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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Alex Update and Other Real-Life Jazz

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Alex Update and Other Real-Life Jazz

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alex eek
Well, I've been busy. Hence the fact that I haven't read my LJ flist in almost a week ... *wince*

So ... is there anything new going on with you that I should know about? Good news, exciting news, random shtuff that you just have to share? Let me know! I feel very productive ... but very out-of-touch too. I miss you all and our enlightening/absurd/hilarious/passionate conversations! :)

Primarily, I have been working on the SWG website. It's almost finished--that is, the website is almost finished, not the archive. That's a whole new animal. But this website has been dragging on for almost a year now, mostly because I work on it in spurts, accomplish a great deal (without ever finishing), and then get pleased with my progress and allow myself to become distracted by something else. Months pass ... nothing new gets finished. So I set for myself an ultimatum: The website must be ready for release to the group by 1 April. The bones are there; it's just tinkering, filling in holes and fixing mistakes that I've allowed myself to neglect, removing those sections that have nothing but "IN PROGRESS" or "CONTENT GOES HERE" in the main content area. Once the main site is up, I can check out the archive software and start confabulating with Lenine (my all-knowing-PHP savior!) about getting the archive up. And then I hope to concentrate on the fun stuff, like getting new features and resources in place, not with deciding whether third- or fourth-level headers look best for this or that subtitle.

I wanted to write about Alex, but here I am rambling about web design ... *sigh*

Alex got neutered on Monday. One would never know that the dog had surgery two days ago. At the moment, he is intently humping his pillow. He has been full of piss and vinegar all day.

Leaving him at the vet's on Monday was hard. Alex loves going to the vet--the only dog I've ever had who does--so he bounced up the steps full of joy. Then a vet tech came out, slipped on a leash and took off his collar, and led him back. That was the point where he realized that Mommy wasn't with him anymore. He laid down. And wouldn't move. When I left, they were trying to coax him up, and he looked none too happy that I was walking out the door without him.

He came through it just fine. He was groggy and sore all day on Monday and slept most of the day. Bobby had to carry him up the steps after going potty; it was sad. But by the next day, it was impossible to tell that anything had happened.

He was given an Elizabethan collar to keep him from licking the incision. You know, those things that look like lampshades that go over dogs' heads. Only it's not a normal e-collar but a "soft e-collar"; it looks like one of those donut-cushions that people with hemorrhoids sit on. And it has a really fruity pattern on it. I tried to put the stupid thing on him this morning so that he wouldn't worry the incision between the time I left for work and his grandmom's arrival at eleven, and the first thing he did? Lay down and demonstrate how he was still able to lick the incision. So that does a whole helluva lot of good!

He's barely bothered it, though, so I called his grandmom to let her know not to put it on him, and she said she'd come in early as well.

The other day, we discovered that Alex is afraid of guitars. Bobby touched the acoustic, it made a noise, and Alex went wild. We sat it down without playing it and let him approach it, sniff it, and lick it. It didn't help that he'd bark at it and the G- and D-strings would hum in reply, so I guess he thought the guitar was barking back. I played a few chords on it, and he went crazy. Silly dog! He's gotten used to it, though; I was strumming the acoustic and Bobby was playing the electric, so he got desensitized pretty quickly.

The computers at work are fucked up again. To prove, perhaps, that bad things come in threes, we 1) practically lost the network; it was so slow that it took Johnny the Boss fifteen minutes to open an Excel spreadsheet, 2) our Access database where we keep the warrant logs corrupted, and 3) I cannot print criminal records off of CJIS, which is 95% of my job. Issues #1 and #2 have been resolved; #3 is supposedly being solved. In the meantime, I have thirty warrants waiting to be run; I can run them, but I can't print the records, which doesn't do the officers a whole lot of good.

I do have a lot of sympathy for the help desk. They probably deal with some real idiots in the course of the day. But dayum. They can act like idiots too! I call and say, "We've had this problem before (referring to the corrupted Access database); all I need is a backup copy restored from last Thursday, which was the last day that I am certain that the database worked properly." The tech I'm talking to then attempts to convince me that my network drive is improperly mapped and that we have one too many network drives on our server ... dude, we've been using this system for three years! Finally, I say, "Look, we've had this problem before. All I'm asking is for a copy of the database from last Thursday. And I guarantee that the problem will be fixed."

So he sends me a copy of the database. It still doesn't work. I ask, "What date is it from?"

"Last Friday."

*gnash teeth/pull hair/put head through computer monitor and hope for electrocution*

"The last day that the database worked properly was Thursday, not Friday. It worked fine on Friday before 3:15 p.m. but I know that it didn't back up before then." Thinking, "As I told you ten minutes ago."

So he restored Thursday's copy ... and voila! It worked! OMG! *teh gasp*

Then today, I'm talking the head honcho of the IT people about the CJIS issue. He remotely accesses my computer. He attempts to print. It doesn't work. He asks why I need to print from CJIS in the first place.

Stunned silence ensues. "Ummm ... because I work for the warrant unit and I put together warrant reports from CJIS?!?" Thinking, "And the warrant officers can't read my mind and probably don't want to carry my desktop out in the field with them?"

He then scribbles the mouse around the screen and attempts to print again. And would you believe that the simple act of scribbling the mouse around on the screen did not fix the problem that's been going on for a week now??

I watched this man do this a dozen times while the urge to attempt electrocution-via-monitor-screen slowly came over me again. He never did solve the problem, so I am currently in limbo, awaiting a call from that nebulous entity "the server team."

As I said, I know that their job is not easy and that they deal with stupid/ignorant/rude people pretty much every moment of every day. But sometimes, they make more work for themselves. Over at the good ol' WAU, we're well versed in computer problems caused by corrupted data, lawnmowers, and everything in between. It seems to me that if a user calls and says, "I've had this problem before and this is how we fixed it," then that might be a sensible place to start? Rather than questioning completely functional systems that have been in place for years??

*sigh*

Anyway, tomorrow it will hopefully be fixed.

At night, Bobby and I have been watching the Discovery HD series Planet Earth. Oh my goodness. I think this might be the most beautiful program I've ever seen. It is beyond amazing ... not only are the images gorgeous but the landscapes and animals that they show: I asked Bobby, "How can we have lived on this planet for twenty-five years and never known that such amazing creatures exist?" And there's definitely cute-baby-animal overload too.
  • So ... is there anything new going on with you that I should know about?

    Er, well, a good deal of angst! if you want to hear it?

    The other day, we discovered that Alex is afraid of guitars.

    Sillyface! My dog thinks that is just crazy. He loves music. He's the singer. ;) He also says A minor is the way to go. *grin*

    And IT = O.o

    In other news, I found hot pic. >:)
  • It could be worse at work, the IT dept might think that the first step in solving every problem is to reimage the machine. Yes, wipe out everything that you've had the misfortune to not back up on the server, and leaving you to reinstall everything that you need to do your particular job. Why spend time trying to diagnose and solve a problem when it's so easy to reimage?
    • Yikes!

      They'd probably reimage, if they could ... but we aren't able to install anything on our own computers, so they'd be stuck re-installing everything for us.

      So there is method to their madness. ;)
  • About me? Hm... Birthday stuff has been arriving from my family from Monday through today (and there's more, from what my mom said), I wrote and completed a short freeverse piece about Yavanna, am halfway finished with a similar Nienna piece (which are both part of a freeverse series about the Queens of the Valar, with a different sort of spin on them), and I completely geeked out about the Deathly Hallows cover being revealed. :D

    I say well done, you, for putting together the SWG website! I can't wait to see the finished product.

    Give Alex a pet for me. :)

    *sigh* It is unfortunate that in work situations, people seem to never see the most obvious solution. Gnah. As the Resident File Monkey(tm) of where I work, it amazes me what some people don't understand.

    And I have to go be productive now, so I must dash. Grr!
    • I will have to check out your stories!

      I hope that all of your birthday festivities went well also. Bobby's birthday is on Sunday, so Alex and I are going gift shopping tomorrow. :^D

      Alex also thanks you for the pet. :)
  • Heh, them dogs! Life would be poorer without them.

    I went for a walk today and some pretty little golden dog came up and let me pet him/her, and I thought of Alex. :D

    is there anything new going on with you that I should know about?

    Lots of nature photos posted today in my photo journal, if you're interested :)
    • I'll scurry over and check the photos, definitely! :)

      And awwww ... golden dogs! Alex is definitely a magnet for attention when we walk him, though I think that's inherent to Golden Retrievers. ;)
  • Well, I started my new quarter, and I made some icons with Photoshop, which is only the second time I've ever used Photoshop at all. The computers in the Reg computer lab come equipped with that program. This is my latest one. Whaddaya think?

    I'm amused that Alex is still humping things, even after his surgery.
  • Cal was neautered at 6 months of age and he still pins down the girls and thinks he's all that. Cracks me up...

    I am in hell week, but other than that, all is well.

    ;)
    • Two weeks after losing his manhood, Alex is still humping.

      :^D

      He's heartened to hear that Cal is still the ladies' man. Alex intends to be the same.

      I hope that hell week has passed without incident? I'm guessing this is a busy time of year for you!
  • Alex and his antics amuse me. Apart from that there's nothing that I haven't already told you. Today I'm off to N. with JMH for shopping (while he's at court) and then lunch (together! OMG, the bliss!). After that I will continue to E. and go to the library, taking back some books and getting new ones, hopefully (I might come too late, meh, I keep forgetting how long they keep the books for you, grrr).
    • Ah, yes. The handsome lawyer that you met while in town. ;)

      He's still around, I hope? And good as ever?? :^D
  • Awww, poor Alex! But at least he´s up and running now, so he wasn´t that much affected by the surgery. My black kitten was catatonic for half a day after being neutered and we had to close and open his eyes every now and then, because he could not keep them closed. It was a scary sight, to say the least. Plus, he was sick the day after, but that was pretty much it and now he has grown pretty big. He has the appetite of a dog, too.

    I´m glad to have read most of your posts and to have learned that things are well with everyone in the house of Felagund. Hug everyone for me. Even Finrod!*grin*

    I am saving your March birthday story for later reading and savoring. I would so read it now, but I think I will enjoy it better if I print it and sit down with it and a nice mug of coffee. It´s excellent to see that, unlike others *points at self*, you are good and writing.

    *smooch*
    • Alina!

      I kid you not, I was starting to worry that I hadn't heard from you in a while, so I was going to email you first thing on the morning after you left this comment. It's great to hear from you. :)

      That is scary about your kitten ... sounds like he may have had a bit too much anesthetic or something. Alex is completely fine by now. He's laying at my feet and chewing his back paw. Silly dog! :^D
  • Oh, and I might add that Chewy was neutered when he adopted us 8-9 years ago, and he still goes after this beautiful red dog (color of an Irish setter, but built more like a retriever) across the street... We call her his girlfriend. It's a very unequal match: something like the TV commercials where the lazy beer-guzzling guy ends up with a could-be-a-model wife.
    • Awww ... that is so cute! We had a dog named Crosby who was actually half-Golden and half-Setter who sounds like the one you describe, and he had a girlfriend too. Our next-door neighbor had a little froo-froo dog, and Crosby adored her. We used to put him outside on a rope while we were out with him, and she would come a few feet from the end of his rope. Of course, the dummy ran at her and choked himself every time.

      Dogs ... ;)
  • When Angelica was neutered (that's what you use for females too?), she was groggy for a surprisingly short time, then started licking the incission despite the Elizabethan collar. I clearly remember arriving home from a birthday party two days later (of course it was a Friday late at night) and finding that she had bitten off all the first layer of stitches and the incission seemed open. As she was sleeping like a baby -on my bed- we decided not to move her around and to wait till the morning . I spent the whole night having the most horrible gory nightmares, with her bleeding to death on me.
    First thing on Saturday we rushed her to the vet who told us not to worry but she was given a bigger collar that really pissed her off.
    Tevildo's present day avatar
    • Yikes! That's scary ... I had that worry with Alex too, because I've heard that animals will chew out the stitches. I guess that they don't know that it's the only thing holding their insides in.

      *shudder*

      Oh, and yes, "neuter" works for females too! Or "spay," which is what it's more commonly called, but either works. :)
  • WAAAH! I've missed the first few episodes of Planet Earth. I do hope the Discovery Channel reruns it, and (even better) that it comes out later on DVD.
    • Teh Hubby seems to think that it could be out on DVD as early as May ... I've got my fingers crossed! :)
  • At night, Bobby and I have been watching the Discovery HD series Planet Earth. Oh my goodness. I think this might be the most beautiful program I've ever seen.

    Sharon and I watched that a few months back and were entranced by it. It was a great series. A couple of months later we also watched the British 'Planet Earth' narrated by David Attenborough, that also rocks if you ever get the chance to see it. Sharon was mostly obsessed with the arctic episode and all the polar bears etc, but I kinda saw that coming. :-P

    I never really bothered with the discovery channel but I have to say, now that I found it, it has the most amazing shows. :-P

    BTW, We took our first walk through Tynemouth last weekend, we were going to take pics for y'all, got down to the beech and realised the camera Sharon asked me to put in my bag was sitting on the table at home, so pictures will be coming soon. Oh, and we're also looking into getting a dog in a few months, we've been looking at the local cat and dog shelters and they have some of the cutest dogs you've ever seen. Sharon wants one now, I have to stop her looking at the cat and dog shelter site or she would make an appointment tomorrow. :-P

    Sharon was telling me that you had to cancel your trip because of no passports. Have they finally arrived? You can always trust a government agency to screw up, no matter the country or the government, they will always find a way to do something not quite right!
    • We watched the "Ice" episode of Planet Earth the other night, and I thought of Sharon! Those baby polar bears are so cute! Though I bet she angsted when the male died because he couldn't catch a walrus? :(

      I love the Discovery channel. That and Animal Planet are two of the only channels that I will watch. (Alex likes Animal Planet too!)

      On the doggie ... yay! If you get a puppy, you can go through potty training and teething and all that fun stuff. And we'll be sure to bring the squeakiest, most annoying football that we can find at PetCo. >:^D

      On the passports ... yes, we got them. We canceled the trip on Friday and the passports arrived the following Wednesday. But we were redeemed in a way: The day we were supposed to leave, a big snowstorm hit the east coast. The flight we would have taken from Boston to Bermuda was canceled, and some passengers in Boston were stranded there for four days. So we probably would not have made it to Bermuda anyway, and I'd just as soon not spend four days sleeping in an airport!

      So it was for the best, it seems. :)
  • I am so sorry Dawn, I saw this entry posted when I was, I think working on correcting the sea of redness and comments in my original fic that came back from my proofreader. Instead of playing truant, I forced myself to do that, get the comments, rewrites and additions done before I treated myself to, ya know, catching up. I already procrastinated enough with posting to the SWG group. LOL. Several versions later and receiving more thorough comments later (but good ones), I finished the piece three days later, crossed my fingers and submitted it to the publisher hosting the competition.

    All of this balanced with very needy muses, family, Kev, hubby being completely stressed out by work. The past week I did a sort of character study of Curufin. And Celegorm thought it would be kewl to have his brother hanging around here, so he's now a member of my crazy muses pack. Yeah... don't ask.

    On top of that... I got good feedback, pulled the latest chapters of Requiem offline again, re-wrote a small bit, worked on it with the best beta evah for me and it's really really really complete.

    Sooooooooooooo LOL

    Pets are amazing when it comes down with *wanting* to lick or clean themselves if they set their mind to it. Also licking stimulates the healing of the wound. I am glad to hear he's doing fine!

    As for PLanet Earth, hubby and I watched it at Christmas and you also have to watch the planet Earth dictionaries, those are fab too!!! Really recommendable!
    • Okay... hehehe

      I meant: As for Planet Earth, hubby and I watched it at Christmas and you also have to watch the planet Earth dictionaries diaries.

      Also, after I posted this comment: webdesign, proper CSS and PHP usuage is a b$tch with Internet Exploder. It is even that bad that there are IE hacks out there to make things work. What I usually do with a style sheet or webpage that doesn't want to play nice is to put it through the W3 validator.
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