" /> gigamatic: May 2005 Archives

« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

May 31, 2005

apostrophes and other peeves

I love you, E. Even though I'm sure to make mistakes in my writing, I always attempt to proofread as I type. Once in a while, I mistype something, and miss it in the proofing, and then I get really neurotic about it. It bugs me when I see someone obviously paid money for something and screwed up by not proofing it.

Recently, I had to deal with a copy-writer who couldn't use apostrophes to save his ass. When our director handed me the copy this guy wrote for the website, I went through and corrected it, only to be told "The website is messed up. You put apostrophes in the wrong spots." I promptly googled for apostrophe rules, and sent them both the results, leaving the site as I had corrected it. Of course, I never heard any thanks for fixing the copy, which, as it happens, is for a regional printing and copyright conference.

May 27, 2005

sleepy day.

man, i wish i had NOT had to drive back last night. that was friggin insane. but, i got to talk to not one but two execs at the station, tour the new tcom school's audio production suite (SWEET!), and see one of my favorite (and cutest) execs from my term at ACRN, the fabulous (and talented, and super-smart) Beth B. She hasn't changed a bit... aside from being married, and a professor, and even more talented. (And, she's a secret collector, too...)

I also picked up the ACRN promotional tshirts and buttons I bought last month. The shirts are PINK! Yeah, not just pink, but PINK! like, dont threaten my manliness PINK! Can you tell that girls and alternaguys run the station now? All we wver did before were grey, black, and cheap-ass white.

There's excitement there as the kids brace for moving not just into a new studio in a new building, but also become center of attention in a glassed-in space in the new lobby of the new student center... Theyreally ought to have new equipment. But part of me says they shouldnt have spent the money on LobsterFest this year, but instead made it a rebuilding year and planned for the move.

Hindsight, and all that, now. But I think, with some really well-planned giving programs, they could get new computers, a new server (or two) and a new board. As well as some new furnishings for the new space.

Now's the time to start an aggressive campaign. Well, the time to start was last year, but now will have to do. Think subscriptions. Think equipment. Think computers. Think sound resources. Think rebuilding the Snat costume.

On that note, I gotta get my day started and get out to the Meijer, the post office, the office, and ... who knows where else.

May 26, 2005

blah. no really.

so, i'm sitting here in a presentation on making good websites, and it's ALL USABILITY. it makes me crazy. Yeah, I got a day off work, but the first two presentations have been ... really just review of stuff I already know.

Leo Laporte is coming up at lunchtime (about 20 minutes), and then who knows if I'll go to everything after lunch. I have to go to the old radio station and drop off a check... and try to pick up the stuff they owe me. Since nobody answers email, I'm kinda pissed off.

user-experience.org has notes on the usability presentation.

more news later...

May 24, 2005

tv (and radio)'s LEO LAPORTE

Ok... Thursday I'm heading to Athens for an Info Tech conference. Leo Laporte is the lunchtime speaker, and I have to admit this is way cool. Not that I'll ask for an autograph, or try to get my picture taken, because that isn't quite like actually MEETING the guy and talking over a beer or something.

And yeah, one of my old co-execs from the radio station is going to be presenting two of the seminars, but unfortunately they're two which hold the least interest to me. I'll still try to catch her to say hello. And, I am going to swing by the old station just to say hello there, too, and pick up the tshirts I bought.

I mentioned it to the gang at the old station... he IS a celebrity, and well known in the geek world (which listens to internet radio). Maybe get him to say a few words and get his picture with the mascot? Who knows. With my luck, they won't even be around to take my money and give me my shirts.

Update: Still nothing. (9am Wed.)

observations from europe

My friend kriskelly just got back from a 3-week honeymoon in Europe. This is a quick list of some of her observations.

---------

Once outside of Germany, train times become approximate if at all. It is amazing how well the German trains run and you simply cross a border and the you can just throw time tables out the window. Traveling by train is way cool, just don't get bent out of shape if you don't get to all your locations on time.

We had not one person speak ill to us once discovering we were Americans. I wasn't sure what the feelings would be over there. We did however see various posters and shirts that were very anti-Bush, but not anti-American. I'm hoping this means most Europeans can tell the difference.

Germany is a very nice vacation. All of our German destinations were inexpensive compared to the other countries. Your money goes a lot further there. We're talking Athens like prices on beer, good ass German beer.

It is acceptable to drink beer at 9am in the morning on a train in Germany.

Everyone smokes.

In London the cartons of cigarettes have in large type, "Smoking will cause you a painful, early death" and yet everyone smokes.

The English countryside is a must see. More enjoyable to us than London.

London is freakin' huge. Possibly largest city I've ever visited. Not sure where it stands when compared to LA, but you need many, many days to see it all. We have to go back.

Europe is where all the lost 80s hits went to.

Amsterdam- the city that has it all. Three days in Amsterdam and each day was something completely different. One day spent admiring architecture and canals, one day spent exploring the red light district and all kinds of eateries. One day spent at various museums.

Despite possible ridicule I will admit my favorite day in A-dam was the museum day. I have never in my life seen in one day so many wonderful pieces of art and originals to boot. If you are an art fan you must go.

Seedier side of A-dam only got me thinking. Perhaps if I was a hot blooded American male this area would thrill me, but instead it made me sad.

Overall I have to say Amsterdam was pretty dirty. My husband went in '96 and said he didn't remember it being so dirty. Hotels are expensive so we stayed in a so-so one where our toilet broke on our last day and I was awoken the last morning by the guy in the room next to us wretching violently. Perhaps ideal vacation during my college days, but this city was not one of my favorite honeymoon experiences. I've seen it, don't think I ever need to go back.

Side note, marijuana is legally sold through out Holland. If this is a big deal to you and you have a desire to explore (perhaps the more real Holland) outside of Amsterdam we found coffee houses outside of Amsterdam most specifically in Tilburg.

Do not eat anything called Prawn Pie. You will regret it.

Eat pancakes (pankuekens) in Holland. yummmmmy.

Eat waffels in Belgium. yummmmy.

Tried pate in Belgium. It was I'm most certain the first time pureed chicken liver has broached my lips and its not bad.

Cheese in America is clearly some kind of imposter

There is such a thing as Eurotrash and I have seen it.

An English barteder was confounded at our thirst for English beer. He quite casually admitted to being a huge budweiser fan. Go figure.

spammer update...

I got a message from the guy whose name has been associated with the spams, and he said he has "done some research on the situation because [he] personally [is] receiving quite a few unsolicited messages as well."

I wrote back with the response: "You've done some research? And what has this research concluded? Your name is on these spams!"

Of course, no response. If I don't hear back, I think I'll just forward the whole thing to the authorities and let them handle it, no matter what the response.

May 22, 2005

so gay

ok, so i'm watching the season finale of desperate housewives. it's good and twisted and full of death. and i'm watching the commerical for the Bewitched movie, and thinking how cute Nicole Kidman looks, and how much i want to see it. and the Herbie: Fully Loaded trailer has the cute boy from Dodgeball and Galaxy Quest in it.

this makes me one of the gayest men i know.

May 20, 2005

michael bey's island

i just saw both the international and u.s. trailers for michael bey's new summer film, the island.

island1.jpg

oddly enough, looks like the city is very midwestern. granted, i dont know a lot of city skylines, but i quickly identified at least three buildings. sure, i know the cityscape is digital, but it just screamed cowtown. especially on the waterfront side. of course, buildings werent quite where they would normally be, but the shot of the skyline looked very, very familiar.

spam, toasted?

ok... a couple weeks ago, i realized i was getting spammed by some student organizations, but figured i couldnt do anything about those, so i didnt. then, i started getting spam for related events, but NOT student org events... coming from a fake university address. coming from a roadrunner ip address.

i've been steadily reporting them to roadrunner, who has, apparently, done nothing.

now, i've done some small amount of detective work and confirmed that the original student org spam and this spam are coming from the same individual, who, stupidly, has actually put his university email address AND his "business" email address on his spams.

well, according to the student directory, i know the department in which he works, and i've confirmed (using both that information and a whois listing) the place where he and his "business" reside.

what do i do with this information? do i email him again and say "i asked you nicely to take me off your list, and you didnt. you've been reported to roadrunner for spamming." or, do i do like my boss suggested, and email his supervisor in his department.

Update: I've contacted him again (via email, as he requested), and told him that roadrunner has been notified of the spamming activity, and if this is not rectified to my satisfaction immediately, it will be sent on to the proper university authorities for violation of university network policies.

May 19, 2005

why does it have to be so hard

so, we have online payroll. we have online tax forms. we have online signup for direct deposit.

but we can't CHANGE our direct deposit once it's been set up? wtf? the paper forms don't even allow for splitting into more than one account. i've now emailed my HR person AND called payroll for this information, and i have nothing yet. It should be a simple enough answer: can I do this online? can i do it at all? what forms do i need?

instead, nothing. 15000 employees and ONE lady to handle direct deposit questions, when the ENTIRE place is made to have mandatory direct deposit.

insanity i tell you.

well... if it's like everything else, they'll stall past June 1, and my changes wont happen till July.

update: we cant split into more than one account. hooray. at least i know now.

update #2 now i'm told we CAN do this, but i have to call payroll to do it, and talk to the lady i left a message with before talking to my hr person.

this is all too f'ing complicated.

---

Did I mention I didnt get my hotel room in Athens paid for, because the hotel with the proper rate was BOOKED by the time my travel forms got approved because someone sat on it too long. WTF. So, I'll be driving down at 6:30 am and driving back around 9pm. I might not even get my parking paid for, because the city parking lots/garages dont have attendants, just METERS, and there is no parking pass for the conference for the permit lots.

Update: After calling Parking Services, I managed to get a free day-pass to the campus down there, and they are calling the conference organizers to try and get passes out to attendees. Something the organizers should've thought of to begin with.

wtf. it's just a movie people.

one of my coworkers is an hour late for work. dude. drag your sorry ass in, will you? wuss. sleep after work. going to a midnight show shouldnt be an excuse to be late. oversleeping, maybe.

ugh.

i'm still not quite awake, myself, because i was just fretting about finances well into the night. i couldnt sleep. nothing is any different than it was, but i felt different (bad) after a conversation last night. i suck at keeping my finances in order unless i concentrate on it almost daily. but i am about to change that. as of next pay period, i'll be automatically splitting out 40% or so every month to savings, in order to challenge myself to make my money go further. i know i wont be able to make it QUITE work, but it will be a good experiment to see how close i can get.

it'll allow me to do more. take vacations. pay off my car faster. save for the future. and once in a while, treat myself.

May 18, 2005

webspace oddity

holy crud... what the hell has fueled this sudden burst of writing from me? i've completed 3 pieces (all of varying lengths) for a particular comics related blog, and started on THREE more. THREE. Those arent counting the two I dropped a couple months ago because I needed to photograph some of the figures I own.

And those will be staying on hold till after the move, sadly. However, I may take a photo of the back room, pre-inventory and packing, so that you all can understand my addiction, and how much room this stuff takes up while in boxes.

Crazy me. I'll be taking some time off from work to keep moving on packing up and fixing up the house while Nala is at work. Must. Get. House. Done. To be honest, I wish we'd have taken the time and done this stuff when we moved in (a tip for the next place, for certain.)

Oh, the wackiness to come.

desperate neighbors

So, I was curious about the street for Desperate Housewives and the houses that appear there...

And I found this link which lists the neighbors and where they live.

But something seems off.

"Mystery neighbor" next to Gabi? Wasnt that the family with the little girl who caught Gabi with the gardener? (and who Gabi bought a bicycle to get her to keep quiet?)

And there's another old busybody who fits in there somewhere... not Mrs. Huber, but built similarly and older. She's appeared in a commercial or two lately.

Useless info.

And this nice quote: (from here)

Stage and backlot space also becomes at a premium, and we have a location-dependent show in Desperate Housewives, almost all of which takes place on one street. We look at every suburb within 30 miles of LA, before realising that even if we can keep a neighbourhood sweet for 13 days of shooting for a pilot, including eight all-nighters, it would be impossible to go back for a series.
Finally, we settle on a bizarre street on the Universal backlot, a forgotten cul-de-sac on the tram tour, where old movie houses are brought to die. Thus, the Desperate Housewives now live in homes formerly occupied by James Stewart and his invisible rabbit friend, the Munsters and the cast of Leave It to Beaver.
Seven hundred thousand dollars of refurbishment later, including lawn mowers, bicycles and food mixers straight out of the Sears catalogue, as well as an inordinate amount of silk wisteria at 10 bucks a stem, Wisteria Lane is ready to roll.
The shoot moves smoothly and surprisingly enjoyably. After cruising round suburbs at the weekend for inspiration, I realise that the only details of real life that are missing from the backlot seem to be squirrels and crows, so each day begins with a petulant cry, "Where are the squirrels?" (On the last day of the shoot, producer Michael Edelstein turns up on set in a six-foot squirrel costume.)

May 17, 2005

my day of WTF technology

so, 10.4 fall down go boom kill partition.
reinstall 10.4, software updater gets 10.4.1.
machine still needs apps reinstalled. which SUCKS.

sitting here glancing at sidekick, which hasnt seen the network since i turned it on this morning. i didnt really care, but 3 hours later, when it still wasnt seeing the network, i got pissed. called tmobile, whose website wouldnt let me pay my bill the last few days. now bill is "past due" - i paid, they said it wouldnt affect credit till saturday, then they had me soft-reset the device, which then still didnt find the network. ARGH.

so, they then transferred me to the sidekick network group, tier 1. while on hold, the bastard device decided to find the network. i still bitched, and then was offered a "$20 value" of more minutes. "I dont use it for a phone -- i only use data" I said, peevedly, "which makes it that much of an inconvenience when it cant see the network!" -- so, their other credit option was to give me $5 credit, which was the smallest increment they could, for network problems. then, i had them drop my plan down to data only (with $0.20/minute for occasional phone use) which saves me $10/month. I just got documentation yesterday that my insurance for the phone has changed... gone up $2/month, and now requires a $110 deductible. That's right-- $84/yr and $110 if you need it. WTF. I might as well buy a new one.

ARGH. It's not even lunchtime yet.

oh. fantastic.

my mac os x tiger machine won't boot. yay. it powercycled during a boot (thanks to my big foot hitting the powerstrip switch), and now it's stalling on the grey apple screen, no warning sounds, either.

ooh, apparently it killed the mount point on my boot partition? ouch.

my only choice was to repartition. none of the disk utility/first aid options would work.

good lord. this sucks. now i have to reinstall all my apps, too.

writing. and slacking.

yesterday, i wrote 3 "reviews" if you could call them that... and didnt do squat otherwise. tonight i must continue the opening and packing of the action figures. the sooner i can walk thru the guest bedroom, the sooner i can haul out the twin bed, and the recliner, and three bookshelves.

i also need to make my return-run to meijer. and deposit a check. and pay my car payment.

We love the puuug! 'cuz they are good to us...

Blue Focus Sedan, Ohio license PUG HUG. Made me laugh, and think of Riley and his owners. And then the Captain, whose full name I've forgotten.

May 16, 2005

neglect. sort of.

So, i'm currently working on 3 items for Trusty Sidekicks. The first is nearly done. I've forgotten where I put the draft for the second. And now, thanks to Evebird, I have my third.

I'm hoping when I review my emails from the last week, I'll find the missing draft...

I'm dreading the great pack-and-purge. Last night I actually OPENED 5 of the 6 DC Direct Green Lantern (Rebirth) Series 1 figures. They're great sculpts, and look fantastic on a shelf, but I've just taken them down in value. And now they have to be carefully wrapped and packed. They have sticky vinyl, which is going to be a pain.

Next on the list to be packed, I think, are the Alex Ross Justice figures. ARGH. I hate taking them out before I have a place for them.

May 11, 2005

post- the letter.

so, last night's documentary, The Letter, did little more than expose the fact that there is racism, xenophobia, and jingoism alive and well in small town Maine (ok, second largest city Maine).

it wasn't as hard-hitting as i expected. it wasn't as in-your-face as i expected. it simply told it as it was. shocking? i suppose, a little, having family there. inciting? no. moving? no. exciting? no. empowering? no.

it just portrayed a community in chaos. sad, sad chaos. the saddest thing is, i could see it happening here, easily. granted, cowtown is a MUCH larger city, but people are already seeing the -isms on a smaller scale every day.

----

the one thing i didnt catch, near the end of the film, mainly because those around me were talking, was when the interviewer was talking to the mayor about "and how did it make you feel to know that you were being branded as a racist when (someone, daughter maybe), had just adopted two black children?" and the mayor couldn't speak. nala, did you catch this?

May 10, 2005

spring break

no, i'm not going to daytona.

i'm going to ohio university for the spring <br> conference. it's cheap, it's close, and it's at my old school. one of my old coworkers is giving two of the presentations (granted, two of the ones i'm least interested in, but i'll probably go to one of em.) And Leo Laporte from Screen Savers is speaking! He kicks ass.

i definitely have my registration fees covered (and lunch). i applied for mileage reimbursement, dinner reimbursement, and a hotel for the night. we'll see if those all get approved.

i've also taken that Friday as a vacation day.

apostrophe catastrophe

ok, i am not the world's greatest authority on grammar and spelling and such, as you can tell by my writing here. sometimes i get in a hurry and don't check things like whether all my possessives or contractions have apostrophes in the right place, but usually, i do ok.

well, there's nothing that bugs me more than seeing a final printed piece where someone who didn't bother to check (or never knew) the rules has made a fool of their organization.

so here are the rules.

now, before my head explodes, i'm going to calm down and have a doughnut.

eek.

ok... i need to admit something. i've been lusting, privately, for new computer hardware. a new laptop, specifically. yeah, yeah, you say. you always are lusting after new hardware. not true, i say. i hadn't compared pricing until today.

goddamn, good laptops are STILL expensive. sure, I can get a good desktop for under $1000, but a good "desktop replacement" laptop is still going to run me (even with our discount from work) $2500+. And that's whether I get a wintel or a mac.

i had gone to the apple store for education and configured the 17" powerbook to my liking and groaned in pain when i saw the price. then, i went to the most respected laptop vendor and did the same. the two were much closer in price than i thought, and for instance, the hard drive space and standard ram was actually less on the wintel for more money.

ouch.

i think i'll just calm my technolust with a trip to visit my "new" grill, on sale at Lowe's. mmm... grill.

the letter.

ok, i almost missed this, and that wouldve been a shame.

The Letter: An American Town and the "Somali Invasion" (Ziad H. Hamzeh, 2003)
An impassioned documentary by Syrian-American filmmaker Ziad Hamzeh, The Letter chronicles the controversy that gripped Lewiston, Maine, in 2002, surrounding the 1100 Somali refugees living there.
It started when the town's mayor published an open letter discouraging the refugees from inviting other Somalis to join them in the economically ailing community (with a 97% white population). When the letter received national attention and was denounced for its thinly veiled racism, a firestorm of divergent opinion erupted. Neo-Nazi and KKK-affiliated groups organized rallies in Lewiston, and their supporters came face to face with crowds defending cultural diversity and tolerance.
The Letter raises timely questions about anti-Muslim sentiment, institutionalized prejudice, and the nation's immigrant heritage, all of relevance locally in view of Columbus's large and vibrant Somali population. (76 mins.)

You may have heard me talk about my cousin's wife explaining that public schools in certain parts of Maine are experiencing previously unheard-of diversity and teaching to over 30 languages, and said "Maine? Really?" Yes, Maine. Of course, if you went to Chicago and said "Columbus has a fast-growing Mexican population" they'd probably look at you funny, too.

I really want to see this. I want so badly to see it, I bought tickets already without knowing if anyone will go with me. And there's free food beforehand. Mm. Free Somali food.

Update: Convinced Nala to go tonight. For reference, Lewiston, for those in Ohio, is comparable to, say, St. Clairsville, or maybe Athens during the school year. Think about if one of every 10-15 people you met on the street was from a different country (not to mention, continent and color), and your town had always been (as long as anyone could remember) just you WASPy Americans... what a culture shock, eh?

I cant wait to see this documentary. I have a friend who's dating a Somali guy, and I wish they were going tonight, too. Maybe I'll email them. I'm definitely emailing my cousin-in-law and aunt afterward... just to see if things there have changed since the documentary.

May 9, 2005

new music

so, i've got about 120 free songs to download on iTMS.

yesterday, I won the new Weezer disk.

Saturday, Kelmeister loaded up 2 cds worth of music for me.

today, i signed up for launchcast thru Yahoo, and i ordered a SD 1GB card for my Rio. yeah, i coulda picked it up locally (Meijer's having a sale, making the prices comparable to online stores), but I ended up getting it online because I saved $7, even with shipping.

friday, i got more than a taste of Ryan Adams, and Rachael Yamagata, and I liked them both... but I get the feeling that she's less angry on her album, and that he's an ass (but can make good music). Mr. B is lending me some of his tunes, and Mrs. T is lending me the Yamagata stuff. I need to also convince Mr. T to lend me his Magnetic Fields collection.

And then there's the tape-trader's club we used to have. I'm thinking I might start that up again. And, I've downloaded software for podcasting. And, I think I'm going to subscribe to CMJ:NMM again, and Heavy Music. And, I might give myself an iTMS allowance, too.

And of course, my friend's cat, Communist J. Cat, has his own secret stash of mp3s online... it's ALL good stuff, and Commie's yearly compilations are great for road trips. (Reminder to self: send Commie's owner a check for hosting).

Lunchtime. Know what that means? That's right -- nothing. I've got to (sometime today) make it down to the Brewery District during business hours and collect my CD... I'm thinking I'll skip lunch and get movin around 3, so I can get home quick.

Update: More new music... apparently, I renewed my subscription to Salon? Kick ass. More free music to download. And it's available by RSS feed, too. Mmm. I can taste the free music goodness.

wtf?!

you tell me that i'm going on a mandatory "retreat" to "begin discussions about integrating the department's divisions and better utilizing strengths from each area. Concentrating on enhancing comprehensive offerings to customers." and then I find out it involves two giant high-ropes courses, a zip-line, and a giant 50-foot rope swing over water. and a very special guest is going to be there.

Yes, i've been known to say i want to do some things before i die, but, I also want to do them on my own terms. there's a reason i'd never go on one of those Road Rules or Fear Factor shows, and this is it. When I want to jump out of an airplane, I'll do it. When I want to climb ropes 50 feet in the air, I'll do it. Until then, no way in hell. I HATE HEIGHTS. And I'm clumsy.

So, yeah. This isnt something like eating tako at the sushi place, where teasing will get me to get over it. This is "I AM GOING TO FALL TO MY DEATH" fear here. And in front of all my coworkers, too. Yeah.

My only hope is that my department is too cheap to pay for all that, and just rented a room in the facility.

too. much. coffee.

buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

oh, i started my own Launchcast station thru Yahoo today. Kinda cool. I just went from No Doubt, to Wallflowers, to new Morrissey, to Depeche Mode, to new U2, to Black Crowes, to Chemical Brothers... not bad.

And I MUST finish loading up free downloads at iTunes so I can get those free songs. AND I have to do bills today.

Fun stuff.

May 8, 2005

are ya sick yet?

first of all, although i kind of like his music, Ryan Adams is a whiny bitch, and I dont think I care about seeing him in concert again. He played a totally low-energy show, and then when those of us with other committments had to be home, played a whole 'nother set which was apparently rockin'. He whined about the A/C in the venue, he whined about something else that I don't recall... and after we left, he told some folks near the stage to shut up. I'm sorry, dont bring vintage guitars on tour if you're afraid they're going to be damaged. And you're supposed to be a damn sexy rock star, so when you come out on stage having not shaved in weeks or bathed in days, and playing a low-energy set, dont expect the ladies to give one god damn about you.

I digress. Ryan Adams is a whiny bitch, and I'll leave it at that.

the stone from the demo work last year (3 tons or so) is now gone. GONE DADDY GONE love is gone. Yeah, so what if I am slap happy. I made two trips to the dump this weekend: once with the last of our stone and a built in (but long rotted) wine rack from the basement, and once with the mildewed and rotted panelling and baseboards from the Pickettage, along with some gutter and baseboards from the Power Estate. I feel like a lesbian.

it's sunday evening, and things are coming to a close on the weekend. 4 flats of impatiens and about a flat of pansies were planted, and some parts of the areas are mulched, a new border was put in on the tree side, lots more plants were bought.

I now have 3 hanging baskets on my porch. Because they were on sale. Shoulda gotten more, but I was tired from baking in the sun for two days, and wanted nothing more than to escape back to my home.

Ran into the fabulous Mr. and Mrs. W, who were at Lowe's gathering plants for their large yard, and got their numbers so Nala can soon catch up with Mon. He's been missing her quite a bit, and it was a lovely coincidence to see her.

Planted two columbines. Bought two more small coral bells. Bought a large-variety hosta, and a small one. Not sure where to plant them yet. Still have much left to plant, but started planning another area back by the gate in a previously unused area. I'm excited, because Siddhartha will be watching over it, as a gift to Nala. We have the Garden Weasel and Siddhartha. All we need is a gnome.

My right wrist is killing me from digging about 200 small holes for the impatiens and pansies. My feet are killing me, too, but it feels good to have so much accomplished in 2 days. I figure, barring rain, we might have everything in (that's already sprouted) in 3 afternoons. then, it's time to plan the patio drains and the garden.

Oh, and Friday night, I dreamt some friend of mine was on In A Fix (TLC show, I think) and I was there to help out. It should be noted, this is my first dream with recognizable tv personalities where I wasnt watching them on tv. And yes, I know the one guy is bald and black, but he is MY DAD. I swear to you, my dad, when he hams it up, is that guy. But you'll probably never meet my dad, let alone see him when he's making a spectacle, so you'll have to take my word. (And the white guy with the shaved head... well, he's hot. And I have no idea why I think so.)

Man oh man, I think it's time to sleep, even though American Dad and Family Guy are on... it's the 2nd to last(?) episode of Desperate Housewives tonight, and tivo is getting that instead. 'Night folks.

May 6, 2005

more gardening, more odd dreams

dream #1: visiting cousins, the ones closest to my age, somewhere unfamiliar. we're all adults, and all hanging out in what seems to be a basement rec-room area, with another big room attached where we sleep. i remember we were outside for part of the dream, and then in the rec room, and then talking till we fell asleep. i guess we were loud, because my uncle came downstairs and told us that the next person who he heard upstairs was going to get the "certificate" -- whatever that meant, and i didnt get to ask, because Chester the Asshole woke me up.

dream #2: travelling thru some odd alternate universe with a definitely thinner Nala, we were not quite fugitives, but were being hunted down by the government for something we didn't do. people were helping us to get away, but eventually we got caught, and then the government agents were helping us to get away, too, but it involved going through an underground and underwater route, in which i had to swim, and i was freaking out because i didnt know how far it was or how long i would have to hold my breath or even if i would survive, and i couldnt calm down. nala was already gone, and i'm standing above the water-filled tunnel entrance with two guards telling me to jump in and our guide yelling at me to jump in, that i would be fine, but i was petrified because i AM petrified of swimming and getting stuck underwater and drowning (BECAUSE I CANT SWIM!). Again, no resolution, because Chester the Asshole woke me up.

*shudder* That one was just creepy in so many ways.

And no, I'm not planting THAT kind of garden.

So, anyway -- last night ("CINCO DE MAYO! WOOHOO!") the neighbors were throwing a party (loud, but apparently not too loud because the fan masked enough that I slept.) I got a shopping list made, and managed to get 5 plants in, and some weeds pulled (thousands more to go), everything watered and fertilized, and the deck furniture out. And, at the same time, got 4 loads of laundry done.

Tonight, after work and before the concert, I still have to mow grass, and try to plant some more stuff. And maybe get a couple things loaded in my truck. I'm meeting the Fab Mrs. T at her place and then going to see the Ryan Adams show at PromoW.

Tomorrow morning, I need to keep planting stuff, and finish loading the truck, before heading to the West Sieeeeeeeeeeed to pick up Mrs. Premise's and the Picketts' construction waste, and then on to breakfast/brunch at Tommy's.

And, by the way, thanks to Ohio Jay, I not only have more info about dog urine, but also remembered to look for the plants marked as animal deterrents. I think stonecrop or something that looks very similar is what keeps animals away. We'll need some for around the vegetable garden, too.

May 5, 2005

are you sick of my gardening yet?

yeah... i'm gonna talk about gardening again, but only for this first paragraph or so. after that, it's back to the regular ranting.

the frost came, night before last, and thanks to my diligence, the plants may have all made it through ok. i covered the pansies and the newly planted (and on the edge of dying) clearance-rack geraniums, and brought the still potted plants inside to the basement (where they probably are quickly dying.) my hope is to get half of those planted this evening, at least.

now, the black-and-tan poop factory we call a dog has killed one of our tiny boxwoods in the back of the house, and started killing another, and two other shrubs. i hope that i caught them in time, and i've fenced off the section so that they'll get a respite from his killer urine.

what i've noticed in the last two days, despite their size, is that the MUCH larger boxwoods in the front of the house are being killed by the neighbors' 2 large dogs. I've watched him let them pee on them, but i thought because of their size, they would be ok. Well, no, they arent. They're dead from the ground to about 12" up in the front. That looks horrible, and while I understand, dogs are dogs, the bushes have been there longer, and the owner has to see what he's doing when he lets them stop there. Right now, the boxwoods are a good $80-$100 size, and are there to provide an anchor to our planting at the sidewalk. Otherwise, we'd have dead (insert another plant here) from all the drunks walking over them.

Just when they're starting to look good, they're ruined by dog pee. If anybody has any suggestions on what to do, please let me know. The old hedges there were horrible, and too high, and leggy. I wish I had a place to move these boxwoods and something to replace them, but I don't. My only solution that comes to mind would be a small L-shaped section of decorative 3-foot "iron" fence around each to keep the dogs from directly peeing on the bushes. There've got to be other options.

---

Now, on to the bizarre dream I had last night. Right before I went to bed, I was talking to another homeowner friend of mine who was complaining about the neighbor kids. He hates kids, and moved into a suburban subdivision with a lot of young, straight, pickup drivin' families. For a young gay bear, maybe not the best location.

Well, of course, that, for some reason, combined with the invitation on our fridge to the Niece's first birthday party, must've triggered the dream of panicked toddler-raising I had. Not a panicked toddler... a panicked me. Chasing the kid around the house, which had not been baby-proofed, locking doors, rearranging things so the little one couldnt get it. He or she looked remarkably like the Niece, but I assume was not her because the hair-color was different, and the age would've been wrong.

Someday, I think I could be a parent, but I am just WAY too uptight right now, which made that dream more than a little disturbing.

May 3, 2005

another garden update

took the HUGE load of rubble to the dump after work, and then filled up on cheap(!) gas and got home by 5pm. After I cleaned up, I took Nala to Talitas for an expensive dinner because I'd been fighting a migraine all day and didnt want to cook.

Then, we drove over to Boulevard Gardens to check on plants, and I found probably a dozen things I want to get for the backyard, but I don't have a plan yet for filling stuff in. I'm good at symmetry and sparse plantings, but to add a lot of things and make it look good, I'm a gardening idiot.

I'm going to try and get Pam and maybe Mary Beth together (and possibly Kristy) to get some ideas. Maybe make an outing of it? I dont know.

I'm landscape retarded.

May 2, 2005

a garden update.

so, the truck is loaded with what i hope to be the next-to-last load of rubble (which means we're about 90% done getting the rubble removed). i planted 4 things -- the two martha washington geraniums and the two dwarf irises. and then it rained. and got COLD.

looking at some of the odd weeds that have been coming up, i'm wondering if they might be geraniums from the seeds from the ones i like so much. the leaves are very similar, and it could easily have been gardening gone bad. maybe i'll plant some seeds and see what comes up.

this rain is downright annoying, but it is kind of helping keep the plants alive till i can manage to get them planted. i moved the hostas out back, as i see that the one i knew was in the middle out front has started to finally grow.

i'm annoyed... there just hasnt been enough time. and my fucking migraine is back. here's hoping it's better in the morning.

headaches all around

about 10:30, i yawned, and my upper right jawbone hurt. like a cramp, sorta, but damn, did it hurt. i still havent recovered, but instead of being focused, the pain has now moved all over as the muscles shifted their straining. great, right before i wanted to eat, too.

i hopped in my truck and took another load of crap to the dump. they have upped the price of a trip there by adding a $3 fuel surcharge to every load, no matter how small, to cover the rising cost of gasoline to power their earthmovers.

but, after $13 and a half hour, we now have about 2/3 of a garden. depending on what my friend tj says about lunch tomorrow, i might be able to take the rest (i'll try to load it up tonight). or, of course, i could take it tonight (they're open till 6).

and while i was south of town, i decided to pick up my copy of Tiger. which, incidentally took another 45 minutes even though I was already halfway there, because Fudd-X SUCKS ASS and a) gave me the wrong directions, b) made me drive halfway to Cinci to their trucking center, c) has a large woman give you a cavity search on the way in and out of their complex, d) makes you sign papers in two different buildings, and e) searches your vehicle to make sure you only have YOUR package.

and now, i have a meeting in 20 minutes, that i'm uncertain why we're having, since the primary person we need isnt there. i havent eaten, i'm grumpy, and my headache is killing me.

May 1, 2005

when plastic turns green

no... we're not talking mold here. really.

my green thumb (if i have one) has kicked into full gear. sure, every year I buy the mulch. that's a given. last year, i didnt get the perennials in in time to have much to show, and the annuals were late, too, because i was lazy.

i've vowed to change that this time.

i've fenced off the hensley danger zone, where he has killed one boxwood, nearly killed another, and left two woody chartreuse shrubs half-dead. you will not piss on my garden this time, black one. not if i can help it.

i finished my plan for the furthest part of the righthand side of our yard. it's symmetric, and very colorful. i would've started planting, but by the time i got home, it had started to rain off and on, and the cold wind was blowing.

one sand cherry, two boxwoods, two coreopsis, two of some sort of yellow-green shrub which i have to look up, two white mums, two small pink dahlias, two callas (havent decided which yet), 24 double wind flowers, 8 red president cannas, a patch of purple creeping phlox, and two large pink cactus dahlias.

yeah, i learned to like dahlias last year and they provided cut flowers for a LONG time. and the mums we have returning from last year should be even taller and more useful, too. the cannas, whether or not they flower, provide great dark green foliage. the callas were kind of picky last year, and i'm going to use them sparingly this year, just to add a different texture and height as far as foliage. if they bloom, so much the better.

i bought a flat and a half of pansies to fill out the two urns a bit more, and then to use in the hanging baskets or maybe in the front porch pots. i still have large areas for more cannas and many gladiolas. yeah, i know how much nala hated the gangly, topheavy glads last year, but the color and the blossoms which kept coming week after week were worth it.

tomorrow, my goal is to get at least 3 plants in the ground (including the newly acquired hostas), and maybe take a load of rubble to the dump. there's always something to do when it's not raining. and if it is, well, then it's time to split last year's dahlia bulbs and prep those for planting, too.