee and got blood drawn for the docs to run their tests on without passing out (about three years ago an older doctor took about a gallon of blood out of me, and I went down like a drunken prizefighter) and ran out of the building clutching my arm, happy to have it over with. We’ll see what the results say in a few days.

This is interesting news from California. Guess what other state currently uses Deibold voting machines? That’s right. Think it’s going to have any effect on voting in Maryland? I doubt it.

Housekeeping. Last night I added a list of links to the upper right there for the iTunes music store with a bunch of stuff I keep meaning to buy but don’t have the money for. I figure I’ll leave them there where they can’t get away.

Date posted: April 23, 2004 | Filed under history, housekeeping, politics | Leave a Comment »

headband (courtesy of and thanks to the P.S.D.F.), 4.22.04

headband (courtesy of and thanks to the P.S.D.F.), 4.22.04

Busy Town.

One of the drawbacks to writing a weblog under one’s own name is the fact that you can’t write about everything you’re thinking for fear of co-workers, bosses, or potential employers finding your self-centered griping online. I wrote a whole post about work, life, and some recent developments, and haven’t posted it. I’ll spill this much: I’m unhappy about one particular thing, I could be doing some things better than I am, and I found out what could be the root of the problem. More on that later.

Meanwhile, as if I didn’t know this already, it’s amazing how much better the Tortoise shifts into gear when it actually has oil. I checked the level today as I filled up on gas and was greeted with a naked “ADD 1 QT” marker on the dipstick. These days, because the Ford burns oil at a half-quart a week, I don’t carry single refils around with me—I carry a case of generic brand in the trunk. They are gonna love me at the emissions station. (Interesting trivia: Between my Mazda pickup, Honda CRX, Tortoise, and Scout, the 26-year-old V-8 with 150K+ miles has been the only vehicle to consistently pass emissions.)

Date posted: April 22, 2004 | Filed under art/design, cars, life, photo | Leave a Comment »

Opening this website may send you back thirty years or so, to the age when public television was the place you could plop your kid in front of for an hour and expect him or her to learn Spanish with no fear of commercial shills. The opening sound totally brought me back in time, and I expect it’ll do the same for most of you—make sure you have speakers/headphones on. (via boing boing)

Another awesome link, and one that I will abuse when I have discretionary income again: American Science and Surplus. I need a surplus radiation detector. I need a collection of Pyrex beakers. I need a 90 VDC 15-amp motor.

Date posted: April 20, 2004 | Filed under history, humor, links | Leave a Comment »

daffodils and sky, 4.19.04

daffodils and sky, 4.19.04

With a small flourish, and little fanfare, Ben the electrician threw the breakers on three of the bedrooms Saturday afternoon. Now hooked in to the main panel are the pink, blue, and office rooms, as well as the linen closet in the hall. I can’t tell you how happy this makes us. There were a few moments of worry when the pink room’s breaker kept blowing (I had nightmare visions of ripping out half the baseboards to find a nail had shredded the wire), but Ben traced it down to a pinched connection in one of the boxes. A nicer guy you could not ask for—he did a great job.

Meanwhile, Jen spent the better part of the weekend herding family all over creation, putting about a thousand miles on her car in ten hours. Thankfully, all three sisters have now been fitted for their dresses, the bridal gown is in for alterations, the veil situation has been addressed, and everybody made their plane home.

Other highlights of the weekend include a trip to Mango Grove on Friday night, a garden in full bloom for the whole weekend, a visit from Dave, 80° weather, and a peaceful Sunday night in front of Kill Bill with fresh guacamole and vodka tonics.

Date posted: April 20, 2004 | Filed under family, house | Leave a Comment »

As I wander through the house a mere month before the wedding, I make a mental list of stuff that I’d like to do or have done. Besides the obviously huge projects (central air, adding that wing off the back for the wine cellar, putting the second floor studio on the garage, fencing the yard, bulldozing the neighbors’ yard for our hedge maze), there’s a pile of smaller things I’d like to do when we get back from Italy:

  • Keyed locksets for the doors. (We have more keys for this house than the Home Depot.)
  • A bird feeder. (All of the feeders I’ve seen so far are crap—thin plastic, cheap-ass poles, or pitifully ugly. I want to feed the birds, not run a squirrel soup kitchen.)
  • A ladder. (Our gutters are full of more gunk than a restauraunt sink drain, and we have a house’s worth of windows crying for paint. Nevermind the rest of the house.)
  • A dishwasher. (Cheap by itself, but the reconfiguring of our door-tastic kitchen is going to take a lot of work.)
  • Shelving for the basement. (Getting all the crap off the front porch into the basement is simply moving one mess to another location; organization is in order here.)
  • A new dryer. (The Brady Bunch-era unit we use now is both useless and small, and we need some serious commercial drying muscle—as well as better energy efficiency.)
  • A gas range. (Oh, my HELL, to borrow a phrase from the P.S.D.F., does our electric oven suck donkeys. I’m sure we bring down the power grid in Catonsville every time we turn on the damned thing, and it cooks as well as a heroin addict.)

Spurred on by a comment from Lis, I posted a bunch of pictures of our garden I took this weekend. For the tech-heads, I’m using a Canon G3 with a 58mm close-up lens (thanks Dad) in natural sunlight. The one on the home page is the only one I lit additionally—just a mini-maglight from underneath to brighten the center.

I also got off my ass and started up the picture-a-week thing I’ve been threatening for years; I’m going to try to post a new illustration on varying topics, and I’m going to involve you, my four loyal readers. Each Monday, I’ll take suggestions from you for an interesting editorial story, article, or biography, and choose one for an illustration, and then post it (gulp) by Friday. So, send me an interesting article you’ve seen online (please keep it under 2-3 pages) that could make for an interesting illustration, and I’ll draw you a drawering.

Date posted: April 20, 2004 | Filed under house, list, photography | Leave a Comment »