noideadog: (monkey!)
Oh, dudes, I'm having such a nice long weekend. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. No stress, no obligations, just eating too much, taking naps, doing things that are fun, and appreciating all that is good in your life. Those are things I like! Usually we've gone to Joel's family in Las Cruces or Seattle, but this year we can't stray so far from home, so we've had to entertain ourselves. Which we did: Joel made enchiladas and I made biscuits (in the American definition of the word, which means 'scones that you don't have to count as dessert'), and that was about as energetic as it got on Thursday.

I'm trying to streamline the biscuit recipe so I can make them for breakfast on Sunday mornings without (a) taking more than ten minutes of prep time or (b) covering myself and the kitchen in flour. The ideal workflow here is that Joel goes out to get the coffees, I have biscuits in the oven by the time he gets back, and he makes Julia Child-style omelettes while I set the table. And then we do a Thursday NY Times crossword while eating eggs wrapped in biscuits. I won't deny that I have simple needs, but this seems to me like the best of all possible Sunday mornings. After three practice runs, and having to eat 12 biscuits each (in the name of science), I think we've got it all figured out.

On Wednesday, Tiarnan and I went to see Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway. It was great fun -- it's much funnier and louder than I expected and the rhyming is far more entertainingly ridiculous -- and it was a while afterwards before my brain stopped trying to squeeze everything into iambic pentameter. Which reminds me of this.

The other excitement from Wednesday evening was coming home to find the last step of our renovation done and the house pretty much free from chaos: the contractors had called in during the day and installed our ceiling fans. Woohoo! They'd left their ladders and tools though, and I was standing under the speedily spinning fans and wondering about that when I noticed the note that said "ceiling fans are missing screws". So that could have ended hilariously, but it didn't.

It's nice to be almost finished. The insulation works and, between the excellent paint job and the new furniture, this looks like a room that adult humans live in. Putting the pictures back up will make that even more true and so will getting some curtains but, even without those things, the change is remarkable and makes me happy. I've been frustrated by our lack of house-progress over the last three years. It's reassuring to prove that we can make things happen when we try. [ House pictures, if you care for such things].
noideadog: (natural dancer)
We had our childbirth class today. The nurse got us to practice Lamaze breathing exercises and made sure we understood that everything we'd learned from tv was wrong. "If you breathe like they do on soap operas, you'll just be dizzy. We're going to do long slow breaths, with short breaths for the peaks. Do they work? No, of course they don't work! They're just to distract you." I appreciated the honesty.

We talked through all of the ways things could progress and watched as a (largish) plastic doll made its way through a (smallish) plastic pelvis in several unlikely ways. Nobody fainted, but we were all a bit quiet and thoughtful by the end of the day. I mean, I guess I already knew most of this stuff, but I knew it in the interesting theoretical way that you can know things that are on the internet. It's different when the things are supposed to apply to you in some way. And in the next six to eight weeks, most likely. Surely not.

The hospital instructions form doesn't have a checkbox for "all of the drugs please, and also a martini and whatever you're having yourself", but I think they've left room to write it in.

The other thing that's going on right now is that we're insulating the icebox that is our living room. Last months' bathroom renovation was my first ever big house project, and this is my second, and I'm noticeably more comfortable with the process this time around. I'd hire these contractors again. Well, I should wait until it's all done before I pat myself too firmly on the back, but so far I have high hopes... and, of course, much less money than I started with.

Painting is the next thing. I had no good ideas, but people on gplus made good suggestions and we have five kinds of light grey paint to start splodging on walls tomorrow.

So, childbirth, insulation and light grey walls. Are these the riveting topics I expected to be talking about at age thirty four and three quarters? Would you like to hear about how we're changing health insurance providers at work too? Aw, I might be feeling a bit wistful for what I was doing this time last year, because I ended up spending hours on art.com looking at pictures of train stations. Don't you just want to go whereever this lady is going?

I got a print of her, and one of this, and they'll keep me going until it's time to travel again.
noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
Tanya: "Wauuuughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!"
Joel (from downstairs): "Are you ok?"
Tanya: "THERE'S A RACCOON IN OUR KITCHEN!!!"

Ok, I've now seen a raccoon. It was ENORMOUS and it had NO FEAR WHATSOEVER. Like, I ran at it to make it leave, and it DIDN'T. It turned around and faced me down, and then it left on its own terms. And Joel locked up the cat door just in time for it to change its mind and try to come back in again. When that didn't work, it walked over to the window and started clawing at the window screen with its little hands. We shone a firesword (this is a ridiculously bright flashlight) at it and it wasn't deterred at all; it came back to the cat door and tried hard to break through and get back in. And then -- this is the bit where I just about lost my shit -- it climbed up the fire escape ladder as nimbly as a monkey, presumably to try the windows of the apartment upstairs.

Did I mention that it was enormous? And fearless in a way that animals mostly aren't? We're mildly concerned about rabies and will be keeping the cats in for a while. And we've barricaded and taped closed the cat door, because a little plastic lock is not keeping that thing out.

The other best bit? It wasn't like it had just come in the door: when I met it, it was on its way up the stairs from the bedroom. It must have walked right past where I was coding in the living room, gone through the kitchen, detoured in the bathroom to chew on the toilet paper, then headed downstairs to see what Joel was up to. MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME, RACCOON. DON'T MIND US.

Oh, it's back. It's trying to get in. I'm actually kind of freaked out now.
noideadog: (lucy)
"Here's a funny story", Joel said in my ear, and I was suddenly wide awake and alarmed, because a funny story can mean all manner of things and not all of them are that funny. "No, actually funny", he said, and that helped. "Ok", I said, trying to focus my eyes. "Wha... 7am. Ok."

"The cats were making a lot of noise and in the end I went to put food in their bowls to get them out of the bedroom. So I went upstairs to the kitchen and there was a brown, portly shape with its head in the food bag.".

"The neighbour's cat?"

"It was just a brown blur -- I didn't have my glasses on -- but it looked at me, and it didn't have the face of a cat. So I came back downstairs for my glasses, and when I could see it, it was a raccoon."

"Huh."

"Around twice the size of a cat, but it came and left through the cat door."

"And now it knows that we're where the cat food is?"

"Exactly."

"... That's tricky."

"Yes. I'm going back to sleep now."

"Ok. Me too."

I don't know if I've ever seen a raccoon in real life. Pictures on the internet tell me that they're cute, but they say the same about squirrels and urban squirrels are far from cute. I guess that urban raccoons aren't a thing you want in your kitchen either. It knocked some pillows off the sofa and a bottle of rum off the shelf, so it sounds like it had plenty of time to case the joint before the cats came to tell us about it. Of course I slept through the whole thing, because sleeping through things is one of my most honed skills :-)
noideadog: (natural dancer)
I always think that glass-fronted anythings are the epitome of fancy adult furniture, and it looks like we're buying one of these. It's called a "buffet and hutch", seriously. Neither of these are words I associate with furniture, but probably they parse better in American.

As well as holding our media center (well, a mac mini, an amp and some networking equipment), this will display all of our fancy adult displayable things. Which consist of:

  • a lovely berry bowl which belonged to Joel's great grandmother and is a family heirloom that I'm petrified of breaking.
  • some candlesticks we got as a wedding present
  • uh?

Probably not our IKEA plates, right? Martini glasses? Batman comics? Eh, fancy adultness probably arrives in stages.
noideadog: (Default)
Something very exciting happened to me today. I was playing Words With Friends and I suddenly realised that I had the word LAQUER, and that I could put the Q on a triple letter square and then have the whole word cross a triple word square and get all of the points. Holy mackerel! Later, when I remembered that LAQUER isn't a word, I was a bit disappointed. That is how life goes.

Hello Livejournal! It's been a while really, hasn't it? How are you? I'm well. Life's pretty good. Here's a surprisingly good pictorial summary of what I've been up to for the last few months: https://plus.google.com/u/1/photos/109395676149872736665/posts?e=-RedirectToSandbox

I guess the biggest thing to mention is that I'm 30 weeks pregnant. Mental, huh? We're making a small girl who is currently known as poppyseed because we found out about her when she was very small indeed. We're looking forward to meeting her, but for now I'm also enjoying pregnancy a lot. It's very pleasant! Should I be stressed? I'm really not. Is that because pregnancy hormones? If so, they should bottle it. This is a good brain-state.

I think we're pretty prepared. We've seen a couple of daycares, which were both fine, and we've bought most of the baby-related gear we're going to need. No, that's such a lie, we've bought the Big Book of Trains and nothing else, but people have given us some clothes and things and I expect we'll get her somewhere to sleep and some other stuff as we realise we can't do without it. We're fighting the good fight against things that are pink and/or frilly, and our families are mostly on board with that. I'm sure we won't be able to protect her from the evils of gender normativity forever, but at least she can have baby clothes that aren't made for delicate flowers.

Is she likely to be a delicate flower? I doubt it, but who can predict what a new human will be like? She's probably doomed to inherit hay fever, shortsightedness and a tendency towards depression, but in return, she should get a geeky brain and a tremendous capacity for liking things. Are any of these things even genetic? We'll see.

Other things have been moving along pleasantly. I went to Ireland for a wedding, Aruba for some snorkelling, Baltimore for a conference, and Chicago to meet Mark and V and to kayak while looking at skyscrapers. I planted and tended some vegetables which grew spectacularly until the first heatwave, then all fried. We'll try bigger pots next year. Our cats are well. Alex is now distinctly a teenager. Lucy is exactly Lucy. They still don't like each other much.

I did this great algorithms class with Coursera and now I'm doing their equally great compilers class. The quality of these free online courses is quite astounding. The format's perfect too: it's easier to learn when you can to speed up or pause the lecturer as appropriate, and of course it's refreshing to do a course where nobody can ask "Is this on the exam?". Learning for fun is the most enjoyable kind of learning.

We've been working on de-chaosing our house, getting rid of clutter, making an easy place to live. We just finished a bathroom renovation -- the proper-sized house project I've ever owned! -- and have learned quite a lot about how to hire contractors, what things to clarify in writing, and (crucially) what things we like. Joel's been working on something much bigger -- a plan to gut most of the main floor of our apartment -- and has worked out a fairly ambitious plan with a local architect. It's a plan that we won't have time to implement this year, but it's there and I think it'll be good when we do. In the meantime, we'll try to get some insulation in before poppyseed arrives, because New York gets cold and our upstairs exterior walls might have been designed to be perfect thermal conductors.

Work is a lot of fun right now. I'm doing a bunch of things I really enjoy, and will be sorry when it's time to go on leave.

And, oh, lots of other things, but this is already too long. It feels good to write here though. I should do this more.
noideadog: (a plan!)
Decluttering websites focus on how to say goodbye to Stuff without separation anxiety. Dudes, I've said so many enthusiastic goodbyes, but the things just won't leave.

This is my problem: I would like 90% of my belongings to immediately leave my life, but I want them to go somewhere where they'll be useful. Tons of cleanup services exist, but they're gleeful about tons of junk going into dumps. The "decluttering" services are more coy about what happens to the once-clutter they "get rid" of, but it's not hard to guess. That stuff kills me. I can't do it.

But then the ethical options are so manual and painful and slow. Like, charity shops accept donations, but they each accept different categories of things, and moving stuff to them in bulk is awful without a car. I like the idea of Freecycle, but in practice it's slow and unreliable, and it means itemising millions of tiny unrelated things: one remote control for a mac, one combination lock, one metronome, four cork tiles, a case for a macbook air, a mosquito repellent kit, several notebooks, a cubic foot of comics (I usually put these outside, but if I give Warren Ellis to the neighbourhood kids, their parents will burn down my house), a first generation OLPC, a 4x4 ikea expedit, a saxophone stand, a mask from Sleep No More, a keyboard, cables, cables, more cables... and that's a subset of the stuff I can see from where I'm sitting in my little study. With Freecycle, this will take the rest of my life. I will have burned down the house myself by then. Some charity shops come collect, but... itemising. Pain. A staging area that takes up half the apartment. Probably divorce. It's risky.

There's the option of hiring a storage service that will come get stuff and paying to have it hidden like toxic waste forever, but, that's more mental than I am (yet). Though someone floated the idea of doing that and then not paying the storage company, so they'll try to sell things to recoup the cost. (Still no.)

What I really want is to hire a skip/dumpster, spend a week putting things into it, and leave it sitting outside for the good people of Brooklyn to scavenge from, then have someone else aggregate stuff into piles and deliver the clothes to Goodwill, the furniture to Housing Works, random bits of metal shelving to a recycle depot, blankets to dog shelters, etc, etc. I'd be willing... no, I'd be _overjoyed_ to pay for that service. This is New York City, you know? Every crazy service you can imagine exists. Why doesn't this one?
noideadog: (meerkat)
"It's always something, isn't it?" I said on the way into the house. This was to our neighbour Ryan who was drinking a beer on the front step of the house, and it was in response to his discovery that our building has termites and will need expensive extermination. Two minutes later, the live mouse in the bedroom and the dead one in the bathroom made me reconsider. Sometimes it's two somethings. Fucksake. We've now got both cats locked in with the live mouse, and they're probably enjoying a companionable nap together or playing canasta or what have you.

Humankind has famously often quoted a wish for a better mousetrap, but apparently the original quote is entirely made up and they weren't even invented yet when Ralph Waldo Emerson was saying quotable things. It seemed to have captured the public imagination though because, as the same linked article says, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has over 4,400 patents for mouse traps.

Here is one better mouse trap: http://www.amazon.com/Nooski-Design-Reusable-Cleaner-Easier/dp/B003YYYLAO/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1312943562&sr=1-8

And here's another: http://www.amazon.com/Victor-M2524-Electronic-Mouse-Trap/dp/B000E1RIUU/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1312944364&sr=1-8

Late night shops here only sell the kind of glue traps that are illegal in Ireland for being excessively cruel. I can't really over-emphasise how much I don't want there to be a mouse in my bedroom right now, but I also can't stop thinking about how horrible being stuck in a glue trap would be. If there was some sort of surgery to dramatically reduce your empathy to manageable levels, I think that'd be very convenient. An empathectomy? What a smoother path through life we would have.
noideadog: (natural dancer)
I thought I'd lost my headphones, but then I found them again. I know, not exactly world shaking news, but I was really pretty sad about the headphones. Joel got them for me for Christmas, and I hate losing things, especially when someone else took the time to pick them out. They're good headphones too. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks on them while I'm cycling to work and they don't fall out, even at the bumpy bits of the bridge. I felt crappy about not having them any more and then I found them where I'd dropped them beside my desk and it was weird: getting them back made me more happy than not losing them in the first place would have. It's exactly like a Biblical parable about sheep.

Tomorrow Joel and I become the joint Treasurers of our co-op building. This was not a hotly contested role and we're not madly enthusiastic about it. It's an extra box of paperwork to keep track of and we have to make sure we pay the co-op's mortgage, keep the taxes up to date, print out financial statements and that sort of thing, as well as reimburse our neighbours for money spent fighting squirrels or fixing the drains. We're going to the bank tomorrow to get our names on the house's bank account. After that, we're Responsible Persons for our building until the jobs change again in 2013... and we'll be faster about claiming Secretary or Chair or Maintenance Technician (not actually a job, unfortunately) then.
noideadog: (Default)
I hope this works. There's a lot at stake.



(Do you see what I did there?) That's beans and peas and sunflowers and garlic and things. I've never successfully harvested anything I've planted, apart from a bit of mint and basil, so I have exactly zero hopes for these things, but... eh... you never know. The apple trees are doubling their leaves every day, and the lavender (why did I plant lavender?) is shooting off in every direction, so if we ever get our soil sorted out, we'll have a pretty decent garden.

After a substantial amount of stress and irritation, we've found a contractor who reckons he can replace our soil, install non-toxic insulation, fix our flooding issues, build us a grape trellis, and replace our windows with super eco-nerd windows, all for a fairly reasonable price and inside about three months. He was wearing a woolly hat and muddy boots and a furrowed brow, which is actually pretty compelling attire for a contractor guy; previous dudes have been all sharp suits and clipboards and smiling too much. We said great, we'll start with the soil, and he immediately went to France and stopped answering our emails. So that's a bit weird, but we'll see what happens. We think he's legit, but just a bit nerdy and odd, which is probably why we liked him.

We had breakfast this morning in a new Southern-cuisine sandwich shop in our neighbourhood. Joel had fried chicken and I had fried catfish, and they let me bring in coffee from the Stumptown place across the street. It was all pretty good. I pulled out my phone to make sure that catfish was a sustainable thing to order, and Joel laughed at me: catfish, I now know, is the cockroach of the bottom-feeding world, growing happily in dirty tanks behind trailers everywhere. I've added it to "hens" and "bees" on the list of things I might someday keep in my back garden if I ever don't live on top of eight million other people.

The restaurant is the sort of place that gives you crayons and paper tablecloths. The couple beside us had written their names and coloured in the first letter of each. He was Jack with a red J and she was Sarah with a green S. On a different day it would have been revolting, but today it was sweet and I wished them well.
noideadog: (meerkat)
Yesterday I learned that there are three major skills in plumbing:

1) not minding that your elbows hurt
2) patience in the face of really irritating adversity
3) knowing that teflon tape exists

Yesterday I learned that I don't want to be a plumber.

It could be a really bad children's show: "Tanya learns about stuff!". Each week comes with a moral and an adventure. This week: fixing things when you've broken them. "Hi kids! I washed all my plant pots in the bathroom sink, and now the sink drains slowly because it's clogged with soil. It's important to fix things when you're the one who broke them! Let's learn how!". And then over the next hour and a half the kids would watch, enthralled, as Tanya turned a slow-draining sink into a leaky one. "Hurray!", they'd say at the end. Close on a picture of happy children brushing their teeth. It's television gold.

It's harder than it looks, this plumbing thing. There's really only one way most of the under-sink components can fit together, so I'd expected it to be a half hour of disassembling, shaking out most of the blockage, then putting it all back together. No big deal. It turns out that it's one of those deceptively fiddly, annoying projects where you're cramped in a small space at a weird angle, leaning on one complaining elbow, without enough space to make more than ten degree turns with the vise grips. The cascade of sludge when it did eventually come apart was pretty excellent actually, but by that point I'd already regretted starting this at 9pm on a Thursday evening, and just wanted it done. Of course it leaked the first twice I reconnected everything. This is the point where I went to ask Joel if there was some goddamn magic I didn't know about to stop things leaking, other than coating everything in electrical tape and calling it good, and he told me the aforementioned Third Skill of Plumbing. They've thought of everything.

Last week's episode: splicing electrical cables so you can assemble fluorescent lamps to help your tomato seedlings grow. The moral: tomatoes are delicious. (I'm not sure what the moral is). This week we'll maybe knock down a wall or something. Owning your own place is brilliant.
noideadog: (black books)
Meme from various people in honour of World Book Week with some extra categories I made up.

Books I am reading:

- Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories, by Lauren Groff. We're reading this for book club. I don't read a lot of short stories, so this is a change of pace, and not one I'm sure I like. The stories are engaging, but this format may not be for me. Once I make an investment in getting to know some characters, I like them to stay around a while. Which goes some way to explaining...

- The Confusion, by Neal Stephenson. This is my second read through of the Baroque Cycle, and this time I'm taking notes and reading the history of the time in parallel. I enjoyed it a lot the first time through, but it's a joy to my heart this time. I would just read this constantly all day if I could. I've also bought the same book on Audible (such luxury!) so I can listen to it while I'm running. It'd be fantastic if the Kindle and the Audible editions synced bookmarks, so "Sync to furthest read" knew how far I'd gotten on the audio version too. Kindle and audible are both owned by amazon, so maybe it will happen some time. I love this book-reading future.

Books that recently blew my freakin' mind:

- Gödel Escher Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter. Even thinking about it makes me do a big grin like this: :-D It's very clever and genuinely delightful.

The last book I received as a gift:

- Simon's Cat from Paul Gliceas. It's from the guy who made these videos, and it does a lovely job of capturing the absurd behaviour of small fluffy terrorists. It's very sweet.

The last book I gave as a gift:

- Probably Cooking for Geeks for Joel for Christmas.

The nearest book:

- I wish I could say Knuth, but that's a tiny bit further away than The Definitive ANTLR Reference. Bo-ring. I'm sitting at Joel's desk right now while an electrician works on my study.

Books I recently gave up on:

- Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. 75% of the way through and I lost the will to even try to care. I liked Galapagos (quite a lot) and Slaughterhouse Five (well enough), but this did nothing for me. I can't even remember what it's about now.
- A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. How can this be from the same dude who gave me a Fire Upon the Deep? This is seven million pages of losing my mind through boredom. Yawnorama.



There is an electrician in my house today, bringing us new power outlets, a digital thermostat, and a vibrant soundtrack about the failings of the carpenters who put up our walls. I've learned that considerate carpenters would have left some apertures for, for example, a worthy electrician to run cables into the walk-in closet that is now my study. Unfortunately, this was not the kind of contractors who worked on this house, so he needs to run the cables above the door frame, along the ceiling, back down to the floor, through vents, and so on. It means that there are a few more holes in our walls than there were this morning. They're tidy holes, so I'm not too bothered, but he's clearly irritated at not doing an invisible job, and I'm admiring the professional pride of someone who cares about their work. It's a good deal.

Usually I'd be pretty uncomfortable at this point -- if you've read this blog recently you'll know that I hate and avoid this kind of interaction -- but the difficult parts are done and I've already ascertained that one does not tip an electrician, so I'm uncharacteristically relaxed about what happens after this. It helps a lot that the guy is a bit nerdy and cautious of movement, not overbearing or macho at all. Dealing with nerds is so much easier. I speak fluent nerd. Maybe I'm also getting better at having someone doing work for me while I code in the other room, but that might be asking too much at this point. Nonetheless, a step in the right direction. Well done, me.

He just came in to ask, for the second time today, if it was ok if he used the bathroom. Absolutely not, I said. (I mean, obviously not, but I always think this and find myself hilarious.)
noideadog: (monkey!)
I mentioned a while back that Joel and I were working on a super excellent project. We hadn't done much on it so far, just sawing and a coat of primer, so I'm super-impressed that Joel entirely finished it while I was in California. He just sent me a picture. Check this the hell out:



Isn't it ace? I love the whole thing, but I especially love the row of cups at the bottom. How freakin' adorable is that?

This is inspired by Julia Child's pegboard, which I got ridiculously excited about when I saw it at the National Museum of American History. Now I'm ridiculously excited about getting home and seeing ours too.

As for getting home, that should be in five hours or so. I'm currently on a plane. And blogging! On a plane!
noideadog: (monkey!)
I used a circle saw today. Man, that is a scary and powerful tool. WHOMMMMMM, as it slides through wood like butter. Now we have several pieces of wood with primer drying on them, and our house is an obstacle course of components for a project which I will describe later if it's successful and never mention again if it doesn't work out. I'm pretty excited about it.

I have added the circle saw to the drill and the sabre saw in the collection of powerful instruments I treat with respect but not fear. (Also root privileges, angostora bitters, high credit limits, yeast, cheques, immigration officials, etc.)

Secret Project JCP is the second feat of heroic domesticity performed by Team Tanya and Joel today. Here's the first:



Man, christmas puddings are rich. Eggs, butter, sugar, beer, brandy, juice, nuts, spices, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit zest... the reason we only make it once a year is because otherwise we'd all have gout. It's currently bubbling away, and I'm excited about that too.

Overall, an excitement-rich day.

PS:



I want these motherf*cking snakes off this motherf*cking plane! HAHAHAHAHAHA.
noideadog: (culture)
Eureka! After months of mental mathematics, I see how I can fit an IKEA POÄNG chair into my study without having to take out all of the other furniture and me and the cat. Ok, I realise that this is not exactly a cure for cancer, but seriously, it's the most comfortable chair on the planet, and now I can have one to read in. Hurray! (Yes, I absolutely did copy and paste POÄNG in all-caps because I was too lazy to find out how to type an umlaut. Could you doubt it?)
noideadog: (Default)
There's too much social networking these days. I'm still figuring out where to put things. It used to be Livejournal by default, but now short things mostly go on twitter, and location-specific things mostly go on buzz, and occasional sanitised items of family interest go on facebook.

After a couple of weeks, I'm not really warming to facebook. I have to tell you that even if I'm your friend there, I'm probably not reading anything you say. This is not because I don't think you're astonishingly sexy and interesting (I do!), but because it's just not a pleasant place to be. Even apart from their anti-privacy creepiness, it's just full of noise and distractions; compared to other sites, there's not a lot of content. But that's where my family are, and I want to see my family, so I'm there too. (They used to be on bebo, so things are getting better.)

Anyway, I'm thinking about this social networking thing because posting is starting to feel a bit like telling the same story for the third time at a party. You know that kind of embarrassing thing where someone new arrives and asks you a question and you're responding but you're also wincing because you know that everyone else has heard you tell this twice and it's not really that good a story to start with? Social networking's starting to feel like that.

(I wonder if it could be more like getting the same news story from a bunch of different sources. Maybe we should post with a different slant on each social site. You can be all "I got a pet monkey and it is so much fun" on twitter and "Wow, minding this monkey is a big responsibility" on facebook and "here is a historical record of monkeys I have known" on livejournal and "let's review the local monkey grooming parlour" on buzz. It could be a fully integrated social news thing. Maybe not.)

This is a defensive introduction to me talking about how we got flooded at 5am last night, even though I've already put it on twitter and on the bookfaces and emailed people at work and told the dude in the coffee shop.

We got flooded! (Try to look a bit surprised).

It turns out that if you have drains right outside your door, one of the things you're supposed to regularly do is check that they aren't covered in leaves. It seems so obvious now.

Here's a cat's eye view of the space just outside our door, before we put the cat flap in.

From picasa


There are a couple of steps leading down from the door, and a couple of others leading up into the back yard. There's a drain to keep it clear so that water can't ever start leaking through your door. (You can't see the drain because it's covered in leaves. Whoops.)

We were woken up by sheets of water gushing under the door and through the cat flap, really fast and powerful and really noisy. It's lucky that Joel has fast reactions: he ran outside in his nighttime apparel (behold! the moon!) and stood calf-deep in the water pulling out handfuls of leaves, and it totally saved the day: it drained in a few seconds. Not before it had filthed up the inside of the house though. The water covered the floor to enough depth to make it splashy to walk, and everywhere was covered in little leaves and feathers and grime, not least our feet. There were smears of muck on everything. We used all of the towels in the house trying to contain the mess, and the bathroom suffered pretty badly through all the wringing out.

We were lucky though: there weren't any books or computers on the floor for once, and we got the extension leads out of the way in time. Although my study was soaked, the only real damage was to the comic box, and that's ok because all of the comics are in nerdy bags.

Overall we got off lightly. I'm impressed at Joel's fast and decisive response too. He unblocked the drain while I was still rubbing my eyes and trying to understand what was going on. (I'm less impressed at the cat who sat watching the door and looking worried and waiting for us to fix it and didn't raise the alarm. Worst guard-cat ever.)

A cleaner came in this evening to fix everything, and she had time left over so she made our house embarrassingly clean. She did the cat litter and refolded clothes and everything. You should see the bath! It is so tempting to make this a regular part of our lives. We are doomed to bourgeoisity.
noideadog: (they might be giants)
Oh yeah, you know what else? We got the entire deposit back. A triumph!
noideadog: (monkey!)
I was wishing I had Omnigraffle installed, because I wanted to document a thing by using pictures, and then I realised that I actually did have OmniGraffle installed because -last time- I'd wanted to document a thing by using pictures, I'd installed it. (And if I ever have cause to doubt that I have simple needs, I can look back here and see how pleased I am about this.)

Now I get to transcribe and merge three bits of scrawly paper that together almost describe a system. One of these seems to include components called "Fields of BLOOD", "dragons&SREs", "4pm?", "x=y=tanya", "is this defunct?", "someone's home directory?" and a mathematical function for deriving Cian when you already know Self-Deprecation, and I fear that this is still the most complete piece of documentation for the system in question.

Some days, actually, I do love my job.




On Friday a man rang the doorbell and asked whether I wanted the lawn mowed. (He had a lawnmower; it wasn't just curiosity. He mowed the lawn.) This makes me feel bad about not answering the door last week, because -just maybe- that was a different man asking whether I'd like the windows washed, or the chimney cleaned or my clothes ironed or some eggs on toast or something.
noideadog: (meerkat)
I'm working from home today. Working from home is good because I get more done, but bad, because my workspace is not ergonomically clever, and the laptop's at the wrong height. But it's also good because I can take a nap at lunchtime, in a -bed-. I love that.

On Monday I had a massage to de-stress a bit (I let things get to me, maybe a tiny bit, sometimes), and the massage lady asked if I'd mind if she fixed my back some, rather than making it just be a relaxing massage. It sort of reminded me of logging into a server to do something routine, and not being able to resist setting a sensible prompt and removing old core files and running updatedb and so on. Like "I know this isn't why I'm here, but you can't live like this, seriously.".

She fixed my back a lot but said that it needs more. She said that bodies are very good at adjusting to things that aren't perfect, and backs are especially good at finding a workaround for something that should hurt, rather than letting it hurt, and that this can keep going without us noticing until one day it's too much and it starts to hurts like bejesus. But by that stage fixing it is a big job, as opposed to the occasional very small jobs fixing it along the way would have been. (She said it better than that though.) So regular massages for me for the next while. Massages are lovely, and being able to go to the massage room in the office is a really excellent work perk.

Is it reasonable to add "massage" to the list of regular checks one is supposed to have: eye test, smear test , dentist appointment and I can't think what else. I reckon it probably is. This reminds me that I haven't had an eye test in ages, and since I'm made out of headaches recently I should probably do that. Damn. What else are people suppose to get regularly checked anyway? I'd like if someone wrote a simple personal assistant app that had all this stuff built in, and scheduled such appointments and haircuts and giving blood and reviewing pension contributions and cleaning the filter in the washing machine and all the things that one is meant to do from time to time, but that it's hard to remember when you did last.

It's very cold, as you've probably noticed. Last night was a two-duvet night, and this morning I put on the central heating for an hour so that I wouldn't die. I don't really hold with central heating, unless it's -really- cold and the alternative is the aforementioned dying. I feel (probably disproportionately) guilty about using the extra energy when I could just put on more clothes instead. How bad is central heating, on a scale of, say, jaywalking to puppy murdering?

I have Friday off, and I'm going to buy a budda bag. It is, for various reasons, a very wasteful and not-sensible thing to buy, but budda bags are lovely, and I'm sure they have -some- resale value. It turns out that if you spell 'budda bag' correctly, they even have a website. Which is nice.

Our landlord from the last place still hasn't coughed up the e2400 he's got belonging to us, so I have to call him soon and start making legal noises. This stuff is tiring and no fun, and of course I've been procrastinating.

Joel's arriving on Saturday morning, which is in 70 hours, approximately, or a little less now. I'm looking forward to that. On Sunday we're going to see Powerman's new play in the Joyce Centre. I'm looking forward to that too.

That's everything that's going on with me. How're you doing?

[Poll #1057695]
noideadog: (monkey!)
It's been a while since I posted a real update, with real information. Here's one of those.

So, I moved house. That was great. No, that was really fantastic actually, especially once I'd finished unpacking (mostly) and put my books on shelves and my clothes on hangers and had friends come over for tea. I'm not anti-social, I swear, but I find that I -love- living on my own. I mean, I have bouts of very specific loneliness -- my beloved is far away, and won't be back for another month at least -- but I'm glad to have had this experience. Living alone is a whole other world. I like it so much.

The Northside is, it has to be noted, different to the Southside. The local wine shop doesn't sell Prosecco ("It's a fizzy Italian wine? No? Cava.. won't really do, no."). The only coffee place nearby tried to put -sugar- in my -latte-. There is -- I know this will horrify you -- nowhere to buy fresh berries. It's quite a trial, as I'm sure you can imagine. And there are people everywhere, and they -interact- with each other. Local teenagers (teenagers!) knacker drinking in the football field (football, not rugby!) told me about their penises, which are apparently very large and attractive. Perhaps in celebration of this, someone has drawn one on the stop sign at the end of our road. It's a good aid to navigation. "Turn right at the stop sign with the penis on it", I tell people.

Honestly, I don't think we're in Donnybrook any more.

I have more furniture than I did before. Brid lent some fold up chairs, and Joel and I built an Argos flat-pack bed. This is the perfect bed: a bed of such comfort and stylishness that getting up in the morning becomes somehow easy. I can't quite explain this, but it must be some effect of the (wonderful!) memory-foam mattress that has me in work at 9am for almost two weeks in a row now. (It could be witchcraft.) It's a good thing, whatever it is. It's a great bed. Being up at eight means that I'm usually asleep by midnight. I? Am old, officially. And that? Is.. ok, actually. And this sentence structure? Is kind of cool, I always thought. It's ok if you disagree.

Everyone here has dogs. This is most definitely a dog neighbourhood. We made friends with Ben, a dignified[1]-but-enthusiastic[2] west highland terrier who lives on the corner. It's nice to have a dog to greet on the way to work.

I still don't have internet really. I hope it arrives soon, sort of, but it's also ok to have to make my own fun. I've only been skimming LJ; if I missed anything important, please do tell me.

If Joel wasn't 3300 miles away, I think I'd be just about as happy as I've ever been. It's a measure of how excellent everything else is that life is really not bad at all.


[1] The kind of dog I like. An aristocratic dog with self-respect.
[2] The kind of dog Joel likes. A "Holy shit! You threw the ball! Thank you!" dog.

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February 2014

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