Saturday, December 26, 2009

One more time for 2009

a portrait of moxy

Time to get this blog back to normal, and squeeze in one more catblogging post before the end of the year. Santa brought me a digital SLR camera, so the cat photo quality should improve in 2010, at least in theory. This one was taken with the old pocket camera. The new camera doesn't have any lenses yet. Probably a good thing, because I won't be tempted to start using it before I've read the instruction manual.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Dixie

Yes, I know it is a country song, but this became my favorite Christmas song when I moved away from Georgia and was homesick. I still like it. So here it is for you.

Merry Christmas from Dixie. It is raining in the pines, not snowing. At least not here. But it is a peaceful Christmas night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And to all, a good night.

sister moon

The Winter Solstice came and went yesterday with me too busy to notice. But once the pre-holiday crazy rush has passed, this is the season to slow down, take a few days off from your normal routine, laugh and enjoy family, rest and recharge. We defy the long dark with festive lights, a warm hearth, and a hearty feast. It isn't just the sun that seems to stand still this time of year. I love that week between Christmas and New Year. It stems from childhood, I think, when we were out of school and got to stay home and play. Even if you have to work (which I do), that week is a special time when ordinary rules and routines don't apply. We eat lavishly, indulge ourselves, play with new toys, see family and friends, watch movies and bowl games, reminisce about the year that's nearly gone, and nap.

Whatever you and yours do to celebrate the season and push back against the dark nights, I wish you happiness and joy.

tree of light

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cat Proximity Alert!

cat proximity alert

My three cats usually do not mix well - no two of them get along (except temporarily, if some special food is involved to keep them occupied). Silvio seems to know he got away with something here. Moxy was too relaxed to put up much of a fuss when Silvio joined her on the back of the couch. Notice how he settled into a position facing away from her. She's got a look of quiet resignation on her face.

We're back from our brief trip to the mountains. A couple of days alone in a cottage and a few hikes in the woods did us a world of good. We also got together with an old family friend last night. There is still another day to relax before I go back to work. Strange how today feels like a Sunday. PDM is on his state-mandated furlough next week. Even though it is unpaid leave, I am a little jealous of the extra time he'll have at home to chill. My Monday back on the job is shaping up to be a very long day.

And last, there was good news/bad news about the old laptop. The good news is that it was a hard drive problem that is easily fixed (cheap, too). The bad news is that my old hard drive was so messed up, none of the data could be retrieved. I've had it so long that I am not entirely sure I remember what has been lost. Maybe that is a kindness. The take home message is that if your computer starts making strange noises and acting up, you might want to back up your hard drive sooner rather than later.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catastrophic System Failure

After five and a half years, my old laptop has developed a hardware problem that I can't fix. It is at the shop for triage. For now, we're down to one computer. Gulp.

My presence on the internet might be limited for a week or two.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"You look better in person than in that photo on your blog."

I promised Dave that I would use that quote as the title of this post. It is one of the first things I said as I settled into my barstool between Dave and PDM this afternoon. I was the last to arrive after some unexpected traffic delays turned a 10-minute drive into 40+ minutes.

After almost, but not quite meeting Kat in real life back in September, I finally met one of my cyber friends in person. Dave and I have been corresponding, first on our blog comments and later via email, for about three years. At some undefinable point along the way, Dave began to seem less like an acquaintance and more like a friend. Given that we live in Atlanta, relatively close on our sprawling metro scale, and even frequent some of the same places, it seemed sort of odd that we'd never met.

So PDM and I met Dave at Zuffy's Place this evening and had a few beers. We had some "ill-gotten" (read: undeserved) gift cards for winning trivia there (mostly because our opponents did not understand math) that we'd been saving for a special occasion. This seemed like a good way to spend them. The three of us talked about all kinds of stuff - from PDM's teaching experiences, to our college years, privacy, technology, real estate, careers, to mutual blog friends and how they all tie together, and even (gasp) politics. I told Dave I thought he was a "liberal libertarian" and he seemed intrigued by that description. Time flew by and we were definitely having fun. I hope it will be less than three years before we do it again.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Georgia Tech is headed for the Orange Bowl! W00t!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Alone Again

ball of silvio

Silvio sure is relaxed now that the houseguests are gone.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Love the family, but... sure is gonna be nice to have the house to ourselves again tonight! Silvio will certainly be relieved. It wasn't such a fun week for him (other than the raw turkey liver he got to eat).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Next Day

Well... the sun came up today, just like usual. The world didn't end.

We didn't get home until after 2am last night, and I was up until 3:30, so I put on eye shades and slept late today. No hangover. Cooked some breakfast for PDM and our guests using the last of the eggs, bacon and cheese. Did a few hours of therapeutic yard chores to work out my frustration and disappointment. Hard labor can soothe a troubled mind. Or at least make you so tired you don't care any more. Sort of. Got in a few winks and then had a big steak dinner. Tomorrow the regular routine kicks in again. Life goes on. But I might not have a pep in my step for a while yet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

To Hell With Georgia

Clean Old Fashioned Hate is tonight. Tailgating gear is packed and ready to go. Got tickets, beer, brats, blankets. Plus lots of nervous energy to spare. I'm always anxious before the big games. Definitely wearing the lucky hoodie tonight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Island Dreams

dreamy trees

The island trip was nice, but too short. Seeing family was nicer, and now I am back home and PDM's family is here for the holiday.

It was overcast and gray the whole time on Saint Simons Island. I only took a few photographs. I liked this one of the trees. Spanish moss is a parasite, but it is pretty. This was taken at Fort Frederica.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Away


I'm off to St. Simons Island on Sunday to have some vacation time with my family. Heading back to the ATL on Wednesday, just in time for the another big family invasion (PDM's brothers + mom) of our home for Turkey Day. About a dozen people here overnight at the peak of all this. Stressing about it just a little bit. Which explains the five-day migraine I had this week. We'll deep clean the house and try to get everything ready on Saturday and hope that it doesn't get too dirty again by Wednesday, when I get here and most everyone else does, too. At the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend we have our big rivalry game after a full day of tailgating. Lots of stuff going on.

I'll probably be off the grid while on the island, and very busy when I get back. If I don't get another chance to say so - have a happy Thanksgiving! And To Hell With Georgia! (It's never too early to get your hate on.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guard Cat

Silvio guards the door.

I stayed home sick today. Silvio is guarding the door.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm sure y'all already know this, but working when you're sick really sucks. I would love to be back home in bed with a cat or two. I'm settling for a big bowl of cheese grits and bacon at my desk with a mug of hot tea. When I blow my nose (about every three minutes or so), I feel lightheaded. Trippy...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Big, Brass ...

... BALLS.

It is 4th-and-1 in overtime and the other team has already kicked a field goal. The safe choice would be to kick and tie it up again. If you go for it and don't get a first down, it is game over -- you lose. Most coaches would kick. But our coach plays to win. After the game, he said "If we can't get half a yard, then we probably didn't deserve to win." Huge gamble. Very ballsy. Our guys came through just fine. Got the first down, and one play later we were in the end zone with the winning touchdown.

For the record, if the Georgia game is anything like this, my head will explode.

The game had an exciting start to set the stage for the big finish. A pair of F-18 fighter jets buzzed the stadium after the National Anthem was played. They were lower than any flyover that I've ever seen. Very cool. Take a look:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Slogged through, Aug '90"

I like used books. There is nothing wrong with buying new books, and I do this from time to time, but I also like to wander through the second hand bookshops to search for hidden treasure. Like the time I happened upon a no nonsense ultrasound study guide just as I had started studying for my board exam and needed to refresh my memory. It turned out to be an excellent resource, and was a bargain at 50 cents. It was marked down from $1 because the cover was ripped. Found it at the Rancho Coastal Thrift Shop in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. How random is that? Out of curiosity, I looked it up online. Out of print and difficult to find, the only copy I could locate was priced at around $60.

New books are pretty, but sterile. No dog-eared corners or torn covers. No broken spines or yellowed pages. No bookshop stamps or annotations. Some used books have the previous owner's name written inside the cover, or a library stamp, or maybe something that the used book shop put there. If you're lucky there might be something more. I enjoy those random snippets that people sometimes scribe there. It might be where they got the book, or when, or who gave it to them. Maybe an opinion about the contents, or a verse of poetry. You never know what you'll find in a book that has been around and changed hands. Like this -- I am reading The Fall of Hyperion for the second time since it was purchased from a used bookstore years ago. A Mr. H. M. Moore, Jr. left a note on the inside cover:

Slogged through
Aug '90

Monday, November 02, 2009

Nickeled and Dimed

I'm in Chicago on a business trip. Had to pay $15 to check my suitcase on the flight. The very expensive hotel I'm in charges for wireless internet access. Cheaper hotels usually give you wireless for free, along with breakfast. (Right now, I am using the free wi-fi at the convention hall.) I skipped the expensive breakfast at the expensive hotel and grabbed some tea and banana bread from Starbucks. My 16 ounce hot tea costs more than a 12 ounce tea, but they both only use only one tea bag. The vending machines for Chicago's rail system do not accept credit cards, and they don't give back change. I will have to hunt around for correct change next time. You also don't get a receipt, which will complicate my expense reporting. My employer wants proof of every little thing to a ridiculous degree, so I guess I will try taping the used transit card to my paperwork and see if that satisfies the corporate overlords. If nothing else, now I can say I've ridden the 'L'.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Singing Pumpkins, Flying Cats


Hope your Halloween is less soggy than ours. I feel sorry for the kids slogging around in the rain tonight. The wet weather won't bother us -- we'll be inside watching football. Go Jackets!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As Promised

A kitteh, for National Kitteh Day.

Zima drinking my water

Yes, it's a rerun. So what? She's still funny.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Post 'em if you got 'em

Thursday is National Cat Day, so lets see those kittehs y'all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Plastic Parts

Cheap, yes. And light. But not always the best idea. Two examples spring to mind.

Case #1 - the hated vacuum cleaner

We have 100% wood floors in our house, with a few area rugs. We also have an upright vacuum cleaner that got good reviews on Consumer Reports. It works great on the area rugs we have (all three of them) and would be excellent on wall-to-wall, since it is self propelled on carpets. But since we have lots of wood surface to clean, and it is big and bulky and hard to maneuver, and quite possibly a danger for scratching the floors, I end up using the attachments quite often to clean the wood floors. The wand attaches via a plastic nub on the nozzle that interlocks into a slot on the accessory. A soft plastic nub. Which wore down to nothing approximately six months after the warranty ran out. So I end up having to bend over to hold the floor cleaning attachment at the midpoint junction so that it stays attached to the hose (sort of) and get a huge cramp in my hand and it still falls out every few minutes. And did I mention that all those plastic parts somehow did not prevent that vacuum from weighing about twenty five pounds? Fail, and Fail.

Case #2 - the rolling cooler that no longer rolls

The rolling cooler is, in theory, a great idea. We have a definite need for such a device. Our football parking area is a long way from where our friends host the tailgate party (they donate lots more dough than we do, thus the premium parking for them). We used to carry our big assed cooler in by PDM carrying it in his arms. It doesn't really have handles so you have to make do. Not fun. So for Christmas, I got us a large capacity rolling cooler. And it worked great, for about a quarter of a mile, on the first day we used it. Until one of the wheels fell off. Upon closer inspection, the problem was that the metal axle got very hot from friction and melted right through the fracking plastic housing that attached it to the bottom of the cooler. Bad design, fellas. It is not rocket science to figure out that the axle would heat up. So why use a plastic with a low melting point?!? Maybe they should have used whatever the suitcase companies use, because those rollers work fairly well. Probably because they aren't PLASTIC. What kind of rolling distance did they use in their design calculations? Ten feet? You don't need a rolling cooler if you park right next to the picnic table. I would have designed it for at least a mile.

Buyer beware. Look out for plastic. Because it is NOT looking out for you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to basics



Fussy Cat
Fat Boy
Fat Cat
Fat Butted Cat
Booger Bear
Big Boy
Big Fat Cat
Mr Cat
Mr Sil
Mr Silv
Mr Silvio
Mr Slibs
Mr Big Fat Cat
Mr Booger
Mr Sweets
Mr Mister

or just plain "hey cat"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It was the shirt.

Georgia Tech Wins!

What a night! Tech won (The real Tech, not that polytechnic school from Virginny). It was the first time we've beat a top-five team at home since 1962. Coach Paul Johnson is a chessmaster. I think we've got ourselves another Bobby Dodd, folks. And I've got myself a lucky hoodie!

Immediately after the game ended, the students swarmed the field. We saw them carrying the goalposts down Yellow Jacket Alley about half an hour later, and I hear they ended up on the university president's front lawn.

Students Storm Grant Field

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I'm superstitious about sports. Very superstitious. An otherwise rational person, I somehow can't shake the notion that what I do or wear can affect the outcome of a game. Yes, I am aware that it is silly. Doesn't matter. I've been known to change seating position, refill or not refill a drink, switch out cats, or go to another room, all because my team was doing so much better while something was different and I am trying to restore things back to good. It's all about mojo.

Which brings me to today. We have a big, BIG game tonight and it is going to be cold. Much of my cold weather Tech stuff has bad mojo for one reason or another. There is no freakin' way I can wear one stitch of the stuff I wore to the bowl game last year. Not even the shoes. Anything I wore to basketball games last winter is suspect as well. (I'm not sure if mojo crosses over between sports, but who wants to take that chance? It's bad enough that I suffered through such craptastical basketball once. I'm not going to let it ruin a perfectly good football performance.) So my choices are to wear warm weather stuff with good mojo and freeze, or find something warm that hasn't been tainted.

I've looked high and low and finally found a gold hoodie that hasn't been infected with any bad mojo. At least I think it hasn't. And I am asking the Football Gods: Please, oh please, let me keep it that way. No more bad mojo. That hoodie needs to be my new lucky shirt.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Schedule Conflict at Eight

Is it rude to check football scores during a live performance? What if you do it real quiet like?

During the heat of late summer, I received the annual mailer from Ferst Center for the Arts describing all of the performances of the 2009-2010 season. As usual, I looked it over to see if anything caught my eye. Noticed the "Third Annual Farewell Tour" improv performance by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood on October 10 at 8:00pm. I cross check the football schedule (away game - no problem), ask PDM if he wants to go (sure), and I buy us some tickets. Then a couple of weeks ago the game time for GT at FSU is announced. October 10 at 8:00pm. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

My current plan is to surreptitiously keep tabs on the game using my iTouch and the wireless network. We'll beat it out of there as soon as the show ends and high tail it home. We can listen to it on the radio on the way. Hopefully we'll at least get to see the 4th quarter. And hopefully it will be worth watching. With all the drama this week over Bowden, I have no idea what to expect. We thought about going to a bar close to campus right after the show, but I figure most places will have Florida/LSU on their big screens. I don't want to drive around all night looking for the game.

Regardless of what happens tonight, one half of my "good college football weekend" is already in place. Georgia's defense actually made Crompton look like a good quarterback this afternoon.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Costumed CritterBlogging

Do you dress up for Halloween? How about your pets? I loved this article - the pets just look so... earnest.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Road Trippin'

lolcat - nice bwinker jurkface
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Let see... no home game this Saturday and the awesome not-hot-not-humid fall weather has arrived. Days are comfortable and nights are brisk. The evening air smells of fireplaces. Our leaves haven't turned, but they're thinking about it. October is the unofficial start of bourbon season (or single malt scotch season if you are PDM), plus Oktoberfest means lots of tasty beers to sample - it seems like every small brewery is making a seasonal brew. And as Dave and Jim both pointed out, it is a great time to make hearty soups.

How to celebrate all this autumn goodness? Road trip! We're headed south to roam around Roosevelt State Park and Callaway Gardens, and we'll be ditching work on Monday to make a long weekend out of it. Ahhhhh.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Not To Wear

This is wrong on so many levels...

what not to wear

Saw this while tailgating a few weeks ago. Nice socks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I could write about the epic Atlanta flood of this week, but truthfully its effects have been rather minor for me. We have a small roof leak that needs to get checked out, and our basement flooded enough to extinguish the pilot light of our water heater and make everything smell all musty and gross. Most of our stuff down there is in large plastic bins and is safe. Some sentimental things of my Grandmother's were in an old fashioned suitcase and a cardboard box and those were heavily waterlogged. We did what we could to salvage it. It could have been much worse. One of our neighbors had a huge tree fall on their house. Plenty of people in this area have been completely flooded out. Some people are dead. We've had what I described above, plus some traffic delays due to road closures and accidents. Not that big of a deal.

But something has happened at work this week that is pretty awful -- our network got infected by the Conficker worm over the weekend, and we are still experiencing network problems. I hope those motherfuckers who set this thing loose in the world are proud of themselves. Today, they delayed the start of treatment for some very ill cancer patients. And worse, they caused us to have to abort the treatment of a patient that was supposed to get a high dose rate intracavitary procedure. This happened AFTER we had implanted all that hardware in her. Another patient had to wait hours for her treatment because the worm disabled our planning computer and we had to start over once it was temporarily fixed. She was miserable, and there was no good reason why she had to suffer those extra hours. We can't use about half of our treatment planning computers because the network cuts them off once the virus has been detected and then they can't be used. You clean 'em up, and then they get infected again right away. This really pisses me off. This isn't some game - it is a matter of life and death for some people. There is no indication that tomorrow will be any better. We seem to be fighting a losing battle with this damn worm. Tuesday was worse than Monday. Not a good sign.

At least the rain stopped. For now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Late Adopters

I've come to the realization that PDM and I are late adopters. It isn't something we aspire to by philosophy -- we are not curmudgeons, and don't have anything against change or new technology. We just don't feel like we need to run out and get every little thing the minute it hits the market. We prefer to see what ends up taking hold and then wait until it has gone through a few bug fixes and becomes a truly useful and robust product or service. And then we procrastinate about getting it for a few years. Somehow this lack of urgency has morphed into full on late adoptership without us consciously choosing to be that way. Maybe we're just getting old. Here is a quick list of newfangled things that have gone mainstream without our participation:

online bill paying
home video game systems
surround sound
satellite radio

Some of these things we have no interest in, but there are a few that are on our short list of stuff to get hooked up. Like the DVR at the top of that list. That would be convenient. And maybe Netflix. But most of it doesn't really seem all that necessary, to be honest. I've been paying bills the same way for 25 years. I don't see that changing unless the postal service decides they aren't gonna deliver mail anymore. I still have a paper road atlas in my car, and manage to find stuff just fine. I didn't get a cell phone until 2002, and I kept that phone for six years before getting a new one (that still isn't a Blackberry, but is much smaller and lighter than the clunky old phone). PDM got his first cell phone in 2008. Our plan doesn't include texting, because we hardly ever do it. I remember people's phone numbers, because I usually dial them manually from my home phone. Which is a land line. That doesn't have call waiting. Hell, we still have a VCR.

Our life isn't entirely stuck in the 1980s. I have an iTouch that I absolutely love. We packed away the CD player a few years ago in favor of using the Mac and our wireless network as a juke box. We only have one television, but it is a wide screen HD LCD that is pretty damn big, and we have a pseudo-surround system with subwoofer. Movies and live sports look and sound very life-like. The Mac also has a large format widescreen LCD monitor. It's pretty. There's not a cathode ray tube in the house.

So, now that I've aired out our list, what do you still have that makes you feel like a dinosaur?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Porch Sitting

silvio in chair

Late summer is an excellent time for porch sitting. The cats are masters at it. And since I am off work today, I'm heading out there right now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I don't have anything else to say about tonight's game.

Tricksy Jacketses

Another Thursday night game is upon us. This was my favorite play from last week's game. That look on Dabo's face afterward is priceless. But he should have known better - there is NO WAY we'd let Blair try a 53-yard field goal attempt. I don't know what to expect from tonight's matchup, but I guarantee you won't see this play again!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Other Places

Earth and Sky with Trees
Vacation seems like so long ago...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Whiteout 9.10.09
Sorry, Mom. Here is a photo showing tens of thousands of people flaunting that "no white after Labor Day" rule.

Clemson really brought their A game and we were lucky to get the win. They earned my respect tonight. They never quit. I was pleasantly surprised by their fans as well - the ones I encountered were pretty cool. Not what I expected.

Game Day!

My pregame ritual doesn't usually include getting up early for a 7:30am research meeting (a real snoozefest) and working all day. But I made it through (my productivity might have suffered a bit) and am about to head to The Flats. Hope that six pack I put in the car this morning is still cold... and I hope it doesn't rain (which would turn the "white out" into a giant wet t-shirt contest).

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Nothing to see here. Today was about as boring as it gets at work. I was at the alternate location and there was *nothing* to do but stare at the clock. Riding the subway was the highlight of my day. I got to listen to an amusing podcast on the way to work, and almost finished The Empress of Mars on the way home.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pimp My Playlist

College Football season starts tomorrow night (finally!) and I'll be watching NC State play South Carolina on ESPN. Tech gets started early on Saturday afternoon. Break out the mimosas and sausage balls (and of course, ball jokes). It'll be too hot for bourbon (and way too early in the day).

I started a playlist for game days. What did I leave out? I think it needs more cowbell.

Blitzkreig Bop - Ramones
Rock and Roll, Pt. 2 - Gary Glitter
Unbelievable - EMF
Kernkraft 400 - Zombie Nation
Lets Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
Get Ready For This - 2 Unlimited
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) - C+C Music Factory
Song 2 - blur
Tubthumping - Chumbawumba
Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
Enter Sandman - Metallica
We Will Rock You - Queen
Bad To The Bone - George Thorogood and the Destroyers
The Perfect Option - The GTGs
Ramblin' Wreck - Georgia Tech Marching Band

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Downside of Outsourcing

Last year: Georgia Tech handled athletic ticket orders and gameday parking in house, using its own employees.

This year: GT outsourced ticket sales and parking to a private company.

Last year: I didn't get the gameday season parking location I originally requested, so I sent an email asking if they could change it. Got a quick response and I had the new parking permit in the lot I wanted the same day I sent the email.

This year: Same problem - didn't get the parking I requested, so I sent an email to the address on my permit two weeks ago asking if they could change it. No response. Then a week ago, I sent enother email - this one to the ticket office - asking the same thing. No response. So I called the ticket office last week. Got put on hold for ten minutes, then the person who took the call told me I needed to talk to the parking guy and transferred me. I left a voicemail. He called my back in the evening and left a voicemail. I called back the next day and left a return voicemail. And again on Monday. Last night he left a voicemail responding to my voicemails. Finally, two weeks and change later, I have a new parking location. It isn't exactly the lot I wanted (which probably filled up during the 2+ weeks it took me to get something done), but it is a hell of a lot better than the first one they gave me. It was a giant hassle compared with my easy experience last year.

This outsourcing deal may be saving them money, but I'm not impressed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Juror No. 9

I served on a jury last week. Not the most comfortable experience due to the type of trial, although I did like each of the other jurors and enjoyed my conversations with them. There were three teachers, a journalist, a student, and me. This was my third time as a juror. The previous two experiences were a business dispute and a theft case. In the former dispute, there was a suit and a countersuit, and we didn't give either party anything. Case closed. In the second case, it was quite obvious that the guy was guilty and we convicted (after a lot of discussion convincing one holdout in the jury - she probably felt better afterward when we learned that he had done this sort of thing before). Some idiot went into a convenience store and left his keys in his car, and some kid took off with it.

This case last week was a DUI. Well, damn. There but for the grace of God, you know. DUI laws are really strict these days, and punishment is severe. I really did not want them to pick me. I answered the lawyers questions accurately, and was very surprised that they did not eliminate me based on one answer in particular. But there it was. I was on that jury. Trapped.

We sat through the lone witness's testimony (the officer who made the arrest) and saw the videotape. It was a long afternoon. We all took notes and paid careful attention to detail.

The trial stretched into a second day. I awoke that second day with dread. It really seemed that we would have to convict that young man. But after the conclusion of the trial and with careful consideration of the judge's instructions on both the law and the meaning of "reasonable doubt" we ended up with a not guilty verdict on the charge that counted the most. We discussed the details for a long time in the jury room. We tried the "field sobriety exercises" ourselves, with sometimes comical effect. We asked to watch the video a second time, and did - with extensive note taking. It was a razor thin margin, and could easily have gone the other way. There was just enough lacking in the state's case that failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We all agreed the kid should not have been driving. But that was not what we were asked to decide.

The prosecutor was no doubt disappointed in the outcome of this case. But if she was serious about her motivation to make the county a safer place, then she did accomplish something this week. After my experience with this trial, I will definitely alter my behavior regarding drinking and driving. I don't want to be the one in that defendant's chair. There but for the grace of God...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest CatBlogging - Doughnut

Doughnut is a very large cat, although it is not so obvious from this photo. He is a Maine Coon cat, with a long body and a weight of about fifteen pounds. He has the long fur, and tufted paws, solid build and friendly personality typical of the breed. When we arrived at our friends' house and I first glanced at him, I thought he was a dog because of his size. He was pretty curious about us and our stuff. We had a fun time playing with him, and laughing about how he kept methodically licking the nylon bag we had with us.

Real life has been happening and that hasn't allowed much time for thinking, much less posting (not counting all the fluff and catblogging). I do have some ideas rolling around in my head and hope to get thoughts on disk in the very near future.

Friday, August 21, 2009


hoary marmot
The cats are taking the week off.

Saw this hoary marmot on the Rockpile Trail at Moraine Lake. Cool, eh?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Working In Exile

A few weeks ago, my boss told me that my work location would be changing two days a week. I was not thrilled about this news.

Today was the first day. My new assignment is in our grittiest, most urban location. (Dave, I am sure you can put two and two together and figure out where I am spending my Mondays and Tuesdays now, although I am not going to come right out and say it on the blog.) The day got off to a rough start.

I left the house earlier than usual in an attempt to avoid rush hour traffic on the new, longer commute to downtown. Didn't work. The drive in was an adrenaline-laced, white knuckled, profanity-inducing experience that I am not looking forward to repeating this afternoon. Parking? Hassle. Neighborhood? Not the greatest. I won't be working after dark. Ever.

It turns out that a procedure I had been told I only needed to be physically present for was something I was expected to handle on my own. I've never used this equipment before, so I ended up calling for someone to come over from main campus to show me how to use it. Less than ideal.

And now I am sitting in a very cold, austere office at lunchtime. I'm staring at blank white walls and a tiny monitor. I cannot play music because there are no speakers. This is unfortunate, because the office seems to share a wall with the staff restroom and I can hear pretty much everything that goes on in there. As well as every conversation at the front desk and waiting area right outside my door.

The good news is that it cannot possibly get much worse, so it has to get better. Right? I'll repeat the often-used mantra of unhappy employees everywhere in these troubled times: "At least I have a job."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meanwhile, closer to home...

Stone Mountain Walk Up Trail

It isn't often that you return from vacation in better physical shape than when you left. We spent most of our week in Canada hiking and eating trail mix all day. Didn't matter what we ordered for supper -- we'd already burned all of those calories and then some. We came back home and found that we had a little more energy than normal, and we liked it. Neither of us wants to lose that.

Since we both work for a living, hiking all day every day is not an option. But getting out on the weekends is doable, especially if we could go somewhere close to home. There just happens to be a mountain very close to us: Stone Mountain. Sure, it is basically just a huge rock, but it is nearby and has hiking trails. We could get there, hike to the top and back, and be home in less than an hour and a half. Plus, it would be a good place for us to take our bikes for some riding. So we bought ourselves an annual parking pass and went there this morning to hike.

We did the walk-up trail, and then walked the 5.5 mile loop around the base of the mountain. And it was so friggin' humid it felt like we were walking in a sauna. The loop trail may have to wait for cooler weather before we try it again. But the walk-up trail will be seeing us again very soon, early in the mornings before sunrise and heat and crowds.

Friday, August 14, 2009

For Dr. Jenn

I wasn't going to do a catblogging post today, but what the hell? I've had a request. LL, you can blame Jenn for this one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lake Louise

Click here for the embiggened version (which is much prettier!).

Reliving vacation, one area at a time. Like I said earlier, it will take some time for me to sort through all the photos and clean the best ones up for posting on Flickr. I adjusted only exposure -- NOT color. The lake really is that bright and blue. We got there early in the morning and successfully avoided the crowd at this very popular destination.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Invisible Meteors

It never fails... Now that it is peak time for the Perseid Meteor Shower, the clouds have rolled in and covered up the sky here in Atlanta. It seems like this happens every year. I envy those of you with clear, dark skies and a good view of the action. A good meteor shower is unforgettable.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know? It has cleared up a lot since lunchtime. Last night we couldn't see a thing but tonight might be better. One of the perils of working in the basement is that I have no idea when the weather changes. We sat outside for lunch and got rained on a little bit. I assumed that since the forecast called for more of the same that we'd be getting more of the same. Looks like we might see a meteor or two after all.

ANOTHER DAMN UPDATE: Well, we tried. Although the skies appear clear, there is a lot of light pollution in our little cul-de-sac. In particular, our streetlamp is in a very poor spot - right in the northeasterly direction we'd need to see the radiant source for the meteors. Our beautiful grove of trees is also blocking most of the view. We could see maybe 4-5 stars total in the visible sky, and I am pretty sure that at least one of them was a planet because it was so big and bright. Less than ideal. :-(

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oh, Canada!

Lake Louise
Photograph: Victoria Glacier and reflection from Lake Louise early in the morning, August 2, 2009.

We're back.

The Canadian Rockies are incredibly beautiful in August. Photographs do not do it justice - you have to take in the entire vista with your own eyes. Even the money is pretty. We had a very good time and might even have lost a bit of weight with all of the hiking we did. I took over 850 photographs, which will take a little time to sort out. I will no doubt share them one area at a time.

If any of you are contemplating a trip to the Canadian Rockies - do it! And get this book, which was an indispensable guide: Parkways of the Canadian Rockies. I have the third edition, copyright 1988 that I purchased during my 1994 visit, but there is a spiffy new 5th edition that I saw in a bookstore at Lake Louise Village that looked great.

We were sorry to have to leave it all behind to go back home (and to a heat wave, no less). We both have a lot of bullshit to "look forward to" at work. But it was a great week off - no TV, no news, no internet (except trail reports, weather, and checking in with Mom once a day), no phones, no nothing except boots on the trail and some good chow when we got back to our temporary home base of Lake Louise Village.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Plans

We are heading for the Rockies tomorrow. The Canadian Rockies, eh.

Yes, we're finally going on that much-needed vacation, and the only downside (other than the cost) is having to get up at 3:30am in order to make the early morning flight. We're looking forward to a week of scenic hikes, paddles, and drives within the four national parks that line the continental divide up in that neck of the woods: Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper. Plus... hot springs!

Mom will be coming over to cat sit for the week, and she is bringing all of her little dogs. She reads this blog and the comments, so wish them all luck! Not sure who will have the hardest week -- the dogs, the cats, or Mom. Hopefully the house will survive and no one gets hurt.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Three More Days

The countdown is in full throttle. Scrambling to get everything ready, tied up, finished up, caught up, cleaned up, packed up, and good to go. Something big is in the works!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The "explaining later" part...

Things have been pretty crazy at work. Short-staffing for much of the time (a maternity leave, plus some meetings and vacations), and an increase in the usual patient load by about 25% have made for a tough time getting everything done. I have been working long hours and getting a lot of tension headaches. I REALLY need a vacation (which is coming very soon, thank goodness).

On Friday, when I was in the midst of handling a crisis, I got an email from my boss. Unfortunately, I opened it immediately. It was distracting. The good news is that I still have a job. The bad news is that they are splitting my work assignment between two locations. NOT ideal. I've dealt with this situation before. Don't really care for it. I tried my best to talk them out of it, and who knows -- maybe they will change their minds. It isn't scheduled to happen for another two weeks.

But if it does happen, then I have no choice but to go along with it, and give them my best effort. As always, there are positives and negatives about this new situation. All I can do is try to accentuate the positives and deal with the negatives. One thing is certain - things always change. Don't get too comfortable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh wow, it's Friday again.

My life is upside down (I'll explain later), so here are some lolcats. And it's a physics theme!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pick a tree!

A fun feline pastime. Here, Zima will demonstrate.

pick a tree

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comfort Carbs

After a bad day (or three) at work, a couple of beers and a big plate of pasta can do amazing things for your mood. The downside is that if things don't change at work I am gonna need a new (larger) wardrobe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I never get tired of watching this...

Yes, it is still summer. But football season is just around the corner. And I never get tired of watching Roddy run.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Today is PDM's birthday. I managed to surprise him with a new bicycle -- something he said he had actually been thinking about recently, even though he never mentioned it to me. I put the owner's manual in the package for him to open. It would have been nearly impossible to hide a bike, so we'll pick it up later today.

But now... mimosas! And sausage balls. (Yes, true to form, I have already made several crude "ball" jokes. I just can't help myself. They are so easy.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Catching Up - Bathroom Renovation

It was 95% done and completely functional by last Thanksgiving (thanks, Tim!), but we didn't put on the finishing touches until our party last Friday. So without further delay, I present: The Downstairs Bathroom Project - Before, During, and After.

Our friend Tim completely dismantled and rebuilt our lower bathroom last fall. Goodbye old fixtures, cracked tiles, rusty pipes, ugly crusty dirt and grime, and torn up door. Hello marble tile, custom built shower stall, low-flow toilet, built-in shelves, wainscoting, and pedestal sink. Much nicer!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Time Enough At Last

Not just my favorite Twilight Zone episode, but also a good description of how I feel now that I don't have to spend every spare moment studying, working, or sleeping. For example, this evening I got home from work at a respectable hour. Changed into jeans and a t-shirt. Poured a glass of Malbec and took it out to the screened-in porch. Read a new magazine, cover to cover.

Ahhh, time enough at last.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Crate Training

...not just for dogs anymore.

Lets just say that we finally figured out how to have some peace and quiet in the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hotter Things To Do On A Hotter Day

Go to Pike's Nursery at 11am and spend an hour in their greenhouse picking out plants. (And I thought that Braves game was hot...) Take 'em home and spend a few hours at mid-day planting them in the sun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hot Things To Do On A Steamy Day

1. At noon, put on long pants and tuck them into your socks. Put on a heavy, long-sleeved shirt over your T-shirt. Put on thick leather gloves. Then go out into your yard, wade into huge bushes and tackle a bunch of vines and briers, ripping them out by the roots. While you are in the thick of it, find and remove a bunch of dead tree branches that fell during the spring storms.

I don't think I have ever sweated so much. It was literally pouring off my face.

Go in. Take a nice, cool shower. Then...

2. Go to an afternoon baseball game during the hottest part of the day. Braves vs. Red Sox at Turner field. It was fun hanging out with the girls, but even in the shade it was hotter than hell. It was too hot to eat. My beer got warm in record time. And the game was, I hate to say, kind of dull. Not a lot going on, and the Braves lost 1-0. We seem to be in some kind of funk. Only one thing to do...

Go home. Take a nice, cool shower. No more adventures today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

open road

Went on a road trip last weekend with Mom. We visited Warm Springs and Pine Mountain/Callaway Gardens. There wasn't a convenient interstate route from A to B, and that was just fine with us. Our country road trip was very pleasant. Hardly another vehicle on the road. Slowed down a few times going through a small town, and there were some traffic lights here and there, but all in all it was an enjoyable journey.

The interstate might have saved us twenty or thirty minutes, but the trip would have been far less memorable. I'd rather enjoy the journey.

Try it sometime. You might be surprised.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Two For One Friday Catblogging

Zima and Silvio prowl for chipmunks in my scraggly flower bed. There are lots of creatures hiding in that monkey grass.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Meow Machine

Mother of God. Silvio WILL NOT SHUT UP his incessant meowing. It is making me CRAZY. He wants to go out, but it is pitch black and there is a fox out there. Not gonna happen. But how to tell him? He doesn't understand and he won't shut up! Is there such a thing as kitty prozac? Silvio needs some. Or maybe I do...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thank You For Not Smoking!

One of our patients lit up in the bathroom at work. Probably only smoked a couple of minutes. Stunk up the entire hallway. That bathroom reeked for hours. It is amazing how strong that scent can be now that most places are free of it. It is hard to imagine working in a smoky environment, but my first jobs were like that. I guess it's all what you're used to.

I feel sorry for that patient who couldn't go without for even an hour or so. No such thing as sneaking a smoke anymore. It is obvious as hell, even if we hadn't seen the cloud of smoke appear when the door opened.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ding, dong, the drought is dead!

After three long, dry years Georgia's worst drought in more than a century is finally over. We've normal rainfall so far this year, which to us has felt like an extremely wet spring. Lake Lanier is now only about 4 feet low. The state has lifted the very severe restrictions that have been in place for so long, and reverted back to the permanent watering schedule (restricted, but far less than what we've all lived with for the past few years). When called on to conserve 10% last year, metro Atlanta exceeded expectations. Lets hope some of those good habits stick.

I'm looking forward to enjoying my gardening hobby again. I've definitely got my work cut out for me. Lots of my landscape plants are dead or are very scraggly and unhealthy. The lawn is a sea of violets, weeds, moss, and monkey grass. It is full of ant hills and grubs. Between being unable to water and having to study this spring and last summer, I completely let the yard go. It will take a lot of effort to get it back. But hey, it is work that love and I can help out some local gardening centers at the same time. Looking forward to the challenge!

And waterwise habits notwithstanding, I am also looking forward to finally washing my car that hasn't been cleaned in more than two years. Oh, don't fuss. I'm not gonna be doing it every week or anything. I'd just like to remove the dead bugs and bird poop from 2007, assuming they haven't yet chemically bonded with the finish.

Tri-state water wars? Still on. Some things never change.

Monday, June 08, 2009


It took a week, but I am feeling blissfully normal again. Physically, at least. Catching up on sleep did me a world of good.

Still trying to find life's equilibrium. All of those things I've neglected for weeks or months are calling to me. I may not answer all of them. It took a shock to the system to sort through my habits. I miss some more than others. It may be time for a few changes. Time will tell. No rush.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Board Certified

The letter arrived today. I passed the third and final test.

The three year journey is over. Now I can finally relax. Which means that Silvio, the feline alarm clock, will start making a racket very early tomorrow morning. Damn him.

Friday Cat Yodeling

I haven't received my letter from the board exam yet, and I am still recovering (I need a weekend of downtime in the worst way), but I couldn't disappoint any of you looking for the Friday catblogging.

Friday, May 29, 2009

They Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday too, yeah.

Really. And I am spending it just like the last six days - eight to twelve hours of heavy studying for the oral boards. But since it is my birthday, and Friday and all that...

studying with zima

This has been the view from my lap most of the week (with notes, book, tea, nice view, and of course Zima the cat). It may look like she's sitting on a stereo receiver, but it is really an electronic cat warming device that happens to play music.

OK, back to my cave. I fly to Louisville tomorrow afternoon. The test is Sunday. See you in June.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Coming out of hibernation just long enough to say "I'm not internetting this week." Test is in seven days. I'm at home this week cramming. So you won't see me out and about until June. Will catch up then.

Back to my cave...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weirdness on Steroids

My dreams continue to grow more and more vividly bizarre as the studying intensifies and the exam approaches. I can hardly guess what craziness my brain will manufacture next. Imaginative and disturbing, all at the same time. And really, really off-the-charts weird.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The World Is His Litterbox


He just doesn't know it yet.

We've started letting Silvio outside when we are home to supervise. He hasn't figured out that he can pee wherever he wants to when he is outside. Today, he was outside for a while, and then promptly peed on the porch when I let him back in. *sigh* Maybe we should have him follow Zima around. She definitely prefers nature's litterbox.

I haven't been around the internets much due to the impending exam. It's all eat, sleep, work, study. I'm taking the last week of May off, so I can cut out the work part and study full time. May 31. Seventeen days.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Three Cats

my three cats
This was the scene last Friday afternoon as we were leaving for Callaway Gardens. Typical. Moxy is chillin', Zima is sleeping, and Silvio is stuffing his face.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ghost In The Machine?

Physics has invaded my dreams in a big way since I ramped up the studying this month. The weirdest nightmare occurred a few nights ago. I was doing some routine tests on the linear accelerator and it started, well, messing with me. Moving stuff when I wasn't looking, wrecking my test results, making mischief. And then it got nasty. Then the next thing I knew, I was somehow stuck to the gantry head, hanging on for dear life as it rotated around and around, faster and faster. I couldn't jump off without injury, and couldn't make it stop. There are lots of emergency off switches, but none in the head. (In reality, it isn't capable of continuous rotation. It will do a full circle, but only once around so the cables don't get tangled. But since when has reality ever gotten in the way of a vivid dream?) I tried to yell for someone to hit one of those emergency off switches, but could only manage a hoarse whisper. No one could hear me because I was inside the shielded vault without a voice, and the machine was out to get me. Because this linac was evil. Lets just hope the board examiners aren't.

Countdown = 25 days

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feed A Cold

Picked up a spring season cold from PDM this week. Ah, the joys of marriage.

Sneezing, sniffling, and coughing this particular week make me feel like a leper. I get sideways looks from people as they sidle away from me. It's a COLD, people. Get a grip. I haven't been to Mexico in years.

Apparently this cold is a hungry bastard. I've been eating everything in sight. Can't really taste any of it, but I scarf it up anyway. I eat three breakfasts, get up in the middle of the night to make toast, and have eaten a ton of chocolate while working, then I come home hungry. Very strange.

Anyway... due to illness, tiredness, studying, working, eating (hah!), and travel over the weekend, catblogging just ain't gonna happen. I know LL will be crushed.

Over and out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Five More Weeks

I finally got the official invitation for my third and (hopefully) final board exam -- May 31. Five more weeks. Let the countdown begin. It's crunch time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Deferential Equations

I have been reading an online discussion group for people who are preparing for the radiological physics board exams, and happened upon a post complaining about the physics educational requirements. Imagine that? They actually want you to have a physics background before they will certify you as a physicist. The nerve! Anyway, this person said that she is good in the clinic but doesn't think she would be able to pass a Quantum Physics or Deferential (sic) Equations class. Of course I could not resist the urge to mock this (for those who were not forced to take advanced math, the subject is Differential Equations). Instead of doing it on the public discussion group (because I am not a complete ass), I send PDM a snarky email quoting this comment. I knew he would be sure to appreciate the humor of it all. And indeed, he did. This is what he sent back:

"Well, wasn't that the most well-mannered 2nd order inhomogenous equation? Always saying 'no, sir' and 'yes, please'. So agreeable when I required it to have constant coefficients. And not the slightest peep of complaint when I changed the initial conditions of the problem."

"Oh, you're so right. Most inhomogeneous equations nowadays are so disrespectful, requiring you to use the Method of Frobenius--or even numerical integration, for Heaven's sake! But that equation was so courteous--it even offered to transform itself into an integral equation and solve itself using Green's function techniques. Talk about good upbringing!"

"No doubt, no doubt. I've never known an equation so willing to go out of its way on my behalf. Manners will show."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gold vs White

Went to the annual "T-Day" game for a football fix. Yes, I am hard core.

My observations? I feel better about the defense (we lost a lot of starters); the running game has improved; O-line is a question mark; we should see more passing next year; the #3 quarterback might be #2 before the first game (#1 did not play due to a shoulder injury); there were still way too many fumbles; and we have NO kicking game... none (heck, Coach Paul Johnson himself blocked a punt, I kid you not). But a lot of good players were sitting on the sidelines, and I am optimistic about our next season. It should be a lot of fun.

How many days until September 5th?

Friday, April 17, 2009


food truce

chop lickin'

The skirmishes pause for WET FOOD!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Helpful Household Hint #101

Did you know that the outer diameter on a cat food can is almost exactly equal to the inner diameter of a standard sink disposal opening? I didn't know either until I dropped one just now and it got stuck. It's out now, but damn, it's been a long day.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I'm convinced that the thermostats at work aren't hooked up to anything. They're just there for the placebo effect. My office, and the entire physics hallway, is a meat locker all year 'round. I pried the cover off the nearest thermostat and turned it all the way up, and... nothing. The only place in the whole department that is warm is the breakroom, which is practically a sauna.

In my employer's defense, they tried to do something about the situation. They gave all of us polartec jackets and blankets. I kid you not. And space heaters for all of the offices. They could save so much money if only the climate control system could be brought under control.

Monday, April 06, 2009


In the wee hours of Friday night, I got up to get a drink of water. I didn't bother putting on my glasses. Sure, I am blind as a bat without 'em, but it isn't as if I don't know my way around the house. On the way back to bed, I stopped to use the bathroom. In the dim glow of the nightlight, I saw what appeared in color and size to be a rather healthy-sized roach on the floor by the toilet. EEEK! I am not fond of bugs crawling on me. Roaches creep me out. There was no way I was gonna sit on that toilet, half blind, and have a big roach bug wandering around my feet. I was wearing slippers, so what the heck... I stomped that sucker HARD. Except it didn't make that satisfying crunch noise, nor did what was left have the appearance of a smushed roach. It looked more like a puddle of liquid roach. In fact, one whiff confirmed my sinking expectation: I killed a cat turd. A really mushy, stinky cat turd. *sigh*

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rage Against the Machine

I hate my vacuum cleaner. Yes, it was highly rated by a certain consumer magazine. Yes, the suction is excellent and it is quite good at removing dirt and cat hair. It is "self propelled" if used on carpets. But I don't have carpets. I have hardwood floors and the occasional area rug. The vacuum is big, and bulky, and weighs a metric ton. It gets an "F" for ease of use. The attachments don't stay attached. It is difficult to maneuver. I can barely carry it up and down the stairs. My use of it never fails to elicit a flurry of obscenities that would make the saltiest of sailors blush. I growl and grumble and scowl. I hit stuff in frustration. I grit my teeth and roll my eyes. I dread having to use it, because it always pisses me off and wears me out. Which is why I let the floors get so dirty before I take action. I HATE vacuuming. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

If they ever do invent that self-cleaning house, I am all over it.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Cats Have Been Replaced

Fermicat would like to announce that she's traded her three cats in for a new pet. Although she loses fifty IQ points every time she looks at his sweater, she thinks he's just the cutest little thing she's ever seen. The lolling tongue, the reek of dirt and old sweat caught in all of those skin folds, the underbite, the bow legs, the constant slobbering, the leg humping... what's not to love?

Cats, schmats. I'm done with them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off My Game

Random thoughts from this weekend:

My schedule got all turned around. I wish I knew how to hit the reset. I am feeling pretty restless for 9:45 on a Sunday night.

I got only one of the Final Four teams right. So did President Obama, who knows a thing or two about basketball. I guess I shouldn't feel bad.

It is wonderful to wake up to a thunderstorm and be able to turn over and go back to sleep.

If someone invites you to a Nigerian Engagement Ceremony, you should definitely attend.

At any solemn event, someone's cell phone is sure to ring. Usually this happens multiple times. I can't understand why the first mistake doesn't cause people to check their own phones to make sure it doesn't happen again. Do people not even feel embarrassed about this anymore?

PDM and I still don't like crowds.

A study session with a friend helped me know what I don't know for the board exam. And showed me how inelegantly I answer physics questions out loud. We've got a long way to go to be able to answer smoothly, but it is good to have friends to practice with. It will get better.

We're short-staffed at work for the next week and a half. I hope it's not awful.

Our house isn't going to clean itself. We've given it plenty of chances.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Never Too Old To Play

Zima turns 15 this spring. She has been more playful than usual lately. She used to play only when the younger two cats weren't around. Now she'll chase stuff even if they are around to compete with her. Not sure what that's all about, but I like it.

We should never get too old to play.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guilt Trips

Things I feel guilty about, in no particular order:

- not studying nearly enough for my board exam coming up 5/31 - 6/2. I get home from work feeling so mentally fried that I don't even want to look at a book, much less open it and study. But the test is coming whether I have the mental energy to prep for it or not, and I have tons and tons of material to get through and be able to explain to an examiner (it is an oral exam). This guilt is strongly coupled with stress and dread.

- I feel some self-pressure to work more overtime to get projects done because I get interrupted with clinical duties all day and never get very far, although I am already putting in excess hours at work and doing more of this would exacerbate the "not studying enough" guilt described above. This is a no win situation, unless I can manufacture thirty hours from a twenty four hour day. But if I did, I would want that six hours for more sleep.

- I can't remember exactly when I last cooked something, although I vaguely recall not getting it ready until well after 9pm on an evening when we were both tired and hungry. PDM is doing far more than his share of the cooking, and when he doesn't cook we go out or order in. He's probably ahead on kitchen cleanup. We're about even on laundry, and neither of us is doing much of anything else around the house (and it shows). We haven't done anything to the yard either.

- there are a few other items that are private.

I know things will get better after my test, and this is just something to get through, but it doesn't make me feel any less guilty.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Roll

spring kitty

Zima enjoys her first catnip high of the season. The catnip plant is only a nubber (you can't see it in the photo because she is rolling on it), but apparently it was enough to induce full on cat euphoria.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dilbert or The Borg?

Things are changing at work, in ways that have nothing to do with the economy. Our new chairman is finally starting to put his unique stamp on the department. I'd describe our new direction as something between Dilbert and The Borg.

On the Dilberty side, we have a staggering number of meetings. The big boss, hair looking more pointy by the day, rambles through his agenda in random order. A question may lead to a side debate that quickly goes off topic and never seems to end. If anything physics related is covered at all, half the time it ends up badly for us. We are almost in the realm of having meetings to discuss other meetings. It has gotten to be a huge joke with us in the trenches. As if the constant stream of meetings wasn't bad enough, we get bombarded with lecture notices. Last week alone, we had ten hours of meetings and lectures spread across all five working days. I confess that about two hours into the one on Tuesday afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore and started quietly playing Sudoku on my iTouch. Other people were carrying on lively text message conversations or reading email.

As for the Borg, well, let me share an example with you. We were recently directed to use a specific font, size and color on all email messages, and told to use a particular format for our email signature. Yes, You Will Be Assimilated. Individuality is no longer tolerated. Since not everyone is savvy with the inner workings of Outlook, this has led to a hilarious variety of almost-but-not-quite-right email signatures. Logo replaced by the red "image not found" X, double spaced lines, four different shades of blue, an assortment of incorrect fonts. I was helping some nurses set theirs up and found out that they did not even have the required font installed on their PCs. Brilliant idea - doom them to failure from the outset.

Want more? OK. I was recently accused of "violating our logo policy" on an electronic form template I created (that looked exactly like the paper form we'd been using for years) and sent a 15-page PDF file from Marketing containing the complete set of rules for logo usage. My offense? The logo was in a table that had borders around all of the cells, so I had illegally placed a "box" around the logo.

Don't get me wrong. I know the economy sucks and I am very happy to have my relatively stable job. And I get what the new guy is trying to accomplish for the department and our reputation. It is important, and will be good for us. It just looks different down in the trenches (literally, the basement of the clinic) than it does in the lofty towers of academe. Generally, I like what I do. But these changes have increased the time I have to spend doing useless stuff at work, while continuing to produce as much or more of my real work output (patient load has been up lately). The only way to do this is to work more hours. No one notices that, but if you fail to show up at a meeting... watch out! I could get resentful, but I choose to deal with it by poking fun at the situation instead. We do it all the time, and laughing about it with my coworkers helps us get through the day -- meetings, lectures, mandatory fonts and all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Waiting for Dr. Newton

vet visit

Time for catblogging. It had to be Silv, right? This was the scene on Tuesday morning as he nervously awaited his exam.

I am waiting, less apprehensively, for PDM to get home so we can start our weekend. I left work at 3:30 to come home and watch the second half of the basketball game. We were hanging in there, but came up short and now the season is over.

Hey, looks like PDM snuck out early too. Just heard him come through the door. Gotta go!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Belly and Bones (and Maybe a Stone)


This is a lateral x-ray view of Silvio's big fat belly. He may possibly have a small stone in his bladder (visible as a very faint brighter area in the anterior bladder). That would be bad news, so lets hope not.

Today just bit it, coming and going. Silvio vomited several times during the night, waking us up. I woke up with "the trifecta" - migraine, cramps, upset stomach. Had to be at work at 6:30am for a meeting at which I needed to be functioning on all cylinders, after being there until after 7pm the night before. This afternoon I left (still in migraine hell) to take Silvio to the vet so they could try to figure out why he is still having so much trouble with peeing. Thus the x-ray. And just a few minutes ago I sent PDM to the pub without me. I took enough drugs to feel slightly better, but I really need to crash for a few hours with my ice pack and then eat.

But I couldn't let down the masses (all six of you). Friday catblogging (now in kV!) is back.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

PDM graded another batch of physics tests today. He has a suggestion for you. (These students are tomorrow's aspiring engineers.) Don't drive over any bridges designed and built after 2008. Yes, it was that bad, and has been all semester. And the one before that. And the one before that. And the one before that...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

It Did!

The rain turned to snow right on schedule. Mass freakoutery to follow.

atlanta snow

Will It Or Won't It?

They're predicting snow for us here in the ATL. I'll believe it when I see it. Right now it's pouring buckets.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not Feline It Today

I can already hear LL rejoicing, but I'm skipping the catblogging this week. Between the pee problems, the new food and litter adjustments, the cat fights, pilling the cat, cleaning up cat vomit, and Silvio's mysterious morning cat crazies this week I am all catted out. We're about to leave the cats and go to the pub. Maybe next week...

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Trouble With Silvio

We are having some more trouble with Silvio. Saturday before last, he peed on the bed while we were in it. That little stunt earned him a visit to the vet last Monday. There was some blood in his urine, but no pus or crystals and he didn't have a fever. They put him on antibiotics. He's been on them for a week. This morning, he was downstairs meowling in protest of the empty food dish. When I didn't jump right up and fill it, he came upstairs and peed right next to my night stand. Needless to say, this is not how I want to start my day, and I am not sure I will be able to get the smell out of the leg of the nightstand, which is an antique with sentimental value to me. The wood is dry and it sucked that urine right up into the fibers. I applied an enzyme formula cleaner to it about half a dozen times and I can still smell the unmistakable odor of cat pee. I don't know what else to do to fix it. NOT HAPPY!

The problem with this type of behavior is that in light of his background of having major urinary issues, I am never certain of the cause when he does some extra-curricular peeing. Today's case was pretty clear - he was sending a message - but what happened last weekend when he peed in the bed? Was he upset about something, or does it hurt when he pees and now he associates the litter box with painful urination? I've noticed that he almost always has a quick licking session after he goes to the box. I think that there might be some irritation. I really hope that we are not heading down the road of having constant inappropriate peeing in the house. We would be forced to turn him into an outside cat, and I don't want to do that.

Any of you cat people care to chime in? Any thoughts?

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Friday....

I'm still not taking new photos, so this week I'm bringing you this handy guide to cats. Love "corporal cuddling".

Yours truly,
That blogger.... with all those cats.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Not At All Romantic Post That Is Not About Valentine's Day

I left PDM alone all day while I went to a basketball game, but I was nice enough to bring him a six pack when I came home (or as I put it, "your bouquet of beer"). We don't really do Valentine's Day around here. There were no hearts or flowers or chocolate. There were, however, a couple of very low key cards. And maybe some smooching.

So, in the anti-Valentine spirit, I thought I'd share a few tidbits about the men with whom things didn't exactly work out.

There was the one that, I kid you not, had a picture of his car in his wallet. A car he no longer owned. And he wouldn't let me park my foreign car in his driveway. Yeah, that didn't work out.

There was the one that was allergic to cats. Doomed from the start.

There was the one who was never really mine. And mom hated him. Didn't pan out.

There was the one who "didn't mind" that I was an engineer, but didn't really want me to ever talk about what I did for a living either. Apparently he didn't find smart women sexy, or maybe he just wanted to talk about his stuff all the time. Nyet.

There was the one who lied on his resume. And couldn't keep a job. (Hmmm, those two items might possibly be related.) And never finished anything. And was a slob. And extremely juvenile at times. And irresponsible. And never pulled his weight. And lied to his wife about his background, maintaining the elaborate network of lies for years. I didn't find out about that last one until after we were divorced, but it answered a lot of lingering questions. Turns out he was a pathological liar. I have no idea if anything he ever told me was true. Biggest mistake, ever.

None of these guys are PDM. He's a keeper. And that is as mushy as I will get on this February 14th.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feline Alarm Clock?

This week, I bring you.... cat-related Friday catblogging having nothing to do with my cats, other than the fact that mine are annoying in the morning also, but so far have not resorted to the same drastic measures as Simon's cat to wake us up. Mostly because we free-feed them, so our presence is not required in order for them to eat breakfast. If it was, we'd never have any rest.

The posting drought (other than catblogging and a sentence here or there about basketball) is almost over. I have several half-written posts rattling around in my brain just waiting to bust out. Things have been happening. Oh yes. Nefarious things. My workplace is going all Dilberty on me, and I have an anti-Valentine's Day themed post in mind for next week. And that's just for starters. But I promise not to break out that "25 random things" crap that is going around on Facebook. Which I am still not on. For now.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Moxy in Motion II
This pretty much sums up how I feel this week.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Busy Living...

...not blogging. Sorry. Will be back when I have something to say.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I picked a helluva time to give my tickets away...

Had stuff to do today, so I did not get to see Tech finally get their first ACC win. And against #4 Wake Forest at that. Maybe they play better when I'm not watching?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Georgia Tech vs. Virginia

You know your team sucks when (a)it is the end of January and you have yet to win a conference game, and (2)your team is featured in a "Who Stinks Worse" article in the local fishwrapper. Ouch.

It was small consolation that the author concluded that UGA is in fact worse (but only barely). I still have fun at the games. But it would be nice to beat an ACC team at least once. Still waiting...

On the plus side, I do far better in the NCAA pool when Tech is not in there clouding my judgment. I came in 2nd last year. Damn Memphis!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rather than phoning it in...

...I'm going to go see all of you and write on your blogs.

Friday, January 23, 2009