How to Lose an Hour of your Life: Cat Bounce

  1. Tune in your favorite trippy space music or techno-trance Internet radio station
  2. Go to this link.
  3. WHAT time is it?

I was in a hell of a mood before I found Zen in Cat Bounce. Be sure to make it rain now and then for extra-soothing cat bounciness.

Cat Bounce is a website where you can make cats bounce. It’s totally mesmerizing and I’m pretty sure it’s an advanced hypnosis technology that was put in place by the cat army to finally have complete control.

via Cat Bounce Has Been Sent From the Future to Ensure Total Cat Domination

Great Roadside Assistance By AAA: Why Isn’t Everybody A Member?

Late last night, I was on my way home after choir practice, picking my way along in a driving rainstorm. On impulse I stopped at the Burger King on the way for a bite, and pulled into a spot (conveniently under a streetlight) to eat. I had the radio going, the lights were probably still on, and I had forgotten that the battery had been giving signs of trouble lately.

Sure enough, when I went to start up, the starter motor just made that clacky EH-EH-EH noise. Great – how cliche: woman alone with a dead battery in a terrible rainstorm. I felt like a commercial.

After talking with David, I called AAA and was told it would be about a 45 minute wait. Someone would be coming out from an outfit called “A+ Auto Repair” out of Barrington.

So I read the Internets on my phone with all the lights off and waited. After about half an hour of somewhat anxious weather-checking and watching for a beeg tow truck all lit up, I became aware of an asthmatic automotive wheeze coming from slightly behind and to my right. Turned around, and there was this tiny little white mini-van, and a little raggedy man got out of it wearing a reflective safety vest. He ran over and called out “Horrible weather, isn’t it?” and got me to open the door so he could access the hood release. I couldn’t even roll down the windows, my battery was so low.

He was scruffy looking, and the overalls worn under his safety vest were worn and the sleeves were torn and little more than rags on his arms. But he nodded sharply as he hustled around the side of the car; he knew what needed to be done.

Then he set about with a portable charger pack – it had cables attached to wind-up handles on the sides, so it was pretty quick to set up. He moved cables around, trying different ground points, and on the second attempt (I saw sparks flying through the gap under the hood) the engine started up, good to go. He packed up and waved as he ran back to his little car, which was still hiccuping away behind me. I thought about the shoemaker’s children going barefoot and the tailor’s children going around in rags and smiled ruefully.

“Wait! Don’t you want to see the AAA card?” I had been holding it in my hand the whole time.

He had a slight accent; Polish, maybe? “Nah, I seen the card. You need a new battery. Good night, lady!” And with that, he jumped into his wheezy little mini-mini-van and puttered away.

Texted back and forth to David – he was willing to come out, but AAA had the expertise so we let them deal with it. I had to drive around for about another 20 minutes to get some kind of charge on the battery. I ended up driving along Bode (a road near us that winds around pleasantly) to Barrington Road and then went to Starbuck’s drive thru for a steamed milk (I still wasn’t running heat or the radio). On the way back, I had a scary moment on Golf when I drove through a very, very deep puddle and was completely blinded by sheeting water on the windshield. “Enough is enough, I’m charged up,” I thought, and went home, finally getting in about 9:50pm.

Late night for me, but I’m grateful that AAA was able once again to help out – they kind of saved our driving vacation back in August in Idaho, they’ve come out to help me a couple of times over the years with various things. It’s always a smooth process and they always call to ask for feedback afterwards – they want to know if the affiliate service provider arrived within the time range and whether I was satisfied.

Of course I was satisfied, a cheerful little man came out and got my car going, in a driving rainstorm late at night. Who wouldn’t be? I wish I had gotten his name, but he sure deserves kudos.

Why isn’t every driver a AAA member? They provide so many great services.

From changing flat tires roadside to jumping batteries in your driveway, AAA Roadside Assistance can help get you on your way. AAA is the nation’s most comprehensive service provider. A simple phone call or online request is all it takes to bring help to your disabled vehicle. As a member, you’re covered in any car — whether you are the driver or passenger.

via AAA – Request a Tow, Battery Jump & More – Roadside Assistance

My Birthday, Let Me Show You It Again and Again

We went down to visit with my husband David’s parents tonight, for dinner and to celebrate my birthday one last time. My birthday was actually last Saturday, which was pretty fun as it was the last full day of vacation. We spent the evening with my college friend Arne, catching up and drinking delicious beers at Coopersmith’s Ale House in Ft Collins.

Then on Sep 27, I celebrated my second birthday, because the first year we were dating, David thought that was my birthday. Also, my father-in-law got mixed up and thought it was the 26th, so they called a couple of days later on Thursday, and we celebrated over the phone while David was out of town on business. Also at work, the goofy birthday decoration has been over my desk all week, and I finally got the card that went around our team on Friday, so that makes Sep 30 an official birthday for me now, too.

And now, Oct 1 too. Dinner was pretty good; we went to Lubey’s in Tinley Park, which actually has a pretty charming downtown area.

Done with birthdays now, I think, for this year.

I still haven’t uploaded my photos from the trip, or gone through my tweets to remind myself of what happened when, but I hope to do that tomorrow. We’ll see.

But my birthweek has been awesome fun, at least! Why limit the fun to a single day?

Those Crazy People At Intersections Wearing “Impeach Obama” Signboards Probably LaRouchies

I saw those weirdo “Impeach Obama” guys at the corner of Golf and Roselle again on my way home. Took a picture of the guy (sorry for bad quality, blown up from mirror shot) talking and laughing with the guy behind me.  The driver actually gave money to this… Bozo. They must travel around the area with their little signs and clipboards – here’s a story from a while back:

Impeach Obama petitioner, probably a LaRouchie

The middle-aged man hoisting an “Impeach Obama” poster appeared to be intelligent, level-headed, and sincere. But the fliers he handed out at the intersection of US 30 and Mississippi Street in Merrillville sort of defeated his efforts.

They showed a large image of President Obama – sporting a Hitler mustache – under the headline, “WHY OBAMA MUST BE IMPEACHED.”

The flier, dated Feb. 7, 2010, was created by the (Lyndon H.) LaRouche Political Action Committee, a well-known organization for such materials.

The man handing them out seemed eager to give me the flier and even more eager to take my name and phone number before I had to speed away to make the green light.

I’ll let you know what his staffers tell me when they call. Stay tuned. In the meantime, does anybody take these people seriously?

These same affable, slightly kooky middle-aged guys were at the intersection of Golf and Roselle again today, complete with the Hitlerized Obama picture on the front of the sandwich boards they wore. On the front, it read “IMPEACH OBAMA he is a socialist!” (in what appears to be Comic Sans) and on the back it read “Obama is a cracker.”

I locked my door and shook my head as he went by, but he hit pay dirt with the car behind me – the driver was very jolly as he handed over some cash! I kept hollering “Are you kidding me? are you KIDDING me with this?” but fortunately for my blood pressure the light turned green. They were still talking and laughing behind me, as horns started to honk.

They’ve been out there before, but hadn’t seen them in months. I suppose today’s passage of START and the signing ceremony of DADT was enough to put them over the edge again.

I promise to get a better picture next time. That picture of Obama makes me feel sick to my stomach.

We Has A Guest Room Again!

A good friend from college is currently taking an epic early-retirement trip – she bought an Amtrak USA Rail Pass and she’s been making her way across country from California, visiting friends. She was at the taping of Prairie Home Companion in Minneapolis, and then she hopped on the Empire Builder to get to Chicago. She’ll come out our way tonight on a Metra commuter train, and will stay for a few days.

Meanwhile, we now have a guest room again – after we finished the final floor project, we moved out of the guest room back into the master bedroom and left things in some disarray.

All the snorkel gear and luggage has now been neatly stored in the closet, but there’s plenty of room empty hangar and floor space in there at the “guest” end. The small chest of drawers is now in there again (it had been moved out during the second flooring project) and it’s cleared and ready for use. Everything’s been dusted and tidied. David was a real champion this morning and did the stuff I was planning on doing after I got back from church, so now we’re pretty much ready to welcome our friend.

She won’t be here for about 3 hours, so we’re relaxing by watching Mythbusters – the Sharammer episode. Good times.

Is Too Much, I Will Sum Up

I’m still alive, and hoping to break free of my Google Reader addiction in order to fall back into the more creative addictive habit of actually blogging something about what’s going on in my life or in my head.

Today is Caturday. There, I’ve blogged something. And I’ve been wrasslin with WordPress, updating all three of my sites/blogs. Er, well, I have a fourth blog but it’s quite inactive at the moment, it’s Riley the Cat’s blog.

I’ll get around to that later – he’s much too lazy to do his own blogging and I’m too lazy to do my own, let alone channel my cat’s much more interesting thoughts.

Anyway, this blog is now updated and I’ve been through the wringer trying to follow the instructions for getting one of my handy plugins updated – Twitter Tools now has to go through an API-like authentication process and the instructions were a little opaque as to what to fill in. Also, one major pitfall: if you have multiple blogs and multiple Twitter personae as I do, you really do need to log out of the Twitter developer’s app and re-log as the next account, or you end up with everything under one account.

Also, you have to fill in a bunch of fields with various consumer keys and sekrit tokens and what-nottery and it’s all too easy to paste into the wrong field, under the wrong account. Plus, you reach a point where you have to put in an even more sekrit access token and the instructions don’t point you in the obvious direction of clicking the “My Access Token” link once you succeed in filling in the fields in the first screen. Also, on the first screen, you have to name your “application” something that Twitter will find acceptable, like “[Blogname’s] Tools” but not “[Blogname’s] Twitter Tools” because the word “twitter” can’t be used. It took at least 3 tries to get past the initial registration page, which got me the consumer keys, but the tokens were under the link in the right-hand column.

The other point of this boring saga is just to see if this post shows up under the right Twitter account, GAH.

PS we had a great weekend last week downtown taking the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour, but my camera wasn’t working and it’s already been sent for repair or possibly will end up buying a new camera body, BAH.

PPS I also went for another mani-pedi indulgence day at Spa Martinique. This is a most untomboy-like thing for me to do.

Mission Accomplished

It’s a funny old Sunday for me; had to get up and out the door this morning by 4: 30am to get my husband David off to O’Hare for his flight to Orlando for a technical conference. He’s there, he’s run into some of his list members, he’s That Mailing List Guy.  He runs a lot of mailing lists that cover areas of expertise that are mostly to do with the AS/400 iSeries Systemi whatever IBM calls their midrange computing platform this week.

He got all packed last night, including the traditional “I can’t find my pants” crisis which fortunately was solved easily. Last time this happened, he had packed a brand new dress suit carefully in his suit bag, got to the conference, crashed in a friend’s room before his room was ready, then could not find his pants about an hour before the very important presentation.

He called me demanding to know if I had packed his dress pants. “Where are my PANTS?!? Did you pack them?”

It was the stress, really. He was nervous about the possibility of picking up a very prestigious award, and about maybe having to make an acceptance speech.

I reminded him that he’d packed up his suit bag very methodically with the brand new suit, and while I was checking the closet here just in case, he remembered the part about the friend’s room, tracked him down, and found his pants hanging in the closet.

Pants crisis: resolved.

Last night, it was more of a laundry/underwear crisis, much more easily fixed. There was clean laundry in baskets, but none of them seemed to contain socks and underwear. Keep in mind that we just got moved back into the master bedroom after more than 3 weeks, camping out in the guest room while we worked on our “3 day flooring project.” Our first night back in our own bed was Saturday, and the drawers which had been stacked up in the middle of the room had all be replaced in the dressers, thank GAWD, but there were still several laundry baskets that needed to be folded and put away.

There always are, I think they breed.

Anyway, David had clearly been searching frantically for his oddments of male netherwear when he shouted down from above “I can’t find any UNDERPANTS! ARRRGH!”

Stress, again: this time, it’s the plain old “early flight tomorrow, don’t want to forget anything, meanwhile I’m giving a presentation before the opening session” variety.

Soon enough, after we went through some baskets and checked the dresser drawers (which may have had stuff misfiled in them during the time they were stacked in the middle of the room), the Great Underpants Crisis of Nought ’10 was over. It was nervewracking and there was the distinct possibility that one of us would have to run out and get a 3-pack of white knittery, but fortunately it wasn’t necessary.

So David is off in Orlando, and I’m here for the beginning of the work week thinking about tasks and chores that I’d like to do, but that will probably get blown off if I’m not careful.

Believe it or not, blogging is a task AND a chore, because I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging lately what with how easy it is to just tweet something, and how hard it is to blog something with the iPhone now that both of my little bookmarklets stopped working. Anything seen during the normal workday is either a quick and easy tweet, a moblog picture (another dead easy function set up via Flickr), a del.icio.us link, or not at all, as it’s no longer a simple thing to pick up a link with WordPress’ “Press This” javascript functionality on the iPhone (although it still works perfectly on a desktop machine). I’m not sure why, actually; it may be a security “feature” stemming from some update or other. I didn’t want to bother David with it yesterday since he was trying to get all his stuff ready and packed, and it can certainly wait for his return.

Anyway, there it is; it’s not easy to blog using WordPress’ own iPhone app, as I just commented on Tiny Screenfuls, yet it’s easy to send a post to WordPress via Flickr, del.icio.us, or Google Reader if you set them up with the right permissions (and in Flickr’s case, a template that applies my beloved CSS drop shadows).

Why can’t WordPress’s app grab a link, for gosh sakes? Why did my handy Press This app stop working right? Grr.

Anyway, my hour of blogging is over, but there’s still a bit more to discuss: my accomplishment of mission.

We had a family member’s discarded laptop, which David got several weeks ago at a family gathering, that he was going to “part out.” After some tinkering around, however, he got it working, but we forgot to take it with us a couple of weekends ago when we met up as a family to visit our young nephew in college for lunch. Darn! So after missing another opportunity to get the now-working laptop back to its home, I managed to meet up this morning after church, although it might have worked to drop it off in the down time I had between O’Hare (5:15 AM) and church (8:15 AM). But no, it worked out fine to meet afterwards, although to make it happen I had to navigate to a shopping mall in Vernon Hills… AND deal with an escalator (I have a weird perception problem that makes it hard to use down escalators, and I tend to balk and head for the nearest elevator to avoid it). Found my family members at the designated drop point, exchanged signs and countersigns (“Hi, you guys!” and “Hey, you made it”), and handed over the laptop.

I thought I had a schedule conflict and couldn’t stay for lunch, but the conflict evaporated, drat it. So: Noodles & Company for me. Later tonight, leftovers. And that’s a little over an hour of righteous, linky-loving blogging.

And thus endeth the post, thanks be to Gawd.

Day One In Paradise

After yesterday’s comic misadventures in travel, today was an easy, perfect day in paradise. We’re not a big couple for grand gestures and super-elaborate plans; we’re more in the “play it by ear” mode of operations. But David had tucked a Valentine’s Day card in his bag and this morning he made coffee and brought me “breakfast in bed.”

Happy Valentine's Day from Maui

 

Okay, so it was a breakfast bar, because we got in so late last night we didn’t want to take the time to go to the grocery store to stock up.

We woke up relatively late for the first morning in Maui; must have been our very late arrival the night before. Just now David remarked that he already felt acclimated to the time; it’s after 1am Chicago time, and we’re still going strong.

Anyway, we got pulled together and went for a nice long walk up the beach, toward Wailea, enjoying the warm breezes and the soft sand on our bare feet (and picking our way around the occasional outcrops of lava and coral). Everybody and their dog were out today, and in fact it seemed like it was Golden Lab Play Day.

We came off the beach feeling like it was time for Second Breakfast, and I asked a local lady for an “anything but Denny’s” recommendation. She said “Mana Kai Maui,” or the Five Palms, a place we’ve been to before for dinner but not breakfast. She thought it was peaceful there, and you could see the water.

More Than Five Palms 

Good enough, so we walked back to pick up the car.

 

Five Palms Breakfast

 

And a fine breakfast it was – we sat indoors, which isn’t really indoors as they had the huge teak shutters folded open all around (they’re about 12 feet high). While eating, David spotted a paraglider coming down right over the beach in front of us, and we watched him spiral around and around before landing perfectly on the dry sand. A few minutes later, a second paraglider came down, same spot.

After breakfast, we walked up the beach a while, and ran into the paragliders, who had gathered up their chutes and thrown them over their shoulders to haul them back to their cars.

BIG laundry day

It looked like a gigantic load of laundry.

Then we got back in the car and headed off to Safeway’s to stock up for the first week, and even though we thought we were being conservative about buying small amounts and trying to keep it simple, we still ended up spending $200, even with a pretty good discount going with our Dominick’s card, which is part of the Safeway’s chain.

Once back, we spent some time relaxing on the lanai, I fooled with my new tripod, and David tried to do a reverse update on his iPhone. Then we had lunch – our favorite kind of tuna poke, some tako poke, and I had poi. Yes, I’m weird like that.

Otherwise, it was the typical Sunday afternoon stuff, except with a view of…

 

O HAI I IZ UR LOLWHALE

LOLWhales! O HAI!

Tail Lesson

And then there was some fun tail-slapping featuring a mama whale and her calf.

Flotilla

After that, the Fleet was on maneuvers…

In Formation

and then passed in review.

After all that, I went across the street and wonder of wonders, found two pair of board shorts, to replace the pair I seem to have lost on a previous trip. And these fit me better, being (rather large) men’s shorts and also I’ve lost weight from my hips (yay) although I still have more to lose.

David was still working on his iPhone software reversal thing, so I went down and got in the water, both in the surf a little and in the pool, which was just the right temperature. With all the walking, had a pretty good workout today.

David had spent some time photographing and just hanging out on the lanai and downstairs on the lawn, so it’s been a nice relaxing day for both of us.

Dinner was grilled tuna with rice and steamed veggies (and beer and snacks) and so here we are. It’s the first time I’ve uploaded anything substantive to Flickr in a while, other than mobile pictures, and clearly my skills are rusty. But I also took some photos I’ll be using for textures in Second Life, so it’s been quite a productive lazy day, too.

Think it’s time to call it “another shitty day in paradise.”