noideadog: (Default)
Looks like we've survived the storm. Lots of the city and surrounds got badly beaten up, but we're luckily positioned and didn't have any problems. If I do have any ill-effects, they'll be caused by poor cake-related life choices. Lesson learned: don't ever take banana bread out of the oven when you're getting rumbly but haven't yet decided what you're doing for lunch. I'm staying out of a sugar coma by sheer force of will. 
noideadog: (a plan!)
The city's Are You Ready campaign finally broke through a few months ago and I suddenly realised how unprepared we were for a zombie invasion. Wow. I have no idea how we were so oblivious, especially given how many wine-soaked conversations we'd had about how to get off Manhattan if everyone else was trying to at the same time. (Conclusion: obviously it depends on the situation, but unless you get advance warning, you're basically screwed, and Brooklyn isn't going to be much easier to escape from; best bet is to hole up and try to ride it out until reinforcements come. Bloomberg probably has a plan.) Anyway, we finally realised and we got ready. Water stockpiled. Solar/windup radio tested. Flashlights. Iodine. Cat food. We are prepared New Yorkers!

Being the sorts of people who like the idea of cooking, but don't much get around to it, the rest of our disaster-preparedness plan comes down to leftover food: a pantry full of interesting legumes, dried fruit and little oily fishes, a lifetime supply of New Mexico green chiles, the freezer full of animals from the meat-preparation course Joel did a few months ago. (A disaster might be kind of welcome if it gave us space back for ice cream.). Worst case, we've got a couple of pounds of lard and a spoon. Real worst case, I think some visitor left a jar of Smuckers peanut butter (only sugar has more sugar!) in our fridge, but I pray it won't ever come to that.

We calculate that we could pass four days in relative comfort and ride out a seven day disaster without too much trauma[1]. If it's longer than that, our neighbours will come take our stuff off us anyway, and I'll regret my strong stance on gun control.

#comeonsandy doesn't have the same ring to it as #comeonirene last year, but if she does decide to come this way (currently very unlikely), we're ready for her.

[1] We're assuming it'll be possible to get coffee delivered. This is still New York, after all.
noideadog: (meerkat)



Today



is




too




warm
noideadog: (meerkat)
Hailstones the size of sugar lumps are thrashing down outside. I have never seen anything like this in my life.
noideadog: (Default)
It sure did rain last night and Brooklyn's sewers filled up. The rain, with nowhere left to go, flooded our bedroom. It was delightful. I'm working from home today to meet a plumber and clean up a bit. Scooba is good for that; you fill it with warm water and leave it running and an hour later you have a washed floor. It's a pretty great way of dealing with post-flood gack.

So I kicked off scooba in the bedroom, and started some other background robot processes too: a load of towels we used for mopping up, downstairs roomba to get the rest of downstairs ready for scooba later, upstairs roomba and a load of dishes since I'm here anyway, a fan and an air purifier to move the flood smell around a bit. Then I made myself comfortable at the kitchen table and started futzing with my desktop environment, trying out a new config to get gnome-panel working nicely on ion3, using the browser on my home macbook so that I could change things on my work linux laptop without having to be careful of keeping the browser working. Poking at this stuff while waiting for the plumber to answer his phone.

Sitting here with two computers and a smartphone (and a cat, obviously) while seven machines sort out my house for me. It's quite a hefty domestic staff, when you think about it.

Next I would like a robot that paints the house, please, and one that replies to my email, and one that folds clothes, and one that always knows where my keys are.
noideadog: (hair)
Given that it is barely 24 hours since I was all "I hear you" about Artemis's "Never buy anything you cannot lift rule, it is extra ridiculous that today I went to the hardware shop on a windy day and bought an eight foot lattice fence, twenty four corkboard tiles, and a ball of twine. For something with holes it in, light wooden lattice sure is good at catching the wind: I narrowly escaped becoming The Human Kite as I crossed the canal. On a positive note, having to concentrate to not knock over other people took my mind off my frozen ears and the shard of ice growing at the end of my nose. Nine below freezing is too many below freezing for me. Yes, I know it's colder where you are.

The cat's keeping warm by sleeping in the tumble drier, and there's no way that can end badly. I'm keeping warm by setting my livejournal icon to Half Moon Bay and making wide-eyed declarations to passers-by that summer will come again, it must, won't it mister?
noideadog: (travel)

near mount st helens
Originally uploaded by xymb.
After a productive time in Portland (and by "productive" I mean that we bought books and drank beers and nothing else, and everyone I've spoken to about Portland has confirmed that that's what you do there, and that's what makes Portland great), we drove to Seattle via Mount St Helens.

Mount St Helens last erupted in 1982, and I suppose it's not surprising that it drastically changed the landscape, but the before and after pictures are still astonishing: the whole side of the mountain was blown off; new lakes were created; whole forests were knocked down like matchsticks. The road up the mountain is excellent -- a combination of tourism and a busy logging industry -- so we got further up than we expected, stopping at around 3800 feet when we went beyond the snow plough and got uncomfortable with the skiddy wheels and the snow scratching on the bottom of the car. We took a bunch of photographs, waded around in knee-deep snow, and headed back to the town for clam chowder with globs of butter floating in it. Which, by the way, was about the healthiest meal I ate for the next four days.

Seattle and its neighbour, Kirkland, have a climate very similar to Dublin's. It was dark in Kirkland. Apparently the mountains around there are spectacular, but it was too overcast to see anything. The sky was a uniform, drizzling grey, and I would have felt right at home if I hadn't been longing for my light box. The office there is good though (and whimsical: the cafe stations are called "sudo make me a sandwich" and "omm nom nom"), and I got to sync up with someone I work a lot with but have never met. Working together in real life is way better.

That only gets me caught up to Wednesday evening, but I should go catch a flight back to the New Yorks. More later about meeting Joel's entire extended family, attending my first ever wedding shower, and being given a family heirloom, for reals.
noideadog: (nyc)
*sweat*
*sweat some more*
*stop sweating*
*realise I'm crabby and almost passed out*
*re-hydrate*
*sweat*

Repeat. For the next three months.
noideadog: (natural dancer)
A status update from TanyaCorp:

Taxes: I get $1700 back. Do I understand why? No I do not. Am I ok with that? Certainly! Of course, the irish return has yet to come in, and may eat it all up again, so I'm not spending it on sweets just yet.

Health: I did Weightwatchers points counting and lost seven pounds last week without even mild inconvenience or lifestyle change. Do I understand that much either? Nope. Nope. Nope. I certainly didn't mean to. One of the good things about WW is that you can save up your discretionary points and have a pint of mashed potatoes and half a bottle of champagne for Sunday dinner if you want to. (I wanted to. I'm still kind of in a carb coma.) It's unclear how that will affect this week's results though.

Work: After a rough start to last week ("My project is hard and working with other people is hard and getting things done is hard and aaaaangst!"), I finally got my shit together on Wednesday and was a productive little cog in the corporate machine for the rest of the week. I'm always much happier in real life when I'm productive at work. I'm never sure if that's a bad thing.

Wedding: God, we should do something about that, shouldn't we? The only place we're really looking at so far is Fallon and Byrne, which looks fairly perfect. Right now we're out-doing each other in laid-backness and lack of interest in doing things traditionally, but I'm sure there's plenty of time for stressing later on.

Cat: Isn't really talking to us, apart from when she's hungry or we're showering. Not much love for us right now and we don't know why. We don't know why she likes to come talk to people in the shower either, but she does.

Weather: It's SPRING! It's so spring! It'll only last ten minutes, so I should be outdoors enjoying it right now. I love spring so much.

Joel: is lovely. I nearly said no when he asked me on a date two years ago on the grounds that dating a coworker from another continent couldn't go well. Isn't that just mad? I owe V and Nina a lot for talking me into it at the time.

Travel: We're going to Athens next month for a few days with Joel's folks, and I was thinking that it might be the best thing ever to take some trains to Syria afterwards, have a look at Aleppo or Damascus, then travel overland back to Holyhead. I just mailed the Syrian embassy in Greece to see if I can get a visa from there (I can't from here) and got a "mailbox is full: retry timeout exceeded" bounce message. Well, the objective is just to be on a train as much as possible, so I suppose it doesn't matter where I go.

Arabic: is suddenly very difficult. Jesus Christ, the change in brain-resources needed between semester one (drawing carefully formed alphabets) and semester two (writing sentences; using grammar) was bigger than I expected. I'm still enjoying it though.

Accommodation: We're looking at maybe buying a place. We went to see Fort Greene at the weekend, and based on two hours of walking around, I reckon I could live there for the rest of my life. We're looking at some interesting places we can't afford. It's an exciting time.

Apartment: still tidy. NOBODY TOUCH ANYTHING.

Current life score: 10/10.
noideadog: (random)

ADD Weather
Originally uploaded by xymb.
[livejournal.com profile] rockpaperaxe asked how the weather is likely to be in NY next week. I think the pictures say all that can be said.
noideadog: (lucy)
Lucy's on a fish oil supplement to help her dry skin. She was going mad with scratching, poor girl, scrubbing her back against rough surfaces and throwing herself in the air in a way that would have been pretty funny if she wasn't so sad. As ever, the vet's bill made me need to sit down -- Lucy's medical expenses for the last year are three times my own -- but it's a relief that it's not fleas, ticks, scabies, ear mites, bacterial infections, food allergies or anything else that's horrible or hard to get rid of. She's healthy, and dry skin is fixable with fish oil supplements. And she's sitting on my keyboard so it's hard to type. Stupid cat.

It is cold and dry out there right now. Yes, it's not as cold as the place where you are that's colder, and yes you're very strong, but it's cold all the same. It's so cold that you scream a bit when you step outside. It's so dry that spit is absorbed into the air before it reaches the ground. (This bit might be a lie, and it still beats Dublin winters, for the record). I'm not surprised that Lucy has dry skin. Mine is crumbling off too, and the lemon tree shed half its leaves before we moved it near the shower steam. Of our household, only Joel (born in a desert) and Roomba (stoic and forbearing) are unaffected. It is odd that this city of swampy humidity has this side to it. Seasons are interesting, don't you think?

I'm still learning java, I bought more chocolate, and I'll probably go to burning man, in case you were frantically wondering. And it's a long weekend. Hurray for this Workers Paradise!
noideadog: (natural dancer)

Growlers
Originally uploaded by xymb.
It's -6 is what it is out there, or some nonsense number in fahrenheit. I went to the Blind Tiger for a couple of growlers (two litre bottles of draft beer, illustrated to the right), and was so cold when I got back that the restaurant people couldn't make out what I was saying ("Tabba fuh wa? Nuh resvashuh?") and I had to comically smack myself in the face a bunch of times to make my speaking muscles work.

Happy New Year, Dublin and Maynooth and Clane and Wexford and London and Galway and Brighton and Paris. Keep 2009 safe and warm until we get there.
noideadog: (meerkat)
Stupid weather. We were supposed to go to the zoo today, but it's thundery outside, so I just had to text a bunch of people and call it off. Stupid thunder. No monkeys for us, not today.




Joel and I made a solemn pact that we would not buy a dog or a cat, no matter how adorable and/or sad they looked, and then, braced for emotional assault, we took a cab to the ASPCA shelter on 92nd and 1st. (Joel, reading this over my shoulder, points out that "the normal ending for a setup like this is that we end up with four cats, two dogs, a chimpanzee, two ferrets, and something that appears to be a vole", but no, we were strong and left without animals of any kind.

We're sort of in the market for a dog, if one comes along that we both approve of. It's a tricky thing to find: a dog that's small enough to go on the subway, but that's still distinctly a -dog-, not an oversized fluffy rodent. There wasn't really anything at the shelter that fit the bill. Mouldy-looking shi-tzus were more the order of the day, though there was a beagle and a cocker spaniel that were only a bit too big. Oddly enough, the dogs I really loved were the ones who normally get bad press: a couple of sturdy pit bulls and a big mournful rottweiler. Neither of those fit our owner profile.

Which..

I'm surprised to find that even our indoor and fairly sedentary lifestyles can be compatible with dog ownership. They match you up based on a questionnaire: "How many hours a day will the dog spend outside?"; "Are you a lazy shite? No, honestly?"; "Do you want a dog that continually affirms its love for you"; and so on. Since they started doing this profiling, they get much fewer dogs returned to the shelter.

Here are animal shelter facts:
* the TCO of a dog is $1500 per year
* keeping one or two dogs in a studio apartment is considered perfectly reasonable, so long as they get good walking and the amount of attention they like.
* kittens are so much in demand that they're rarely at the shelter for more than a day after they're ready for adoption
* there are far, far more pitbulls than you might think
* there were no puppies. Do puppies only happen at certain times of the year, or something?

I should mention that the animals were extremely loved and healthy, that the volunteers were amazing, cheerful, enthusiastic people, and that the ASPCA is definitely going onto my charity christmas card list.




"Come over here and show me your boobs" was the first thing I heard a I entered Linda's Bra Shop, a tiny centre of brassiere excellence on the Upper East Side. It was a promising start, and the rest of the experience didn't disappoint. I left with a good strapless bra for the bridesmaid dress I'm wearing for Aishling's wedding. I recommend Linda's Bra Shop to the.. uhh.. one female person who lives in New York and who is at all likely to read this. (Hi Erica!)

Afterwards, I proposed tea and scones at the muliebral Alice's Tea Cup, and Joel suggested doing the crossword together there. "That's optimistic", I said. "The [NY Times] Saturday crossword is -hard-". But Joel said he thought we'd be ok, and displayed a copy of the Irish Times, which he'd found in a nearby bodega while I was bra-shopping. Doing the crosaire[1] while eating scones in a cafe.. oh, it felt just like home, and I was very happy.

[1] Fun cryptic crossword in the Irish Times. One of my favourite things in the world.




I had a weird hankering to write code, so the day finished in the office, beating my head against the pythonic convention and trying to understand things. It's coming, but slowly. And it gave rise to this conversation

me: $ ./stuff.py --madeyup

python: TypeError: 'tuple' object is not callable

me: Look, if you mean "You left out a comma", just say it, ffs. Don't be so fucking enigmatic all the time.

python: You left out a comma on line 29


Ok, the last line didn't happen. I'd enjoy coding more if it would.
noideadog: (Default)
Things that I like today
- Chelsea. I went to get takeout Italian last night, and on the way home passed a dude giving out free samples. I was in a hurry to get pasta in my belly and I didn't stop, so it was half a block later that I registered that he was saying "Try the new KY!". I love living in Chelsea :-)
- Kindle. the Kindle is so great. It's a fantastic purchase. I read all of Making Money and I'm now halfway through Lord of the Flies. It seems like it's faster to read than paper, but that might just be the novelty of a new toy meaning that I read all the time. I certainly read for almost all of yesterday. Only bad point so far: if I read in public, someone always asks about it, and I get into a conversation about its merits, and I think that could get old. But the Kindle! The screen saver is a different line-drawing each time, and it looks like it's drawn on paper. It's hard to look at these pictures and remember you're using a screen.
- Ashes to Ashes. From the people who brought you Life On Mars comes a similar idea, a few years later. Everything that LoM did for cop shows of the 1970s, A2A does for 1981. The shots, the theme tune, the music: it's perfect. I love it so much. Potentially more than LoM, in fact, since the cultural references are my cultural references. Episode two has George and Zippy from Rainbow. So good.
- Family. My sister's wedding grows ever closer, and the excitement in my family is a lovely thing. I was the the phone to home as she was asking a cousin to be a bridesmaid, so heard enough background shrieks of excitement and joy to keep me in a good mood for weeks.
- Family again. My mum and dad went out with friends last night, and my dad almost had a small accident when he missed a step and stumbled. But he landed in the lap of some (very amused) beautiful blonde woman, so he didn't mind, my mum said, pretending to be indignant.
- Coffee. Freshly ground Costa Rican something something. God, that's good coffee.
- Being oncall. Well, so long as I continue not being paged, it's great to have an excuse to laze about the house all weekend, reading and relaxing and for once not feeling guilty about wasting precious free time.

Things that I don't like today
- Dark clouds. Enough rain. Let's have some daylight please.
- Gardening failure. The wilting lemon tree loses two or three leaves every day and is showing no signs of thriving. Tell me how to help you, lemon tree! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
noideadog: (bike)
Today I learned that there is no bad mood that can't be cured by cycling through Central Park. I tested the hypothesis with a truly vile one too; it's been a mentally horrible weekend, with deluges of angst and despair and convincing myself that I'm in the wrong apartment, the wrong job, the wrong career, the wrong city, the wrong relationship, the wrong frame of mind, the wrong trousers for this heat. And of course the heat is all that's going on: heat leads to dehydration; dehydration leads to unhappiness; unhappiness leads to doubting everything that is normally self-evidently excellent. Life's actually very good. It's just a bit warm.

And I know that it isn't. High-eighty-something is only high-twenty-something, amplified by the 50% humidity, but it's more than this weak northern constitution can stand, and I'm dealing with it badly. "You should design a strategy to survive the summer", Joel said, the self-preservation centres of his brain registering that three months of Tanya in a horrible mood wasn't ideal. "Ok, we're moving", I declared. But no, he makes the annoyingly valid point that since he stayed in Dublin even when it was November, I can't give up this easily. And then he near fell off the bed with laughing at how I thought this was unpleasant weather, not when the whole muggy summer hasn't even started yet. So that's nice.

Going outside is an exercise in finding glands you didn't know you had. Ten seconds after stepping outside, my nose is slick with sweat, the soles of my feet are slippery, the backs of my knees make tiny squelching noises. And all the usual sweating parts defeat any amount of antiperspirant and become swamps. I'm on my third set of clothes for today.

Anyway, I took my bad mood and my ridiculously pale skin out on the bike this evening, planning to stay out for fifteen minutes to clear my head, and ending up ninety two blocks away; coming home through central park, finding parts of the park I didn't know about and being happy because a really tiny kid was rollerblading unsteadily and judging people on their dog choices and watching everyone live their Sunday evenings. And of course the sun shone and the birds sang and the wind blew and the trees rustled and my bad mood lifted and I realised that everything is very good indeed. It is really. It's just a bit warm.
noideadog: (hair)
It's so bright. It's so sunny. Joel opened all the curtains and we lay in bed enjoying the daylight instead of going to work. (Note: this does not mean I'm a slacker. I work seven million hours a week these days. I'm glad that's clear.) It's so perfect to just lie and semi-doze and talk about nothing much and be in the sun. Today my life is as good as it can possibly be. No, really, that's all it takes. I get most of my life force from photosynthesis.

And it's nearly the weekend too. Tomorrow, if it stays like this, I think I'll go to the park.
noideadog: (meerkat)
In which she talks about the weather.

Cold, isn't it! I've enjoyed having fresh air wafting around the place for the last month, but last night I closed -all- the windows, and this morning I made plans to buy a rug for the bathroom floor. There's Autumn in the air. It came as a bit of a surprise when I looked out the window last night and it was dark. Autumn hasn't been very evident so far -- the leaves are still green, for one thing -- but last night it was clearly upon us. It's a different kind of light in Autumn, I think. A different kind of dark, too, a shade that you just don't get at other times of the year. It's not yet the sodden miserable dark (oh November, how you kill me), or the absolute stillness that is a proper winter night, but it's a very -dark- dark, which closes in and makes you feel alone in the world, wrapped up in your house and your kitchen and your red cow pyjamas. It's very distinctive. It's very Autumn. (It's very bloody cold.) I like it a lot, but I need to buy some jumpers.
noideadog: (shutup)
A weird design quirk of our house is that the washing machine and tumble drier live in a shed at the bottom of the garden. Score one for a quiet kitchen, but minus several for sitting in here writing about the washing machine being in the garden to put off having to go out in the freezing cold and hedgehogs and get my laundry.

Incidentally, since I started eating vitamin B tablets every day, I don't mind Autumn gloom so much. There's still all of November to survive, but I'm ok with it so far. Just in case you were frantically wondering.

God it's cold out there. I wonder if I could ignore the laundry and wear pyjamas to work instead.
noideadog: (hair)
http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0921/msk.html?rss

My thoughts on the high court decision to force a woman to have a blood transfusion that will save her life but is against her religion and are there limits to the length of the text in lj cuts do you think? )

In other news, I don't know whether it's incredibly windy outside, or whether being on the seventh floor amplifies the wind so that you feel you're in a treehouse. A treehouse made of aluminium sheets. The whole building is rattling. It's eerie.

In other other news, I'm off to the pub.
noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
It's dark outside and grey and dirty and pissing down. Welcome to Autumn, Irelanders. Roll on May.

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