Monthly Archives: August 2008

Fur-meh-nator

A couple of weeks ago, I had a group of friends over to watch the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics. Now, a group of people in the house, as far as one of my cats is concerned, only means that many more hands available for petting and scritching. And this would be, of course, the cat that sheds. As the fur flew about, human conversation turned to various pet brushes. Marge, Binky, and I talked about the Furminator, and I vowed to buy one for myself.

Last weekend, I went to PetSmart. HOLY CRAP, they want $38 friggin’ dollars for a CAT BRUSH?! Yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s a satisfaction guarantee. And the packaging shows all sorts of deshedding success. What really sold me, though, was my own friend’s testimonial. Still, though… $38…

Dave was with me, and within seconds had checked Amazon’s site from his nifty iPhone. $22 for the same model, plus free 2-day shipping for those of us with Amazon Prime. Oh, right, and I won a $5 Amazon credit through Blingo! Score! Okay, I’ll buy that brush for $17. It’s still three times the price of my other cat brush, but this thing is supposed to be the shiznit, right?

The Furminator arrived Wednesday, and I “unboxed” it as soon as I got home. Heeeeeere, kitty kitty kitty! Come here and get Furminated! Brush, brush, brush. Brush, brush, brush. Bruuuuuuuuush brushbrushbrushbrush.

Results: The Furminator removed the same amount of fur as my slicker brush, if not less, before the cat decided he didn’t like it and could he please be excused? The slicker brush never resulted in such a reaction. The Furminator is a lot easier to clean; but the tiny, fluffy bits of fur pick up in the air current and fly about. The slicker brush makes little hair mats, for lack of a better description. Much easier to dispose of.

I will give it another go tonight. If the cat is still shedding a half-pound of fur, and I achieve the same brushing results, I will look further into that satisfaction guarantee.

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Geeking Goodbye

This blog post has been interrupted by my evening spent with a friend who is moving to CHICAGO tomorrow. Chicago. Tomorrow. As in, when I wake up in the morning, he will be gone.

I don’t remember when Dave and his wife moved in next door. I don’t recall how we first met. I’m sure we nodded our hellos here and there as we passed on our daily errands. I remember being amazed by their incredibly well-behaved dog, and it may actually have been Oscar who gave me the opening to really talk to my neighbors that first time. For which I am grateful, because they are wonderful people. Jessi and I have planned many sewing projects, although only she follows through. Jessi has hemmed dresses for me. Jessi has given me broth from her batch, made with the carcass left over from my Thanksgiving turkey. Jessi has insisted on driving me to the airport so that I don’t have to take a bus. Jessi has looked in on my cats when I’m on the road. And Dave…

Dave has been my tireless, responsive, and sometimes apologetic ISP for the last year. Dave has been my Mac technical support, most often at home, but occasionally at the office when my own IT team has been stumped. Dave has answered every pesky question I’ve ever had, at all hours of the day. Dave introduced me to Twitter. Dave helped me move my lame MySpace blog over to WordPress. This weekend, Dave got me set up with Google Reader. Between that and my new (temporarily phoneless) iPhone, and Dave’s presence in my home* for his last few days in Colorado, I have been full of geeky happiness. Tonight, we shredded old bank statements, a whole box of them, and giggled the whole time.

Kids, my life is richer for having spent time with you two. Thank you for everything you are.

*Jessi left last week to set up house, and the furniture followed her a few days later. Dave has been wrapping things up on this end, and I wasn’t going to let him sleep on the floor of an empty apartment.

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Bowling, bruising, and bass drums

1. Now that we’re right at the tail end of my bowling league’s “season,” I am finally improving. I’m still not near my personal goal of a 150 average, but I’m gaining on it. However, we’re taking a hiatus at the end of August. Not sure when, if ever, we’ll join a new league. Our best player has had his fill of crowded, noisy, amateur-riddled leagues (self excluded, I’m pretty sure).

2. While bowling tonight, I started to choke. Not figuratively; literally. I’m still not sure on what, as all I had was a slushee which shouldn’t have obstructed my airway, but there you have it. I was coughing (exhale) but couldn’t take any air in (inhale). Gasping and panicked, I tapped Jay on the shoulder. He turned around, assessed the situation, and sprang into action. He immediately got into position to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on me, except for two things: I didn’t have the presence of mind to stand up, and Jay didn’t actually know what he was doing. (NOTE: If you find yourself in a similar situation, it turns out that the Heimlich Maneuver is no longer the recommended protocol. First on the list is “encouraging the victim to cough,” which I was already doing, and second is a series of hard smacks on the back. No, seriously.) Jay made a valiant effort, though, and through the chaos we managed to hobble our way through a successful rescue. Like an old lawnmower, I sputtered a bit and started back up, and then set myself to calming the people around me. I’m okay now, thank you. No, really, I’m okay. Yup, everything is okay. Thanks. No, now I’m just coughing. Regular old coughing. The guy at the next table, who asked three times if I was alright, then said, “I’m a First Responder, so I wanted to make sure.” Well, sir, how about jumping in there when you saw that Jay was winging it? THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL. At this point, oblivious to all that had happened, Jay’s brother (a registered nurse) came back to the table. As soon as he found out what occurred while he was outside, he fell into a pile of apologies. “You were choking?! But that’s my bag! I could have helped! I’m so sorry. Are you okay? How about now? Now? Now? What about now?” Unfortunately, laughing hurts a bit, now that my ribs are somewhat bruised. Being able to breathe at all, though: priceless.

3. Full disclosure: I know this guy. That doesn’t make his drumming any less spectacular. Watch it, and share the link with your friends. It’s under two minutes long. Around 1:20, his arms become a blur.

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Late to the party

June 11th, 2007. Apple’s newest product, the iPhone, is the talk of… well, everyone. I had started to watch the Apple keynote announcing the phone with absolutely no interest. All I need my phone to do is make and receive calls. Wait, it what? It has a touch screen? It scrolls by touch? Plays video like an iPod? An ambient light sensor? A proximity sensor? It knows if it’s being held it upright or sideways, and flips the screen? On a phone?

And it looks like that?

Want. Wantwantwantwant. Even the sworn-to-PC guys at the office wanted one. So, June 11th came and went, but I was locked into a contract with Sprint. Dave got an iPhone. Megan got an iPhone. Mary Jo got an iPhone. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the friggin’ universe bought iPhones.

I was still stuck with Sprint.

That’s okay, I reasoned. The iPhone is too small anyway. My old iPod has 10GB of RAM, and that’s not going to be suitably replaced by a 4 or 8GB phone. I’d guess the next release will be 20GB; I’ll wait for those.

The next release was actually 16GB. Close enough. But…

I was still stuck with Sprint.

A year after the initial introduction, the next generation was released. A slightly more ergonomic shape, a few physical improvements, a faster network, more precise GPS, and snazzier software. Still, I am stuck with the fabulously craptastic Sprint. My friend Dave, who works as a tech writer, is now on his third iPhone. In an extraordinarily gracious gesture, he gave me his “old” 16GB iPhone for my birthday last month. All I need to do is activate it. When my (expletive deleted) Sprint contract expires in October. I wondered about taking it out of the box, and turning it on, just to see what would happen. Would it instantly take me to an activation screen? Would the more rudimentary features work? I didn’t think about it too much, and didn’t remember try it.

Dave is staying with me for a few days, and while we were working side-by-side on our laptops, he suddenly remembered that I can indeed use the phone, in a manner not unlike the iPod Touch, to play with all the goodies that aren’t phone based. I took it out of the box. I unwrapped the protective plastic film. I turned it on.

I squealed with delight.

Dave showed me the pertinent stuff. He recommended a few iPhone apps. He worked on his assignments, while I giggled and cooed over the phone, and he answered questions when I had them. I can only really play when I’m within range of a wifi signal, which this weekend meant when I was home. Still, I’ve done a pretty good job of learning my way around the standard apps, and the few that I’ve added. Dave has been an invaluable help as well (in addition to the iPhone business, he also hooked me into the Starbucks wifi system that I’d been having trouble with, disconnected the superfluous VCR from my TV setup, and updated my Wii so that it would STOP BLINKING AT ME). I already feel more capable as a user on the iPhone than I do on the Samsung phone that I’ve been using for the past 22 months. I found a neat new silicone outfit for the iPhone on Saturday at, of all places, the local Dollar Tree. I look forward to taking the phone to work this week, and testing it on the office wifi network. I very much await October, when I can plug this beauty into the iTunes Music Store and tell it to hook me up with an AT&T account.

For the few of you who haven’t yet used one: This thing is awesome.

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Hey, Jackass!

I’m driving down a 4-lane, divided highway. The speed limit along this stretch of road is 65, which means that, under ideal circumstances, I’m usually cruising along at 70–75. On this particular evening, though, I’m still in the very tail end of rush hour. Traffic is moving along, but it’s congested enough to slow everyone down a little.

I’m driving in the left, or passing, lane. There is a FedEx Ground 18-wheeler directly in front of me, and we are steadily passing slightly slower traffic in the right lane. I am coming up on a FedEx Express 18-wheeler on my right (it’s the time of day when all the trucks are heading to the airport) when I see a white SUV coming up fast behind it. Of course, there isn’t enough room for him to move left and thread the needle between YOU FUCKWAD! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT!

I hit my brakes. I hit my horn. The driver of the SUV flips me off, then aggressively gestures that I should move into the right-hand lane.

I double-check my speed, and see that this interloper has caused me to slow my speed to 61. I double-check reality and see that the 18-wheeler is still in front of me (well, now it’s in front of the SUV), and there continues to be NOWHERE FOR THIS DILLHOLE TO GO. For the next three miles, this guy is trapped between me and an 18-wheeler. At that point, I’m exiting the highway, and now I’m able to zip into an open lane… right next to this twit… and flip him off, good and long. RIGHT BACK AT YA, JACKASS.

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