Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Letter-Writing Campaign

It took us a while to find our first dog, Lana. First, we tried with the local SPCA shelters, but, they'd not had any pups that didn't cause migraines for Donna. Then, we tried some breed-specific rescue organizations. Unfortunately, at least back in 2002/2003 timeframe, those organizations seemed a little over-protective: they were more focussed on finding a perfect home than one that was merely "suitable".

I'll never claim that we have a perfect home. Any pets we get will be well loved and taken care of to the extent that current finances allow (we've been fortunate enough to not have to skimp, thus far). We don't have an expansive yard or a huge house, but what we've got is enough for most pups to be comfortable. And, in the end, we have more than enough love to give.

At any rate, with the recent loss of Lana, we've been on the lookout for new dogs. The number of available dogs that are both cat and dog friendly seems to not be large - particularly factoring in Puckett and the types of dogs we've been looking at (bullies and bully-mixes). While we want to go the rescue route, we've been hoping for dogs in the 9-24mo range, so we can maximize our time with any we bring home (the size of dogs we're looking at tend to only live to the 10-12 year old range),

Thus far, we've visited two organizations and called a few others. We've also been scouring PetFinder.Com. We've got two more to visit, today. Between visits, I've been writing to rescue organizations and hoping someone can help us. There's a big empty spot in our house, right now.


Two different rescue organizations and found no daigz what are compatible with Puckett. Turns out that Puckett's a bit more alpha-ish than I'd originally thought.

We found several pups that we liked, but... Much as not every person gets my sense of humor, not every dog gets the way Puckett likes to play.

This could take a while. :(

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Such Domain?

I'm kind of surprised there's no "FapBook" out there. Given the popularity of "Fap" for porn and the number of sites that seem to want to put "Book" in their titles, it seemed natural that there'd be a FabBook.Com out there. Alas, no such critter.

Not The Droid I'm Looking For

Why does Verizon think I'd want a phone that looks like R2D2??

New Beginnings

If the weather and everything else cooperates, tomorrow, we'll be looking to move on to our post-Lana lives. She's left a big hole and we need someone to help us fill it. I'm really looking forward to doing daig-tryouts, tomorrow.

Dear Redskins

I used to think you didn't deserve the last 11yrs ...until today. Your treatment of McNabb, this year, has been nothing short of disgraceful. You've scapegoated a consummate professional the failings of an inflexible and under-talented coaching staff. And, because he's a professional, he's going to (at least publicly) take it like a professional.

Never thought I'd say these words, but I hope the fucking Cowboys run roughshod, this weekend.

Fuck Snyder. Fuck the Shannahans - who almost make Snyder look like a reasonable man. Fuck the `Skins. And, for you "fans" that continue to enrich these fuckers: fuck you, too.

Some Cats Need Skinned

Why do cats HAVE to lay right up against the heat registers?? They block them, leaving the entire house colder. Fuckers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Would the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse be to bleach oneself blonde?

Other than Nickleback, Themselves...

Is there anything more hateful than a Nickleback cover band?

What Are You Doing, DC Voters?

Every time I see Vincent Gray on the news, I think "my God, they've elected Mr Herbert as mayor". And, yes, I know I've posted in this vein, before, but still...

That's *One* Way to Warm the House

Cold weather/house means Donna's in a baking mood. Tonight: apple pie!

Surprising Reminders

That was surprisingly depressing. Took compost out only to notice how different the snow-tracks look with just one dog.

More Security Theatre

Guess the new Metro bag checks programs is going to be how they justify the next round of fare increases. And, hey: it will create new jobs! 

The security movements of the last few years: do they really accomplish anything or are they just the modern version of the WPA?

Do They Ever Get It Right

Ok, last night, weren't they saying just a dusting of snow and that it wouldn't start till later in the afternoon? Today, the snow started in the morning and ended up dropping more than an inch of snow and dreck. Yeah, 1" isn't much more than a dusting (except in an area like DC where people lose their fucking minds even if it's just flurries), but, it's still yet another instance of the forecasters being wrong.

Fmeh. How can a class of "professionals" be so frequently wrong and either have jobs or be taken even marginally seriously. I swear, the old lady at the nearby "fortune teller" shack is more accurate and more frequently right.

Tough Love

Curries and hot peppers are excellent ways to fight sinus congestion (and numb a sore throat).

Be Careful of Your TV Choices

Being too knowledgeable isn't a good thing when watching shows like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". Some of the answers are simply annoying. Many are inaccurate. Some are just down-right wrong.  It's clear that, instead of looking for correct/accurate answers, they're looking for the answers most likely to be given by the class of contestants their show draws.

Ugh. Makes me want to smack a bitch.

Mystery Solved?

Is the reason DC residents keep Barry in office because he makes everyone feel smart every time he's in the news?

Dear Whole Foods

Gumdrops should *NEVER* taste like marshmallows. Ugh. Very disconcerting.


So, I get an email (SPAM, obviously) with the above subject line. I see something like that and all I can think is "yeah, lemme open that right the hell up." Seriously: does anyone actually respond to such mailings??

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pat Collins: What Annoying Hack

NBC 4's Pat Collins has to be one of the most annoying "personalities" on local TV. I mean, watching his news reports feels like the guy who voiced the old Winnie-the-Pooh went to the William Shatner acting school. And, yes, it's exactly as annoying as you'd think such a combination would be.

Pat Collins needs to get out of the news business. What a freaking hack.

w00t! Gonna go look at daigz on Saturday!

A couple days after we put Lana down, we decide, "yeah, it would be a good idea to try to look for something to fill the hole that Lana left". So, we went on PetFinder and started looking. Obviously, with the Caribbean vacation we were just about to embark on, we had to put the actual plans for visits on hold. But, now back from our trip, I could start contacting rescue organizations. We're gonna go out to Friends of Homeless Animals (the organization we got Puckett from) this weekend to see if there's any dogs we might be able to bring home. We're bringing Puckett along so he can give us an initial "OK" (or veto). Then, we gotta get a home visit to see how compatible any new pups are with the cats.

Still, hopefully have a new guy/girl before the end of January.

GV Audio Transcripts

Let me start by saying, "I love Google Voice." If they ever turn it into a commercial product, I'd have no problem paying for it (especially if they added some other features). I mean, the ability to set up screenable call-groups and availability windows and forwarding options is just freaking awesome. The voice-to-text transcription service for voicemails is a nifty idea, too (I say "idea" because, in its current form, it's just "not quite there").

I love GV transcriptions of voicemails - for entertainment more than functional utility. Even the best of translations usually need work. And, when you get a message from someone with an accent, speech impediment or just "mush-mouth", the transcriptions should just say "you're on your own with this one!"

Don't get me wrong, the service makes a game attempt at translations. And, well...

Yesterday, I got a call from someone who I had a hard time understanding. Unfortunately, she was trying to give me directions to a destination, but I didn't have anything to write with, so, she offered to call back and leave a voicemail. It was just as funny a transcript as I was expecting. About the only way it could have been funnier is if GV woulda just done the same thing as in the Minnie the Moocher subtitles in the original Blues Brothers movie.


I really think there should be mandatory training on correct use of the "Reply" and "Reply-all" buttons before giving people email access. Just because a message was sent to a group doesn't mean you need to reply to the entire group. We really don't need to see it, and, what's more we don't want to see it.


I hate people.

The whole "Reply All" thing  was why, when I was last administering a corporate mail system, I put ACLs on distribution lists.

And, as you probably guessed, I hate chain letters and the like, too.

Wrinkles in Plans

It occurred to me that, if we get a new dog, soon, I'll need someone to go with me to weekend home Flyers games. Hopefully, it won't be a full-season thing. Hopefully, the new daig will adjust quickly enough that we can feel comfortable making weekend day-trips. But, still.

Dunno what's gonna happen with Christmas, if we can get a dog sorted before then, either. I don't think it will be an issue, given that we won't even be starting to see dogs until the 18th and most rescues want to do home-visits before placing a dog. Given that Christmas is inside a week, I don't see it getting knocked out before then. But, we may be pleasantly surprised. If we are, then, may need to change Christmas travel plans.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Runny nose + mustache = bad combo

When growing a beard, mustache, etc., you just don't really think about "what happens when I get a cold". I gotta think that similar is the case for people getting nose-rings.

Incorrect Impressions

Hmm... I think AmEx might be assuming too much from all the recent spending. I really don't need a credit increase.

Yes, I get that I spent a crap-ton this month. There was the $2000 in veterinary bills (veterinary ER visit, followed up, a few days later, by euthanasia and cremation costs). There was the nearly $2000 in supplemental fees paid to the cruise line (alcohol and shore excursions, etc.). And, of course, there was the $1300 for Donna's new sparkly (the place had had it priced at $5900, but, let it go for $1300 ...yet, I still felt skinned). Plus, my normal monthly expenditures (we do all our utilities, etc., grocery bills and the like through the card). And, of course, it's the Christmas shopping season.

So, it was a big month. But, at this point, they should have enough of a shopping history on me to know that it was rather an atypical month. Upping my credit limit by 50% isn't going to make me spend more. In fact, other than the utilities, groceries, etc., I don't have any expenses planned requiring its use for the next several months (ideally, not till Christmas 2011).

Whatevs: not like they charge me a carrying fee or anything.

Wonder if Roto-Rooter does sinuses?


I really hate colds. At least I waited to catch this one until the end of my Caribbean cruise rather than the beginning. Even better, it waited to really nail me until after my flight got back. I've been on airplanes with really bad sinuses and it's miserably painful: the low air-pressure, at altitude, makes your ears feel like they're going to burst. Or, even more fun, if your head seals up at altitude, landing and being on the ground is excruciating.


Dear Rescue Organisations:

Look: I know that you mean well; I know that you want every dog you place to be placed in a "forever home"; I know that you want each of your charges to have a perfect home.

Unfortunately, I think that what some of you forget is that, at the end of the day, you want to place a dog in a home. The home doesn't have to be perfect. It especially doesn't have to be so perfect that it, somehow, magically makes up for all of the abuses and injustices that caused those dogs to be in your charge. There is such a thing as "good enough". And, while "good enough" does encompass perfect, magical, etc., less than those are also valid. Basically, so long as the place your charges are placed into are loving homes that do their best for those dogs (even if their best isn't perfect), you've discharged your duties

I went through this nonsense before we got Lana. Our house wasn't good enough for a breed-specific rescue (even though our house was far better then the house that the would-be pet was being fostered in).. Yet, somehow, our pets have managed to be well-cared for and very much loved. I don't like adoption forms that make me feel like I'm being judged simply for wanting a pet. Congratulations: a dog that would have been happy here now has to wait longer to find a forever home.

Call-tree and On-Hold Lies

If my call is so important, why is it so hard to get through the call-tree and why am I on hold for so freaking long?

Big Ten Shits the Bed

Yegads. Go away for a vacation and come back to find the Big Ten shit the bed on the new logos and division names. WTF is this atrocity:
I mean, if the designers' goal was to create a united sentiment in a conference where all the members hate each other and agree on nothing, well, then, "bravo". They succeeded in creating something so sucktastic that everyone who's a fan of a Big Ten school can, at least, agree on how awful the logo is. And, if they can't agree on that, they can agree on how mind-bendingly stupid the new division names are.

Lastly, I don't get the whole Paterno trophy for the conference championship. I get that JoePa's an institution and the winningest living coach in BCS football. So, yeah, definitely worthy of having a trophy named after him ...except that he's: A) still alive; and B) still coaching. It feels like a not so subtle move by the league to get JoePa to step down. I'm a PSU alum and would be duly-bound to adore him (even if I didn't already like him for what he was, stands for and does), but the thought of JoePa winning a Stagg-Paterno trophy is rather weird.


Fuck you, winter. Fuck you straight in your frigid ass.

So, we spent the week, cruising the tropics. Going from where it was in the upper 30s/lower 40s to someplace where it was in the 70s all day seemed awesome. Unfortunately, we came back home and the 30s/40s had been replaced by days peaking in the lower/mid 20s. Argh.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Makes You Hungry

When the pool's next to the kitchen and your balcony overlooks the pool, your balcony smells of bacon in the morning.

Odd Labeling

Something odd about bi-lingual product labelings being in English and French Puerto Rico. I mean, I get that Aveda (the maker of the hotel toiletries) has standard labeling of its products. It just seemed "odd".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure US Air's Theme Song Should Be "Let's Get Retarded"

Ok, so, the trip down to Puerto Rico wasn't horrible. One of the legs of the trip down we were upgraded to first class (granted, it was the 20 minute flight to Philly, but, at least there was free alcohol). The PHL-to-SJU leg was what you'd expect from coach-class.

A couple days before our return, we got email notifications that we'd been upgraded on both the longer SJU-to-CLT leg and the shorter CLT-to-DCA leg. Coolness: free alcohol and extra space (we'll ignore the free hospital-quality food). Twenty-four hours before flight-time, got the notification to do web check-in.

It was at this point that it all went sorta sideways. I hit the "Check-in" button and then the "select seats" option. Everything was cool on the SJU-to-CLT leg - other than that our seats weren't together (no biggie, we figured we'd just ask people to trade so we could be together). However, the CLT-to-DCA leg was fuxored. Though both of us had been upgraded and our coach seats de-assigned, there was only one seat selectable for us in First Class. It also wouldn't even let me re-select a coach seat for either of us. Fuck.

So, I clicked on the "contact us" link. I called the number, navigated the call-tree and then was placed on hold for a CSR. Eventually, the CSR came on the line and quickly informed me, "oh, that's an international itinerary: you'll need to talk to the international ticketing desk. I'll transfer you, but here's the number in case you get disconnected..."

I'd never really considered Puerto Rico to be "international" given their legal relationship to the US. However, in retrospect, Puerto Rico does have it's on TLD (pulling up Google redirects you to and has Spanish as its primary language. So...

At any rate, the CSR transfers me the "international" call-tree (i.e., not a "warm hand-off"). Grr... I navigate the new call-tree and eventually get a new CSR. She finds that the CLT-to-DCA situation requires supervisor override (apparently, there were seats available in first class, but reserved and the supervisor was the only one that could force-allocate me a seat). She puts me on hold while they sort things out. Eventually, she comes back on the line and tells me I've got both my seats but that they're not next to each other. I figure "cool/whatever: we'll sort it out later". She also tells me I'm checked in and all I need to do is go back to the web site and click on the "print boarding passes" button. We say our goodbyes and I go back to my laptop to print out my tix.

The retardation that is US Airway's online reservations system isn't done with me, yet, however. While the website shows that I've now got two seats on each leg of the trip, it only lets me print the tickets for the seats that were allocated prior to my chat with the international reservations CSR. This is problematic, as I really didn't feel like having to ass-around in Charlotte due to not having a printed pass. So, I call US Airways, again. This time, I call their web tech support number, as this seems to be more a web-portal issue than a true ticketing issue. I navigate the call-tree and then wait on hold for a CSR. Eventually the CSR comes on the line. I identify myself and explain my issue. She asks me to hold while she tries to resolve it. Unfortunately, she has about as much success as I had and tells me to just have one of the gate agents print me all four passes when I check my bags. Great. This doesn't exactly give me the warm-fuzzies, but, "what can you do". On the marginal plus side, at least the CSR had the same problems I did. So, it wasn't a PEBKAC error on my part.

The next day, we get to the airport. We get a porter to lug our bags (they don't do the rental carts and Donna always packs heavy). We go through the APHIS/FDA screening, then go to the agent desk. Fortunately, being on a First Class itinerary, there were no lines to wait in. Donna discovers our desk agent is a kindred spirit: her ID-lanyard is printed with skulls and crossbones all over. The agent starts checking in our bags - tagging them and getting our bag-receipts all stapled up. However, she also appears to have issues getting all the tix to print. A supervisor is called over and eventually everything is all sorted out. As a bonus, our SJU-to-CLT leg is re-ticketed so that our seats are next to each other.