Head Hole Cleaning Day!

Anyone who lives with someone is sometimes asked to perform acts on another that they can’t quite do for themselves.   I am sure you’ve heard…

Scratch my back!
Rub my feet!
Straighten out my haircut!

If you have a dog or cat, or any other pet for that matter, things may get more … Intimate.  Add to it a dog who doesn’t like what I call euphemistically, Personal Maintenance, and things get even more interesting.

Border Collies are widely known to be the most intelligent dog breed.  My dog speaks English.   She at least tries, and certainly understands more words than I expect her to.   I’m spelling things constantly, even when she’s not around.

Border Collies do not like to have personal maintenance done to them.   Things like clipping toenails, giving them baths, getting stickers and burrs out of their feet are not a pleasant task.   It is more like Keystone Cops meet Cujo with my dog.  I’ve gotten snapped at while giving her a bath more times than I can count, and while she’s never actually connected with me, its scary.  Having her snap at you in an enclosed bathtub while you’re standing there naked will give you a new respect for Man’s Best Friend.

My particular Border Collie is a leggy beast, with longer legs than I have ever seen on a Border Collie.  When she gets going, it is like watching a cross of a Giraffe and Scooby Doo trying to escape.  I just had to clean her ears out, and it is at least a three time a week job.  Tonight she had the Ear Cleaning Fluid poured into her one ear and she decided that she hated the process, she hated me, she hated the Florida Evening, and decided that she’d run into the house.   Since the ground was damp partly from the excess ear fluid and the evening dew, she got to the Florida Tiles and had to try to stop.  Her legs splayed and she skidded across my living room to a stop when she shook and rubbed her head into her dog mat.

I had to go after her because there was a second ear to do.   She saw me with the bottle of fluid in my hand and decided she wanted no part of me, outside, or anything else remotely human related and started to run off.   I say Started to because it was a Hanna-Barbera moment with legs moving very fast and no momentum happening to the body.  Just slow enough for me to grab her body and drag her out of the house to repeat the process.

Isn’t Inertia a wonderful thing?

Life’s all peaceful now.  Mrs Dog’s ears are cleaned out for the day or two, and she’s sitting quietly on her mat trying hard to ignore life in general in that lackadaisical manner that only a dog can do.

Until the day after tomorrow when it all starts over again.

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Happy Cyber Shopping Days at www.dealnews.com

Most folks are sitting at home this week.  There’s a lot of traffic on the road, but not in rush hour.  I’m thankful for that since I’m still going to work at a regular hour.  It has been a real nice trip to work in the morning, few people, tunes on the radio and the snowbirds haven’t even hit.

The malls are full, even though this is a recession.  Lots of people walking through the stores, picking up things, and hopefully getting the economy going. 

What I did was sit at home and look over the deal sites over the last weekend.   The house was quiet, the neighborhood was quiet, and I really didn’t feel like going outside and visiting.  It was easy to go through the local area since we had a breather on Xmas and the weekend.  

I did manage to find a couple of buys online though.   The laptop is getting another stick of memory from Newegg.com since its getting cheaper.   I do some heavy duty tasks on the machine and they all seem to eat up memory.   Its only got 2gb now, so one of the sticks will get swapped out and I’ll be able to do all the wacky stuff I like to do. 

Woot served up a TV card.   I don’t have a big TV here, mine is still standard def, so I’d like to be able actually see what the fuss is about.   Since the laptop is not quite 720p by the description I’ve read, but it will be a lot cleaner than the old Sony I’ve got in the living room.  I’ll plug this thing into the USB port and it will get any over the air HDTV signals it finds.  Since I’m about 10 miles from the transmitters in South Florida, I’ll get all the local signals.  A $20 card is a lot cheaper than a big flat panel set that will end up bolted to the walls and its easier to work with.  

I’m finding these new toys or necessities, depending on your view, by surfing http://www.dealnews.com and skimming through their deals every day.  They have listings of all sorts of things from electronics to computers to watches and books.  I’ve been surfing it daily for months now, and I’m finding it fairly useful.  Both the memory and the TV stick were on the site.  

Maybe my wallet would be better off if I stopped, but Dealnews is a keeper.

Its all over but the fireworks

This week was always a strange one to me.  You’re between Xmas and New Years.  Typically it is a week given over to family, visits, and eating way too much food that you don’t need.  If you’re not doing the holiday visit thing, it’s quiet.

Utterly Quiet.

Have a pin?  Drop it!  DAMN that was loud!

But seriously, Living as close as I do to all the sights and touristy things, I can get out with a walk and be in a shopping district in short order, or hop on a bike or in the car and be at the beach in just a few miles.  If I choose not to do any of that and brave the snowbirds and the drunks, it’s quiet around here. 

Oh sure, its Sunday, and tomorrow I’ll be at work planning for a future on my Network with our people.  But for the most part, I’ll be able to enjoy a quiet week even if I do go about my “normal life”, whatever Normal is.

When you live in a city you find a groove.  Some may call it a rut and attempt to make things exciting by knocking you out of your groove, but for the most part you end up working towards your comfort level and equilibrium until you go on vacation.   South Florida is an economy built on Air Conditioning and Vacationers.   When you’re a tourist here, its all shiny and new.  The reality is that you go home and wonder what it is like to move here and live a normal life.  I made that jump, and I’m finding my equilibrium again after a rough couple of years and it feels good.

Call it a rut, but its nice to look around and see the sun and the flowers and have a routine that has been slightly unsettled by this weird week where as many people as possible are taking of.

I’ll be back at work with my feet up on my box under my desk, working on the network wondering where everyone went.

Dog Walk? No iPod? No Problem!

I have to walk Mrs Dog three times a day.   I shoot for 3 miles total but she’s not always into a long walk, and sometimes I am not either.  Around here that can mean that I’m outside for a minimum of 20 minutes for the mile, but typically I budget for 30 minutes on the early walks.

A habit I got into while skating was to listen to audio books, and that carried over to the dog walks.  At 610 in the morning there are usually very few people out, and I’ve got those things screwed into my head lecturing me on Roman History, telling me of Trantor with the Foundation Trilogy, or as of late P.G. Wodehouse’s books on “Jeeves and Wooster”.

Except there’s a problem there… the iPod’s batteries ran out.  Oops… better charge that.

Er, I’ll get to that later… let me look at the new shiny object….

What’s that outside the window?

How’s the pool now?  Still draining?

Let me bake some biscuits….

You get the picture.   Ok, I can excuse myself for forgetting the charge one day.   No problem there.  Absentmindedly, I guess it really didn’t mean all that much but I forgot all weekend.   No Jeeves and Wooster today.   Thing is that when you listen to your surroundings you start to hear the music of the city and the sounds of nature.   615AM can be amazingly noisy when those black crows start with their singing, or a flock of parrots wake up in the trees and lecture you.

I’m pretty good about taking the things out of my ears when I see someone so I can hear what they have to say, but when you don’t wear the iPods in something you’ve become accustomed to wearing them in, it brings up how isolating those little earpieces are.   They’re basically the electronic equivalent of a Cone of Silence, or a burqa… you’re there, everyone sees those headphones and ignores your presence unless you make an effort at taking them off and they notice.

Maybe I should find a better place to listen to Jeeves?…. Probably not!  😉

A Holiday Gift from Sirius – No DJ Announcements!

WOO HOO!

At least on “The Strobe”, their Disco Channel.

Ok, I can accept DJs in some limited amount.   Most DJs at any rate, as long as they’re not that Tim Bauman who I just can’t stand.   I’ve already done a rant on that one, he should be canned and go back to what ever club actually likes the guy. 

The thing is I didn’t realize how annoying the DJs were on the radio until this weekend when Sirius gave the one that handles the Disco channel off for the day.   While I do like Disco, I don’t usually just turn the stuff on and leave it roll for hours on end.   This weekend since there’s been nothing more than an occasional “bumper” telling you that you’re listening to The Strobe, It’s been on since I got home on Xmas Eve.   Its Sunday morning, and I’m loving it. 

There were times when I couldn’t listen to it like when I went up to Wellington and hit a dead spot on US 441 West of Boynton Beach coming home.   I guess the vinyl on the roof on the car was enough to make it too weak to get through, because I had no problems during the day when it was clear and the roof was off… But for the most part I’ve been listening to “Classic Dance, It’s not just Disco, The Strobe, Baby” all weekend.

Yeah that was a bumper… But at least its not talking over the music.  

See in DJ Parlance, on the radio, talking over the beginning of the song is called “posting”.  Stop it, please!

Everybody Dance… Doodoolooloo! Clap your hands! Clap your hands!

The Dog Hour

iIn a sentence, if you want to meet your neighbors, get a dog.

No, seriously.   I’ve got a 47 pound furry alarm clock of a shelter dog, a Mc Nab Dog or a Border Collie.  She looks like the pic in Wikipedia for the Mc Nab Dog.  Someone in Central Pennsylvania went out and got this beautiful puppy, tried to train her, got her to do some basic obedience tricks, and promptly abandoned her at around a year.   She spent another 6 months in a shelter.   As such she’s a very intelligent dog and quite fearful of other dogs.  I drove out on Thanksgiving one year, picked her up and she’s been my constant companion, my shadow, ever since.   She was quite the handful and now that I’ve got her trained, she’s an eerily intelligent girl who listens to everything that she hears in the house.

I’m happy I have got her.  But that’s another blog posting….

The thing is that I’ve got a habit of putting on the iPod and listening to Audio Books while walking at 6:15AM with her.  Not bad huh, but so does everyone else in the immediate neighborhood, and we’re all groggy.  I’m walking about currently listening to Jeeves and Wooster from P. G. Wodehouse and there’s someone wanting to chat me up.   The distance of the normal walk is a mile, and if you want to keep a Border Collie, Aussie Shepard, or any other active breed, you simply MUST walk them often.   She gets three miles a day, three walks a day.   That should take about 20 minutes each.  Stopping to greet the dog friends as you must will slow that to 30 minutes even at 6AM.

The later walk after I come home or just before bed are another story.   I’ve learned that I can’t toss something in the oven and have it ready when I get back or else I find myself with a cinder and getting to meet the local Fire Department.  The Dinner Hour walk has taken an hour and a half.  90 Full Minutes of trying to get home because some fool in a bar with two beers in him just has to meet my dog because he knows of one in the next town over back in Nebraska or Montana and has to tell me about it.

The evening walk is even more amusing because now the Dinner Hour greeters have had another three hours to have their beers, vodka, or wine and can be sloppy.  Put on your game face, this can be interesting!   The neighbors are fine, and usually social and brief.   Those folks on the other hand from out of town visiting the bars are now running across 5 lanes of traffic, squealing and screaming and slurring the words “Oh Beautiful dog, I have to pet him!”.

No.

Really.

Go home, get sober, and get lost.   Maybe some other day when you’ve dried out, ok?

Actually that happens about once every week or so, and luckily with my size and demeanor, I can shoo the drunks away like so many flies.  

Normally it is a pleasant way to see the neighbors, get caught up on the gossip and not be such a hermit watching the latest offerings on cable.   It never serves to be boring, and if you find yourself on a quiet night and the stars are out with the breezes off the ocean, you can always talk to Your Best Friend.  She’ll smile back and keep walking.  

Just have the bags and flashlight ready, there’s a dog litter law in this town!

Merry Xmas, here’s your sign!

No, this isn’t some redneck joke.  This is about making folks happy for the holidays.

Here in Wilton Manors, there’s a tradition of having a competition amongst the property and business owners for the best holiday display.   There are quite a few people who take part in the competition and you can see a few displays that are “spam worthy”.  In fact I may get my digital camera out and try for some night shots with the tripod.  Its a great excuse to get the dog out and take her around town instead of sitting in the bouncy Poang chair and play Freeciv while ignoring the telly for the night.

The grand prize winner this year had multiple arches made of red and white lights over his driveway, the house and fence all done up in lights.   He even went to decorate the little mulched area by the signpost in front with white lights to dream up a scene of electric snow.  There was a 70 foot tall Slash Pine (Like the kinds you see all up and down the Eastern Seaboard with long needles) done up with red and white lights… all the way to the top.   I swear you can see it from the next county!

Last night (Monday, since I write these ahead of time) I and three others drove around in a minivan and stopped by the winners of the prizes.   While it was a bit cramped with my long legs folded up into a pretzel for most of the time, it was a fun and heartwarming an evening.  Everyone seemed to know of the house with the tree within a tree or the grand prize winner, and they all asked if he won grand prize this year.  It wasn’t the house with the MOST lights, merely the one that we all said “WOW!” to. 

Kind of hard to beat a 70 foot tall red and white christmas tree!