Monthly Archives: January 2013

Laugh until you go limp


So, the last price hike on my pack-o-fags seems to have gone into new packaging standards! I feel so much better now that my money is going toward things like this:

Is this meant to make smokers laugh until they cough up a lung? Your head to droop in shame so you burn your shirt? Is your addiction meant to dangle uselessly at the sight, and the cravings wither away?

Random photos – and pretty bad ones at that


I haven’t learned anything much since before the holidays, so I haven’t done what I wanted to be, and meant to be, a weekly Sunday post. Ah well, ignorance is bliss, right?

I might have learned that taking photos while driving is easier when I’m in the passenger seat, as about to be evidenced below.

Here’s a blurry pic of me going to work in freezing fog. This was taken going the opposite direction but in the same stretch of read that these were taken.

Through a lens, you can tell that despite my admittedly aggressive driving habits, I don’t bully other drivers by getting too close, especially when the weather is bad and I can’t see and there’s no damn way I can overtake. No point in getting that close, is there? I’m talking to you, car three. Back the fuck off of car two before we all get in trouble, willya?

Wow I’m having déjà vu while writing for the blog. That’s… unsettling.

Same three damn slow-ass cars in front of me, still. I also have no idea why the sky changed colour. I didn’t putz about with these photos. You’d think it would get brighter with time – and, I’m driving directly into the sunrise, if there actually was one – instead of deeper blue. It was really, really foggy; perhaps coming into a town and the heaviness of the smoke-laden air made a difference?

This is Friday morning, the coldest this year so far at -2.5 before I left the house (C, in F that’s about 27.5), but it was dry enough the two days previous so no worries about ice (a worry that’s been much alleviated for me since we replaced the two front tires on the Mini). It turned sunny later and the sun itself was absolutely gorgeous on the way in to work! If I had time, and any place I could have pulled over, and our ‘real’ camera, I would have had an award-winning shot at one point. As it was, my screen-washers froze up and I had a hard go of it seeing anything through the smeary muck on my windshield. You can clearly see that this is not a clear photo. It was clearly not fun for me, either.

ComI home on Friday. It was…WOW…for about three minutes. Shame these are so blurry. I didn’t mess with these pics, either.

Ok now for some pics I did putz about with, because the colour was waaaay wrong and/or they needed some cropping. As if the others didn’t…

The reason why Spot is named Spot.

Neko is blowing her coat. She looks like she has the mange, or like a really old and well-loved stuffed toy. My floors just look like the Old West – tumbledogs everywhere.

Finally, finally! A pair of socks I got for Christmas. Either they have no idea where the knee on someone who wears a size 8-to-10 (approx 10-12 in US women’s sizes!!!) sock is, or I’m a friggin’ giantess.

On being a bad housekeeper, definitely


Hubby’s closing in fast on one of those birthdays that ends in a zero. He’s got over a month to go, but he’s already been shopping for his desired big present. Actually, we already bought it on Sunday. I don’t even want to know how much research he put into this, but he is a very very good technology shopper and looks at reviews, energy consumption, warrantee, and pricing (in at least three countries). This is why he gets to buy his own prezzie. I’m just the one who says if it looks pretty or not. Yes, I’m nothing but a pair of educated and opinionated eyeballs – especially when we’re talking about a new TV.

I wasn’t going to say what we bought – I sure didn’t announce it in Facebook – because it’s kinda dumb to announce to the world you got some new stuff ripe for the stealin’. But I don’t think any of you are so hard up as to drive or fly over here, try to find my house, and then brave the dog just to take a telly you could probably get cheaper where you live. And trust me, with the amount of time it would take to unhook the umpteen things connected to the TV, the dog would have made good progress on removing bits of valuable anatomy. It wasn’t expensive (we are cheap and broke), it’s not huge, or even the newest model or anything, so it’s not worth it. Really. Disclaimer/discouragement ends.

I had one stipulation: that as we removed the old TV, we cleaned the hell out of the components and the corner the whole shebang sits in. This had not been done in the almost eight years we’ve lived here. It was well, well past time. I’m hairy, iDJ is hairy, and over the 8 years the animals have gone like this: 1 cat, 1 big dog; then 2 cats, 1 big dog; then just the 2 cats. Currently, 2 cats, one big dog. And both big dogs would blow their entire thick hairy coats twice a year, yay! So. Bound to be a fur-fest back there, despite my semi-monthly attempts to stick the vacuum hose behind there. Very half-hearted semi-monthly attempts. Probably bi-monthly. Maybe bi-annually. It wasn’t high on my list of stuff to do, in any case. And moving all the gear out of the way was never, ever going to be a job I did alone.

I was quite pleased when he agreed. It had to be hard to wait to play with his new toy until after everything was vacuumed, wiped off and tidied up. It did take over an hour, if not two. Here’s some of the evidence:

Hahah, Christmas tree needles! No telling what vintage these are.

I didn’t even know we had an extra Wii-mote battery thingie…

What’s with all the spiderwebs? And I have no idea what this remote went to, I’d never seen it before. It says DVD on it, but we only had one and that was mine from the US. It’s a mystery-clicker!

The worst one. This was what was underneath the Sky box, which was underneath my DVD player, which was underneath some stuff I didn’t know how to use. Note the nasty SCART cables: this could not have been good for the electronics. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

There wasn’t as much fur as I expected, and only one sticky spot on the floor under the stand itself (we believe this may have been beer at one point, spilt at an impromptu get-together). One thing I am proud of – yes I can still have some pride after sharing this disgusting mess – is that me and the Dyson kept hubby from having an allergy attack during all this. Usually dust gets him sneezing like a donkey.

Perhaps new television sets are a placebo cure for allergies?

On being a hoarder, maybe


I seem to be keeping things that, perhaps, I should not keep. I didn’t see anything wrong or odd about it, but during our weekly phone call, Socks just about lost all of her big-girl words when I mentioned that I have a bag of pine-tree needles.

‘Urgle, humph, ah, urk, WHYYYY?’

I have reasons, of course. No one has ever asked me ‘WHYYYY?’ about my needle collection before, so I didn’t realise that they I sort of stupid when enumerating the reasons I have them. I’m fabulous for being able to create excuses, but until she asked, I had no idea I was making excuses about why I keep a caché of old Christmas tree needles!

The Excuses: There are only two years’ worth. It wasn’t that cold last year so we didn’t have many fires, and I couldn’t burn them all. We haven’t had our chimney cleaned in eight years and I don’t want to catch it on fire by burning a lot of stuff that makes sparks (a very real problem). I can’t compost this many needles as they are very acidic and are bad for making soil, and my compost bin is chock-full in the winter. It’s just one bag, I can put it up in the attic until needed: not a problem. I hate throwing away things that have a use. Our ‘stinky trash’ collection is only every two weeks and is usually full of food scraps, bones, and cat and dog poop, so there’s no room for pine tree bits. I could throw them over the wall of the estate (where everyone tosses their lawn clippings), but I really hate doing that, it makes me feel guilty and sneaky and irresponsible for my own mess. And it is just one bag; a paper bag with handles; it’s not as if I have an awkward plastic Hefty bag full!

As compared to ‘why bother?’, all those reasons stack up for me in favour of keeping the damn bag full-o-pine. But…it still sounds stupid to me. You could take away three or four reasons and I’d still have the needles in my house. Maybe it’s because she and I know this is a symptom of a larger, looming, potential-hoarder trend. But that’s another post.

After all, I have a lot more paper bags set aside, just in case I need one.

I am definitely 18mos +


Amongst his other lovely habits, Spot likes to drink water out of cups. We humans also like to drink out of cups, and we both have a glass by the bedside for quenching our middle-of-the-night thirsties. These used to be just a regular kinda glass, until I discovered at 3am that my glass not only contained water, but a skin of cat fur and a chunk of cat litter marinating at the bottom. After I was done gagging, I changed our water containers to ones with lids.

These were plastic Rubbermaid containers that I had brought over from the States, and they just couldn’t keep up with years of nightly use. They have died, one by one, over the last eight years. The most recent and final death was my cup, dammit.

And we had nothing to replace it. I couldn’t find anything suitable for sale around here, either. You see, essential to my 3am thirsties is being able to open the container without waking up fully. Screw tops are too hard for me. If I think that have to wake up that much, I’ll choose to go back to sleep. No matter how parched I am.

For a while I had a regular glass with a post-it sitting on top as a Spot-blocker. But I got lazy about putting the paper back on, and Spot found it, and I ended up drinking cat hair again. Nothing extra, thankfully.

iDJ knew well of my tribulations. He also does all the grocery-shopping. Without making an announcement, he had been looking for a replacement water-glass for me! That alone is pretty impressive (the no-announcement bit).

He brought me home this.

It’s a sippy-cup. For babies.



Actually, as he explained to my bemused face as I unpacked the shopping bag, he spent a lot of mental effort on picking out my sippy-cup. He wanted to get me the one with cats on it, but the cat one was meant for babies below 18 months. He had to at least get my age range right, even if it meant no kitties. This one is robots, which he knows are also acceptable to me. Better, it’s no-spill, so I won’t have a recurrence of the time I spilled water all over myself, my pillow, my side of the bed, and – of course – Spottie. I can drink from this thing while flat on my back! Even better than that, it’s insulated so my water might still be cold by the unreasonable time I want some. That’s a massive plus in my book, I hate water. I hate warm water even more.

I don’t think I have ever owned a sippy-cup. Pretty sure these didn’t exist in any form back in the early 70’s. Prove me wrong if I’m wrong, I’m kinda interested to know for sure.

I haven’t quite figured out the mechanics of the thing; it seems you have to bite it to get the water flowing, and there’s a vacuum problem that prevents a really good draught. But if an 18-month-old can figure it out, I might have a chance.

Professor Spot


I can’t do the dishes unless iDJ is home, too. This is because when I would get home first I would immediately try to do some cleaning up. The sound of rattling silverware became a cue that ‘daddy’ would be home soon, and Spot would start in with the caterwauling. So I wait, now, to save me from murdering his little furry ass.

He finds other things to get over-excited about, however. The church is close enough to us that the 6pm Angelus bells are very audible. ‘Daddy’ also gets out of work at 6. Both Spot and Neko get a bit crazy and a lot annoying when the bells start to chime; they know when the bells are about to play, too, and get wound up in anticipation. I hate hate hate this behaviour.

But I’m helpless. No matter what I say and how many times I repeat it, I have never been able to convince hubby that this excitement is bad. Bad for me, bad for him, and bad for the furry kids. I’m totally ignored: every day when he comes home he greets Spot and Neko at the door and gives them tons of attention, and then feeds the cats their special wet food after giving them massive love and affection – as they SCREAM THEIR HEADS OFF for both. And the dog bounces around the house, and drools, and whines, and brings innumerable toys to him, and then also gets a food treat.

Makes me want to vomit.

Nevertheless, I think at least some of my long experience and expertise with animals (that has now become constant bitching) has rubbed off on himself. He noticed tonight that Spot is trying to train him to do a new trick.

This is Spot, sitting in the sink after I’ve finally managed to do the damn dishes. Or as many as I can because the damn dish drainer fills up before I’m done – hence all the crap still sitting around my sink. Anyhoo, Spot did this for the first time ever last night. I was not in the room. I got to hear about it in detail, however, as iDJ narrates everything. Everything.

“Hey, Spottie, whatcha doing? Whatcha doing in the sink? Hey, hon, guess where Spotty is? He’s sitting in the sink! Awww, how cute is that? Hey Spottie! What do you want, buddy? You want me to turn the water on for ya? Do you want a drink? Here you go, Spottie-Pants! Now, I need to put my headphones back on, so I won’t hear you when you’re done… Hon, he’s drinking from the tap! Awwww, how cute is that? I love it when he drinks from the tap!” (giggling sounds more suited to a 4-year-old)

Tonight, Spot got in the sink again. And right away hubby realised he was being trained! And told me so in great detail. Of course.

As he turned the tap on.

Who, me? Bwah ha ha ha haaaa!

Driving locally


I took these pics on the way home from work two days ago. Keep in mind that it was about 5:20 at night, and it wasn’t raining or particularly overcast.


See that titch of blue at the top? Dark blue, albeit, but I didn’t edit these pics at all. Straight off the iPhone, they is. That blue is my proof that it wasn’t fully dark yet. I rarely miss living in America but damn, it’s hard to see here and the US roads are faaaabulous in comparison. I’ll take the potholes in exchange, as long as I can see the damn things!

The left edge of the asphalt is a less than a foot from that yellow line. Wednesday, on the way into work in the morning (when it is substantially brighter), I moved over to give room to a big truck coming the other way and ran off the side of the road. Both left tires went off the asphalt and there was a bit of a drop off, what with the mud and all. The tires got caught in the muck, and the sound of mud splattering into my wheel-wells was like someone vomiting copiously and impressively under my Mini. I gave a nudge to the steering wheel to get out of the rut I was creating, but it didn’t work. So I gave it a bit more effort, and ended up in a (thankfully short) ‘whee!’ ‘whee!’ cycle of swerving madly from one lane to the other in very rapid and quite nearly catastrophic arcs. Thank fuck no one was coming the other way, or hubby’d be doing a post to tell you why I wasn’t around anymore.

Note to hubby: you have to post on my blog if I die suddenly. If my iPad dies with me, you know where my password list is.

The ABC’s of the Internet


I’m fascinated by the predictive search suggestions in Google. For a while I’ve been wanting to look every letter up one by one, to see what is suggested, and tonight seemed like a good night to try it. So for your (but mostly my) amusement, here are the ABC’s of the Internet, aka Google, (as of January 10, 2013, as searched by a mobile device in the Republic of Ireland.

This will be a long one!


Come on, Apple, you can beat Amazon! AOL? Do people still use that?


I’ve already found something that I have no idea what it is, backpage. This is going to be the first of many, many times I don’t have a clue. I’m about to prove that I’m pretty culturally inept.


“Cool math”? I’m boggled. Firstly that there are people looking for this, and secondly that it actually has significant search results. Where’s “cool spelling”?


I’m assuming dominoes is the pizza joint and not the game. I have no idea what duck dynasty is, but it sounds like a computer game. And, I have my first pop culture result, dancing with the stars.


I don’t know what edmodo, easybib or edline are. And why does ESPN get two searches? Is ESPN3 that very much different than any other ESPN?


Thank feic Facebook beat out Fox News. I’m still disgusted that Fox came in second, and I’m pretty sure they are entirely responsible for fiscal cliff showing up here, too. Forever 21 I heard about recently, and the name rather nauseates me. Donno what fandango refers to, other than a dance, and frys? I’m guessing it’s either yet another American place to spend money, or there are a lot of people who need basic cooking tips.


Color me surprised: Google and it’s relatives get seven out of 10 spots. And the other three are all pretty geeky, too. Looks like if you want to get Internet attention you should either embrace or avoid a starting G. I’m not sure which would be better, I know SFA about marketing.


Aww, quaint and annoying Hotmail gets top rank. Hobby Lobby…only heard of them recently because of their opposition to birth control…or was that gay employees? Or both? No clue what happy wheels are. Shocked that HuffPo is way down in fifth! Not surprised to see Honey Boo Boo (shudder), but I think we have our first non-US retail chain with H&M. Unless they’re over the pond, too. I wouldn’t know.


The I section is a lot like the G section, is it not? Mostly techie, but I’m still surprised that Apple products aren’t higher on the list. IMDb is awesome; I often wish my mother was around for the Internet age as she would be on IMDb constantly. No clue why indeed is so high up the list, seems strange entirely that anyone would look for that. Yet another one I don’t know, clearly.


Jimmy Johns, justice and Justin TV all have me scratching my head. I can guess the last one is linked to our first ‘celebrity appearance,’ Justin Beiber. Good to see that JC Penney’s is still around.


Um. A kayak is a small boat. Is there a fad to run the rapids lately? I feel as though I should know what KBB is, but I can’t pull it out of my head just now. Khan Academy: please, please tell me that is where people go to study Star Trek. And we have royalty on the scene, we are amused to note.


What’s a lululemon? My mental picture is the old cartoon character Little Lulu, with a head like a lemon. I’m sure someone will enlighten me. I also see a first result that has anything to do with romance with love quotes. Awwwww.


I nearly knew all of these. But nope, I haven’t a clue what city metro pcs refers to. I’m also a bit saddened by mortgage calculator.


Except for Nordstrom, the N’s are all about sports and current events. Keep that in mind when naming your next blog or retail business.


Omegle? Sounds like a confused breakfast dish. I don’t know what that is, obviously. We have our second quote-unquote musical artist, too. And a second mention of lurve and infections with OKCupid.


Never heard of project free TV. Powerball seems kind of vague as a search term, doesn’t most lotteries have a version of the game called powerball?


Quizlet, qwibids and qwop are results that leave me quizzical. We seem to have more literary thinkers in Q, with life and love quotes both in the top ten. Mathematics is rearing its incomprehensible head again, too.


I’m stumped with the top result this time. I do not know what redbox is. This is the first time I feel kinda stupid, to be honest. Rate my professor sounds like Ireland’s rate my teacher – a pretty cool thing for us here as two of iDJ’s uncles are teachers and get high marks. Restoration hardware… I don’t know what that is, but if it is a TV show I’d probably like it. Is REI a real estate company?


I know all of the S’s, go me! Still, seems significantly slanted Stateside. I’m not good enough to alliterate for any length of time, it seems.


Back to being schtupid again. TMZ? Sounds vaguely familiar… The Voice? Not a sausage. Very odd that out of all the instances of the word ‘the’ online, just one is a top-hit Google result. And I don’t know what it is. Sigh. A couple of linguistic searches here, that’s comforting.


I know all of these! I do if Univision is a TV/Internet provider, that is. The U’s seem to be about sending things places and banks. Interesting.


Sigh. I’m getting tired of being reminded that I’m ignorant. I don’t know who or what Vera Bradley is, or vrbo.


Wow, the W’s are a big disappointment! Of course WallyWorld gets top billing, damn them. Weather and white pages are completely dependent on where you live; how can these be top searches when they are so generic? I’m also baffled by the two results starting with www. I mean really. If you’re gonna type all that, people, you no longer need Google.


X-Factor. Also generic. I think every damn country on the planet has a version of this show. Sigh. At least one of my very favorite websites ever is here, xkcd. Go visit them.


I had no idea Yahoo was still so popular. Six out of ten! Two to YouTube and poor Yelp hollering to itself somewhere in the middle.


Huh. I guess the less a letter is used, the less likely I am to know what the hell it’s been used for. I don’t know zillow, zumiez, or zulily. I have no idea why anyone is searching for zero dark thirty, either. I use the expression oh-dark-thirty to mean whatever godawful time the cat wakes me up, but why would anyone search for it? What does it all mean?

Well, none of it means anything, really. I was just curious! It can’t be correct – no cats showed up anywhere. We all know the Internets are 99% cats.