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Archive for June, 2008

Where in the Hell is Matt?

A friend from San Diego sent me this videoclip. I thought I would share it with you. She described it as gimmicky but definitely silly. I felt being envious of the young man. 

 

Oh, to be young and carefree. How I wish I had thought of travelling as a young person.

Now if only the gas and airfare situations were not as bad, I’d be out and about this summer already. But there’s a freeze on vacation where I work right now. So, sour grapes! The big healthcare organization my company is under has built a regional hospital to be opened in August this year, and they want everyone to be available from as early as March to round about late August (or maybe even September), depending on what the outcome of the opening would be like, as far as IT support and demand is concerned anyway.

My oldest niece, the world traveller, might want to see this video. And get some ideas of her own. Or, maybe she has concocted one already. I haven’t heard from her actually. Last I heard, her mom mentioned she’s in Alaska for the summer. Oh, to be young and carefree.

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Physics Over Sports Everytime

I’m trying to avoid posting about a Black Sheep Gathering interview I did for one of the alpaca owners; plus some more pictures I wanted to add, just like I promised on the past post. Don’t ask me why. Okay fine, I’m being lazy.

Mulling over what topics to blog about instead. Hmmm!

First I thought, the excitement has begun over the Pre-Olympic Track and Field games starting to happen this weekend into next week. If you are not a Track & Field enthusiast (just like me), let me fill you in. Hayward Field and even more importantly, Prefontaine, Bowerman and Phil Knight of Nike (yes, that Nike) put track & field and Oregon in the map. It’s like golf and Tiger Woods (disclaimer: for 21st century recognition anyway).

But honestly, since I have not quite an interest in track and field, I wasn’t sure I was comfortable making adulation about it and the Pre-Olympic Trial Games. So, it would probably not do justice if my descriptions of the games will not be 100% correct, since I’m just partial to the subject. But here it is anyway, for those who are interested in such sport.

Must be fair, must be fair!

HOWEVER……

I found something that really gave me exultation. The HADRON SUPERCOLLIDER is almost ready! Yehay! The New York Times has thorough coverage of this mammoth machine.

Inside the Hadron Collider Complex

It will be functional in August. However, with all the hype to get to that point, it will make or break the physics world or the earth itself. Scary, huh? I am! But excited nonetheless! Imagine what new discoveries we can find outside of earth. One scientist mentioned that we may discover more than 4 dimensions that we already know about. Oh, I’m swooning! I might faint. So gotta go! Tat-tat for now.

HAVE A FUN SUMMER by the way! At least for the people in the U.S. and other places that have the same summer time as we do. The rest, HAVE FUN anyway!

 

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Disastrous Week

As you may well know, I work nights. Being a night worker has perks and disappointments.

The perks: you are your own boss; no office politics to deal with; no stupid, aggravating, whiny co-workers (actually there are a few, but not in my department thank goodness) buzzing like bees around you; no noise; you don’t get too hungry at night; no traffic jam to encounter to/from work. And you have time to do errands during the day without disrupting your work hours.

Disappointments: food is lousy (that’s why you don’t get too hungry) unless you bring your own; no window-shopping on lunch breaks; no one to go out to lunch with.

But the most aggravating thing is LACK OF SLEEP. The many years I have been working nights, I have alienated myself from neighbors, with some I literally drove to move out. All because of SLEEP. (Plus, I’m territorial.)

So, this week, such is my luck.

  • Monday: the neighbor across from me decided they needed a new roof. Then at that same time, the property on the cul-de-sac behind my house started with some ambitious digging. I mean serious digging. There are big boulders upon boulders dumped at the place. I have a feeling these two owners are in cahoot with sabotaging my sleep. But I cannot get nasty. I cannot complain. What did I do? Well, there’s always a last resort………..EAR PLUGS. I hate them as they give you earache after you take them off.
  • Tuesday: no relief from the roofers nor the excavators. Ear plugs on again. Earache after. 3- to 4-Hour sleep.
  • Wednesday: roofers & excavators are at it again; plus the next door neighbor to the north of me decided to power-wash their driveway. Ear plugs on/earache after. 4- to 5-Hour sleep.
  • Thursday: roofers and excavators still around. No ear plugs. Since I have been going around for days like a zombie, I finally went to bed this morning without ear plugs. To heck with life! I actually fell asleep the minute I hit the bed…out of exhaustion. That was at 0930. Didn’t hear a thing! Nada! Woke up at 1630. Dazed and confused. That happens because it’s rare I get 7 hours straight on a work night.

So, it’s been a disastrous week. But I can’t wait for Friday. I don’t give a damn if the whole area surrounding my house explodes (not including my house of course). IT’S DA WEEKEND!!!!!

Oh wait, it’s after midnight now, so it’s Friday. And this is when I switch to daytime mode. It goes like this: Monday through Thursday, sleep during the day. Thursday through Saturday, sleep nights. Confused? Who wouldn’t? And you wonder why I’m such cranky pants.

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Today, Sunday, was the last day to attend the Black Sheep Gathering. And so I went.

I even encountered the SIL and her hubby, checking out the Romney sheep. They were surprised I was there. I’m very sensitive. I always have the impression that these, otherwise wonderful people would always seem to be shocked I can do things or go to places they go too. Or that I can read books. Or that I’m educated like everyone else. Or that I can argue and hold my ground with what I know, be it religion, politics, rice, etc. Just not finances (of course, they do not know that) and wine or beer.

Anyhoot, I have every right to be there. Yarn is my passion! (Aries is my birth sign, of all things!) I was mildly surprised they were even remotely interested in sheep. At one point, the SIL was trying to impress upon me her knowledge of sheep. Until I told her more than she could take or already know. ‘If you do not know your stuff, don’t open your mouth’, is what I’d like to tell her.

Boy, was I cranky today! But prior to (and after) my encounter with the SIL and the hubby, I was giddy to the point of being like a child discovering a new candy store.

Check these photos out.

  

Hey, you’re the same person who took my foto last year!

  

Look at that huge pair of scissors!

  

Black-faced lammies for sale! I didn’t buy any. Darn!

  

Spinning Wheels a-plenty!

      

 Colorful wares!

What! You want my picture?!

I will post more photos in a day or two. And to show you what I bought. Plus an interview with someone who owns 80 alpacas.

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Yard Work

The rainy season seems to be over. For now.

What have I been doing lately? Yardwork, for sure. No knitting lately. Not that I was lazy. But the yard all around needed much attention. The weeds were as tall as I am.

Last year’s garden projects were scrapped by the project buster: Mr. Wonderful. Unless it’s counting money, or talking financial forecast and automobiles, he would NOT be interested in anything else. Jerry’s or Home Depot, he would avoid at all cost.

So, this summer, I’d like to pick up where I left off. Without much help from you-know-who. The projects would be slow-going. But I have accomplished something today.

Back porch leading out from garage:

Back Porch

I’m proud to say, those pavers as heavy as they were, were hauled over by none other. If you notice a black tarp covering, it’s to protect area from the cats making a toilet out of it.

Area is now transformed to this:

 Magnolia Tree at Back Porch 

That tree is a deciduous Magnolia. There’s an evergreen Magnolia in front of the house. I’d like to plant more Magnolia trees all over and call my house the Magnolia House.

The area above still needs more soil and annuals/flowers. Plus flat top pavers for a finishing look. But I just totally pooped out from working in the middle of a hot day without food, so I quit early.

Next project is the pergola area. Hauling gravel and sand, not sure if I’m looking forward to that. Maybe, having the Magnolia Tree area looking so pretty will make Mr. Wonderful guilty and help me with the pergola project.

 

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Internet Connection Can Be a Pain

For the past week or so, I’ve been laying low from blogging because internet connection was spotty. At any given time, the connection would drop. It was annoying.

Furthermore, Mr. Wonderful is your typical non-PC savvy. He gets computer rage, if there’s such a thing. So, it was aggravating enough to deal with the unknown connection problem, I had to deal with the computer rager.

My son and I tried to troubleshoot the obvious: checking hardware ~ modem, router, net cable, etc., etc. Called Comcast; was told nothing was going on on their side and connection was pingable. Tech suggested the network card may be the problem. I didn’t want to believe that; or at least I’d like to deny there’s issue there. So, I thought I’d call DELL. Connection had totally died at that point. Plus, the router had death sympathy, completely dead. What timing! Dell couldn’t come up with solution to problem; didn’t think network card was the problem either, and suggested re-installing WINXP.

‘Oh-oh!’, I said. Reinstalling WINXP would mean all data would be wiped out. I hate to admit this, but I have never backed-up my home PC. Ever. You know how we always say, ‘Oh, nothing will happen’. Nothing bad had happened to the PC yet. But because, one of these days, something really bad would happen, I decided to order an external drive and back up data prior to reinstalling.

The funny thing once I got off the phone with the Dell rep, I heard some noise outside my house. I checked it out and lo and behold, who do I see? Two Comcast service techs excavating at the side of my property. When inquired as to what they were doing, they indicated they were installing service for the next door neighbors. I got into an argument with them as to why it’s on my side of the property. Explained to them I lost internet connection which I suspect had something to do with what they were doing. Denial, denial, argument, argument. One of them suggested I should give Comcast a service call. Told him that when I called Comcast, they were saying nothing was wrong on their side. Finally, I asked, ‘If the neighbor’s cable box is on my f***ing side, where’s mine?’ Once I started cursing, the tech straightened out and decided to play nice. I had the feeling he was afraid that I’d report him. Damn right, I was about to tell him that. He went to check my cable line and noticed that it was really, really old. He offered to replace it since he’s installing a new one for the new neighbor anyway.

Guess what?! After a new line was installed; I checked connection. THERE IT WAS! CONNECTION HEAVEN! AND IT WAS FASTER TOO! ‘What did I tell ya?”, I told the tech. He apologized profusely.

500 GB External Hard Drive

In conclusion, I have a new router, a new line, an external hard drive that can back up the whole Library of Congress (not really!). Plus…faster connection. What else can I ask for. And oh…….oh…….oh…….the computer rager is finally pacified. For now.

I is happy! is my favorite expression. However, I still need to back up the dang data….this weekend! Knock on wood nothing happens before then.

 

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Last weekend, I had an excuse to go visit the raptor center once more. I somehow won a couple of raffle prizes and had to pick them up. But I procrastinated since the center was a few miles up the wooded hills, way southeast of the city. I was told that the prizes were to be given away to someone else if they were not picked up soon enough. That compelled me to visit.

So, here are what I won! Yipeeee!

Saw Whet Owl Photo     Salmon Wood Carving

Neat, huh?

Going up to the raptor center was worth it. Made sure I brought my camera along. It was awesome looking at and taking pictures of the birds. Prepare to read a long blog entry.

Okay, at my previous blog, I promised to show pictures of Lethe, the turkey vulture.

Lethe, Turkey Vulture

This is Lethe. Lethe had human imprint. That means, he’s not afraid of humans. Same thing with Kali, his female companion. When I was a volunteer at the center, a few of the tasks I had to do were clean the cages; feed the birds; count mice and chicks (they are food to these birds) and feed them as well; help with meds.

So back to Lethe. Every time I went in his cage to feed or clean, he would run towards me to check out my shoes/shoelaces. I had to shield myself and had my son (or vice versa) distract him. And here’s the reason why?

Warning Sign

Lethe Showing Off

Both Lethe and Kali can fly; however, when you go in their cages, they run to check out your shoes.

And speaking of shoes, I made a mistake on my first day as a volunteer. It was orientation day, which meant being introduced to the birds by going in their cages and know the do’s and dont’s of taking care of them. A couple of the dont’s I could remember were to: 1) NOT SHOW YOU ARE SCARED when you are in their cage; 2) NOT WEAR SANDALS. I wore sandals that day.

The first cage we went into was the crow’s.

Edgar Allen Crow

This guy (after it was given a name, they discovered it was a female) has human imprint as well. Someone captured it and made it a pet. However, Edgar was not properly fed and thus, got a deformed beak (in photo, top beak curls upward). Deformed beak or not, it hurts when she pecks. She was the one that pecked on my toes that orientation day. I will never forget it.

Another time, she preened my hair; or rather my head. I have dark hair and she thought I had to have my head feathers preened. That hurt even more. There’s one thing about Edgar: when a whole bunch of visitors come, especially children, she gets all excited and would say ‘hello’. First, you do not hear it that way. But a few of those ‘hellos’ do come out distinctively as the human sound of ‘hello’. It’s weird! And children loved it and would rush to her cage, while she’d get to twirl her toys for show.

Next cage to Edgar’s is this guy.

Zac the Raven

Zachariah, or Zac, is actually female. She does not like women. Somehow she can determine the difference between a male or female human. I never ventured into her cage. I didn’t want to know what she’d do if I got in there. She’s way bigger than Edgar, mind you.

My son loved her. Zac would eat her favorite foods (grapes and nuts) from my son’s hands. To this day, Zac remains his favorite. Oh, Zac can say ‘whatchadoing’.

Exciting note about the corvids (corvus): they are definitely NOT RAPTORS. Why are they in the raptor center? The director, prior to establishing the raptor center, had these two birds as her first rehab birds. They are her favorite birds. She also has a few dozen (indoor) cats, and a parrot that thinks she’s the queen of the house and makes sure the cats behave when she’s around.

Zac and Edgar are the two fellas I also mentioned in my past blog.

 Dakini   What a beauty, huh?

 Dakini, White-Tailed Kite   What do you think this is? 

   What’s a kite?

 I really had fun at the raptor center. One area I couldn’t get to when I visited on Earth Day Celebration was this structure that shows the comparison between the length of a human’s stretched hand to stretched hand with that of a raptor’s wingspan and which bird would match you closely. It was so popular, there was a long winding line to try it out.

 How Big Is Your Wingspan Board

Last weekend, there was no one there but me. I waited quite a long time for someone to come up so my picture could be taken. And here’s how I measured up.

Me!   58 inches!

I am a couple of inches longer than the wingspan of a ferruginous hawk.

Wingspan Yardstick

This is a ferruginous hawk.

Ferruginous Hawk

 Well folks, cheer up. We are almost close to the end of this blog entry.

This precious looking bird is a juvenile barn owl. It was found recently alone among some haystack in a barn (but of course!). They couldn’t find the rest of its family.

Juvenile Barn Owl W/Trainer

One can tell a juvenile from an adult, as this barn owl shows, by the downy feathers covering the bird. This little one isn’t named yet. But doesn’t he look cute? When the education rep came out of the med house while I was waiting to pick up my prize winnings, I had the honor to meet the owl up close.

The owl was curious as to what I was holding. It was silver and looked attractive to the bird. The silver object was my camera. As the ed rep passed me by, the bird couldn’t take his eyes off the camera.

 Well, Hello There!

That’s it folks! I hope you enjoyed this entry. I apologize that it’s quite a long one.

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