Archive for the ‘It’s all about me’ Category

Best laid plans, and all that

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

I posted yesterday’s thing on Pi Day a few minutes early. Part of that was a simple mistake, but part was because I needed to get out of the house to get to a meeting in the northern part of Boulder.

Unfortunately, when I got to the front door, it wouldn’t open for me. The handle would twist, but the latch wouldn’t withdraw. Eventually, I went out the back door and got a screwdriver from the garage so I could disassemble the doorknob in order to get on with my day – my back door lock can’t be accessed from the outside, so I need my front door working. I ended up putting the doorknob back in place without the latch mechanism, and relying on my deadbolt while I went to the meeting and stopped at a hardware store later for a replacement.

I need to rely on my deadbolt, anyway. The last time I had problems with my front door, I was locked out, and the locksmith who came ended up breaking the jamb by shouldering the door, because he couldn’t drill out the lock properly.

In any case, I have a new doorknob and key, so I’ll need to get some duplicates made. I’ll also have to see if I have the rekeying tool for the deadbolt, which would let me cut down by one the number of keys I have to carry.

On Shaving

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

I recorded the rebroadcast of the first Saturday Night Live show, and got around to watching it last night. SNL has a history of fake commercials, and the first episode had several. One of them was for the first triple-bladed razor. It went into the recent history of shaving tools, from straight razors through doubled-edged safety razors, to injectors, to double-bladed disposables. The tag line was, more-or-less, “The three-bladed razor: because you’ll believe anything.”

I found that amusing because I’d forgotten that three-bladed disposable razors were newer than that. When I started shaving, I used a double-edged safety razor, which is almost certainly what I was using in 1975, when SNL went on the air. I’ve been using triple-bladed disposables for years, though, and I’m aware of one five-bladed razor.

This past Christmas, I decided to go retro and learn to shave with a straight razor. I have more than one, because I read that you’ll damage the edge if you shave with the same razor daily. Two of them are antiques, which seem to have better edges than the new one I picked up. I understand that it takes a month or so to get to where you can get really good shaves with straight razors; I think it’s taking me a bit longer than that. I still get my best shaves with the disposables.

One thing I have learned is that lathering up with shaving soap and a badger bristle brush works much better than anything else I’ve tried. Even if I eventually decide to give up straight razor shaving, I’ll keep on using the brush and soap – it’s just so much better.

Not that there’s a good time to get sick …

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

… but this weekend was not the best time for it. Friday, I thought it was something I’d eaten, because it was apparently just an upset stomach. When I started coughing on Saturday, I realized that wasn’t it. Unfortunately, as I said, this was not the weekend to be inconvenienced in that manner.

Marion’s cousin was visiting, and I missed a nice Italian dinner Friday, had to pass on using my ticket to the Cartier exhibit, and missed Saturday dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange.

I was feeling better this morning, so Marion and I went up to Breckenridge for the 25th Annual International Snow Sculpture Championships. We got about 6″ or so of snow last night here in Arvada, and with fog and snow on the highway, travel was pretty slow until we got close to Idaho Springs, at which point the highway dried up and the sun came out. It’s not often that we have more snow in the metro area than in the mountains.

The weather in Breckenridge was cold, but the weather was glorious. We looked at all the snow sculptures, and decided that the judges must have different criteria that they’re operating from. Lithuania was awarded 1st place in the competition, and Germany took 2nd. Based on the early voting for public favorite, I’d say the Alaska and Breckenridge teams are the top contenders (the public votes for their favorite by stuffing money into jars – $1/vote, running through this week). I also liked the Chinese entry and one of the two Mongolian entries, but they didn’t seem that popular, and won no judges awards.

It was the first full day of public viewing, which runs until next weekend. We like to get there the first weekend for viewing, because snow sculptures are ephemeral, and sometimes they’re too delicate to last the week. I took photos of all of them, and may post some later.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

It’s been a good Christmas. Right now, snow is falling outside, and Marion and I are staying warm and watching a recording of Victor Borge’s performances. Wonderfully humorous stuff.

Christmas dinner went well, but with some glitches at the start. I thought I remembered saying that I’d have the food ready to go between 12:30 and 1:00pm. My daughter and her guest arrived at 1:00pm, because that’s when she remembered that I’d said dinner started, and Marion remembered that it started at 1:30pm. Luckily, we all managed to get together while the food was still hot.

The menu included a rib roast of beef, roasted root vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding. Dessert was pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. The rib roast came out very nicely, perhaps because it had a little longer to rest than I normally give it. I put a sea salt/grains of paradise crust on it, and had let it dry-age in the refrigerator since the weekend. I also made a double batch of Yorkshire pudding, which was a good thing. There was actually a little left when dinner was over. We had a nice Spanish red wine with our meal.

Dessert had to wait until presents were opened, because we all ate too much.

The Shop in Budapest

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Marion and I saw a local production of “She Loves Me,” a 1963 musical based on “Parfumerie,” a play by Miklós László. Friday night, we watched “The Shop Around The Corner,” the 1940 Jimmy Stewart-Margaret Sullavan movie based on the same play.

We liked the movie much better than the musical. It’s not that the musical was bad, although the female lead had a voice that I felt was too piercing at times. Not that there weren’t things in the movie that I didn’t care for, either. Specifically, I didn’t care for the scene where Jimmy Stewart fired his coworker – it just felt wrong to me.

After seeing the movie, I appreciate the staging of the musical more. It was a compact set that reconfigured quite well for inside versus outside scenes. I thought it was very well done. We both liked the musical, but we felt that the movie was better (not the first time we’ve thought that).

Before we watched the movie, I presumed that the entire film had been shot on a soundstage, but I wondered if they used any stock footage of Budapest for background. Since the movie was made in 1940, I was wondering if they’d show Buda Castle before it was bombed. Unfortunately not – I don’t remember seeing any shots that showed more than a portion of a street. Looking around the web, I found a site complaining that the shop was supposed to be located just off Andrassy, but the street it was supposed to be on didn’t actually meet Andrassy. Pity. We took a circulating tour bus along Andrassy twice before our tour started (a good way to get around town), and walked along it down to Heroes Square the first day of our tour.

Still, even though I didn’t get to see Budapest in the movie, it was a charming and delightful film.

Poetry time

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I wrote this a few months ago, and figured it would be good to get it off the 3×5 cards it’s on and put the verses in order, so here it is:

The Tattoo of Dorian Gray

His friends got him drunk one night last November.
When he woke up, regrets were the plan for the day.
What possessed him to get it, he doesn’t remember –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

Each morning, he gets up and looks in the mirror.
When he sees it again, his face turns away.
The horror he’s seeing just couldn’t be clearer –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

He knows that without it, his life would be better.
He wishes that he could just wash it away.
It cannot be covered by shirt or by sweater –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

His life’s getting worse, and he’s feeling quite tired.
He thinks its appearance grows worse every day.
He’s always regretting the night he acquired
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

Stupid brain

Monday, December 15th, 2014

For the last few weeks, every time I’ve turned out the lights in a room or entered a dark room, I’ve heard a voice in my head say, “It is very dark. You might be eaten by a grue.”

Travel photos to follow

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Well, I’m back. Been on a trip through eastern Europe for the last two weeks – started in Budpest, then through Romania and Bulgaria, finishing in Istanbul (not Constantinople).

It wasn’t the best trip I’ve been on, because I was ill for most of it. We’re blaming the Australians (two of the Australians in the tour group were ill at the start), but I don’t know for certain how I caught it. I just know that I got a nasty cough and congestion somewhere in Romania. I was satisfied to treat it with cough drops and skip some of the harder activities, but I woke up with my right eye bloodshot and gummed shut the first morning in Belogradchik, Bulgaria, and knew that I couldn’t get away without seeing a doctor at that point.

The group was scheduled to visit a cave and a hilltop fortress that day, so we had a local guide. The trip to the cave was delayed while the local guide took me to the hospital. Unfortunately, the doctor spoke no English, and the guide’s command of the language didn’t include medical topics. I did find out that I had elevated temperature, significantly elevated pulse and blood pressure, and was given prescriptions for the main infection and for my eye. We then went and found a pharmacist who filled the prescriptions, but she didn’t speak English, either.

I had to skip the trip to see the cave (and its paleolithic paintings) and the fortress, but I wasn’t feeling up to the effort, anyway. After a day or so, I could tell that the medicine was helping. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sufficient. I was only given a 3-day course of antibiotics, and when they’d run out, I relapsed. Sunday, our last day in Istanbul, I stopped eating, because I couldn’t handle it. Since then, I’ve had a small dish of vanilla ice cream on one of the flights, and some pancakes this morning.

I had other symptoms kick in on the trip back. I’m sure you don’t need details. In any event, the associated gas and cramping have made me unwilling to eat much, if anything. I bought some juice this evening, but it didn’t really taste as good as it usually does. At least I got new medicine to take with it – I managed to get an appointment at my doctor’s office on short notice today. With luck, I’ll be getting healthy again soon.

One thing – I lost about 10 pounds on the trip. I could certainly afford to lose that much (and more), but it’s not the best way of losing weight.

So long, Butch. I’ll hold down the fort.

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

When I first met Butch, it was at a party hosted by Paul, the guy my friend Sarah was living with. She and her sister Penelope were entertaining the guests with their antics and by generally being cute. The next New Year’s Day, Sarah called and said, “I’m leaving Paul. Can I stay with you for a few days until Marsha can take me in?”

I told her of course she could. She showed up later that day with Orson, Butch, and Penelope in tow. A few days later, she and Orson moved in with Marsha, leaving Butch and Penelope with me. They were both about a year old at that time, and having two not-quite-kittens around was fun.

A week or so later, Sarah said Paul wanted one of the kittens, so Penelope left, because Sarah thought Penelope would be less likely to get into serious trouble there (Butch had a lot more … personality). A couple years later, when Butch sneaked into the dryer after I’d finished my last load and got trapped, I figured Sarah had been correct.

She used to sleep with me. We’d go to bed, and she’d wrap her hind legs around my upper arm and knead my neck for a while. She’s the only cat I’ve known that snored. After a few years, she started putting on a lot of weight, and I acquired Kiki to be a playmate for her. That didn’t work out, and I had to banish both cats from my bedroom at night.

There was never enough lap time for her, and she’d let you know if she thought you weren’t petting her properly. She was a very loud cat until recently, and was a shedding engine from the day I got her. I remember telling Sarah about a week after she left Butch with me, “I had no idea that I had such a cat hair deficiency in my life!” She loved to spend time in the garden, even though I didn’t let her out much or without supervision, since she was declawed before I got her. If I didn’t supervise her closely enough, she’d start exploring the neighborhood.

A couple of years ago, she started losing a lot of weight and her fur got ugly. The doctor prescribed thyroid medication, which stabilized her weight around 9 pounds (down from a 15-pound peak). The medicine helped a lot, bringing back her appetite, letting her put a little weight back on, getting her fur back in shape, and making her healthier overall.

It’s no longer enough, though. Her appetite’s been lessening for a few weeks, and now she’s pretty much stopped eating. She can still get onto her favorite furniture, but she’s not steady on her feet, and sometimes has to try twice or more to jump onto a lap. Last night, she stopped to lie down three times going from her chair in the living room to the food dishes in the kitchen. This morning, for the first time in years, she wasn’t outside my bedroom door to let me know that she was ready for breakfast. She was already in the kitchen, lying down on a rug near the food bowls. She did eat a little, but threw it up almost immediately.

At 9:00 this morning, we went into the vet’s office. Once we were in the examining room, I kept Butch on my lap and petted her until the vet asked for her weight. She was 6 pounds. She lay down on the counter and I continued to pet her until the end. The vet came back shortly with two hypodermics. We put her on a towel and he gave her a muscle relaxant. Less than a minute later, she looked almost as though she were asleep, but her eyes were still partly open. Her breathing was so slow and shallow that I thought she might not even need the second shot. Shortly thereafter, I said “Goodbye, Butch” as he gave her the euthanasia injection. Her breathing stopped almost immediately.

At 9:35, I left with a cat carrier full of about 17 years of memories.

UPDATE: I almost forgot – I wrote a poem for her several years ago.

Partners in Crime
An Ode to US Patent #5443036

A mighty huntress is my Butch, a cat both fast and agile.
I try to keep her occupied, and far from all things fragile.
She is a wild barbarian cat – can’t find a toy? She’ll make one.
If laundry isn’t put away, she’ll find the socks and take one.
But better far than sock of mine is spot of red from laser.
Although she never catches it, it doesn’t seem to faze her.
She’ll chase it ‘cross the floors and walls, and track it on the ceiling.
She chatters when it goes too high, her frustrations revealing.
We have fun; I think it helps to keep her lithe, not fattened.
Although, it seems that we’ve been violating someone’s patent.
Must I pay a license fee, else suffer time in jail?
I don’t think that appeals to me, and Butch won’t go my bail.
The patent office may proclaim they’re only following rules,
But when they granted this one, I think that they were fools.

One of my neighbors is an asshole

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Our trash pickup normally comes on Friday mornings, so you usually see trash cans appearing outside garages on Thursday evening. The only time it changes occurs when we have a holiday during the week, which causes pickup to happen Saturday.

I put my trash out this past week like I usually do. Friday, when I got home, my trashcan was still full, so I thought they hadn’t picked it up. I left it out, even though I couldn’t think of a holiday that would have caused the delay. Saturday evening, it was still full. This morning I realized that the trash in my trashcan wasn’t mine. Someone had come by after trash was picked up and dumped their trash into my can.

I understand that they didn’t want their trash stinking up their garage for the next week, but I’m pissed they felt justified in stinking up mine.