September 7th, 2014


Cutting Up

Got some Stuff done today. put a pair of sci-fi earrings in the mail to the wife of one of my UK cousins. This involved standing in line for 20 minutes at the PO as the three clerks contended with:
- The customer who had two oddly-shaped, poorly secured packages, one was about 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide, 4 inches deep. Packaging made from several oddly cut boxes taped haphazardly together.
- The couple who only had a couple of packages to mail, but 6,784 questions to ask, and no clue which of the 27 options to take
- The single man with two preschool daughters in leotards running back and forth in front of the PO boxes as he was in denial that he had waited more than 15 days to pick up his package and it was returned to sender 
- A family trying to mail something to India which is not allowed to be mailed. Each family member was talking at once, none were listening

Home, put on my sun hat and a sweatband, got the shovel out of the shed and the cubic foot bag of top soil. Went to the empty spot next to the hedge in which I had planted two small hedge-like plant which my sister the master gardener said would soon be growing invasively. One was dead, the other alive but not growing. I pulled them both out, threw away the dead one, dug up a healthy dandelion next to them, dumped the top soil in that spot and re-planted the one live plant into the mound of top soil. Watered it, too.

Back to the shed, got the hedge trimmer and attacked the two hedge bushes on the north side of the house. They are no longer overlapping the neighbor's property. That was hard work, so I went inside, sat in the recliner in front of the fan, turned the aircon down to 74, and watched Stanford not play like Rose Bowl contenders. USC wasn't very good either, but they won. In part due to a bad "chop block" call against Stanford which negated what should have been the winning touchdown. It wasn't even close, the guy burst through the offensive line, in between two linesmen. He wasn't really blocked at all.

Back outside with a black trash bag and a rake, and shoved all the hedge clippings into the bag. This particular hedge is very springy, so I was able to keep shoving stuff in way past what I thought I could. Hauled that to the other side of the house, it will live against the wall on the carport until next week because the garbage is already filled with dirt from Monday's gardening.

Back inside, cooled off again. Played online a little until 4, then took myself to MV and Starbucks for a chat with Janice. Not much new with her this week. Or me. Except she had to cancel Canada. I am so proud to have a friend who can do that. :-)

Back to Santa Clara, stopped in for a massage, now that my arm no longer hurts from the shingles shot. It was excellent.

Home, watched some of the Oregon State/Hawaii game. OSU was all set to wallop the Rainbow Warriors, but spent most of the second act shooting themselves in the foot. I stopped watching before the 4th quarter, but a quick search tells me that while the Beavers didn't score again, they still won by 8.

Listed the phone I used in England on eBay. Unlocked, it ought to get me about $500, but probably won't. I should also list the euphonium I bought there, but maybe it should just go to Craig's List or maybe someone in band knows someone who can use it. It needs work, some of the tubes are seriously bent. But it has a nice sound, just out of tune.

Plans for tomorrow:
Fuel the car
Buy ice cream
Buy limes (probably will have to go to a produce store)

Finally Got Out of Bed At Noon

Was feeling unusually lethargic. And found some interesting sites online using my Nexus. Finished Hugo winner Ancillary Justice a couple of days ago, and have not really started the next reading project (Writers of the Future #29). My nutshell review of AJ is this:
- Fairly well-written. It mostly held my interest by not revealing much of the plot at a time. Onions were peeled, from the inside and the outside.
- The author had the main character confused about what gender to call people, depending on which language was being spoken. It failed big-time for me. I speak Thai, which doesn't have a gendered him/her, and would have understood if the confusion was that in some languages there was and in some there wasn't, but this seemed more of the character's inability to recognize what gender a person is. But that was handled poorly, because as we get closer to the end, everyone is referred to as female, regardless of the person's gender. Or maybe everyone is female, and the author has neglected to clue us in.
- The ending is a clusterfuck, and completely negates for me the heroism of the main character.
- The invention of ancillaries is pretty clever. I would have liked more science and less fiction around those, though.

Having not read any of the other entries for best novel, I can't say if it deserved the award, but it was not an embarrassment to the awards to have it chosen.
Out of bed, took care of some low-priority to-dos. Moved the swinging bird feeder holder back to where it had been, and installed a second hummingbird feeder on it. Installed a longer, non-swinging feeder holder so the seed feeder would drop seeds on the hedge instead of on the porch, and hung the seed feeder from it. Used an outdoor wire guide (the nail in type) to fix both swinging feeders at their furthest from the porch position.

Went to Petco in search of a second, larger automatic litterbox, but they didn't have the model I wanted. They also didn't have the brand of hummingbird feeder mix I like. Got two 26# boxes of clumping litter on sale. OSH had the right brand of hummingbird mix, but it was way overpriced.

Home, ordered the litterbox from The don't carry any hummer food. So I did a search online and decided my little sister is right, I should just make my own, 4 parts water to 1 part granulated sugar, no coloring. That's what I'll do when the commercial stuff runs out, probably next week.

Watched the 49ers-Cowboys game on Tivo delay, thus skipping all the commercials and a lot of the commentary, which was even more lame than usual. I thought Dallas played much better, especially on defense, and should have won by 3 TDs, but they kept making major mistakes. Turnovers accounted for most of SF's points. The officials made several bad calls against the 49ers, but the few they called against the home team were game changers. The 49ers were shut out in the second half, mostly because they stupidly kept running Gore up the middle, into a wall of very good Cowboys defenders.

I did not watch the Oakland game against the Jets, but from the sound of it, they both sucked, but the Raiders at least made a game of it toward the end. 19-14.

Finally watched the 2nd and 3rd Capaldi Doctor Who episodes. I am not impressed with the writing, the tech or the score. He's a better Doctor than Smith, but they don't seem to know what his personality is yet. His companion is very photogenic, and had a lot of the best lines. And they are building a sub-plot for her apart from the TARDIS which involves some romance. I'll keep watching the series, hoping it winches itself back to David Tennant quality. 

Ducked out for a few minutes to get ice cream, limes and strawberry sugar-free jam from F&E. Hate hate hate their anti-intuitive self check-out. They really need to give that up and have at least one employee-run line. It's not like their prices are so low...

Plans for tomorrow