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Sometimes you eat the bear,
and sometimes the bear eats you

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Friday, March 13, 2009 10:55 PM
 by Fëanor

I was very excited to receive in the mail today the RAM I ordered a while back for our laptop. Recently the laptop has been frustrating poppy and me a great deal with its agonizing slowness. Cleaning up the hard drive and defragging didn't seem to make much difference, so more RAM was the obvious next step. I popped it open a few hours ago, installed it, turned the computer on, and was cruising right along... until the computer just froze up completely. I got scared I might have dislodged the hard drive when I was opening literally every compartment on the bottom of the machine trying to find the RAM slots, but it turned out I just hadn't pushed one of the RAM chips all the way down into its slot. I settled it in there more firmly and now everything's going swimmingly. I haven't really given the computer a serious workout yet, but it already seems quite a bit snappier.

One of the first things I did on the new sped up computer is give Floyd his own Twitter account. His username is floydthegrey. I'm going to try not to get carried away and add his Twitter feed to my blog index, and give him his own Facebook account, and stuff like that. But we'll see what happens.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Computers (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Technology (Not), Twitter (Not)
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Friday, March 13, 2009 06:23 AM
(Last updated on Friday, March 13, 2009 07:03 AM)
I'm Exhausted. Here's Why
 by Fëanor

At around 12:30 this morning, the neighbor's dog began barking insistently and repeatedly. This was accompanied and followed by an insistent and repeated pounding noise, which itself was followed by some shouting. I'm guessing one of the other neighbors went over and complained about the dog. God bless that person, because the dog stopped barking after that.

At around 3:00 this morning, our dog started whining, the way he does these days. I think I got him to quiet down pretty quickly, but it didn't really matter, because at just about the same time a helicopter flew in low and began to circle the neighborhood over and over with a loud buzzing noise that sometimes actually shook the house. This continued for about an hour. I have no idea what it was about. I put on the TV and tried to find some local news, with the idea that there might be a story that would explain the presence of a helicopter in our area (a search for escaped criminals? A fire?), but to my consternation, nobody broadcasts local news at 3:30 in the morning. I even considered calling the police to ask them if they had a helicopter patrolling my area and why, and if they didn't, to please come and remove the machine immediately. (UPDATE: I also thought about going outside, in the hopes that I'd be able to tell what was going on just by looking around. And also that I might be able to convey to the pilot, via hand gestures as he was flying by, that I'd really appreciate it if he flew somewhere else, and that, once he got there, I wouldn't mind if he died horribly in a fire.) Actually, it's a good thing we don't own a gun, because I was fantasizing about stepping outside with a rifle and shooting the helicopter down. (UPDATE: I might have taken a few shots at the neighbor's dog while I was at it.) I was also wishing for the pilot to fly away and then crash and burn in an empty field nearby.

The helicopter finally left a little after 4, to my great relief. The dog whined some more but eventually I got back to sleep... only to wake to the dog whining again a little after 5:30. Which is just as well, because I usually get up at 5:30, but I forgot to set the alarm last night.

Normally I'd be exercising right now, but I'm just too tired.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Personal (Not)
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Sunday, March 8, 2009 01:43 PM
The Dog Urine Saga, Continued
 by Fëanor

So, as the more realistic and less optimistic among you might have guessed, I spoke a bit too soon in this post when I predicted that our problems with Floyd peeing in the house were over. Sadly he has done it again a number of times since then. I'm still kind of hoping that when he finishes out his pills he'll miraculously get better, but I'm not so sure anymore. We already scheduled another appointment with the vet just in case, and we're even trying various pseudo-magical alternative medicine options.

In the meantime, we decided we really had to do some serious cleaning, so we rented a Rug Doctor from the Wegmans. Unfortunately, it somehow only made things worse. The urine smell, which had mostly dissipated, got stronger and spread all over the room. Awesome.

But the story gets funnier! This morning we went back to Wegmans for two reasons: to do our grocery shopping for the week, and to return the Rug Doctor. We managed to forget both the shopping list and the Rug Doctor. We remembered enough of the list to do most of our shopping, then hurried back home so I could load the Rug Doctor up and get it back before we'd be charged for another day's rental. I made it with fewer than 10 minutes to spare. Then I finished the shopping and had the clever idea of also picking up a spray for the rug to try to fix what the Rug Doctor had ruined. It seems to have worked pretty well - anyway, it now smells like potpourri in here instead of urine - but we'll have to see if it lasts.
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Personal (Not)
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Monday, December 29, 2008 06:37 PM
Merry Poochmas!
 by Fëanor

I can't let this day go by without pointing out that it is the anniversary of the birth of our boy Floyd, an auspicious occasion I have chosen to call Poochmas. Our mighty, neurotic hound is now eight years old, and enjoying his new home, even if he only really uses one room and the backyard, and consents to walk through a couple of other rooms and hallways. So a merry Poochmas to all, and a happy birthday to Floyd! Many happy returns!

Floyd at Ag Field Day

Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Photography (Not)
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Thursday, December 25, 2008 06:12 PM
(Last updated on Friday, December 26, 2008 01:57 PM)
Xmas Haul - Now with Pics!
 by Fëanor

UPDATE 1: I added some photos! Click here to see the entire Christmas set. (All pics of my niece have been marked private, to protect her from evil. If you are a relative who would like to see them and cannot, let me know!)

UPDATE 2: Added a new item that I just received.

Below are all the awesome gifts I got for Christmas this year. If I forgot a gift, a gift-giver, or attributed a gift to the wrong gift-giver, I deeply apologize. Please know it is no reflection on you or your gift, but merely a reflection on my very poor memory.

My personal haul
Stuff I got from poppy and poppy's Dad.

  • From poppy's Dad:
    • Garmin nüvi GPS - This was a big surprise, and a very cool gift. We already used it driving to my parents' house this morning; it told us a slightly different route than we're used to, which worked pretty well. Plus, we've already switched it to talk in a British accent, and named it Cassandra.

    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed color changing lightsaber - Aww yeah. It looks like you're a good guy with a green blade until you click a button that extends spikes from the sides and changes the blade color from green to red. Then you stab your enemies! I have two other lightsabers in the basement; I'm tempted to bring them all up, load them up with batteries, and have people over for a giant lightsaber fight.

    • Vivitar binoculars with UV-coated optics - For spying on the neighbors.

    • $100 debit card

    • Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Golden Plunger Awards - I'm one of those people who can't stand just sitting on the toilet doing nothing, and poppy's Dad knows this. I've already made use of this book; it's full of fascinating trivia.

    • Open It! - This is a very handy little gadget for opening hard to open packages. It's a pair of serious-looking shears with a tiny screwdriver and a razor blade hidden in either handle. I've already used it a lot opening other Christmas presents.

  • From my grandparents:
    • $30 Olive Garden gift card - Yummy!

  • From poppy:
    • LEGO Mars Mission Crystal Hawk - poppy knows I love the LEGOs, so she got me this cool little spaceship with a dude riding it. Then she stole it from me and put it together herself. But she has since taken it apart again so I can do it, so I'll forgive her.

    • Christmas Star Wars figures - These are three pseudo-super-deformed SW figures (Han, Chewie, and C3PO), repurposed for Christmas with holiday-themed accessories. Han has a wreath around his blaster, Chewie is holding a Christmas tree, and 3PO is wearing a Santa hat.

    • The Complete Superman Collection - A DVD containing every one of the Fleischers' fantastic, award-winning Superman cartoons. Truly awesome.

    • Flight to Mars - A DVD of a cheesy sci-fi flick! Should be fun.

    • Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms on DVD - My favorite of the animated Hellboy movies.

    • Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah - A graphic novel that I had on my wishlist, and that I actually know nothing about apart from the fact that Mike Mignola wrote it. But that's all I need to know!

    • Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by the Wu-Tang Clan - My first Wu-Tang CD. I suspect I will love it.

    • Bat-Manga! - A book of reprints of some odd Japanese Batman comics made I think during the '60s. Can't wait to check this out. The book is big, colorful, and beautifully designed.

    • The Marvel Vault - Very possibly my favorite gift this year. A huge book telling the entire history of Marvel Comics, from its beginnings to present day, with a lot of fantastic Marvel memorabilia secreted into plastic sleeves throughout the book, including reprints of sketches by famous artists, Marvel fan club cards, posters, postcards, and all kinds of other crazy little things. I'd never heard of this, but it looks amazing and I'm looking forward to digging into it.

  • My personal haul
    Stuff I got from my parents and my brother and sister-in-law.

  • From my parents:
    • Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk on DVD - Yes, my friends, it was a very Marvel Christmas for me. Excelsior!

    • $25 iTunes gift card - Most excellent. There's definitely a few albums lying around that I need to get.

    • Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman - I just discovered this existed recently. It's sort of a prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy. Exciting.

    • The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker - Nothing says Christmas like the Goon.

    • Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two - Woo hoo! Been looking forward to this.

  • From Steve and Evelyn:
    • Brookstone Mini Charging Valet - A handy dealie for storing your devices while they charge.

  • From our friends Susan and Matt:
    • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures - We haven't known Susan and Matt for that long, but somehow Susan was still able to guess I would like this. She was right! I love books full of monsters.

Poppy also got a lot of cool stuff, and the pooch received some fun toys and treats (although he got nothing from us, because we're terrible dog parents). All-in-all, it's been a pretty awesome Christmas. Hope yours was as good!

All our gifts under the tree
All our stuff safely ensconced under the tree.

Floyd enjoys a Christmas present
The pooch enjoying his present from his granddad.

Tagged (?): Books (Not), Christmas (Not), Comic books (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Food (Not), GPS (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Hellboy (Not), His Dark Materials (Not), Hulk (Not), Illustrated (Not), Iron Man (Not), LEGO (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), Photography (Not), Star Wars (Not), Superman (Not), Technology (Not), The Goon (Not), Toys (Not)
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Monday, November 10, 2008 01:14 PM
Go Greyhounds!
 by Fëanor

Check out this lovely article poppy sent me, explaining why Obama (and you) should get a greyhound. WORD.
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Greyhounds (Not)
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Saturday, September 27, 2008 08:52 AM
 by Fëanor

Here's Floyd cuddling with his toys. He's so cute!

Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Photography (Not)
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Thursday, August 7, 2008 01:21 PM
 by Fëanor

Here are some camera phone pictures I took while I was on vacation in North Carolina. You'll notice I took no pictures of people, only of animals and objects. This is my way.

Here's Floyd on his bed, being totally adorable.

Here's Floyd and my parents' dog, Rusty, being adorable together, waiting at the front door for everybody else to come back.

Here's a Pepsi machine, located outside a gift shop near the house my parents' rented for us, with an amusing message on it; in case you can't read it, it says: "USE AT OWN RISK - DOES GIVE WRONG DRINK AND TAKES MONEY."
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Personal (Not), Photography (Not)
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Saturday, July 19, 2008 10:23 AM
Dog Update
 by Fëanor

I feel like the dog is really settling into the new place now. We were really getting to our wits' end on the whole peeing in the house thing, but he turned a corner last weekend (perhaps because we gave up on the idea of trying to get him used to staying inside for long periods and holding it, and just started taking him out all the time, especially right before we left and as soon as we got home), and this week I don't think he had one accident. Thank God.

On the other hand, his eating problems have now become more pronounced, in that he'll often show reluctance to go to his bowl, or to eat near it, instead furtively grabbing a mouthful and then running back to a rug or the carpet to eat it. He seems to prefer to be totally alone when eating, with no one in the kitchen or nearby rooms. This means he'll often leave food in his bowl for long periods of time. It's worrisome, but he's not starving, so we're just living with it for now.

He also seems to have established his Forbidden Zones for the house. He has never liked wide expanses of hardwood floor, preferring carpeted surfaces or rugs. This is probably because he slips on the hardwood and can't get traction. The dining room, living room, and entrance hallway are all hardwood with only one rug in the center of the living room, so he pretty much doesn't go in those places at all (although he is willing to cross the back corner of the dining room in order to get out back). He also continues to avoid bathrooms, and we've made sure not to let him try the basement stairs, because we're a little afraid he'll go tumbling down them. He definitely uses a lot more of the space in this house than in the condo, however, and of course he loves the yard.

When he goes out back, he likes to dash out the door and straight over to the back left corner of the yard, because that's where the creatures are most often hanging out. In this neighborhood we have lots of animals, including many birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits. The rabbit, of course, is a traditional greyhound target (it's a fake rabbit that the greyhounds chase around the track when they race), so when we first saw there were so many rabbits living so close to our house, we were a little afraid of what would happen. I was very careful the first couple of times I took Floyd out for a walk. Luckily (although it does also disappoint me a little), he's a pretty bad greyhound. Although he often perks up and becomes interested when he sees a rabbit (if he even sees it; he's often passed them by without even noticing), and will even pick up his pace a bit and try to trot after it, he never pulls hard on the leash or tries to break out into a full run. And when he's free in the yard and does take off after them, he's never fast enough or accurate enough in his movements to catch them. I like to think that pretty much every time he runs out the back door, dashes over to that corner, and misses another little creature, what he's really thinking is, "Curses! Foiled again."
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Personal (Not)
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Saturday, July 5, 2008 08:51 AM
 by Fëanor

The New House
It's very nice. We're settling in, and we're loving a lot of things about the place. Our friends and family have helped us a great deal, but there's still a lot to do; a lot of things to put away and organize. And we've got a few issues with appliances and plumbing and so forth (sink that won't drain; dishwasher and washing machine that sometimes spit water all over the floor; sliding glass door that sometimes refuses to slide), but we expected that, and once the old things are replaced, we won't have to worry about them again for a very long time.

The Dog
In many ways, Floyd got used to the new place surprisingly quickly. He's eating and drinking from his bowls, even though they're on the vinyl floor in the kitchen; he's walking on the hard wood floors; he's going upstairs to sleep in our bedroom with us. But he is having one pretty big issue: separation anxiety. Whenever we leave him alone in the house, in some cases even for as little as a few minutes, he pees on the floor. So far it's only been one pee spot for each time we've left, and it's always been in about the same place, but it's pretty frustrating on top of everything else, especially since he's rarely had this kind of issue before; in the last week he's now peed inside more times than he had ever done in the two years we had him in the condo. Also, when this would happen in the past, usually he would get over it in the next day or two, but this time he's done it every single time we've left, like clockwork.

So I've done some internet research and we're trying to get him used to our leaving routine in stages. Get up, jingle our keys, go to the door, open it, then close it and sit back down again. Then do it again, and again, until it gets boring and normal and doesn't upset him anymore. Then start leaving for a short period, then leave for longer, and so on. He's gotten used to the opening the door bit, now we have to get him used to us leaving for a few seconds. I think we're making progress, but it continues to be frustrating, as we feel like prisoners of our house. I don't want to be angry with him, because I know it's not really his fault, but it's hard.

The Blog
Recently, after it had failed me one too many times with its constant crashing for no reason, I finally gave up on Internet Explorer. I have now converted almost entirely over to Firefox 3. Firefox has its own little annoyances, in that some of the sites I use constantly don't perform as well in it as they do in IE. But in the case of my own site, I knew that's my own fault; because I was an IE man, I simply never went to the trouble of learning how to support Firefox. But for the past few weeks, I've fiddled with my html and php off and on, and I think the site looks and functions quite well in Firefox now. Those little html buttons in the comment window (and in my own entry admin section) now work correctly, as do some other admin functions. As always, as you browse about my site, definitely let me know if you see anything funky and I'll see what I can do to fix it.
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Meta (Not), Personal (Not)
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